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Pro Audio’s Lost Art: DIY

George Petersen • Editor's NoteOctober 2021 • October 11, 2021

Once upon a time — back in the ‘60s and 70’s, before most of you were born — things were tough. No, this isn’t a rant about the days when we had to lug stuff from the street to a sixth-story ballroom, where the gear had to be carried upstairs both ways, (for the load-in and the load-out), in the snow while barefoot.

You see, in that once-upon-a-time, you either couldn’t afford some piece of gear, or it simply didn’t exist. If you needed a 16-channel mic splitter, someone in your shop would fabricate a chassis, break out some XLR hole punches and a pop riveter, order a pile of transformers and XLRs and set about wiring and soldering the thing together. A few companies were even brave enough to design and build their own consoles, but these were few and far between. Far more common fabrication projects were things like custom connection panels for amp racks, and in-house AC distro systems.

The rise of digital technology has put the skids on DIY audio gear. I have yet to see a home-brew digital console or digital multieffects box, but one genre where live sound DIY lives on is speaker designs — especially in stage wedges and subwoofers, but occasionally also main P.A. systems.

In my early days, I learned a lot about understanding Thiele-Small transducer parameters by building speakers from Electro-Voice DIY plans. So this month, I was pleased to see David K. Kennedy examine a DIY large-format speaker project from B&C Speakers on page 32. Check it out!

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