Is Component "Upgradability" Important ?

I have always been concerned when buying a component that it can be upgraded by the manufacturer at a later date if a new version comes out but I am starting to wonder if this is really that important. I say this because manufacturers are hardly willing to give away upgrades just because you may have purchased an earlier version of their product. It seems as though you will end up spending the same amount of money whether you pay for the conversion to the new model or you sell your old component and put the money towards the cost of a completely new model. I am not sure what is the best way to go for the manufacturer but I am also not sure that having one model physically converted into another model is always the less costly way to go for the consumer.
Your response seems to general.Manufacturers look at it differently.Some of the real expensive stuff is costly to upgrade. I remember reading of a Levinson piece, where the upgrade is 4k.Dunlavy sure devaluated the IV,when they came out with the IVa.Res.Ref;same when they went from 50 to 55.However there are lots of pieces where a 500 or less upgrade makes a lot of dif.The biggest upgrade to me was the $300; 24/96 mod to my Theta5a.So,I guess I'm saying/sometimes yes/and others, no. Some are just happy with what they bought....Just not me.
I believe that it was more important to be able to upgrade in the near past. But now, there is much more liquidity in the marketplace with A-Gon, ram, audioshopper, etc. I would think, unless one is totaly enamoured with a piece or manufacturer, it is easier to sell existing gear and replace it with either new or used gear. Now keep in mind this opinion comes from a guy who just got the ulimate system dialed in (based around a set of Audio Physic Virgo's) and is ready to chuck it all for the next upgrade (the Audio Physic Avanti III's, Herron amp/pre, Immedia RPM TT, Immedia Sound here I come!)
i think it depends on what you're buying and how much you're spending. for example, i'm replacing my accuphase dc-330 pre/dac with a boulder 1012 pre/dac. both of these components are in the $15k+ msrp class. both are also upgradable. the accuphase can already be fitted with an option board that allows playback of sacd via the dp-100 transport. the boulder is also designed to make upgrades easy through the replacement of ic's. if these products and others at or above their pricepoint weren't upgradable, i wouldn't even consider purchasing them. it simply wouldn't make economic sense. at least that's my opinion, FWIW. -kelly
bear in mind there are improvement upgrades to existing models, like HDCD capability or a phono board, which are well and good. then there are replacement upgrades which make the former current model obsolete overnight. i'm not sure what the general feeling is, but in the case of obsolesence, i'd prefer to have an original iteration of any product then to have one 'that sounds just like the new but is really an old' version of anything. in general i'm a bit wary of anything that's been modified from original factory spec. modified goods wear a red flag in the form of a long winded explanation for the mod and may be harder to sell down the road. so all in all, upgradability is important if you can decide from day one that you're going to stay loyal to a certain model. but i doubt this need be necessary when there's so much else out there worth trying and listening.
Hi Mcdh1; it seems to me that upgradeability is most important with components that have rapidly changing (improving) technology, and to me this means digital "stuff", especially DACs, CD players etc. I recently purchased an ML 360S DAC that had been upgraded from a 36S-- the 360S had been owned and upgraded by a high level Madrigal employee, and the unit was in perfect condition. This 360S DAC is now fully software upgradable, and I intend to keep it for years. I am not nearly as concerned about amp, pre-amp, or speaker upgradeability-- but digital technology changes so fast that upgradability is important, IMO. Cheers. Craig
I think upgradability is way oversold as an attribute. In theory, it would appear to be very beneficial, but in reality it seems to have mixed results. There's no doubt that new models cause old models to depreciate overnight, but they don't perform any worse in the morning. Upgradability can certainly extend the life of a component, but there are definite limits. One other form of upgradability I'll throw on the table is Lexicon's - they have very competitive trade-up offers when they bring out new models.

I upgraded a ML38 to a ML380S. Given the upgrade cost me $2650 and the original piece $1600, it put me about as much as most of the upgraded 380S around. However, I ran into a 380S for $3500 which I'm sure plays just as good as my "new" 380S.

When ML upgrades their AVP's I'm selling and buying used.

Bill E

I bought a used original Lexicon DC-1 v1.02 which worked great but cost a ton to upgrade. I see no advantage to owning new upgraded outdated equipment.
If I were a manufacturer, I would go into offering upgrades especially when I felt my sales going down, my stocks were fairly low and a new model was in the works, ready to hit or already on the market. I would send the new model to be reviewed in the audio press and would drop the hint, that an upgrade was available. Often it ain't about music, its all about money. The press likes it. It gives them something to write about. But the consumer often is just exploited. That's why we stopped buying ARC from about 20 years ago, because we were getting tired of their upgrade policy, which has not changed to this day. According to their logic, the old stuff must have sounded like crap, which it didn't and the new releases like heaven, which they didn't either.
Bill E - Just to be clear, the Lexicon upgrade policy I was referring to was a generous trade-in allowance towards a newly released model. I agree that upgrading outdated equipment is usually expensive and only modestly effective. That's why I liked being able to trade my DC-1 in on an MC-1 - it saved me the hassle of selling it and was worth real money (not just a token amount) on the MC-1, which is not outdated. In a year or two, the MC-1 will be outdated and I'll be glad to get credit towards whatever the next release is. -Kirk