Back in the early days of amplified audio — not Atwater-Kent radio era but nearer to the beginnings of 33.3 rpm records and the like — there was Dynaco, Fisher Marantz, Fisher, and others. Eventually came various do it yourself (DIY) kits from the likes of Heathkit Electronics. Back then, part of the fun and a way to save some money was in actually making your very own audio kit from a collection of parts and (hopefully) a carefully written step-by-step book. It was easy to find various amplifiers and loudspeaker projects where simple tools and a soldering gun would allow you to build your very own audio equipment. This was a time of simplicity, without the relatively complex computer control, amplification and DAC chips we have today.
On another level there are those who seek to make their very own tweaks. Everything from foam, pennies, marbles, tennis balls and the like find newfound usage as ways to control resonances. Perhaps you desire more knowledge in getting more from your turntable, and so using various tools and Blu-Tac or the like to find what may best work for your system and meet your preferences. Generally our hopes are to enhance our musical bliss while, if things go not as we planned, they can be removed without any harm or damage. This last part is very important as not everything may go as planned, and so the ability to step backwards may be a very good thing. Professional designers may indeed have done hundreds of hours of work to wring out the most from their products no matter how well intentioned you the tweaker may be.
This issue, May 2008, of Enjoy the Music.com's Review Magazine is only a small collection of various tweaks and DIY projects we have online. There are quite a few more within this website if you take the time to look, including DIY tube crossovers, the legendary DIY LS3/5 loudspeakers and others. While not everyone has the time, or perhaps the electronic or mechanical inclination, to fully exploit the benefits of DIY, there is a joy in the learning. Beginners can learn new techniques and develop newfound knowledge of how amplifiers (as an example) work. As each new DIY project is tackled, you may be amazed at the differences between the sound of parts from various manufacturers. While a capacitor from Manufacturer A measure virtually the same as that from Manufacturer B, the way it changes the sound of the final product could be quite illuminating! This goes back to the point that professional audio manufacturers may have spent hundreds of hours mixing and matching various parts so that the sum may achieve more than the individual parts.
My hopes with this month's edition is to provide perhaps a small window into the the world of tweaking and DIY audio to those who have always been curious about this part of our hobby. Of note is that manufactures like Axiom Audio have provided a great article about simple room treatment tweaks. So yes, manufacturers do indeed take much time and effort to get the very best given their resources and various price points. The fun may indeed be in the discovery of trying various ways achieve more from your system. Or, simply put, the fun is in the discovery!