Does expensive equipment always sound better?

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Today’s fact or fiction question is a little like the old chestnut: does throwing money at a problem always work? The answer’s as old as the question: of course not (but it usually helps).

I struggle with this basic inquiry because it’s a question in search of a pat answer when none are available (the catchword is “always”). We cannot honestly answer this often asked question because of its “always” qualifier.

That said, I would have to put forth a general answer of yes. In general, the higher priced equipment sounds better than lower priced products. Our own Stellar vs. BHK are good examples and I am certain there are many others.

There is a caveat here and it’s one we should all think about for the continuing health of our industry. There’s a danger in blindly proliferating this generalized wisdom because it’s just too easy to take advantage of it: over-the-top expensive chassis, unnecessary audio connection jewelry, exotic materials that don’t really matter, name brand parts in places that don’t improve performance.

There’s no doubt that with a big enough budget and the right intent on the part of designers, more expensive equals better equipment.

I would just hope that honor and ethics in our industry will always trump the opposite.