Today’s prices in Hi-Fi do not base upon any other principle then “whatever market bears”. The luck of objective evaluation methods and the completely un-liberated market of Hi-Fi consumers make the “market bearing” principles being completely not applicable in Hi-Fi. 99.9% of consumers in audio do not make their purchasing decisions based upon the realistic and factual performance of products. Do you want to argue my “foolish accusation”? Over the years, coming to the different listening rooms and listening different quite terrible Sound form those installations I kept asking what motivated those people to buy into one or another hobble performing component or idea. Interestingly that they practically never replied that it was due to their financial considerations but rather due to their compliance or conformation to some specific BS that THEY HEARD ABOUT THE GIVEN PRODUCT.
As the result, Audio form the contest of results got converted into contest of audio propaganda where the most filthy, most greediest, gluttonous, ignorant and the most disqualified representatives of audio industry – the marketing hoodlums, including their clan of the audio-reviewers, run the show in audio and consume the highest percentage of retail price, kipping you - the consumers to pick up the tab and satisfy yours with the residue well-oiled audio commerce.
In this environment the price structuring is not only bogus (as there is no OPEN market to make the “whatever market bears” principle possible) but the price is very much fraudulently deceptive. The prices in Hi-Fi do not relate to ANYTHING valuable or beneficially quantifiable but ON LY to the amount of marketing superstructure that was built around the given product.
Over the years I accumulated many stories illustration how bogus and idiotic the marketing BS might be in audio. For instance a few years ago when Harmonic Technologies Company was juts a green newcomer to the cable world their president (or whoever was at that time in-charge) was trying to convince me to try their cables. He told me (buckle up!!!!) that Bill Gates decided to build his own playback system and the he already spent 1 million dollars and the only thing that hold him is the fact the he frustrated that there is no good sounding cable around (I wonder why it was Bill Gates but not Mahatma Ghandi :-) . Then he told me that all manufactures sent to Bill Gates their cables for evaluation and Bill Gates personally spent night after night to listening them. As the result, he ordered to make his system to be wired explicitly with Harmonic Technologies cables. When I hear THAT BS I did not know if I have to light or to cry… Accidentally or not, but Harmonic Technologies is the cable company that manufactures the most fraudulent sounding cables in audio industry. Another example would be Kharma Loudspeakers from Holland. Years after year Kharma manufacture an army of very expansive but consistently very poor sounding loudspeakers and no one seriously paid attention to their existence. Kharma had a model – Ceramic 3 – that was small 2 ways monitors with a pair of drivers of total cost of $300. They were selling this speaker for ~5.5K with the street price of $3-$4K. No mater how good or bad the Ceramic 3 was but that model was still way better then any other loudspeakers they produce including their $90.000 models and all-toogether it was OK solution for $3K, particularly if one has a very small room and do not listen louder then 80dB. So, no one was buying the Kharma until the Kharma’s Ceramic 3 made the marketing step up. The new distributors were plugged into the game, the new reviewers were appointed and commanded: “Fetch” and the new marketing BS was speeded across to the Kharma’s polish baffle. The price was multiplied by 4 times (!!!) for the very same loudspeaker and immediately the armies of audio-zombie begin to place that $22.000 audio-disaster in there listing rooms. Stop by in ANY single audio room where any of Kharma products installed, listened THAT miserable sound and ask the owners what made them to go for THAT sound. You will see and … hear….
Still, what make the consistently horribly performing audio products to have a consistent popularity among the audio consumers-Morons? Everyone knows how objectively bad performing some products are, even the people who manufacture those products are secretly laughing how crappy some of their products are (I’m not kidding), but still, those products are the bestsellers of industry and they keep holding the very high price tags. Any single person who has ears or a brain with IQ higher then a size of his shoe realize how horrible Krell electronics and loudspeakers are and still the dealers move the Krell boxes with the phenomenal speed, like nothing else in the industry. The very same is taking peace with very many others insultingly performing and fundamental faulty elements of high-end audio universe, just to name the few: Conrad-Johnson, Atmosphere and VTL preamplifiers; Clearaudio analog, Boulder, Maks Levinson, Krell, Macintosh and Linn amplifiers; Kharma, Martin-Logan, Dynaudio and loudspeakers; MIT, Transparent, Nordost cables and many many other names… Do I have to bring up the price tag for those manufactures to make the point or you know the prices?
So, what make this price dissociation form the results so blossoming in audio? I feel that it is about an absent of any civilized objective assessment mechanism and a very none-discriminative or juts plain ultra-low level of demands from the audio consumers. Regarding the last one it is very simple - most of the audio people are very accidental in audio and it is pretty much irrelevant for them: would they “do audio”, sniff cocaine or make up little toy animals from clay. For them Audio - is juts another hobby – another obsession of males lost in the misery of own gender. As far as the first reason – the absent of objective audio assessment mechanisms - it is more complicated and it is kind of not the subject of this thread.
Anyhow, the absurdly high, irrelevant prices in high-end audio do derive from all that was said above. Interesting that there are some very narrow audio fields (drivers market, some separate parts and so on…) that was not yet reaped by audio industry marketing yet and as the result those fields DO follow the “whatever market bears” principle and in there you can observe some relations between the price and the deliverable results.
Romy the Cat
"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche