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…


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?

The ‘Nautilus’ from B&W was indeed a statement piece, and if you ever heard it, it was definitely an eye-opener. If I remember, it also required multiple amps for each driver section, considerably driving up the price. Not sure how many were sold, but at the time, it probably had two things going against it, the price and the WAF!

Therefore,the price may not have been the only factor against it, the aesthetics could have worked to minimize sales as well.

Unfortunately, in this thread, I do think folks are maybe confusing ‘ over priced’, which one can say attributes to a number of products, with a price that is not only ‘over priced’, but also unattainable! This is more along the lines of my OP question. 
IOW, is there a price in high end that is unattainable in this current market? If so, and we would have to assume that there should be, how do most of these manufacturers know what that price is? 



I think all of us want something "cool" and like owning "cool audio gear". How many would buy a pair of MBLs if they could? Quite a few I would imagine. It would be fun to own a pair and invite your friends over. Plus if you have a big job you’d probably need to escape to your man cave and turn them up and just sit amazed how good it sounds. If you can afford them, why not?

That being said, every company has a personality. I work with ATC, they are very practical down to earth people who want to build super low distortion speakers because their customers (pro and home) really respond to that. They don’t invest a lot of money into image, marketing or exotic cosmetics that obviously appeal to many. The price their product on what it costs to make, plus a margin that pays the bills and enables them to compensate and keep very good employees. They aren’t trying to "beat" anyone, they just do their own thing and guarantee themselves a future though solid engineering of a small number of new products that solve more problems in pro, or extend performance in consumer.

Other companies are kit builders, using mostly OEM sources to "package" parts together to build an appealing package, usually with a focus on cosmetics and often with significant marketing budgets. If you see a lot of ads and promotions, you know where that money is coming from: product.  These kinds of companies usually have a leader with a vision, and everything is oriented on that vision (even if it's technically questionable) .  They may even be big enough to order special "built for them" OEM parts, or have some unique tech inside (DSP) that addresses an issue or two.   

Still others are some combination of both, with talented engineering and good OEM sources of parts and products they need to build "their vision". It is upon the end user to try and figure out what the company is about, what they build in house versus what they buy, and judge the value based on the price, and the value based on performance.  A good marketing program can alter this perception, promoting some performance issue or focusing on some angle or spec that looks good compared to others.  Some of us respond to that angle, and buy based on that.  If you get sold on horns, you have a limited number of companies that do that well in the horn "micro market".   

There is almost zero sense in the high end of "what other people are doing in product". One high end company probably pays no attention to competitors, as this is a task left to larger companies with staff to devote to such efforts. So if you are Gold Peak (and all the brands they own) you study the market, find a niche, engineer a product that speaks to that niche, build it, test it, market the hell out of it. if you are ATC, you try to improve your product- done.  You hope people find it!  

Each company has a unique formula to their business and pricing is rarely a strategy in and off itself, it’s usually a choice based on what it takes to make it worth building. Pricing becomes more important as a strategy as you get larger and want to appeal to large groups of people when "Steps" are important (one at $100, a better one at $200, even better one at $400, etc).  In this case you work backwards- what can I create for $400 vs $200 and make money on both so I can stay in business?



it’s confusing too daveyf, as the Orion is $60,000 less than the top of the line Rockport Lyra...and when the Lyra was introduced, it was second to the $225.000 Rockport Arrakis...

that’s the industry where the largest profits made, what are you talking about?? Drug cartels can only dream about such levels of profit!!!

the reason of largest profits is the advertisement and diminished IQ level of consumer falling onto these advertisements. Manufacturers see that and price their stuff accordingly. One of the ways to alleviate that is stop posting foolish posts here about bag of rocks making differences or praises on $20k internet wire as Audiogon is being somewhat an "execution ground"