Forced to DIY

Sometimes we don't want to DIY things, but we are forced to.

After living in this house for 2 years I was finally ready to get a plumber to deal with the leaky kitchen faucet.  Turns out all the plumbers in the area are backed up from January's cold snap which broke many pipes and put them behind.  I literally can't get a plumber.

I may not be rich enough to buy D'Agostino or Boulder but I sure as hell can hire a plumber.  If I could find one.  So instead of hiring a plumber, and swiping my credit card I have to do it all myself.  New strap wrench, 2 valve kits from Moen even if the faucet literally says Kohler on it, and an hour later I have a faucet that doesn't leak.

Right now my integrated is causing me some issues.  I am honestly tired and I'd rather pay to fix it, but the effort to find a qualified tech and package and ship the amp is so much more work than I would need to fix it myself that yet again, I'm DIYing it.

Mind you in a lot of ways I like doing DIY projects, but the plumbing and this particulare issue are not really that. 

How about you?  Have you found yourself driven to DIY at home or in your stereo because the alternative was just not feasible?


During my working career I hired out almost everything purely because of a lack of time. Now that I’m retired it’s completely different. I actually don’t mind letting professionals do the work when they demonstrate a high level of expertise. I hate having to come back and rework something because it was rushed through in a half ass manner. But to answer your question- if it’s within my understanding I usually DIY!

haven't hired a plumber in 5 years. Learned to fix everything myself. With their quotes of $350+ an hour, it was the best thing to learn lately

Can't imagine wasting money on a plumber when so many fixes are very basic things and quite easy.

Most of my Audio DIY are cable related as I like neat custom length installs on my systems.  But I have opened up electronics and done multiple repairs or occasional mods as well.

I would not trust most repair places these days and I would never ship my gear-would end up with more problems than I started with I fear.

So what is your concern with replacing that IEC? 

With their quotes of $350+ an hour, it was the best thing to learn lately


This is also an issue.  I redid almost all of  the breakers, most of the outlets and switches in this house, and installed new fixtures, etc. and in that case money was definitely an issue.  DIYing it let me do it a a small part at a time. 

In my long life I have tried to escape DIY many times, almost always with disappointment.  I did find a good tile guy.  the flooring company was extremely disappointing.  I've never found anyone to do work on my cars that was satisfactory.  Many times I paid to have work done, brought it home, and then fixed the problems they left myself. I decided to skip the part where I paid them to "fix it".  I may be one of the few around that does their own maintenance on a new Audi.  

I did take care of an electrical problem a couple of weeks ago with a bathroom light that took me an hour and a half to fix a thermal overload in a can light.  Afterwards I figured I'd saved $300 to $500 vs calling an electrician.

I can repair a flat tire and reinstall it much quicker than it takes to drive to the tire shop and wait for them to fix it.  they will fix it for free but time isn't free. 

As for working on audio components, saving the round trip shipping or long driving trip with the post 2020 $7 gas makes it useful to just do it myself.  

So I guess I'm not trying to escape DIY.  I'm just very happy to be as self sufficient as possible.


@erik_squires I start to get fidgety when I don't have a DIY project on the go. Not able to fix my own amps but I love working with my hands on building projects.  With my stereo I've built isolation stands for a number of speakers and equipment.  Built some speaker cables. Build a cabinet to house all my vinyl and right now I'm planning a new 3 shelf equipment rack.  I've considered building one last house so I can have some really big jobs to keep me busy.  A new dedicated entertainment room is high on the list.  It's a sickness. 🤣

I am probably going to start kneading too, the bakery nearby sells chocolate croissants for $12. USD. (There is no airport terminal or amusement park around it) Plain croissant is $7.20. How good can they be?


I have been baking since I was 6, every week. I just haven't done croissants more than 3 times in my life, takes a bit longer. But not 12 dollars longer :)

Six kids and one modest income equals plenty of DIY around here - house, car, stereo, appliances, furnishings, name it.  I’ve done so much DIY for so long, it’s seems strange to hire someone while I stand there and watch while they fix my stuff. 🙄😉  Garage door springs can get you killed, so I tend to shy away from those, but anything else that I can fix, I do.  A large portion of my sound system is DIY or modified.  Turns out its good to know how your stuff works. 😎


Hiring a plumber is admitting ignorance. One company I worked for got picketed by the plumbers union. Guess they had nothing better to do. 




Been doing DIY my whole life, much of it just to save money. And I have saved money, lots. But, once in a while, my lack of experience in a certain area or other of doing so, bites me in the ass.

But, I learned a lot, and I have system I am very proud of, and enjoy every day without fail.

Sorry, I've got to get busy I just this morning received a Hypex DIY UCD 400 stereo amp kit I have to assemble. My 3C24 amp is going in for some work, so I thought I'd try a Hypex on for size while I'm waiting for my 3C24 amp to come back.

Regards, later,


Being an ME vs EE I stay away from complex electrical repairs, but had to replace 3 or 4 push button on/off switches on a CJ MV-75 amplifier. It was pretty simple, even if soldering multiple wires to a terminal got involved a few times.

Considering the cost of mailing that hunk of metal off and waiting, waiting for it’s return more than made up for the hassle.

I do almost all my own repair work around the house and in the yard, including stereo, guitars, and amps. In the process I've built up a pretty good collection of tools and the skills to use them. And in those cases where something is either above my skill set or beyond my physical ability, I have a pretty good idea of what's actually involved and what it should cost. Case in point, the 6-year old LG washer in our Hawaii vacation rental house recently packed in the drain pump.

Being an LG, it diagnosed itself, and parts were readily available from Sears or Amazon. But, it is a front loader in a stack, and my days of being able to deadlift large appliances are long gone. So we decided to replace the unit and sell the repaired old one. Replacement was no issue, just two strong guys with the right straps to lift and separate, swap in the new unit, and restack. About 45 minutes total. I called Sears Appliance repair to do the pump swap, just in case there were other problems, like a solenoid valve (possible) or controller board (unlikely). I figured about $20 for the labor and the part was on Sears website for $41.30. the price quote I got was over $300 in labor and almost $150 for the pump. Showing them the part on their own website for a fraction of their price didn't matter, they were going to charge what ever they wanted, couldn't guarantee they delivery time, wouldn't warranty parts they didn't sel. blah, blah, blah. So I got the part from Amazon Prime for $35, delivered to Hawaii in the usual 6 days, got the replacement instructions from the University of YouTube, and now a very happy woman has her first washing machine in Hawaii. 

I also have a Fishman Artist Acoustic Guitar amp with a noisy mic input. In this case finding a repair shop was near impossible, so I'm taking it upon myself to fix it. Sure enough, YouTube has a video for fixing that exact problem in the same channel. Soldering iron on standby, awaiting the part.

My APT Holman preamp upgrade? Nah, let a pro do that.

So, yeah, DIY if you can, outsource it if you can't.


In the past, we have gutted and renovated houses three times and you just learn how to do things. That being said, I always shied away from plumbing. 

There was always just to much to lose if I screwed up somehow.

Recently I have fixed my kitchen faucet, both bathroom faucets and I am now looking into fixing a leaky diverter valve in my shower.

Like most things. Research is the key. Lots of research.

If you trust yourself, go for it, but if you get in over your head, stop immediately.

DIY on things you don’t know anything about can wear you out in short order. Now I’m a DIY person to an extreme. I built our home including the carpentry, electric, plumbing and most of of the HVAC. I also do all my home maintenance work except I’ve learned the hard way I can’t fix appliances and try to avoid most auto repair.

The thing that wore me out the most though, was trying to keep my beloved old Bang and Olufsen Beogram 4002 linear tracking turntable running. Nobody locally could repair it properly, and I knew nothing about electronics or stereo equipment repair. I even went so far as purchasing a second Beogram 4002 for parts.

As the frequency of needing repairs increased with age, finally the last time it broke down no amount of research and DIY fixing could resuscitate the turntable, I was in despair. Each previous repair had been agonizing mostly due to trying to figure out what needed to be done each time. At last I finally gave up. I threw both the original and parts turntable in the garbage to make sure no one else would ever suffer the same travail trying to keep it running for another forty years. I loved that turntable, and may it RIP.

Some years back now, I simply grew tired (to the point I'd had enough) of waiting in vain for manufacturers to somehow 'divine', or to pluck out of the ether, exactly what kind of build quality, sound quality, feature sets, etc., etc. that I wanted, at any given price point. It wouldn't have taken them a lot of money for them to do it, either, nor was it tech-intensive. Early on I tried contacting them many times to try to fill them in on what I, and perhaps others, might be looking for, but to no avail.

The budget stuff didn't measure up for me, sound-wise. And after the intermediate levels of gear, the high end to me just seemed to be, more or less, an exercise in gold-plating everything...while the sound quality seemed to start to slip in their rank of priorities. It was hard for me to find any examples of gear that had what I could call 'definitive' (meaning very well-rounded) performance for its class. IOW they would get a variety of things right, but then fall down on at least one area of sound or other. This is something I've found that does not really seem to change, even the higher in price bracket we's still the same story. Bad execution?? At the higher levels it doesn't look like that to me - just plain bad design. It's as if no one can be bothered to actually sit down think through a design comprehensively any any price level. I'm sure they could if they wanted to, they just evidently don't want to. I literally think they see themselves as too busy making money.

So, I had to build my own speakers, for one. I'm not enough of a DIY'er to do circuit design, but if I had that skill, I'd probably use it. 

In the end, I settled on medium priced gear that was as close to the ideal performance-to-price ratio as I could find and that was also still cheap enough that it wouldn't scare me too bad if I got under the hood and changed things around some. That and some power conditioning success and I was able to build the 'dream system' that now gives me bliss. It's just that I couldn't have done it nearly as well for the money - or even as well at all -  without resorting to DIY now and again.

But the more dissatisfied I was with the market offerings, the more voiceless I found myself among the manufacturers. Everybody these days seems only concerned with either the high end or the "average audiophile". Experienced audiophiles who are looking for something of inherent value tend to be shut out, I think.

But, maybe that's just me, I've always thought of myself as a frustrated designer anyway.

As most of you know, my partner and I have been repairing, upgrading, modifying, rebuilding and manufacturing audio components for twenty plus years.  He has a masters in electronic engineering.  He is the guy who people turn to when their tach cannot fix something.  So while I believe a few people here are good parts swappers, probably most cannot fix a hum, or noise, or change a design to make it sound better.  We offer our services to everyone who needs them.  Plus we enjoy meeting new people and assisting them the best we can.  We have our dedicated Listening Room in Northern New Jersey so people can come by and learn, and enjoy listening to various components we have in our room.

Happy DIYing!


Very interesting to see your post above. At some point down the road, I just may look you guys up!

Anything with plumbing will require 3 trips to the HD and/or the Lowes' down....
minimum (No, a hose washer does not count....)

1-What you want

2-What you missed (or was only @ elsewhere; counts as a trip IMB)

3-What you didn't foresee,,,,thread pitch, dry adhesive, or the hunt for unobtainium locally....

Trying to give Jerrybuilt or Jerryrigged a good name... ;)

...but working on a second lifespan to cover the projects already Rx'd...😒.

Yes in terms of audio, I couldn’t get my local guy to fix my McIntosh mr74 tuner, so I bought a kit on eBay and recapped it myself. It now sits proudly as my FM tuner in my main system, New caps, led lights, wood cabinet and all!

Been a DIY all my life. I hate paying labor. Makes you feel good too doing something you weren’t sure you could do. 

My dad always enlisted me as his helper in all of his DIY projects.  WWII vets didn't want or need to have people do things for them.  Of course, this was a PITA for me as a kid.  It was only after he was gone did I realize how valuable an exercise it was.

I passed it on to my son and he appreciates now and tells me so.  His reaction in the process was the same as mine...what a PITA.

"I'd rather be a hammer than a nail"




I always DIY when there's no danger of me screwing it up worse than it is.

Built a cedar fence down 300 feet of property line, changed out and moved countless sprinkler heads, tiled our foyer and master bath, numerous basic electrical and plumbing jobs...

I get a great sense of satisfaction out of it. Pride in a job well done and the bonus of teaching your brain a new skill.  The right tools and know your limitations. Plus, I live in an area where it's thick with fly by night hacks and shysters. The majority of 'professionals' around here are anything but.

So God is talking to St. Peter one day and says "I'm thinking of adding some Pearly Gates at the entrance to Heaven".  Peter replies "I'll go to Hell and see if I can find a Contractor"  🤣

I used to do about half of our home repairs. Now I find that my 67 year old back and sciatica limit my home repairs, significantly. I'm no electronic tech, but I have done some modifications to old audio equipment. New switches, light bulbs, fuses, installation of RCA jacks on TT's with captive interconnects, installation of new cuing systems, new TT bases and plinths and other stuff that doesn't require a MEE. Now that I have retired, I am thinking of taking some classes in basic electronic repairs. I'm tired of not being able to do more involved electronic repairs.

Until recently, I did almost everything DIY, but my body says there are things I can’t do anymore, like getting under the sink to do something as simple as replacing a faucet. I didn’t have a choice, but to pay the man $185 just to show up and another $150 to remove and replace the faucet ( about 15 minutes).  I can still do “ workbench “ things, but my neck says NO to almost everything else!☹️☹️


DIY since I retired. Can't afford a $250,000 table, but I can get the same or better performance with a little thought and lots of research. All it takes is time, that and willingness to compromise on non-essentials. So my table doesn't have a pretty chassis machined from one piece of stainless, but it does have air in three dimensions for contactless motion, which puts it in rarified company.

So buy off-the shelf when you can, make it when you can't, and contract out when you would need a 15" lathe. And search those surplus sites - you never know when you're going to need a 25,000 pF vacuum cap or two (works wonders, wonders in my RIAA).

When I owned four motorcycles the two that gave me joy to work on were the '93 Ducati 900SS and the '75 Moto Guzzi 850-T. But aside from oil changes, the other two, '96 BMW K1100RS and '04 Kawasaki ZX11-R got the "Visa Wrench". They simply were not fun to work on. Especially the ZX11...

Same with most plumbing jobs. I couldn't sweat a joint to save my life. 🤣

Small electrical jobs around the house, I do. I'm not afraid of electricity, but I respect it for sure.

My seldom driven Toyota goes to the dealer. They always do a good job.

If something needs built from wood though, I love it. 

Audio? If it needs a soldering iron, I let a pro handle it. When my SP3a needed work on the power supply, I found a pro who worked on tube gear and he did a great job.

Happy listening...

My smallest DIY audio projects was replacing transformer in my vintage Marantz tuner couple years ago and 30 years ago I installed better stereo with acoustic in my car. The biggest home project was trimming 60ft tall trees at my backyard. I bought all necessary climbing and safety equipment which cost me around $300.. Tree Service estimates was $8K - $12K, so I decided it would be nice chance for good workout and saving at the same time:)

Yes, loudspeaker manufacturers don't use the most advanced transducers and build products to consume. I want what never will exist in the market. I don't just want a product to consume and forget.