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JIMV
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The June Issue...interesting lead

my specific note...(a caveat - I have not read the colume yet, just the headline on the cover)

Am I the only one that finds this headline/tease on the cover amusing "Michael Fremeer on Silly-Expensive Cables"? Is he not the guy who writes every month on 'silly expensive' phono gear...Come on, is a $10K cable any more silly-expensive than a $10K cartridge? The cartridge only has a couple of hundred in parts and manufacturing costs at the most, ever! If it was solid gold it would still have less than $1K in it. It is no more difficult to manufacture. Both categories owe a lot to superstition and simple hype.

 

Perhaps a better topic for a headline might be...is any audio product with under a $1K in parts really worth pricing many, many times higher?

BillB
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preliminary

I think there's much more complexity and precision involved in making phono cartridges than in making cables.

JIMV
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Well, now 've read the piece

Well, now 've read the piece and have to say I cannot imagine anyone doing a better job on it. Well written, informative, entertaining...so, I guess my only hit is with the cover lead.

Leigh
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Is accuracy important?

In the first issue of Speaker Builder magazine, Nelson Pass was invited to test several of the very first so called "high end" Speaker cables.

He first did subjective listening tests, making notes of the audible differences he heard.

After the subjective listening evaluations, he measured each of the cables, and as he suspected, the differences he heard were entirely predictable dependant on the Capacitance/Resistance/Inductance Factors of the cable.

As such, a cable can be purposely designed to attenuate or reduce a particular portion of the response curve, in effect becoming a Tone Control.

An audiophile with a system that's "rolled off" in the treble, may evaluate a cable that boosts the treble as a "High-End" miracle.

A cable worthy of the term "High-End" should be designed to convey a signal from one component to another with the least influence on the signal as possible!

Fremer states, when referring to two $1,5000.00-plus speaker cables, "However their products’ sounds couldn't be more different".

If the ultimate goal of cable design is to convey the signal in the purest, most unaltered form possible, then two "mega-buck" cables altering the signal/sound in profoundly different ways suggests that one, or both of them are conveying inaccurate results.

 

Leigh

John Atkinson
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Editorial Humor

JIMV wrote:

Well, now 've read the piece and have to say I cannot anyone doing a better job on it. Well written, informative, entertaining...so, I guess my only hit is with the cover lead.

The word "silly" refers to the fact that each of these interconnects cost more than what it cost Michael Fremer to replace his house's heating and plumbing systems and to seal all the house's leaks.

John Atkinson

Editor, Stereophile

noahbickart
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JA- any way you can include

JA-

any way you can include testing on cables in the future? I don't doubt that MF heard the differences he did, I'd just love to have some sort of control.

JIMV
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He's reviewed analogue front

He's reviewed analogue front ends that might cost more than his entier home!

Bubbamike
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And all were equally silly.

And all were equally silly. These kind of excessively priced products are why hi fidelity is dying. When you price your product so that it costs more than a house or a BMW or Jaguar there are real questions to be asked and no one in the industry wants to ask them. The Emperor has no clothes!

tmsorosk
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Silly

I like to read about silly priced stuff .

To answer Jim's question , " is any product with under a $1 K. in parts really worth many , many times higher " , there is only one way to know for sure and thats to hear it . We all no the costs of parts that go into  audio products is low , but does anyone want to estimate how much development costs were ? not to mention advertising , labour , dozen's of other costs of running a business , distributer and retailer markups , ect ect . Now take into account that very high price products are sold in small numbers , it makes you wonder if there was any return on investment at all .

 

                                                                                                                                                                   Regards  Tim

JIMV
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No dobt...but would anyone

No dobt...but would anyone with any sense buy a car with $1000 worth of auto parts for $20K? We do it all the time in audio...

RGibran
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Having sense and money

are two very different things.  If you had money you would understand that.

 

RG

John Atkinson
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No-one?

Bubbamike wrote:
These kind of excessively priced products are why hi fidelity is dying. When you price your product so that it costs more than a house or a BMW or Jaguar there are real questions to be asked and no one in the industry wants to ask them. The Emperor has no clothes!

Perhaps you don't read Stereophile regularly. I wrote about this exact subject in the April issue: www.stereophile.com/content/upward-price-spiral

John Atkinson

Editor, Stereophile
 

John Atkinson
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Cable Measurements

noahbickart wrote:

any way you can include testing on cables in the future? I don't doubt that MF heard the differences he did, I'd just love to have some sort of control.

I would like to but until there are more hours in the day or I have the budget to hire another staff member, this will have to remain on the backburner, I am afraid. The same thing goes for LP playback components. :-(

 

John Atkinson

Editor, Stereophile

dbowker
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Well...

JIMV:

Not to say there aren't plenty of examples in audio (and practically any product line- hello? $1000 for a bottle of wine that would last 1/2 hour among a few friends?) of hard to justify costs. But: materieals are rarely is the main cost driver in a product, unless it's incredibly expensive to extract such materials, or if there is a shortage. Carbon fiber is still crazy expensive since it's new and all the airlines want it all. Some day it'll be like any other plastic and common place and cheap.

Say you paid $300 for a bundle of quality maple hardwood. Great, but after that you could get it made into a floor, a deck, a few book cases or a custom made fine arts quality dining table, with carved chairs. I'm guessing the dining set would cost 40 times or more the cost of the flooring. We have granite street curbs all over New England because it's local and lasts almost forever, but I doubt they cost per foot what a granite countertop does (even accounting for the size difference). Precision in manufacturing is what drives the price, and for exotic cartriges you get the effect of them each being made nearly one at a time with no production savings. It's like all those $500k+ Italian sports cars. Certainly the materials are the best around, but it's still mostly the labor and precision.

Now as far as cables: that I don't often get at all. I can see really well-made stuff with exotic windings and materials reaching into the hundreds, but beyond that, it's hard to see how it ever could cost it. I do think they often sound very different, just as amps and anything you change out, but 10-50 times better? Not from what I've heard. I've heard speakers and amps easily worth ,many thousands or tens of thousands. But cables have a diminshing value return that is pretty steep. By their very nature they are NOT hand made for the most part.

For cables, I think most of what goes for the several thousand dollar range is just audio jewelry, like the fancy wood or chrome details in a luxury car. Hey, if if you can buy it, who am I to say you're wrong. Personally I'd rather have more music, or see more live shows, or maybe even donate it to a cause that needs it.

music or sound
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I am somewhat lost with this

I am somewhat lost with this review, all cables seam to change the sound differently- tone control or audio jewelry.  For the cost of the speaker cables one could get a second amplifier.  There should be a neutral reference point for speaker cables - none (or almost none) as no cable can make the sound better only do less damaged. 

The pricing is apparently independent from the production cost as it takes 20 hours to make one (Fono Acoustica).

I am in the search of a better speaker cable and have auditioned and owned a lot of them over the years. It is easy to find a decent (even relative affordable) cable but anything which is more time coherent becomes elusive. Presently I am using self designed cables - not perfect and I experienced that every change makes a difference. 

drjjpdc
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As We See It
John Atkinson wrote:
Bubbamike wrote:

These kind of excessively priced products are why hi fidelity is dying. When you price your product so that it costs more than a house or a BMW or Jaguar there are real questions to be asked and no one in the industry wants to ask them. The Emperor has no clothes!

Perhaps you don't read Stereophile regularly. I wrote about this exact subject in the April issue: www.stereophile.com/content/upward-price-spiral

John Atkinson

Editor, Stereophile
 

JIMW and Bubbamike's comments on cars remind me of a comment a BMW salesman made to me about comparing Ford or a Chevy. Besides parts cost it is a simple matter of time as well (I am not talking about labor costs). A Chevy might come off the line in 1/4 to 1/2 a day while the BMW might spend 2-3 days. That is why a Chevy sedan costs 20-25K, while a BMW might cost 50-90K, depending on models.

As far as phono cartridges go, to me it is a miracle that they work at all! I still do not understand how that stylus can vibrate enough to reproduce all the frequencies on an LP from low to high at the same time! Also as far as building time, try building one yourself. I've built furniture and I cannot even think about where to start.

John

tmsorosk
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Interesting lead

Silly expensive is an interesting lead , it got my attention . I'm getting a bit tired of reading about moderately priced stuff that's a bunch of steps down from what I'm using . 

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