Does any of this make sense?
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timoteus

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Sony goes all out and develops the R10 and then discontinues it instead of recouping what they spent on R&D and tooling. They could have continued production and eventually brought the cost down so we could all enjoy.

Audio Technica tools up for limited production runs of 800, 1000, or 2000 units and then discontinues that model instead of staying in production. I don't know if this is to keep the selling price high so they can go on to the next limited run. It seems like they have more limited edition models than regular production models.

HeadRoom buys out Wheatfield and then discontinues the best model, the HA-2. Why bother buying out another company only to shut down production?

Grado develops the RS-1 and discontinues the HP-1000. Why not just add the RS-1 to the lineup instead of discontinuing the HP-1000/2? If you're already tooled up, why drop the other model? The same goes for the flat pads. Two choices are too many?

Frustrated...
 
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DanG

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It would be very difficult for a company as small as Grado Labs to produce two top-of-the-line headphones, not to mention that the two headphones would be in direct competition with each other -- same niche market, same price-range... They'd be like GMC with 20 trucks that all do the same thing and all cost about the same.

Sony's R&D for the MDR-R10 was allegedly used to produce the MDR-CD3000 and MDR-CD1700, so you could consider that as recouping their losses in that regard as well. Also consider that just because they might sell more headphones if they make more, who knows how much they profit off of each headphone sold? And who knows how many headphones they'd actually sell? Maybe one to two dozen worldwide in a year?

I can't address the Audio-Technica, but considering that their used prices have been dropping and the steadfast support has been waning, I wonder how wonderful that product really is. Maybe they were happy they generated enough interest to sell that run; and I strongly doubt that their R&D into that headphone was completely useless for other headphones.
 
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NotoriousBIG_PJ

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Well I didn't buy used Audio-Technica w100's because people were asking too much for used ones so I went for the rs-1's instead, just incase I ever need to resell them I can get all my money back.


Biggie.
 
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kelly

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HP-1000 was allegedly expensive to make. Its asking price 15 years ago was almost as high as RS-1 is today. If HP-1000 was made today, I suspect it would retail for closer to $1000 which would make the market for it even smaller. John Grado seems to sincerely believe the RS-1 is a better product and many Head-Fi'ers agree with him. I'm not one of them.

As Dan said, I'm sure the R10 did help Sony develop the rest of their line of headphones. You just can't really continue to produce $4000, especially not when there are others available for less that sound better. (Oooh, I'll pay for that remark.)

I believe you hit the nail on the head with Audio-Technica. They produce a limited edition explicitly to create demand. Remember, AT is a Japanese company and their limited edition headphones are sold mostly to the Asian markets. If there is one culture that is an even bigger sucker for limited edition stuff, it's them. I still think Audio Technica could mass produce a headphone, skip the case and other anemnities and get the price closer to $500 and make a good amount of profit in the US. I do believe such a market exists and that Grado's line are not appealing to everyone willing to spend in that range.

I'm more frustrated that it has taken Sennheiser such a long time to invent a true successor to the HD580/580J/600. I'm also frustrated that only a couple of companies have attempted to design electrostatic headphones and that the prices for them in the US is so high.
 
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markl

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Quote:

Sony goes all out and develops the R10 and then discontinues it instead of recouping what they spent on R&D and tooling. They could have continued production and eventually brought the cost down so we could all enjoy.


The R10 was on the market for 12 years. Sony sold less than 3000 of them in all that time. Hart from AA says they were very disappointed by the market response to these phones. Sony thought they were going to sell a lot more. To them it shows there's no market for a $4K headphone. At some point, you've got to cut your losses. We should applaud them for sticking with it for 12 years. What's the average life-span of the average piece of electronics? 2 years?

However, remember Sony never tried to market them directly here in the States. The great irony about the R10 is that Hart's supply (that he had on hand for ages without them moving at all) started flying off the shelves once a certain Head-Fier took a risk and bought a used pair from over seas and posted his impressions of his new toy here.
(Not that I was the first, but I have been thanked many times by new owners for inspiring them to purchase. People who don't hang out here.). Remember that up until about 18 months ago, very little was known about the R10 here in the English-speaking headphone geek circles. It was often scoffed at and dismissed sound unheard. (I mean, it's a Sony, how good could it be?) Once word got out about the R10 to the people who might actually care about it, they started selling. Then Sony decides that's it. Hart couldn't convince them to make a run of ten more just for him.

As was mentioned, Sony *did* introduce R10 technology in a low-cost consumer version called the CD3000. Check it out, it's a great headphone, though for some reason it gets no respect around here.

markl
 
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Calanctus

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markl, if you were the first to actually post your experiences with the R10, then you *are* effectively the first as far as the rest of us are concerned. I'm glad there are people willing to try new, expensive, unknown stuff!
 
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DanG

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I believe the first was either Jatinder or Mrbeanyohan approximately 2-3 years ago (or probably more). Vertigo was the first to start hyping the product despite using his soundcard as source, ratshack interconnects, and a cheapo amp.

Markl's hype came a lot later, but I think any hype related to these headphones is what's needed to sell them. I respect Vert a lot for being sure to point out the weaknesses in the headphone -- namely, he didn't claim it was the best headphone ever for everyone. As I'm sure is very true, Vert was astute enough to point out that some parts of the frequency range the R10 reproduces better than any other headphone. Still, things like the cavey effect he described and not as much extension as the HP1000s might not appeal to some.

Markl's praise seemed to be a little more of blanket praise -- best of all headphones, none compares, all that. It's often needed for people to see that there are customers this satisfied for them to plop down this much money.

Both Vert's and Markl's impressions are very valuable, as are the impressions of anyone who is not a seller-in-disguise. It makes the risk that much smaller to have people who'll describe the headphone as best they can.

By the way, I forgot to address the Wheatfield question. It might have been an issue brought up not by Headroom but by Pete Millett, the owner and engineer of Wheatfield Audio, who may have wanted to go into another line of engineering. Also, I believe Headroom may have been interested in relabeling the products after buying them or incorporating their designs into Headroom products. Who knows.
 
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markl

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Quote:

I believe the first was either Jatinder or Mrbeanyohan approximately 2-3 years ago (or probably more). Vertigo was the first to start hyping the product despite using his soundcard as source, ratshack interconnects, and a cheapo amp.


Not sure about jatinder, but Mr. beanyohan didn't post anything close to a full-fledged review, and I don't think English is his first language. I think Vertigo-1 was the closest to attempt this. But yes, his environment was less than ideal to show off the capabilities of these phones.

Quote:

Markl's hype came a lot later


"Hype", eh? He he. Better and more accurate to call it "enthusiasm". I gain nothing fom the sale of additional R10s. I've heard plenty of the best headphones on the best gear (check my profile). R10 really is in a class of it's own despite DanG's comments.

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Still, things like the cavey effect he described and not as much extension as the HP1000s might not appeal to some.


I still ain't heard no "cavey" effect after almost a year with the R10s. So I guess all speaker-based systems have a "cavey" effect due to the walls of the rooms their enclosed in. Don't be prejudiced against closed phones for no good reason. They're much closer to emulating the sound of a speaker-based system (as well as any recording that was made in anything other than a flat wheat-field) in a real room than "open aire" phones.

Quote:

Markl's praise seemed to be a little more of blanket praise -- best of all headphones, none compares, all that. It's often needed for people to see that there are customers this satisfied for them to plop down this much money.


This "blanket praise" came from someone who was familiar with what excellent speaker-based systems can do (again check my profile). I think if you read my review closely, you'll see that I p[ointed out that other phones I'd heard (HD600) go deeper in the bass region. In most other respects, though, it is undeniable that the R10 is better than other dynamic phones. That's my opinion and it is biased by nothing other than my own two ears.

markl
 
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Vertigo-1

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A lot of the R10's sales problem is exposure I think. It's much more easy to readily hear about STAX if you walk into a hifi store, then it is to hear about the R10s. Likewise the R10s have been around for 12 years, yet it wasn't until 1995 when I joined Headwize that I learned of the R10s. I'm sure most of the headphone forum population as it is only learns about it from here as well. And then they tentatively whisper to their friends about this "wooden headphone that costs $4000".

I think the other problem is that price tag. In reality I'm not sure of the R10s ever costed $4000, retail or otherwise. I believe the $4000 pricetag is a product of an American distributor taking advantage of a niche market, and thus hyping the price. I don't think the R10s ever costed $4000 in Japan.

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But yes, his environment was less than ideal to show off the capabilities of these phones.


My "environment" at the time of my R10 sale was more then good enough for this headphone, thank you very much.


Quote:

They're much closer to emulating the sound of a speaker-based system (as well as any recording that was made in anything other than a flat wheat-field) in a real room than "open aire" phones.


Heh, not in my opinion, in comparison to a certain round shaped electrostatic earspeaker. But I'll leave that for another time.
 
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DanG

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Mark,

There's really no need to get defensive -- I was just pointing out that you seemed to be even more happy with the R10 than Vert was (if that's possible). Despite the negative connotation that the word hype may have for some, I was merely pointing out that you were beyond enthusiastic -- you were saying that the R10 is the best there is bar none, as you just said. I consider that hype only because it's the kind of statement that generates extreme interest in other people.

Regarding caveyness, you shouldn't hear it in a well-designed symphony hall.

I'm not saying that the R10 isn't as good as you say it is -- I can't, as I haven't heard it for more than a few seconds. While I strongly doubt that the R10 is in a "class of its own" when there are other great headphones around like the HP1000, Orpheus, and Omega2, everyone is entitled to his own opinion. And the point of my post was that when people like you and Vertigo post your opinions, we are only the better for it.
 
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markl

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Quote:

A lot of the R10's sales problem is exposure I think.


Amen, as I posted. Once we freaks in the west got a chance to really hear them, their stock and demand went way up. Now, they are a collector's item. I bet it will be many many years before there is an attempt made to exceed the $4K R10. There certainly hasn't been in the last 12 years since it was introduced. It's a legend from now on...

Quote:

I think the other problem is that price tag. In reality I'm not sure of the R10s ever costed $4000, retail or otherwise. I believe the $4000 pricetag is a product of an American distributor taking advantage of a niche market, and thus hyping the price. I don't think the R10s ever costed $4000 in Japan.


It most certainly *did* cost approx $4K to folks who bought domestically from AA with warrantee intact. Yes, it could have been had for less through an unauthorized importer, but some wanted the peace of mind.

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My "environment" at the time of my R10 sale was more then good enough for this headphone, thank you very much.


OK, what was it then?

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Heh, not in my opinion, in comparison to a certain round shaped electrostatic earspeaker. But I'll leave that for another time.


You are the world's biggest tease! You can't possibly prefer the Stax system over the R10 and a *qualified* amp? Thanks to the Headroom tour, I've heard the Stax Omega. They're fine headphones, but they're no R10s! Give your impressions, you... you.. you... impressions with-holder!!!!


Quote:

There's really no need to get defensive --


Oh surely you know me better than that by now-- there's *always* reason to be defensive...

Quote:

you were beyond enthusiastic -- you were saying that the R10 is the best there is bar none, as you just said. I consider that hype only because it's the kind of statement that generates extreme interest in other people.


Well it is the best. Neener neener. Not hype, just my true un-biased opinion.

Quote:

While I strongly doubt that the R10 is in a "class of its own" when there are other great headphones around like the HP1000, Orpheus, and Omega2, everyone is entitled to his own opinion.


I reject all Grados on principle. Period. As for the Orpheus, as I said in my tour stop impressions, I think it may very well be better than my R10 and Melos Maestro. But that's only just barely a fair comparison. Omega 2 is fine "for what it is", but it isn't quite "neutral", is it?

Quote:

And the point of my post was that when people like you and Vertigo post your opinions, we are only the better for it.


Well thanks, then.


markl
 
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eric343

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Well, IIRC (you'd have to ask Todd to get the authoritative version) the story with Wheatfield is thus:

Pete Millet built every Wheatfield amp by hand. I don't believe HeadRoom was ever involved in the production - they just resold them. However, demand for the Wheatfield amps became more than what Pete wanted to handle, so he sold the Wheatfield name, plans, and a bundle of leftover cases/boards/parts to HeadRoom and retired to a tropical island. Danny's planning to use the HA-2 design as a base for the HeadRoom tube amplifier (HeadWarmer?)...
 
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Vertigo-1

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Well the last time I had the R10s, I had the 9000ES with the Sugden Headmaster. That's quite a good deal better then where I started with back in Headwize I think, and I had already posted many posts about the R10s based on this better system. But even with a better system behind it, the reality is, not much changed from my initial review that I had on Headwize.

Which is what drove me to the Omega IIs. I still think the R10s are the best dynamic headphones there are. It's just a shame that they are only dynamic headphones.
 
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eric343

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So your Omegas are better? More transparent, better detail, better bass/mids/treble/air/clarity/happy springtime sound?

And have you ever tried a Gilmore amp with them? According to Kevin, you haven't heard the Omegas until you've heard them with a Gilmore
Time to learn which end of a soldering iron to hold onto


Seriously, though, they're that good? (I just have a bit of trouble believing that, since I heard the HeadRoom Omega2s twice, separated by about a year, and couldn't stand them. It sounded like they resonated/echoed! And this was a year apart, so I'm assuming that any problem would have showed up or changed in the meantime; not to mention that Todd probably used them and would have heard something amiss)
 
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markl

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Quote:

Well the last time I had the R10s, I had the 9000ES with the Sugden Headmaster. That's quite a good deal better then where I started with back in Headwize I think, and I had already posted many posts about the R10s based on this better system. But even with a better system behind it, the reality is, not much changed from my initial review that I had on Headwize.


Oh, pah-leez.... Not so!!!! And you didn't have this set-up to play against the Omega 2's, anyway.

Admit it-- you regret relinquishing your R10's to Hirsh. It's OK--- we're all pals here...

Quote:

Which is what drove me to the Omega IIs.


What "drove" you to the Omega 2's was the fact that you needed to sell your R10's to raise capital.

So you "settled" for an electrostatic set-up that limits you to a single very exspensive amp that is not all that well-regarded. With the R10, you had every single hi-end amp at your disposal. With the Stax Omega, you had two less-than-perfect amps available.

markl
 
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