Stuck at home? Make a kit!!

Hey all,

If you’ve been in audio for any length of time you might have talked shop about speakers, or amps, or tubes quite a bit. Maybe cables. If you are going to be quarantined, or socially isolating or just really don’t like other people (something I respect) maybe now is time to try a kit.

Lots of Pass fans here, so why not try a First Watt amp kit? Maybe build your own passive line stage?

How about pure silver interconnects? A speaker with a Be tweeter? How about a small coaxial speaker for the surrounds, or just to tinker? Desktop full range?

Build your own music streamer for Roon with a Raspberri Pi?

Got kids at home you need project ideas for? Just keep the solder fumes out of their faces, and use lead free. :)


Here we go again with the diy

I don’t know if you noticed, but my last thread on this was pretty popular.

Also, you know what DIY audiophiles are? Builders. People who have learned and have first hand knowledge of the building experience. We need more of that. More DIYers = more trustworthy sources of knowledge.

Lastly, the entire Audiophile movement wasn't created buy sit at home buyers. It is, inherently and in it's bones a DIY movement.
@erik_squires , I actually appreciate your consistent recommendation to build a speaker kit!   I’ve been on the fence for awhile and need the “push” to actually ever do it.

I was recently researching speaker kits (again) and came across Meniscus audio.  On the more expensive side, the Kairos speaker kit and the Carrera speaker Kit both caught my attention.  On the less expensive side, the Mandolin speaker kit looked interesting.  I know you recommend the Seas A26 quite a bit too.  Not quite sure which one to eventually try, but these all look nice!

You have done enough threads / mentioned it numerous times and I am sure if they are interested in doing a project they will.

not everyone is interested in doing this or yet alone has the time due to work, family or other every day life adventures.

i would like to make some different power cords as I need ones that are 10-12 ft long and by the time I look at diy or buying , it’s cheaper to buy one that can be made by someone else.     
Building kits is fun. If I were not baby sitting my grand kids I would be building a new pair of sub woofers.
I actually appreciate your consistent recommendation to build a speaker kit!   I’ve been on the fence for awhile and need the “push” to actually ever do it. 

You want to build a speaker, the place to start is build some subs. With speakers you may or may not be happy. Build a swarm though and I can guarantee you will be not happy, but ecstatic. Also unlike with speakers you will never outgrow it. Want more bass? Just build more! Seriously. Read the threads. Swarm. Distributed bass array. DYODD. 

Mine were well under $3k, and that is all-in, including amps and premium Rosewood veneer.  The quality of the bass, not just volume and extension but speed and 3D imaging, is true state of the art. You simply cannot achieve this level of performance DIY with anything else. Look at my system. I know what I'm talking about. Because I've actually done it.
Unless you're retired, being "stuck at home" means either working from home, trying to balance working from home with e-learning for your kids, or you've now lost your job due to the associated economic downturn. Fortunately I'm working from home but certainly have less time than ever to build a kit.
“Look at my system. I know what I’m talking about. Because I’ve actually done it.”

This guy doesn’t get tired of boasting....could it be that he’s stuck in a time loop? 😎
I agree with Eric that there is enormous satisfaction in DIY audio. My second pair of speakers used the drivers and crossover from a kit that KEF offered back in the late 1970’s, and performance-wise they killed my first pair of store-bought, magazine-reviewed speakers at a small fraction of the out-of-pocket cost. 

If I were building a kit today, I’d find SOME way to inject my own creativity, for better or for worse. It would just mean more to me if my "fingerprints" were on some aspect. Maybe I’d substitute boutique capacitors for the stock ones. Maybe I’d do some contrained-layer-damping of the enclosure walls. Maybe I’d nudge the port tuning this way or that, depending on my room acoustics.

But there is a dark side to all of this: That first speaker build was my "gateway drug". It took several decades of addiction for the day to come when I took to hard look in the mirror and faced the awful truth: I needed to either join a twelve-step program... or become a manufacturer.

It’s a slippery slope.

Ha! audiokinesis, diy could be a gateway drug, that’s so true!
I started with speakers as a teen and now design and build amplifiers....
My message here is:

"The more of you who actually build things, the more informed the opinions of the community become."

But kudos to those of you who read my every post and save them for use later. It is a level of enjoyment knowing my words are forever ingrained in your memories.
Thanks for the forums.

I DIY all the time, and I love it. When I was working (seemed like 24/7)
I still found time.  The neighbors and their kids would stop by with their BOOM BOOMS and we have a bit of fun.  It is one of the most satisfying thing I've ever done. I love working with wood. After smelling 90 weight gear oil and starting fluid all day... Wood ahhhhhhh.  Me the dog and the shop. Got some nice SATs going right now. 32" x 12" x 12". 8" MB coupler columns, 4 to start, one on top of the other, one foot off the floor, one foot from the ceiling, the space in between varies on ceiling height..

SATs Stack and Test, modular design...

The model worked great as a single center coupler, and integrated well with a servo bass system that I'm trying to get right for me. It was DIY also...just someone else was nice enough to do the tough part at GR, cut and fit the boards...

Thanks again, great stuff, Yea Pass is the bomb for sure.. great, great stuff...Have a B5 Alfa/Beta project in the parts collection stage too, looks very promising. 

lalitk1,682 posts03-17-2020 4:11pm“Look at my system. I know what I’m talking about. Because I’ve actually done it.”

This guy doesn’t get tired of boasting....could it be that he’s stuck in a time loop? 😎

You know my grandmother use to say "Smile, to show pride", "Can't smile while your talkin'".  Pride is a good thing, haughtiness, well you can't smile, but you can TYPE and smile, ay? Maybe that it..

Nice system, I'm sure, though..

You message well received.  Please take a moment to read some of his posts and you can draw your own conclusion if it is pride or sheer arrogance. 

To add to the posts of mc and Duke, make a GR Research sub or four. Rythmik sells the F12G as a factory finished model, and GRR sells it as a DIY kit. The kit includes the Rythmik A370 plate amp and a 12" woofer, which are used together in a servo-feedback system.

The Rythmik F12 has a 1.5cu.ft. enclosure, but the woofer may be used in an enclosure of up to 2cu.ft, which provides slightly higher output. Build the enclosure in any proportions you desire, and finish any way you like. Building it yourself, you can brace the h*ll out of it (take a look at how Jim Salk braces the enclosure he makes for the F12), and even use two layers of MDF or Baltic Birch ply (better yet, one of each), with constrained-later damping between the two. Dead as a doornail!

If you aren't interested in building an enclosure, Parts Express sells some real good sub enclosures as knock-down flat packs, very easy to assemble, wood glue and a few clamps (or even masking tape) the only tools required.

Got kids at home you need project ideas for? Just keep the solder fumes out of their faces, and use lead free. :)
No kid at home? Make one! No tools required. :)
 Been building various equipment since I was in high school. The thing to be careful of is the idea that what you built is some of the best out there. "Hey everybody, look at what I did". True enough, I see those who are incredibly talented, and to them I tip my hat. Some of what I have made over the decades is great, but was always someone else's design. Even at that, not all of it was what I had hoped. Just like the store bought stuff. OTOH, I wouldn't even try to build something too far out of my league. Somebody wants a good DAC, don't look at me. Speakers... I have a much better chance of hitting the mark as far as construction. I usually go with DIY because of the quality, real quality, has a pretty high price most of the time.
The thing to be careful of is the idea that what you built is some of the best out there.

True, but on the other hand, you will never learn as much by buying as you do building, and the value of experience is priceless, even if you do make a frog and end up giving to your kids. :)

On the other hand.....

We know the price of many hi-fi products is a direct result of the cost of the parts used to make them. They are built to a price point, compromises made to reach a target retail price. Rythmik designer/owner Brian Ding freely admits that he builds his F15HP subwoofer with a 3cu.ft enclosure to keep shipping costs reasonable, though the sub’s plate amp and woofer can have their output increased by installing the kit version into a 4cu.ft. enclosure.

If you buy the kit and make your own box (or have it built by a cabinet maker locally), you can make the enclosure not only 4cu.ft., but also double-walled (two layers of MDF or Baltic Birch, or even better one of each) with constrained layer damping (such as ASC Wall Damp) between them, and braced like Jim Salk does in his Rythmik/Salk subs. An F15HP so built easily outperforms the factory-built F15 (which has a China-sourced average-build quality box), and costs less.

In one of his GR Research Tech Talk Tuesday videos (viewable on You Tube), Danny Richie discusses the subject of the value of his DIY loudspeaker kits, comparing the quality of the parts (drivers, x/o parts, wiring, not to mention the designs themselves) in the kit with those in similarly-priced commercial loudspeakers. If you can be bothered to search for the video, you'll be very glad you did.

I've soldered Dynakit boards together, scratched out SWTP amps from parts and cookbooked speakers from mdf.
Thanx anyway, history. I hope I can fix my Otari.
I have to ask - Why? - when the title of the thread has "Make a Kit" in it, would the first response be...

"Here we go again with the DIY"

Of course it’s DIY - it’s in the title of the thread.

So for DIYers - or those thinking about DIY - can elect to look at it


Those NOT interested in DIY can elect NOT to look at it.

Pretty simple really :-)

BTW - I'm with all the other DIY'ers - if it wasn’t apparent :-)

Just sayin...
My local audio club had a virtual meeting a week ago on Zoom with Nelson Pass. He said that without question the happiest audiophiles he knows are DIYers. That was not said to sell kits as he was talking about all types of audio DIY.

I'm game to try. Anyone know of a truly great DIY phono stage kit?
Big fan of DIY. Particularly speakers. Bang for the buck is stunning. 
After building a set of GR-Research NX-Oticas and servo OB subs, I’m a huge fan of Danny’s designs  

I also think basic DIY cables make a lot of sense, meaning using high quality bulk cable and connectors. I’m not as much of a fan of using querky cable geometries or trying to braid my own cables. 
I’m currently working on building my own mono block amps with a design derived from Firstwatt’s F5. I don’t think there is as much price-performance advantage building electronics but there is satisfaction and an ability to optimize the design to exactly meet your needs. 
DIY is great, I started a long time ago because I didn’t trust Hi-Fi marketing BS so I thought I’d learn and make my own decisions. I think kits are the best jumping in point to learning as at least you’ll end up with something decent in the end.
Speakers: Seas & Zaph|Audio. Madisound are popular on your side of the Atlantic, I get drivers from Falcon Acoustics in the UK.
Amplifiers: Check out Neurochrome, very well regarded in the DIY world and obviously Nelson Pass.
Oh and an account at is a must because you’ll get stuck at some point and it’s the best place to get help, even more so if you get into developing your own designs.
For those who like making stuff and have the time and patience I can’t recommend DIY enough... my personal recommendation for VFM is the Seas A26 kit with Neurochrome Modulus Amplifiers.
 I lost trust in some of the speaker manufacturers. It happened when I was majorly ripped off in high school for a pair of JohnZer speakers. Let me say this though. Had it not been for that disappointment in my young life, I would probably have never looked into DIY for speakers. I have been at it for decades now, and am as equally fascinated by new/old designs, new products, and of course, the end result often being something to love. I don't own a set of speakers usually for more than a few years before 'what if' turns up, and off I go in another direction just to experience it.
 The last two decades, I have ventured into electronics, and pretty much the same thing has happened, some of what I build turns out incredibly. And yah, sometimes it doesn't, and I learn from that too.
 I wouldn't trade this experience for simply buying the latest new equipment off the shelf. Yes, I tried that a few times, but it can be a costly chance.
I agree with williewonka. Don't read the thread if it bothers you. Why take it out on others who may want to read the posts in this thread?