shy about prices

I assume a lot of you are in the industry and maybe you can answer this: why is it so hard or impossible to get pricing info for speakers?

I received a lot of suggestions for my speaker list to include more brands and I tried. I lookup up the company homepage, I searched for pricelists, however out of date, I emailed the company - nothing. Why are companies "hiding" the prices of their products they intend to sell?

This is not a generalization, I don’t mean to conflate companies with user-friendly and informative web sites (~30%) with the mystery ones (~20%). And the rest (~50%) are OK/could be better.


Perhaps because the prices are so out of whack with reality that they don’t want to scare customers away?   Case in point, I bought my GE Triton Refs before they were on showroom floors  for $8K. The retailed for $8.5K.  3+ years later, the same exact speakers were selling for $12,500.00;@ pair for the same exact speakers with no changes!   Now they are are on sale for $9K probably because they are phasing them out.  There is no way I would have bought them at $12.5K.   

Always sell the product first. Point out all the great features and get them interested/excited. This will help justify and prepare you for the big price tag they're about to hit you with. 




@yogiboy yes, my wording may have been confusing, I am OK with dealer pricelists too, but they are just as hard to find. Many times it's a pdf from Turkey or Luxemburg from 2012.

Most often dealers can’t advertise anything but list prices, for fear of losing the line. For.  But if you call or stop in, many times they might open a box and then sell them to you as “Open Box”.

The. There are the take it or leave it people….

I find speaker prices by looking for online reviews or just asking google.

@curiousjim still, at some point, the prices should be revealed :)

It’s not LIKE car sales, right?

Buying good speakers is not like going to the moon...

The difference between speakers good design and price is certainly not linear...

The room where they will be installed matter more most of the times than their price differences...

And simply revealing price at first sight is not a good marketing practice , the only exception will be in the case of  extraordinary S.Q. design for relatively low price...Then you can trumpet the price...

 In general you must interest the future buyer first with marketing information and price must be written in another page or only on some dealer at the end of all explanation...😁


@mahgister I know nothing about marketing. But I know that as a consumer, I prefer to know the price before learning too much about a product.

Understanding marketing is easy.

It's all about convincing people to buy things they don't need...

I find speaker prices by looking for online reviews or just asking google.

i am with @roxy54 

i have never, ever had trouble finding prices of any hifi loudspeaker that i needed, old or new...  the power of the internet right at our fingertips, numerous search engines

i am exactly like you...

But we are all different with different budget limit...They bait us ...

My very best to you OP...

@mahgister I know nothing about marketing. But I know that as a consumer, I prefer to know the price before learning too much about a product.


The point is about a marketing presentation without price indication...

Now that does not means that we are unable to look for the price... Anybody can for sure as you said ... But why not giving the price on the same page ? Thats the point of the OP ...


i have never, ever had trouble finding prices of any hifi loudspeaker that i needed, old or new... the power of the internet right at our fingertips, numerous search engines

Often the easiest way to find the list price of a speaker (or amp/DAC/streamer/etc.) is to find a review of the product.  Just Google "[speaker brand/model] review"


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I’m hazarding a nearly entirely ignorant guess but I would expect a certain amount of it could be to maintain fluidity in price and respective profit margins through time. Especially now, if a speaker company isn’t making everything in-house using domestically-sourced materials, a certain amount of volatility could ensue. Even some domestically-sourced materials would be a crapshoot in that regard.

The last full-range speaker made by the company I use encountered such a disaster. The speaker had a generally well-respected price-to-performance point, but due to overseas manufacturer price hikes in the aluminum cabinet, the speaker price increased almost 2x between two generations (of essentially the same product).

The speaker was still a strong performer at its new $6,500 price. But how do you explain that to everyone who saw them before for years at $3.5K?

And their website did always have the price listed clearly. That may have wound up being a bad look over the long haul.

Like I said though, just spitballing. I’ve noticed the same thing re: prices - they need to be on a dealer website but it’s hit-or-miss.

My shopping method is very simple in regards to price. If it’s not readily available, I won’t waste my valuable time hunting for it. As others have stated, in many cases, the amounts they are asking for speakers are outrageously inflated.

@grislybutter  I have never had a problem asking Google for "item name retail price in Canada"  Will instantly see several dealer sites with the price listed.  

Having been in sales, I will say that 99% of the time you will only see the MSRP (manufacturers suggested retail price).  Many manufacturers will only allow a retailer to "advertise" the MSRP or risk losing the brand.  A retailer is free to sell for any price they choose but not advertise it. 

In speaking with a retailer for a brand I won't mention, but they are built in France, I was told the price of speakers follows the same mark-up for most every brand.  If the cost of manufacturing is $5000, the cost to the Retailer is $10,000.  MSRP is $20,000.  I have no reason to think he was lying to me.  The more expensive the speaker, the bigger the mark up is at every stage.  The single reason we should never even entertain paying MSRP for new equipment.  IMHO

“Understanding marketing is easy  

It's all about convincing people to buy things they don't need...“

Let me finish that for you:

Understanding marketing is easy.

It's all about convincing people to buy things they don't a price they can’t afford. 


Don’t get me started on buying a car!  Long story, but they tagged on a $1500 charge and told us to bend over and pay it! And no it was not a destination or paperwork charge.  They were there as well!


It is aggravating not being able to quickly and easily find the price (even the MSRP) for a speaker.  I have my price range ($4K to $8K) that I'm willing to spend, so don't waste my time telling me the virtues of some B.S. high tech reason a speaker is better than sliced bread if it retails for $20K.  At least let me shop apples to apples when I'm looking in my price range.  The same goes for those willing to spend that $20K.  They don't want to be bothered wasting time looking at $8K speakers. 

Yes, sometimes I find ballpark prices on reviews, but if those reviews are 3 or 4 years old you can bet the prices listed aren't correct anymore after all the inflation. 

And then there are speakers that are at the end of the life, but were reviewed well such as for example the JBL L100 Classic which is being superseded by a "MK. II" version at a higher price.  The L100 Classic was often on sale for 20% off. 

Given the markup of speakers with a dealer network, it almost pushes you to consider only those who sell direct or even DIY if you have the time, equipment, and space. But then we all lament not finding brick and mortar stores near us to be able to hear speakers and amps and DACs before we buy. 

I'm confounded by all of this angst. All I ever have to do to get the price of something is ask. Easy-peasy. Everyone wants your money.

Back to the original point.  To get pricing on things the quickest, easiest way is to simply google "GE Triton Refs price" for example.  This may not get you exactly what you're looking for every time but it will show you "some" info pretty much every time.  I don't think I've ever not gotten something on even the most exotic gear this way.

It sounds like we all had different experiences. 

@curiousjim last time I bought a car, I ended up on the ER. I wish I were joking. I worked myself up so much I had an panic attack. Now I prefer to live near public transportation

I guess the old adage about, "If you have to ask the price, you can't afford it", applies in a lot of cases.  But I'll still click on something I'm not sure of if it looks good. At The Music Room or Safe and Sound I find great looking stuff, then find out lists for $46K. Oh well, eye candy. 

@grislybutter -- "But is that "normal"?"

I’ve always liked the saying that "normal" is a setting on your clothes dryer.

I think the key is that there aren’t any standardized requirements regarding advertising other than one cannot make willful misrepresentations or fraudulent/deceptive statements about the product. There is no rule against being obscure about a product’s price in your advertising.

So, it boils down to a manufacturer’s or retailer’s best guess as to how to approach their target market. For some that is being upfront about a low price. For others, its "OK, we’re not the cheapest but look what you get for your money!" Or, "Look, we are so fantastic and exclusive that if you’re worried about the price then you can’t afford it." The list of possibilities and variations is endless.

One of the common keys for high-end audio products is they are just that -- high-end. Looks, features, exclusivity, name recognition and bragging rights are the main points of their advertising in contrast to Best Buy’s newspaper ad for what mass market item is on sale this week. So its no surprise to me that the high-end makers are often vague about pricing.

I'm a dealer, and the main reason I put up an online site with prices is so people can see if the product fits their budget. This was one of my gripes when I was a consumer. That being said, it's a PITA to keep the prices updated. I do over 95% in-person sales so the website is mainly a service.

thanks @mlsstl sure sounds like a unique market that most people are not knowledgeable about

Don’t some manufacturers restrict advertising pricing? I thought that was part of some agreements relating to authorized dealership, which is tied to the ability to enforce warranties. It may be obsolete in the internet age, but I always looked at it as part of territories in a sense.

my attempt to lookup 500 or so speakers

It sounds more like you just broke the Internet! How long would it take to really audition 500 speakers?

Anyway, I’ve never had much trouble finding the actual price of any components with some googling and if you’re really interested there is always the phone call.

Oh, and try price comparison shopping for mattresses...

Having taken marketing in graduate school I have a very different take on marketing. It is to emphasize the positive attributes and get the consumers attention through all the other produces. Many people like me would not consider exaggerating or manufacturing false attributes. But clearly there are others with less altruistic motives. But good companies do not exaggerate or fake attributes.

I think there is a lot of misinformation in this thread and it's only just started!    It's clear a lot of people feel factories are just trying to rip everyone off.  My experience having worked for quite a few of them is that there are some people who are trying to take advantage at times but all in all most businesses have to do the right thing or they go under.   Ripping people off for real doesn't last long.  My experience is also that anyone who goes through the tremendous hassle of building stuff, it's not because they want to get rich.  Almost none of them ever do- they make a living and that's about it.  the perception of a company that makes a speaker for $500K is that they are rich rich rich but it may well be they sell one pair a year and in the end they only walk away with 10% of that as profit.    

I think the hard part for most buyers is to comprehend the process of making stuff: the labor, your building to make stuff in, the engineering, the buying of parts from all over the world and then finally to get all of it in one place to build.  It's impossible to have all those steps go well.   Marketing (explaining your stuff) and selling (which is your final income but also involves packaging and shipping and a lot of other details)  is a complex process involving a lot of different people with different agendas.  Shipping right now is nightmare, everything is getting damaged.  Once its sent to a dealer, there's lot of different dealers with different agendas too.  Some are amazing, some aren't.  Hard to tell from another country or even across the country how good someone is with their customers.  Over time, most high end enthusiasts have experienced a full range of these differences and Im sure it feels like a big conspiracy from time to time.  From this side it feels like a slow motion mess, dealing with all the changes that affect one thing or another constantly.  The process of can take a full year to design and build, get the parts and gather them up before you can actually ship the final product.  Building is truly a labor of love as it's so frustrating that you have to really want it.    

Smaller dealers - the ones interested in high end stuff- generally don't have great websites with prices because creating one and keeping it up to date is a significant amount of time investment with the near constant changes from the different  manufacturers.  You want to work all day trying to sell stuff and then all evening  because a cable manufacturer decided they need to change prices?  It's time invested that isn't necessarily productive if your business is geared to dealing with people in person and not selling online.  Why is my website so important if I don't sell anything there?  

If your business is geared towards online, well then you try and keep everything up to date- pictures, prices, data, new models, new products, etc.  But many of these website dealers don't sell some of the exotic high end stuff as the sales are way too small for them.  Or way too complicated.  They want lines that are simpler and sell in higher quantities.  The biggest online stores want to sell what people ask for -not necessarily what is "the best" as they don't even have any employees that understand that stuff.  The ones that understand the high end usually find a high end dealer to work for because selling cheap hi fi speakers and gear all day long is no fun at all.  Selling amazing high performance gear is really fun as you deal with people who really get it.  I have rarely met anyone in high end that was wealthy.  Most of them are ordinary folks passionate about high end audio.      

Manufacturers generally don't post prices as the international traffic on sites is significant ( my own US site sees 25% of our traffic from Germany! I don't sell anything to Germany! ) and there is no way to post prices in all currencies and account for all the different import duties and freight costs that affect the final price in a given country.  When you find yourself competing with another country's prices you soon decide not to post prices anymore.   Besides, the authorized dealers have all the prices.  The ones you don't want selling your stuff don't have prices because they don't understand your stuff anyway.  They just make a mess and can't support the client or the product! 



thanks Brad / @lonemountain  for your insight. I imagine that the process from design to manufacturing and selling is a very complex process. 

I don't know how complicated it is to keep prices updated, not just the technical aspects but calculating the prices as well. From the consumer's point of you, it's just unusual. Maybe the entire audio industry is unusual.


I actually couldn't agree more about how it looks from your side. Its something we have wrestled with and asked ourselves what the right thing is. I think we are going to work on adding prices to our lone mountain site as the need for our customers to find prices on ATC consumer models that no one has in stock is important and I’ll just have to deal with the aftermath.



@lonemountain I totally get the model of prices to be shown on the dealer page. The problem I ran into: I go to the dealer pages from the manufacturer's page and 4 out of 5 times, it's a barely usable site, the information on the speaker is a link BACK to the manufacturer's site. Checkmate!


Yes I get that. Frustrating for us both, as we cannot control the dealers or tell them what to do. We can only give them an opportunity-some take it and some dont.

The internet business is a completely different thing to the local shops that rely on relationships (and most likely good advice) to build their business. I grew up in the busness when it was like that and still prefer it. Nothing like a dealer who thinks long term and isnt greedy. There is a hybrid model growng as a few dealers are beginning to offer personal relationships AND internet information. Its a tough go as you need such signficant resources to be good at both. And yes, there are few local shops that offer bad advice, but I think that’s increasingly rare as word travels fast about bad deals and transactions.



@lonemountain Yes, very true.... and the retail changes that affect how we buy and use audio equipment (covid/amazon/spotify/price transparency, etc) drives how manufacturers and dealers reach the customers.

What I see suffering is the low-end/budget segment. The price range where new customers would enter the hifi world and would eventually step up, e.g. BestBuy, Tweeter, local hifi shops that used to be a 10 minute drive in every big city. When I go to high end dealers, I see people arriving with 120+K cars and naturally they will get the special treatment. Going to amazon to browse 500-1000 dollar gear is not much fun. 

One issue for the exporters is global pricing…. which tacks on a LOT of $€£¥…… in the home market….. which leads to wildly irrelevant home market “ suggested retail pricing “….. 

@tomic601 yes, that can be confusing (and disturbing). And can cause for example speakers from the UK to be cheaper in the US, than across the street from the factory

hifi is subjective. I know there's places on the net that say science proves different and if you buy into that than just buy the cheap stuff they recommend. otherwise the law of diminishing returns is different for everyone depending on their budget and level of appreciation for music playback. 


I know one mysterious cost that is hidden for all but the distributor- the tremendous cost of freight from a country far away. THis can add a LOT to the cost of the product by the time you get it!

MAny of these smaller hi fi companies cannot do lower cost sea shipments unless you are importing large volumes, enough to fill a shipping container (holds 10-15 pallets loaded 7-8 foot high) . That’s a lot of stuff. If you are small to medium size you are stuck with air freight on pallets which travels on passenger planes (a lot of folks dont know that’s how airlines really make their money) . The cargo planes (FEDX, UPS, DHL etc) you see at airports is for small package only, NOT pallets. So like a single small box from one person to one person is what’s inside that giant FEDX plane. 

Small package shipment is absolutely brutal on the shipment itself- ESPECIALLY international.. 90% ofl the freight damage comes from small package shipping. So signifcant losses are now normal. If you order 6 preamps, 2 are ruined or unshippable because the box is destroyed or the unit inside has scartch that no one will want. TO sort that out and file a claim is months and months of follow up. Not fun.

I recently had customs drill holes in my ATC crates from UK looking for-I dont know what- drugs? Ruined many pairs of beaugiful wood veneered 50s, 100s 150s with holes in the cabinets!. You cannot go after customs, they can do whatever they see fit to check your crates.

SO cost of crate shipments can run 20-30% on top of the product value- not including losses. So add 20-30% to the street price you pay. That is the biggest reason my ATC is more than UK ATC.

Claims to the contrary ("I got it for $40") is referring to small package shipments only and works on only a very very small scale (you order one used preamp from overseas). This won’t work for a larger boxes as there is a limit to size and weight- a pair of floor standing speakers is not shippable small package.


You cannot go after customs, they can do whatever they see fit to check your crates.

That's wild .I thought they could open anything. Damaging it is another level

@lonemountain in a prior life i built n sold and delivered a few freighters.. from 737 up to 747. You are correct in general. My point was usa manufacturers exporting may have a global price set by the higher international costs and zero ( or very close to it ) sales in the usa happen at that global price…. walk in the usa dealer door for an instant discount…. sometimes 20-30%…. and then customer is disappointed to learn that a competing home country product ( including cabinets made in the USA ) are not sold at the same % off…..