Originally Posted by Ryder125
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.