You think that's bad, speakers for $250,000 are behind door number 2.
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This topic is recurrent, someone is offended and critical of how another adult chooses to spend their own disposable income. We all set our individual limits which vary greatly among us. If I find an item too expensive I don't buy it. You could apply this argument to any hobby or pastime, automobiles, vacations, art work, clothing, jewelry etc. You can assemble a satisfying audio system at many price levels. It's up to each person to determine what that level is. Who else's business is it anyway?
Agree with Charles things like this is nobody's business really. But we do disclose such private matters here at our own discretion, so that's a personal choice as well.
Personally, would I like to have the discretionary spending ability to afford a 10K power conditioner? Absolutely. But personally I doubt I would even if I could.
Arguments along the lines of "its your money, spend it as you wish" miss the point. As a political argument in a liberal/democratic society it has a firm basis, but does it really justify extremely expensive power conditioners? For a consumer the real question is does the extremely expensive unit sound better than the merely expensive unit? And even if it does sound better, is it worth the added cost? It's a legitimate question.
A few days ago there was a story on the CNN website about the demise of the stereo system. Its narrative was that young people (college and just graduated) do not own stereo systems. They listen to music via computer and iPad/headphones. The article contrasts that to a decade ago when young people had loudspeakers, receivers, CD players, etc. In passing the article mentions that stereo system are still alive in home theater and the ultra-expensive audiophile arenas.
As audiophiles why can't we admit that high prices and the perception of low value is a serious barrier to the growth of the audiophile world? Why are we so accepting of absurdly priced products? My use of the word "absurd" implies a value judgement. Of course, but it is a widely held judgement. As a thought experiment, stand in the center of any major city and place side by side a BMW 6 series sedan and an equivalently priced Magico loudspeaker and ask people which is the better value for the money?
Yes, I read that cnn website article just yesterday. Hard to argue with most of it.
Regarding home audio, the fortunate reality of home audio as it has always been pretty much is "shades of grey" in terms of buying options, from the cheapest speakers at the local dollar store to the grandest and most expensive stuff out there to be bought for home use today.
The other thing that will never change is the role that knowledge and common sense plays in making buying decisions under the assumption that the reality is except for the small % of mega rich perhaps, the options availble to all of us are limited.
You miss the" point" the entire context of the OP is based on the premise of cost/value of a product and what others are comfortable spending. The analogy of BMW vs Magico speaker doesn't change the original assumption. The worth of either of these two items will be determined by knowledge and familiarity with them by who's doing the judging. I'd say far fewer of the general population are aware of high end audio products so how could they have any meaningful sense of relative value when comparing to an automobile. Value is a combination knowledge of the product,desirability and functionality. At the end of the day it remins what someone wants to do with "their" money. I've never understood why is this such
To answer the OPS original question, for home use (not larger scale commercial applications), I doubt there is any real, in terms of being quantifiable, need to spend 10K to fix ones power.
But I can't prove it, and I'm sure there is someone out there with a big thirsty power amp or amps, power quality issues, the needed budget, and bothered enough by the problem as perceived, who would disagree with me. If done right, which might be somewhat costly, I would expect results to be no worse than before, at a minimum....an expensive (audio) insurance policy per se, that provides peace of mind at a minimum. How do you put a price on that?
Of course, one might argue that one (ie the audiophile) is a little nuts in the first place to worry so much about such things, but that is another story for another conversation.
I will be the first to admit that I have overspent most likely on audio gear in the past mostly as an insurance policy against inferior performance so as not to cut any corners.
We are all in this hobby because of (1) a love of fine music or (2) a love of fine equipment, or both!!!
Cost is relative, The more we experiment with new and different equipment the more our perception changes as to value verses cost. I have experienced expensive interconnects, power cords and conditioners that can make quite a difference in a given system but may be overkill in another. There is a saying in audio.... IT IS ALL SYSTEM DEPENDENT!!!
How each of us spends our money is of course nobody elseÂs business. However, surely the purpose of this forum is to share experiences/knowledge? In this case, can anyone justify spending $10k on a power conditioner? Personally, I have no idea. All I know for certain is many claims about the superiority of one interconnect over another (often costing many $k) or regular thick copper speaker cables over ones made of exotic materials and complex construction technique are often just over-inflated marketing hype. I suspect expensive power conditioners are just the same. I know at one time Krell would not endorse the use of after-market power conditioners for their products; I wonder why?
I once went through a phase of auditioning some expensive interconnects; could I tell the difference versus simple well-made interconnects? No!
My stereo system is comprised of a MacBook Air (2012 MY running OSX 10.8.3) with Audirvana Plus, via USB to a MF V-Link 24/96 USB to S/PDIF converter, feeding, via a Toslink cable, a Krell HTS 7.1 (DAC and volume control) into a Krell KSA-250 power amp and B&W N801 speakers. I could not be happier, OK I exaggerate somewhat, if money were no object I am sure some changes would be made!
The point of my ranting is; would my system sound any better with the addition of a $10k power conditioner? I very much doubt it. However, If anyone wants to lend me their $10k power conditioner I would be more than happy to experiment and report back.
its all about elementary economics.
the value in use = the value in exchange is the necessary condition for a transaction. people attach subjective valuation for any material object. the estimated value is subjective and applies to all luxury goods.
there is no absolute value for any luxury good. it is based upon what the market will bare--the law of supply and demand applies in some cases as well.
how do you estimate what a power conditioner is worth to the buyer ?
The premise of the posting is a relevant and valid one. $10K is a lot of money there is no question about it. and if we are talking about a single box with some outlets in it, that is certainly a questionable purchase. Unless of course in contains a unique and miraculous technology that takes an audio system's performance to unheard-of levels of realism, that 9 out of 10 people can immediately agree they hear.
i am guilty of having bought a $5000 amplifier, but it did things in my own home i never thought possible before. instruments had a texture and a palpable presence that you had to hear for yourself. Only then would you understand why in the world i would spend so much of my income on "one piece" of equipment.
years later i replaced a $5K speaker with a $14K speaker. the improvement was incredible, but i realized i had crossed a number of lines at that point. I still feel guilty at times with all of the poor and needy people on the planet, when i look at all the "stuff" i "need" to listen to an album. My only defense is that i took my time and i do not get tired of my amplifiers every 6 months, my speakers every year, etc. and the emotion the musicians and singers feel comes across in the most beautiful manner i could want when i sit down to listen.
10K for a power conditioner? is it ESSENTIAL in order to hear the music flow from a well-advanced set of components? or is it just one of hundreds of accessories manufacturers are putting out there to get some market share?
P.S.- there is NO substitute in this hobby for a well engineered CD or LP.
trying to squeeze great sound out of a mediocre disc is like eating steak-flavored rice cakes.
What someone can do with their money does not mean every expenditure is prudent or wise.
Rather than compare a automobile to a loudspeakers, change it to a loudspeaker vs. a woman's handbag. A $40,000 purse compared to an equivalently priced Magico loudspeaker. Is it my lack of knowledge about the intricacies of high end purses that makes me think the Magico is a better value?
The answer is a resounding yes. You can't disregard the fact that value of these luxury items are relative and unquestionably subjective. For example a particular woman of means and a certain level ofhigh fashion but little or no interest in audio would choose opposite of you in this case. She'd fine the Magico an utter waste of money for their cost just as others would feel the same in regards to the purse she cherishes. How can one dictate value and worth for another person? You cannot, it's strictly individual, as it should be.
I'm with Charles1dad on this.
I am utterly perplexed at the selective outrage about how OTHER people spend their money. It's as pointless as the audio snobs who look down their noses at people with "lesser" equipment. I wonder whether people would keep up these postings if they knew how little the big spenders and the manufacturers of audio jewelry care about what others think. Ranting about his is like spitting in the wind. You just wind up all wet and pissed for nothing.
Another thing that gets lost in all of this are all the great audio bargains you could be talking about. (There are many, like the phenomenal $90 Pioneer speakers designed by the creator of the mega expensive TAD C-1's) But, instead, we'll just keep railing about the worst aspects of our hobby. Really attractive. Bravo.
This thread is just like one of those "Why all of the XYZ's for sale?" threads.
Why pick on $10,000 power conditioners? Why not ask about $40,000 speaker cables? How about $15,000 phono cartridges? $25,000 interconnects? $7,000,000 speakers? $650,000 amplifiers?
Get the point??? This hobby is ripe with insanity, why ask why???
"This hobby is ripe with insanity, why ask why???"
Isn't that a good reason, to cut through the insanity and get to what really matters and why?
Otherwise these forums become riper ground for charlatans and other forms of deception. Plenty of that to go around these days. Audio ain't so special, just more fertile grounds than most.
Asking questions and discussing the answers is always a big part of the learning process. The truth will always speak for itself one way or another over time.
High end audio is such a good example of free market freedom. If it's worth
it in your opinion you buy it . If it isn't worth it then you simply don't buy and
move on. I wouldn't spend $40,000. for an audio component but have
absolutely no problem with those who do, why on earth would I? I don't
agree with calling this level of spending insanity either, why is it insane? Is
it insane to have a 10, 000 SF. home with 40 ft boat docked out back on
your waterfront property? Or is 5, 000 SF.home with a 25 ft boat the line that
separates sane from insane?
I'd only have a major issue if we were forced to purchase something we
didn't want and aren't given any choice to say no. That's insanity in my
opinion. As long as we as individuals get to make the call for ourselves I'm
perfectly fine with people deciding themselves . We are adults after all.
The answer is NO! I saw and heard the solution to AC Power issues and the web site is: controlledpower.com A friend installed a 400lb isolation transformer (very small footprint by the way) from this company who builds then for the computer industry and it is amazing and is much cheaper than a $10k power conditioner filled with a bunch of filters. This thing installed cost him around $4500 and he will never have to worry about power surges, spikes, sags, etc in his power delivery or concern of equipment ever being damaged. He had an electrician run a 220v to this unit; it then converts to 120v and send power to his subpanel with his circuit breakers controlling the 20amp dedicated lines running to the AC outlets powering his top of the line Dartzeel pre and mono blocks. Because the transformer is in the room near his subpanel there is absolutely no noise. This is the answer to all our needs if we are in homes where this can be done. You will hear the difference; I did. I have heard this system prior to this upgrade and this was worth every penny.
Who are you to determine what really matters and why? Live and let live. If folks want to get into a pissing contest, or are OCD challenged, what business is it of yours?
Whether someone wants to spend $10K on a power conditioner, gold plated toilet seat, or diamond studded dog collar, why does it matter to you? Who are you to think that it's your business to "fix" them?
"Whether someone wants to spend $10K on a power conditioner, gold plated toilet seat, or diamond studded dog collar, why does it matter to you? Who are you to think that it's your business to "fix" them?"
Well, I don't know how to fix those in particular, so that settles that. :^) Can't speak for others though. I'm only one participant.
All your arguments about personal choice and liberty are beside the point. I don't think anybody is advocating not allowing people to buy what they want. What I question is whether the proliferation of ultra expensive products is good for the long term health of the audiophile world? The increasing cost of high end equipment is a very real barrier to people entering and/or pursuing the audiophile lifestyle. The fact that a few people are better off because of this trend is not, IMO, a satisfactory response. There was a time when middle class professional types could actually afford to purchase state of the art music reproduction systems. The same cannot be said today. As a group are we better off?
"What I question is whether the proliferation of ultra expensive products is good for the long term health of the audiophile world?"
I have no problems with the prices specifically in that companies have to make a decent profit to stay in business, but I think there is a lot of BS that often goes into it, and too much BS is probably not good for long term health of anything. Gotta at least try to cut through the BS. I think its that simple.
I had the opportunity to visit the 1989 CES in Chicago. It is one of the highpoints of my life. (If that sounds tragic, I also have been inside The Great Pyramid and that counts as just a little higher) Back then, the Hifi show was in the hotel across the street and I got to spend the day there with my buddy. A couple of the set-ups in the hotel were some of the best sounding rigs I have ever heard. I wish I had taken notes on what equipment was used. I didn't because I couldn't afford it back then. I saw a lot and much of it was snakeoil; but some was eye opening. I sneered at all of the exotic and expensive cables back then; but today I have them in my system. I try to keep an open mind but not be naive. I think the key is to be a smart shopper. $10k doesn't seem like a good value for a power conditioner. For much less than that you could hook up a motor coupled to an alternator and generate your own dedicated clean power to your Hifi rig- with a big filter capacitor to boot.
I believe good sound can still be had for a reasonable price. I get to hear some of the SOTA high end gear now and then and I can still go home and enjoy my humble rig.
I think that the analogy of the BMW vs. the speakers is a valid one. If you consider the technology, parts count, ease of manufacture, etc. there is no doubt that the BMW has a much higher value per dollar spent.
Certainly how one spends one's money is a personal decision for one to make based upon the size of their wallet and their current economic circumstances.
But I think it is absurd to try and justify the purchase of a $10k power conditioner as a high-value proposition. If you really are in search of absolutely clean power for your system, you would be better-served by installing some solar collectors mated to a huge battery.
This serve two purposes - it takes you off the grid and makes use of the "free" energy beamed to our planet each day by the sun and it will also remove all of the power polluting "noise" that occurs when one is using power from the grid.
Also, unless the OP already has a professionally-designed and installed AV room, he is throwing money into his system at the wrong point. Remember, the speakers and the room interact quite significantly and a well-treated room will impart much better sonics than one that is un-treated...
I remember about 15 years ago, looking at a report on the first $1000 interconnect I had seen. First thought was, I did'nt think you could make a cable you could dream of asking that price for. The second was, what sort of idiot would spend that sort of money.
Well all I have to do is look in the mirror today and yes, those expensive cables do make a difference. The same for power conditioning. I hav'nt spent anywhere near $10000, but a decent conditioner and power cords, certainly make a real difference. My problem is auditioning them. I find it quite difficult to do A/B comparisons on conditioners, they take so long to settle in and are dependent on the cords you use.
So if you have a $150000 system, I don't, you can argue it is worth spending that sort of cash. Justified? as others have said, it is none of my business how anyone else spends their own money
Actually, this question should be asked of our entire economy, not just the audiophile world, since the audiophile world is simply following in the footsteps of the economy as a whole. Is it healthy for us as a society to have shrunk our middle class and moved the bulk of our money to the few at the top?
This issue goes far beyond audio, luxury car sales are up 10 fold in the past 30 years. The same can be said about just about any luxury item. We have turned into a society of haves and have nots. How does that bode for the long term health of our economic system as a whole?
Luxury items are what they are. Some beter values than others. No different than the rest in this respect. What's there to debate? Specific items maybe. Bigger stakes though...more feelings to get hurt maybe, so why bother? Generalizations won't get us far. We all covet something. Why not a 10k power conditioner? Whether one "needs" it or not is a different story. What luxury items are there that are "needed"? I can't think of any. That sort of goes with the definition of a luxury item. Its not needed, just wanted perhaps.
Jmcgrogan2, I agree but I didn't want to take the discussion to a direct discussion of politics.
Some others in this thread recognize that large parts of high end audio have become luxury goods and priced accordingly. That hasn't always been the case. The classic tubed McIntosh equipment were mass market products. Same for the Quad ESLs, Linn turntables, Revox R2R or Shure cartridges. They weren't cheap, but they did offer the best performance for their time.
On a side note, what does it matter to anyone else if you build a 40,000 SF house with twenty car garage and helicopter pad? In theory it shouldn't matter, but if everybody in China and India did it at the same time the Earth would be stripped bare of it's forest and surface fresh water depleted.
noromance, You say 10k is nothing to a guy making a million a year. If you make a million after taxes you have about 600k. If your living in a fancy house and driving luxury cars and have a wife and a couple of kids 10k is still a lot of money. A guy making 100k and not married with a family or living large can more easily afford to spend 10k than the millionaire with high overhead.
Lots of audio things I would like to be able to spend even way more than 10K on. Why? Mostly just because its cool stuff to own, look at and play with. Might even sound better, but don't really care.
1) Lots of expensive tube gear from ARC, VAC, others just because I think tubes are way cool
2) esoteric speaker designs like German Physiks, mbl, and maybe even some other cool looking, high performing but less esoteric designs as well.
3) the fastest and best ultrasonic record cleaner I could find so I don;t have to manually clean my records when needed.
4) Some really cool looking stands and shelving to put stuff on
5) The best DCS digital audio gear money can afford
6) various really expensive phono carts just to hear what they might sound like. Plus the tables and arms needed to make it happen.
However, my audio budget is already mostly tapped out and things are sounding pretty good as I want them to already, so I guess I will be spending my money elsewhere on teh more mundane things needed.
Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention that no worries power conditioning unit that can only help make things sound even better, whatever that is or however much it might end up costing.
Admit it, so called audiophiles! How often is better sound REALLY the only reason we buy the stuff we do? I am much more than just an "audiophile". "At least, I think I must be"!
I'd like to propose that making assumptions about decisions other people
make and then self-righteously condemning them is a pretty sketchy
For example, my wife and I own two cars that are more than 12 years old.
They get good mileage, look like crap, but get us from point A to point B.
We are quite happy doing this. We need nothing more. We have friends
who drive $70,000 cars. We don't feel morally superior to them nor do we
shame them for enjoying the heck out of those cars. Those cars don't seem
to drive much better than ours, but our friends clearly love being in them.
The companies who make those expensive vehicles employ a lot of good
folks. One day I might buy one of their cars when they get much older
they are very well made and are sure to last many years.
Finally, while my wife and I drive our "economically responsible"
cars that are barely worth $3,000 together, we also spend dozens of hours
a week enjoying the benefits of our $5000 power conditioner in the family
room. It's our choice and we are very comfortable with it. I couldn't care
less what anyone else thinks of our choice, but it disturbs me to think that
someone else might miss all this fun because they are embarrassed or led
away from it by the ignorant assumptions of others who haven't even heard
or experienced what they're condemning.
And now back to your regularly scheduled programming. ;-)
Vhiner, you made a good point. You don't perceive a difference between your old cheap cars and your friends $70k cars. You seem to be a practical person, not buying mid-priced cars just to have them and yet you see value in your $5k power conditioner. I'm certain many would take exception to your comment about cars when some are sensitive even to a type of shock absorber or brake pad. And $70k for a car is not so expensive these days. A new Chevy P/U loaded, stickers close to that now. The motivations for what we do are very complex and sometimes we don't understand ourselves why we do things. I'll admit something here. I bought my current CD player based on brand just so it would match my preamp. I knew it would sound good; but I skipped right over my obsessive research and comparison process when I made the purchase. Luckily, I have been very happy with it; but the me of 10 or 15 years ago would never have settled for brand or looks first over sound. Does that make me a shallow person now? I think we all let how a component looks as well as sound affect our decision- even if it goes the other way to make sure it is as ugly or industrial looking as it can be.
btw- I hit the double nickel this year. I'm trying to focus on retiring in the next half decade or so. Because of that, I am trying to live by the axiom, "be happy with what you got"- as in save, not spend. $10k power conditioners and $70k cars are not in my near future plans. The hardest part is reading about someone's new preamp, amp or turntable and not jumping on board the upgrade train. What I have found to compensate is making small tweaks to my system. I have become intimately familiar with my system since I have kept all of my components for a good while. So the smallest changes are very noticeable to me.