How can High end speakers cost more than a car - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 53 Old 05-10-2007, 06:28 AM - Thread Starter
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I cant figure out how some speakers can cost more than the average car. Do you think most people that buy these speakers spend more on their audio systems than their house?

what engineering can possible cause speakers to cost so much?

it's like driving through the getto and seeing that $80k BMW in front of a $10k shack.

"Guess what? I've got a fever...and the only prescription is more cowbell!" -Bruce Dickinson, famed producer
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post #2 of 53 Old 05-10-2007, 06:43 AM
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people who buy these speakers think people who own 3 series bimmers live in the ghetto. And they are right :-)

you pose a great question, but put a high price tag on anything and someone will buy it. also, at that level, you only need to sell 10 systems to break even. (just an example folks, please don't squirmish over the number 10, you get the point).

If i have a 4 million dollar house, am i putting in a commoner's 2500 system? no, i'm going to spend 50% on what i want my total home theatre budget. so for a 400K room, that's 200K. now go and get speakers. Just a numbers game.

as for the engineering part of your question, i'll let real nerds tell you if they are different or not.
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post #3 of 53 Old 05-10-2007, 06:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superbnerb View Post

If i have a 4 million dollar house, am i putting in a commoner's 2500 system?

That's common. Then you spend $15K on wiring, automating and hiding it.

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post #4 of 53 Old 05-10-2007, 07:17 AM
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Anytime you are talking about a market with highly subjective products, the price ranges are astronomical. Most consumers are pretty reasonable with computers, which range from $300 to $4000. There's a lot less subjectivity about the performance of a computer as a whole. But look at something like purses, and you'll see $10,000 Louis Vitton purses and $10 K-Mart purses. The performance of that product is highly linked to subjective style.
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post #5 of 53 Old 05-10-2007, 07:32 AM
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As someone in the handbag business (I hate the term purse unless it comes out of the mouth of a woman living someplace like Kentucky) there is a certain amount of status that is associated with names like LV, Fendi, Marc Jacobs, Prada, etc. that she feels when she wears it in town so all her friends can see it. Are these bags in material and workmanship worth this money? No way, but these companies have big expensive R&D depts. just as a lot of speaker companies do and they spend a fortune on advertising. Also, these companies have to come out with new product 5 times a year for Spring, Summer, Back to school, Fall, and Holiday (Traditional Store Buying Patterns) as opposed to once or maybe twice a year for a speaker maker. A speaker can cost as much as a car for pretty much the same reasons.

OK, so why *again* do we need a bigger one?
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post #6 of 53 Old 05-10-2007, 07:44 AM
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Its the same with *ANY* hobby.

Take any hobby you can possibly imagine. How about model railroading...You can run down to wal-mart or possibly Toys R Us, and pick up a set for < $50. Or, you can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a complex setup complete with digitally controlled locomotives/cars etc.

Forget about playing "keep up with the Jones's". There is always someone out there with more money than you, I don't care how rich you are.

The key to enjoying your hobby is to purchase the items that YOU like and fits your budget. My whole system was around $7500, TV included, and you know what...I LOVE MY SETUP!!! And I don't care what anyone else thinks (except maybe my family members who will benefit from it as well).

-Alan
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post #7 of 53 Old 05-10-2007, 07:55 AM
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Quote:
Do you think most people that buy these speakers spend more on their audio systems than their house?

Nope

However, I do know people who have spent as much or more for thier car audio system than the cost of the car.
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post #8 of 53 Old 05-10-2007, 08:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FirebirdTN View Post

Its the same with *ANY* hobby.

Disc golf. We had this discussion years ago and it is the only hobby any of us knew of that had a one time cost. We couldn't find "expert" discs, special towels, shoes, or even disc vacation packages.

All other hobbies will grow until they have consumed your surplus cash.
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post #9 of 53 Old 05-10-2007, 08:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricD View Post

Nope

However, I do know people who have spent as much or more for thier car audio system than the cost of the car.

I know a couple of folk like that too.

I never argue with fools cause from a distance you canÂt tell who is who....
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post #10 of 53 Old 05-10-2007, 08:32 AM
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It's funny that you bring up the house vs car issue as well, because that's what I was thinking when I saw your title.

In some markets, you can buy a nice house for 80K (even less far from cities), yet you can spend much more on a car.

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post #11 of 53 Old 05-10-2007, 08:44 AM
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Remember there are high end cars that cost hundreds of thousands as well... I think the percentages are pretty close. The percentage of people buying say Rolls, Maybach, Lamborghini, etc. compared to the volume brands (even luxury volume brands) is pretty small. The percentage of people buying 50K + speakers then adding the electronics to run them is a very small percentage of the audio community. Luckily the R&D that goes into those really high dollar components (and cars) generally trickles down over time into more mainstream products....
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post #12 of 53 Old 05-10-2007, 09:05 AM
 
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Some people have more dollars than "sense".

JK, if I could afford better I would probably have it.
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post #13 of 53 Old 05-10-2007, 09:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FirebirdTN View Post

Its the same with *ANY* hobby.


Forget about playing "keep up with the Jones's". There is always someone out there with more money than you, I don't care how rich you are.


-Alan

except Bill Gates. i wonder who he tries to keep up with?

"Guess what? I've got a fever...and the only prescription is more cowbell!" -Bruce Dickinson, famed producer
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post #14 of 53 Old 05-10-2007, 09:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by lexa695 View Post

Are these bags in material and workmanship worth this money? No way, but these companies have big expensive R&D depts. just as a lot of speaker companies do and they spend a fortune on advertising.


will you please tell my wife that these handbags are not worth the money.

I'm trying to think of what R&D they would do. isnt a bag just for women (and some males, i refuse to say men) to carry their crap in.

i remember reading a news story about a woman having her high end hand bag stolen from her car and they dumped out the contents including her wallet in the car. they only wanted the bag.

"Guess what? I've got a fever...and the only prescription is more cowbell!" -Bruce Dickinson, famed producer
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post #15 of 53 Old 05-10-2007, 09:26 AM
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It's all perception. Hi end speakers need to cost more, because people equate price with quality. If company "A" charges $20,000, company "B" needs to charge $25,000 to be better, right? I remember a interview with either the dean of Princton or Yale several years ago when someone questioned why they raised their tuition and the response was to keep up with Harvard. They felt potential students would think Harvard is better if they didn't charge more than Harvard.

jon
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post #16 of 53 Old 05-10-2007, 09:33 AM
 
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I read an interview with Mark Levinson in which he was asked "Why do your products cost so much?" his answer was "If I charged less, nobody would buy them."
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post #17 of 53 Old 05-10-2007, 09:52 AM
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Quality costs. Simple as that.
People (like myself) that spend what some seem to think is way too much, have more than likely done a ton of auditions, and know what sound we are looking for, and for the most part what we are looking for cant be had for cheap. I personally put my system together not really knowing what the final cost would be, but also not having a bottomless source to dig from either. When I finally found the sound I wanted, the cost wasnt even considered because it was going to be worth every penny. Its not about stature, or bragging rights, well, maybe for some, but more the satsisfaction of a system put together over time, and enjoyed on a daily basis. None of my friends know how much I spent, nor will I ever tell em, but they know whatever I paid, it was worth it, and they wish they could do the same.
I cant agree with the "all about perception" theory though, there is a HUGE difference in a speaker that is say 15,000, and a speaker that is 5,000, and I highly doubt the 15,000 speaker designer is only charging more because of the 5,000 price point of the other speaker line, there are better materials being used, probably a lot more research/development, and the end product is heads and above performance wise than that of the cheaper models that are designed to appeal to the masses, which is what makes up most of this hobby.
Until you hear some serious hi-fi gear, or own it, you can think of it as a waste, or someone with too much money on their hands, but get out and do some head to heads, and you will see that the high end gear (most) is worth every red cent!
BTW, Levinson doesnt need to charge less! Thats an example of putting out high quality gear, and outperforming competition, and getting paid for it. Could he charge less at this point? Maybe, should he........Nope.
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post #18 of 53 Old 05-10-2007, 10:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ficosucks View Post

except Bill Gates. i wonder who he tries to keep up with?

I read an article that some media giant guy in South America will overtake him as the richest person soon! Gotta love those monopolies!
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post #19 of 53 Old 05-10-2007, 10:51 AM
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The other issue is volume. The really high end stuff doesn't sell in the same volume as the lower end stuff, hence the reason the pricing is somewhat skewed.

For example, is a $10K speaker x100 better than a $100 one? Of course not, but you can bet that there are at least 1000 times less $10K speakers actually made than the $100 one. Making things in volume helps drive costs right down.

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post #20 of 53 Old 05-10-2007, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by mpgxsvcd View Post

I read an article that some media giant guy in South America will overtake him as the richest person soon! Gotta love those monopolies!

Not South America but Mexico.

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post #21 of 53 Old 05-10-2007, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by mpgxsvcd View Post

I read an article that some media giant guy in South America will overtake him as the richest person soon! Gotta love those monopolies!

Thats Carlos Slim from our neighbor Mexico.

My audio system costs more than my car.

PS: I drive a 95 Accord (radio doesnt work, driver side window doesnt close properly!) costs less than $3k!

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post #22 of 53 Old 05-10-2007, 12:46 PM
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I am in the Heating and Air business...people will spend 15 to 20k on a home theatre but go ape $hit when I give them a bid for 10k for a new system. They'll build a brand new house for say $260k fitted with all kinds of electronic gadgets...automated this automated that....then wonder why their electric bills are $700 a month (in Arkansas).

Status means everything...very few put the sort of "showcase" interest in their HVAC system that they do on other things such as cars, home theatres, kitchens, masterbaths, lawn, etc. That is changing with more and more astetically (& energy) pleasing equipment coming into the market, but still has a long way to go.

How would I build a house? In order of priority (not considering location)

1. Energy Efficiency

2. Functionality (Living Space)

3. Astetics


***************

The point being, people as a whole don't really have their priorities in line with the reality in which they will live. Why do people buy speakers that cost more than the typical car? Because they can. If I had the means to buy such speakers I would probably at the very least entertain the idea. I added it up the other day...I've spent approx $6000 on home entertaiment equipment in the last 6 months. I expect this equipment to get me through the next 5 years with little trouble or tweaking of any kind from this point forward. I'm not like a lot of posters on this board...I'm not buying speakers just to be buying something
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post #23 of 53 Old 05-10-2007, 01:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hunter844 View Post

How would I build a house? In order of priority (not considering location)

1. Energy Efficiency
2. Functionality (Living Space)
3. Astetics

You've got that all wrong, it should go:

1. Dedicated Home Theater
2. Energy Efficiency
3. Functionality (Living Space)
4. Astetics



kal
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post #24 of 53 Old 05-10-2007, 04:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kal View Post

You've got that all wrong, it should go:

1. Dedicated Home Theater
2. Energy Efficiency
3. Functionality (Living Space)
4. Astetics



kal

Well, yeah that goes without saying and therefore Corlissed (as we say in Arkansas) from the list.


You can bet if and when I build a new house it's going to have a dedicated HT/Media room...I just don't know that I'll have a Great Room, Den, other ornate "sitting room", and other useless non functional rooms for a wife to put more useless overpriced crap in.

I've been in some recently built houses where we've put duct work in...some of these home owners are having miniature theatres with stadium seating and all that crap put in...that's getting out on the edge of reason. These same people are the types getting "interest only" loans and will be bankrupt within 10 years. I guess if I had 30 to 50k to piss away I'd have something like that done but I don't.
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post #25 of 53 Old 05-10-2007, 08:29 PM
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Easy, people are willing to pay that much. Got that much money to blow on speakers, why not right?
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post #26 of 53 Old 05-10-2007, 10:35 PM
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Because they can.
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post #27 of 53 Old 05-10-2007, 10:55 PM
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Quality costs. Simple as that.
People (like myself) that spend what some seem to think is way too much, have more than likely done a ton of auditions, and know what sound we are looking for, and for the most part what we are looking for cant be had for cheap. I personally put my system together not really knowing what the final cost would be, but also not having a bottomless source to dig from either. When I finally found the sound I wanted, the cost wasnt even considered because it was going to be worth every penny. Its not about stature, or bragging rights, well, maybe for some, but more the satsisfaction of a system put together over time, and enjoyed on a daily basis. None of my friends know how much I spent, nor will I ever tell em, but they know whatever I paid, it was worth it, and they wish they could do the same.

Most Systems I design nowadays have all the gear in a mechanical room, often Lexicon and Mac amps etc there as well, it's not bought for jewelry, and many of these clients think that talking about ones purchases is low class, the gear , for many, is purchased for purely performance reasons.
I have to say that I doubt that I could be satisfied by any sub $1000 speaker system, but I'm sure there are many $100k systems that I could live with, so the latter is definately worth a hundred times the former (in fact it's infinately better), especcially because the $1000 system has no value to me.

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post #28 of 53 Old 05-11-2007, 12:11 AM
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It is such a small segment anyway. There is more to it than just having money. If you look at all the custom HT mags with celebrity's, pro jocks, film directors, musicians, etc. etc. they are buying pretty much the same speakers, and even other components you and I would purchase. But they got the dough to have it installed in a dedicated room with all the convenience of zone sound at the touch of their fingertips.
Sure there are some tweaky audiophiles that seek the ultimate in 2 ch sound with some real esoteric equipment that looks like something out of a scientist's R&D lab and costs as much as some luxury wheels. Whatever floats your boat!
I am sure the other end of the spectrum we will find some struggling college student buying old tube Mac amps online and hooking them up to some speakers he built in dad's garage over the summer.
Good sound is a big motivator regardless of how you get there.
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post #29 of 53 Old 05-11-2007, 12:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ficosucks View Post

except Bill Gates. i wonder who he tries to keep up with?

The government- he tries to have a larger budget than congress...
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post #30 of 53 Old 05-11-2007, 12:18 AM
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What's more interesting to me is that I've heard manufacturers say that it's easier to sell $100,000 speakers than $20,000-$30,000 speakers.

Give me ten men like Clouseau, and I could destroy the world.
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