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Where are all of the builders? - Page 2

post #16 of 113

I'm still doing IY...but starting to migrate over to the other site.

 

You're right that most of the Head-Fi DIYers have left (or that I rarely see their posts): FrankCooter, uncle erik, dsavitsk, etc.  Typically, I would see Frank Cooter and his creations once a year at a local Head-Fi meet.  But the meets here are now DIY-free and Cooter-free.

 

Nice Dynalo boards!  That's a lot of room in the chassis left!  Are you planning to do the tiny smd dynalomini too?          

post #17 of 113
You are all welcome to participate at the AMB DIY audio forum too. Even if you're not building an AMB project. We do have a "General DIY Discussions" subforum and an "Audio Talk" subforum. While the AMB forum is where I develop and support my projects, it was never intended to be only that. It is a good place to be, with very high S/N ratio, so check it out.
post #18 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by FallenAngel View Post
 
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?

 

Many thanks for that. :)

 

I don't necessarily think that the lower interest in DIY is Head-Fi's fault as much as it is the market.  Yes, Head-Fi has forbidden Group Buys.  That said, I understand their position and they probably didn't have a choice.  Group Buys evolved into making large buys of headphones, cables, and other things besides just DIY.  A few of those resulted in the organizers simply disappearing with all the money.

 

I remember having a conversation with Justin of Headamp at a meet a few years ago.  He said he never had an issue with theft or dishonest transactions until he started selling headphones themselves.  So maybe there's something about a huge market and items of relatively small physical size that attracts people with less than honest intent.  In the end, it was probably way too much to expect Head-Fi to allow Group Buys for DIY but forbid it elsewhere.  Heck - no offense to others reading this thread - but some of the mods around here probably don't know the difference between a real DIY product and one that's not. ;)

 

As for the overall market and DIY - I've noted and stated this before.  I've been heavily involved, on and off, with the model airplane industry since the 60's.  (To be clear - I was just a kid back then!)  For several decades, the only way to get a really high-performing RC or control line airplane was to build it yourself (kit or from scratch).  Readily built planes simply did not exist.  There were some plastic offerings (Cox, Wen-Mac), but they were really just toys and mostly pure junk.  Then something happened beginning at the turn of the millennium - labor from China/Asia was incredibly cheap and suddenly became available world-wide.  Within a few years, kits and parts for scratch-built designs became scarce.  "Real" kits have almost disappeared from the market.  Instead, you have ARF's (Almost Ready to Fly) and RTF's (Ready To Fly) available everywhere for cheaper than you could buy a kit and put one together.  That pretty much left DIY to the highly-experienced, design-and-scratch-build folks.  The masses left the DIY culture.

 

I think the comparison is completely analogous with headphone electronics.  Schiit and equipment from China/Asia is so much cheaper than anyone can build, it's removed all but the most experienced DIY-er's.  They in turn, have little interest in putting in effort unless it's for top-of-the-line performance.  Or, some have left completely and are custom-building on their own or manufacturing premium designs.  This has the effect of shrinking the entire community, as no one is really reaching out to beginners anymore - unless it's for something outrageously simple, like cables and blu-tack.  Sad, but I guess it's a natural evolution of the market - as with others before.


Edited by tomb - 10/20/16 at 5:04am
post #19 of 113

Great thread!

I really enjoyed reading all the comments. I agree with tomb on that cheaper stuff from China has at least in part killed much of the DIY community here. Myself I'm guilty of purchasing cheap Chinese kits, just solder the parts put in a case and enjoy.

I remember when I put together my first headphone amp back in 2007, AMB's M3. The whole experience was amazing and gratifying, however it took a lot of time and effort to source all the parts from different vendors.

The M3 ended up costing several hundred dollars just for the default configuration, but as Dr.Gilmore mentioned, DIY was never meant to be cheap.    

post #20 of 113
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gabriel-dan View Post
 

Great thread!

I really enjoyed reading all the comments. I agree with tomb on that cheaper stuff from China has at least in part killed much of the DIY community here. Myself I'm guilty of purchasing cheap Chinese kits, just solder the parts put in a case and enjoy.

I remember when I put together my first headphone amp back in 2007, AMB's M3. The whole experience was amazing and gratifying, however it took a lot of time and effort to source all the parts from different vendors.

The M3 ended up costing several hundred dollars just for the default configuration, but as Dr.Gilmore mentioned, DIY was never meant to be cheap.    

 

I completely agree! I use an Audio-GD Sparrow I bought for $150 that functions as an S/PDIF DAC and headphone amp from a $50 soundcard I installed in my office computer. It's pretty great actually and well worth the money. Certainly much cheaper than any alternative I've found.

 

I honestly really love what you wrote, and respect you for saying it. It's the process of sourcing parts, building and that amazing feeling of powering up for the first time. That's just awesome! :)

 

I really do miss the community here building together, solving problems and getting designs to completion as a community of interested people.

post #21 of 113
I just popped in from years and years away from Headfi, and imagine my surprise when the diy community was virtually gone. I mean, the last thing I worked on was helping with the original Stacker. I basically came back to get with Tomb about an original Max pcb I decided to mess with as I have a couple dozen tubes for it and I'd like to do a transformer coupled 6080 design for some hd600's I just got, but there wasn't much of anything except cables in the threads. If I could buy back my original Millett with crossfeed I'd be happy and not look at doing the Max (never should have sold it). DIY for me has always been about the ability to express myself with the design. I've never had enough money to max anything out or buy anything expensive. Heck, I wouldn't have got the hd600 if I hadn't of traded some speakers for them. I guess I'll have to start digging on the other forums to get ideas.
Edited by Blooze - 10/23/16 at 7:05pm
post #22 of 113

Same here.  I used to spend an unhealthy amount of time in the DIY section here.  At some point I started spending more time on diyaudio.  Now most of it is on Reddit.  

 

I think people kind of naturally migrate from place to place, depending on the overall atmosphere and whether there are restrictions that prevent certain behavior.  It is kind of sad to see that the DIY section is languishing here. 

 

Regarding the Chinese/Schiit manufacturing killing off DIY, I think it depends on what the builder's goals and the community's messages are.   If the idea is just to get cheap equipment, then yeah the overseas stuff definitely hurts DIY.  If the community is built around educating others and growing the hobby, then I don't think price competition has the same effect.

post #23 of 113

No more group Buys...for me, those were the golden days of Head-Fi. Gosh...I built every amp that came along, I have the first run Bijou amp PCBs of which maybe a dozen or less boards were produced? same with the Millett Max, I got the last two boards from the original beta GB...I think there were only half a dozen of those on the planet? DACs, power supplies, the Digi01 pirate days... too much fun. Sensei AMB, Tangent, tomb, ctoole, nate, the Rickmonster...and a ton of others. Some of my best memories. I still have all those amps and some of the old boards laying around somewhere.

post #24 of 113

I actually have a bunch of stuff I'd love to post, but I can't because new users can't post URLs or images. =/

post #25 of 113

Did a joint build with VIXR a few years back,  We collaborated on a couple of boards for a Bruce Heran design, the HeadWatt.  I consider it one of my best amps.

Don't see that happening on this site.

 

Me

post #26 of 113

What is the most active forum for DIY builds?

 

I am about to start my first build (Starving Student) and it would be nice to be on one that is more active.

post #27 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by 93EXCivic View Post
 

What is the most active forum for DIY builds?

 

I am about to start my first build (Starving Student) and it would be nice to be on one that is more active.

 

Diyaudio dot com is active, though the peanut gallery is not always friendly to beginners (mostly jockeying to measure intellects, I think).  That said, if you have thick skin and patience, there's no better gathering of the great vacuum tube minds (IMO).

 

If you're on Reddit, /r/diytubes has grown into a nicely supportive atmosphere, though still small in relative terms (I'm one of the mods, full disclosure).  

post #28 of 113
Thread Starter 
I wanted to share an idea I had. With iPhone 7 wireless only, how about wireless input formats on amps?
post #29 of 113

I follow these sites:

 

http://www.amb dot org/forum/

http://www.diyaudio dot com/

http://diyaudioprojects dot com/

 

Me

post #30 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by 93EXCivic View Post

What is the most active forum for DIY builds?

I am about to start my first build (Starving Student) and it would be nice to be on one that is more active.

There is no other forum that is better for the Starving Student than right here on Head-Fi. It's where the Starving Student began. The threads are still here, just do a simple search ... or simply scroll down a bit ...
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