Originally Posted by FallenAngel
Originally Posted by tomb
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.
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