Sounds as if your like most of us.We want to believe the hype we read.There are so many differences of opinion,the reviewers are bag men for the Mfgs.The press for EVERY product says theirs is the BEST.Can't all be true.Taking the stuff home is about all we can do.However, the journey is as much of the fun, as the destination;it has to be, 'cause you're never gonna get there-Somebody keeps moving the bar.
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Cables, Cables, Cables! This category has most alarming and glaring examples of overpriced products. When comparing what cables deliver in sound value to what speaker and electronics have been providing consumers, today's most expensive cables are laughable over priced rip offs. Pick your favorite culpable maunfacturer.
How ironic you should place this topic up for discussion. I recently met a person at a dealer show who for many years designed audio cables for a very hi end well know audio cable company who shall remain unnamed . He told me that audio cables are one of the highest marked up products in the market! And to prove his point he offered to design new audio cables for my system for comparison of course i agreed to let him .Well let me tell you i have the top of the line cardas interconnects and speaker cables golden 5s, So i was pretty confident his point would be moot, well let me tell ya im placing my cardas up for sale the entire set! Boy dont i feel like the fool i paid $4,000 for the cardas his price $700.00 guys there is something to to be said about custom cables. Don't fall for the advertising hype of cable companys who by the way pay to advertise in all the leading magazines just who do those reviewers work for again ? advertisement pays the bills and we should never forget that save your money !!!!
Speakers selling above $2000 certainly qualify as do some tube amps. Most of all SE low power types. Price out the components and you will be shocked. The manufacturer buys these things for a lot less then retail so the price disparity is even greater. You of course pay for the engineering, brand , dealer markup, advertising and boxes to name a few. Dealers who insist on charging full retail on a mailorder sale are also being unreasonable. Just remember the used audio market is the place to be in terms of value. You may not be able to buy the latest audio toy but a 40%-50% cost to open the package the first time is a high price to pay.
Cables, power cords? Of course! But that's like shooting fish in a bucket. As far as I'm concerned, any gadget or doohickey from Shun Mook takes the prize (they go one better than cables: the cable jacket!). Product price truly reflective of cost: Avantgarde speakers. When one thinks of how much research went into them, and then investment they had to make to build the dies that are used to cast their horns, they seem like a bargain. What do many speaker manufacturers do other than buy an assortment of drivers, resistors, capacitors and inductors, and then mix and match them in a wood box? Sure they spend a lot of time listening to their speakers and tweaking them, but how much is their time worth relative to the investment those speaker manufacturers that build their own drivers have to make?
I totally agree with the statement by definitive above. i have a friend who owns a hi-end store. He showed me a book on some well known brand of cables. I bought a pair for over 60% off,and he showed me the mark down in the book the dealers give them,he told me he still makes money even at that price.Cables are the biggest mark up for dealers and where they make the most money by far. I'm guessing that they make 70 to 80%. all this cable stuff is a bunch of hype. $500 here $2000 there. next time you spend that kinda of money on cables, just remember the person you got them from is pocketing 80% profit!
Cables are a huge rip off.They make a huge difference and good cables are a must.To get the best out of your system you need great cables.You just dont have to pay the stupid mark ups of the big guys.MIT,NORDST are some of the biggest rip offs around.A properly designed interconnect and one that does justice to high end grar can be sold for 300.00 and the mfg and dealer can still make a good living.I have been fourtunate enough to have tried not purchased many of the high dollar Cables in the marketplace.MIT NORDOST are pure junk.Most 200/300 are far supperior to any thing they make a whatever price points.Wireworld make probably the best cables out thier when you take sound not price into account.Just recently a friend who has a state of the art system which has been evolving over the past 20 years has replaced his Wireworld Gold Eclipse III interconnects which where the best interconnect he had heard at any price with a 299.00 pair of intercoonects.The 299.00 interconnects use every material and sound construction technique required in building a good cable.I have been builing my own for years and have read all the DIY books.This 299.00 cable is built to the highest specs.It is pure proof that you dont have to spend huge money.The difference between this 299.00 cable andd the 2000.00 is the MFG is happy to make an honest living and not rip off the public with the help of the Audio press.One thing is for sure not one reviwer would ever agree to do a blind test with any cable.They would be revealled as the frauds that they are. The cable I speak of is MFG by Coincident Speaker Technology.
Case04: if you don't know, don't say. Cables have a "70-80% mark up". Really? On what planet, because it's not this one! Dealers are lucky to make 20% on cables and often less on components and speakers. "70-80%"? What, you know of someone that paid full retail and then added a tip to the total?! Yes, cables are overpriced, some more than others, but you should keep your assumptions and misconceptions to yourself (importers and distributors don't even that that kind of pricing!)
It is correct that the markup on electronics is not very high(10 - 25%). However, speakers are 100%. By that I mean a speaker that listed for $2500, a dealer bought for about half of that. Can't comment on the markup on cables as I don't know. While I see cables as being very important, I have to say they are without question the biggest ripoff in audio. How much does it cost to make a $1000, 1 meter interconnect? In many cases, no more than Radio Shack sells(NOT pays for) their 1 meter junk. 22 gauge, teflon insulated, 5 - 9's copper can be bought RETAIL(i.e., by us poor slobs) for 28 cents per foot. With wire, you are paying for advertising, etc., but most of all because you are WILLING to.
ICs, speaker cable, power cords head the list, but take a closer look at speakers and hardware. Much of the cost of many speakers is in cabinetry (particularly book-matched veneers) and custrom metal work on amps and preamps. It's all part of the marketing game. And we're all fair game. Then, of course, there's the tweak market, which is a ripoff of a higher order. Substitute yo-yos for mpingo discs, bricks and bicycle inner tubes for the other crap, and an assortment of o-rings, grommets and pointed objects from Lowe's for most of the point and puck sets and you've saved a bunch. Isn't it amazing what we'll allow ourselves to be suked into in this hobby? Good listening to all!
Great points, Gino!!! Tweaks are the ultimate ripoff! Veneer doesn't have to be so perfectly matched to look great. And Sam Tellig used to always write that some high end manufacturers told him that 40% of the cost of their amp was in the fancy faceplate that was required for their products to "look" the part. I also remember when I looked at equiment racks. Don't remember the exact brand(Target or that ilk). When I looked at the shelves, I was in disbelief! It was a long time ago, but I kind of think they were 3/8"(or possibly 1/2"). C'mon, why not just use the easy to find 3/4" or 1" particle board used in speaker cabinets? Anyway, I use some furniture(like a nightstand with a 2" top, and thick solid oak construction) I had laying around the house. Maybe shouldn't be saying this here(someday somebody will get an idea from this junk, and sell it for $1000+).
I do not wish to offend anyone, and i have just recently gotten back into buying audio gear after a 20 year absence.what i go for is the sound and not the pestige of owning overpriced equiptment.I have about 10,000 invested in my system. my dealer gave me about 100 feet of bi-wire speaker wire. It's not the big name brands and infact some of you might just call it fancy lamp shade copper wire. I asked my dealer if i should go ahead an upgrade my speaker cables. i was going to spend several hundred dollars. I asked him if there would be a noticable difference to invest some more money to upgrade. He told me NO! and to save your money. Now he has about 15 or more years in the audio business.So who do believe? There is alot of views, and all of them always seem to be different.If these people would lower their prices so everyone could afford to enjoy what they say is truly high end gear than everyone would be happy and we could tell for ourselves whats what. And they could easily make money if they did that.You'd be selling on volume instead of making a killing on the one big sale that you made.Do these manufactures really want everyone to enjoy their products, or do they just want to say it's the best,and put a 3000.00 price tag on it.AND THATS! JUST FOR THE PRE-AMP!COME ON......and mr. genesis.you say theres not that much profit. my speakers listed for 1200.00 i know this cause i checked the co's web site my dealer sold them to me for 900.00. several months later i found them on the internet for $599.00.brand new. END of story.
Case04: A suggestion. Since the you and the dealer seem to have a decent relationship, and you have a freind who owns a hi-fi shop, wouldn't they allow you to audition some cables at home - in your system? Assuming the cables are properly "broken-in" (misnomer), YOU would be able to tell if the $$ spent would be justified - and hopefully they'd cut you a deal. As others have mentioned on this thread, cables ARE important but the cost should be placed in context with the rest of the equipment. Happy listening!
Folks, let me tell you the story on margins in audion gear. I used to work in the industry and have many friends who still do. Assuming we are talking about decent mid-fi to high end equipment, if it is sold at MSRP, the gross profit is typically about 40% (sometimes a little higher sometimes a little lower) for speakers and components and 50-60% for cables and other "accessories". The gross margins on video equipment are usually lower, about 30-35%. Having said that, after overhead, taxes etc., most dealers are making net profits of between 6-11%.
Good point Treyhoss. but unfortunately he only carries a limited supply. He is one of these new breed dealers that are going to custom instalation.You have to order what you want. i called some stores in palm beach as well and same thing no demo of this no demo of that. i said how am i suppose to know if i like it. he said the people we deal with already know what they want.I'll tell ya, getting back into this after 20 yrs. what happened to walking into a place and just having rows of stuff to listen too? I am disabled and i can't drive too far. so almost all the equiptment i buy is without demoing it. I know thats not the way to do it, and i'm on this computer for hrs. investigating reviews and articles. this is the only choice i have.this dealer where i live is limited to a few brands or lines of gear. and the other dealers won't do anything. they just want you to pay FULL PRICE and not even have to work for their commission.Heck when i was a salesman. i drove 3hrs. to make 1500.00. not these people. you come to us. thank you for the internet.
[email protected] you are not overly bright.The mfg are making 80/90 % mark up on cable.Take some of the 50.00 a foot wire apart and you will find its a .75 Cent a foot beldan wire.why do they then charge 50.00 a foot.I can buy a beldan cable thats 99.99 OFC with teflon dialectric and S.S steel briad and a shield for 1.50 a foot.It is better than cables that retail 400/500 for a 1M lenght.So if you dont know dont talk.When you do its reflects on how little you really know.Bottom line is a retail business nedds gross profists in the 30/35% to survive.MFG as everyone knows make the biggest chunk of the profit so if you had the aboility to do some math you would see that the figure of 70/80% is not out of line.
Tml2: you have no clue, just guesses. Bulk of the cost in most wire is in the termination. Advertising is a fortune, and if there are no ads, no one will buy (on a large scale). Also, the greater the dollar amount, often the better it is perceived to be. Great low price products often do NOT sell (they can;t be good, they don;t cost enough, many think). I have taken apart many cables, and know what's inside, about what it costs, and the labor involved. 80-90% profit by the better companies? If you had the "ability"not to ASSume, and make blanket statements, you would not be an ASS, but you are. Oh, and your comments on the mfr's making the most is no news flash to anyone, so save it.
What a lot of bull dust. If its all so over-priced why do you buy it? If you don't buy it, what's the problem? In the real world, an item is worth what someone is prepared to pay. If I make a product that has ready substitutes, then I have every right to put what ever price I want on it. Your concept of intrinsic value is different from mine - that's why demand curves have a slope. And if they are creaming it why don't you go buy some Belden, dress it up and become a millionaire? - because you wouldn't stoop so low, huh? Bollocks! This whinging (and the negative posts concerning McCormack Amps) is pathetic.
Your friendly neighborhood urologist lives in 3.5 million dollar house, drives a $70,000 car to the office which has $250,000 a copy test equipment. He spends $250,000 on a home theatre set-up because all his friends have and friends dealer recommends vidikron, revel, levinson, etc. You think he'll be happy with $100 interconnects? NOT!
The $1000/foot cable guys are filling a need. The cables may or may not sound great but the doctor isn't going to compare, he wants to feel that he has the "best". Call it perceived value or conspicuous consumption, either way, if you know what you're doing and don't have money to burn, you are free to make your own choices. even though I am a professional woodworker, I only took enough time to cut 4 mdf shelves and stack them on 5/8 threaded rod with nuts and washers. Very solid and sounds ok. My cost, $41. I've thought about building the same rack with 1 1/2" thick maple shelves and 1" supports. The maple alone, 28 board feet is about $120 unsurfaced. Time spent at the saw and planer makes it about $240. Add another $100 for the supports and finishing. Somewhere I read that retail equals 10 times manufacturing cost in high end audio. I don't get that for my antique repros or repairs. Would you give me $3400 for the above rack, no matter how beautiful? I guess not, but the doctor might. Where did I put the yellow pages...?
Well Snook2, you have me there. I'm not sure how any speaker cable could cost that much, but I'm not the guy with 20 plus employees, and the operating expenses either. I doubt that, at that price, they sell much quantity. If there were more people involved in audio, (within the demographics of the perspective buyer), it would seem possible that there might be more sales. Yes, even at $23,800.00. This may be out of my budget, yet I don't resent those who CAN afford it. There are many variables to this whole topic to truly answer it within a paragraph or two. You must admit though that within larger market goods, big screen TV's as an example, that the price has dropped considerablly over the past 15 years as the market has broadened. This was my point.
Check out the cover of Feb Sterophile. The Accuphase SACD transport and separate digital processor. Yeah, I going to run right out and spend 28K on the combo when the format may never get off the ground. Now that's overpriced! I wouldn't mind parting with the cash if you get what you pay for. SACD could turn out to be the Sonybetamax of the new millenium. I remember when everyone was saying how Betmax was so superior to VHS, and on and on. But look what happened there! All the folks who went out and got a Betamax got screwed. The folks behind VHS knew the secret to success. This is a software driven market baby and if you don't get the software out there FAST and priced CHEAP, SACD doesn't have a chance. Mark my words.
I would love to see how many of you are in business for yourselves. If you were, you would see that Whbg's comment @ 6-11% profit is pretty close to the norm. All you see is what the dealer paid for the item and then what he sells it for, and you think you've been ripped off. You haven't got a clue as to what expenses are incurred when running a business that buys @ wholesale and sells @ retail. Maybe all the dealers out there should only mark up the items 10% from their purchase price and sell it to you. Get real, do the math, or better yet, open your own audio busines and run it that way, and see how long your doors are open!
Right on Joysjane. I became self employed about 2 years ago and still find it hard to believe how much I have to make just to cover expenses. This insight is why I rarely take up a dealers time if I do most of my shopping hear on Audiogon. There are overpriced products and then there is the dealer's requirement to make a profit.
Well put JoysJane. I have been trying to get a small business off the ground for about a year now. The costs are unbeleavable and never stop. I agree that expensive cables are marked up the most but I also think they are one of the best bangs for the buck in the industry. They make a huge differece second only to the speaker themselves.
Well I was going to responded to this, but you all have valid points. I agree the cables could cost less and be sold for less. Just cause its inexpensive, doesn't make it junk. I go into a hi end store to purchase good equip. and will audition it even if it is inexpensive. It's the dealers job to sell the product and have knowledge of it. If I wanted wire from Tweeter, I would have went there in the first place, not the dealers. So lets see some more affordable wire out there that is good. And if you feel good about ripping someone off, save your $1000 per foot wire for the uroligist. But don't bullshit us every day guys. Hell, I watched the dealer open up the transparent cables and was not impressed. I've taken home a $800 power cable to show my buddy, he's a master electrician. He laughed and said he could make me about 10 to 15 power cables at that price or more. I've done some electrical myself and I'd have to agree with him. Well, I guess I did respond to this.
I think that any audio component that is in the $10K price range, and is assembled on a printed circuit board, is overpriced (generally speaking). A minimum wage employee can solder resistors, capacitors, etc. in a PCB, which drastically reduces the labor expense required for assembly. (point to point wiring requires knowledge, and you have to pay for that knowledge).
For me it’s Power Cords. A person pays $200 for the latest and greatest, then plugs it into a $1.95 receptacle/wall outlet which in turn is connected to 10 other outlets/devices and then runs 50 feet back to the Service Panel. The wiring in most cases is no more than 12 gauge Romex!. Also, the wiring in most of OUR houses was done by the LOWEST BIDDER.
I am a Building Inspector, so I have unique knowledge. At the same time I am an Audiophile, I do understand the need for the ?Best?. I did put in a ?Dedicated 20 amp circuit? for my amp. I did it because my amp?s Owner Manual recommends it. When I look at TWEAKS, I do the math. What do I get for the money! If spend $200.00 for a power cord which gives me minor improvement is it worth the MONEY? I would rather spend the money on recordings. Like I said I am a audiophile, so I will spend $250.00 to replace 3 month old factory tubes because I read a review somewhere which stated ? Replacing the cheap original Chinese tubes will greatly improve the sound quality? Go figure, such is life in front of the speakers.