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JIMV
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On Snake Oil...

Something to add to RD's "is it cost effective" question....A basic observation....the greater the cost of parts v cost of item ratio, the higher the possibility/probability one is dealing in snake oil and scams.

 

jazzfan
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Oily stands
JIMV wrote:

Something to add to RD's "is it cost effective" question....A basic observation....the greater the cost of parts v cost of item ratio, the higher the possibility/probability one is dealing in snake oil and scams.

I quite agree. In the same issue is a very positive review of the TAD Compact Reference CR1 speaker. I have no issue with the $37,000 per pair retail price since applying RD price ratio of around 4.5 to 1 yields a manufacturing cost of just over $8,000 per pair. Now $8,000 does not appear to be an outrageous amount considering the quality of the product. On the other hand the matching stands for these speakers cost $3,600. In the review JA describes these stands as "The matching, wooden, three-pillared stand has the same matte-black finish..." Pray tell doesn't $800 per pair ($3,600/4.5) seem like a rather high manufacturing cost for a simple laminated wood speaker stand?

It seems that high end audio snake oil comes in many different forms.

tmsorosk
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Cost of oil

So if it's price appears disproportionate to it's parts cost it's a hoax ?

JIMV
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No, not hoax, though it may

No, not hoax, though it may well be...not hoax, just rip off. While 'hoax' is a perhaps, 'rip off' is a certainty

tmsorosk
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Certainty

Nothing is a certainty in audio . A blanket statement like that shows close mindedness .

jazzfan
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Wallet closed, not mind
tmsorosk wrote:

Nothing is a certainty in audio . A blanket statement like that shows close mindedness .

Since when does being a fan of something mean that one must give up the ability to make value judgments?

Plain and simple: $3,600 for a pair of laminated wood speaker stands is a ripoff, whether one has an open or closed mind.

JIMV
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Yes...I am certain $50 in

Yes...I am certain $50 in parts crammed into a $1000 sale price is in fact a rip off.

jazzfan
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Total cost
JIMV wrote:

Yes...I am certain $50 in parts crammed into a $1000 sale price is in fact a rip off.

There are other costs besides parts such as manufacturing, R&D, distribution and marketing. However if an item total wholesale cost minus marketing is something like a 10th of the retail price than I sure as hell smell a ripoff or something with an "i" at the front of the name.

JIMV
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Now you are talking

Now you are talking Bose...long on advertsing and short on all else.

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Orly Taitz

Sorry, this was meant to be a reply to "Oily Stands."  It loses something as a result of being misplaced in the thread.

tmsorosk
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Parts cost

I always get a kick out of these snake oil over priced posts. But as someone who was involved in the manufacturing field it's easy to see how many would think that the base material should be a fixed percentage of the retail price. When your involved in production Management, particularly low volume time consuming hand made items, it's easy to justify how a hundred dollars worth of material can turn into thousand dollar plus item's without even taking into account finished product costs like packaging , shipping, insurance, some profit and the doubling of price at the retailers. 

I often wonder how much a speaker cabnet like the ones Sonus Faber builds costs and what percentage of the total cost that represents, whatever it is its worth it. 

I guess we could just have everything built in China, and keep the cheapskates happy, until there is no jobs here. 

                                                                                                                                        Regards Tim

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parts cost/reply

 Tim-

it is reasonable, i think, to assume that most of us have constraints on expenditures for audio equipment. one criteria for determining expenditures is "cost/benefit"; and no doutbt, given the extreme subjective notions that inform our hobby, how we make such determinations are, likewise, highly subjective.

given financial truthes that govern discretionary spending, you raise 'red herring" issues, when you throw into the pot phrases and notions of "keeping the cheapskates happy" and losing jobs to china:  both are provocative statements, which divert us from real issues and determinations.

regards,

john

JIMV
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Tim...

If I am given the choice between $50 in parts assembled in the USA by special magic elves selling for $1000 and the same $50 in parts assembled in China selling for $200 guess what I will buy. Remember we are speaking of tweaks whose effect is in dispute. If I am going to invest money in a magic brick, I prefer to buy the cheapest magic brick I can find. When the brick is mostly its container hype and advertising, I suspect snake oil.

tmsorosk
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parts

John, most folks have constraints, nothing wrong with that, but when I'm shopping whether it's for audio or end tables I want something that was well made and will last a lifetime and be worth handing down to my offspring. Well made speaker stands like the ones mentioned above come at a price, if I could find the same quallity product at a tenth of the cost I would purchase them, but that just doesn't happen. As I've gotten older, poorly made products, in some cases laughable,  that don't last just turn me off, and aren't really the bargan they at first appear to be. Art Dudley made this very clear in one of his fine columns. 

  Magic elves, or skilled craftsman I'll take their products anytime over plastic and pressboard. 

                                                                                                                              Regards Tim                                                                                         

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tim, this type of discussion

tim, this type of discussion is far more useful than one on " snake oi", which seemingly is in the eyes ( and ears ) of the beholders; and an ever source of vitriolic disagreement.

no disagreement with your points: i think we all want a fair ( as we define it) balance of "cost " and "quality" (as we define it and afford it). if we could purchade higher quality equipment that has 'staying' power, for ourselves and our childreni do believe we would seek it out  domestically. unfortnately,  given the historical and current situation in this country: flat line/ loss of discretionary  income or the ever disappearing "middle class  and the concurrent loss of manufacturing to foreign countries, i see only the continued general losses and specifically losses of domestic audio manufacturing capacity,under these conditions the trade-off of domestic "quality" and "cost" is continually being recalibrated, geneally in favor of lower cost and perhaps poor quality, though this, too, is changing, with the availability of higher qualty non deomestic products with 'staying' power.

yeah, who wants press board and/or plastic. but.....we do what we can do and grin and bear it....and attempt to continue to derive pleasure from music.

regards,

john

 

 

 

 

 

jazzfan
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Read...
tmsorosk wrote:

I always get a kick out of these snake oil over priced posts. But as someone who was involved in the manufacturing field it's easy to see how many would think that the base material should be a fixed percentage of the retail price. When your involved in production Management, particularly low volume time consuming hand made items, it's easy to justify how a hundred dollars worth of material can turn into thousand dollar plus item's without even taking into account finished product costs like packaging , shipping, insurance, some profit and the doubling of price at the retailers. 

I often wonder how much a speaker cabnet like the ones Sonus Faber builds costs and what percentage of the total cost that represents, whatever it is its worth it. 

I guess we could just have everything built in China, and keep the cheapskates happy, until there is no jobs here. 

                                                                                                                                        Regards Tim

Try reading my post (#8 in the thread). I fully understand that in the high end audio field things like economy of scale do not always work out and I expressed as much by saying that I am willing to accept the high cost of the speakers. However I draw the line with respect to the stands. $3,600 is a lot of money for a pair of speaker stands, no matter how you slice it. As a way of comparison look at the prices of some of the items on this web site:

http://www.dorsetcustomfurniture.com/Default.aspx

Note: I found the above link via a random Google search for "custom furniture".

JIMV
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People are missing the heart of the issue

We are not talking of absurd pricing for a small number of parts in a device that is clearly and demonstrably amazing, like the $10K phono amp in this months magazine. We are speaking of an absurd price for a small number of parts in a device that has questionable effect on anything...

I do not object to being expected to pay a lot for exceptional performance, seen by all and easilly demonstrated. paying an absurd price for a questionable effect is simply madness.

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i love snake oil

it goes so well on salad with a little viniger and perhaps some fava beans.

ho,ho,ho.

jazzfan
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Right
JIMV wrote:

We are not talking of absurd pricing for a small number of parts in a device that is clearly and demonstrably amazing, like the $10K phono amp in this months magazine. We are speaking of an absurd price for a small number of parts in a device that has questionable effect on anything...

I do not object to being expected to pay a lot for exceptional performance, seen by all and easilly demonstrated. paying an absurd price for a questionable effect is simply madness.

I think you summised the issue very well. This is also related to but not quite the same as outrageously expensive equipment which is only marginally better than lower priced equipment. But as you stated the price of many piece of very expensive can be justified by any number of factors with the most important one being that the equipment sounds, well, like a million bucks. Almost none of the above is true for audio tweaks, which are the bread and butter of snake oil vendors.

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Snake oil

There is a problem when evaluating an audio component or cable or device and trying to draw a universal conclusion regarding the sonic performance and consequently the cost benefit.  The reason for this problem is that the component, or speaker, or cable, etc. under test can sound entirely different in one system than another one.  In fact, performance can vary considerably, perhaps even from horrible to sublime, depending on many factors, including room acoustics, whether the component has sufficiently broken in, sonic quality of the test system and hearing acuity/experience of the listener.  Things are frequently not what they seem.

 

Geoff Kait

Machina Dynamica

mav52
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Snake Oil, well there are

Snake Oil, well there are fools out there that will pay money for something that claims to have scientific data to back up the product.  Odd but true.

for example: Beech Knob $485 wooden volume knobs, replacing the standard bakelites.

Quartz Necklace
Wearing this necklace will increase the energy level of the lungs, which will increase the clarity and strength of your voice @ $370from Golden Sound.

jazzfan
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WTF!!
geoffkait wrote:

There is a problem when evaluating an audio component or cable or device and trying to draw a universal conclusion regarding the sonic performance and consequently the cost benefit.  The reason for this problem is that the component, or speaker, or cable, etc. under test can sound entirely different in one system than another one.  In fact, performance can vary considerably, perhaps even from horrible to sublime, depending on many factors, including room acoustics, whether the component has sufficiently broken in, sonic quality of the test system and hearing acuity/experience of the listener.  Things are frequently not what they seem.

 

Geoff Kait

Machina Dynamica

Wow Geoff that is the most sensible post I've seen from you so far. Based on that someone might even get the impression that you're reasonable.... but we know better! In any event may and yours have safe, happy and wonderful holiday season!

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Snake oil and reasonableness

Not surprising. A lotta folks thought Einstein unreasonable, too.  

 

Geoff Kait

Machina Dynamica

jazzfan
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He's back
geoffkait wrote:

Not surprising. A lotta folks thought Einstein unreasonable, too.  

 

Geoff Kait

Machina Dynamica

Wow it didn't take you long to go back to your old ways. To paraphrase something someone once said: I knew Einstein (not really) and you're no Einstein.

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Snake oil

As my granddaddy was fond of saying, if you got it, flaunt it.  Now, that doesn't seem too unreasonable, does it?

 

Geoff Kait

Machina Dynamica

Advanced Audio Conceits

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I knew someone who had known

I knew someone who had known Einstein. He said he was the nicest man he's ever met.

One thing I see missing from this discussion is that some products are Veblen goods -- luxury products that are intentionally priced high, because their expense confers status or prestige. Veblen goods actually sell better as the price is increased.

I understand that luxury goods are the only bright spot in retail right now, and that some ultra-high-end audio manufacturers are doing quite well as a result. Since the beleaguered middle class isn't buying, I can see that there would be an incentive for an audio manufacturer to move in an upmarket direction.

JIMV
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Gesundheit!

You really should get that mess fixed...

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