Bad news for audiophiles?

In new study a bottle of wine priced at $90 tastes better than a bottle of the same wine with price tag of $10.
Sounds like worse news for those oenophiles that listen to their rigs!


Are you trying to extend a bizarre esoteric one-off study article - specifically limited to wine - to all other product including audio... and it's resulting appreciation ?

...nobody in this hobby forum (with the possible exception of a fringe few) is going to drink that KoolAid that low-fi /no-fi kit versus serious audiophile systems will somehow follow a similar suit that quality build and sonic hi-fi excellence is a marketing mirage only in our pursuit and enjoyment of hi-fi gear.
That phenomenon has been tested and documented before. I'd bet good money that the same phenomenon applies to audio. Not - as Akg suggest - to mean that low-fi gear actually sounds as good as serious audiophile gear. But within "high-end" I'm sure this bias exists. The problem is that it's much easier to set up double blind tests with wine than audio gear.
"The problem is that it's much easier to set up double blind tests with wine than audio gear."

True - I can lift a glass of wine in each hand but I don't think I can even lift one of my front speakers anymore. Heck, if I'm doin' two-fisted tests with glasses of wine (and I'll need to do extensive testing and re-tests to make sure I get it right) I can guarantee it's much easier to get blind...

We hoomans occasionally do fall for all types of tricks or scams as we can be gullible and often easily distracted by peripheral or emotional influences (like purported price, as though price == value). But when we take the time to research (and synapse) we can still do OK (and the real bargain hunters will still find that wine or speaker deal). BTW - does that "research" result really surprise anyone?
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There's always the possibility that someone may like a more expensive component for reasons that are real, and not imagined.
Uh....what do wine and cables have in common?
Some are red, and some are white, and they all turn green.
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The taste and memory of wine dissipates where in audio you'll still be left wishing your bargain equipment into a decent sounding system, this is where the real deception is. Either way if you don't know wine or don't know sound it won't matter.
I'm a bit surprised at how much you guys are (intentionally) missing the point. The point is that our opinions of subjective items like wine, fine art and audio equipment can be persuaded by the cost. Many years ago, a friend of mine pointed out that nobody is interested in a $2 old chipped teapot at a garage sale. But if you take the exact same teapot and sell it at a fancy antique store for $200, somebody will find it very interesting and attractive.
Ok so what's this got to do with audio? Basic psych. Most of of know these principals. There are many ways to fool the public into making bad choices. Ha! Look at our government. Ut oh that did it huh? However this principal does apply. On more than one occasion in between high end systems I find my self saying yes this expensive system is better but for some reason I really like my old Marantz reciever just as well even though its not "better"
"In new study a bottle of wine priced at $90 tastes better than a bottle of the same wine with price tag of $10."

That's not what the study reveals. After all, if the bottles of wine are the same, then they taste the same.

What the study demonstrates is that people can be fooled into thinking one is better. That's nothing new. Illusions are everywhere. Performers such as Penn & Teller even make a living off of it.

By definition, the wine study was not double-blind. Hence, it's difficult to conclude anything from it other than the simple fact that people can be fooled.
That sounds like good news to me. I don't care how I get to "happy." Delusion works fine.
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From many of the above responses it's apparent that audiophiles have trouble handling the truth.
Audiophiles don't have to handle truth by default. Audiophiles handle propaganda and dogma.
The vast majority of people in developed countries have a
distinct aversion to the truth , applies to Audiophiles but
not much more than average.
Those who are forced to deal with reality on a daily basis have no choice but to deal with the truth.
But not many Asian rice-farmers or Mumbai slum dwellers have much of a system.
personally, i though the wine study and geoffkait's audio analogy was very interesting and probably sound. it's seems logical and intuitive that spending more creates some enhanced neurological responsiveness to pleasure, otherwise $500 wines and $5000 speaker cables wouldn't exist.
Not surprised by the results.

The test subjects were not normal people (like audiophiles are).
It seems to me asking prices for items on Agon tend to be higher than what same items typically go for on ebay. So no doubt this is the place to be to have a shot at top dollar for whatever it is one might be pitching.

I suspect geoff is already getting top dollar for his goods here as well. So no room to complain there really.
There is an upside to all of this: drinking lots of cheap wine will make one's cheap system sound great.

All the best,
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A $10 bottle with $90 price tag can become even more tastier when discounted by 50%.
Random thoughts: Not into wine myself, but I understand professional critics of the juice have been known to pan expensive stuff and praise economy-priced products. It may not be impossible to fool an educated palate, but harder than an ignorant one, I'd guess. What "tastes better" to one person may not be the same as to another; some things are an acquired taste. I know a guy who, having just been released from prison after spending a quarter century locked up, can't tell the difference between different beers and even malt liquor. Can you? If he can't and you think you can, do you feel a need to prove it in a blind test? I didn't think so.
Viridian, of course it would be a tragedy in general, but as only one of them can sing why especially for 'philes?
No news here. I can be fooled with wine, not audio. I have purchased lower priced audio because it sounds better. Price plays no role. For some it would. We are all different, no way to lump all Aphiles into one camp.
I do not mind to be fooled if the product is good.....I find nowadays that no matter how much you pay you get crap....
Price sometimes dictates value and performance. But not always. I have owned preamps retailing for upwards of 8K and none of them have sounded as good as the passive LDR that I paid 900.00 for. I would gladly replace it if something could beat it. I patiently await that day.

If you THINK something is better, it's actually better…perception is personal and 100% accurate although utterly and generally inaccurate by nature. My hifi rig, although not the most expensive or universally well regarded per se, was very successfully assembled using personal taste…who knew?
It would be interesting to see the same study conducted on expert wine tasters. And to take the question even further, what would happen if these experts were told the prices, but THEN told that in some cases the lower priced wine was preferred by a majority of their fellow expert wine tasters? Would this color their thinking and alter the measured duration of pleasure center activation back in the OTHER direction?

As an audiophile, I try to look for high performance to price ratio. But the result of the experiment detailed above is something to keep in mind when deciding on purchases.
Results not surprising in the least. And to take it further, if you took that $10 bottle of wine and put it on the shelf at $90 with a "Sale $45" sticker under it, you'd sell a lot more than you do at $10. THAT is the audiophile industry, arbitrarily assign prices with ridiculous margins so that you have plenty of room to offer the customer a "deal".
"The really bad news for audiophiles would be if Diana Krall, Pat Barber, Jane Monheit and Holy Cole all went down in a plane crash"

Now THAT is funny Viridian LOL. FYI though NOBODY gets aways calling her Pat except Mom.
Some wine tasters, like audiophiles, have a golden tongue as opposed to ears. I'm a novice at best and seldom get it when it comes to the complexities of tastes. When I do, it's an epiphany of sorts as I marvel at the many and varied tastes and flavors that come and go with a good wine.

It doesn't have to be expensive. Some wine makers don't make the wine but take remaining stock and bottle it in different states and blends and are only allowed to name the clone and not the vineyard from where it came. These are sold at a large discount and it's hit and miss but you can get something for under $20 a bottle that will simply amaze. Some of these are sold under a store or restaurant name (Trader Joes, etc.).

In the limited span that I've been tasting, once you go up in price and are careful in your due diligence, a more costly wine does taste better than a less costly one.
Unlike audio, your nose and taste buds are nothing like your ears and yes, one can be fooled, but not often.

All the best,

Just as a wine connoisseur would be able to detect the value of the $10.00 bottle of wine, and stock up on it, the true and experienced audiophile would be able to detect the value of a cheaper amplifier compared to a much more expensive one; I'll give you a case in point.

I'm going to compare the mighty ARC to a cheaper amp, and I don't use the term "mighty Arc" in jest. As far as resolution it might be considered king, but that, "in my opinion" is at the expense of a tad of "soul". While the Primaluna Monoblocks, with NOS tubes comes close in resolution, but not at the expense of "soul", in the music; they can be tailored to suit the audiophile's taste by careful selection of tubes.

I don't know how, or in which way this comes close to the analogy of the $10. and $90. dollar bottle of wine, but you got my drift, and you can tell me how close this analogy comes, and or how it misses?
There are so many facets of live music which must be rendered as close to ideally as possible in order to [even remotely] fool the listener into believing the replication via components indeed shares enough [of theses] traits to border on reality... It is mind boggling and essentially impossible. That said however, the more of these "Lifelike nuances" captured and transferred through the system, obviously the less work your brain must do to fool oneself. Trouble is it is not just the obvious tasks that make up the most influential "Believability factors", but the far more difficult subtleties the are key. Gross emphasis or lack of inclusion such as TOO or NOT ENOUGH : Bass, top end extensipn, brightness, dullness, 3d effect, soundstage width, depth, etc... All must be properly present and much can be handled with moderately priced components... But it often tales the pricier products to add the less tangibles...
Actually, if you choose right, the lesser wine can taste better than the high priced juice.
Orpheus, your analogy is (wine) spot on. :-)

Stringreen, yes, a lessor wine can taste better than a higher priced one. Case in point, at the last tasting I went to, the presenter who imports the wine is a Frenchman who's steeped in wine from an early age. His whole life is devoted to it. He now lives stateside and had some wonderful wines he personally selected and none of them were over $50/ bottle. 7 were under $20/bottle (-15% off for the tasting) and all were simply great.

He showed a map of France and all of the regions selected were off the radar, so to speak. None were famous or highly regarded: what he termed "off the beaten path". If not told I would have guessed 4-5 times the price. Easily. He explained that there are many like them out there that never make it stateside, let alone a lot of parts of Europe.

The sad part is, some of these small producers are disappearing in a way you wouldn't guess. Two of them that had been along for a long time and consistently put out fantastic wine were bought wholesale from someone in China and all of the wine now goes there (probably obscenely marked up). He just smiled a little forlornly and said it's all about supply and demand.

All the best,
Nonoise, I take it you didn't see the ads from a certain chi fi company offering a bottle of high end French wine with the purchase of one of their components. So I guess you can get some of that wine for free. Its all about supply and demand.
Zd542, No, I missed that one. The only upside would be to return the unit for a refund and keep the wine. Of the two, at least one would satisfy.

All the best,