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As many on here know I’ve been into HiFI for 5 decades and in that time I’ve seen the contents of components get less as the price goes up over the years..

I’m somewhat gobsmacked when an item comes up for sale or reviewed and it’s shows the electronics inside , talk about minimalist .specially Dacs and phono preamps . A circuit board with a couple of caps ,a few chips and solder ,, with sometimes a few valves .Now I’m no electronics expert but I’m no idiot ..and I understand the cost of development and research and single figure manufacturing.. a few years ago I had a full engine replacement on a Subaru Impreza  £6,500 . That’s one big chunk of engineering excellence .And yet I see a box with B......r all in it for £5000. And don’t get me onto passive preamplifiers that’s even more of a laugh

I open up my quad 405 and it’s full of stuff and costs a 10th of some of the gear I see for doing a similar job ..

C’mon , show us your internals and the ridiculous amount of money you handed over for it 

In fact i set a challenge to find the box with the least in it for the most amount of money 

kindest regards Julian

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As with most things in life, cost and value are two closely related relatives separated by galaxies of marketing speech. Sent from my VOG-L29 using Tapatalk

As many on here know I’ve been into HiFI for 5 decades and in that time I’ve seen the contents of components get less as the price goes up over the years.. I’m somewhat gobsmacked when an item co

Maybe we are forgetting that it might not be just regular common or garden variety air inside these boxes.... but 100% oxygen free cryogenically frozen, all singing all dancing audiophile (or should t

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As with most things in life, cost and value are two closely related relatives separated by galaxies of marketing speech.



Sent from my VOG-L29 using Tapatalk

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If only it was that simple.

As with all things, quality costs. Your 'just two capacitors' could easily cost you a few more Queen's notes than you might expect. Happy with somewhat noisy, 5% tolerance carbon composite resistors? Then about 10p each is fine. Need incredibly low inherent noise, 0.1% maximum tolerance metal foils for RIAA circuits? You could easily pay £40 each or more.

Passive preamps using a switched attenuator are a perfect case in point. You absolutely need very good resistors, or you'll get noise and you'll get poor channel matching. There are a lot of resistors there and a hell of a lot of soldering. I'm amazed they're as cheap as they are sometimes.

My DIY phono stage is relatively straightforward, but with a fairly OTT power supply. I daren't add up the parts bill for it, but it's definitely a four-figure sum. Transformers? Don't look like much, but you can easily pay £2000 for one output transformer.

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3 minutes ago, rabski said:

If only it was that simple.

As with all things, quality costs. Your 'just two capacitors' could easily cost you a few more Queen's notes than you might expect. Happy with somewhat noisy, 5% tolerance carbon composite resistors? Then about 10p each is fine. Need incredibly low inherent noise, 0.1% maximum tolerance metal foils for RIAA circuits? You could easily pay £40 each or more.

Passive preamps using a switched attenuator are a perfect case in point. You absolutely need very good resistors, or you'll get noise and you'll get poor channel matching. There are a lot of resistors there and a hell of a lot of soldering. I'm amazed they're as cheap as they are sometimes.

My DIY phono stage is relatively straightforward, but with a fairly OTT power supply. I daren't add up the parts bill for it, but it's definitely a four-figure sum. Transformers? Don't look like much, but you can easily pay £2000 for one output transformer.

But that’s my point in question,, is what you pay for something as an enthusiast to build your own stuff and as I’ve said before I’m in awe of what you guys do , is what that component costs to research and manufacture and assemble in a box , now that in such technical industries CAD CAM and now AI are doing the donkey work .. 

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What Rabski said .. not only that in the days of the Quad 405 the market was buoyant - loads of sales and stuff was mass produced.  

The manufacturer today has to work out what quantity are going to be sold and what the profit margins should be to make it worthwhile.  They can mass produce and reduce the price but then have to sell thousands of units to make the same profit as hand building and selling at a much higher price (which carries less risk as no capital tied up in tooling up for mass production etc).

At the retail end times have changed too - overheads and costs of running a hifi shop have increased dramatically on top of which the volume of sales has fallen.  So as part of the price of any product now allows the dealer 40% .. sounds massive profit but then think that he has to sell quite a few thousand quids worth a month just to pay the rent, rates and power costs,   Back in the mid 70s when I helped out at Guildford hifi they had to take £1000 a week just to cover the overheads .. average wages were less than £39 a week in those days so it gives you an idea 

 

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This phonostage originally had an rrp of £8.4k.

I didn't pay anywhere near that. 

IMG_20210328_185834.jpg

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Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, bigrod said:

But that’s my point in question,, is what you pay for something as an enthusiast to build your own stuff and as I’ve said before I’m in awe of what you guys do , is what that component costs to research and manufacture and assemble in a box , now that in such technical industries CAD CAM and now AI are doing the donkey work .. 

CAD and CAM might make the casework easier, but SIM software for circuit design is no better than a quick check to make sure something isn't going to blow up. Neither CAD nor CAM will help with the manufacture of actual components.

Compliance? Testing? Warranties? Dealer margins? Stocking costs?

A while back, I looked at doing something commercially. It took me all of an hour to work out that at the sort of likely volumes, I'd need to sell at around ten times the component costs just to break even. And that was for something not mains powered...

Edited by rabski
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I like the inside of my little amp...IMG_20210314_150521.thumb.jpg.ef1fa5c5272d62c85ba93f09e0338042.jpg

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Posted (edited)

Interesting thread, from what I can see, it’s all about quality of components and economies of scale. The op originally quoted his quad 405 which has (in both guises) about 165,000 units sold attributed to it. I’m guessing that most manufacturers nowadays, can only dream of selling this volume of units.

Edited by Fantasque
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Great question.

I only have to look a certain little something (will remain nameless) i have on my bench at the moment and i can tell you that the money being asked for it is outrageous. 

Some years back now, i bought a PCB from a fella called "The Valve Wizard". He Charged £9.00 in total including postage. The bits to build it ran to £100....for £109.00 i have a very likeable MM valve phonostage.

The thing i have here on my test equipment is using an almost identical circuit. Almost like they were made from the same Circuit Diagram.  PSU is a little different but in the main, it's about a 90% match. They have stuffed Carbon film resistors in it, and in the RIAA. It has 2x fancy Decoupling caps in it at £125 each (i have checked) and other than that, its nothing one would write home about. 2x unbranded SUTs too, so they are a little more pricey at about £300 each (guess) 

The price of this one is above £5K....yes above £5000.00 new. 

The thing that pisses me off most though, is not the price, not the bullshit that surrounds it, but the fact it doesn't even do the job it's supposed to.

The main task of a phonostage is to correct the RIAA equalisation used when cutting the LP. It doesn't even do that accurately. The circuit design means that whenever you change a valve, the RIAA changes with it....Yes, it is entirely dependent on the gain characteristic of the valve you use. 

What happens when that valve ages and deteriorates?.......yup, the RIAA curve changes again! Swap between NOS valves and it will be different again. 

I wouldn't pay you in toffee for it. But if my boiler exploded, if you don't know how to fix it or make it yourself, you are at their mercy for a price that isn't extortionate. 

Edited by Bigman80
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2 hours ago, uzzy said:

So as part of the price of any product now allows the dealer 40% .. sounds massive profit but then think that he has to sell quite a few thousand quids worth a month just to pay the rent, rates and power costs,   

 

40%. One of the audits I worked on in the 80s was House of Fraser. Fashion stock was valued at retail less markup at the stock takes. Markup was 90%

One of my favourite auditing memories was house of fraser. When automatic digital office phone switchboards were common, Tunbridge Wells branch of House of Fraser still had a dolls eye switchboard with jumper cables and trs plugs 

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plus, with boutique/hand-built HiFi, you're paying for all the frazzled & blown up prototypes on the floor under the designer's workbench

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3 hours ago, bigrod said:

As many on here know I’ve been into HiFI for 5 decades and in that time I’ve seen the contents of components get less as the price goes up over the years..

I’m somewhat gobsmacked when an item comes up for sale or reviewed and it’s shows the electronics inside , talk about minimalist .specially Dacs and phono preamps . A circuit board with a couple of caps ,a few chips and solder ,, with sometimes a few valves .Now I’m no electronics expert but I’m no idiot ..and I understand the cost of development and research and single figure manufacturing.. a few years ago I had a full engine replacement on a Subaru Impreza  £6,500 . That’s one big chunk of engineering excellence .And yet I see a box with B......r all in it for £5000. And don’t get me onto passive preamplifiers that’s even more of a laugh

I open up my quad 405 and it’s full of stuff and costs a 10th of some of the gear I see for doing a similar job ..

C’mon , show us your internals and the ridiculous amount of money you handed over for it 

In fact i set a challenge to find the box with the least in it for the most amount of money 

kindest regards Julian

Does this lack of internals compromise the sound quality?

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5 minutes ago, Pinkie said:

40%. One of the audits I worked on in the 80s was House of Fraser. Fashion stock was valued at retail less markup at the stock takes. Markup was 90%

One of my favourite auditing memories was house of fraser. When automatic digital office phone switchboards were common, Tunbridge Wells branch of House of Fraser still had a dolls eye switchboard with jumper cables and trs plugs 

Aye other industries and products have different mark ups .. clothes 100% plus ,, and handbags well the sky's the limit.  The interesting thing about marks ups (or not) was the Ford Escort Ghia cost £5k more than the standard Escort but cost £500 more to make .. 

 

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3 hours ago, bigrod said:

In fact i set a challenge to find the box with the least in it for the most amount of money 

kindest regards Julian

 This will take some beating 

https://hifilounge.co.uk/product/koetsu-coralstone-platinum-moving-coil-cartridge/

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