High End Audio Equipment, Status Symbol?

I was reading some other forums, about why High end audio is or is not a status symbol. I prefer it not to be or we would be having systems like the one below.

Saleen P-675 Pre-Amp
Saleen A-6500 7 Channel Amplifier
Rolex Venom Type 4 Interconnects
Rolex Diamondback Speaker Cable
Lexus FRS-9000 Electrostatic Loudspeakers
Lexus SS8 Surround Speakers
Lexus CP-8 Center channel
Dachati VVX-9 CD Transport
Bentley 75' MX-1 Plasma UHDTV (Ultra High Def Tv)
Lockheed Martin DBS-50, 5000w 24in Depthcharge Subwoofer
Audi MS-2004 Master Remote Control System
Northrup Grummann PSS9000 Stage 10 Power Filter/conditioner
Sounds like a great sub! I want one for my hometheater. Might even be a great sub out at the pool.
Not to be a spelling snob, but:

Dachati should be Ducati
Northrup Grummann should be Northrop Grumman

Now, sign me up for the Bentley 75' plasma. I will put it in our cul-de-sac and charge admission.

I don't know about this status symbol stuff. It can give you a buzz, but my experience is that it only means anything to people on these threads and a few guys in the business locally. Most of my friends wouldn't know levinson from pioneer. Usually they ooh and aah looking at the setup. I could put a bunch of junk on my neat racks and they would think I had a million dollar operation. Most of them tell me about these great bose speakers they have I usually respond that if they like em then they must be right for them. If its status symbol is when someone buys a system full retail without a clue as to what they have for the purpose of showing it off to their friends.
For whatever reasons I don't think hi-fi does equate as a status symbol-it simply does not feature in populist terms.
If you look at lifestyle type magazines the hi-fi stuff that is featured is picked for it's design or it's minimilist trendy styling and they are nearly always systems not seperates.
Other items such as cars,watches,clothes etc. do equate because they feature status -wise in a much more easily identifiable way--i.e the herd identifies with it.
Consider this a classic retro-style car could/would be seen as cool-can you imagine a Linn Sondek with a tube amp and Quad speakers being seen as cool?
Only to a very select few.
Don't get me wrong,an awful lot of hi-fi was and still is both aesthetically pleasing and wonderfully designed but it is too esoteric for the masses.
Again that's not to say the look of our equipment doesn't play a major part for audiophiles-consciously or sub-consciously.
Nor does it say that some audiophiles haven't compromised "quality" for practicality or looks.
Ben makes a good point. Most non-audiophiles think Bose and Bang Olufsen represent high and audio, and wouldn't have a clue as to what any of the gear in my rack is. Well...sometimes I don't either!

There is a certain inherent snob factor in our hobby just because of the high cost relative to what other people spend. But without the cache and instant brand recognition you get with Ferrari or Rolex, high end audio doesn't quite get there.

Now excuse me, I have to go order my full titanium Grand Prix Audio racks finished in SR71 pebbled Stealth paint.
Oh, come on. The high-end has it's status symbol name brands. And we know it!!

We just don't dare mention the name brands for fear of being attacked by the hounds of hell.

there are a lot of people on this board that think the more money you spend the better system you have. case in point, i know a couple of people that advertise their system on this board and they indicate that their speakers cost $8000-$9000 when I know that they paid half of that, or other pieces they purchased for 1/4 of what they indicate on this board. WHY? I think they like people looking at their system and say: WOW, this guy spent $30,000 on his system when in reality it cost $10k at most.
Rb, post your system and you'll discover why the MSRP's are with the components listed.

Yeah my spellin sux, so Shaddup! :)
Tell ya what tho, isle bet that LockMart could make one hell of a subwoofer.

Those hounds are no laughing matter! The chewed up my innerconnects and changed the delay setting on all my DSP modes! hehehe

Im glad that this stuff is more of a novelty than a status symbol, or else people would be buying due to brand names alone without looking into the equipment quality
I'd like to see a Celebrity Death Match between the Lockheed Martin sub and the Northrop Grumman power filter. Martin would "go down low", searching the open seas for its target. The Grumman piece would have "regulated voltage," using a slow, steady attack to wear Lockheed down. Could be an interesting episode of "Audiophile BattleBots," as well.
Tell ya what, i want the Mercedes SL-600 V12 Kompressor Monitors, I will trade you a Nautica PF-900 power supply and throw in a Tommy Hillfiger SACD Transport. Whaddya say?
when I played tennis at I club I was most impressed by the guy who showed up in cut-off jeans and a wooden racket with a broken string, and proceeded to whip everyone in spite of their prestigious high tech equipment.
Tag Mclaren currently produce high end in the UK. Yes its the same company that makes race cars and that megga buck three seater sports car. I think Paul Mcartney has one. They make some super esoteric stuff, ought to fill the bill.
There's a term for guys that show up with expensive cues in pool halls. FISH!
Sorry, psychicanimal, but high-end ain't got nothin' to do with who you are.

Your character is what God knows you to be. And your image what others think you to be.

But then, you probably knew I was going to say that. You being psychic and all. :)

I'll put it another way: "The professional is able to compensate the idiosyncracies of his equipment."

Get the point?

I can make anything work right...
High End has never succeeded as a status symbol because it is a cottage industry of enthusiasts who can't market their way out of a paper bag.

I have heard all the arguments -- you cant show it off, the laymen don't get it, don't appreciate the performance, but those arguments fail to explain why people drink expensive mineral water, pay thousands for Italian sheets, wear Sea Dweller Rolexes only in the shower, and order Porsche Turbos with Tiptronic transmissions and "supple leather" interiors.

In the mean time, Bose sells like hot cakes because
....because they market relentlessly to the mass market, not to obsessive audiophiles whose next upgrade spells the death of their previous favourite manufacturer's revenues.

But what fun. Who cares if yuppies dont get it.
Stereo systems, a status symbol? The only thing that anyone comments on when they visit my place is my music collection, hell they don't even know what a tube amp is! In my neck of the wood's if I wanted a status symbol a stereo system is the last place I'd put my money.
Very well said CW. Bottled water and Bose systems are classic examples of marketing without a product of any substance to back it up.

Personally, it doesn't matter to me because I'm in this hobby because I love it. Listening to music and building systems is one of my passions and I it for me and me only. Just two people on this planet have ever heard my system.
Doesn't their have to be widespread recognition of the brands before they can be considered symbols? Unless you had audiophiles regularly visiting your house, it'd be hard to get any status recognition from the equipment you own. Regardless, like any other industry, I'm sure there are those who buy certain high-end audio brands based largely on their reputation for being high-end.

It will never be a status symbol because unlike Mercedes, or Lexus, no one outside this small inbred community has ever heard of Halcro, Krell, Jolida, Conrad Johnson, or Soundlab. There has to be a level of recognition by the general public for something to be a status symbol.

This is just a race by a small group of people on AudiogoN and similar websites to put together the perfect system before anyone else does, but before we bankrupt ourselves in the process.

Could you imagine what the average consumer would say if the saw an ad for Wilson speakers in Readers Digest?

"$20,000 for speakers!?! Where's the nitroglycerine?" they would gasp, as they clutched their chests.

Ma and Pa Kettle would soil themselves at the very thought. People on AudiogoN respond with shock, the average person would suggest the death penalty for people like us!
Lexus markets Mark Levinson audio packages for their cars now. Interesting development. I wonder how many Lexus buyers know about Levinson. Levinson may be risking their reputation. Can you imagine those buying Lexus buy Levinson home equipment as a status symbol?
For the most part, when I mention the manufacuters names of the equipment I have/had owned, I do not get the shock and awe factor. Probably because the average Joe on the street has never heard of them. Bose has successfully marketed its' name as 'as good as it gets'. How sad.
Status symbol? Nope, to little recognition.

Labeling someone a "status seeker" is cynical at best and is usually just a weak attempt to compensate for the "Labelers" inability to obtain the so-called "status symbols."
I think there are probaably people on this board who think so.
Sure is a small sub-culture here, and most of us probably do not have friends in this hobby, but i get the feeling that some people get a real nice feeling when they finally get to enter "Krell" or "Mark Levinson" into thier virtual systems.

Im also sure that there are are people here who gain a sence of validity when they aquire something that is coveted, or expected and not yet owned.

I will be the first to say i use a reciever, and i want to go to a amp/pre-amp setup, however, I have also seen instances here and there (not often) where people look slightly down upon others for having inferior equipment, as if by default, the fact that they might have lesser quality equipment reduces thier credibility, and they must not know much about this.
the other way, someone with inferior equipment might look up to other folks because they do have the equipment that they desire. And might base thier decisions upon the advise of those who own the nicer stuff, when in all actuallity, they could actually be a overly rich, self richeous pompus idiot, who does not know his ass from a sine wave.

I for example still have the reciever. But due to my profession i understand more about electronics and sound than a good majority of people on this site. (Im not trying to brag, there are plenty of people who know more than me as well)

While i am sure most people here on the 'gon' are only interested in having the quality that comes with it, i still think there is something satisfying about listing some Watt Puppys on the virtual system.

I think in a way, in this own subculture, that certain brand names offer credibility, which can also be considered a status symbol.

I dont see anything wrong with it. But if Norh is as good as it claims, then why do people bother with amplifiers in the sub $2000.00 price range? I think the name sometimes has something to do with it

Any labeling of those here with highend systems as status seekers is inappropriate at best. I could put together a fantastic looking rather inexpensive system show to my friends and they would ohh and ahh all over the place. The vast majority of the people I know don't have a clue. They are more impressed with my overloading bass and don't even realize its a problem. Only a small number of my friends who are in the business really understand my system and nothing I have is truly good enough because someone always comes out with a better power cable or I should cryo my already custom outlets. I think we get caught up in this stuff and it becomes an obsession or passion or whatever.
I agree completely with Ksales---This isn't about status. It's about great sounding music. It is definately fun to get new gear, but only in so far as its ability to improve sound. Very few people see my system, and would likely be unimpressed by just looking at it. I love to sit back with my wife and just listen! For me, this is a very private hobby that a lot people wouldn't understand.
A status symbol (money status) in the general definition of the term (i.e. many other people see and realize the cost) I would have to say no. A status symbol in the eyes of the audiophile that owns it? Probably yes, especially if you are talking to another audiophile who also enjoys the equipment side of things.