What makes headphones cost as much as they do?
May 13, 2012 at 3:50 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 10

hartlocker

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I'm brand new to this headphone crowd, and I've recently ordered a pair of Monoprice 8323s to get started on something cheap. (Very low on funds right now.) 
I was wondering what specific parts of a headphone make it cost as much as it does. I am excited to receive my headphones, and according to people's experiences and reviews of them they are good budget headphones.
I feel one day, maybe in a few months, I want to purchase a pair of better, higher quality headphones. Like ATH M50s or  some Sennheisers. I just want to be able to justify the price of them to myself, and the pursuit of knowledge, naturally.
 
May 13, 2012 at 4:08 PM Post #3 of 10

jerg

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I can think of three reasons, personally. Brand, cost of research and the commonly gold-plated plugs that come with most mid-range sets.

 
Gold plating on plugs cost next to nothing, it's a few microns thick, cost maybe $1 or 2 (maybe even less) in terms of gold volume.
 
The more expensive cabling material would be OFC or 7N silver used in good cables.
 
May 13, 2012 at 4:45 PM Post #4 of 10

Extra

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It's pretty much all R&D and in some occasions materials. Also, a decent profit must be made, so manufacturers bump up the prices to whatever they see fit. Some companies are more devious with this than others, like Monster.
 
May 13, 2012 at 5:48 PM Post #5 of 10

DaBomb77766

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Quote:
 
Gold plating on plugs cost next to nothing, it's a few microns thick, cost maybe $1 or 2 (maybe even less) in terms of gold volume.
 
The more expensive cabling material would be OFC or 7N silver used in good cables.

It'd actually probably be closer to pennies that it'd cost, the cost of just electroplating it will probably cost more than the material itself.
 
Marketing, R&D and materials are a pretty large part of it though.  Making the assembly line to tool all of the different parts is really, really expensive - more than most people realize.  A good company should also do a ton of R&D - they need to test their product out with as many people as possible to see that it fits the most heads (this is very important for on-ear headphones in particular) and sounds good for everyone, and things like durability testing would cost money too.

Marketing should really come last in the list (would make sense to us, but of course marketing is technically the single most important thing if you want to sell well), but some companies like Monster and Bose probably put that up as #1, and it shows - market your product well and it will sell regardless of how good it is.
 
May 13, 2012 at 6:05 PM Post #6 of 10

PurpleAngel

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Quote:
I'm brand new to this headphone crowd, and I've recently ordered a pair of Monoprice 8323s to get started on something cheap. (Very low on funds right now.) 
I was wondering what specific parts of a headphone make it cost as much as it does. I am excited to receive my headphones, and according to people's experiences and reviews of them they are good budget headphones.
I feel one day, maybe in a few months, I want to purchase a pair of better, higher quality headphones. Like ATH M50s or  some Sennheisers. I just want to be able to justify the price of them to myself, and the pursuit of knowledge, naturally.

Some of the cost is for name brand, some is the the amount of money spent on advertising to modivate you to buy their brand.
One way to improve the sound of any headphone is to use a good DAC.
What are you using to drive your Monoprice 8323s?
 
May 13, 2012 at 6:28 PM Post #7 of 10

Redrider469

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Research and development also cost the company money so they need to recoup their costs there. Most headphones are hand assembled so that's more money as well.
 
May 14, 2012 at 12:11 AM Post #9 of 10

wje

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Research and development also cost the company money so they need to recoup their costs there. Most headphones are hand assembled so that's more money as well.

Correct.  Also, recent information has indicated that as the country of China improves itself, manufacturing costs are also increasing.  While China used to be the "go to" when people wanted cheap labor.  Now, many companies are reconsidering their options and certainly have to be a bit more resourceful in selecting a county for manufacturing.  Some of the manufacturing is coming back to the U.S., too, due to the higher labor rates that were previously "peanuts" in other countries.
 
Nov 1, 2012 at 6:13 AM Post #10 of 10

PinoyPogiman

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so all in all, its the:
 
Research, marketing, creating, manufacturing, packaging, assembly, distributing, advertiseing(including possible endorsements), and so on.
 
and Companies distribute to many many many vendors they can find to honorably sell their new wholesale product.
set msrp suggested price to either a short/long term perspective.
 
 
of course there will be some devious companies that will be willing to pull some schemes, or confuse potential buyers into getting something great... Ahem.. "*monster..beatsaudio..*"
 

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