A good friend of many years is in town for a few days and we've been discussing high-end audio, products, the marketplace, etc. He's been spending time in our facilities and sees the extraordinary effort that goes into designing some of our products: the months of hard work it takes to get a product from the idea in one's head, the napkin sketch of the circuit, the mechanical renderings of the form factor, to the final documentation needed to actually produce the product reliably and repeatably. The level of work and detail is surprising to him. It is surprising to me even after all these years.
When we look at a finished product rarely do we think of what it takes to successfully bring that product into the world. I am fascinated by this because I am sure it takes about the same amount of work to bring a lower cost product into the world as it does a higher cost product. It may be, in fact, that the best lower cost products are more difficult to birth than the fancier exotic ones - the choices that need to be made for lower cost products probably far exceed those of the price-no-object devices.
And yet when we look at a low cost "entry level" high-end audio product vs. a "cost no object" piece, we tend to shrug at the one and ooh and ahh over the other. The time, energy, skill and inspiration to engineer both, close to the same.
The story we tell ourselves is that the entry level is a banged out cookie-cutter design while the cost-no-object is a labor of love; the vessel the designer pours his soul into.
Great stories are always fascinating.