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Why don't the well known audiophile amp companies make headphone amps? - Page 2

post #16 of 63
Thread Starter 

Hey,thanks for that comprehensive analysis and all that food for thought Mr. Obobskivich! 

(I guess they do think of headphone people as SkullCandy / Beats / Iphone-user types only.)

Another side issue is I wonder why any of the well-known successful headphone amp operations aren't taken over by larger audio names.


Edited by rgs9200m - 12/8/12 at 5:34pm
post #17 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by rgs9200m View Post

Hey,thanks for that comprehensive analysis and all that food for thought Mr. Obobskivich! 

(I guess they do think of headphone people as SkullCandy / Beats / Iphone-user types only.)

Another side issue is I wonder why any of the well-known successful headphone amp operations aren't taken over by larger audio names.

 

 

Because they got usbiggrin.gif

post #18 of 63

I think its as easy as they don't think there is a market to move volume.  Some are coming around, Bryston for instance obviously had no idea how many BHA-1 they would sell and are probably now talking in house about a well thought out product they can flood the market with.  Schiit knew the market and knew the volume they could move and have done very well despite not taking measures to reduce costs.

 

Don't fool yourself though, the one thing we do know... headphone amps from manufacturers sell for less than those from boutique makers.  The more 'real' companies that jump on the train, the more the boutique makers will be pushed out of the market.  Because the other side of this is when you look for a speaker amp... you don't even consider the little guy in large part because you  have other options that don't include the massive mark up needed when you aren't selling in volume.  There will always be those with enough funds that as long as they like the result, value means nothing though.

post #19 of 63

The headphone market is different than the loudspeaker. If you look at the high-end models from a well known company, they only have a few models. This reduces their cost for manufacturing and inventory. A established high-end brick and mortar store carries different brands and speakers. You need speakers for the customers to hear the amps, preamps, DACs, etc... So the same store must also sell high-end headphones to sell high-end headphone amps. So more inventory. Not only that. Their sales people would have to learn about headphones as well. So I believe that these two business models are different than we think.

post #20 of 63

Most "audiophile" high end manufacturers, even the ones you read of all the time and might envision as being "really big", are relatively small companies that were started by guys with an intense interest and passion for 2 channel hifi.  It has been my observation, as a member of that group, that most manuracturers, designers, reviewers, dealers, and importers never discuss headphone when they get together.  Yet most of us are after the best sounding equipment with which to enjoy our products and test them with and we talk about speakers all the time, whether we are speaker manufacturers or not.  Most industry guys love their great sounding, big, powerful, expensive, gorgeous speakes! 

 

This would be the primary reason that most of these companies don't do headphone amps.  Most have heard that headphones can be quite good but consider the main reason for folks using headphones to be that someone does not have a good listening environment, or cannot make noise in their environment.  I only recently learned, after being in the industry for 30 years, that headphones can provide a great, emotional listening experience that in some ways exceeds that of speakers (for me).     

post #21 of 63
Thread Starter 

I think the audiophile-level manufacturers have not woken up to the fact that most people now get their music from tiny headphone on their smartphone or iPod.

So the headphone experience is spreading far beyond the Walkman days. 

Or maybe the manufacturers are even psychologically in the pre-Walkmen days,

thinking of the guy in the Maxell ad with his hair blown back.

post #22 of 63

It would be nice to see more established ESL speaker makers get into ESL headphones like Martin Logan or PMD speaker maker Wisdom Audio develop PMD headphones not just HiFiman or Audeze.

post #23 of 63

Friend is coming over with his HE-6 later next week to plug into my Pass Labs XA-30.5.  :D  We'll see how well that goes.

post #24 of 63
post #25 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by PedroH View Post

Check this new component from McIntosh:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/639473/any-opinions-reviews-on-the-new-mcintosh-d100

I find it revealing that the spec sheet omits any mention of the head amp section of the unit.  They certainly aren't aiming this product at Head-fiers.

post #26 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hiyono View Post

Friend is coming over with his HE-6 later next week to plug into my Pass Labs XA-30.5.  :D  We'll see how well that goes.

 

popcorn.gif

post #27 of 63
I am waiting for a headphone from Quad or Meridian. Linn could make a killer amp
post #28 of 63

If anything, Sennheiser should put their name on some headphone amps.  It has nothing to do with producing them, just marketing them.  That would be $$$ for them.

post #29 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by mitchflorida View Post

If anything, Sennheiser should put their name on some headphone amps.  It has nothing to do with producing them, just marketing them.  That would be $$$ for them.
The headphone makers should take the marketing lead for amps but try convincing the ipod user to invest in a three-four figure amp for earbuds (their only experience). Guys, we are in the 1% willing to build a hi-fi headphone rig. A dedicated hp amp is a scary and subjectively needless purchase that costs more than the headphones. We were taught to build a speaker rig by investing at least half the investment in speakers. With that formula, a $1000 headphone would need $500 of front end gear. That kind of hurts the headphone market. Head Fi has been probably the single largest marketing leader in the headphone universe. Because of us, RSA, Schiit, ALO, etc have become leaders here. Realistically, these companies are offering re-wrapped speaker amps, toy components and shiny new cables to the new breed. But who are we to question how someone spends their money. If they are willing to spend on fanboy hype, good for the profiteer/Head Fi. And we are being used to market it for them. The ego of the front runners drives the followers. If people would give those purchases some time to settle in, they'd find it a bad investment that was only bought because it was the shiny new toy and not worthy of it's accolades. Our little world is enamored with high price and uniqueness and less on engineering and performance.
post #30 of 63

Just imagine 1% of the world or even 0.1% of the world, that's a pretty big market.

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