Higher End (priced) Audio, Who’s Buying It?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Khorn, May 4, 2022.

  1. Khorn

    Khorn Dynagrunt Thread Starter

    I’m told there’s quite a lot of high end product being sold up here during this COVID time and I’m wondering just who is buying all of it. The products are rarely discussed on this forum so I wonder if some here are doing so but are hesitant to discuss it. Where is it all going?
     
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  2. jonwoody

    jonwoody Tragically Unhip

    Location:
    Washington DC
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  3. motorstereo

    motorstereo Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ct.
    I'm not sure who is buying it but I do know who is not:)
     
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  4. ggergm

    ggergm liquor makes my stereo sound better

    Location:
    Minnesota
    The ultra high end market is a funny one. In the late 1970s, I worked in a store that catered to that crowd. My joke was a quarter of my customers had a perfect ear. The other three quarters had a perfect ego. I have found that more money conscious audiophiles are often better listeners.

    So many buyers of ultra high end gear equate the dollars spent with performance. That often is not true but I wouldn't recommend you say that to someone making a million dollars a year. Those guys may read this forum, and while some do contribute, most of them know that they want. It's flashy, exclusive gear, and certainly more expensive than the electronics any of their friends own.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2022
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  5. Khorn

    Khorn Dynagrunt Thread Starter

    We should be able to discuss the attributes of really good equipment even if we can’t afford it now and maybe never. It’s interesting and maybe gives us an idea of what can be accomplished in the SOTA.

    I love to see and hear about really great equipment. I don’t discount these components as “rip-offs” simply because I’m unable to afford them.
     
  6. Agitater

    Agitater Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    Any examples at different price points? I'm not sure that most SHF members consider or agree on high price points the same way as you (or me).
     
  7. Agitater

    Agitater Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    Who is the source of such information? I'm asking because it's not exactly what I'm hearing from the dealers and distributors I talk to.
     
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  8. jupiterboy

    jupiterboy Forum Residue

    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    I don't know how liquid the top end of the market is, but it seems like an interesting place to park some cash for a hot minute. Even if you sold on a loss, at least your source for the money you paid with would be concealed by the legit sale of a high-value item.
     
    Khorn likes this.
  9. Khorn

    Khorn Dynagrunt Thread Starter

    20-30k+ each per component. There’s a hell of a lot of really great stuff out there. I know a surprising variety of components in that range are moving quite well up here.
     
  10. William Bryant

    William Bryant Forum Resident

    Location:
    Meridian, ID
    A few years ago I got to listen to a Gryphon/Luxman system in a carefully set up and treated dedicated room. Total price of the system was pushing $1.5K. I hope no one on SHF doesn't consider that high end.
     
    Khorn likes this.
  11. Khorn

    Khorn Dynagrunt Thread Starter

    Very long time friends heavily involved in very high end distribution.
     
  12. Tim 2

    Tim 2 MORE MUSIC PLEASE

    Location:
    Alberta Canada
  13. Khorn

    Khorn Dynagrunt Thread Starter

    1.5k ?
     
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  14. William Bryant

    William Bryant Forum Resident

    Location:
    Meridian, ID
    I was typing too fast.

    $150,000
     
  15. ggergm

    ggergm liquor makes my stereo sound better

    Location:
    Minnesota
    Oh, boy, I am. I recently bought a pair of expensive speakers and hit a lot of higher end stereo stores. As an old stereo store owner, I'd take the salesman aside after getting to know them and asked them how was business? Every single one of them said significantly up. The pandemic was good for the high end industry. People were stuck at home with extra disposable dollars in their pockets. The only trick for stores was getting the gear they sold. I'm still waiting for my new speakers. It's been a couple of months and may well be a few more.

    It wasn't unusual for a salesman to tell me their store was up a $1,000,000 over last year. That's a huge increase for a boutique stereo shop.

    My store always increased its market share during tough business times (recessions, wars). I think aggressive retailers did the same thing during the pandemic.
     
    Khorn likes this.
  16. Khorn

    Khorn Dynagrunt Thread Starter

    More like it. :D
     
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  17. Khorn

    Khorn Dynagrunt Thread Starter

    Of course I have to ask which speaker system did you choose?
     
  18. CharlieBussell

    CharlieBussell Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Bay Area, Ca
    My nephew works for our local high-end audio store. We were having a discussion about the demographic of customers that purchase audio in the common Bay Area. While sharing his thoughts he mentioned a lot of his customers don’t seem to care for forums. When asked if they partake in any online discussions most if not all the time the majority of them respond with “don’t have time for it” or “just don’t care for it”.
    Take what you will with that.
    My 2 cents is that the majority of high end audio buyers have no reason to compare to others. As others mentioned they know what they want.
     
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  19. Khorn

    Khorn Dynagrunt Thread Starter

    There seems to be an inherent hostility on forums to those who spend more than most can afford. Unfortunate but very noticeable and uncomfortable.
     
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  20. Stone Turntable

    Stone Turntable Dedicated Follower of Hi-Fi

    Location:
    New Mexico USA
    I assume very high margins and very low volume for stupid-expensive hi-fi components.

    It’s difficult to imagine a huge number of buyers worldwide for $70K Wilson speakers.

    Personally I’m skeptical about audiophile assumptions that correlate stratospheric prices with “state of the art” engineering and design producing stratospheric sonic value — skeptical that these assumptions are based on rational factors. We’re talking Veblen displays in a context of extreme wealth and income inequality.

    Inherent hostility? That’s pretty much me. I’ve heard and admired what a system like Michael Fremer’s six-figures vinyl setup can pull out of the grooves, but mostly I think that the ideology of hyper-expensive audio hardware is a huge distorting negative force in hi-fi culture and bad for a clear understanding of innovation and sound quality.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2022
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  21. jupiterboy

    jupiterboy Forum Residue

    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    There have been a few on this forum who have purchased expensive component one after the other. They usually defer largely to their dealer, and everyone has treated them quite well because it's damned entertaining.

    In my experience, dealers are looking for people who don't know what they want.
     
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  22. ggergm

    ggergm liquor makes my stereo sound better

    Location:
    Minnesota
    Devore Gibbon X.

    They will mate well with my Atma-sphere MA-1 amps, which can be quite finicky, and sound absolutely awesome. You should have heard the Beach Boys' Surf's Up album. Wall Of Sound, baby, with the image appearing twice the height of the speaker and well beyond their edges. I thought I could only do that with a pair of dipoles.

    They are also a full range speaker, which is something I wanted.

    At $16K a pair, they are approaching the lunatic fringe level but aren't quite there yet. Charlie at Stereo Haven outside of St. Louis was good to me on the price, which helped. Good guy, Charlie. He cares more about the music than anything else, including closing the sale. Me? I was always the other way around.

    Plus it's amazing all the unused gear and records I have laying around here I can sell to pay for them. Waste not, want not.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2022
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  23. William Bryant

    William Bryant Forum Resident

    Location:
    Meridian, ID
    Yes, and also toward those who won't gush and affirm snake oil purchases.
     
  24. Khorn

    Khorn Dynagrunt Thread Starter

    Fantastic. Hope you have lots of great listening ahead. Keep us up to date.
     
    ggergm likes this.
  25. Khorn

    Khorn Dynagrunt Thread Starter

    There are some who for some unfathomable reason believe that Audio is opposite to the rest of the earth and that cheaper is better. Not on this planet!
     

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