Pulsars and the Mythical Armchair Speaker Maker

There’s another thread going about Joseph Audio Pulsar speakers which I did not want to derail, but it is showing up some common logical fallacies and dead ends I wanted to talk about.

As anyone who has read my posts knows, I’m a huge proponent of DIY for speakers and cables especially. Not that I think you should only go with DIY but because the more audiophiles who can build their own we have in the community the less snake oil gets spread around as fact and there’s less worshipping of the price tag as the almighty determiner of speaker performance.

The myth I want to talk about is kind of related. It is the idea that we should value speakers based purely on driver cost. JA’s Pulsars suffer from this because they seem to use off the shelf components, in very nice cabinets, with perfectly executed crossovers. The thing that I don’t understand are buyers who look at driver cost, and say "well, these speakers should cost no more than x amount, so I’m not buying them... "

I call hogwash. Speakers are more than a collection of parts. They are curated components brought together by a designer and manufacturer. Those same people who are likely to engage in this behavior:

  • Can’t actually design a speaker themselves
  • Would NEVER build a DIY speaker even as a complete kit because it doesn’t have a brand, nor would they buy an assembled DIY speaker.
  • Would probably go with a speaker with in-house drivers which have an even higher markup
  • May not have very good ears anyway

My point is, knowing the price of the parts does not make you at all qualified to judge what the final price should be. That is, fairly, in the hands of the market, and it doesn’t actually make you a better listener or more informed buyer. I would argue you end up buying speakers for brands with even more of a markup and more likely to have questionable performance.

It’s perfectly reasonable for a manufacturer to charge for parts, and skill. So, yes, talking tech and drivers and crossover components is always fun, but please stop evaluating the price of finished goods until you’ve attempted at least designing one pair yourself.

And again, DIY is a lot of fun, and if you want to go that way, you should, but let’s not denigrate high value, high quality manufacturers and delers by reducing them to part assemblers any more than you'd judge a restaurant based on the cost per pound of chicken.

Thank you,

And ... we’re back to comparing the value of a meal by the weight of the steak.
And again, the ONLY thing that allows anyone to weigh the steak is the off the shelf drivers.

If they had an OEM maker turn them pink and call them custom made, this meat weighing would end immediately.
I wish someone would start a speaker co. invest in the tech to develope their own drivers, build quality custom cabinets and then design and bring to market a speaker that sounds better than the Pulsars and sell them for the cost of materials. I’d jump at such a bargain. It would be a good run for audiophiles while it lasted! Which wouldn’t be very long.
Ascend Acoustics sells a 2-way monitor with the Seas flagship diamond tweeter and Excel woofer and sells it for less than the retail price of the Pulsars

That seems to contradict what was said earlier by @soix 

A manufacturer who sells through a dealer network needs to charge about 4x (or even more) the cost of the product to cover his fixed and variable costs and still make a decent profit.

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