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Where are all of the builders?

post #1 of 88
Thread Starter 
I've been away for a while but this has anyways been my favorite spot to see people building cool stuff. What happened? It's like this community has died off and that's terrible!
Here's what I'm doing now, comment, advise, and enjoy.
What are you guys doing these days?
post #2 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by FallenAngel View Post

I've been away for a while but this has anyways been my favorite spot to see people building cool stuff. What happened? It's like this community has died off and that's terrible!
Here's what I'm doing now, comment, advise, and enjoy.
What are you guys doing these days?

 

Plenty of cable and blu-tack threads, though ... ;)

 

1. No one can design and build DIY for cheaper than Schiit or the Chinese can sell completely assembled amplifiers and DACs.

2. Truly good DACs involve so much SMD that it became inappropriate for the masses.  And ... see #1.

3. The O2 killed general interest in DIY because too many people bought the idea that nothing could be better.

4. NWAVGUY chased away AMB.

5. Tangent quit.

6. Pete Millett began building esoteric amps exclusively for TTVJ (mainly because of #1 above).

7. Starving Student tubes rose to $40 a pair or more.

8. Group Buys became forbidden on Head-Fi.

9. Blu-tack mods to the T50RP made people rich.

10. Cables and their prices still don't make sense ... but made people rich.

11. See # 1 again ... lather, rinse, repeat. ;)

post #3 of 88

DIY was never about cheaper.  Well at least for many people. The market has matured.

 

 

1A   If they sell what you want and its a rational price then buy it.

 

1B   If they sell what you want, but the price is completely irrational, then if you can build it for a rational price with the same or

        better performance, then build it.

 

Regardless of what anyone says, technology has not changed in the last 40 years.

 

2  dacs really are going to high density SMD devices exclusively. Get used to it. However the firmware in many of them are truely

    awful and an open source dac with enough fpga space to get fancy with the firmware will eventually happen. Just look at the fact

    that just about everyone gets gapless completely wrong. This is stuff you can easily already do open source with a $349 laptop.

 

12    If they don't sell what you want (like high voltage electrostatic amps) Then you have to build it. And then you can get as silly as you want.


Edited by kevin gilmore - 10/15/16 at 6:56am
post #4 of 88

What TomB said...

post #5 of 88

I used to have fun browsing headfi DIY section. Some decisions and attitude of management practically kill it – not the lack of demand or need for DIY. Other reasons are secondary. May be it was too successful and was made decision to kill the traffic. I don’t know. I respect headfi. It's still a great resource for people who like good sound. My 02 cents.

Vlad.

post #6 of 88
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomb View Post

Plenty of cable and blu-tack threads, though ... ;)

 

1. No one can design and build DIY for cheaper than Schiit or the Chinese can sell completely assembled amplifiers and DACs.

2. Truly good DACs involve so much SMD that it became inappropriate for the masses.  And ... see #1.

3. The O2 killed general interest in DIY because too many people bought the idea that nothing could be better.

4. NWAVGUY chased away AMB.

5. Tangent quit.

6. Pete Millett began building esoteric amps exclusively for TTVJ (mainly because of #1 above).

7. Starving Student tubes rose to $40 a pair or more.

8. Group Buys became forbidden on Head-Fi.

9. Blu-tack mods to the T50RP made people rich.

10. Cables and their prices still don't make sense ... but made people rich.

11. See # 1 again ... lather, rinse, repeat. ;)

 

 

1) True, but that's not what DIY is about

2) Again, true, but DAC boards with modular capability should still be available.

3) Having listened to it many times, I can see why people think this way with certain headphones. I personally didn't care for it much.

4) Never knew that.

5) Incredible guy lost.

6) Guess it's a natural transition of interest, but he had tons of very innovative and weird designs on his site for a while, mostly with weird tubes.

7) Don't know why that's a big deal.

8) Terrible

9) Sad

10) 5 years ago I was a fanboy and still will respond to a custom cable request, but it's not really a thing these days, especially at stupid prices. I did actually just recable a Beyerdynamic T1 using a cable originally priced at $250  that I got off eBay with some Grado drivers for basically the cost of shipping to the client. Hope he likes it. :)

11) Hope not :(

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by kevin gilmore View Post
 

DIY was never about cheaper.  Well at least for many people. The market has matured.

 

 

1A   If they sell what you want and its a rational price then buy it.

 

1B   If they sell what you want, but the price is completely irrational, then if you can build it for a rational price with the same or

        better performance, then build it.

 

Regardless of what anyone says, technology has not changed in the last 40 years.

 

2  dacs really are going to high density SMD devices exclusively. Get used to it. However the firmware in many of them are truely

    awful and an open source dac with enough fpga space to get fancy with the firmware will eventually happen. Just look at the fact

    that just about everyone gets gapless completely wrong. This is stuff you can easily already do open source with a $349 laptop.

 

12    If they don't sell what you want (like high voltage electrostatic amps) Then you have to build it. And then you can get as silly as you want.

 

Dr Gilmore, sir. Thanks so much for replying, I'm a full blown groupie of yours actually, hence the salutations. We've only exchanged a number of posts on a few forums but I think you're very cool. I've build pretty much everything you've designed on the dynamic side of thing, though sometimes having to scale down your standard "MOAR POWAH!" theme.

I'm sure you recognise the GRLV + Dynalo MK2 combo in my post, and thank you for that. I'll try to get that tested soon. :)

 

I'm going to have to disagree completely with your statement of technology not changing in the last 40 years. In terms of analog amplifier design, that may be true if you think about the basic principle. On the digital side though, I think you statement is indefensible. In more recent years, DSP has taken main stage. The traditional notion of a digital device streaming a signal directly received and going through DAC is no longer the technology being implemented. There was a big craze around Async USB, which I have written about many years ago, saying it's the natural progression of streaming audio that includes some error correction. Higher sustained data transfer speeds also allow for much higher resolution within DACs.

 

As for DACs having terrible software, I completely agree. I don't think that open source fpga programming is the answer though. We have access to super cheap ARM processors that I believe will be the next step in this technology for more robust applications.

post #7 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomb View Post

4. NWAVGUY chased away AMB.
LOL, no.

I was "gone" long before that blogger guy appeared. There was a major exodus back to headwize around the 2005-2006 time frame, when the atmosphere in this forum got real hostile (thanks to a former moderator who is no longer with us). I created the AMB DIY audio forum back in early 2010, due to headwize going down.

But I still lurk here from time to time. I just don't conduct project developments here any more. There are too many restrictions here, and it's appropriate that I do that in the AMB forums.
post #8 of 88

I don't know that DIY as a whole is dead, but it certainly is dead here!  And mostly, as AMB says is because of the restrictions.  There are other sites where the DIY community seems to be alive and well though.  AMB's, DIYAudio, DIY Audio projects, and Dr. Gilmore's (can't name the site because I'll either be banned from this site or my post will be deleted)  The last vestige of DIY here is TOMB, and I sometimes wonder why he doesn't move else where with a more active community.

 

As for myself,  I'm still very active.  Looking forward to finishing a few AMB projects during the cooler months.  Also in on a group buy for some of Dr Gilmore's designs. Looking forward to all of them!

 

Me

post #9 of 88
Thread Starter 
It's great to hear from Tom and Ti, glad you're at least a bit around here. I've never taken up much on other forums, but I do visit them. I'm just sad that this isn't the go to place anymore.

Musky, keep on building bro, looking forward to what you come up with.
post #10 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by FallenAngel View Post

 

I'm going to have to disagree completely with your statement of technology not changing in the last 40 years. In terms of analog amplifier design, that may be true if you think about the basic principle. On the digital side though, I think you statement is indefensible.

 

I was referring to analog amplifier design.

 

Digital amplifier design is getting better and better but at a fairly slow pace. Great for speakers especially power hungry ones, but unnecessary for headphone amplifiers.

 

Dac design is moving ahead at lighting speed. Very hard to keep up. Stuff that was $30k+  is beaten up pretty bad by the next generation at $5k. And that generation is going

to get beat up pretty bad by the up and coming generation at less than $2k. DSD dacs from china at $89 with shipping are pretty amazing, I think I have bought one of every different

kind of chipset to mess with.  Software is still grim.

 

When TI gets his dac working with dsd I will get one of those too.


Edited by kevin gilmore - 10/19/16 at 4:11pm
post #11 of 88
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kevin gilmore View Post
 

 

I was referring to analog amplifier design.

 

Digital amplifier design is getting better and better but at a fairly slow pace. Great for speakers especially power hungry ones, but unnecessary for headphone amplifiers.

 

Dac design is moving ahead at lighting speed. Very hard to keep up. Stuff that was $30k+  is beaten up pretty bad by the next generation at $5k. And that generation is going

to get beat up pretty bad by the up and coming generation at less than $2k. DSD dacs from china at $89 with shipping are pretty amazing, I think I have bought one of every different

kind of chipset to mess with.  Software is still grim.

 

When TI gets his dac working with dsd I will get one of those too.

 

I kind of thought that was the case and agree completely. The general concept has remained the same. I don't know enough about digital amplifiers to comment, and don't even really know what that term means. I can imagine a concept of an ADC having a digital amplification stage and a DAC at the end, but it sounds a bit weird. Maybe I'm just ignorant on this topic.

 

Again, totally agree that the software in DACs is lacking. GAH! I would actually want to take on development efforts for a solution. What's the problem with implementing DSD? Software nerd with 15 years experience here. :) Why can't we just code a good digital receiver with error correction, send it through processing functions like resamplifing and filtering and send it to a DAC? I see no issues with this task.

 

On a different note, I still laugh thinking about the 1000uF Teflon cap you posted that looked like a paint can. :P

post #12 of 88
Would you please suggest some basic reading to grasp the concept of "causal filter structure" rather than a FIR approach?
Edit: Meanwhile, I will try to read this https://ccrma.stanford.edu/~jos/filters/filters.html
Edited by jgazal - 10/19/16 at 6:48pm
post #13 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by amb View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomb View Post

4. NWAVGUY chased away AMB.
LOL, no.

I was "gone" long before that blogger guy appeared. There was a major exodus back to headwize around the 2005-2006 time frame, when the atmosphere in this forum got real hostile (thanks to a former moderator who is no longer with us). I created the AMB DIY audio forum back in early 2010, due to headwize going down.

But I still lurk here from time to time. I just don't conduct project developments here any more. There are too many restrictions here, and it's appropriate that I do that in the AMB forums.


With respect, my #4 was probably more of a symbolic statement than one of fact.  I agree that you were looking for something else when Headwize went down.  The fact that Chu Moy decided not to bring Headwize back was unfortunate.  I was a bit shocked and bewildered when Dr. Gilmore shared the story with me at CanJam Chicago.

 

As for the rest ... well, we can all agree that the restrictions here increased.  I chose to stay and support - at least a little bit at a time.  Maybe it's a lost cause, but I'm still trying. :) 


Edited by tomb - 10/19/16 at 9:00pm
post #14 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by FallenAngel View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomb View Post

Plenty of cable and blu-tack threads, though ... ;)

 

1. No one can design and build DIY for cheaper than Schiit or the Chinese can sell completely assembled amplifiers and DACs.

2. Truly good DACs involve so much SMD that it became inappropriate for the masses.  And ... see #1.

3. The O2 killed general interest in DIY because too many people bought the idea that nothing could be better.

4. NWAVGUY chased away AMB.

5. Tangent quit.

6. Pete Millett began building esoteric amps exclusively for TTVJ (mainly because of #1 above).

7. Starving Student tubes rose to $40 a pair or more.

8. Group Buys became forbidden on Head-Fi.

9. Blu-tack mods to the T50RP made people rich.

10. Cables and their prices still don't make sense ... but made people rich.

11. See # 1 again ... lather, rinse, repeat. ;)

 

 

1) True, but that's not what DIY is about

2) Again, true, but DAC boards with modular capability should still be available.

3) Having listened to it many times, I can see why people think this way with certain headphones. I personally didn't care for it much.

4) Never knew that.

5) Incredible guy lost.

6) Guess it's a natural transition of interest, but he had tons of very innovative and weird designs on his site for a while, mostly with weird tubes.

7) Don't know why that's a big deal.

8) Terrible

9) Sad

10) 5 years ago I was a fanboy and still will respond to a custom cable request, but it's not really a thing these days, especially at stupid prices. I did actually just recable a Beyerdynamic T1 using a cable originally priced at $250  that I got off eBay with some Grado drivers for basically the cost of shipping to the client. Hope he likes it. :)

11) Hope not :(

 

I don't disagree with much of your responses, but #1 and #2 are particularly important to me (maybe others) while trying to offer DIY projects to the community.  I started offering kits because the combined profit margin of sourcing multiple parts from multiple sources made the effort pay for itself.  Just selling PCBs - for me - stopped paying for itself years ago.  Today, it's very much worse.  Why would someone even design something to build if you can buy something similar from Schiit/China/O2 for less?  There's almost no motivation left for the smaller stuff.  That means DIY becomes an exclusive club - for those willing to spend a little money - instead of a culture that grows into the masses (what I had hoped for).

 

Originally, it all began because if you wanted a headphone amp or DAC - you had to build it.  There was little else available.  In that environment, Group Buys were the original Kickstarter-on-the-cheap.  You could come up with a design, then have people sign on so you could pay for the production costs of the PCB.  The volume vs. price on most PCB designs meant per-board-costs decreased exponentially with increased volume.  It was a perfect match for the Group Buy process.  In some cases of a popular design, it left enough remaining interest for people like me to continue selling the PCBs one at a time, or provide enough starting scratch to offer kits.  That's not the case anymore.

 

Unfortunately, DIY in headphone amplifiers and DACs - as we once knew it - may be a lost cause. :(

post #15 of 88
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomb View Post

I don't disagree with much of your responses, but #1 and #2 are particularly important to me (maybe others) while trying to offer DIY projects to the community.  I started offering kits because the combined profit margin of sourcing multiple parts from multiple sources made the effort pay for itself.  Just selling PCBs - for me - stopped paying for itself years ago.  Today, it's very much worse.  Why would someone even design something to build if you can buy something similar from Schiit/China/O2 for less?  There's almost no motivation left for the smaller stuff.  That means DIY becomes an exclusive club - for those willing to spend a little money - instead of a culture that grows into the masses (what I had hoped for).

Originally, it all began because if you wanted a headphone amp or DAC - you had to build it.  There was little else available.  In that environment, Group Buys were the original Kickstarter-on-the-cheap.  You could come up with a design, then have people sign on so you could pay for the production costs of the PCB.  The volume vs. price on most PCB designs meant per-board-costs decreased exponentially with increased volume.  It was a perfect match for the Group Buy process.  In some cases of a popular design, it left enough remaining interest for people like me to continue selling the PCBs one at a time, or provide enough starting scratch to offer kits.  That's not the case anymore.

Unfortunately, DIY in headphone amplifiers and DACs - as we once knew it - may be a lost cause. frown.gif

That really ******* sucks and it makes me sad that you feel this way. We've known each other for almost ten years so I hope by now you realized you can ask for my help anytime and for anything.

I know you've been doing a lot of work on beezar that I appreciate.

I just wish we could bring back discussion here on Dr Gilmore designs.

I'm ignorant on what happened to group buys and why new development isn't here anymore. Why is this?
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