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Most ridiculously overpriced equipment?

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Most ridiculously overpriced equipment?

Postby Hypnotoad10 » Fri Jul 22, 2011 4:30 pm

What's the most obnoxiously over-priced audio equipment you can find?

Here's a pair of headphones that cost "just under $20,000".

http://gadgets.luxist.com/2005/12/14/sennheiser-he-90-headphones

And here is a pair of speaker cables that will set you back $7,250!!!

http://gizmodo.com/302478/7250-speaker-cables-turn-you-into-a-dancin-fool

As an aside, what do you think the maximum price is for a given item (cables, amps etc..) where equipment above this price provides no additional audible quality or fidelity?
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Re: Most ridiculously overpriced equipment?

Postby dmills » Fri Jul 22, 2011 5:27 pm

While both those examples are ahhh "rather extreme", and while amps and wire are both solved problems from a technical perspective for all intents and purposes at audio frequency, auditory memory is a strange beast and I don't doubt that anyone spending that cash on either will be able to convince themselves there is an obvious improvement.....

I would think that for a hifi amp of typical hifi sort of power levels and having no 'special' features the "no further audible improvement point" would be somewhere south of a thousand pounds, assuming the speakers present a reasonable load and you don't have specific requirements.

For wire, B&Q, 2 core 6A round lawnmower flex in a domestic rig is probably way more then is really needed (Assuming the amp was designed by somebody actually competent). The phono leads that come with the gear are just fine.

Speakers are a can of worms, as they basically all sound different, and they all have all sorts of infelicities, which ones you prefer is the question. This is however the place (together with room treatment) to throw the real money, get the amp from a charity shop if it means you can spend an extra hundred quid on the speakers!

DACs and such probably only really start converging towards 'accurate' one you are paying a thousand pounds for a 2 channel unit, but some of the cheaper stuff is fine as long as the incoming spdif is clean (which is where all the crap about different sounding CD transports comes from).

Note that the above applies to hifi in the original sense (reproducing the recording as accurately as possible), if you want something that introduces particular distortions (People use words like "Warm"), you can spend pretty much whatever you like on inaccurate but pleasing boxes of electronics....
Valve amps are generally NOT accurate, they have masses more distortion then a competent solid state design run with sufficient headroom, yet they are popular because they sound nice (but not accurate)....

Regards, Dan.
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Re: Most ridiculously overpriced equipment?

Postby ken long » Fri Jul 22, 2011 7:01 pm

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Re: Most ridiculously overpriced equipment?

Postby narcoman » Fri Jul 22, 2011 9:03 pm


He'll be waiting a looong time for that money....
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Re: Most ridiculously overpriced equipment?

Postby Guest » Sat Jul 23, 2011 2:33 am

Sennheiser

I need one of those to listen to my 48k MP3s
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Re: Most ridiculously overpriced equipment?

Postby EnlightenedHand » Mon Jul 25, 2011 1:24 am

Famous preamps by the most famous preamp manufacturers of the last 30 years or so. You know who they are.

I see no reason why that gear has to cost hundreds to thousands per channel.
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Re: Most ridiculously overpriced equipment?

Postby dmills » Mon Jul 25, 2011 2:54 am

Small market, someone has to eat the development costs.......

Also the markups down the distribution chain are somewhat major, rule of thumb is that the BOM should not exceed 20% of the retail price if you want to show any per unit profit (Distribution chain will approximately double the factory gate price and your overheads eat the remainder).

Lets see, that means that a thousand pound (at retail) box should not cost more then £200 in bits, not too bad if you are selling thousands, but short run metalwork (and plastic molding is worse) has both a large per unit cost and a very large up front tooling cost.

Can I build a competitive preamp for £25? Of course I can (as can any engineer worth their salt), but it will be housed in a ratty diecast box from my junk pile and the power supply will not be UL approved, and the CE marking tests will not have been done, and it probably wont be on a PCB..... Add a nice looking box and the price just doubled, add a commercial power supply and add a tenner, put the thing through the appropriate EMC workup, great now I have a two thousand pound upfront cost....

Now I need to market the thing into an already crowded marketplace (And get the usual paid endorsements)....

Of that thousand pound retail, 20%is VAT, and I might be seeing £400 of the remainder across my books (The retail and distribution chain has swallowed the rest), but I need to cover an ongoing marketing spend, power, rates, staff, and last but not least the parts bill.

Also, some of my products will be commercial failures, and the successes have to cover that.

Boutique preamps are a SMALL market and the cost reflects that.

Regards, Dan.
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Re: Most ridiculously overpriced equipment?

Postby Frank Eleveld » Mon Jul 25, 2011 7:15 am

Amen, Dan!
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Re: Most ridiculously overpriced equipment?

Postby Tomás Mulcahy » Mon Jul 25, 2011 9:59 am

Frank Eleveld wrote:Amen, Dan!
+1!
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Re: Most ridiculously overpriced equipment?

Postby Dave B » Mon Jul 25, 2011 12:35 pm

Actually Dan, your figures are old. The days of 'double it and add vat' are no long since gone - margins are much finer than that. Maybe you'd see 500-600, but your costs would be almost that. People are cutting their own throats just to stay in business these days.

I don't think anyone is getting rich off audio gear at the moment!
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Re: Most ridiculously overpriced equipment?

Postby zenguitar » Mon Jul 25, 2011 12:38 pm

+1 Dan,

It's always interesting to do the numbers for real and see how costs break down. And we are fortunate these days, modern CNC machining etc makes small run enclosures and custom parts cheaper than they've ever been.

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Re: Most ridiculously overpriced equipment?

Postby dmills » Mon Jul 25, 2011 2:25 pm

Yea, but I still have to order 50's to make the setup charges reasonable.

I know what Holt Broadcast will charge me for a one off rack case with all the holes punched and it is NOT pretty, been there, done that (Much better at 50 unit batch sized runs however).

That equates to some serious up front cost, then I have to store the benighted things and space is not cheap.....

I might see £500 - £600, but my overheads have also gone up massively since I last played this game.

Probably a good third of that £500 goes on marketing, a hundred or so goes on the BOM, I have to pay someone to put the thing together.... Looks to me like I might make a fifty or a hundred quid on the unit if I am lucky and sales meet predictions, if not I loose my shirt.

This means that realistically I need to be shipping at least 10 units a week to make the thing pay and to pay for the development of the next one..... And the boutique preamp market is not that big.

It is worth noting that demand/price elasticity means that picking the retail price point is a critical consideration in all this, and that is tricky in and of itself.

NOT a market I have any desire to play in.

Now me I tent to buy this sort of thing from broadcast suppliers, the gear is usually at least as good, but they do not do massive marketing budgets or 'lifestyle' marketing, so the gear tends to be significantly cheaper.

Regards, Dan.
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Re: Most ridiculously overpriced equipment?

Postby SafeandSound Mastering » Mon Jul 25, 2011 5:03 pm

Being in the market for some new software, I have been having a lot of fun listening to plug in demo's.(great fun in fact) This has got to be one of the costliest I have seen for a while:

http://www.soundsliveshop.com/p/Steinberg_RND_Portico_5033_EQ_Plug-in/RND-5033EQ

It may indeed be the best thing since sliced bread (I have yet to hear the demo) but you do have to wonder if Steinberg have had a little look at what is available today before giving it a £400.00 price tag.

I remember being in the PMC factory in Luton not so long ago and the guys said " And these are the mortgage speakers", OMG behomoths of sonic reproduction. (and probably worth the price tag)
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Re: Most ridiculously overpriced equipment?

Postby Martin Walker » Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:00 pm

SafeandSound123 wrote:It may indeed be the best thing since sliced bread (I have yet to hear the demo) but you do have to wonder if Steinberg have had a little look at what is available today before giving it a £400.00 price tag.

You also have to wonder if the price has to be agreed with the original designer of the hardware with a view to making his original hardware still seem worth the extra over the software


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Re: Most ridiculously overpriced equipment?

Postby Lodestone » Wed Aug 17, 2011 11:14 pm

This cable has been legend around the net for a while now

Denon-AKDL1

The greatest fun is to be had reading the customer reviews. Unfortunately the original price isn't there anymore, but it was a few hundred pounds for 1.5 m of CAT-5 cable as I recall...
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Re: Most ridiculously overpriced equipment?

Postby Zukan » Thu Aug 18, 2011 7:39 am

Martin Walker wrote:
SafeandSound123 wrote:It may indeed be the best thing since sliced bread (I have yet to hear the demo) but you do have to wonder if Steinberg have had a little look at what is available today before giving it a £400.00 price tag.

You also have to wonder if the price has to be agreed with the original designer of the hardware with a view to making his original hardware still seem worth the extra over the software


Martin

It carries the Steinberg tag. That's all I have to say about it.
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