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In my experience, good entry level speakers start at $200-$300/pair, and true high end doesn't start until about $1000-$1500/pair. So where does the point of diminishing returns start? I've heard it starts around $2000/pair, but I personally I think it is higher than that, maybe around $3000-$4000/pair.
 

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From my listening experience and this is just mine so take it that way...My opinion would be around the 4-5K range withou a sub. After that you get into a whole new ball game. However there are some speakers in the 4-5K range that will really give some speakers up to 10K a real run for the money. Anyone else?
 

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I think it boils down to the point where "you" feel like you've spent all you're willing to spend. If you're honest with yourself, you recognize that there is better, it's just not worth the difference to you personally. Some people find the point of diminishing returns at $100, and some don't find it until $100,000.
 

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There is no "point of diminishing returns" but rather there is a curve that means each additional dollar returns less than the previous dollar. That point starts at the beginning and continues onward.


As an example, a $2 speaker sounds MUCH better than a $1 speaker. A $50 speaker sounds a little better than a $49 speaker. A $1200 speaker sounds slightly better than a $1199 speaker. There are diminishing returns at $50 on that curve there, but most people here wouldn't say anything above $50 is past the point of dimishing returns.


You simply must choose where along the curve you want to spend, but realize that each equal incremental improvement costs more money than the previous one. At some point, you are likely not willing to spend more.


For me, I have found that the improvement in sound quality is greater on speakers than on electronics for X number of dollars, so I have put a rather disproportionately large amount of my audio dollars in speakers. Still, I cannot hear that much difference between my mains and my surrounds (my previous mains) except that the utter command and authority my new mains have is greater than my surrounds and they can reach a higher absolute volume level and maintain lower distortion at the same volume as my surrounds.
 

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Ditto the importance of spending more on speakers than electronics.


Amplifidcation and surround processing are pretty standard across the board in terms of sound after a given (low) price threshold.


Speakers / subwoofers are another story.


Invest as much as you can in your front three speakers, particularly the center. However, don't scrimp on the surrounds


Personally, if I were going to but new speakers (front three) I would expect to pay $4K minimum and would probably buy used..


More money will typically buy improvement, just less after a certain dollar amount.
 

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I think there's definitely a point of dimishing returns, but it's VERY subjective. If you feel major regret after hearing a set of speakers that cost half of what you've spen, chances are you've reached the point of diminishing returns. As long as you don't feel either satisfaction or regret on your expenditure you have not reached that point. :)
 

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But as I said, there is no point!!! Diminishing returns means that each additional dollar returns less than the last. A point of diminishing returns infers that prior to that point, each dollar returns as much or more than the last one.


Diminishing returns is indeed subjective, as you need to weigh the value of each incremental increase, which likely has equal or less value than the previous one, but not increased value. When those two lines (cost and value) intersect, you have found the price point for you.


If you feel regret, you likely surpassed that point, or you have found a better value speaker you would rather have purchased. If you feel satisfaction, then you have either undershot it or are spot on the point where your value curve intersects the returns curve (representing your cost).


So, if you are hearing that after a certain dollar amount that speakers don't improve as much, then OK, but that dollar amount is $1. Each additional dollar will yield you slightly less than the previous one. There are instances where one more dollar will yield more than a previous one, but that is because you will hit a price that you can afford a more cost effective technology that cannot scale all the way down. As a general rule, the slope of the curve is less than 1 and the rate of change of the slope is a negative number.


I could draw a graph to explain it easily, but it would probably just confuse more people. Nothing like economists simplifying things to make things harder to understand.


Does your brain hurt even worse now?
 

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Technically, I completely agree with you Poindexter, just trying to think of an entertaining way to illustrate how difficult it is to establish an absolute measure on something as ultimately objective as speakers.


Sure engineers can prove one is "better" than another, but it really comes down to the tastes, preferences, acuity, etc. of the listener (who's also paying the bill).
 

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A lot of excellent responses but I like swampfox's..."It starts at $1 more than you are willing to pay."


FWIW my point of diminishing returns was $2500, 3 months and 8 or so audio/video retailers. The point I'm trying to make is that I think there is also a point of diminishing returns in regards to the amount of time and energy you are willing to invest in reading forums, magazines and auditioning equipment.


Of course the upgrade bug will hit again at some point in the future and the search for your new point of diminishing returns will start again.;)
 

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A popular writer for an Audiophile magazine often writes about the rule of 10's. The point in which a 10% increase in performance would cost 10 times as much. I believe I found that point in a few different product offerings.
 

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Well, it is hard to quantify 10% increase when you have so many variables to consider. For cars, people would likely look at top speed or 0-60. For speakers, what is it? Certainly not output (except for maybe subs). Frequency extension? Flatness of response? I would say it is very subjective in how one weights certain aspects vs. others in speakers.
 
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