Hi, Buddha -- and Jim. When I was working on the floor of the Comex, years ago, one of my fellow thieves quoted SOMEBODY (I don't think it was Barnum, but it could have been ... somebody in the brokerage business?):
"It is absolutely immoral to let a sucker keep his money."
Jim, the MARKET definition of "commodity" (or the process of "commoditization") is now accepted by Wall Street and the zit-faced loons on CNBC as "subject to the laws of supply and demand." The integrated chips (or the entire computer industry) business became "commoditized" when the price of IC's could be driven down by a sudden influx of new supply, no matter HOW ingenious and unique a product of human engineering these items were originally. In THAT sense, the affordable but still "high-end" components and systems that now sound ALMOST as good as (better than, in some environments, I would argue) yesterday's 100-thousand-dollar pieces have been commoditized. My Triangle Volantes can be mass produced (and can thus flood the market) in ways that the $36,000 Magellan's originally couldn't. THAT portion of my argument I will still maintain: it is good when a knowledgeable OR a moronic purchaser "supports" a prototype by overpaying for it, whether to be the first one on his block or out of impatience to get a sound he HAS to have, NOW, into his home, thus allowing the manufacturer to "commoditize" it to the extent he can now bring economies of scale to the marketplace and even undercut the original prototype's uniqueness. This is ONE of the reasons our pursuit is becoming increasingly affordable at the HIGHEST possible levels of quality. Cheers, and happy tunes, Clifton.
This thread is just beggin' for an Ayn Rand rant .
By the way, I read yesterday where Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have signed on to star in the independently produced picture. I have no illusions that it will be made without destroying the book and Rand's Objectivism, but it is long past due and could be a terrific film.
I'm surprised that Jolie and Pitt would risk their careers with such a project. If they do Rand justice, they will totally piss off Hollywood. If they slash the essence of Rand's objectivism, they'll have nothing more than a stinker at the box office.
I'm betting the latter, but boy do I hope I'm wrong.
Yo, Monty -- rant away. I'll rave on with you. Trouble is, I would start drifting away from things audio and toward how the damnable Federal Reserve Banking system has been (and is currently) inexorably destroying our currency. My favorite quote from the page you tagged:
"An honest man is one who knows that he can't consume more than he produces..." and, concerning the potential loss of what we know as a civilized, merit-based and just society, "...do you wish to know whether that day is coming? Watch money. Money is the barometer of a society's virtue." They announced they would cease to publish M-3 about a year ago, and they have indeed ceased. Gold was around $410 then, silver at around $7. Friday's close: gold, $652, and silver, $13.51. Somebody knows somethin'. This is gonna get ugly, folks, although we are as yet a long and crooked way from any kind of climax. Buy the big sell-offs -- you heard it here. Meanwhile, thank the Great Spirit for the gift of music, eh?Clifton
I would agree with supply and demand theory, but the fact that like the Triangle Celius, if more were sold the price could come down, but for the dealer and manufacturer the "turns vs earns" hurts as they wait for the next customer who will ante up for serious green in audiophile dollars. The listener must decide the "value".
I would also doubt that knowing Walt Liederman very well (UnderwoodHIFi) that even though the Helade at $1100 is a great speaker, I would not be convinced that if Triangle decided to "take a chance", triple their manufacturing volume and price the Celius at, say, $1300, Walter and other dealers would sell twice as many. Certainly even at that price/status it would not earn sales qty to be considered "commodity" as the volume is still paltry by any standard.
I would rate IPod downloads at over 1,000,000 and counting a music "commodity", but it is quality opposite what we are about. I do not think anyone expected that or the level of IPod sales. The fact that at my age of 58 and own one speaks volumes of how unique a product it is. 23 hours of wav files in my shirt pocket is very nice.
I think back to how may Large and Small Advents, Dynaco A-25s, KLH 17s, and others were sold and compare that to what is happening today with say the Epos 3s and the like. Certainly affordable at $300/pair, yet with a Sony STR-DE 197 for $150 it would make better quality music in MHO than a Bose Wave Radio, adding any $50 DVD/CD player. Yet, we know what sells more. Heck, Herbie Hancock even tells us how miraculous it is.
Value perception seems to be skewed these days for some. I would be so pleased to be listening to a Ayre 7E cd player even if I paid the $2900 for it knowing that is was extracting just about all that was buried in those pits. If I kept it 10 years it would be the best value in home entertainment that $300 a year could provide. Way more than my Direct TV and that bill that is over twice that.
We all would consider gasoline to be a commodity, but now with the price at $3 to $4 a gallon people are now making life changing choices about when, where and how they drive. Part-time jobs are reconsidered, family visits being put off as well as driving vacations, and those that cannot be altered will find funds that were earmarked for "entertainment" lost for the forseeable future.
Some who may have been looking at the Celius may now seriously condsider the Antal, or the Heliade, or maybe even a pair of Cometes hoping to add a sub later. The pricing of this necessary "commodity", gasoline, is going to change everything.
The reality is that the person who was considering the Celius fears buyers remorse more than most. He know that less is less know matter how he tries to justify it. Most of us have been or know someone who has sacrificed in some other area of life to fulfill his audiophile passions. I know I have. Out side of my wife, family, and faith nothing has given me the pleasure my audio gear has. I, as you, have even sacrificed sleep for listening time. That is true worth and value.
Regards as always.
Hi, Jim -- I think my writing got a bit sloppy. My main point on "commoditization" was meant to deal with the phenomenon of how the exclusive and experimental product, once infused with a "bid," could capitalize GREATER quality at a lower price, given the kick-in of economies of scale. Somebody has to bid on the cutting edge, or the increasing quality of the "middle" scale of the line can't kick in. The so-called "trickle down" of higher quality gear into the realm of the affordable. Your point is well taken. My point ignored some of the implications you noted. The supply of Volantes simply cannot come on line at an affordable cost without the prior success of the Magellans. I think the need for craftsmanship limits the potential for any glut of quality products... unlike, say, the farmer who turns all his acreage to produce more soy beans, during a roaring bull in the hairy legume pits, and then sells his crop via futures while it is still in the ground, to lock in new supply. Then, of course, once the acreage is harvested and delivered, the bull starts to growl very much like a bear, due to NEXT year's glut. In our field, there will always be a craftsmanship floor under producable units, which means the Celius cannot get so low as to "flood the market" and leave bag holders. The joker in the deck, of course, is easy money, which allows consumers to overbuy, beyond their means. Thanks for the clarification. Cheers, Clifton
That was a very good post. I chuckled throughout and your points are well taken. BTW, I'm sort of remotely connected to Paris Hilton AND Angelina Jolie: I'm friends with Paris Hilton's cousin and I'm friends with a guy who used to be friends with Jon Voigt, who's Angelina Jolie's father. So, being virtually a member of the House of Hilton and the House of Jolie, I must stand up and proclaim that your analogies are completely out of line.
I truly enjoy your posts and as I mutual Triangle lover I do wish more Magellans would be sold. The trickle down of that technology would be truly awesome if affordable.
I do think this is what separates companies like Dynaudio, Triangle, Sonus Faber, B and W, Wilson, Vandersteen, and many others I feel remiss not including, in that they do go B#$%$^% to the wall and make cost no object speakers to really push the envelope and see where rising cost and diminishing returns really falls and then can make rational performance/cost decisions that make marketing sense. Speaker manufacturers really deserve our respect.
The other issue is to use trickle down, put similarly manufactured tweeters and midrange drivers in affordable products that build a name for your self (Triangle) and try and amortize some development cost from the back end.
The bottom line is that if want to be a high-end company you must spend R&D money and hope that what you develop is marketable and that the technical and sonic improvements mean enough to the audiophile community to make money. The typical quandry of whether an audiophile should spend $3K on an Ayre 7 cd only player or spend $3K on a CD/SACD/DVD combo player and hear 80, 85, 90% of the Ayre on redbook is the issue.
Currently this flies in the face of the reverse mass-market desire for low-rez, downloadable music and playback. It is also why shows like HE are critical in that CES has just gotten so overblown and sonically challenged that manufacturers have a hard time showcasing their important, but incremental sonic improvements. It is also why at CEDIA and CES many are going off site for a better chance at a great presentation. Video is such an easier sell. I think that many would agree that CES is just too big.
The future is that if you have been using a battery operated crystal ball, you may want to look at either a 110 or 220 volt model and the future is going to be tougher to discern marketing wise. All the delays of the PlayStation 3 are proof of that. Delivery formats are so troublesome these days. This Christmas selling season is going to be very interesting. Regards,