Sounds was probably the most expensive building event (per year) our high school had. Though we could reuse some parts and materials from the instruments before (we could turn the notes from tubular bells the year before into resonators), it was still well into the hundreds. And at nats, from the looks of it, most of the other top 10 instruments were the same. The good thing about the event is you can choose the degree of difficulty and cost your instruments take. The physics interview was a throw-away at nationals as well, and wasn't even done at 2 of the 4 events I competed in. I think the event would be better if instead of having the physics test/interview being 30%, having a 35% written test (calculator allowed), as well as a 15% discussion of the physics involved in constructing the instrument. The performance (which was honestly the only reason we won nats) should be scaled back a little to 15%, craftsmanship should be 15%, and sound quality/range/tuning should be 20%. Just my opinion though.
Or they could just put crave the wave and circuit lab (maybe quantum quandaries for C as well) into loops for both divisions and ditch the subjectivity of the event entirely for a trajectory/storm for finishing up the physics. It seems as though they've gotten rid of any lab component in the physics events to make room for more building.
Events: Ecology, Herpetology, Cell Bio, Entomology, Sounds of Music, Circuit Lab, Chem Lab, Disease Detective, Dynamic Planet, Five Star, EggONaut, Enviro Chemistry, Fermi, Quantum Quandaries!
Nationals: Wichita: Ecology-4, Entomology-5, Team-11; DC: Sounds-1, Team-11