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Why are headphone amplifiers so expensive?

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by noodleboy91, Jan 12, 2012.
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  1. NoodleBoy91
    Just wondering why headphone amplifiers are so expensive.
  2. garetz
    You get what you pay for, generally applies to everything including amps. plus is a niche market. Far fewer headphone amps are sold than headphones themselves are sold.
  3. PurpleAngel Contributor
    Because most people would not be comfortable with building their own amplifier.
  4. not_sure
    Some is made for profits, Rudistor seems like good example. Another have beautiful design of chasis etc which is sure very expensive like Dark Star, BHSE etc. There is also products with quite expensive parts. And there is also many paymants around which company have to pay costs, fee, development etc. So definitely not easy something is worth and a lot of no. And overal quality comerecional products is very expensive.
    And headphones? I think they dont have to be that expensive it is just seems to be new trend from release time HD800...although I believe sombody just can not make good headphones cheap.
    But this is speculations, I think the best answer could give some serious/honest producer/manufacture. 
  5. NoodleBoy91
    Hmm okay fair enough :p.
    It seems to me because they are hand built by the company? mostly.
    I mean the websites of these headphone amplifier retailers are really, well, dodgy looking :p.
    Maybe they could use some of the profits to make there websites look a bit nicer haha. Or not. I dont know.


    On the contrary, I think they are pretty reasonable and very inexpensive as comparing to 2 channel audio amplifier. The darned Bryston / Krell amps go up almost $500.00 each year. For B.A.T, you can forget it unless your income in six figure or so.
  7. Eric_C
    OP: you must be leaving out amps like Fiio E6, cMoy, PA2V2. The price range for amps is very wide.
  8. johnwmclean
    Why are headphone amps so expensive?
    Which amps in particular? There is a wide price range, but for argument sake lets assume it’s the top tier offerings your referring to.
    In general the companies are a small operation, batches are made in small quantities. Quality parts are used such as stepped attenuators, custom transformers, premium capacitors and resistors, custom pcbs, heat sinking and premium tubes. Custom chassis work is probably the most expensive component, many high end amps are two box designs as well.
    The labor needed for assembly, component matching and testing would take many hours. Any reputable company would have a load of testing and tooling equipment.
    All of which add up and when done well i.e. something like the BHSE are expensive.
  9. Eric_C
    ^ Agreed. And as mentioned earlier, it's a niche market. Audiophiles are a small group of consumers, and headphone audiophiles an even smaller segment, I think. So per unit price has to go up to cover the costs.
  10. Dubstep Girl


    +1 thats basically why...
    you get what you pay for. quality from smaller companies that supply a niche market.
  11. Pratt
    Because there are a lot of suckers of course, many of which actually believe the tired old platitude of "you gets whats you pays for". Too bad when blind tested the difference between just about all gear of all price ranges (save cans and speakers) is little to none; I've heard it myself time and again (volume matched and all) with many others who couldn't pick $2000 amps over $200.
    Buy used and or build your own if you can. Even then you are getting ripped off, but then, what's a few hundred anyway? Not much these days.
  12. johnwmclean

    May I ask what your $200 end of game amp is? 
  13. bcasey25raptor
    Because the hobby is filled with rich people and the companies can get away with high prices.
    anetode, Gilly87 and CatboyMac like this.
  14. wink
    This is a typical case of:- "I can't hear the difference, so nobody else can either...".
    Please, take the time to train yourself to hear critically, and learn what the different audio terms mean.
    Then please come back and engage in a meaningful and valid discussion.
  15. FSonicSmith
    The rule of thumb for an audio company to succeed financially is that there is a 1:5 ratio between parts cost and retail price. This of course means that a $1,000 amp has $200 of parts cost. When you factor in that the case can cost half of that, the manufacturer has very little to spend on the important stuff. Obviously, as you move up in cost, the case costs proportionately less (though not always!). For desktop head amps, I would estimate that $1,300 to 1,500 is the sweet spot where the manufacturer has the luxury of making few sacrifices in parts cost in order to put together an impressive looking and sounding product. Let's take the Schiit stuff as an easy example; a casual glance under the hood reveals fairly inexpensive transformers. Frankly, it's amazing that they sound as good as they reportedly do at their price. The Musical Fidelity V-series of components with no-frills black metal casework is another example of a manufacturer dealing with the problem of parts cost. And naturally, this explains the abundance of DIY projects and individual (one man operation) start-ups. 
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