Originally Posted by MuppetFace
AKG didn't raise any bars. Final Audio released their 1601 series of dynamic IEMs before that, which were price at twice the price of the K3003. And before Final, custom IEMs were well entrenched in the $1000+ price zone. Why do we as head-fiers so readily accept customs when they have such prices, but not universals? The "craftsmanship" argument isn't really valid IMO.
In any case, the OXOO doesn't really follow the trend as I see it because it's basically a tech demo / prototype possibly being made available in a small quantity. Not sure how much the GR09 will be when it's released, but it will probably be closer to the K3003 than the OXOO. Also Sennheiser's upcoming IE800 which will be in the $700 ~ USD neighborhood.
The way I see it, customs sort of "pioneer" technology in IEMs often times, and universals follow suit behind them. We're just now seeing universals "catching up" to customs in terms of performance. Now we're seeing customs in the $1500 - $2000 range, so I think universals are only going to get more expensive unfortunately.
Actually AKG sort of did, I'm sorry to say as much as you like Final Audio, but they are not widely recognised and have very limited suppliers located around the world, if not possibly only in Japan (you can correct me on this). CIEM's are a different story, because they were originally intended for professionals and producer's that require the isolation and the sound quality provided, which eventually audiophile's (and normal consumers) started picking up as well, but over the recent year's the trend of pricing of the universal IEM's have been going up.
"Now we're seeing customs in the $1500 - $2000 range,"
Actually CIEM's within this price range have been around for a long time, I paid both my arms (at the time) for a UE18 when it first came out and sold it to a member a long time ago for almost half the price I paid for, I don't want to provide specific reason's why but I lacked the funds for other thing's of interest at the time. The UE18 when they first came out, they were about close to $1800 (I didn't pay this amount). So I'am entirely not surprised that CIEM's are becoming slightly more expensive as newer technology are being developed evolving around drivers made and the quantity of them used, the workmanship, design and technical side of CIEM's being made, a lot of newer companies have popped up over the recent years like some of them Heir Audio and Thousand Song's whatever it's called (correct me) etc, furthering expanding the offerings of CIEM's to the general public.
They cost a lot more because more work are put into them, unlike universals being produced by cast and mold robot's (and possibly put together by engineers), CIEM's are made specifically and handcrafted for the users ear based on there ear impressions.
From a perspective as someone who started this audio addiction starting with low budget speakers and IEM's 6 years ago and this is my opinion is that, AKG decides to release a masterpiece, supposedly still mass produced universal comparable sound to some CIEM's (which a handful of those that own/auditioned it do not like) with similar pricing (since the market of IEM/CIEM's have expanded extensively over the last decade) and then you eventually will have other companies that will follow this trend as well, make an extremely brilliant designed IEM with questionable sound qualities and possibly low run mass production number's and most likely with a really high price tag, does it justify it? I don't know, but in my opinion no. You would get more people not liking the sound out of a $1k universal vs the sound out of a $1k custom (although some think the sound is negligible from going an existing custom to a more expensive one)
"so I think universals are only going to get more expensive unfortunately."
Exactly, glad you and I are on the same page regarding with this.
" Sennheiser's upcoming IE800 which will be in the $700 ~ USD neighborhood."
Yes and possibly bit more, some rumours floating around say's it will possibly be around $895 USD, I'm not surprised here with there pricing as Sennheiser has been around for a very long time. After hearing the subtle difference's between the IE8 and IE80, I wonder how much of a difference will the IE800 be over the IE80.
Edited by DefQon - 5/21/12 at 4:14am