I found this interesting and somewhat relevant. From the PE website
Personal Commentary on the State of DIY Speakerbuilding
Part 2 – My thoughts on the current state of the art of DIY speaker building.
While it’s true that Arnie Nudell began Infinity in his garage, this does not represent what DIY speaker building was really all about at that time. When I began my interest in this hobby it was 1979 and I was in college. At the time most speaker builders were like me – we went to Radio Shack and picked up drivers (8” woofer, 50Watts, 20Oz magnets – that’s it for specs), put them in a box with little understanding of tuning, and used first order crossovers, sometime only tweeters. I guess there are quite a few commercial speakers made the same way today, but I digress….
In the first couple of years my curiosity led me to discover AES journals in the library and I began to learn more about speaker design from the experts. Needless to say much of it was way over my head, but I was still able to learn about alignments and pick up some formulas and began to discover that some drivers came with T/S parameters that would tell me what box to put them in. What a leap in my understanding!
In the 80’s I built speakers using a calculator and notepad. My crossovers were beginning to use Zobels and things like that, and I was probably moving into the upper levels of the DIYer world at the time just by doing so. Commercial products however, were light years ahead. They were measuring frequency response and impedance and designing complex crossovers that most of us in the hobby didn’t even understand. There was a huge chasm between what they could do and the average DIYer hobbyist. The birth of Speaker Builder magazine in the 1980 helped a lot, but we were still far behind the pro’s.
As the 90’s rolled in this changed slowly with the creation of on-line bulletin boards and email lists, like the old Bass List. Madisound had a bulletin board you reach via modem. Then in the late 90’s the internet began to open the door and Madisound’s discussion forum became the haven for discussion. I discovered it in 1997 and quickly settled in. I have been Jeff B. ever since. This was where I connected with people like Paul V., John k, dlr, PEB, Rick Craig, Ron E, Andy G, and many others. It was working with Paul V and John K that I began to create my spreadsheets. These weren’t built in a vacuum, there was a huge exchange of knowledge taking place. I have hundreds of emails from discussions that went off-board as we worked together on tools for designing. Pretty much everything I learned of VBA I learned from Paul, and John taught me math that went well beyond my schooling, but I’ve always been able to pick things up and run with them.
Some well-known names would frequent the board. One of those was Siegfried Linkwitz. I still have a post of his that I copied off in the early 2000’s where he posted an encouragement to the community that we DIYers had the means to surpass what was commercially available because we were not forced to compromise in the way a commercial design needed to. I was inspired by what he wrote and decided to push even harder for more understanding. If Linkwitz thought we could do it, then I wanted to do it. It was during this time that I began to create Passive crossover Designer, as Paul and John, and others also began to create design tools that would all work together. The FRD Consortium was born. The Consortium was Paul’s idea and he hosted. FRD’s by the way were file format from LAUD by Bill Waslo, who just happens to be one of us.
Now, let’s leap frog to 2012. Attending gatherings like the InDIYana gathering in Fort Wayne or the MWAF in Dayton reveals the current state of the art in DIY speaker building, and it reveals that this state is quite high. In the early gatherings I attended there were a handful of impressively nice speakers, but there were also some speakers that, well, I wouldn’t be able to brag about much. But now, this is no longer the case. Sure, there are imperfect speakers, but it is rare now to get any multiway loudspeaker that doesn’t have reasonably flat response and isn’t based on a decent design philosophy. Then when you look at the craftsmanship…. Wow! It is amazing what these guys can do. The fact is, for a small investment, tools like OmniMic and DATS give the DIYer a very easy way to measure almost anything you would ever need to measure to design a good set of speakers. There are other tools available that help to design crossovers and predict speaker behavior like diffraction and polar response even before you build. When you couple this with uncompromising design and craftsmanship you quickly realize that we have reached that point where the DIYer (any DIYer who really wants to) can meet or exceed the performance of almost any commercial product available today.
Twenty years ago very few of us could make the measurements or use them like a speaker company could, but that is no longer the case, today we can do almost exactly the same things (believe it or not I have been contacted by several professional engineers asking for permission to use my design tools on their jobs). And because of this we have reached the point where Siegfried’s statement enters in – we can do this and not compromise anything if we don’t want to. For a one-off-speaker for ourselves we can choose drivers, crossover components, and cabinet construction that mass producers just can’t do unless they want to sell for Wilson Audio prices. Take Dan N’s Echelons, for example, what would a commercial version of that speaker be priced at? $20,000? More?
I came away from the MWAF convinced that we are there. We have, as a community, not just as a couple of individuals, reached the point where we can build at a level of performance comparable or exceeding that of the finest commercial offerings. You can quote me on that – I won’t take it back. I saw and heard too many excellent examples of what I am referring to as proof for my statement. This is the current state of the art of DIY speaker building, and it is state of the art.
I want to close by calling out a couple of designs that really impressed me in one way or another. First, this was the second time I listened to Dan’s Echelons – without a doubt one of the best sounding speakers I have ever heard in my life. It is certainly on the same plane or higher as the Salk Soundscapes or Archos, two speakers that I was involved with personally. 6th Planet’s open baffle design was beautiful, very creative, and sounded very nice. One of the highest scorers on my list was Tom Zarbo’s curved Cellos. I was disappointed that they didn’t win something because they were one of the best sounding and best looking speakers of the day in my opinion. This just shows how high the bar has been raised. Dave Pellegrene’s Dragsters show what kind of creativity exists in the group. And Wolf's designs are always impeccably voiced.
There were many more designs that were excellent, but it’s impossible to comment on all of them. I can only say that I am impressed, and I am humbled by the level of skill I see demonstrated which is some ways is well beyond my own. I am thus honored to be included in this group of hobbyists.