Saturday, December 18, 2010

On the hunt

One of the things when I started SpeakerHardware was to give DIY prosound a place to find stuff.  PartsExpress, MCM and a couple of others have a lot, but unless you kind of know what you're looking for, it's a shot in the dark.  Hell, I still buy from them as suppliers now.  I know how I had so many starts and stops looking for the "right screw", the "right corner" or any other piece of hardware for a cab.  What I'm good at is finding stuff. I call, I email, I read promo stuff, trade journals, always looking for something that's cool, better or easier than whatever I'm currently using or selling.  Which are the same thing.  Nothing I sell in hardware has not been used by me personally in a build or at least used in a test bed in the shop. 

So my purpose after finding it is to make available stuff I know that works.  Or at least worked for me.  It's got to look good, be durable and functional.  I have probably a couple of dozen different cab corners, jack plates, handles, and just stuff sitting in a drawer that were rejected for one reason or another.  Because all the BFM cabs are 1/2 ply, it makes the hardware tricky.  Practically everything is geared around 3/4. The new Jiggs Subs are 3/4, which entailed a entirely new search for hardware.  Some of it translates between the two lines, but some does not. 

If you remember Heathkit, that's the goal.  When you got a Heathkit, it was like Christmas.  You opened the box to hundreds of small parts awaiting your  inspection.  Picking up the stuff, looking at it, figuring out what it was or where it went.  That was a big part of the pleasure, the anticipation. Most of them were utterly mysterious, until you got into the build.  The literally step by step instructions for every teeny part were amazing.  I built my first amplifier in college from a Heathkit, and it's still in use as my test amp. I want anybody who buys a kit from me to have that experience.  The BFM plans are very close to that good, as are mine for the Jiggs Subs.  

A source of frustration for me has been the pursuit of electronics.  I currently have 2 lines, Crown and Digmoda.  Both of which I use and have used.  They are excellent quality.  But only the Digmoda gets closer to my idea of a true DIY solution for prosound.  You install it in the cab, it's not just a plug and play product, and it's fairly unique. Unique is what I like.  Don't get me wrong, the Crowns are fabulous amps, but it feels kind of me too.  You can buy them a jillion places.  What I want is that DIY feeling of something unique.  I did that, with my own two hands.  Nobody else has something just like it. 

And I'm getting closer.  After a couple of years of being on the hunt I think I've got a couple of solutions on the horizon for a built in amp that is affordable, reasonably powerful  and well built.  Maybe they're false leads again, but I don't think so.  There won't be soldering them together like the old Heathkits, but they will require more than just cutting a hole in the box. 

The two best parts of any project, the anticipation, and the conclusion.  I did that.  I built that. See what I did right here that makes it unique.  Here's where I screwed up and fixed it.  Here's what I'd do next time. Listen to how it sounds, feels, looks, whatever.  I did that. 

It doesn't get any better than that.  

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Hanukkah, Sweet Solstice.  Did I miss anybody?

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