Why are headphones getting more expensive?
Apr 15, 2012 at 4:46 AM Post #16 of 44

Roller

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Sennheiser has gotten "more expensive" because they've gone to an enforced MAP (the prices you see today for HD 600s and HD 650s is what SRP has been for years and years and years). Like Grado. Beyerdynamic prices normally dance all over the place. Like Denon. Based on the market.
 
As far as the overall trend towards more models at the $400+ mark, that's a bit more recent trend. And you can thank market researchers and more directly, Beats, for that one. Basically market research from a few years ago started showing that headphones as a market/segment were not only profitable, they were showing growth even during the recession. Even the super expensive models ($350+). So of course more people want into that. There's profits. (And I don't count Bose in here, because Bose has had a $150 and $300 offering since the proverbial beginning of time and it didn't seem to do anything either way years ago; usually they were just regarded as a bad value and written off relative to cheaper offerings). 
 
It also gets screwy when you have Beats products (which have dominated market share) and you want to position your product as an "audiophile" offering, and not compete with them. That sees an upward trend too (pricing is part of marketing). Beats is also unique because they've changed headphones from being an A/V accessory into a fashion item - like shoes or jewelry. End result is you get models like the Beyerdynamic T70, a "mid-range" headphone with an SRP of $669. Even five years ago it would've been laughed off the market. But today, they let it get "discounted" to $399 or $499 and it sells. That's what happens when "bad" headphones are $299. 
 
Inflation is only a small piece of the puzzle though - we aren't seeing huge inflation. And the prices of other durable goods haven't skyrocketed as a result. This is simply market exploitation - it's a new segment that happens to be returning huge profits, and consumers don't really seem to have an issue with a $400 headphone even if it performs as well as something that would've cost $30 or $50 or $80 as little as ten years ago. For example, does anyone remember the Sennheiser HD 485?
 
Of course, this isn't universal. Some manufacturers have absolutely resisted this upward trend. Examples include Koss, Bose, Grado, and Ultrasone. Sony changes models too often to really make a case for, but they haven't danced too far out of the $50-$250 range in a while (they always have "one" over that, but not their entire product line - this week it's the Z1000). 
 



beerchug.gif

 
One can wonder of the short term benefits Beats brought to the audio world in terms of exposure, as well as the long term drawbacks regarding price trends.
 
Apr 15, 2012 at 5:08 AM Post #17 of 44

wilky61

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If not for the Beats, my interest in upgrading to audiophile equipment probably never would have been piqued in the first place.
 
Luckily, I stumbled upon this website when trying to decide if the whole Beats thing was a marketing sham. Imagine my shock when I realized that I could purchase something with the musicality of the AKG Q701s for about the same price as the Beats Solos... or something like the Denon D5000s for not too much more than the Beats Studios...
 
Quote:
beerchug.gif

 
One can wonder of the short term benefits Beats brought to the audio world in terms of exposure, as well as the long term drawbacks regarding price trends.



 
 
Apr 15, 2012 at 6:41 AM Post #18 of 44

noway

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Sennheiser has gotten "more expensive" because they've gone to an enforced MAP (the prices you see today for HD 600s and HD 650s is what SRP has been for years and years and years). Like Grado. Beyerdynamic prices normally dance all over the place. Like Denon. Based on the market.
 



 
 
Because of this they've lost my business. My first 2 decent headphones (all in the last month) have been Beyerdynamic and Denon instead and I'm done shopping.
 
Apr 15, 2012 at 10:52 AM Post #20 of 44

telecaster

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Companies screw up poor audiophiles by tagging high prices. Deception is the key here, a high price tag doesn't reflect the objective quality.
 
Apr 15, 2012 at 4:12 PM Post #23 of 44

obobskivich

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I agree with all three of these. And have no doubt that Sennheiser has lost some business, I'm wondering if they aren't making it back on the mark-up though...
Quote:
 
 
Because of this they've lost my business. My first 2 decent headphones (all in the last month) have been Beyerdynamic and Denon instead and I'm done shopping.



 


Quote:
Companies screw up poor audiophiles by tagging high prices. Deception is the key here, a high price tag doesn't reflect the objective quality.



 


Quote:
DEMAND has gone up ten fold due to Beats making fullsize headphones "in" again and apple earbuds inferior 



 
 
Apr 15, 2012 at 7:30 PM Post #25 of 44

PurpleAngel

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Could it be that Sennheiser knows this time of year that sales are going to be slow, so they are trying to make as much money as they can off the few they do sell.
New customers will assume that the Sennheiser headphones must be great stuff if the price is so high.
 
Apr 15, 2012 at 7:33 PM Post #26 of 44

mc21

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Quote:
Could it be that Sennheiser knows this time of year that sales are going to be slow, so they are trying to make as much money as they can off the few they do sell.
New customers will assume that the Sennheiser headphones must be great stuff if the price is so high.



Maybe it's just me but I always thought that when sales are down, the company ties to bring it up with sales.
 
Apr 15, 2012 at 7:48 PM Post #27 of 44

jerg

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Maybe it's just me but I always thought that when sales are down, the company ties to bring it up with sales.



That only works well with products where prestige is not of as much importance as function. The thing with headphones and audiophile products in general is that most customers tend to weigh a lot of an item's subjective quality based on its price-range, assuming of course it performs well in the first place. Most headphones above $200 are not even CLOSE to the manufacturing cost, and so in many cases the prices define how people view them.
 
Sennheiser must have taken a risk and jacked those prices up, and actually fared well from that, hence the price being so stable ~$500 now.
 
Apr 15, 2012 at 8:37 PM Post #28 of 44

PurpleAngel

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Quote:
Quote:
Could it be that Sennheiser knows this time of year that sales are going to be slow, so they are trying to make as much money as they can off the few they do sell.
New customers will assume that the Sennheiser headphones must be great stuff if the price is so high.

Maybe it's just me but I always thought that when sales are down, the company ties to bring it up with sales.

After Christmas (Jan, Feb, March) people do not buy much in the way of non-necessities, they are still enjoying their Christmas presents.
(lots of Christians in the western world, even non-Christians in the western world swap presents).
Here in the USA, they (the buyers) are thinking about all that tax money they have to send in by April 15th (April 17th this year).
So people (at least here in the USA) are holding off buying non-necessities until after tax time (April 15th)
So Sennheiser knows that no matter how much they drop the price on their higher end headphones, they are not going to sell that many more.
 
 
 
 
Apr 15, 2012 at 8:56 PM Post #29 of 44

bcschmerker4

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Quote:
Companies screw up poor audiophiles by tagging high prices. Deception is the key here, a high price tag doesn't reflect the objective quality.



Exactly.  Monster Cable is not at all a high-end vendor, unlike Martin-Logan, Sennheiser, Beyerdynamic, Grado, McIntosh and that ilk; and I've read the complaints that some of our more experienced Members had to raise against Monster's beats by dr. dre products.  In my own search for a headset to replace the Corsair HS-1A's that recently failed me (see also "Need help narrowing search for headset for Asus XONAR"), I am not really satisfied with most potential replacements' stock harnesses, which seem awfully light for my durability requirements; too-light cables also add resistance and stray inductance and thereby color the sound.
 
For me the ideal headphone, from an electrical perspective, would use 18 AWG cores on both left and right coaxes, with a 1/4" (6.3mm) plug at the amplifier end and 250-300Ω transducers in the earcups that can handle 4maxW and deliver a frequency response of 16 Hz-16kHz ± 0.5 dB with minimal phase variance; building headphones to these specifications from scratch is, unfortunately, beyond my resources as of April 2012.
 
Apr 15, 2012 at 9:14 PM Post #30 of 44

mrcuccuou

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in my local hp store every customer who ask why are the prices too high they always say that they arent really high "just look at the beats".. they dont sell any beats btw...
 

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