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

Up through the early 70s hi fi was very much DYI. Then manufacturers caught on and started to offer hi end features in their products. I’m an engineer. I fell into the wrong crowd in the late 80s- hobbyists that were heavy into modded hifi. I enjoyed and took pride in learning and doing my own mods to gear to improve the sound for a decade or so. Our mantra was sound per dollar. Once I had the means I started buying newer high end gear and found that also very satisfying if not more so. I still have worked to make my room acoustically better and experiment with isolation methods but I do not use my soldering iron much these days. We all have our limitations. I have to appreciate the engineering work and effort that these hifi companies have made that by far surpass my capabilities or the time I can afford to invest in my own mods. It lets me enjoy the music.
You gets what you pay for, mostly....although there are tons of more economical audio products, so called "bang for the buck" available, but I won't bore you. 
@william53b cool post there were some brands on that list I'd never even heard of before.
All Psychology, it is Status which makes you feel good.
And the Profit range is necessary for Dealers to keep the ball rolling. Example: when the really best Tonearm would be 4k final, do you really think, it would get the same merits like one for 15k or more? I say, no.
and even when you don’t want, but
the next chapter will be opened
- limited series
- price will go up next month
- i bought it because I got it for a good price
- handmade

and so on

and then the next push
- advertisement in mags etc.
- proud owners in Forums
- reviever X likes it
- excellent finish
- shiny, expensive optics

and so on

"...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..."

Not for me. My well being would be negatively impacted if my hobby spending was taxed with consumption taxes. Nobody NEEDS a music system to survive but it does enhance my life, and it certainly doesn't need to be excessively taxed.