Why do we pay more for less?

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In a good way. I recently read an article (I can’t find it now) about “luxury” design being defined as less – lower illumination levels, quieter acoustics, less clutter.

With HiFi I often find that it’s not about louder and more bigger. It’s about refinement and presentation and taking stuff away (noise?) to make room for the display of music. I feel like a lot of times we are paying for gear and setup that is subtractive rather than additive.

Edited answer

Right on. My most recent purchases have been subtractive: file player for less noise and less jitter. Incredibly expensive turn table power supply “darker sound floor”

Answered question

Here’s a link to the article (it can use a good editor…)

“Could architecture and design do anything to alleviate ‘walmartism’?”

I actually had it turned around, it’s about mainstream retail and how bright-glarey-shiny-flat it is. It goes on:

“Texture is a class thing. The more money you have, the more texture you get. The reverse is true of lighting and sound: the more money you have, the less of both of those you get.”

It got me thinking about audio and how the crisis of convenience trumps a lot of the qualities we are looking for. I’m thinking of that generally lifeless quality of poorly implemented audio. The loudness wars. How flat representation can be, the sameness brought on by pursuit of convenience.

Striving for that palpable realism, that you are there, that hallucinogenic toreador of a performer sitting or standing in our room, startling us, is perhaps the persuit of texture. That we are peeling away the glare, the noise, the flatness, to open spaces up, remove the clutter around what we wish to experience.


Edited answer


I get asked all the time to design something custom for a person. They think oh it can’t be that much. Really it is… 1x design $$$$, 1x metal work $$$$, one x build $$$$$!

We are in a hobby that has so little production and high R&D that products are going to be more expensive.

If I make say a custom product, expect to pay 1000% more than something available off the shelf.

Say I make a hundred pieces, expect to pay 200-300% more.

But in the case of lets say a DragonFly which I designed and we build them here in Cincinnati. Audio Quest can leverage their buying power and create and make a boat load of these on the most up to date equipment at about 1.8% more expensive than say something that is built in China. Plus we keep the IP safe (though we did have a Chinese company & Monoprice steal the original DF) and quality super high.

~~~ FWS3

People in our industry lump the Jitter term into all kinds of problems with audio. In most cases the amount of audio related jitter is fixed to the interface, processor, clocks and dac design of the end product. There are a boat load of other variables that are not related to jitter that can effect the performance of your setup that have little to do with jitter.



Answered question


There’s so much choice in the market that I often have to ask my clients why custom? (I design lighting systems for architecture.) Usually I try to suggest a modification to an existing luminaire so it aligns better with their wants and needs. The manufacturer’s may or may not be willing depending on quantity and how much exposure they will get. I often do wonder if this sort of endless retooling of the existing contributes to the paradox of post-modernism…

Sometimes the client will say “this has to be completely original” and I advise them as to the expense and time involved. If they are still game, we are off on an adventure. Sadly, those types of clients are fewer and fewer. Everyone is in such a hurry…and the crisis of convenience, the enigma of expediency, rears it’s head. We enter into a vast array of flatness of sameness…

What was that old saying…cheap-fast-good…pick two.

Answered question

Found out a bit more about connecting an iPhone or iPad directly to a DAC using USB………………….actually meant to post this in another thread.

I really should get some coffee…

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