Originally Posted by bradleyedward
I'm comparing these two models:1. Sony SS-F6000
Total price: $2002. Polk TSi300
Total price: $400
From what I'm seeing, the Sony has more speakers, is heavier, but is 50% the price.
As if number of drivers and weight even mattered. Even when many such things are equal, there are still many other things that relate to the actual cost and sound quality of a loudspeaker.
First and foremost, loudspeaker pricing is based on perceived value. This is the only explanation why you can pay anywhere from $30 to maybe even $30,000 dollars for a speaker with approximately the same size, weight and nominal driver complement. Aside from the fanciness of the cabinetry, the difference between the actual driver+crossover cost of the two speakers is probably in the range of $300. IOW the cheapest speaker has about $5 or less worth of drivers and crossover, while the expensive one has more like $300 worth (and those are arguably very overpriced drivers!). The other $27,700 difference is appearance and perceived value, mostly the latter.
The actual sound quality of a speaker first and foremost rests with the quality and suitability of the drivers. A good driver can be easily 10 times better than a very poor one. The crossover is extremely important because it matches the speaker drivers to each other and the box. Most speakers are 2-way speakers, but designing a good 2-way speaker is one of the toughest design challenges in the world of loudspeakers. A rough but ready MDF box worth only a few dollars is a 95% solution - making something that actually produces better sound is very difficult.
So are the Polks better speakers, and if so, just WHY? Is the construction that important? (i.e. cardboard v. silk etc.) I actually sold the Sony's and am considering possibly getting the Polks.
I really don't know which speakers are better, particularly when your tastes, needs and listening room are factored into the equation. There's really no reason why Sony couldn't build a speaker that was technically as good as the Polks. Many name brand speaker houses do consulting, which means that for a price anybody can get their best design team to do a project for them.
Production volume has a lot to do with it. We live in a world of speakers that are dominated by 5 to 6 1/2" drivers and ca. 1" dome tweeters. In sufficient volume (10,000s of units), a highly optimized version of either driver can easily be produced for far less than $10. While the use of exotic materials can drive this up, there is no evidence that commodity papers and plastics are necessarily a detriment to sound quality. In some cases the exotic materials actually don't work as well. This may be due to lack of the decades of development that the common materials have received, or simply because the exotic materials don't actually have the right stuff and never will.