Look, this has gotten blown way out of proportion. It's not a battle between people who are willing to buy the MTT recordings and people who aren't. It's all about perspective, really. I do not feel that the MTT recordings are overpriced, because overpriced to me means that a product's markup is much too high for its cost to produce. As all of the bickering here has concluded, this is not the case. This does not mean, however, that they are not priced higher than much of the competition. Some people just look at the available recordings and can't justify the $30+ for an MTT disc when they can get a quality performance of the same piece for $15. They accept the fact that they may not get the breathtaking sound quality of the SFS releases, and the fact that they may be missing out on an interpretation they might really like. It all comes back to risk vs. reward. I took the plunge and got the MTT M6 shortly after it came out, which was the first in the series. I have bought every one since and will buy the rest of the cycle, and I don't regret it one bit. But that's me, and other people may not get the same satisfaction out of them that I do to make it worth their $30.
Neither side is the only right answer. One should not say that the MTT recordings are the best just because they cost the most, or that nobody can dislike them. But one should also not say that they are unequivocably not worth it, and that the prices are "outrageous," because we have seen that they are not when considered relative to what they cost to make. Also I don't understand why the MTT recordings are being singled out as though no CDs can compare to them in sky-high pricing. The new Boulez / VPO M3 costs just the same as the SFS recordings, and if the sources cited earlier in the thread are correct, the production costs for the Boulez are far less, maybe even half that of the MTT. So which one, then, is more overpriced? Or how about the live Karajan M9? It is also comparable in price, and it was made in the 80's in a live setting for, I'm sure, a fraction of the cost. The expense and technology of modern recording and SACD and multichannel recording was not even a realistic theory at the time. Not to mention that it has had an opportunity to make up costs for a longer period of time since it has been out for so long. Is it not the most overpriced of the three, then? The same goes for the Karajan Bruckner 8 that was mentioned. There will always be recordings that come at a premium price for one reason or another, but to categorically praise or trash them based on price is assinine. It is a perfectly acceptable factor to mention in a recommendation of whether you think it is a good purchase or not, but it shouldn't be the only factor. I have recordings that I paid $35 for that I fully believe are worth every penny, and I also have ones that I payed $8 for and feel like I got ripped off.
I'm a college student and as such, I certainly do not have vast monetary resources to buy all the recordings I want at any price. But that's not going to keep me from splurging on expensive performances if I feel they are worth it, or from saving some money by finding great performances at great prices if they present themselves. It's a case by case game, folks, let's keep that in mind always. I'm not going to recommend a bargain performance that I haven't heard because it's cheap, nor recommend against an expensive recording I haven't heard because the price is too steep.
Sorry for being long winded. Can we abandon this and get back to the insightful discussion of this spectacular music?