Prices never go down.
I think it's more about magazine hype. I've found exceptional pieces lately which are the rivals or betters of much more expensive gear.
Magazines on the other hand keep hyping the very top end, and as the oligarchs and plutocrats make more money than before, the price for admission into the "high-price" end is more.
Those who can trust their own ears and tastes can find fabulous sounding gear at far less.
1) PEAK SPENDING YEARS ARE BEFORE AGE 60: SINCE BEFORE WW2
THE DOLLAR IS UP VS EUROPEAN CURRENCY BUT THE PRICES WHICH SHOULD HAVE DECLINED TO GATHER EXPORT SALES ARE ACTUALLY BEING INCREASED OR THE CURRENCY VARIATION IS NOT BEING PASSED ON TO THE CONSUMER IN THE US. THIS IS NOT THE CASE WITH THE KOREANS OR JAPANESE. SAMSUNG LG SONY GIVES YOU MORE TV FOR LESS MONEY EVEN WITH THE HIGHER TECH OF OLED. THIS IS NOT THE CASE WITH AUDIO EQUIPMENT-. WE WERE TOLD THAT THE DIGITALIZATION OF MEDIA WOULD BRING LOWER PRICES . INSTEAD IT HAS CONTRIBUTED TO HIGHER PRICES,ESPECIALLY WITH COLLECTOR MEDIA.
ARTIFICAL DEMAND IS BEING STIMULATED BY SOME FORCE
THE COST OF ALL OLDER COLLECTOR MEDIA SHOULD BE DECLINING INSTEAD IT IS INCREASING
I like vintage gear, and that has gone through the roof as well.
@theoriginalthor1 - I'm sorry to see that you seem to have gotten frustrated with the direction of the thread. I hope you come back to participate in the conversation.
I'll offer a dissenting opinion regarding the generalization of inflation specific to audio equipment and also some thoughts on the collector music market. Hopefully it will help take this thread into a direction that is more accommodating to you.
First, I feel that it's a great time to be an audiophile. There are good sounding components at all price points and you can get a good sounding system for under $1500 if you do a little research. $1500 in today's inflated dollars was under $500 in 1980 and I do not think you could have bought as good sounding system for under $500 in 1980. Now admittedly, I'm not necessarily talking about components YOU might "want". But a well designed $1500 system could probably meet the needs of a budding young audiophile.
On the other hand, the market for luxury items has grown tremendously and high end brands seem to be hellbent on seeing how much of that disposable money they can get the market to cough up on "high end" items. The audio market is obviously not exempt to this. Yes, you can easily drop $200K - $300K on an audio system and that's without room augmentation or treatment. Is this inflation? I'm not sure. Considering the quality sound you can get for not-to-much money, I don't really think it is just a function of inflation. I think maybe it's an expanding upper class looking to out-do each other or simply enjoying the absolute finest things in life.
Now, regarding the market for "collector media" as you called it. I'm guessing you are referring to vinyl as I'm not aware of much of a collector market for CDs. The market for vinyl is expanding rapidly and there is a lot of disposable income sitting in the bank accounts and retirement funds of people who grew up in the early/mid rock and roll era. The market for old rock and roll, as well as collectable classical recording and jazz recordings, has grown tremendously, however the supply has remained the same or diminished. It's classic supply and demand. The price becomes whatever someone is willing to pay and there's nearly always someone willing to pay more than you might think something is "worth".
I'm not a super rich person, but I do OK. However, I'm very frugal. I have put together a modest system of second hand components that cost me less than $4K. Heck, it's anchored by a pair of vintage Infinity RS1.5 speakers that I bought last year for $264. I've never been more content with my system in my 40 year audio(phile) life. That said, there are many original/first pressing vinyl albums that I would love to buy, but I'm just not willing to cough up the money. I'm happy for those who do collect records and are willing to pay what it takes to play. That's just not me. I'll stick with a later pressing or just listen to that album via digital or maybe buy a later release or a re-issue. And with streaming digital coming on so strong, I'll probably reduce my monthly music expenditure as I move to a streaming service vs purchasing CDs or even vinyl.
OK, I'm done. If you're still with us, do you mind sharing some examples of the inflated prices that concern you? Also, what has convinced you that the inflation is being driven by England and Germany? I would guess that the audiophile and collector market in those countries have grown at a similar rate to the US. However, the markets in Asia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East has likely grown at a much higher rate.
As always, if there is an expanding market and a limited supply, prices will go up. It's simple economics.
reubent, great exposition on the situation, 'The Market' has become so fragmented that one can feed their 'needs' for whatever perceived outcome they desire for the collection of equipment one may want to amass. When one weighs the opinions of the 'press' vs. an actual listening experience at a show, a vendor, or the home of an associate...the varied responses of posters here and their preferences for amp 'A' over 'D', and all the other variations of that theme...
Yes, there Are differences. Yes, there Is 'This is better than That'....Yes, that combination of equipment may yield a 'more satisfactory experience' at a lower price point than the more expensive one, despite claims to the contrary...and no resolution in sight...
The skeptic in me notes the parallels between the 'world of audiophilia' and the 'world of digital devices', computers in particular. The devices we view and post with in this forum have become just as varied, just as disparate. If you wander through the forums dedicated to computers and the software integration issues people experience, both good and bad, what can be done and can't, even the updates issued by the manufacturers trying to keep it all 'current', safe, and just f'n Running...
I, for one, vacillate between laughing at it all or being terribly concerned for us. One can apply the 'Tower of Babel' myth...the Placebo Effect...it's variant, today's Kool Aid...religion....politics...taste, or lack of it (subject to opinion, yours, theirs, en mass or singular....)
...and when it comes to sound reproduction, i haven't even mentioned the space that one uses for listening to same. Another variable into an equation that begins to look like the Drake version for intelligent life.
You still end up back at the start:
What do you like to listen to?
What do you want it to sound like?
How much money do yo want to spend towards that/those goals?
Where will this occur?
How much effort are you willing to commit to your goals?
Will you ever be happy with the outcome, given that 'perfection' is a moving target?
Satiation is a personal thing....;)
I don't think the cost of electricity plays a part in the cost of equipment. Germans typically pay about 85 euros/month which is less than our average costs. They do pay about twice per kilowatt hour than we do but they use a third less power than we do. The extensive use of solar panels in Germany also allows private citizens to generate their own power and sell any excess back to the utility companies. That, and air conditioning is almost non existent. Oh, and about half the costs are in taxes.
I think the real costs are from what the market will bear with paying for quality work and not out sourcing a distant second. Taking as a given that their labor costs are twice ours, what justifies the pricing of American gear?
As for England, a big decline in competition and expensive nuclear power plant construction are driving England to have the most expensive electricity in Europe. They charge about than three times more than some countries. But, complain as they do, does anyone think that they'd not buy something they like because of the power it draws?
All the best,
It's supposed ply and demand. There's more demand now compared to the recession in 2008. And as a few have mentioned , the rich is getting richer and they don't know what to do with their money. So, they go excessive on food, cars, houses, audio systems. I'll bet you that many things of those $250,000 systems do not get much playing time. They get show cases when the rich friends come over for dinner.
And to the poster that is enjoying the $4K system, it's an extreme anomaly to score a $264 RS1.5 speakers....