Question Is expensive hifi worth it today?

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Dom

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Aug 6, 2011
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Like most hobbies or activities you can spend a lot or a little. Cheaper hifi is fine if your willing to spend time in demo room and know what your listening for.
Over spending is easy and doesn't give you better sound quality IMO. I think there's a balance between budget and quality.
 
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npxavar

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Nov 30, 2022
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Like most hobbies or activities you can spend a lot or a little. Cheaper hifi is fine if your willing to spend time in demo room and know what to listening for.
Over spending is easy and doesn't give you better sound quality IMO. I think there's a balance between budget and quality.
Nobody talks about the tipping point though. Has the Audio Engineering Society done any work on this subject?
 

podknocker

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Feb 5, 2021
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Like most hobbies or activities you can spend a lot or a little. Cheaper hifi is fine if your willing to spend time in demo room and know what your listening for.
Over spending is easy and doesn't give you better sound quality IMO. I think there's a balance between budget and quality.
I agree. I think I'd need to spend an appreciable amount more, to get a minimal increase in quality. My system was £2k and to get a vast improvement would need a significant spend. Even if you are a millionaire, there is a point where you can't tell the difference. As I said earlier, after the sound quality has reached a certain point, the money is going on aesthetics and exclusivity. Wanting to stand out is more important to many people. I've not owned a wristwatch, for over 40 years and will never buy another. I doubt a £25000 Rolex keeps better time, than a £25 watch from Argos. I know it can't.
 

Emark600

Well-known member
Dec 31, 2022
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Will overpriced cables make an overpriced system sound better? Hmm. Trying to justify a 10% spend on cables, which many people do, with regards to the system cost is nonsense. A £10000 system night sound great with QED 79 strand. It's like saying because you own a Ferrari, you have to spend 10 times more on tyres. I'm not convinced.
Don’t think I’d stick budget H rated tyres on a Ferrari personally, and similarly wouldn’t use FT&E for speaker cable ….
 

Dom

Well-known member
Aug 6, 2011
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I don't know what I'm listening for, they all seem to have a trade off somewhere.
Speakers make the most difference but none have sounded right to me, I have to accept that I might get more enjoyment from an Alexa smart speaker :ROFLMAO:
 
There are some dodgy analogies going on here:

Posh watches tend to be mechanical, and keep time considerably less well than a cheap Casio - those who buy them do so for other reasons. Not ones that appeal to me, I hasten to add - watches are jewellery and are highly visible and totally portable. Draw your own conclusions about what that might mean about buying motivation. I do have one mechanical, but have to admit that when I bought it I didn't realise - had I done I might well have changed my mind.

And as for tyres, read evo's annual tyre test to see why good tyres matter - they are rated subjectively, for wet and dry performance in terms of lap times, braking, straight and curved aquaplaning etc etc. The numbers are all there and there are winners and losers in each category (seldom the same one across the board). That said, the difference in price is not that great as these are all premium products. You could opt for remoulds and save a good sum, but you'd be a mug to do so.
 
It's a fair cop mate. They match the colour of the inside of my TV/video unit! Yes, I know it's cosmetic, but they got good reviews and they are factory terminated. I don't like the bare wire/banana plug interface. They are flat ribbons. They are a very flexible material and not twisty runs and so they do tuck away nicely. I've had 'normal' cables and they are a pain to push into corners and along carpets etc. I'd never upgrade to the Mk2 as I know it's futile.
surely not..... :)
 

MeanandGreen

Well-known member
Dec 26, 2012
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Nobody talks about the tipping point though. Has the Audio Engineering Society done any work on this subject?
The hifi industry is all smoke and mirrors.

(Accusation of payola deleted by moderation.) Also ignore all of the marketing BS unless it’s actually backed up by science and engineering and isn‘t just a word salad to try and make you believe in magic.

The truth is out there if you look for it and do some research. There is plenty online about double blind listening tests and which measurements actually matter etc.

The amount of money it costs to obtain true high fidelity does not cost the thousands of pounds some like to believe.
 
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bigfish786

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Jan 29, 2013
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spending lots of money certainly doesn't guarantee improvement, but it can. i've had good experiences and bad when "upgrading" . i think we all individually want our gear to produce beautiful music. sometimes, i just want to get a bit extra "something" and thats what sets me off looking to upgrade. i would have never thought about spending the money i do on hifi a few years ago, but i get a lot of enjoyment out of it, so to me, its worth every penny. and to me, i'm still getting value for money.
 

Gray

Well-known member
The thing is that spending some extra on cables will provide some protection for the signal that does make a difference, at least in my ears.
That's certainly what a poster to this forum thought.
But his unexplained hum was cured only when his fancy interconnection cables were replaced with the inferior-looking freebee originals - proof that more expense bought inferior screening in his case.

One thing we all learn at some stage in this hobby: more expensive does not (necessarily) mean better.
 

JoeSoap

Well-known member
Dec 1, 2019
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That's certainly what a poster to this forum thought.
But his unexplained hum was cured only when his fancy interconnection cables were replaced with the inferior-looking freebee originals - proof that more expense bought inferior screening in his case.

One thing we all learn at some stage in this hobby: more expensive does not (necessarily) mean better.
Totally agree. I well remember a well known HiFi dealer in the North West only sold three types of loud speaker. Linn Isobarik, expensive. If you didn't want those, he sold ARC101 which were only about 1/6th the price. The only other choice there was Linn Kan if you wanted a small speaker. Price didn't really come into the equation they really were the best speakers on the market. Nothing came close to the ARC101 for years, at almost any price.
 
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WayneKerr

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Jan 21, 2022
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Late to this one... Tricky one - Define expensive? Is it £1, 2, 3, 4K, etc.? Is that per component or for the whole system, (excluding super-exotic kit)? Guess we've all got different ideas on this.
 

Edbostan

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Aug 5, 2021
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I think much of the stuff these days is way overpriced. I cannot understand why loudspeakers are so pricey. Take the Spendor A4 speakers. Some wood, cut and bonded, 2 drive units, some crossover kit and then placed in a box, for retail. They are nicely finished and sound good, but these floorstanders sell for £2850 now. I've seen videos, where these speakers are taken apart and there's nothing in there. I think the mark up is over 100% and they wouldn't be worth half the asking price. It's the same with the Harbeth range. I've never heard a pair and yes, they all get favourable reviews, but it's wood, drivers and screws! It's not as if it's a state of the art streamer, or amp, with a top end DAC, or capacitors filled with gold. People still pay these prices, so they will keep charging them. I have an Audiolab Omnia and I got a great trade in deal. I have a pair of QA3030i at the end of some TQ Ultra blue speaker cabling. It's all around £2k, if I bought it now and I think it's enough. The law of diminishing returns kicks in at not much more than this and to sell stuff, many companies resort to fancy aesthetics to entice customers. Form follows function and if a cosmetic addition doesn't improve sound quality, then it's a waste of money. I have quite a utilitarian view and if the build, design and materials do add to the sound quality, then that's fine. Embellishments and adornments don't do anything for me.
I worked for Ferguson in the 80s and 90s and Goodmans was also part of the Thorns group. A member of senior staff said exactly what you expressed. He said a paper cone worth a fiver and a wooden box when put together can be sold at many times their intrinsic worth.
 
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nopiano

Well-known member
I worked for Ferguson in the 80s and 90s and Goodmans was also part of the Thorns group. A member of senior staff said exactly what you expressed. He said a paper cone worth a fiver and a wooden box when put together can be sold at many times their intrinsic worth.
Good point. T’was ever thus. The bill of parts bears scant relationship to the retail price of anything. That’s why restaurants like coffee and mints. More profitable than many main courses! And soup in a pub for £5.99? Much the same.

On Hifi, I think there’s far more emphasis today on appearance than a few decades ago. Yet the industrial look is what made Quad electronics so distinctive for so long, and Audio Research (at the exotic end) still look quite ‘functional’ in many models. Each to their own though.
 
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Witterings

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Sep 17, 2020
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I worked for Ferguson in the 80s and 90s and Goodmans was also part of the Thorns group. A member of senior staff said exactly what you expressed. He said a paper cone worth a fiver and a wooden box when put together can be sold at many times their intrinsic worth.
This is true but you have to try many paper cones and wooden boxes strung toether to find the combination that works.
If it's as simple as you're inferring it is, do it yourself and become a multi millionaire .... when you've bankrupted all the other speaker manufacturers wolrdwide because you've produced something that sounds considerably better than they're producing at a fraction of the cost please come back here an tell us all.
 

SteveR750

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Mar 11, 2005
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Will overpriced cables make an overpriced system sound better? Hmm. Trying to justify a 10% spend on cables, which many people do, with regards to the system cost is nonsense. A £10000 system night sound great with QED 79 strand. It's like saying because you own a Ferrari, you have to spend 10 times more on tyres. I'm not convinced.
Except its easy to prove objectively that better tyres are better, for everyone that uses them. This does not apply to cables, the whole thing is based on subjective opinions and pseudo science.
 
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SteveR750

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Mar 11, 2005
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This is true but you have to try many paper cones and wooden boxes strung toether to find the combination that works.
If it's as simple as you're inferring it is, do it yourself and become a multi millionaire .... when you've bankrupted all the other speaker manufacturers wolrdwide because you've produced something that sounds considerably better than they're producing at a fraction of the cost please come back here an tell us all.
All soundly run businesses will include the cost of product development / R&D into their product cost when figuring out a pricing strategy. That said, I suspect that the net margins of domestic hifi is quite high for the more popular products, if they don't sell in numbers you could easily lose a shirt or two in the process. Ultimately, the price of a product will be set as high as possible to generate maximum profit, at a level that enough people are prepared to pay. Some products are clearly a rip off, except people are prepared to pay £100s for cables for example that require little to no R&D for the intended application.
 

MeanandGreen

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Dec 26, 2012
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A general warning here - accusations of payola will not be tolerated. If you have evidence please feel free to share, otherwise action will be taken.
(Commenting on moderation is against forum rules. )

I’ve dipped in and out of here for years with no previous issues, this time I’ll dip out permanently.
 
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Friesiansam

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Feb 3, 2015
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Good point. T’was ever thus. The bill of parts bears scant relationship to the retail price of anything. That’s why restaurants like coffee and mints. More profitable than many main courses! And soup in a pub for £5.99? Much the same.
My wife was a chef, her view can be summed-up as, only an idiot can't make a profit, selling cooked food.
 
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