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Is "High-End" audio a scam? - Page 4  

post #46 of 995

I would advise members who haven't experienced mid and high-end audio equipment is go to a local meet and put things in perspective.  Right off the bat, there's a huge difference in build materials and quality between high-end, boutique level equipment and the cheaper stuff from over seas.  That Krell amp that was referenced earlier in this thread.  Unless you're a power lifter, try lifting one by yourself.  I've seen amps with half inch thick chassis walls.  Some may claim overkill, but those who pay the admission price usually knows what they're getting:  limited build quantity, exclusive parts, higher levels of perceived quality, and a sound that is usually distinct from a similar and competing product.

 

Many hi-end builders/engineers put their blood, sweat, and tears into a product and it shows.  Some products encroach into the realm of modern art.  Each builder/engineer especially in hi-end have their own priorities and reputations as stake.  I can guarantee you that neither one wants their equipment to look like, or more importantly sound like someone else's creation. 

 

Everything is all pieces of the whole package.   If you ever get a chance to really listen to hi-end equipment without initial price prejudice, you may walk away knowing that if you had the money, this is what you would buy - or at least keep dreaming.  KingStyles knows what I'm talking about.  He has one of those dream, audio-nirvana setup, and yes, it's definitely hi-end.

post #47 of 995
Quote:
Originally Posted by alphaphoenix View Post

I would advise members who haven't experienced mid and high-end audio equipment is go to a local meet and put things in perspective.  Right off the bat, there's a huge difference in build materials and quality between high-end, boutique level equipment and the cheaper stuff from over seas.  That Krell amp that was referenced earlier in this thread.  Unless you're a power lifter, try lifting one by yourself.  I've seen amps with half inch thick chassis walls.  Some may claim overkill, but those who pay the admission price usually knows what they're getting:  limited build quantity, exclusive parts, higher levels of perceived quality, and a sound that is usually distinct from a similar and competing product.

 

Many hi-end builders/engineers put their blood, sweat, and tears into a product and it shows.  Some products encroach into the realm of modern art.  Each builder/engineer especially in hi-end have their own priorities and reputations as stake.  I can guarantee you that neither one wants their equipment to look like, or more importantly sound like someone else's creation. 

 

Everything is all pieces of the whole package.   If you ever get a chance to really listen to hi-end equipment without initial price prejudice, you may walk away knowing that if you had the money, this is what you would buy - or at least keep dreaming.  KingStyles knows what I'm talking about.  He has one of those dream, audio-nirvana setup, and yes, it's definitely hi-end.

 

I don't doubt that high-end audio equipment doesn't have quality craftsmanship. Obviously it does. People like to point to much cheaper consumer brands that beat out the highest-end boutique brand amps. This doesn't make me want to own a $100 Onkyo, because a $100 Onkyo doesn't have the same level of performance and build quality that a super-expensive high-end amp does, although it might beat it in a DBT.

 

However, the super-expensive high-end stuff is not where the real value lies. When I hear claims that this or that high-end amp is the "best-sounding" amp around I know it's crap. There's no reason a $10,000 amp will sound better than a "mid-level" $1,000 amp with similar specs. I think what the OP is trying to get at is once the diminishing returns on performance kicks in, all you're paying for is a brand and an image.  At the end of the day, an audio amplifier is a very simple device and you can't create a better product by giving it a bigger price-tag.

post #48 of 995
By the time you add in sales, manufacturing, r&d, etc, There is a lot of compromises in that $1000 amp. They might have built the amp with only $250 dollars worth of parts. The caps or just one of the transformers alone in a high end amp might cost that much. They had to cut corners somewhere. It could be cheap parts, cheap power supply., a lot of extra stuff in the signal path etc. Will it sound good , probably yes, will it be able to pull out that last little bit of detail or be used on a sensitive set of speakers/headphones, maybe not.

Is some of it name brand yes, but some of it is build quality and new designs or features that cant be put into a $1000 amp. A $10k amp might have only $2500 worth of parts in it, but since it is more expensive, it has to be priced higher since less units will be sold in order to make the profits and also needed to research new ideas that years later will trickle down to the lesser when the technology gets cheaper or easier to come by. Get a tube amp and you can realize that the tubes alone can cost as much as the lower end amp all in the effort to try and get that last bit of audio nirvana.

Are all $10k amps worth it no, but some are.
Edited by KingStyles - 6/21/12 at 10:38pm
post #49 of 995

I think the OP should replace the word "scam" out of the thread, because it isn't.  This topic has been discussed over and over in similar past threads. Our perception and acceptance for a certain level of performance is restrained by our disposable income in our wallets where it's all about price/performance ratio and not much else.  Everything else about the product contradicts our common sense thinking because we perceive it as being too expensive for what it is, or that a performance cap has been established at a certain price cap.

post #50 of 995
Reminds me of a discussion we had in Summit-Fi a while ago about high end versus high performance. A simple example and then I'll shut up:

Koss ESP/950 vs Grado GS-1000i. One is high performance, one is high end. Neither is "good" or "bad" since they both deliver the goods, but there are some huge differences between them. I'm sure the mark-up is higher for the GS-1000, but does that make it worse?

With non-headphone, separates equipment (like CD players and integrated amps), I think the issue (at least recently) is that major manufacturers (like Sony) who can leverage their huge size to keep prices in check, have more or less walked away from the segment because it isn't profitable. If you look ten or twenty or thirty years back, and look at a lot of the "best vintage component in XYZ category" it all came from huge multinationals - Sony, Matsu****a, JVC/Victor, Marantz, Denon (this is pre D&M Marantz/Denon), Sansui, Pioneer, Yamaha, etc. That started to wane when consumer interests shifted towards things like home theater and having a system that fits inside a pretty little cabinet instead of a big huge rack. And today what do all of those companies make? So the void is filled by more boutique companies that have to accept low volume and have accordingly higher mark-up to cover their costs (like Mark Levinson, for example). That doesn't mean those companies aren't producing comparable (or maybe even better; I'd like to believe that decades of time gives them an edge, but maybe not) gear - but it's kind of the "10 at 1000 vs 100 at 100" problem. The accessory scams are just that, and exist because the margins have gotten so tight for the big kids due to how retail has changed.
post #51 of 995
Thread Starter 
So you don't consider $30,000 Transparent speaker cable a ouright scam? Come on guys, worked around the worlds most high end gear every day so my opinon is defintley valid. If anyone is interted look uo about what lexicon did awhile back,they got caught putting an Oppo into another chassis and jacking jup the price to $3500.
post #52 of 995
You are saying if high end audio in general is a scam. Buying a ferrari isnt a scam... Buying another million dollar car from some unknown manufacturer that runs as well as a VW bug is a scam. Some are not worth the money at that price point yes... But in general, no.
post #53 of 995
Quote:
Originally Posted by billyhightech View Post

So you don't consider $30,000 Transparent speaker cable a ouright scam? Come on guys, worked around the worlds most high end gear every day so my opinon is defintley valid. If anyone is interted look uo about what lexicon did awhile back,they got caught putting an Oppo into another chassis and jacking jup the price to $3500.

 

This is a scam and damn unethical. There will always be exceptions.

post #54 of 995

Is the BeatsbyDre considered a scam? or just an unrecommended buy?

post #55 of 995
Its an unrecommended buy for people that want true music reproduction.... Or better music reproduction that is and is interested in furthering their knowledge.
post #56 of 995
Quote:
Originally Posted by OJNeg View Post

 

However, the super-expensive high-end stuff is not where the real value lies. When I hear claims that this or that high-end amp is the "best-sounding" amp around I know it's crap. There's no reason a $10,000 amp will sound better than a "mid-level" $1,000 amp with similar specs.

 

Better labels matter to some people.

 

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/frontal-cortex/2012/06/wine-taste.html

post #57 of 995
Thread Starter 

I think people who buy super high end equipment are reluctant to admit that they overpaid for what they got and look down on cheaper equipment bassed on its price when in reality its probally just as good if niot better!

post #58 of 995

For some reason, I sense a bit of envy or jealousy, or both.  It's only natural to do so.  I can say this that the people I know with high end equipment don't put down on cheaper stuff because it's irrelevant to them.  They know what they want and don't care if they can buy lesser priced equipment.  They stick with brands/names they trust and it's not only just one piece of the chain.  These guys have the cars and house to support their obvious disposable income.

 

Would I buy their setups? A few, hell no.  There's a lot of other things I can buy. Another few, sure, if I had the money.

 

Super high end equipment is a niche market, and it's priced as such.  Remember all those who may have started out with iPod earbuds (I did) and now listen to universals and CIEM that costs 50-100 times more over the white buds.  The price ratio is no different.  It's just on a different playing field.  Many started at the bottom end of the price field, and naturally progressed to their current high-end/super state.

post #59 of 995
Quote:
Originally Posted by alphaphoenix View Post

For some reason, I sense a bit of envy or jealousy, or both.  It's only natural to do so. 

 

My main speaker rig is on the order of ~$40K.  That said, I put the money in the parts that matter, not on BS marketing ploys.  And even then, I recognize that part of what I've spent money on is increased reliability through better parts and better resale value, not on improved sound quality.

post #60 of 995

Above a certain number of zero in the price, it's scam I  think. I'm not convinced that you need speakers that costs 50 000$

I'm not convinced that the price difference between a stax 009 and a hd800 is  worth it, because even with the 250$ srh940 I'm already happy.
The hd800 have a better sound quality than the srh940 for sure, but it's not as if I  couldn't live without the hd800; and I  imagine that the enjoyment/price ratio would be even worse with the stax 009.

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