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Sennheiser HD 800 - price control? - Page 7

post #91 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by rds View Post
There's some very strange things being said in this thread.

First off, I have worked in various r&d labs (both academic and commercial) and the idea that it took 10 employees several years to take a dynamic transducer and put a hole in the center is so ridiculous it is laughable. The meager technological "achievements" of these headphones require almost no innovation and should take very little time to realize (ie the on the scale of a couple months, and that time being a result of waiting for production rather than running simulations of delving into new physics ).

Second, defenders of these $1400 headphones please stop making claims such as we don't agree with the pricing because we are too poor, or that we want manufacturers to be our slaves.

These headphones are nice high quality phones. The require precious little innovation and low materials cost. The profit margins are astronomical and the prices are fixed. They may be worth $1400 to some people granted.

Why does this stuff annoy me? Because manufacturers look at these responses and say: 'Wow, we don't need to make something great or something of good value. Rather we simply must create a perception of superiority - which is done not by best performance but highest asking price.'
Now we see the me too T1s. If AKG releases something in the $1400 range I will be very annoyed. But I'm still holding out faith for them.
(if AKG actually came out with some outstanding breakthrough, then $1400 could be justified perhaps. But a transducer with two holes in it isn't gonna cut it for me).
It's easy to make any type of thing. It's hard to figure out the subtle nuances that make it better. If you were in an R&D department, you'd of learned that, so I don't buy this post at all. Little things come to you as you do it, little things become evident as you test them. Then they become practice.

You're missing about 90% of R&D in your assumptions here.


Putting a hole through the drive (ring type driver) wasn't a new idea. Making it work correctly in a full sized headphone and providing the sound they were after was. Also, traditional headphone design dictates a LOT of things the HD800 doesn't do. This sir, is R&D. Finding little things that make a difference, and turning them into practice.
post #92 of 147
How much do you think is the production costs for HD800?
$500? $100?

Usually anything that is "new" is costly. Only when there's competition on the same technology, then there'll be price reduction. In this case, headphones are designed differently by each company, and they all have their own sound signature. The only "competition" they face is themselves, i.e. new model vs old model.

Its the subjectivity that results in this.
post #93 of 147
I've read some of the above comments, I'm only going to comment on the part about r&d, did you know that Sennheiser is the one who create the world's first open headphone? The HD 414 and it still remains as the best-selling open headphone of all time?

What I'm trying to say is, there's a lot of other headphone manufacturer who probably also have the same idea of creating an open headphone, but why did Sennheiser be the one who successfully created a commercial open headphone in the world? The answer is the success of the r&d department.

I saw comments about creating a driver with a hole in the center is not a big deal, but why is there no other headphone manufacturer who used this technique before Sennheiser? Even Sennheiser in their 60 years of experience never used this ring driver in any other headphones that they've produced.

This shows that Sennheiser's RnD actually doing something and created something new (or at least done something easy but no other manufacturer's RnD could do since the begining of dynamic driver usage up 'till now)

As for the production cost...I've been in China..and I believe the manufacturing cost could be very very very low...
post #94 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aynjell View Post
It's easy to make any type of thing. It's hard to figure out the subtle nuances that make it better. If you were in an R&D department, you'd of learned that, so I don't buy this post at all. Little things come to you as you do it, little things become evident as you test them. Then they become practice.

You're missing about 90% of R&D in your assumptions here.


Putting a hole through the drive (ring type driver) wasn't a new idea. Making it work correctly in a full sized headphone and providing the sound they were after was. Also, traditional headphone design dictates a LOT of things the HD800 doesn't do. This sir, is R&D. Finding little things that make a difference, and turning them into practice.
Go ahead and doubt me. I could care less.

I worked in an academic lab this summer where work was primarily focused on developing elastography techniques, and even in the relatively slow pace of academic work peer reviewed papers were being published weekly (and we're talking about a 20 person lab).

My background is not mechanical, but even to me it's clearly obvious that removing the piston cap (yes that's what the center part is) will have no mechanical effect on the rest of the driver.

The calculations needed for a piston type driver in an enclosure are not new or complex. There's nothing to discover. You change geometry and simulate, but that is not real research.

Note that in Sennheiser's marketing literature they don't claim any new discoveries or breakthroughs. This seems to be a viral concept, and rightly so as there is apparently no basis for it.

Anyways, like I said let's see some of sennheiser's peer reviewed papers and go from there in evaluating their research.
post #95 of 147
rds, what's your opinion on tooling a new factory (which Sennheiser did), training and employing a staff, distribution costs, taxes, and so on?

Even if you're refining existing concepts, don't you think those things have costs? Did you cover cost accounting in your summer internship, as well? Taking a product to market is quite expensive - look into it some time. Sennheiser laid out a lot of money to produce the HD-800, not including the R&D.

I also think you misjudge the amount of time it takes to develop a product. Rumors of the HD-800 have been in the pipeline for around nearly three years before it was released. So why didn't they just slap something together and put it on the market? Sennheiser would have made a lot more money.

Research aside, I am also sure there was a lot of bureaucracy and QC involved, too. Legal work, graphic design, packaging, and much else.

You probably only saw a thin slice of the R&D process and are not considerin the amount of time and expense to bring a product to market.
post #96 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by rds View Post
Go ahead and doubt me. I could care less.

I worked in an academic lab this summer where work was primarily focused on developing elastography techniques, and even in the relatively slow pace of academic work peer reviewed papers were being published weekly (and we're talking about a 20 person lab).

My background is not mechanical, but even to me it's clearly obvious that removing the piston cap (yes that's what the center part is) will have no mechanical effect on the rest of the driver.

The calculations needed for a piston type driver in an enclosure are not new or complex. There's nothing to discover. You change geometry and simulate, but that is not real research.

Note that in Sennheiser's marketing literature they don't claim any new discoveries or breakthroughs. This seems to be a viral concept, and rightly so as there is apparently no basis for it.

Anyways, like I said let's see some of sennheiser's peer reviewed papers and go from there in evaluating their research.

A parallel to this is the cost of new medicines. If you look at the production "line" of making even protein drugs, the cost is miniscule. But the hiden cost of years of research, failed trials, government regulartory overhead, letigation cost, the list goes on and on. That's why everybody think they are too expensive.

I am not saying all high cost products are justifiable, but you can't go the other extreme claiming "making a moving piston is so easy...". You will have to look at the bigger picture in longer term.
post #97 of 147
I appreciate the feedback, and it's true that I don't have any realistic ideas about production costs. I just take issue with the talk of scientific breakthroughs.

And this is not to say that I think the hd-800 is lacking or overpriced. Yes, I think profit margins are huge, but probably less so than grado rs-1s. I'm not trying to slight the hd-800 as a headphone. I can understand why some people find them to be the best headphones out there, and certainly there is a lot to be said for their build quality.

However, I don't like the idea of flagship headphones going into this price range. It's a slippery slope, because other flagships will be automatically discounted as second class if their price is significantly lower. This gives a very strong incentive for everyone to push their phones into this range and look for ways to market that price point.
post #98 of 147
Well they can try. There's still the 30-day-return test. Its not totally up to the brands to decide whether the >$1k headphones are worth it, its the buyers.
post #99 of 147
When contemplating profit margins, keep in mind the overhead costs for R&D and production staff. I think it's safe to say salaries aren't cheap in Germany. Also note that these are specialty items with limited sales demand, so how much money are they really grossing from the HD800?
post #100 of 147
This thread has some pretty good discussions going on. Keep them coming guys!
post #101 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by rds View Post
Go ahead and doubt me. I could care less.

I worked in an academic lab this summer where work was primarily focused on developing elastography techniques, and even in the relatively slow pace of academic work peer reviewed papers were being published weekly (and we're talking about a 20 person lab).

My background is not mechanical, but even to me it's clearly obvious that removing the piston cap (yes that's what the center part is) will have no mechanical effect on the rest of the driver.

The calculations needed for a piston type driver in an enclosure are not new or complex. There's nothing to discover. You change geometry and simulate, but that is not real research.

Note that in Sennheiser's marketing literature they don't claim any new discoveries or breakthroughs. This seems to be a viral concept, and rightly so as there is apparently no basis for it.

Anyways, like I said let's see some of sennheiser's peer reviewed papers and go from there in evaluating their research.
If sound was such a fine science we'd have one headphone. I would not have 3 different pairs, I'd have 1 pair and everybody would aspire for this one pair of headphones.

Like I said, you may know a thing or two about research, but you obviously have NFI what you're talking about when it comes to producting R&D, or for that matter, real product R&D.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Erik View Post
rds, what's your opinion on tooling a new factory (which Sennheiser did), training and employing a staff, distribution costs, taxes, and so on?

Even if you're refining existing concepts, don't you think those things have costs? Did you cover cost accounting in your summer internship, as well? Taking a product to market is quite expensive - look into it some time. Sennheiser laid out a lot of money to produce the HD-800, not including the R&D.

I also think you misjudge the amount of time it takes to develop a product. Rumors of the HD-800 have been in the pipeline for around nearly three years before it was released. So why didn't they just slap something together and put it on the market? Sennheiser would have made a lot more money.

Research aside, I am also sure there was a lot of bureaucracy and QC involved, too. Legal work, graphic design, packaging, and much else.

You probably only saw a thin slice of the R&D process and are not considerin the amount of time and expense to bring a product to market.
Exactly. Everything is unobtainium until you figure out how to make it. If you can't make it well, and with decent yields, you're wasting valuable money. Something I'd like to point out, a machine shop I worked at at one point, I had to manually cut a key into a part with a saw, 1 on each side, and then I had to wirebrush the burrs off of it.

It took me approximately 45 seconds per part due to waiting for the machine to finish it's rotation. They finally got another machine available and moved the job to a more advanced maching requiring less human input, and can now do 4 at a time I believe in 30 seconds, without waiting for people do to anything... guess what: Producting time, man hour costs, etc, just went down by 33%, and on top of that, production has quadrupled. Things like this occur often in production environments.

In our case, we just didn't have the machinery to spare and had to run it manually.
post #102 of 147
Price and cost have absolutely zero relationship, other than price should be > cost in the long-term. Price is determined by market forces. Any company that bases their prices on cost is foolish. So all this talk about cost is irrelevant.
post #103 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by joomongj View Post
This thread has some pretty good discussions going on. Keep them coming guys!
I could not disagree more decisively. Believe me as a [insert resume-grade-padded qualification here], I am fully capable of asserting a comprehensive and definitive opinion on the matter. This thread is the culmination of experts in one field--that of headphones--attempting to generate trite uninformed bombast from what, in many cases, appears to be their [See Webster-Roget thesaurus for a suitable synonym for 'rectum' to use here]. It is a certifiable [insert expletive noun of choice here (OPTIONAL: Creative adjective modifier. Try 'tap-dancing' or 'capricious'!)] of product envy and pseudo-anonymous "expertise". In short, the entire thread is, on the whole, grossly-overstated pompous rambling. This yields little or no value, be it rhetorical or practical. I trust that in time, as shown by my extensive [Training/Expertise/Research/Time spent evacuating], the price of the HD800 will [Fall precipitously/ Remain as steadfast as the sun] on account of its [Terrible/Fantastic] value and manufacturing. Not that such trivial numerology will matter in the slightest when [Insert current favorite headphone manufacturer here] releases their new flagship, which will indubitably render all other offerings into the world of elite headphones wholly obsolete.

Sincerely,
Amus Ignor
post #104 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Spitz View Post
In short, the entire thread is, on the whole, grossly-overstated pompous rambling.

So that also includes your post, right?
post #105 of 147
Many of the assumptions in this thread are laughable. It is obvious that many have never owned and run a business based on manufacturing -- and have absolutely no clue about the cost associated with manufacturing and bringing products to market. A clear case of "you don't know what you don't know"!
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