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Why pay $5000+ for speakers? - Page 8

post #211 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kach22 View Post

If a speaker can produce the required range of frequencies, at the volume levels you require for your room, without noticeably distorting, then that is as much speaker as you really need. Anything beyond that becomes personal taste and biased opinion.

That's exactly what I said earlier, and it's the elephant in the room that the "more $$ automatically equals better performance" camp conveniently chooses to ignore. If you get to a point of no audible distortion in a given environment, what's spending more money going to get you... less non-audible distortion???

I won't argue a "prettier" or "bigger" speaker, those are valid and tangible reasons for a higher cost... to a point.
post #212 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by CruelInventions View Post

My speakers cost $175, and they sound absolutely fabulous. Can't imagine how anything could sound better. Marginally better, if anything. I think many people who spend more just have a deeply insecure need to show off for themselves and to others, to convince themselves that they have superior tastes and a keener discernment for quality sound than people who spend less. Right!?! Who's with me on this!??!!





O noze, I've been BUSTED!

lool, great post!
post #213 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by djbluemax1 View Post

Threads like these are more amusing as a psychological exercise/study, than anything about speaker design/costs/marketing. It always seems that folk feel a need to justify their particular financial sensibilities, i.e. folks who can just about afford a $5k pair of speakers (and who place a maximum value on audio reproduction at about that level) will ask why anyone would need to spend more than $5k on a pair of speakers. Are they hoping for emotional support from others who agree with them to make them feel better or more comfortable about their own particular choices?

Folks who can just about afford a pair of $2k speakers are likely to bring that up as the pricepoint beyond which the law of diminishing returns dictates that the added costs outweigh the potential benefits/improvements by too great a margin. Likewise, folks who can afford $50k speakers are likely to state that there are lots of great speakers available for $50k and that there is no point in going higher in price etc. etc.

If you can afford it, go for it. If you're happy with what you have, even if they cost $39.99 MSRP, so be it. I think it's the folks that can just about justify $5k speakers (or $2k, or $10k, or whatever) but are afraid that $20k or $100k speakers just might actually be better who feel the need to justify their own decisions, limitations.

Now with that said, disregarding aesthetics, how about a list of what folks would consider, 'sonically world-class not really possible to get better sound in an average sized listening room' speakers in the $1k to $10k MSRP price range?


Max

I don't agree with you on this... see I'm in the market for new speakers too and I could budget up to $10,000 for just speakers and for me would I really want to spend that much on speakers? I heard a set of v.6 Paradigm Monitors their entry level speakers for Paradigm and was blown away with how great they sounded and the newer models cost south of $2500 for a 5.1 system, I'm going to listen to more pricier models but will they be THAT much better to justify the much higher costs? I think as you get to more pricier systems it's more about looks like real wood and a bit better sounds, even one of the reviews I've read the reviewer said if someone told him the new monitor series 7 were the studios he would believe it as they sounded that close.

Now my budget I can afford to move up for looks and am considering a 5.1 set up from Salk SongTowers(with ribbon tweeter), Paradigm(Monitors or Studio) PSB(Image or Imagine) or Goldenear Twos so even in my budget it's all over the place and with how much the Paradigm Monitors series 7 impressed me the more pricer option would have to offer a clear difference in sound to justify paying double or 3 times as much, as the newer series 7 look great!.

It's not all about price it's about justifying the higher costs and is the performance really that much better that it makes it worth it? I'm not about to just pay $10,000 for speakers cause I can, I want the best bang for buck and willing to spend more if the performance will justify it, but if I'm listening to more pricer speakers and can't tell a difference or it's a small difference than I'd rather spend less and keep the extra money, which could be anywhere between $3000-$7500 difference.
post #214 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by rnrgagne View Post

That's exactly what I said earlier, and it's the elephant in the room that the "more $$ automatically equals better performance" camp conveniently chooses to ignore. If you get to a point of no audible distortion in a given environment, what's spending more money going to get you... less non-audible distortion???

I won't argue a "prettier" or "bigger" speaker, those are valid and tangible reasons for a higher cost... to a point.

But isn't there more to it than FR, loudness and distortion?

An abbreviated list of other performance factors that affect how a speaker is perceived:

- polar and vertical plane response
- variation of above with frequency
- linearity (ability to produce same relative change in loudness at all volume levels for same relative change in input)
- impedance vs frequency (affects ability of PA to drive)
- cabinet artifacts (if you don't consider this p/o distortion)
- impulse response

Still waiting on someone to name a speaker < $10k that does just the FR, loudness and distortion as well as $50k speakers.
post #215 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by russ_777 View Post

Still waiting on someone to name a speaker < $10k that does just the FR, loudness and distortion as well as $50k speakers.

All that will do is start a flame war.

But I'll bite, for me it's my Paradigm Signature S8 v.3's.
post #216 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by rnrgagne View Post

All that will do is start a flame war.

But I'll bite, for me it's my Paradigm Signature S8 v.3's.

Klein & Hummel O 410.
post #217 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryder125 View Post

I don't agree with you on this... see I'm in the market for new speakers too and I could budget up to $10,000 for just speakers and for me would I really want to spend that much on speakers? I heard a set of v.6 Paradigm Monitors their entry level speakers for Paradigm and was blown away with how great they sounded and the newer models cost south of $2500 for a 5.1 system, I'm going to listen to more pricier models but will they be THAT much better to justify the much higher costs? I think as you get to more pricier systems it's more about looks like real wood and a bit better sounds, even one of the reviews I've read the reviewer said if someone told him the new monitor series 7 were the studios he would believe it as they sounded that close.

Now my budget I can afford to move up for looks and am considering a 5.1 set up from Salk SongTowers(with ribbon tweeter), Paradigm(Monitors or Studio) PSB(Image or Imagine) or Goldenear Twos so even in my budget it's all over the place and with how much the Paradigm Monitors series 7 impressed me the more pricer option would have to offer a clear difference in sound to justify paying double or 3 times as much, as the newer series 7 look great!.

It's not all about price it's about justifying the higher costs and is the performance really that much better that it makes it worth it? I'm not about to just pay $10,000 for speakers cause I can, I want the best bang for buck and willing to spend more if the performance will justify it, but if I'm listening to more pricer speakers and can't tell a difference or it's a small difference than I'd rather spend less and keep the extra money, which could be anywhere between $3000-$7500 difference.

And that's what makes it interesting. As I said, threads like these are more of a psychological exercise/case study than anything else.

The problem is that we all arbitrarily place a value on an item/concept. It isn't necessarily about what one can afford, but what someone can justify. Someone living on the street can't justify spending $20 on an SACD much less equipment to play it on, but I also know millionaires who won't spend $20 for an SACD because they don't feel the expense is justified (they also buy cheaper toilet paper only when it goes on sale).

Unlike display technology with objectively measurable qualities, like contrast ratio, color accuracy, max and min lumen levels, viewing angles etc., psychoacoustics is still too subjective.

I know friends who are perfectly happy with their $299 5.1 HTIB setups. They don't notice or care about the midbass hole from 120-350hz, they don't care that the system can't hit THX Reference or put out anything audible below 35hz. They think I'll crazy for spending what I spend on HT equipment. Heck, I know folks perfectly happy with the built-in TV speakers.

On the other hand, I've heard systems with poor frequency responses that these friends don't hear. A grating high end they don't notice, etc. I also know a couple of bats (isn't that the term for folks who can hear things you yourself don't think are possible to hear?) who could immediately identify poor polar response, and narrower frequency response dips than I could, They outright exclude many more speakers than I would because they consider them unacceptable.

As one poster noted, yes, there are a few criteria that should be important, but unfortunately, it isn't that simple. Being able to play at the volumes you expect to reach without distortion is definitely a critical requirement, I would include a smooth frequency response as well, although based on a lot of speakers available out there, and the fact that people buy them, it would seem that this isn't necessarily a crucial quality for some folks. For music, I prefer good response down to the 20's Hz, and for HT, down to single digits, but most folks don't find that important.

I also like speakers with a clear high end but there are lots of speakers that roll off at 13kHz. As mentioned, some folks want good off axis response, some folks prefer the sound of line arrays, or planar speakers etc. etc.

There is no real way to state an absolute, "THIS is the price beyond which it is pointless to pay" even when restricted solely to audio performance without taking aesthetics into account. Some things matter more to some than others, some things don't matter at all to some and are completely unacceptable to others.

To each, his own.


Max
post #218 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by russ_777 View Post

But isn't there more to it than FR, loudness and distortion?

Not really, the items on your list are just sub-categories in the goal of achieving accurate signal reproduction. Most of those can be affected by placement relative to the listening position, and really there's no reason for any of them to be exclusive to higher end gear, it's more about the engineering process than the finished product.
For example Canadian companies have unfettered access to one of the best audio research facilities on the planet and the gov heavily subsidizes R&D here. Then add mass production and distribution plus the buying power for raw materials and you sure as heck have a lot more reasons for them to be able to put out a competent product at a reasonable price than you do having a $50k to $100k speaker validate its' value relative to performance.
post #219 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rutgar View Post


In many cases, grills muck up the sound.
And putting them behind a screen IMO is worse...
post #220 of 438
So hunting around I found this little beauty. Haven't seen this till now, and it's only one publication, but it illustrates my point quite well.
The S8's scored 97% of the highest priced ($260,000 AUD) speakers' performance rating and two speakers less than 1/5th the price scored higher.

This is Aussie Hi Fi quoting Audiophile Review;

Audiophile Review - Oct 2011

The 25 Ultimate Audiophile Speakers of All Time - No. 7: Paradigm Reference Signature S8 - Total Score 166 / 200

When it comes to audiophile grade floorstanding loudspeakers, names like Revel, Wilson Audio and Bowers & Wilkins are often dropped – but at one third the price, the Paradigm Reference Signature S8s hang right in there with the 800s and WATT Puppies of the world. While the S8s might not pack the “audiophile mystique” of speakers costing three times the price – they have the performance. For those looking for no-holds-barred performance from a slim, gorgeous speaker that won’t ruin your IRA – take a serious look at the Paradigm S8s.

Aussie Hi Fi Note: the Number 1 speaker on the list, the Wilson Audio WATT Puppy Sasha, scored 175 out of 200, bust costs $44,950/pair. In fact, the average cost of the top 6 speakers is $115,325 a pair. The 5th on the list has the exact same score as the Signature S8, but costs 5 times more. Just something to think about.


1 Wilson Audio WATT Puppy Sasha 175 $44,950

2 Bowers & Wilkins 800 Series Diamond 172 $37,000

3 JM Labs Focal Grande Utopia 171 $260,000

4 Wilson Audio Alexandria / Grand SLAMM 170 $200,000

5 Wilson Audio MAXX 169 $100,000

6 Wisdom Audio Sage Series 166 $50,000

7 Paradigm Reference Signature S8 166 $11,000
post #221 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by rnrgagne View Post

So hunting around I found this little beauty. Haven't seen this till now, and it's only one publication, but it illustrates my point quite well.
The S8's scored 97% of the highest priced ($260,000 AUD) speakers' performance rating and two speakers less than 1/5th the price scored higher.
This is Aussie Hi Fi quoting Audiophile Review;
Audiophile Review - Oct 2011
The 25 Ultimate Audiophile Speakers of All Time - No. 7: Paradigm Reference Signature S8 - Total Score 166 / 200
When it comes to audiophile grade floorstanding loudspeakers, names like Revel, Wilson Audio and Bowers & Wilkins are often dropped – but at one third the price, the Paradigm Reference Signature S8s hang right in there with the 800s and WATT Puppies of the world. While the S8s might not pack the “audiophile mystique” of speakers costing three times the price – they have the performance. For those looking for no-holds-barred performance from a slim, gorgeous speaker that won’t ruin your IRA – take a serious look at the Paradigm S8s.

Aussie Hi Fi Note: the Number 1 speaker on the list, the Wilson Audio WATT Puppy Sasha, scored 175 out of 200, bust costs $44,950/pair. In fact, the average cost of the top 6 speakers is $115,325 a pair. The 5th on the list has the exact same score as the Signature S8, but costs 5 times more. Just something to think about.

1 Wilson Audio WATT Puppy Sasha 175 $44,950
2 Bowers & Wilkins 800 Series Diamond 172 $37,000
3 JM Labs Focal Grande Utopia 171 $260,000
4 Wilson Audio Alexandria / Grand SLAMM 170 $200,000
5 Wilson Audio MAXX 169 $100,000
6 Wisdom Audio Sage Series 166 $50,000
7 Paradigm Reference Signature S8 166 $11,000

The question is, where do those scores come from?


Max
post #222 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by rnrgagne View Post


1 Wilson Audio WATT Puppy Sasha 175 $44,950
2 Bowers & Wilkins 800 Series Diamond 172 $37,000
3 JM Labs Focal Grande Utopia 171 $260,000
4 Wilson Audio Alexandria / Grand SLAMM 170 $200,000
5 Wilson Audio MAXX 169 $100,000
6 Wisdom Audio Sage Series 166 $50,000
7 Paradigm Reference Signature S8 166 $11,000[/I]

Only one from that list that I think will sound great is the Focal Grande Utopia.

I think the $1,600 Philharmonic 1, KEF Q900, Revel F12, Salk ST, NHT Classic Four, Ascend Sierra, and few others will sound at least as good as the rest, if not better.
post #223 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by djbluemax1 View Post

The question is, where do those scores come from?
Max

Pure advertisement driven unreliable source. biggrin.gif
post #224 of 438
Considering the subjective nature of choosing speakers in the first place, and the fact that you're trying to draw a direct correlation between price and performacne that doesn't exist, I'm starting to wonder about this entire thread.. but I will note that some things, like cabinet build and veneer qualities will cost money, as do things like being able to design and build your own drivers in-house (like KEF for example) as opposed to using lower grade construction materials and off the shelf drivers from a speaker house like TC Sound, as many, many speaker companies do. Yeah I think a lot of companies price speakers simply to place themselves in a specific market and build a reputation, or to see hwat hte market can bear, but a certain amount of money does need to be spent to build a good speaker, even when it's a DIY job.
As I said before, I favor the timbre and aesthetics of both KEF Reference, and Martin Logan higher model ESL panel speakers (the ML models with self amplified LF units, namely) regardless of their cost. They just appeal to me for their imaging and soundstage, and their visual appeal. I also appreciate that their speakers are of unique design, and offer certain properties I prefer in a speaker. I haven't found a pair of $500 or $1,500 speakers that sound as good to my ears, and that's all that really matters to me.
post #225 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by djbluemax1 View Post

The question is, where do those scores come from?
Max

I wrote the source in the post, and it's easily findable.
post #226 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by rnrgagne View Post

I wrote the source in the post, and it's easily findable.
I don't think the source matters. I'm going to hang a poster sized print of well regarded speakers priced anywhere from $500 to $25,000, blindfold myself, spin around three times, then throw a dart. Any speaker the dart hits could replace the Paradigm. If I happen to like Paradigm for any reason at all, I can just shoehorn it into the list. Personally, I like the LSR6332. I've never heard the S8. If my logic is right, the JBL is better than the S8.
post #227 of 438
Figures.... typical AVS crap.

Ignore the point and flame the analogy. rolleyes.gif
post #228 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by rnrgagne View Post

I wrote the source in the post, and it's easily findable.
From googling that
Quote:
We created five weighted categories to judge speakers including:
Performance 100 total points max
Longevity/Relevance 25 points max
Value 25 points max
Aesthetics 25 points max
Lust Factor 25 points max

So half the points are arbitrarily assigned that have no actual relation to acoustic performance and the half of the points that ARE assigned to 'Performance' have no indication of how they judged performance criteria. Yeah, sounds like a bunch of guys and a popularity contest.

While I can fully understand that to many, speakers are also furniture (and that the WAF plays a part, and sometimes is a dominant factor), if I really wanted to try to assess a range of speakers based solely on their acoustic performance, my journey might begin somewhere here:
http://www.stereophile.com/features/99
http://www.stereophile.com/features/100/
http://www.stereophile.com/features/103/


Max
post #229 of 438
Really?? It doesn't matter how those speakers were judged, I just used the list to make a point, which as I said earlier gets lost in focusing on the example.

The first argument you get when you tell a "more $$ = better performance" guy that an expensive speaker measures worse than an inexpensive speaker is "you have to listen to it, measurements don't tell the whole story". So here's a subjective example, that shows it is indeed possible for a $50k speaker to be perceived as better than a $260k speaker, and conveniently that an $8k one can be in the ballpark. I'd never consider it an absolute, just food for thought.
post #230 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by rnrgagne View Post

Really?? It doesn't matter how those speakers were judged, I just used the list to make a point, which as I said earlier gets lost in focusing on the example.
The first argument you get when you tell a "more $$ = better performance" guy that an expensive speaker measures worse than an inexpensive speaker is "you have to listen to it, measurements don't tell the whole story". So here's a subjective example, that shows it is indeed possible for a $50k speaker to be perceived as better than a $260k speaker, and conveniently that an $8k one can be in the ballpark. I'd never consider it an absolute, just food for thought.
True, but as I've already pointed out, when you talk about subjective opinion, I personally know people who feel that their tiny little cube speakers that have huge dips and holes in their frequency response, subjectively sound good enough that they don't feel there's any need to pay more for other speakers.


Max

P.S. I also found it mildly amusing that you chose something from a site that also happened to have THIS in its list of articles:
http://audiophilereview.com/reference-speakers/why-great-sounding-speakers-will-never-be-cheap.html
Edited by djbluemax1 - 6/6/12 at 7:39pm
post #231 of 438
Sure, IMO that's a common A/V consumer, but that's not really relevant to the topic of this thread.
Is there a reason to spend more than $5k on a speaker? Well I'd say yes, there's a few reasons depending on application and aesthetics, but there's also no logical reason an accurate sound reproducer can't be found under that price point.
But $260,000, are you kidding me? There's no way on gods' green earth that anyone will convince me that the sole reason that speaker exists isn't to part a rich person from his money.
post #232 of 438
Agreed. For whalt it's worth, I can't abide paying hundreds of dollars for a 1 meter interconnect or speaker cable, either, when I can build my own with competitive electrical specs, for a small fraction of the cost.
When I build my cables, even to look pretty as well as to perform well, they at most tend to cost me about $3-4 per foot, including the wire or cable, the sleeving, insulation, connectors, heat shrink, etc.
I'm looking at you, Cardas, Kimber, Transparent and the like.
post #233 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by rnrgagne View Post

Sure, IMO that's a common A/V consumer, but that's not really relevant to the topic of this thread.
Is there a reason to spend more than $5k on a speaker? Well I'd say yes, there's a few reasons depending on application and aesthetics, but there's also no logical reason an accurate sound reproducer can't be found under that price point.
But $260,000, are you kidding me? There's no way on gods' green earth that anyone will convince me that the sole reason that speaker exists isn't to part a rich person from his money.

That's only pocket change if you are a billionaire.

But I agree that for most of us, we don't need to spend $5K.

I don't even think you need to spend more than $2K. Look at the Philharmonic 2 speakers for $2K. They sound as crystal clear and detailed as the Salon2, KEF 207/2, or any speaker on earth. That's just one example.
post #234 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by AcuDefTechGuy View Post

That's only pocket change if you are a billionaire.
But I agree that for most of us, we don't need to spend $5K.
I don't even think you need to spend more than $2K. Look at the Philharmonic 2 speakers for $2K. They sound as crystal clear and detailed as the Salon2, KEF 207/2, or any speaker on earth. That's just one example.

I Don't think that's a realistic example, since there's no profit margin or labor/retail expenses involved. Those speakers should realistically retail for over 5K IMO
post #235 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eternal Velocity View Post

I Don't think that's a realistic example, since there's no profit margin or labor/retail expenses involved. Those speakers should realistically retail for over 5K IMO

Agreed.

Seriously, the answer to this thread title is simple: "Because they are worth $5000 to that particular individual."

Forums are great for brand advice and learning how to listen properly and read/correlate measurements, but everything after that is just opinions, and everyone has their own. Go out and listen to everything you can - get real world experience after you've learned how to listen properly; there's no substitute for that, not even the measurements alone. It's all about what we hear and how we listen. wink.gif
post #236 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eternal Velocity View Post

I Don't think that's a realistic example, since there's no profit margin or labor/retail expenses involved. Those speakers should realistically retail for over 5K IMO

Good point.

I forgot about that. biggrin.gif
post #237 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eternal Velocity View Post

I Don't think that's a realistic example, since there's no profit margin or labor/retail expenses involved. Those speakers should realistically retail for over 5K IMO
I'm do not think that is 100% true either. I don't think his markup is as high as someone that makes a living at this, but I don't think he is doing anything for free either. He also makes a donation to the Washington Philharmonic for every pair sold.

I don't believe DM buys/sources his drivers directly from the manufacturers. I don't doubt he gets some sort of a discount, but he is not buying pieces by the hundreds. So the cost of the drivers is probably still a fair amount over the OEM pricing. Other than his China made cabinets, I don't think the cabinets are bought/manufactured in large quantities either.

Comparing to speakers costing $5K, that is different story.
post #238 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by cschang View Post

I'm do not think that is 100% true either. I don't think his markup is as high as someone that makes a living at this, but I don't think he is doing anything for free either. He also makes a donation to the Washington Philharmonic for every pair sold.
I don't believe DM buys/sources his drivers directly from the manufacturers. I don't doubt he gets some sort of a discount, but he is not buying pieces by the hundreds. So the cost of the drivers is probably still a fair amount over the OEM pricing. Other than his China made cabinets, I don't think the cabinets are bought/manufactured in large quantities either.
Comparing to speakers costing $5K, that is different story.

Actually Dennis has purchased some drivers direct. Some manufacturers will sell a lower minimum of pieces.
post #239 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Craig View Post

Actually Dennis has purchased some drivers direct. Some manufacturers will sell a lower minimum of pieces.
That's good to know.
post #240 of 438
I would pay $5000 if I had the money & the speakers sounded & looked leaps beyond the cheaper speakers other then that no

I have polk m70s,cs2,m30s I'm pretty sure nothing sounds leaps beyond them at that price range but I know if I double the price range I'll definitely get better speakers it's pretty simple but there's a point where it's more luxury then actual function

plus I doubt most people hear the difference anyways I've seen some messed up set-ups on here plus people let a audio program tell them what sounds good XD so how can they really tell?

maybe people buy cool expensive speakers & they have a physiological effect on there ears by relaxing their minds & helping them focus better

kinda like trying to focus in a dirty room if your a clean person the clutter is going to distract you

what's the average cost of speakers in a actual theater(an average one)? anyone know
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