Imagine all of your 'high-end' >$1000 IEMs were made out of $12 Balanced Armatures.
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It's without doubt there is massive profits for headphone manufacturers and retailers here. I personally cannot justify $1000 on a pair of IEM's when the probably cost less than $100 ( or less) to manufacture.
 
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It's without doubt there is massive profits for headphone manufacturers and retailers here. I personally cannot justify $1000 on a pair of IEM's when the probably cost less than $100 ( or less) to manufacture.
Cross over to the bud community .
 
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JustJoseph

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In terms of raw material cost, yes, they may cost 100 to manufacture. However lots of money goes into research and development of the iems, building the crossovers, experimenting with different materials and configurations etc. The complete iems that contain knowles ba and cost $12 won't sound good, you cannot simply put in drivers and expect it to sound good, you need crossovers etc. If it were that easy, then the diy chinese manufacturers producing 10 BAs for $300 would have drived the high end iem manufacturers out of business long ago.

Watch this to get an idea of the work that goes behind designing an iem:
Furthermore, for high-end iems, not many iems are sold, so it is difficult to achieve economies of scale.
 
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crinacle

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Let's do an experiment. Learn to build an IEM, purchase the necessary supplies (depending on the usecase may include a UV curing kit, dremels, lacquer). If going the universal route, buying cheap pre-made shells (that instantly drop the value of your IEM but whatever) but then you'll have to research on what combination works the best and how to arrange it to fit a small volume. That's before trying to find your own "special sauce", a combination that people will actually like instead of some run-of-the-mill crossover that everyone has heard before. Now, at this point you've probably spent north of a hundred hours simply learning to navigate through just the assembly process itself, and another hundred hours figuring out the right combo.

At the end of it all, congratulations! Let's say you created a "modest" 5 driver IEM, which costs you (in this case) $120 just in driver costs (but the drivers can be a lot more for the better ones so $12 per driver is a very conservative estimate). You still have to factor in the cost of the cable (which could be cheap, but nobody likes the cheap ones), sourcing your tips, designing your package, having someone manufacture your packaging (or not, you could just get Pelican cases but they're not cheap either!) and any other small detail like the finish of the IEMs themselves through graphics or multiple colour options and whatnot. But let's just ignore everything else that makes an IEM an IEM and just focus on your baby that you made with cheap $12 drivers.

So, $120. How much is your time worth? Are you willing to dump all those hours of hard work experimenting around with your desired combination and charge a minimal "workmanship fee" for your new baby? Why not charge $150 total? Again, we're excluding the costs of above I've said above so you'd be bleeding cash at that point. $200? Maybe possible; is this going to be your day job from now on or are you just going to keep it limited within a hobbyist's capacity with a real job on side? If you're serious on starting a business, is a profit of <$100 an IEM going to keep you afloat? The audiophile industry is rather small and unless your IEM gets Campfire Andromeda-levels of hype, you're not going to be selling much. Not willing to be paid less than minimum wage? Assuming you sell 10 IEMs a month for a company that just started out with no brand power or real marketing, that means you have to bump up your profit margin and that original $150 price goal suddenly gets driven up beyond $400. More if your building process has extra bells and whistles, or if you decided to go ham with cable, or virtually any decision you as the owner of your new company makes.

My point is, it's very easy to point a finger at the cost of the components and assume that you're entitled to the bill of materials cost because "it costs that much to make". Most of the boutique IEM makers are just that: boutique. They have virtually no economies of scale and their products cater to a niche market. Having the knowledge of how much a balanced armature driver costs isn't a "wake up sheeple" notion when you consider every other factor that goes into building an IEM besides just the materials themselves. I haven't even begun to touch on the concept of warranty, marketing, accounting for review unit losses, even then still assuming that the company is a one-man operation and not having any employees. All of a sudden, charging $1000 for your baby (that you'll probably make $500 per unit after taxes) doesn't seem like such a bad idea.

TL;DR: BAs aren't the only thing that make an IEM.
 
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Dude, the individual copy of an app costs next to nothing and still people pay for it. Or a song, or a book, or your $100 jeans has only $5 worth of fabric in it. Why do people always get so worked up about the bill of materials. You pay for so much more, R&D, marketing , admin, distribution, logistics, taxes, licensing costs, safety certification, production, patents, warranty claims, packaging and service, and and and,,,,,

If you ever find a price unjustified, don’t buy it. If you happily pay for it, enjoy it. There is only one measure, what’s it worth for you!

Cheers.
 
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turn on the subtitles
 
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I was asked by a high end audio company to preview a new headphone they were planning to release. As part of the auditioning process I had a chance to correspond with their lead designer. He said that the main difference between high end headphones and midrange ones were manufacturing tolerances. Most good quality headphones are checked to see if they fall within +/-5dB of the target response. This manufacturer was shooting for +/-1dB. Consistency of manufacture is what you are paying for with high end cans. The same manufacturer later came out with a budget model that was very similar. I don't know for sure, but I suspect I know where all the units that didn't meet the =/-1dB goal ended up.

For those who think audible transparency doesn't exist in amps, see this post... https://www.head-fi.org/threads/testing-audiophile-claims-and-myths.486598/
 
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0F63784C-C8FF-4E45-B063-31B222E7EF19.jpeg


Cost of materials $23; retail $100. What’s the big deal here?

@https://www.head-fi.org/members/crinacle.171303/

Best post ever!

Still I think all TOTL headphones and IEMs should be no more than a retail of $900. Though the Sony R-10 was equal to costing $5000 in today’s money upon release?

These $2000 and $4000 IEMs and headphones are getting way to darn expensive to buy and it’s not stopping any time soon. Maybe more mom and pop companies will get in on the gold rush and even-out the playing field?

1CA4BAA2-9144-4122-9E28-6E8E2CC225C1.png
 
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I might be get shot by saying this but i can't be bothered anyway so the thing is , if one has the means to spend on over 2 , 3 k worth of quality TOTL cans or iem please carry on and do so .

For those not so lucky or does not had that spending power yet wants to experience TOTL quality type of music i would suggest and recommend to take a look at earbud .

Yes a earbud feel and looks like a cheapo , but that does not mean the music singing through these buds are of inferior to cans or TOTL iem .

Some of the very best bud money can buy u with exceptional good music cost u a merely 178 , 358 , 716 usd respectively .
And these are some TOTL bud which can surpass most of the TOTL iems , cans out there .

I been enlightened and through buds , i understood there's no need to spend that several thousand of dollars for a pricey iem to enjoy exceptional good quality totl type of music .
A true totl bud can do the job better for just serveral hundreds of dollars .

Head over to the earbud community , forget about those extortionate type of TOTL gears .
There are cheaper and better alternative out there .

Bud for hobbies and for life
 
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