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jdm56
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riding the crest of the price/performance curve

Concerning a pair of floorstanding loudspeakers, at about what price range is the the peak of the curve on a price/performance basis? In other words, what is the price range, beyond which the law of diminishing returns starts to kick in? I'm talking about over-all audio performance. One thousand dollars per pair? Two Thousand? I'm just curious and would like to see if there is any kind of general concensus about it.

Kal Rubinson
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Re: riding the crest of the price/performance curve


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Concerning a pair of floorstanding loudspeakers, at about what price range is the the peak of the curve on a price/performance basis? In other words, what is the price range, beyond which the law of diminishing returns starts to kick in? I'm talking about over-all audio performance. One thousand dollars per pair? Two Thousand? I'm just curious and would like to see if there is any kind of general concensus about it.

Tough call since the value of the dollar amount depends on ones economic position. $1000 is big bucks for some, pocket change for others. How can one generalize?

Kal

Monty
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Re: riding the crest of the price/performance curve

I think Kal misunderstood your question. I would hazard to say about $2500 for full range speakers and about half that for restricted frequency speakers. Naturally, those with fatter wallets would disagree, but we are talking performance vs value.

jdm56
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Re: riding the crest of the price/performance curve

Excuse me for not being more clear.

Monty is correct. I'm thinking more in terms of objective performance vs. price. If you could measure every speaker available and assign it an overall performance score of 1-100, then factor in the price, at what price is the peak value?

Or, to look at another way: If the absolute best speaker at every price point could be determined, at what price level would the performance gains stop tracking the price increases? Assuming the $200 speaker was twice as good as the best $100 speaker, and the $400 speaker was twice as good as the $200 speaker, at what price price do the lines begin to diverge on the chart? In other words, where, pricewise, is the peak value in loudspeakers, beyond which spending more and more gets you incrementally smaller and smaller gains in performance?

I'm with Monty. My guess would be in the $2500 range.

Kal Rubinson
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Re: riding the crest of the price/performance curve


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Excuse me for not being more clear.

Monty is correct. I'm thinking more in terms of objective performance vs. price.

I have no argument with your conclusions but it is as difficult to be objective about value as about performance.

Kal

300Binary
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Re: riding the crest of the price/performance curve

Some old guy once said something like: "... they know the price of everything and the value of nothing ..."

If you get the perfect point on the curve, does your system get better?

Money is fun, but, it ain't Music

Buddha
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Re: riding the crest of the price/performance curve

Fun question!

I'll take it to mean "at what point on the price/performance curve do I feel that the incremental increase in performance per unit cost begins to reach its asymptote. I.e., at what point does the curve start to really flatten?

Two answers, because I am undependable...

1) I agree about the 2,000 to 2,500 dollar range, thanks to the incredible trickle down we see in value with companies like PSB and B&W - at that price, we can expect true performers who often sound better than products at higher price points. There is alot of performance to be had in that range. Other lines come to mind as well, but you know what I mean.

2) I think it happens agains at about the 11,000 to 12,000 dollar range, more in terms of there not being all "that" much more performance still to be had at higher price points. Above this price point comes more a range of individual preference as to someone's listening fetishes than it is looking for things that an 11,000 dollar speaker failed to address.

I've also had the chance to speak to some manufacturers and distributors/reps when they have had their brains softened by food and wine and they flat out say that for some customers, the likelihood of them buying a speaker is directly related to cost and exclusivity rather than performance. Instead of "Tin Ears," one distributor called the "Trump Ears." If it costs enough, it must be better.

At the stratospheric price point, they say that there are many buyers who would pass over the same speaker at half the price, yet clamor for it at its inflated price.

Probably like the way a Rolls will not outperfom another car at one third its price, but the entry fee required to join the club gives the owner an ego boost and helps "keep the rabble out."

dcrowe
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Re: riding the crest of the price/performance curve


Quote:

Quote:
Concerning a pair of floorstanding loudspeakers, at about what price range is the the peak of the curve on a price/performance basis? In other words, what is the price range, beyond which the law of diminishing returns starts to kick in? I'm talking about over-all audio performance. One thousand dollars per pair? Two Thousand? I'm just curious and would like to see if there is any kind of general concensus about it.

Tough call since the value of the dollar amount depends on ones economic position. $1000 is big bucks for some, pocket change for others. How can one generalize?

Kal

In spite of the later comments, I agree with Kal on this one. I would guess that while one could make up a quantitative way to determine an answer, the answers would still vary widely depending upon the rules. And a rule that depends simply upon specifications would probably yield an answer in the under $1,000 neighborhood. But, if you want something better, and you can hear the difference, and you have the money, you will spend more (I know I did!).

Cheers,
Devon

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Re: riding the crest of the price/performance curve

$2500 will get you a pair of nicely finished, nearly full-range towers with all of the requisite audiophile hooks included.
Beyond this price, you're looking at relatively minor overall audio refinements, better/cleaner LF extension, wider dynamic range, and much nicer cabinet finishes.
It's generally the bottom octave that raises the cost of a loudspeaker.

The same is true for computers; for typical users, a $500 Dell does most of what a $4000 workstation will do, unless of course, you actually need a $4000 workstation, such as for CAD, modeling or video compositing.

dcrowe
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DEQX, was: Re: riding the crest of the price/performance curve


Quote:
Concerning a pair of floorstanding loudspeakers, at about what price range is the the peak of the curve on a price/performance basis? In other words, what is the price range, beyond which the law of diminishing returns starts to kick in? I'm talking about over-all audio performance. One thousand dollars per pair? Two Thousand? I'm just curious and would like to see if there is any kind of general concensus about it.

An interesting question that I am about to experiment with is, at what point is it better to invest in the DEQX DSP pre-amp and 300 dB/octave cross-over with bi-amplification and speaker response correction before spending more on speakers (for those of us with finite means who must make choices!). Rather than upgrade from my B&W 804s's to either the 802d or Wilson Sophia, or Revel Studio (or used Revel Salons), I am thinking about trying the DEQX route first with the 804s's I have already.

dcrowe
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Re: riding the crest of the price/performance curve


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$2500 will get you a pair of nicely finished, nearly full-range towers with all of the requisite audiophile hooks included.
Beyond this price, you're looking at relatively minor overall audio refinements, better/cleaner LF extension, wider dynamic range, and much nicer cabinet finishes.
It's generally the bottom octave that raises the cost of a loudspeaker.

The same is true for computers; for typical users, a $500 Dell does most of what a $4000 workstation will do, unless of course, you actually need a $4000 workstation, such as for CAD, modeling or video compositing.

A $500 computer is fine for e-mail, but I often bring my workstations to their knees as they slow down on imagery restoration, HD video editing, and even on very large Office files. I need many GBytes of RAM, TeraBytes of RAID disk, etc. I am hoping Moore's Law holds the rest of my life! I need the performance increases. Similarly, the shortcomings of my audio system continue to motivate future upgrades in my case...

jdm56
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Re: DEQX, was: Re: riding the crest of the price/performance cur

You didn't ask for opinions, but you can have mine free of charge:

If you are determined to do one or the other, I would go with the speaker upgrade. I think you would stand to gain more for the money spent, assuming the cost is about the same.

dcrowe
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Re: DEQX, was: Re: riding the crest of the price/performance cur


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You didn't ask for opinions, but you can have mine free of charge:

If you are determined to do one or the other, I would go with the speaker upgrade. I think you would stand to gain more for the money spent, assuming the cost is about the same.

Since Kal Rubinson has heard all of these choices, his opinion would be valuable, if it isn't giving an unfair peak at the 802d review scheduled for December.

gonefishin
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Re: riding the crest of the price/performance curve


Quote:
Concerning a pair of floorstanding loudspeakers, at about what price range is the the peak of the curve on a price/performance basis? In other words, what is the price range, beyond which the law of diminishing returns starts to kick in? I'm talking about over-all audio performance. One thousand dollars per pair? Two Thousand? I'm just curious and would like to see if there is any kind of general concensus about it.

Most answers I've seen to this question at other boards have usually had a finite answer on where the poster believes the "crest" of price/performance is at...that spending any more money than they've specified is really just going after those little bits of improvement that cost way too much to achieve.

Most times the poster has very little room for expansion. Nope, they've found the crest and spending anything more is really a waste of money. This always holds true until they decide to upgrade. Then they've found the new crest of the price/performance issue.

I say heck with it all. Build the system for you and your room. When your ready to upgrade...you'll always find a reason. Even if you once lived upon the crest itself

have fun

dan

jdm56
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Re: riding the crest of the price/performance curve

HaHa - I suppose you're right about that! As long as a person knows what he's doing; that he's spending more and more to gain relatively less and less. It's really about whatever make you happy, I suppose.

The price of speakers is so all over the map, it's hard to draw absolute conclusions about relative value per dollar spent, anyway. Still, if any objective measure could be determined, you could put aside "added value" derived from brand name, wood veneer's, obvious over-build, etc., and focus only on audio performance, to the extent it could be quantified and compared objectively. Maybe take frequency response extension and smoothness, bass distortion, max output at a given level of distortion --oy, this is starting to sound like CONSUMER REPORTS-- anyway; arrive at some reasonably objective measurement of performance so speakers could be given a value score. I think that would inject a needed reality check into the loudspeaker marketplace...if it could be done!

Kloss
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depends who you purchase from

There are many small manufacters who give you much more for your money than the big names .So many mass producedboring same old ,same old loudspeaker designs, slender towers, little cubes,woofers in small boxes placed in corners with massive driver excusions, yuck and double yuck why do folks keep buying these loudspeakers designed by bean counters ? I want my loudspeakers designed for sound. Not shipping ,profit and WAF.If one looks beyound name brands and audiophile aproved mass produced junk.You will be rewarded with great sound and cash savings if thats important to you.

300Binary
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listen and get whatever you like

I know some folks think there are rules, but, if you enjoy listening to your system, you make your own rules

PhilNYC
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Re: riding the crest of the price/performance curve

Slightly off-topic...but I've found my reaction to the "value" of speakers can be affected by how you end up demoing them. For example, I moved up from a $5000/pair of speakers to an $8000/pair and thought to myself that the improvement was noticeable, but probably not $3000-worth of improvement. Later, I had to swap back to the $5000/pair speakers, and boy oh boy did I miss those $8000 speakers! Suddenly, that $3000 felt a little more justified...you don't know what you'd be missing til its gone...

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Re: riding the crest of the price/performance curve

Too many factors to generalize. Just a few for starters: How loudly do you listen to music? 80db

ohfourohnine
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Re: riding the crest of the price/performance curve

My music collection is heavily biased toward small group jazz and chamber music. My current speakers - Sonus Fabers - are in the $2500 range and are, at the same time the best I can afford, and the best sounding I've ever owned. If I should win the lottery, I confess that I might begin to listen to pricier stuff.

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Re: riding the crest of the price/performance curve

Speaker technology is fairly static compared to other equipment. For example, CD players (DACs and the like) drastically improve over a short period of time.

I decided, for the first time, to buy a used pair of speakers (4 years old). I aquired an $8000 pair of Montana speakers for $4000. They are in mint condition. I avoided the 3+ month break in period and could audition the speaker the way it will sound for a long time.

I will never regret that decision. I now have a tremendous pair of speakers that overachieve in my current setup. I hear changes to upstream components that I would have never heard with my old pair of speakers.

The speakers are the window into the rest of the system. The better and cleaner that window is, the easier it is to "see" the rest of your system.

I'm conviced, through my long history of system changes, that speakers are the most important component.

jdm56
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Re: riding the crest of the price/performance curve

Congrats on your good purchase. I agree that buying speakers used is one of the best ways to have cutting-edge performance for non-cutting edge prices. Let the high rollers who must have and can afford the latest and greatest take the financial hit! I wish I'd done this myself with my last speaker purchase. I love my B&W 703's, but I might have bought mint 803's for not much more in the used market.

John Ashman
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Value

The problem here is "with how deep of bass?" and "with what SPL output/distortion?"

At $1000 you can have good sound or decent bass
At $2500 you can have great sound or great bass/output
At $5000 you can have great sound AND great bass/output
At $10K and up, you'd darn sure better be getting exceptional sound, output AND bass (but you probably aren't)
By $20K, they're just charging money to create exclusivity or the product is so small in production numbers that they are unduly expensive to build.

If a company like Honda took something like the Wilson X2 (or any other near $100K speaker) and produced them in quantity, they'd retail 10-20% of the price, but there probably aren't enough buyers, even at $10K, to keep the product up to sufficient numbers.

Buddha
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Re: riding the crest of the price/performance curve

I think I was hallucinating and replied on the budget loudspeaker thread to your question here. Aopologies!

Take a look there.

I love watching the used market - it must be a fetish of some kind.

Let's keep the conversation going about your search!

dcrowe
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Re: riding the crest of the price/performance curve


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You seem very resourceful and knowledgable. So, if I have $2K to invest in a pair of full range speakers, do you have any specific guidance about what brands/models should be on the short-list? And, if you know about any specific resources for safe used gear, maybe some comments in that regard? Looking for my gem.

Thank you,
Mike

For $2K, I would be tempted by this: http://show.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/shm.pl?spkrfull&1121285185&item&Tsto&4&5&6&http://cgi.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fs_srch.plQQANYAAAApurlsrchAAEXYAAstAAAAAAf30

Buddha
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Re: riding the crest of the price/performance curve
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