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View Full Version : How can these speakers be worth this much?


curiousgeorgeordeadcat
07-13-2001, 01:16 AM
Check out:
http://audioreview.com/reviews/Speaker/product_7314.shtml
$250000 for a pair of speakers!
Is this some sort of joke?
Is the price really in pesos or something?
Are the manufacturers hoping some fool with a lot of money
will buy them?
If not, what could possibly make a pair of speakers this
valuable?

honkytonkwillie
07-13-2001, 02:37 AM
Not a joke. But surely the production run is very limited, most likely all hand made and assembled, and probably less than 20 or 30 sets in existence.

Speaker manufacturers and other makers of high end goods do this sometimes. I call it "flag-shipping" although there's probably a more common name for the practice. I think it is somehow related to brand marketing, kind of like how Mercedes Benz is the only car maker to make the Pope-mobile. Even though it is a one of a kind and cost a ton of money, having the MB logo on the front is priceless. It brings attention to the whole company.

Another loudspeaker maker who does this is Infinity. Its been several years since I looked, but each year in the Buyers Guide issues of the popular audio magazines, Infinity would have listed a loudspeaker set listed for $100,000 one year, and the next year it would show up for $120,000.

In the Car Audio field the counterpart is Pheonix Gold. They mainly manufacture amplifiers though, so suitably, their flagship is an amplifier. Last time I checked it was $150,000 IIRC. I've never seen a write-up on it but in an interview I read with the PG CEO, he talked about it being one of a kind, and whenever they get an offer to buy it, they raise the price some more.

Going back to the Infinity's, I've actually seen and heard two different sets, one older and one newer. And they weren't in a high end stereo shop either. Long story made really short: a local family owned business which manufacturers oil field equipment was run my an old man who was really into his toys.

He bought a set and eventually gave it to the guys in the shop so they could enjoy tunes all day. My jaw dropped when I saw them in the huge warehouse of the shop, tuned to a crappy static-filled radio station, no less. The guy assisting me saw my reaction and said "Awwww, that's nothing. You oughta see the old man's new speakers up in his office."

The owner was out for the day, so the guy brought me up to the owners office, which was about 50' long by about 30' wide. At the end are 4 huge Infinity tower speakers being driven my a pair of Krell amps, (easily $25,000 each). Also for decoration in the office were a pair of full sized grand pianos and some other wildly expensive dust collectors.

Crazy shit. Sadly, I got the impression the man really wasn't that critical of what his stuff sounded like, but rather was from the you-get-what-you-pay-for school of thought; and chose his equipment by price alone.

casdave
07-13-2001, 04:00 AM
That kind of money would buy you onto a lot of concerts, so why bother ?

Keep music live!!

Cisco
07-13-2001, 05:12 AM
I saw a subwoofer in a car audio shop the other day for $1,500, that's right, a single subwoofer for $1,500. I asked the store manager if it had boobs or something. This just blows my mind. I think honkytonkwillie pretty much summed it up though, it's the prestige and rarity of it that makes it so expensive.

manhattan
07-13-2001, 09:45 AM
Interestingly enough,
Has anybody actually bought stereo speakers costing $50,000 a pair? (http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a3_182.html).

Whack-a-Mole
07-13-2001, 10:18 AM
Just to add to the craziness...

How about a $12,000 set of headphones (http://www.sennheiser.com/headphones/electrostatic/eh_1d002.htm)?

Is it just me or are these things (all of the stuff in this post) something only your dog could really appreciate?

Running with Scissors
07-13-2001, 11:47 AM
A non-enthusiast will never comprehend the amounts of money enthusiasts spend on their toys. Cisco, $1,500 is actually not surprising (although you can get decent subs for under $300 now), a high-end sub can cost even more than that.

The IRS (Infinity Reference Standard, mentioned above) is no longer in production. I believe when it was first produced it cost around $20k, and the last year of production was around $60k.

Arnie Nudell (the founder of Infinity Systems) started a new (well, several years ago) company called Genesis, which produces the heir apparent to the IRS:

The Genesis 1.1 (http://www.gen-tech.com/gen1.1.html).

List price is around $135k.

Mr. Blue Sky
07-13-2001, 06:09 PM
Did anyone else notice that the reviews were full of misspelled words?

King Rat
07-13-2001, 08:18 PM
How about this $292,500 tube amplifier? http://gallery.consumerreview.com/audio/gallery/files/anote.asp

No, it's not a misprint.

Sam Stone
07-13-2001, 11:00 PM
Here's an interesting web page for exotic audio: http://www.geocities.com/jm011500/Exotic_Audio.html

DVous Means
07-14-2001, 10:54 AM
In Adelaide, South Australia, there is a audio manufacturer called Duntech, who make extremely highly rated loudspeakers that rival the best on the market anywhere. The Duntech Sovereigns usually retail for about $30 000 (Aust), which makes them rather cheap compared to the Infinity's and others mentioned above.

However, the Sovereigns are about 2 metres high and have a large footprint, hence they require a VERY large room to do them justice - not the sort of listening room that many of us have...

Seraphim
07-14-2001, 11:00 AM
If all of this is so high-end, why are they using vacuum tubes? Hasn't that technology been outdated by, oh, 40 or more years?

astro
07-14-2001, 11:21 AM
Originally posted by Seraphim

If all of this is so high-end, why are they using vacuum tubes? Hasn't that technology been outdated by, oh, 40 or more years?

Here's a related SDMB thread for you Seraphim.

Are high-end stereo owners deluding themselves?

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=77359

King Rat
07-14-2001, 12:02 PM
Originally posted by DVous Means
In Adelaide, South Australia, there is a audio manufacturer called Duntech, who make extremely highly rated loudspeakers that rival the best on the market anywhere.

The founder of Duntech, John Dunlavy, came back to America (he's a dual citizen born in Kansas) and founded http://www.dunlavyaudio.com/. He's an engineer's engineer.

gtzaskar00
07-15-2001, 06:16 PM
Originally posted by Seraphim

If all of this is so high-end, why are they using vacuum tubes? Hasn't that technology been outdated by, oh, 40 or more years?

As a guitar and bass player, I can certainly say that tubes will never be outdated. The sound of instruments being played through an amp with tubes is something that all of the "technologically advanced" amps of today keep on striving to mimic. I am of course saying this for guitar, bass, and various other instrument amps. As far as recorded music and movie soundtracks, I have no idea if the tubes would work better. When it comes to the electronic amplification of an instrument, the nuances and uniqueness of each amp is desired. The amplification of RECORDED music and movie soundtracks are about the replication of real sounds.

Or something like that.