Grado PS-1...Wow!
Aug 30, 2008 at 1:04 AM Post #61 of 105

Zanth

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You would be right but we are indicating that Head-fiers front the cost so from a business standpoint it completely makes sense so long as taking the time to do it is considered valuable.

If the R&D + an initial run is paid for then if successful the company could continue to sell.
 
Aug 30, 2008 at 2:19 AM Post #62 of 105

number1sixerfan

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Zanth /img/forum/go_quote.gif
You would be right but we are indicating that Head-fiers front the cost so from a business standpoint it completely makes sense so long as taking the time to do it is considered valuable.

If the R&D + an initial run is paid for then if successful the company could continue to sell.



Whether or not we front the cost, the fact is that they would be losing money because the price they charge for a headphone does not cover the prices or research/development and etc.

There may not even be enough head-fiers interested enough to get to the break even point. Just as Cool Torpedo suggested, although many state interest, there are few who would pay for a $2500 plus headphone.
 
Aug 30, 2008 at 2:34 AM Post #63 of 105

Beagle

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Yes, if Head-Fi'ers can do a "pre group-buy" that would fund (or refund) the cost of R&D, then it would definitely be more appealing to a manufacturer. Let's face it, Head-Fi is almost singlehandedly responsible for some of the model sonic changes and new model introductions of certain headphones. People dissatisfied with the 'lack of bass' and 'distant mids' on the K501 or the 'lack of soundstage' on the RS-1 had those problems dealt with through the K701 and GS1000.

The obvious thing to do would be to have interested Head-Fi'ers agree on what kind of sound they want and what aesthetics appeal to them as a collective, and plan out a headphone design and submit that as the blueprint for what a custom headphone should be. A prototype or two could be assembled and passed around as per Zanth's loaner program. I think there has to be a plan in place before people commit upwards of $1500 upfront. If everyone participating simply wants a PS-1 as it was, and is willing to pay upfront, then it sounds pretty simple if JG feels it is worth his while. But I think more folks here would be attracted to a custom phone at a lower price. A bit more volume to go with the profit side of things. Would Head-Fi'ers be content with a version of the PS-1 with the drivers glued in carefully (instead of the hex screws) if it made little difference in the sound but cut the manufacturing cost (and thus the retail price)?

I don't see the harm in asking John Grado if this idea could at least be taken into consideration. Anyone got John's number?
wink_face.gif
 
Aug 30, 2008 at 2:51 AM Post #64 of 105

Zanth

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Quote:

Originally Posted by number1sixerfan /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Whether or not we front the cost, the fact is that they would be losing money because the price they charge for a headphone does not cover the prices or research/development and etc.

There may not even be enough head-fiers interested enough to get to the break even point. Just as Cool Torpedo suggested, although many state interest, there are few who would pay for a $2500 plus headphone.



If there are too few, then it won't get off the ground. The key is not seeing the manufacturer, which ever it is, as a manufacturer designing on their own. Rather, to see them as a contractor we as a group "hire." If seen as that, it makes more sense in terms of what the cost would be. We would make demands, they would come back with a price. We would then have to come back with the money, etc. The price they charge DOES cover R&D as any manufacturer incorporates that into their sale price. What is required of course is economy of sales to offset that cost. The first headphone made might cost $20k. The second drops the cost of both to $19800 each, the 100th, $1500. As an example, the target is $1500 to sell for say $2000, so 100 would be required. If not, then either fewer people meet the $200000 or the project never starts. Either way, so long as a price is agreed upon it would fly so long as everyone was willing to put forward what is required.


Beagle is spot on with his post. Money is not really the issue so long as we have the numbers and a manufacturer is happy with the demand and the efforts required to go forward. I think Beagle is spot on when he notes that manufacturers read our forums and listen to our membership and are designing headphones with collective opinions as a basis. K701, GS-1000 and HF-1s are a good example. If the HD700s have no veil we'll know Sennheiser was listening/reading too
smily_headphones1.gif


If we had a few demos circulating to meet the general desires of those that pre-paid then I think it could work. THe problem could be though, that members would be pretty demanding wanting perfection for say $2k. Think of the R10's and the luxury that one gets with a pair of those. Are we aiming for the best Grado? Or the best headphone PERIOD! If the former, then we could request metal, screws, leather and maybe even leather pads. But to start demanding say, lamb skin this, plush box that, new cabling etc, the price could jump very high because in the case of Grado, they are not nearly as large as Sony or Sennheiser or Audio Technica who could deal well for low costs on items in bulk.

Still, if what people are after is an updated version of the HP-1000's, then maybe that could be arranged? If people want electrostatic speed in a Grado design, then 2k won't cut it without an abundance of members prepaying.
 
Aug 30, 2008 at 4:52 AM Post #65 of 105

number1sixerfan

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I understand the logic but it makes almost no sense from a business standpoint, especially when you consider that we are individual people on a forum, not a corporation, business, etc.

But hey! I'm not gonna kill you guys dream. lol
biggrin.gif


I think if anyone, Grado would be the person to at least listen to such a proposition.
 
Aug 30, 2008 at 6:48 AM Post #66 of 105

krmathis

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Quote:

Originally Posted by vcoheda /img/forum/go_quote.gif
i was thinking more along the lines of $1200-$1400. if it's going to cost 2k, you might as well just buy an HP1 or PS1.


Then please tell me where to get a NOS HP1 or PS1 for $2k...
wink.gif

I stated upwards of $2k in my previous post, since thats what I am willing to pay. But of course $13-1400 would be more reasonable. Or $4-500, which afaik were the price of the HP1000 back in the days.
 
Aug 30, 2008 at 9:24 AM Post #67 of 105

Cool_Torpedo

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Some time ago there was a thread at the headphones forum asking people about the features they'd want to find in some new phones. It seemed that it wasn't possible to find an agreement. Each one of us has different goals and expectations.

Some here at Head-fi have tried many top quality phones and if designing something from scratch, would like to have it all, something like the resolution, airiness and clarity of the R10/K1000 with the luxury and comfort of the R10 or DX1000, the bass of the L3000 but well balanced to the rest of the spectrum, the PRAT of the Grados, the timbric accuracy and speed of some electrostats, and so on. Others probably would be well content with something offering very good quality. In any case it would be very difficult for the designer/manufacturer offering something that really pleases every single investor and that also could have wide acceptance for selling to more people than the initial orderers. This would imply that there should be an evaluation committee which would be entitled to approve the prototype in the name of all investors. Or perhaps that the manufacturer accepted that every single member could have a custom fine-tunning on his phones for his specific requirements. Any of these options would be very difficult to handle, especially if you're paying a big amount of money like 2000-2500 USD. The more money involved, the more difficult would be finding an agreement good for all.

In my opinion, the easiest way would be approaching a manufacturer with the means, skills and knowledge to build really good phones and leaving to his judgment what can be done for the budget we could put together. If Grado, then asking him if he could offer a PS-1-like phone with maybe some improvements, not in the way the purchasers see the improvements, but in the way the own John Grado thought the PS-1 could be improved. So perhaps he might find interesting trying different enclosure materials -aerolam, meerschaum, magnesium, rare woods, etc- building a new driver, trying different cable geometries... whatever he thought could offer a better result, not really focused in pleasing everybody but in building what he believes is the best he can make at that price point.

I still think that there's not a critical mass of interested people, willing to invest 2000 USD, to make such project viable. In fact we could start a poll here asking "How much would you pay for advanced towards the design of a new high-end headphone?" and see what kind of money would people invest, and also how many people replies. We could ask for the top investment, and make different ranges like 500-750, 750-1000, 1000-1500, 1500-2000, 2000-2500, more than 2500... This would give an idea about the feasibility of this project.

Rgrds
 
Aug 30, 2008 at 2:24 PM Post #68 of 105

braillediver

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The World as I see it:

When I started visiting Head-Fi there were High-End Headphones readily available and more would come into production. But there really wasn’t much in the way of High End Headphone amps. At the time the RKV MKII and Melos SHA Gold were some of the higher end ones short of going to the E.A.R. HP4.

Now there are numerous high-end headphone amps currently in production and there are numerous $5,000 plus headphone amps out in enthusiasts hands. Heck a $5K headphone amp isn’t really a big deal anymore.

But there’s no source for high-end headphones to be used with the high-end headphone amps. What are the people using the high-end headphone amps with?

The total number of truly high-end headphones owned worldwide is fixed and diminishing as time goes by. And that number is what (?) 10,000 or less- probably a lot less. Is the proliferation of high-end headphone amps just filling the market need of the current owners of those limited high-end headphones? Does that mean the amp market will cease when the current owners get a nice amp?

If there’s no market for a $2000-$4000 headphone why are amp makers continuing to design and build expensive headphone amps?


I don’t know of many or any big manufacturers making high-end headphone amps it’s all the small guys filling the niche. Does this mean only the small guys can take the chance of making a high-end headphone?

I think the 2-channel speaker market just starts to get interesting in the $2000 to $5000 range.


For me once I broke through the mental barrier of paying over $1000 for a pair of headphones the benefits became obvious and desirable. The way they scale with system improvements and the subtle nuances in sound with those upgrades was amazing.


People say there is no market for a high end headphone but why is there so many high end headphone amps being developed, made and sold?

I’m just trying to make sense of a senseless market.


Mitch
 
Aug 30, 2008 at 5:53 PM Post #69 of 105

vcoheda

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i think there is definitely a market for high end headphones.

the question for this thread is, whether there is enough of a market so that one could pre-sell a specified quantity. that is something harder to achieve. but until someone approaches grado (or other manufacturer), this is all fantasy anyway.
 
Aug 30, 2008 at 7:15 PM Post #71 of 105

Cool_Torpedo

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Varma /img/forum/go_quote.gif
How about moving this thread to Headphones Forum instead of Hi-End Forum, so that more people will be aware of this thread.


More than this full thread, it'd be interesting, if we decide to open a poll to know how much money, and how many people would be interested in such project, having it posted in the general headphones forum.

I don't think it has much sense approaching any manufacturer without knowing beforehand how many people will commit and what amount would be advanced.
 
Aug 31, 2008 at 12:05 AM Post #72 of 105

Beagle

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Quote:

Originally Posted by braillediver /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I think the 2-channel speaker market just starts to get interesting in the $2000 to $5000 range.


Which is the equivalent to $50 to $100 range in headphones, as far as sonics go (which is why we're here). The SR60 has as much or more resolution than probably any speaker <$10,000. I'm sure there are audiophile multi-billionaires who'd pay a king's ransom for the perfect loudspeaker if it could be done. But it can't be done. Me, rather than a whole new design, I'd like to have John Grado design a PS-1 with GS1000 drivers that uses the bagel pads. It should clamp a little tighter than the GS1000 and have good weight distribution. I've never been convinced that the mahogany is the best material for all types of music. I think metal (with the isolation provided by bagels) might be it.
 
Aug 31, 2008 at 12:30 AM Post #73 of 105

vcoheda

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Cool_Torpedo /img/forum/go_quote.gif
More than this full thread, it'd be interesting, if we decide to open a poll to know how much money, and how many people would be interested in such project, having it posted in the general headphones forum.


start a new thread and link to this one or page 3 of this one, as that's when the discussion started to take place.

Quote:

I don't think it has much sense approaching any manufacturer without knowing beforehand how many people will commit and what amount would be advanced.


i actually see it the other way around. think it makes more sense to find out if something like this would even be considered by a manufacturer and if so under what conditions. once you have parameters in place, then it is easier to gauge real interest.
 
Aug 31, 2008 at 1:27 AM Post #74 of 105

Zanth

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Quote:

Originally Posted by number1sixerfan /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I understand the logic but it makes almost no sense from a business standpoint, especially when you consider that we are individual people on a forum, not a corporation, business, etc.


IF you understood the logic, you would understand that from a business standpoint 100 members with money in hand = a corporation or business. Money is money. What a contracting company wants is guaranteed sales for something like this. Money in hand, up front is such a guarantee. I agree with you regarding Grado - they are about the only one I could think of that would consider such an experiment.

Quote:

Originally Posted by braillediver /img/forum/go_quote.gif
But there’s no source for high-end headphones to be used with the high-end headphone amps. What are the people using the high-end headphone amps with?

The total number of truly high-end headphones owned worldwide is fixed and diminishing as time goes by. And that number is what (?) 10,000 or less- probably a lot less. Is the proliferation of high-end headphone amps just filling the market need of the current owners of those limited high-end headphones? Does that mean the amp market will cease when the current owners get a nice amp?

If there’s no market for a $2000-$4000 headphone why are amp makers continuing to design and build expensive headphone amps?



Exactly. Folks are continually throwing money at amps, bigger and badder amps as it were. Save for spending $15k on and amp for R10's...most headphones seem to have awesome partners with much more humble amps...Melos (even Maestrobated) with the HP-1000's, RS-1's with the EAR, PS-1's with Melos or the EAR...nothing breaking $5k USD for Grados is necessary. HD650's seem to have a partner in the upper end Emmeline amps or the Headroom amps not to metion the Headamp ones...save for the balanced Blockhead or new Max, everything is under $5k. I don't know what people are spending their money on or rather, what headphones they are partnering their mega buck amps with save for R10's and HE90's. Still, it is happening and this as Mitch points out, indicates that there is a at least some correlation between folks that have/want pricey amps with those that own/want pricey headphones. By pricey, sadly, I mean the best, because the best costs in this hobby most of the time.


Quote:

I don’t know of many or any big manufacturers making high-end headphone amps it’s all the small guys filling the niche. Does this mean only the small guys can take the chance of making a high-end headphone?


Either they are the only ones filling the niche or the only ones able to, on the fly, address the last 1% that some of the members can afford. Only the likes of Headroom and EAR have a standard $4000 amp as a mainstream player in the market, and only EAR would apply as someone that is outside of "headphones only."

Someone like Mikhail, who hand builds everything can easily throw in exotic parts whereas other folks would have to do redesigns particularly since most other companies are doing solid state. This alone permits the little guy from doing something like this on a case by case basis. Even then, we know that in the past (or present) these one off items have had a hard time reaching their customers in a timely fashion. So even for the little guy, it doesn't seem to be an easy thing to do.

Quote:

I think the 2-channel speaker market just starts to get interesting in the $2000 to $5000 range.

For me once I broke through the mental barrier of paying over $1000 for a pair of headphones the benefits became obvious and desirable. The way they scale with system improvements and the subtle nuances in sound with those upgrades was amazing.

People say there is no market for a high end headphone but why is there so many high end headphone amps being developed, made and sold?

I’m just trying to make sense of a senseless market.


Agreed with speakers and the same goes with headphones. The really interesting headphones are all now at the $1k or above mark. That goes for vintage RS-1's, HP-1000's, PS-1's, the high end Audio Technicas, the top Ultrasones, AKG K1000, Qualias and the R10's. The grand electrostats are all >1.5k. The market is healthy enough to support a small batch of premium headphones. No doubt folks are willing to spend money on the HP-1000's based on sonics and build quality. The PS-1's sell equally as well these days, so there is no reason to think, that for a company like Grado, if they were to release something with the features of the HP-1000's (screws etc) and the sonics of something at least on par with the two, that people would be willing to spend in the 1.5k range, perhaps more depending on the design. As you say Mitch, folks are throwing down the cash on big amps, and they are devouring old classic headphones for outrageous prices. Something that is current and at least as good as the "classics" would do a few things:

1) bring more people into the top tier of the headphone hobby because of the readily available units

2) drive sales of amps

3) drive down prices of older models, which would be a welcomed thing for many.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Varma /img/forum/go_quote.gif
How about moving this thread to Headphones Forum instead of Hi-End Forum, so that more people will be aware of this thread.


Let's keep it in the Hi-End for now, because well, this is about the Hi-end and exactly the reason we made a separate forum. There is no reason however that we couldn't have a sibling thread in the general headphone section polling and linking to this discussion.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Beagle /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Which is the equivalent to $50 to $100 range in headphones, as far as sonics go (which is why we're here). The SR60 has as much or more resolution than probably any speaker <$10,000.


Exactly.

Quote:

I'm sure there are audiophile multi-billionaires who'd pay a king's ransom for the perfect loudspeaker if it could be done. But it can't be done. Me, rather than a whole new design, I'd like to have John Grado design a PS-1 with GS1000 drivers that uses the bagel pads. It should clamp a little tighter than the GS1000 and have good weight distribution. I've never been convinced that the mahogany is the best material for all types of music. I think metal (with the isolation provided by bagels) might be it.


I think this is a good point. At least in terms of a Grado, instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, how about improving on it. We know people adore both the HP-1000's and the PS-1's. We know that overall the HP-1000's are the best built headphone ever but we also know that many people appreciate the niceties of the R10's for instance...lamb skin pads, plush, comfy. Trying out something other than the foam pads could be a real winner, of course, given the Grado sound, the foam pads seem to be at least minimally required. Also, as many an R10 owner has discovered, replacing worn R10 pads is very costly. Still, there is no doubt that Metal Grados really garner a lot of fanfare around here, more so than the woodies (though the vintage RS-1's are suddenly on par with the HP-1000's and PS-1's). As such, sticking with a metal design, with screws, leather etc etc, and switching up the drivers may be what people would be willing to shell out 1.5k+ for.

Quote:

Originally Posted by vcoheda /img/forum/go_quote.gif
start a new thread and link to this one or page 3 of this one, as that's when the discussion started to take place.


Agreed.

Quote:

I actually see it the other way around. think it makes more sense to find out if something like this would even be considered by a manufacturer and if so under what conditions. once you have parameters in place, then it is easier to gauge real interest.


I don't know if it matters either way. Although, I believe that if we had a sound number with a firm "here's my money, do with it as you please" upfront when first discussing this with manufacturer, it might lend quite a bit more weight to the initial negotiations.

For a company like Grado, they already did the HF-1's, they do the Alessandros and they did the PS-1's. Doing small numbered runs doesn't seem to be outside their realm of possibilities. I do know that the HF-1's were sold at a cost less than the 225's but cost more to make. They also took up quite a bit of the staff's time from their regular orders so this would have to be considered here as well. Time lines would likely need to be pretty flexible and again, some assurance of money upfront would be good. I can't recall if the HF-1's had pre-orders or not, but if they did, was likely the firm reason for going through with the second round which wasn't initially planned.

Regardless of how we go about this, first and foremost, we would need to decide on a manufacturer to approach. Certainly the folks participating in this thread are at least interested in Grados and/or own their top models. Many won't be interested. I don't much care about the overall feel of the membership, and again I wouldn't care if the manufacturer made a mint off a run of the units, so long as there was an initial run of something great where folks were pleased as punch and guaranteed their phones.

I will say that approaching Grado is a more likely bet than any other manufacturer at this time, and if all went well, others might take a keen look at the experiment and go along with future investigations by members.

The key is this...Grado is privately owned, Sennheiser, Sony and perhaps AT are publically traded companies...doing experiments like this are simply not an option without a lot of red tape. My vote would then be to figure out overall interest and approach Grado as they are my rational choice for success on this.
 
Aug 31, 2008 at 3:10 AM Post #75 of 105

Beagle

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Zanth /img/forum/go_quote.gif
For a company like Grado, they already did the HF-1's, they do the Alessandros and they did the PS-1's. Doing small numbered runs doesn't seem to be outside their realm of possibilities.


Very true. I agree that Grado would seem the only realistic possibility for this, and again, what might work best (if JG is sympathetic toward our cause) is if a prototype could be put together and passed around to potentially interested people through the loaner program. We would submit to John the type of sound we've agreed upon that we wish for, and he could come up with something using the parts he still uses or still can manufacture. I don't think this is mere pie-in-the-sky wishful thinking.
 

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