Price Isn't Always Indicitive of Quality or Performance

I had spent over $1000 on a Synergistic Research Cable.  The Atmosphere Level 1 level, to be exact. I was using this as my main source cable to my powered speakers. It was absolutely DE-MOL-ISHED by Lavricables' Grand line for a mere $500. It isn't that the SR cable wasn't good.  I was impressed with it and it was a major upgrade over their Foundation line and a phenomenal upgrade over Audioquest's Yosemite cable. 

SR and Lavricables use similar tech, but only Lavricables uses pure silver practically throughout.

Here is the over all make up of the $1000 SR Atmosphere cable:

4 conductors.
Conductor: Silver/Copper matrix.  Or....silver and copper wire twirled together. Purity unknown. Actual wire gauge unknown.
Dielectric: Teflon
Source Connector: gold plated copper, cryo treated and has graphene applied.
Speaker Connector: Silver plated silver, cryo treated and has graphene applied.
Has a silver-plated copper mesh as a floating shield.
Uses a Tesla Coil to burn the cable in (quantum tunneling) prior to shipping out.

Now...Lavricables' $500 cable:

4 conductors.
Conductor: 20 awg 6N pure silver. Each group is laminated separately in Teflon before being encased in Teflon dielectric insulation. Graphene is applied at key points through out the cable.  The cable was cryo treated.
Dielectric: Teflon
Source Connector: Trillium Copper plated with gold. Cryo treated and has graphene applied.
Speaker Connector: AECO ARP-4055 Pure Silver RCA Connectors. Cryo treated and has graphene applied.

The unbelievable sound quality from pure silver was so immense and powerful.  It was no longer like listening to music as it was more like experiencing the music.  The music was pushing into you.  Similar to going to a concert and having the music beat and play in your chest. There were songs that had distortion at either loud, high pitched, or at peak cacophony that I attributed to being part of the recording. The Lavricables proved that it was simply that the SR cable was incapable of reproducing those notes.  WHAT!?! I mean, how do you engineer a cable to fail at $1000? I guess so it doesn't out perform or come too close to your $10,000+ cables. In Lavricables, the Grand line is tops; there is nothing higher.  They pour *ALL* their knowledge, best materials and techniques in the Grand line.

I thought long about this and I think I figured it out. It isn't that Synergistic Research is necessarily trying to rip anyone off.  It's the cost of doing business in the United States.  Lavricables are located in Latvia. Synergistic Research and Audioquest are based out of California.  The average MSRP markup on goods in CA is 3000%. To compare, Texas's MSRP markup is 300%. So the cost of materials will be higher to make the same product in CA than it would in TX. Synergistic Research and respectively Audioquest, has to charge what they do to maintain living and operating out of CA. But in Latvia?  It is clear to me that the materials, tech and know how isn't that expensive there.  So it can be surmised that the cost of living and operating out of Latvia is less expensive, which means they can offer the highest grade product at a much lower cost than if the same cable were made here in the United States.

I am thinking of replacing *ALL* my cables. O_O


But to convince me that there's any proportionate value of cables at the most expensive levels vs. a lot of electronics and speakers at the medium levels of price points is a tall order indeed.

But that’s not what he’s saying here.  In fact, the OP is saying the opposite that he’s found cables at less than half the price of his current cables that significantly outperformed his much pricier cables.  That’s pretty much the main point here, but if you want to expand it into how much one should spend on cables that’s a bigger subject that transcends what is really being discussed here.

Great discussion!! And thanks to @soix for wrapping Kevlar around this thing before it got ugly(er).

I think we all enjoy our "David and Goliath" moments when we discover a hidden jewel that "defies the gravity" of a competitive market and meets, or beats, the performance of established brands. It happens in audio. And, tools. And, speed parts. And, wine. Etc. The "feel good" is there regardless of the category. I think we can list other examples.

It doesn’t mean that the established brands are the "bad guys". "Market value" means exactly that. If a product is producing at, or near, volume targets, market share, and (most importantly) satisfied customers at $5k, then the product is worth $5k. Period. The existence of a little known entity that "whacks it pretty good" for half the price doesn’t make the make brand product worth any less in the marketplace, nor should they huddle up and go into the panic mode. Or go into counciling to relieve themselves from a guilt complex. As with any other product category mentioned above, a well-reseached enthusiasts can, and will, bypass the "normal channels" and connect with a product or service that serves their needs are far less cost. That’s what they do. And, their lives are better for it.

"Fancy connectors" most often produce significant audible benefits. Yes, they add to the cost.

Just some comments about the "business" of the audio business:

I was fortunate to be invited to join a profession group of audio retailers. I say fortunate because were are in a small/medium market of a population of 180k who are normally "uninvited" to the group. Dealers represented the "best of the best" dealers from coast to coast. New York, LA, Dallas, Chicago, Miami, etc. We ALL looked at the same price sheets and were offered the same business programs. I can only speak of the audio industry, but the costs/markup is uniform from state to state. There are no major variations.

The net, net profit of these dealers averaged in the high "single digits" as a whole. I would have thought I died and went to Heaven if my lifetime net earnings reached 5%.

Michael Berger wrote a book: Emyth Revisited. The "E" represents "entrepreneur". The author’s premise is that it is a myth that people go into business for themselves because they are entrepreneurs. They go into business because they are "technicians" who love doing the work, and are discontent being managed by someone else. The dealer that goes into business to "save the world from bad sound" is often comprised with mediocre managerial skills and entrepreneural energy to make that enterprise a long-term success. Yes, I can can acknowledge other factors: bad customer service, non-competitive pricing, etc. to the demise of merchants, but just want to drive home the point that most dealers did not enter the business arena to get rich. It was to escape a working environment that was not particularly rewarding for them, or to provide an elevated level of service impossible under the constraints of their current employment.

The next time you’re in an audio store, ask the person serving you: "What brought you here?" The result will be a very human to human conversation that will, undoubtedly, elevate the relationship to a higher level and produce a more attentive and customer-focused response from the dealer or their representative.

I’ve recently borrowed a FrontRow Audience usb cable and speaker cables to try along with a few other brands including a DIY built ranging in price from $200.00 -$9000.00 for the Audience speaker cables . I was bold over by the Audience brand especially their usb cable . 

@russbutton In regards to carnival show attractions, yes.  There were no such things as audio cables in his day. So, whatever you are implying, makes you equally wrong.