Does extremely expensive HiFi equipment matter?

November 24, 2021
 by Paul McGowan

17 comments on “Does extremely expensive HiFi equipment matter?”

  1. The question is why does it cost so much to make a 53,000 preamp? Are the parts that much or is it due to extensive tweaking labor? They probably use lots of pure silver and gold but that doesn’t explain it all. There are speakers that cost over a million dollars. A lot of it has to do with not selling that many. I’m sure if they sold millions of 53,000 preamplifiers they would bring down the price.

    1. Hey Joe!
      See if you can compute this!
      The Vac Amp company here in Florida, makes a preamp that uses tubes.
      The price on that preamp, is 15,000$.00.
      One of their all tube power amps, is $14,500.00.
      The only thing that that power amp has goingg for it, is it biases its own tubes.
      But if a tube is going bad, it signifies you with a red LED light.
      In this matter, I would have to ask my wife to look att that for me, because of the fact that, I can’t see those lights.
      But that preamp, it lacks tone controls.
      This is why me paying 15 grand for that preamp, makes no sense to me at all.
      I can get a preamp from Mcintosh for about 6 grand.
      That preamp being, their C-2700.
      On that preamp, you have tone controls and a phono stage.
      And plus, the preamp has a built in DAC that can decode DSD all the way up to 512bits, 396KHZ.
      And I would pare that preamp up to their latest power amp that cost $500 more then the Vac Amp power amp I spoke of.
      The Mcintosh power amp I’m talking about here, is their MC-2150.
      It cost 15 grand.
      But look at what you’re getting for that price!
      You’re getting 150 watts per channel of tube power.
      And on top of that, you’re getting a state of the art cirket protection.
      Meaning, that if a tube fails, it shuts itself off to protect itself against damages of any critical components.
      And plus, you get a LED light show as apart of the price package deal.
      And also, you get a pare of watt meeders too.
      So, I would go for the Mcintosh equipment and save myself some real serious money.
      That is, if it were left up to me.

  2. Some of it can be attributed to prestige and the blind need to have the most expensive (not necessarily the best…) of everything. If some (fools) are willing to pay $30k – $1.9MILLION on a PURSE – then they will need to somehow indicate its price. Because it looks like a hunk of sewn leather and a bedazzled handle to me… and one can not just have people have their Goochie Alligator Fendy Hermes clutch mistaken for a average handbag! The elite social embarrassment!!
    Many folk seem to have to brag or at least indicate a dollar value on things. “That’s my $XX Harley and my $XXX Audi with the $XXX aftermarket wheels and over there is my $XXXXX framed white canvas with a blue circle in it and just look at my $XXXX watch! Look, see? it displays the same time MUCH better than anything on the market.” I’ve an acquaintance who fancies himself a wine guy. The dollar value of EVERY wine is directly proportional to how much he likes it. The wines don’t have a name, they have a $$ figure.
    Me? I can’t resist an bargain or a good deal. THAT I will boast a $ value on. My first ribbon’d Maggie MGIIIa – free, replaced/restrung the mid panel, repaired the woofer panels and re-soldered one ribbon. Myself. My work. Those are my $60 magnepans. Just replaced them with 3.7i. Near new, mint, from a different province, had them privately flown to me for FREE (serendipitous right place, right time, right work connections) for less than half retail and it included included a free REL 9Ti. To me that’s a way better story than “Tell me about your speakers..” “Well went out and bought ’em.”
    I could become a billionaire but I’d never stop being searching to be cheap!!
    I’d likely go a little bit nuts on audio but I’d still live in Carhartts & Sketchers, drive a Ford, eat out of the frying pan and scan the sales flyers.
    OK maybe a early 80s Ferrari 308 GTSi. The sexiest car ever produced.

  3. It is like in the fashion world. My wife’s expensive hand bag is not even made of leather. Her cheaper one is more durable and is made of leather. Do I think the expensive one is better? Hack no! But she does; that gives her all the bragging right and that’s all that matter.

  4. Electronics and speaker pricing are angst-incucing, but what really tweaks my neurosis are cable prices. Not only can I wrap my head around paying for cables where the complete “loom” can exceed six figures, underneath it all is the niggling suspicion that I really wouldn’t hear the difference! As Paul says. “diminishing returns”.

    I’d like to hear his considered analysis of the world of cables, but it would probably touch off a firestorm from the flat-earthers.

    It does seem that you cannot read an equipment review these days where the reviewer doesn’t swap two or three uber expensive cables and makes you infer that without then the device is less than satisfactory.

    1. Same problem with vacuum tubes ranging from $ 1 to $ 3,000! Or capacitors ranging from some cents per item to most expensive hand-made ones from Mundorf or Rike Audio!

      1. Good morning paulsquirrel!
        The most I ever paid for replacement tubes for one of my amps, is a tad bitt over 300USD.
        Those tubes that you spoke of costing between 1000 and 3000USD, must be NOS tubes.
        The only exception to that, are the currant production Western Electric tubes.
        Those 300B tubes cost 1700USD per matched quod.
        But currant production tubes costing more then that, I haven’t stumbled across those as of yet.
        But to be honest, that sounds crazy.

          1. Good morning paulsquirrel!
            First, I must confess, that I never heard of ELROG tubes until you told me about them yesterday.
            I didn’t have time to check in to them yesterday, because I was enjoying Thanks Giving’s Day with my wife.
            Oh by the way, how was yours yesterday?
            I done some research on ELROG tubes this morning.
            When they first started out 6 years ago, a quite a lot of their tubes were subject to failure.
            But that got corrected as reasontly as 2 years ago.
            JJ Electronic needs to take a very voluble lesson from these guise!
            They only make two types of tubes.
            Those tubes are, 300B and 845/211 tubes.
            These are the directly heated cathode tubes.
            They make a beefy tube that is the exact Cirket type as the 845/211 tube.
            But they call it the 284 tube.
            But sense I don’t own any amps that uses those types of tubes, I have no way of trying them out.
            But baste on what I read on the Audio Shark forums, they have a very top notch sound.
            I would some day, like to hear those ELROG tubes.

  5. All the commentators are right on their statements, however that being true, it’s not the whole truth. They seem to forget that very often ( most of the time indeed ) the more expensive equipment simply sounds better. I assume that if you decide to buy expensive gear , could’nt just be that you like it’s sound better than others?.

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