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custom versus branded speakers

Wharfedale Diamond 11 Series

krishnamurthy

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I came across couple of custom developers of speakers (FS with 8-10 inch drivers) and SUBS (12-15 inch drivers) in Bangalore. I have met both of them and they seem knowledgeable. I have to audition both of them but they were very forthcoming and quite interested to show their wares.

Is it a good idea to go custom? What are the pitfalls?

Any good recommendations for custom folks in B'lore?
 

Audio_Freek

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Hello Krish,

If you are satisfied with the product they ready to supply,then No one could give comment. But I shall give my suggestion on why I stay away from the Custom products.

1. The Warranty they offer might not be trust able, In some cases the warranty is void Once you step out from the Store.
2. Resale Value, I bet though a Custom product sounds and amazes you its not easy to sell them once its been used.
3.Getting the Right pair is difficult in case you Plan for Upgrade.
4. This might be silly but this is true, When we custom speakers out Profile would look Low in the surroundings :-(.
 

spirovious

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If Custom speakers can make you happy with preferred sound quality and VFM factor,why not?After all the final sound which matters.If after sales service and warranty is good,certainly one can think of it.
 

Sumanta

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I had been served well by a custom builder in Kolkata. Me and my parents are quite happy since then by our terms of expectations against expenses.

You need to read, listen and research a bit on existing branded product to take the call.
Anything out for resale will have lower depreciation if first hand price was lower.

I myself would prefer attitude to make good things a must ruler to guage than the size of the maker's shop.
 

navin advani

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Krishna Murthy,

It all depends on what you are paying and what you are getting. About 2 years ago I built my last 2 sets of custom speakers (designed by Rick Craig but based on my needs, inputs, and room dimensions). I have posted pictures of these of this forum before if you are interested. That said....

Custom speaker guy can match the veneer of the speaker to your room

Custom speaker guy can tailor bass response to your room and overall sound signature to your taste

Custom speaker guy can even give you model numbers of all drivers used so you can source replacements if need be.


Commercial speaker is usually backed by a larger company (but I have seen even the biggest of speaker companies unable to repair their speakers).

Commercial speaker can be manufactured with materials (damped-aluminium and/or non-resonant-plastic bodies etc..) that are not available to low volume custom speaker manufacturer

Commercial speaker has economy of scale (much of which is negated by marketing costs) and has access to custom drivers not available to custom speaker manufacturer or yourself (if you need to replace the same later).

If you don't like the end product in a custom speaker the best you can do is ask custom speaker guy for a re-design and hope. A commercial speaker can be returned to dealer and another model chosen with little effort.
 

krishnamurthy

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The branded speakers have smaller drivers (5-6.5 inches) unless you go into very premium range. Doesn't it give less full sound compared to a custom one with bigger drivers?
 

SoundCraft

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The branded speakers have smaller drivers (5-6.5 inches) unless you go into very premium range. Doesn't it give less full sound compared to a custom one with bigger drivers?
I usually don't comment as it may lead to lot of.........................,but I had to.

This is the most common mistake or misconception that most folks have,If you really go with the best designed speaker then the so-called puny (6" or less) can give the big one's run for their money !!

Without going into too much deep,I recommend you to listen to one of the creations of a DIY Guru in Bangalore, even after you listening to it are not convinced then we can have a detailed discussion here !

PM me if you are interested and want the contact detail.
 

Srinath_seshadri

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I have found speakers made by custom cabinet makers look better, last longer and be a lot more multi use, like I have speakers that also are end tables etc, than off the shelf items.
However they dont sound any better compared to mass produced speakers wit hthe same drivers /XO's.

Like I have pulled drivers out of mass produced speakers and put em in custom cabinets. But that's for looks/durability etc than for sound.

Thanks.
Srinath.
 

Audio_Freek

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Size of the Speakers are never a Matter. I would well designed 4 Inch driver can give a run to a normal 10inch Drivers. In fact i have experienced with them.

Designing is really a Art and science from the commercial perspective on other hand its just a Art and Less of Science ( when i say Science its research) for Custom made.

If you consider the Market, the Companies could spend good money on the research and have equipment to test and fine tune the output. But when you come to the Custom made, they might not have the well set tools to achieve the exact result.

But ,I have seen few DIY's who spend Years of study and experiment to make a Speakers which sound to what they expected\wished too.

So If custom makers are really talented and can achieve things without the much leaning on technology then ,Yes Custom are best. But i Wonder whether all of the same type since even they try focus on the Market ad Business.
 

thampi

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a branded speaker undergoes inumerable tests with the most modern equipments before its official release. thats how we get the frequency response of that speaker.
 

krishnamurthy

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I did audition a custom speaker (FS and bookshelf) earlier in the day and the bigger the driver, better sounding myth did not carry the weight i had hoped it would. I did listen to 5.5 inch and 6.5 inch driver speakers (the Towers did not even have the mid-range drivers either) and these are as good sounding as any bigger driver set you can lay your hands on.
 

Audio_Freek

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Hi Krishna,

Were the FS and BS were driven by the same Source and AMP?.FS normally have atleast 2 Drivers and one tweeter and BS are with One Driver and Tweeter. So when an amp is playing the Speakers of BS\FS there would be difference in power Supply.

In case the Drivers which are in FS are Fullrnage and disappointed you then Its really Bad.
 

SoundCraft

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So when an amp is playing the Speakers of BS\FS there would be difference in power Supply.
Can you elaborate on this ??

In case the Drivers which are in FS are Fullrnage and disappointed you then Its really Bad.
Well Am not sure that is what he's saying,what he's trying to say is that "its not necessary to have bigger driver to get big sound" and the driver in the FS is not Fullrange,its a two-way tower with 6.5" midbass and a 1" dome tweeter. at least that's what he has mentioned,What he's saying is that the Tower doesn't have the midrange driver (i,e not a 3way).

Am waiting for a detailed writeup of the Audition session,so when he does perhaps things will clear up.
 

krishnamurthy

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This DIY enthusiast had no mid-range driver in his FS setup and it handled all the relevant frequencies very well, detailing was very precise. I looked at "Hotel California" for an audio track and several other tracks and car/bike chase scene from Batman (joker's last film) and the ears did not fatigue at 40% volume dials which in itself was so much powerful. He had setup FS for the surrounds as well and it was mind blowing. All he had was a 5.5 inch and 1 inch driver for mid-bass and tweeter.
The bookshelf and FS were driven by the same amp (sony i think, forgot to ask the model) for the musical test and he had a separate setup of FS for the movie sequences.
I would have liked to see the fabulous foot chase from "Casino Royale" but forgot to ask.
Any Bourne series high voltage sequence would be an apt fit to test the speakers.
 

Shivam

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I find custom made speakers better than the equally costing branded speakers. Most of the custom made speakers that I have come across are designs perfected by others or minor variations of those designs, with high quality drivers and other components.
 

Audio_Freek

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Can you elaborate on this ??
FS normally are 3 way designs with Woofer+Midrange and tweeter hence they load amp with 4 Ohms in case the speakers are in 8 Ohms, So the More power is required to push the speakers to get Loud.

But where as the 2 way or Book shelf speakers its Two way design and they would be run Loud with Nominal volume.

Eg, You try connect the FS and BS in same amp A+B and try listening the sound from BS would be good until you crank the volume and FS might not impress with at Normal volume level compared to BS.
 

SoundCraft

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Before I start I wish to clarify that I don't intend to hijack this thread or to start any sort of argument.


FS normally are 3 way designs with Woofer+Midrange and tweeter hence they load amp with 4 Ohms in case the speakers are in 8 Ohms, So the More power is required to push the speakers to get Loud.
Well its not always that a tower will be a three way just like its not always that a BS will be two way ! There are tonnes of such examples.Also there are umpteen towers with 2.5way configuration,so making generic assumption is not right.

Even if the tower is a 3way then impedance of the woofer is the only thing directly loaded to the Amp as the midrange and tweeter both are connected via respective caps and its impedance (that of the Capacitor) is so high that its not reflected ! refer to the schematic below.




The Loudness of the speakers depends on the sensitivity of the drivers individually and total inbox (that is the sensitivity of the overall speaker) and nothing to do with the FS or BS or two or three way etc. For Example a 85dB BS will need 3 times more power to output the same decibel level as a FS with 88dB sensitivity and vice-versa.

But where as the 2 way or Book shelf speakers its Two way design and they would be run Loud with Nominal volume.

Eg, You try connect the FS and BS in same amp A+B and try listening the sound from BS would be good until you crank the volume and FS might not impress with at Normal volume level compared to BS.
With the above example I guess its already proved that what you say is not true.

If you need to experience then suggest you too visit the same place as the OP !!

As said in the beginning this is to just state facts and nothing more,so hope its kept that way.

Also if you wish discuss more then its better to open a new thread as I don't want to or intended to disturb this thread any further.
 
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