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…


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. 

I went and watched a video on the Orion. Take a look at it on the Rockport website. It might influence your thoughts about the product and it’s MSRP. Of course, I have no idea what it sounds like. But I can see that someone thinking about purchasing them might be impressed by the manufacturing technology. Each speaker ends up weighing 360 pounds! Again, I’m not able to make any judgement about the audio value of them, just saying that they are not just a few parts put into a cabinet.

Designing and building expensive equipment benefits us all - stretching to build the ‘best’ tests out new designs, materials and manufacturing processes. Some of those that are successful will trickle down to lower cost equipment. This is especially true if higher production rates are developed. And as new materials, manufacturing processes, etc. are developed for other non-audio products - such as space rockets - it’s a good thing that there are people designing and experimenting to apply those new ideas to consumer audio.

As someone with poor taste in general and not the best hearing... Yeah totally.

My opinion is void. But it's not the 20 year olds with prisitine hearing who will buy this high end audio equipment. The prices are too darn high. The 20 yo will likely buy a good set of headphones or IEMs if they care a bit about the sound. The sound quality you can get from $100 IEMs is astounding. You're pretty much overpaying for everything else.

Back to speakers, yeah everything was said. I may add that most people have poorly setup rooms and bookshelf speakers with almost no bass.  

I agree that the introduction of over-the-top, outrageous (and, often ugly) "statement" pieces accompanied by their various "key talking points" can find their way to more mainstream products. I recall a very weird-looking, very expensive speaker from B&W (Nautilus) that introduced their isolated reverse tear drop pod speaker enclosure technology to reduce the effects of rear wave colouration. This technology found it’s way to their most affordable, entry-level bookshelf speakers.

IMHO, being "over-priced" does not exclude the prospect of commerical success in the marketplace. There are customers out there that will adopt a product for a variety of reasons. Strong performance/value not being one of them. This seems to push back against "common sense" which would imply that an "over-priced" items would be strongly rejected in the marketplace. So, it appears that we may have to redefine or, atleast, redirect the phrase "over-priced" to encompass poor market performance?