Are DIY electronic activities worth the effort?

Updated: 10-12-2017

Yes and sometimes no. If you only do it because you want to save money it may be better for you to look for a good offer on a ready-made product. But, you can make an audio system at a price significantly below that of a commercial product and often with a better sound.

Commercial products are made to make earnings. You can buy top quality audio amplifiers where the electronics inside were the primary focus of the engineer. Then you will normally pay a high price that covers both the expensive materials you get and a life of the engineer and seller.
As soon as the amplifiers are priced in the mainstream market more effort has been put in how to save on the components without you noticing it. This means saving on the quality of the power supply, decoupling capacitors, power filters, switches, connectors etc. All you won't notice right away so you still buy the product. If you buy a commercial product you will typically also pay for features you do not need.

This is why you can compete using DIY, if you disregard the nice series-fabricated casings. You will put the important focus on using the components that give the best sound and reliability.
The typical loss you have from DIY is the “wrapping” of the electronics in a casing. Often the most expensive part of a commercial electronic product is the nice casing around the electronics. You do hardly have the tools and experience to make such a fancy casing yourself. You can buy a nice casing for your electronics but then you loose an important advantage in costs.

With DIY you have two other advantages: you learn about how the circuits work and afterwards you have a much closer relationship with the result. As an example: you can buy even a rather expensive amplifier ready-made and it remains just another acquirement you soon see as just one more purchase. If you have made the amplifier yourself you will remember exactly how it is constructed and which compromises and tricks it includes. Your nice ready-made amplifier will be replaced in your memory by your DIY amplifier because it represents a challenge.

So, for most of us DIY electronics is worth the effort.

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