Recently, I attended the MAC (Midwest Audio Club) DIY (Do It Yourself) event in Ankeny, Iowa. These events run across the Midwest, by the way.
A Little About MAC
The Midwest Audio Club focuses on audio DIY (do it yourself) events and news. People build speakers and other audio gear.
However, at the event I attended, the DIY pieces all happened to be speakers. And, in fact, while I’ve met people who DIY other gear, speakers seem to be the most popular item to DIY.
Why Do People Like to Build Speakers?
I think that people enjoy building speakers because there can be a woodworking aspect to it, as well as a mathematical one. You can use different woods and finishes. You can build them with different dimensions, as well. Some people enjoy the electronics, building their own crossovers, for example. Some people even build their own drivers, although most people buy these.
By building your own, you learn something. You can build something that’s specific to your own room, that doesn’t need room treatments to give it its ultimate sound, and you can build what sounds good to you, personally.
Not Because It’s Cheaper
When you look at the cost of materials for building speakers, you can often do it more cheaply than buying fancy commercial speakers. If you leave out paying for your own time to do it, that is. If you were to pay yourself, it wouldn’t cost less. However, some of the drivers and other bits that go into speakers aren’t that cheap. Sometimes, it isn’t actually cheaper to DIY.
Once, again, though, it can be a learning experience and fulfilling. It’s not really about trying to compete with the big companies but to build something custom for your own personal use.
Back to the Ankeny Event
Anyway, I attended the Ankeny event. I didn’t count the speaker pairs but we probably listened to around twenty pairs of speakers.
So, they start with some standard pieces of music that are played on every speaker pair. This is done to specifically stretch the speakers in various ways. In addition, the audience can compare how these standard pieces sound from speaker-to-speaker.
Next, each speaker builder picks a few pieces of music they want the audience to hear played that complement their speakers.
What Do You Think?
At this point, are you think, hey, sitting all day long without moving much and being quiet listening to basically the same stuff over-and-over, speaker-to-speaker – that sounds like the kiss of death! That sounds like the most boring thing that could happen to me. I’d rather jump into a pit of angry vipers than do that!!
If that’s what you’re thinking, right about now, then I’d suggest this isn’t the event for you. But if you’re instead thinking that this sounds truly awesome – like the best way ever to compare all the equipment and what a good idea this is – you should definitely come to the next one. 🙂
By the way you’re not required to be a builder to attend – you can just be an interested audience member as I was.