music, guitars & other obsessions

Good Industrial Design vs. Visual Pollution

Another knockout design by Thomas Mayer

While browsing through the audio/diy forums and websites, I am constantly amazed by the depth of know-how in the hi-fi community, however, when it comes to the physical construction, I am equally disappointed by the general poor showing, including my own ๐Ÿ˜‰ – many of the amplifiers are down right hideous, even if they sound great, I would never want to see them in my system – thus the inspiration for the title of this post – visual pollution! Look no further than the long-running diyaudio photo thread for some examples of what not-to-do.

On the other hand, I continue to be impressed by the designs and construction of Thomas Mayer at VinylSavor – everything he does is a thing of beauty – from the elegantly simple designs, high quality parts, meticulous wiring and construction details to the exotic wood chassis – truly great industrial design!


4 responses

  1. Hi!

    Thanks for the compliments!
    I think many industrial designers just try too hard and are putting unnecessary things on just for the looks. I follow some very simple rules. First I arrange the parts such that I get a short and nice signal path. Then I align parts with regard to each other so that no single part has a location which is not related to anything else. Most obvious are horizontal and vertical alignments. But also in diagonals.

    Best regards


    May 21, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    • jazzbo8

      To call them “industrial designers” is more than generous! If I have to narrow it down, I would say that most poor designs lack symmetry in their component layout, and second, the lack of or poor choice of transformer covers. I won’t even begin to comment on the gaudy “designs” from the Far East which unfortunately I see all too often living here in Asia. Sigh…

      May 22, 2013 at 10:08 am

  2. Sorry to pollute your blog, but I have no other way to contact you.
    I wanted to ask whether you are aware that your post (maybe more than one), the one where you offer “piece” after criticising my amps, on diyaudio, has been deleted?
    I am just curious to know how far does the conflict of interests go, on that and other similar forums?!

    PS: my amps are not good looking, but at least there is some symmetry… anyway, looks have little to do with the sound, but neat construction can improve the performance.

    September 19, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    • jazzbo8

      No worries, I welcomed your comments or anyone else’s for that matter. It is hard enough to find people that share similar interests in hi-fi, audio diy as is ๐Ÿ˜‰ Even if we sometimes have dis-agreements, different POV at least we are all still in the same fraternity (I feel a shrinking one…) Anyway, the moderators on the various sites do have their own POV or interests to protect, so some posts do get moved or deleted. Not much we can do about it, and I know you had brought up the issue of the posters’ copyrights, but I doubt even if you are correct, the copyrights could be enforced, or by which governing body…

      Like audio, people have certain preferences on what their gear should look like – but since it is not the main function of the audio product, I guess it means very little, your amps actually look quite good IMO compared to the majority of what I have seen (including mine since my actual DIY skill is rather dismal). What I do not understand is why certain people continue to post their crappy builds online for all to see – that to me is just visual pollution ๐Ÿ˜‰

      September 22, 2013 at 10:44 pm

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