Stratospheric audio gear prices

The more time I have under my belt pursuing quality audio, the more I realize that high audio gear prices have some basis in their quality. Yet there is a limit. When you buy a Ferrari the cost is high, but you can see the money involved in the design and parts. Many would argue that high quality audio gear is similar to the quality and design of a hyper-car. But when you look a the sheer quantity an complexity of this kind of car, there is no piece of audio gear that compares. To me, a piece of audio gear that costs as much as even an inexpensive car is just a manufacturer cashing in because they can. Can you imagine what audio manufacturers would want to charge for a piece of audio gear that was the size and weight of a car? Like $100 million.  I believe it just drives the whole market up and we end up getting a little bit suckered. This is all perhaps a little overstated. I guess I just want to shame audio manufacturers. I do understand that they are not charities, or here for the betterment of mankind. If you are not frustrated by this, good for you.  Here is a quote from a book about marketing. The reference is a victim of link rot. Nevertheless it has common information. 

"Premium Pricing

Premium pricing is the practice of keeping the price of a product or service artificially high in order to encourage favorable perceptions among buyers, based solely on the price. The practice is intended to exploit the (not necessarily justifiable) tendency for buyers to assume that expensive items enjoy an exceptional reputation or represent exceptional quality and distinction . A premium pricing strategy involves setting the price of a product higher than similar products . This strategy is sometimes also called skim pricing because it is an attempt to "skim the cream" off the top of the market. It is used to maximize profit in areas where customers are happy to pay more, where there are no substitutes for the product, where there are barriers to entering the market, or when the seller cannot save on costs by producing at a high volume. It is also called image pricing or prestige pricing.


Luxury has a psychological association with price premium pricing. The implication for marketing is that consumers are willing to pay more for certain goods and not for others. To the marketer, it means creating a brand equity or value for which the consumer is willing to pay extra. Marketers view luxury as the main factor differentiating a brand in a product category."

Source: Boundless. “Market Share.” Boundless Business Boundless, 26 May. 2016. Retrieved 07 Feb. 2017 from

The reference is a victim of link rot. Nevertheless it has common information.

Another new one, link rot. What we keep coming back for: common information. On I end audio. No wonder the normies think we're crazy.
I suggest the OP just go buy a boat. It will cost more to purchase and maintain, and provide less personal enjoyment.
Not if it's equipped with a high end audio system.
Mount the speakers on deck, take her out to open water, and you've got no worries about room effects, neighbors, or even the Wife Acceptance Factor.
If you look at prices over time, luxury items like high end watches, boats, esoteric audio gear and super cars increase in price about 3-5% per year while common appliance prices stay flat or even get cheaper.  High end luxury isn’t about cost cutting or outsourcing to low cost countries.  In 1990 ARC’s top of the line preamp was an astonishing $5800.  Look at the price of their top of the line now.  I bought a Stainless Steel Omega Seamaster Professional watch in 1994 for $1600.  It’s a good watch.  I still wear it. $6000 roughly to replace it today.  It’s still just gears in a case with a sapphire crystal. 
@russ69 I agree with you! And yet:
"People who are unable to maintain the same standard of living as others around them experience a sense of relative deprivation that has been shown to reduce feelings of well-being. Relative deprivation reflects conditions of worsening relative poverty despite striking reductions in absolute poverty. The effects of relative deprivation explain why average happiness has been stagnant over time despite sharp rises in income. Consumption taxes on status-seeking spending, along with official and traditional sanctions on excess consumption and redistributive policies may lessen the negative impact of relative deprivation on well-being."

Perhaps this is as relevant to the OP’s concern about audio:

I think of the ultra high end in audio equipment more like hand made works of art than any potential benefit you may derive from improved audio quality. I don’t think you get the be all, end all performance you might get from a hyper car.

What the money gets you is design aesthetic. Like these:

One thing that stands out to me, as a nerd, is that if it were simply about performance every audiophile would have 220-240 voltage behind their setup to take advantage of the potential benefits of utilizing both sides of the sine wave.

When we remodel the listening room this fall, I’m running a 240v, 40 amp line to my system that then gives me the ability to have two splits at 120-20 and a 240 to fiddle with. It also can save space in the electrical box.

But I digress... 😉