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Predator Amps overpriced or worth it? - Page 3

post #31 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by wavoman View Post
dvessel and lewislink -- you're both great head-fi'ers and I always read your posts.

I think the economics shake out this way: Ray had to have a USB DAC to stay competitive with Justin and the Pico. He decided that he could not support two models, could not offer an option. So he didn't, but the price inflation is pretty small, and no increase in size.

And the proof is: RSA ships these immediately, there is no wait list, no hassle. Yes, HeadAmp gives you the option, but you "pay" in waiting time, since no dount having the option makes the process more complex for Justin.

I don't use the DAC, but I figure well someday maybe I will. In fact, since when I travel I always have my laptop, the experiment done by mcmeyers means maybe I use the PMP while actually on the airplane, but in the hotel room plug into the laptop and listen via the DAC!

I never use the HP out jack on my big TV -- dumbest thing in the world given a typical setup with the audio of the TV plugged in to a system -- but I don't ding the manufacturer for including an option some folks might want. I don't expect to be able to order "without HP jack".

You would save less than you think if Ray offered the option -- the fact that he does not have to offer an option saves him money (he can bulk order the DAC chips, pre-make the Predator insides without having to guess, etc.); he passes the savings on to you.
Very interesting and informative comments, thank you very much. I kind of figured if he did make a DAC'less Predator he'd have keep the price pretty high anyway, otherwise it might put it below the Hornet.
post #32 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcmyers View Post
I was comparing to the latest Nano. My understanding was that the latest generation of iPods did not have Wolfson dacs. But I've also heard that the Wolfson dacs in the iPods aren't that great anyway, even though they carry the Wolfson name. ... it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by immtbiker View Post
Both Dacs on the 5th and 6th generation of the iPod are severly inferior to that of the Headroom MicroDac. I believe Apple dropped the Wolfson lineup in their latest version, but either way, when I compare my 4th and 5th generation iMods with and without the dock ... they don't even come close to the H120 optical out into the MicroDac into the same amp ...

Wow, thanks for this info!! I thought I had pretty much optimized my travel set-up with 5.5 Gen iMod + ALO Special Line Out + IQube for one rig, and Cowon i7 (supposedly the best SQ) with vol set at max + high end mini2mini + Predator (couldn't wait for the Pico) for the smaller one.

But I see I blew it. Need to get a PMP with true digital out, and a DAC (not USB DAC) that can handle it.

Any other digital out PMPs other than H120? Any portable amps with optical-in DACs??
post #33 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by dvessel View Post
@lewislink: Seriously, try contacting Ray to see what he say's about it.
I don't know why, I have no clue why, you think I need to talk to Ray about anything I'm saying. For some reason you are getting the absolute wrong interpretation of my comments and are somehow translating them to mean I'm desparate for something that i want someone to do something about. But Man! It is beyond me why some people think I say green when I say red. It's almost like they are sensing some offense for which they need to head off at the pass and nip in the bud. It usually come from people who are very sensitive about the products being commented upon.
post #34 of 85
Excellent points as usual wavoman. Thanks. If I had a clue, I wouldn't have given lewislink the misguided advice.

edit:: lewislink

Sorry if I misinterpreted you but I really don't care if someone thinks badly about any products I use. You seemed desperate enough to argue on a definition which would only lead to nothing. I was only trying to help in my odd way. No hard feelings.
post #35 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by immtbiker View Post
... I don't believe that Ray created the Predator to stay competitive with the Pico.
Ah, but did he feel compelled to add the USB DAC after learning of the Pico's design?

In the area of economics that flow from not offering an option, I forgot a biggie -- not having to have two different faceplates.

Nonetheless I retract some of my earlier comments, since I do see a pricing discontinuity:

Pricing for the Pico is $329 as a headphone amp only, or $499 with the optional 24/96 USB DAC

The Predator is priced at $475.00

So buyers see the $170 spread on the Pico with and without the DAC, and want $170 off from Ray.

But consider this: Ray is $24 underneath the Pico price with the DAC ... and he found the market sweetspot --

HeadAmp's web site clearly shows 441 orders for the Pico, and 317 of them ordered the DAC!

(Hey, I'm a statistician ... I have never met a list I didn't total up!).

That's 72%. Ray is smart. But if I were a pricing consultant, I would have him drop the price to $399. Unless of course he is selling all he can make.


ADDED: Hey everyone, thanks for the nice words and the great information, comments, etc. I love this place. And I just made 500 posts! But who looks at post count anyway, right??
post #36 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by dvessel View Post
Excellent points as usual wavoman. Thanks. If I had a clue, I wouldn't have given lewislink the misguided advice.

edit:: lewislink

Sorry if I misinterpreted you but I really don't care if someone thinks badly about any products I use. You seemed desperate enough to argue on a definition which would only lead to nothing. I was only trying to help in my odd way. No hard feelings.
Hey, It's all good. No problems at all. I just felt the price too high for some users who would love to have the product but not have to foot the bill for something they will never need. I was simply adding my two cents too many times, I suppose. I apologize for that.
post #37 of 85
well those of you that think the predator is overpriced, what price point would satisfy you? also, you must have an idea of the actual cost to making a predator if you think it is overpriced right?
post #38 of 85
The best way to know if an item is over priced if it doesn't sell! If it sells, then the price is right.

BT

PS actual cost has pretty much no bearing on the sale price.
post #39 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by wavoman View Post
Nonetheless I retract some of my earlier comments, since I do see a pricing discontinuity:

Pricing for the Pico is $329 as a headphone amp only, or $499 with the optional 24/96 USB DAC

The Predator is priced at $475.00

So buyers see the $170 spread on the Pico with and without the DAC, and want $170 off from Ray.

But consider this: Ray is $24 underneath the Pico price with the DAC ... and he found the market sweetspot --
Considering the differences in DAC design it's not surprising there is a difference in price, in fact I'm surprised the difference isn't more.
post #40 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by wavoman View Post
HeadAmp's web site clearly shows 441 orders for the Pico, and 317 of them ordered the DAC!

(Hey, I'm a statistician ... I have never met a list I didn't total up!).
I offered both choices because
- I did not already have a tiny portable in my line
- Designing the best tiny portable amp I could would be the same thing as Pico without DAC.
- Going in there was no way to predict what percent would want the DAC or just the amp
Since then I have found the interest in the DAC mostly depends on the area of the world, for example most of the amp-only Picos have gone to Japan and very few in USA.

HeadAmp Audio Electronics - home of the Pico and Gilmore amps.  Now with Audeze, Fostex, HiFiMAN, Sennheiser, and STAX.
Find us at www.HeadAmp.com

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post #41 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by wavoman View Post
Ah, but did he feel compelled to add the USB DAC after learning of the Pico's design?
Looking at it logically, he wouldn't need to do that because he already had the Hornet and the Tomahawk in his line. Only Ray knows whether or not he started designing the Predator at the same time (or before) as Justin's Pico. He says that he was designing it without knowing about Justin's design.
They are both fine products and they obviously filled a niche that we didn't even know that there was a large calling for, but a 1000+ people found that niche.

We didn't know that we needed Viagra (not me, personally ) but along with Cialis, there are quite a few takers for something that didn't exist a few years ago.

Quote:
Originally Posted by justin w. View Post
I offered both choices because
- I did not already have a tiny portable in my line
- Designing the best tiny portable amp I could would be the same thing as Pico without DAC.
- Going in there was no way to predict what percent would want the DAC or just the amp
Since then I have found the interest in the DAC mostly depends on the area of the world, for example most of the amp-only Picos have gone to Japan and very few in USA.
Justin's logic makes perfect sense. He was able to use an amp that he designed with a DAC to also round out his product line with a smaller amp that he didn't already offer. Certainly worthy of the price of 2 separate faceplates. Interesting about the Japan-USA thing. Different strokes. Hard to forecast demographics.

Look...Mark Levinson and Conrad Johnson and Manley and Wilson make products that are extremely steep in price. Are they actually worth the price minus the necessary profit margin? Thousands of people who can aford their products seem to think so.

If you make it, hopefully, they will come. It's a risky business, and both Justin and Ray are putting food on their table making these products working 18 hour days.
I'm happy for anyone who can make a living in the audio electronics world and I live vicariously through them.
post #42 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by immtbiker View Post
Looking at it logically, he wouldn't need to do that because he already had the Hornet and the Tomahawk in his line. Only Ray knows whether or not he started designing the Predator at the same time (or before) as Justin's Pico. He says that he was designing it without knowing about Justin's design.
They are both fine products and they obviously filled a niche that we didn't even know that there was a large calling for, but a 1000+ people found that niche.

We didn't know that we needed Viagra (not me, personally ) but along with Cialis, there are quite a few takers for something that didn't exist a few years ago.



Justin's logic makes perfect sense. He was able to use an amp that he designed with a DAC to also round out his product line with a smaller amp that he didn't already offer. Certainly worthy of the price of 2 separate faceplates. Interesting about the Japan-USA thing. Different strokes. Hard to forecast demographics.

Look...Mark Levinson and Conrad Johnson and Manley and Wilson make products that are extremely steep in price. Are they actually worth the price minus the necessary profit margin? Thousands of people who can aford their products seem to think so.

If you make it, hopefully, they will come. It's a risky business, and both Justin and Ray are putting food on their table making these products working 18 hour days.
I'm happy for anyone who can make a living in the audio electronics world and I live vicariously through them.
Outstanding comments! I love to read positive stuff like this. Anything that encourages the growth of people's efforts and small companies like these is a bright spot in an otherwise crap filled world. Thank you for making my morning.
post #43 of 85
You know what would be interesting? If you could take the best of Predator, Pico, iQube, Headroom and mix it into a headphone amp stew to produce the perfect portable....or at least one you like. How would that go I wonder.
post #44 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigEat View Post
How would that go I wonder.

Amp heaven...I guess.
post #45 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by lewislink View Post
Outstanding comments! I love to read positive stuff like this. Anything that encourages the growth of people's efforts and small companies like these is a bright spot...
x2! And the personalized dealers too, and the combo dealers/builders ... moon-audio, head-direct, ALO, Rudistor, SP, TTVJ, Woo, Eddie, Whiplash, brainsalad, as well as Ray and Justin of course, all the tables at CanJam '08 and sponsors here, and the (seemingly) slightly larger companies (HeadRoom, Meier, Wadia etc) and all the people I forgot about or haven't met yet (sorry). The bigger companies that sponsor and show up in person are great too, Kimber etc.

There is something about having the inventor, owner, etc. right there with you. There is something "vital" and organic about this industry that I have not seen elsewhere. I stumbled across CanJam and Head-Fi accidentally trying to figure out what headphones to buy from Amazon and went to '08 only because I was in Ft. Lauderdale to see a client anyway.

Nine months later I have listened for hundreds of hours (carefully, analytically)to a 8 or so models, own a bunch, and have made 500 posts (maybe 12 worth reading). The people here are great, and in person at the meets too, very very helpful, respond to PM's etc., but I agree with lewislink: it is the small dealers and the small manufacturers and modders that give this hobby the zip.
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