DYI Speakers. How good can they be?

Ive been doing alot of research into DYI audio. About 3-4 months ago i was getting kinda sick of my job and realized i dont want to do telecommunications my whole life. So what do i want to do? I love building things and i love Audio gear.

I recently went out and bought "Loudspeaker Cookbook", and "Designing Building & Testing your own Speaker System". I have recently ordered a book on electrostatic speakers and im looking at the local college for some physics, electronics, and mathematics courses. Im considering learning some metalurgy and taking some welding classes as well. It will be a while untill i can get all the tools i need, untill then i need to sharpen my most important tool for this task, my knowledge of speakers.

There is alot of complex stuff involved in these, but then again, my current job is extremly technical and complex. So i dont have any doubts of my ability to learn this stuff. It looks like ALOT of fun as well.

Im hoping that in 15 years or so i will be able to produce my own line of High-End speakers, but first i would like to complete at least 50 different speaker projects including electrostatic as well.I have been scouring the internet getting as many speaker recipes i can find, and i plan to build a speaker of every plan i can over the next 5 years or so. This will get my hands dirty and heelp me learn alot of the do's and dont's of speaker building before i start to design my own line of speakers.

Every now and then i think about Speakers from companys like Wilson, Vienna Accoustics, and such, and wonder if i could ever build something as refined.

Then i realised everyone who designs these things has to start at SOME point, and every line of speakers out there started as a DYI project.

I hope withint the next 10-15 years have a marketable product of my own design (of course) that will definatly have my personal sonic signature, and be something all of you will enjoy.

That being said, What are your experiences with DYI Audio? Have you ever run across a set of home-built speakers that put a good percentage of high-end speakers to shame? Im not looking for recipes, i'm just curious of anybodys experience with really well done homemade speakers.

I cant think of any job out there more satisfying than one that challenges you to think, requires you to use your hands, and shows significant progress or a finished product at the end of the day.
Hey Slapster- I dunno where you live, but NMSU has a great engineering program that has many scholorship's available through the generosity of Paul W. Klipsch and his widow Valerie (I think the engineering school is named after Paul). I'd bet your aspirations might have some pull there. Worth looking into perhaps if you were really going for the higher education route. Not that I think that is at all necessary. I know too many self-taught geniuses, both creative and technical to ever buy into the necessity of higher education as a means to getting someplace. Besides, once you've got that Nepal apprenticeship under you belt you can bank on being a shoe-in virtually anywhere in the High-end industry. How do you think a certain very distinguished member of our A'gon ranks just got his job? He'll never tell anyone but he spent six years working on perfecting the proper mixture of natural oils for the Perch project that you will be spearheading!

Seriously, cool beans on following your passions and pursuing your dreams. I'll be looking forward to following your progress here. Hey, if you haven't read it, pick up a copy of a book called, "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho. A wonderful little fable about following your dreams. It's a quick and easy read along the lines of "The Little Prince". I need to give it another read....I'm in need of a boost! It's a great step you've made just writing about your intentions here. Writing something down and sharing it with others is a POWERFUL gesture! Thanks for sharing...Good'on'ya mate! Can you see the little tear welling up in the corner of my eye!!!??

If you want to succeed, I would suggest a design which does not currently exist.
Like a floorstander designed to go up against the wall (Naim is the exception - Naim is always the exception and is one of the most highly regarded names in Hi-Fi in UK so I am told)).
I saw a 3-way with each driver mounted in an appropriately sized plastic plumbing tube. Drivers hung in space by only a thin metal frame. The designer's holy grail. $3,500 is a salesman holy grail :-).
I can't imagine you can go head to head with B&W, Monitor Audio, etc who put, what, $100,000 R&D into their $450 speakers. I just made my own single driver speaker because it is not commercialy available. That's the angle I think you need to succeed.
Good Luck!!!!!!!!!
Designing your own speakers involves:
- driver choices
- box design and woodworking
- crossover design and tuning

Each of these things is an art in and of itself. Trying to pull them all together without a huge amount of time, research, money and trial and error is a huge effort. Many speaker DIY'ers have been doing this for decades and still get it wrong occasionally.

Do yourself a favor and build a proven DIY design - there's many options discussed on the Madisound board, and other places. And YES, these designs can be far, far, far better then a retail speaker at the same price point. And with a little bit of extra tweaking (e.g. better quality caps, binding posts, damping material, etc.) they can be made even better still.

yeah, im definatly gonna make plenty of proven DYI designs, i think that would be a fantastic way to learn about what works and what doesent.

Ive been thinking of molding the cabinets, using only 2 pieces. Ive had some fun experimenting and modifying different molding compunds. I used to do some sculpting, i absolutly loved it but it kind of fell by the wayside in life. I made some stuff about 5-6 years ago that was very strong, very solid, and not -too- heavy. It felt alot like granite. I cant remember what all i used, it was some stuff thrown together for prop-building in a haunted house. I just got to remember exactly what all i put into it.
Either way, this might be a good way of going at it. It would be alot easier to avoid box shapes, which i kind of want to do.

Plus, once i find a design that works, i can stamp out models faster than i can buy the drivers and build the crossovers. im sure there will be 100 cast design failures for each sucess, but hey, i got time. :)

Fun fun stuff!:)