Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

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Re: Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by Ears » Thu Aug 27, 2020 12:19 pm

casciato wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 12:05 pm
Facebook is a toxic hellhole and at least some of us use forums like this one precisely so we never have to go anywhere near that place.
I second that emotion. I have no Facebook log in. Never have. I’ve lost track of friends that now communicate exclusively by Facebook. Oh well. Are ‘friends’ electric?

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Re: Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by cptnal » Thu Aug 27, 2020 12:35 pm

casciato wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 12:05 pm
lootacow wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:22 am
https://m.facebook.com/story/graphql_pe ... M2NzEwMzM5

Read this thread, it’s the exact same question you asked
Facebook is a toxic hellhole and at least some of us use forums like this one precisely so we never have to go anywhere near that place.
Word. (BTW, they own Instagram too.)
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Re: Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by casciato » Thu Aug 27, 2020 12:46 pm

cptnal wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 12:35 pm
casciato wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 12:05 pm
lootacow wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:22 am
https://m.facebook.com/story/graphql_pe ... M2NzEwMzM5

Read this thread, it’s the exact same question you asked
Facebook is a toxic hellhole and at least some of us use forums like this one precisely so we never have to go anywhere near that place.
Word. (BTW, they own Instagram too.)
I know, and while I don't love that, the fact is Instagram itself is actually pretty cool and full of cool people who just wanna look at pics of synths and tape machines. Unlike Facebook, which is all about trying to get you to beef with your most racist uncle and the guy who sat behind you in third grade, both of whom are on a holy mission to convince you Joe Biden will legalize the harvesting of adrenochrome from kindergartners.

Also, the third-grade guy's wife wants you to buy her essential oils and won't stop DMing you about it.

If insta ever goes that way, I'm out. Until then, I'm willing to accept the issues inherent in it to have a steady stream of synth pics.
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Re: Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by IR » Thu Aug 27, 2020 12:48 pm

I was looking at unpowered cases, but then I figured out that it would come out cheaper to buy a powered case.

It might come out cheaper if you can get a Synthrotek power module with flying buss cables, that's the only lower priced option that can power something like two rows, but Synthrotek stuff is kind of hard for me to get.

I eventually got a Doepfer case, but it's kind of annoying it's unfinished. I'll get around to staining and lacquering it, also sucks I'll have to remove everything from it to do it (well, don't HAVE to, but I'd rather do it nicely). Maybe I'll just remove the rails, I'll see.

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Re: Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by Pelsea » Thu Aug 27, 2020 12:56 pm

With a garage full of woodworking tools and a stock of birch-faced plywood, building cases and installing commercial power supplies is the best way for me to go. I can build a better power supply than most available, but not that much better, and the Eurorack power distribution system renders the differences moot.
However, I consider the TipTop Mantis good value for the money. Most powered cases are, if you do your research.
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Re: Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by lootacow » Thu Aug 27, 2020 12:59 pm

casciato wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 12:05 pm
lootacow wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:22 am
https://m.facebook.com/story/graphql_pe ... M2NzEwMzM5

Read this thread, it’s the exact same question you asked
Facebook is a toxic hellhole and at least some of us use forums like this one precisely so we never have to go anywhere near that place.
Sure, I get that. But, to be fair, in this thread, module and case manufacturers chimed in and get their two cents. So people got the info they wanted directly from those currently in the industry. You know, you can choose what you want to see on Facebook. It’s simple as an unfollow or block.

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Re: Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by aaronlevin » Thu Aug 27, 2020 1:01 pm

I'm curious if folks know if part of the pricing around cases has to do with economies of scale? Eurorack is possibly too small and too fractured to benefit from scaling. But I don't generally know the size of the market or at what point these things start to make a difference.

I am generally surprised at the price of low-end cases. $150USD for the cheap, metal tiptop case (happy ending kit) feels pretty high.

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Re: Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by ATW » Thu Aug 27, 2020 1:03 pm

I am interested in cooperative models—for business formation structures (like what you would think of as a traditional co-op food store, for example)—but also for group buying—ie, a purchasing cooperative. Members pay dues, and then have access to cheaper items because of the purchasing power of a larger organization that can buy at scale.

Does anyone know of something like this in the muff-wiggler realm? I could see group buys on say, a large number of powered 6u aluminum cases that are built to a standard spec by a preferred builder/vendor that is willing to work with us. It might be 500+ cases needed to reach a significant price break—that's not my area of knowledge. It could also be things like kits w/ a small degree of DIY needed to save on things like shipping/flat-packing and such.

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Re: Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by Agawell » Thu Aug 27, 2020 3:37 pm

aaronlevin wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 1:01 pm
I'm curious if folks know if part of the pricing around cases has to do with economies of scale? Eurorack is possibly too small and too fractured to benefit from scaling. But I don't generally know the size of the market or at what point these things start to make a difference.

I am generally surprised at the price of low-end cases. $150USD for the cheap, metal tiptop case (happy ending kit) feels pretty high.
there are certain 'economies of scale' that can be applied to eurorack - partly because the builder is often a company (so no vat) and they can buy low end wholesale amounts of components - like resistors and capacitors in the thousands instead of hundreds, ics etc in the hundreds insteads of individually or in lots of 10, or uncut rails and threaded inserts in quantities that actually make it worthwhile for the wholesaler to ship etc - not massive savings over a diyer, but some and no where near those of for example behringer - especially as they seem to make everything in house - including ics and use the absolute cheapest components wherever possible (sometimes this is not a big issue - a 100r resistor is a 100r resistor - but apparently there are issues with jacks already on some of the modules! they are not buying in the thousands - they are making/buying chips,resistors, capacitors etc in the millions using them throughout their product lines and selling them to other manufacturers

plus there's usually a retailer in the middle and the market is not that big - probably 10s of thousands - not millions

most of the price of any case is the cost of the rails and power supply - as this is exactly what you are buying - plus a handy way to rack it or balance it on your desk - it's not that bad at all

stick a $10-15 case around it and you add an extra $50 to the price
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Re: Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by Agawell » Thu Aug 27, 2020 3:47 pm

ATW wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 1:03 pm
I am interested in cooperative models—for business formation structures (like what you would think of as a traditional co-op food store, for example)—but also for group buying—ie, a purchasing cooperative. Members pay dues, and then have access to cheaper items because of the purchasing power of a larger organization that can buy at scale.

Does anyone know of something like this in the muff-wiggler realm? I could see group buys on say, a large number of powered 6u aluminum cases that are built to a standard spec by a preferred builder/vendor that is willing to work with us. It might be 500+ cases needed to reach a significant price break—that's not my area of knowledge. It could also be things like kits w/ a small degree of DIY needed to save on things like shipping/flat-packing and such.
I'd be surprised if you can get anywhere near 500 people to go for it
you'd be more likely to be able to make a wholesale purchase of a big batch of whichever manufacturers standard case you want - ie offer to buy a hundred - but then you may get stuck with distribution (and distributing 100s of cases probably feels like a job) - and i suspect that the savings aren't as big as you would hope they would be

but if you want to start a group buy - just start a thread!
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Re: Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by ATW » Thu Aug 27, 2020 4:02 pm

Agawell wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 3:47 pm
ATW wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 1:03 pm
I am interested in cooperative models—for business formation structures (like what you would think of as a traditional co-op food store, for example)—but also for group buying—ie, a purchasing cooperative. Members pay dues, and then have access to cheaper items because of the purchasing power of a larger organization that can buy at scale.

Does anyone know of something like this in the muff-wiggler realm? I could see group buys on say, a large number of powered 6u aluminum cases that are built to a standard spec by a preferred builder/vendor that is willing to work with us. It might be 500+ cases needed to reach a significant price break—that's not my area of knowledge. It could also be things like kits w/ a small degree of DIY needed to save on things like shipping/flat-packing and such.
I'd be surprised if you can get anywhere near 500 people to go for it
you'd be more likely to be able to make a wholesale purchase of a big batch of whichever manufacturers standard case you want - ie offer to buy a hundred - but then you may get stuck with distribution (and distributing 100s of cases probably feels like a job) - and i suspect that the savings aren't as big as you would hope they would be

but if you want to start a group buy - just start a thread!
It's true—500 is A LOT. It would have to be a partnership between a case builder (who might also be a fabricator, to have some efficiencies), a contract manufacturer/fabricator/job shop, and one or more parts suppliers…and someone who can deal with fulfillment (not an easy task, esp right now).

Then there would have to be consensus on a case size. And/or there would need to be an extensible case design—like a skiff that can latch to a 2nd/3rd/4th skiff. Like the Frap Tools plus case.

This sounds like a company now. But the thing about a cooperative is that (theoretically) profits and discounts are distributed evenly. As is risk.

There is probably a reason (multiple reasons) that this isn't already a thing. But people thought that about mattresses, and then along came Casper. But then, there are far more people who need sleep than need a modular case.

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Re: Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by forestcaver » Thu Aug 27, 2020 4:11 pm

If you’re prepared to buy one, they’re not too expensive; if you’re not, then they are.

I’ve built a number of cases and bought a number of cases. For something like a Doepfer lc9 the wooden case is essentially a free gift with the hardware.
I’ve made my own psus and used bought ones.
Building my own cases and psus hasnt been about cost (unless you go really cheap and imo very low quality with an rt65b psu) but you can get what you want - I like walnut cases and (depending on the need) either a good quality switching psu (very much not cheap, but low heat) or a linear psu (less efficient and hotter)

So, in my opinion, most of the powered cases cost a lot but are fairly priced - they’re only “too expensive” if one cant afford them :-(

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Re: Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by casciato » Thu Aug 27, 2020 4:23 pm

lootacow wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 12:59 pm
casciato wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 12:05 pm
lootacow wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:22 am
https://m.facebook.com/story/graphql_pe ... M2NzEwMzM5

Read this thread, it’s the exact same question you asked
Facebook is a toxic hellhole and at least some of us use forums like this one precisely so we never have to go anywhere near that place.
Sure, I get that. But, to be fair, in this thread, module and case manufacturers chimed in and get their two cents. So people got the info they wanted directly from those currently in the industry. You know, you can choose what you want to see on Facebook. It’s simple as an unfollow or block.
It's really not that simple, and there are many, many valid reasons to avoid Facebook. The thread may be pure gold, but the simple fact is some of us will never be able to see it because it's on Facebook, and trying to shut down a thread here by linking to a Facebook thread is counterproductive at best.

If there's really some useful info there that you want people to see, cut and paste it in to this thread, don't try to explain Facebook to people that have already made the decision to avoid it.

(And you really, really don't need to explain anything more about it to me. I did social media professionally for 6+ years. I understand Facebook very well. That's why I avoid it.)
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Re: Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by lootacow » Thu Aug 27, 2020 4:42 pm

casciato wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 4:23 pm
lootacow wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 12:59 pm
casciato wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 12:05 pm
lootacow wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:22 am
https://m.facebook.com/story/graphql_pe ... M2NzEwMzM5

Read this thread, it’s the exact same question you asked
Facebook is a toxic hellhole and at least some of us use forums like this one precisely so we never have to go anywhere near that place.
Sure, I get that. But, to be fair, in this thread, module and case manufacturers chimed in and get their two cents. So people got the info they wanted directly from those currently in the industry. You know, you can choose what you want to see on Facebook. It’s simple as an unfollow or block.
It's really not that simple, and there are many, many valid reasons to avoid Facebook. The thread may be pure gold, but the simple fact is some of us will never be able to see it because it's on Facebook, and trying to shut down a thread here by linking to a Facebook thread is counterproductive at best.

If there's really some useful info there that you want people to see, cut and paste it in to this thread, don't try to explain Facebook to people that have already made the decision to avoid it.

(And you really, really don't need to explain anything more about it to me. I did social media professionally for 6+ years. I understand Facebook very well. That's why I avoid it.)
Definitely don’t want to argue with a social media pro. I’ll keep in mind that posting links isn’t allowed.

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Re: Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by ATW » Thu Aug 27, 2020 5:00 pm

Yeah, for those wigglers that are also Facebooks people—do share some of the good nuggets here! Some posts are publicly viewable w/out being logged in, as well.

Like Casciato, I am on purposefully not Teh Facebooks and I think there are others of out there (and a growing number, I would hazard).

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Re: Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by Luke2020 » Thu Aug 27, 2020 5:07 pm

you could argue facebook serves a purpose, connecting people who would otherwise not use the internet in that way. "in principle" communism works haha. but yeah, i still use it for chat and to stare at "myself"

wrt cases, no doepfer cases are not to expensive. used to lust after a space case, but bought a flash but not flash 9u case with some inheritance...

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Re: Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by Boogle788 » Thu Aug 27, 2020 6:58 pm

casciato wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 12:05 pm
lootacow wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:22 am
https://m.facebook.com/story/graphql_pe ... M2NzEwMzM5

Read this thread, it’s the exact same question you asked
Facebook is a toxic hellhole and at least some of us use forums like this one precisely so we never have to go anywhere near that place.
Second.

I also know nothing, but as someone who has recently entered the Eurorack realm, it was hard not to ask myself this same question. How is it I can buy a decent, working guitar amplifier that includes a large, covered enclosure, the power supply, the amplifier, the speaker, etc. for $300, but to buy a plastic box with a couple of metal rails and a power supply costs that or much more. I think that's the crux of it. It's a box. A powered box.

Look, I'm not complaining. I bought two used intellijel cases for around $700 and I'm loving it. I plan to try to build a DIY case at some point as well. I'm open to being educated. But IMHO it is perfectly reasonable to ask the question and to suggest otherwise is kind of bizarre to me.

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Re: Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by Elahrairah » Thu Aug 27, 2020 7:13 pm

It does seem expensive, until you try to build one yourself.

Bear in mind these things are sturdy and strong. Mass produced things we're accustomed to are NOT long lasting or sturdy. IKEA particleboard would not hold my modules for >12 months. We ask for real steel or aluminum or solid wood, all of which are rather expensive. The rails are steel precision to the tenth of a millimeter, I can't make those and if the retailer wants $20 per rail, and I need four for a 6U, that's just $80 regardless.

You can make rails from pinewood, but its only good for a half dozen module movements before your screwholes are worn out.

I wanted portability, that means a frame with a front panel and a handle that can safely lift 40 lbs. Every component is +$5 and there's a hundred of them.

All this talk of economies of scale ... let's talk quality. Behringer can do a $300 chassis out of extruded plastic with no front cover, Doepfer uses steel and real wood. I want to be able to carry my instrument down the sidewalk, trip and drop it without worrying about injuring my thousands of $ of modules inside. The Doepfer chassis has steel corner bits that probably add $4 times eight corners!
Last edited by Elahrairah on Thu Aug 27, 2020 7:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by Kattefjaes » Thu Aug 27, 2020 7:14 pm

3hands wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 10:17 am
I have a home made case. Synkrotek power bus, sliding nuts (which I hate), wood. Parts were 400 dollars. When I add the 20 hours of labour time, even at Canada’s 14 dollar an hour minimum wage to cut, assemble, stain, mount power supply, power bus boards, vector rail, it would cost 680.00 Canadian. Think about that when you slump down 450 bucks on a Mantis. Rex Coil is correct. Build one, and see for yourself.
That's a nice way to break it down.

I think the original question invites an "it depends" answer. Some are, some aren't. Some cost a lot because they provide a much higher spec (more power, less noise, lower impedance busboards/bars etc.). There are some stalwart value options- the Mantis remains good value for the entry level/portability and the Doepfer stuff gives you a lot of options (insist on the v3 busboards with shrouded headers if you're buying new). Those are fine for most people- but for more demanding requirements, there are some high-end options that give you something of value for your wheelbarrows full of cash.

There's a lot of choice in Euro cases. The cheapest aren't always the best value. Sometimes it pays to over-research a bit. Oh and the Behringer cases? Hope you like coil whine and fragility.
Last edited by Kattefjaes on Thu Aug 27, 2020 7:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by vadimred13 » Thu Aug 27, 2020 7:18 pm

Generally, yes, I think cases are expensive. If you're halfway handy with woodworking, it will be cheaper to build your own and buy a decent power supply. Hell, for the amount that some cases cost, you can buy some pretty exotic wood and make a really cool looking case. I have no idea how much a non-wooden case would cost to DIY though.
aaronlevin wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 1:01 pm
I am generally surprised at the price of low-end cases. $150USD for the cheap, metal tiptop case (happy ending kit) feels pretty high.
Yea, it's a bit expensive. Not terrible though. You can make your own happy ending kit with a uZeus($85) and a synthrotek 3U bracket ears+rail combo($35), so you're saving about $40.

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Re: Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by Kattefjaes » Thu Aug 27, 2020 7:19 pm

vadimred13 wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 7:18 pm
Yea, it's a bit expensive. Not terrible though. You can make your own happy ending kit with a uZeus($85) and a synthrotek 3U bracket ears+rail combo($35), so you're saving about $40.
..and you're buying Synthrotek.

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Re: Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by Whelm » Thu Aug 27, 2020 7:22 pm

Much of the cost of a case, whether you build it yourself or buy one, is the power supply. The PSU is an integral part of the synthesizer and are, I believe, considerably more complex in their design than, say, the power supply in an amplifier.

Next is the materials. If you're talking about wood cases, the economy of scale on wood products is nuts. For example it's cheaper for me to buy pine bee boxes than to make them myself from the same material. People making Eurorack cases aren't selling millions of units.

You can build a case yourself and save quite a bit of money, but unless you DIY the PSU you're still going to spend probably $$400+. If you can DIY the PSU then you can make a pretty cheap case indeed.

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Re: Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by Whelm » Thu Aug 27, 2020 7:27 pm

vadimred13 wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 7:18 pm
Generally, yes, I think cases are expensive. If you're halfway handy with woodworking, it will be cheaper to build your own and buy a decent power supply. Hell, for the amount that some cases cost, you can buy some pretty exotic wood and make a really cool looking case. I have no idea how much a non-wooden case would cost to DIY thoug
Unless you're making a pretty small case you're going to have to spend a fair bit on wood if you're building it out of something exotic.

I don't know why people get so excited about exotic wood anyways. Maple, cherry, and walnut are some of the most beautiful species out there.

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Re: Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by Sinamsis » Thu Aug 27, 2020 8:30 pm

Whelm wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 7:22 pm
Much of the cost of a case, whether you build it yourself or buy one, is the power supply. The PSU is an integral part of the synthesizer and are, I believe, considerably more complex in their design than, say, the power supply in an amplifier.

Next is the materials. If you're talking about wood cases, the economy of scale on wood products is nuts. For example it's cheaper for me to buy pine bee boxes than to make them myself from the same material. People making Eurorack cases aren't selling millions of units.

You can build a case yourself and save quite a bit of money, but unless you DIY the PSU you're still going to spend probably $$400+. If you can DIY the PSU then you can make a pretty cheap case indeed.
What do you mean DIY the PSU? That statement alone needs clarification. Because to buy a decent switcher it can add up. I wire my own power even in cases I did not build myself using Hengfu single output switching supplies. Each costs approximately $30-40 depending on size and I need two to wire +/-12v. That does not include the necessary connectors, distro boards, mounting hardware, wires, power inlet, fuse, heat shrink, wire cutters/strippers.... I can keep going. Honestly the more I talk about it, when factoring in time, it’s probably cheaper to just buy a 6U. Now if you’re going for something massive or custom you probably will save some decent cash. But it will still take a lot of time. I really don’t remember how many cases I’ve assembled at this point, not to mention ones I’ve wired for myself or friends. Here is one example where you might come out on top. I think I totaled expenses for this one and it ended up being between $600-700. I took a long time to build with the assistance of a friend. Still an equivalently sized case would be much more, though possibly prettier as well.
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Re: Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by Sinamsis » Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:14 pm

Side note, to the person comparing guitar amps to modular cases. Aside from the apples and oranges comparison, I don't know of any amp I'd consider decent for $300 new. Maybe I'm ill-informed. But I have been playing guitar for 25 years. Aside from the economy of scale, it ignores the fact that the pricier guitar amps are orders of magnitude more expensive, and any amp consider remotely boutique or that requires hand-wiring are MUCH more expensive than eurorack cases. And honestly guitar amps don't seem to have a ton of components in there. Ha, if anything I have thought to myself in the past, why the fuck are guitar amps so expensive? Ha but I accepted it for what it is.

Anyways, it's not a ridiculous question. But I think it becomes apparent rather quickly that the prices seem reasonable.

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