MSRP, diferentiation and the illusion of value

I've been an audiophile for a very long time.  I've gotten to listen to a wide variety of gear, and even participated in the creation and manufacture of some audio gear in my past.  Took college courses in audio engineering I was not prepared for, and read quite a bit from the usual audio rags.

I want to share something I think every audiophile should know, which is how manufacturers leverage the suggested retail price (MSRP) as well as product differentiation to create this illusion of value.

A lot of gear sounds different. Cables are good examples. You make a cable which sounds different to a perceptive ear.  It doesn't matter if it's better or worse, but just make it different, and raise the MSRP above other cables costing similar prices to manufacture. Throw on some connector jewelry and exotic fabric to dress them in and bam, your $1 to make cable just became $250.

My point is, too often audiophiles want to equate different sounding with better. If the MSRP is higher, well, that reinforces this idea that this difference must be going towards some illusory holy grail, floating above the tower of nuns. Another factor that benefits the seller is that we almost never ask ourselves how much this difference is worth.  Lets accept that these cables, or speakers or amps are different sounding, and that you have judged that difference as preferable to what you wanted to buy when you started. How many of us step back and ask "is this difference worth the $$$ being asked?" Will it make my life that much better, or am I just bejeweling my sensual pleasures every chance I get?

I'm not begrudging anyone the right to spend money how they please.  I do however think audiophiles who feel like they work hard for their money to stop and think about these natural forces when judging how they will spend it.
"..floating above the tower of nuns."

How did you come up with this one?
I know you remember that scene in The Holy Grail

"I know you remember that scene in The Holy Grail"

I did not know it. I still do not know the scene, but after you hinted, I figured out that The Holy Grail is a movie.

I liked the mind visual of floating over the tower of nuns. That is why I asked. Seemed truly imaginative.

The chaste knight tempted by "nuns" too long isolated from knights. Circe and Ulysses. Marketing above true innovation. But it does keep the lights on and we are a fickle bunch seduced by a past long gone or a future just out of reach. Milk on the stoop versus the bold frontier. 
"...tower of nuns..."
Having gone to a Catholic grade school, I snickered @ that, then remembered the scenes from the original Blues Brothers movie.
Monty Python merely drove the spike deeper...

Look, one’s choice of speakers really comes down to taste, preference, and budget. If the latter is not an issue (or one is willing to part with whatever for the sake of the two formers), then the entire fruit stand is open to peruse..
Sidestepping the ’performance’ vs. ’value’ discussion for a second, one will generally choose that which appeals to them on their personal scale of values. This can apply to not just speakers imho, but to equipment as well.
I could be accused of ’tin ears’ (’midst other things) but I’ve noted greater differences between speakers than the equipment driving them.
Since the bulk of equipment available notes ’specs’ that generally ’measure’ by whatever means to be in the fractions of a %....

I’ll note that again....Fractions of a Percent. Already 2 figures Behind the decimal point.....

We’re now at the ’SS vs. Tubes Division’; ’crisp’ vs. ’warmth’ value split.

One might base their speaker selection on what makes that choice appeal to them....and go forth from that.

Now, let’s ignore for brevity the wire and cable conundrum....and the physics that gets discussed endlessly here and elsewhere. I’ll concede that there exists ’differences’ lurking in there....terribly subtle ones.

You may note them; I rarely have. Of late...of self....negligible.

We’ve now arrived at the performance space...i.e., Yours.
(erik’s fav...just teasing, e....;)....)

I have No Clue as to where you’ve plopped the stuff into.
Most posted pics show your stuff...and the wall behind it.
Rarely anything else...well, maybe the side walls, but....

I’ve been lucky (or doomed) to spend time away from my digs and equipment; span of time can be a week...or a month or 3...

There always seems to be (for me) a Period of Readjustment for my ears and mind to ’recalibrate’ to that which I’ve been absent from.

I suspect....that IF I was to visit Anyone’s else’s space and the equipment within that I’d experience something similar.

Yup, I could be impressed...or not.
It’s a high likelihood that I’m not going to experience or note what you’re so thrilled about.
I will note a difference, But....perhaps, not the ’intended’ one(s).....

The differences are most likely in us....ergo, places like this....

The ’discussion’ continues....;)
You are what you listen to.
Carry on, J