Is it possible for a high end manufacturer to overprice their goods?


Having just read the interesting and hyperbole laden review by RH of the new Rockport Orion speakers in the latest issue of The Absolute Sound, one thing struck me..

is it possible in the high end for a manufacturer to overprice their product ( doesn’t have to be a speaker, but this example comes to mind)? I ask this, as the Orion is priced at $133k! Yes,a price that would probably make 99% of hobbyists squirm. Yet, the speaker now joins a number of competitors that are in the $100k realm. 
To that, this particular speaker stands just 50.3” tall and is just 14.3” wide…with one 13” woofer, one 7” midrange and a 1.25” beryllium dome ( which these days is nothing special at all…and could potentially lead to the nasties of beryllium bite).

The question is…given this speakers design and parts, which may or may not be SOTA, is it possible that this is just another overpriced product that will not sell, or is it like others, correctly priced for its target market? Thoughts…

128x128daveyf

 I'd ask you what we should be allowed to spend on speakers, but maybe we should keep the moral and political discussions on Twitter, not an audio hobbiest website.

Sorry to let morality exceed it's appropriate boundaries. We must keep morality contained, or it might take hold. 

Good discussion, guys.

To the OP’s point, I think the answer is "yes" that high end manufacturers CAN overprice their goods. In the cost/performance metric of mere mortals (like us) the math just doesn’t work. And we feel a bit frustrated when folks inject their own value component into the mix that is clearly above our paygrades -- and didn’t ask OUR opinion about whether the sonic (or otherwise) value is there. How dare they!!

"Messaging" is an important element and could negatively impact current and future hobbyists. The question becomes WHERE are those messages being placed and HOW are they effected by them? Or is it just "noise."

I sold decent Hi-fi gear for decades. We had a speaker line whose market positioning statement included “owning 50% market share of speakers over $10k a pair.” When presenting this to customers, the vast majority were shocked that there were speakers over $10k a pair on the market. After allowing them a few seconds to "recover", I’d inject: "You’d be surprised by the number of speakers out there over $100k a pair." The point here is there are still virgin ears out there who can be introduced (properly) to high performance audio -- with an emphasis on sound-for-the-buck.

As @hilde45  suggested: "We must keep morality contained, or it might take hold."

I think there may be a valid (and, useful) point here that, perhaps, we have a higher purpose than being “audiophiles” in the grand scheme of things. I’m sure, more than once, someone (knowing our obsession with high performance audio) has asked our opinions. We’ve straightened people out more than once. Sometimes avoiding disaster (or divorce?). A helping hand (and, brain) can go a long way in separating “noise” from useful information, fact from fiction. As one professional contributor stated (I’m paraphrasing): “A high resolution audio system can be bought for under $5k.”. I agree with that statement provided the person can keep their ego in check.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time identifying elements that connect us and developed some materials to help illustrate the relative group size vs our level of intimacy. We, in this forum, fall into the “Shared Indulgences” group where we share things we are passionate about (music and the stuff that makes it happen). Above that group is a smaller (and, more intimate group) I refer to as “Purposeful Bonds” where there is some level of higher purpose in what we are doing. As you can see, there is the aspect of migration UP where some may seek a higher, more purposeful (and, yes, more ethical) involvement. Above that level is “Heartstrings” where deep friendships can develop as a result, and we become like family. The group below “us” (speaking purely of involvement in audio, not intellectually or other component) is the “Navigating Complexity” group. So, they are there just like us moving about trying to get things done when, all of sudden, we discover we share an interest. So, up the ladder we go. Or, not?

Here’s the link, if you want to check it out. You’ll need to scroll near the bottom to get to the pyramid.

https://youniteusa.com/connections

It’s also been said that "people spend money on what their attention is on." So, keeping this group and it’s influences on high performance audio helps insure the health of the industry -- and, the hobby.

 

 

A huge driver of cost at the manufacturing level is "how many". I once talked to a Jaguar engineer and he told me they paid $500 for a set of brakes becasue they bought only100 at a time; Ford paid $50 for the similar set becasue they made 10,000. The cost of scale DOES make a huge difference in price.

Some of the beautiful metalwork I see in amps or speakers I see must cost a ridiculous amount to make - I know they aren’t maing 10,000.

 

Brad

That’s why some of the bigger manufacturers can offer better value in many cases, like KEF, Technics, Ortofon, Rega among others. So long as a high level of QA is in place these are well worth considering, except their very low volume models.

News flash. The majority is overpriced. Which is why for 40 years 92% of my purchases have been purchased used. That’s the only way to build a decent system on a budget. I’ve spent 30 cents on the dollar to build a $12k system. The only new items I’ve bought in 15 years was a PSAudio dac, and Cambridge Audio CXC transport. That’s it. Used tube monoblocks, speakers, preamps, both tube and SS, turntable, and phono preamp. All used, all the time. Buying new is buying a 2 year warranty. I’ve never had a single component die on me. End of story.