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…


No.  Fair market value is what a reasonable seller is willing to sell the product and what a reasonable buyer is willing to pay. If any product is sold, opinions from non-experts are worthless. I have some strong opinions about Hermes hand bags, but no one cares. 

@markalarsen The assumption of a fair market is the root of most problems in our world. There is no such thing as a fair market. The values are rigged or influenced by actors in that market. A direct example would be a monopoly, or oligopoly. These things inherently exist in any market, it's just a matter of time. 

Furthermore, the line between non-experts, experts and salesmen is very very thin and blurry. 

The value of Hermes handbags is 90% the brand and the assumption that its value will rise over time (due to limited production run and high demand). The physical object is worthless in comparison. The NAD 3050 LE is making a farce out of us. NAD will no doubt release a dozen similar amplifiers with slightly different features and specs. The NAD 3050 LE is selling like hotcakes because it's "limited edition" and it looks different. It also helps that the amp is predictably good in an NAD fashion. "You can't go wrong". 

So if you view Hi-fi like Hermes handbags, you'll be buying gear based on re-sale value. Not performance. That's probably the smartest way to go about it. I mean these vintage Pioneer and Marantz amps from the 1970s are shooting up in value because of "Hi-Fi influencers" (which are typically vintage shops trying to move products). You may as well buy them and sell them later for a profit. 

Lastly, there's no such thing as a reasonable buyer. You either have cheapskates, gear flippers or fools. 

I don’t know the answer to your general question about price evaluation. I can say some things on the specifics of the Orion. You reference hyperbole in the review and I can understand why if you’ve never heard the Orion. That happens all the time with reviewers. In this case in my opinion none of it was hyperbole. I heard Orions in the room that housed Wilson XVX at the Sound Environment in Omaha. To me the Orions are a better overall speaker than the 345k XVX. When Peter set up the XVX they held a presentation as they did when Josh set up the Orions. I’m told there were about 10 attendees that made it to both presentations. As stated in another Audiogon thread and verified by me with the folks at TSE almost all preferred the Orion. It’s a GREAT speaker. Now if you’re a horn guy you may not like them and that’s fine. To each his own. If you are a dynamic speaker guy and you listen without bias you can not help but be impressed. As far as cost goes consider 5/1 cost to retail as a starting point. Does Orion have 30k in cost? Well look at the video on its construction. 360 pounds of cast aluminum and carbon fiber! Every driver is new and was created specifically for this project which took 3 years to develop. Rockport is a small company. How would you amortize the engineering costs for this. Each driver was engineered fully by Andy. Nothing is off the shelf. Every speaker is listened to and measured by Andy and Josh. No two drivers or cabinets are exactly a like so each crossover is fine tuned by the owners before it goes out the door! That is not efficient but it is beyond amazing. Most sane people would say it’s absolutely stupid to pay this kind of money for a stereo. They have a point. In the world of relative value in this crazy hobby I would say these are fairly priced. 

It is possible for low end manufacturers to overprice their goods.  

People say audiophile gear prices are crazy and they might be right.  However, show me a (component) for cheaper that sounds as good in all categories,  

Unfortunately many times the price you have to pay is the price of admission for that kind of sound.  

I have been playing with audio equipment since I was 13 and now I am 50. I have worked in the industry on an off over the last 37 years. I was was a dealer of new and used equipment. In 2013 I purchased a huge collection of equipment that it took almost 4 years to sell. During the early part of Covid I started selling audio equipment again. I could own just about any kind of audio system I want. In Dec of 2019. I had a pair of Yamaha NS 1000m on L100 stands, a Bryston B60R and BDA 2, Bryston Moving Magnet phono amp, a Technics SL 10 linear tracking turntable with the factory moving coil cartridge rebuilt by the sound smith. The turntable has a built in mc step up transformer for the cartridge. A Simaudio Moon streamer. All of this wired with Mogami. I have owned some of the most exotic beautiful equipment you have ever seen and rarely does it sound as good as my cheap system. Much of the ultra high priced equipment rarely sounds all that great even with really well designed listening rooms. I still have the system that I have mentioned above. I do have a much more resolving system at my office. I have come to the conclusion that price has no correlation with sonic performance. There are many products that are well engineered, built well with great materials that perform at a very high level at a very reasonable cost and there is the pixie dust BS.