Justifying the Cost of Speakers

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santosh titus

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Can anyone throw some light on how the speaker cost can be justified.

We can find speakers with similar or close specifications but with significant costs difference

Is it the material of constructions like whether cones are made of paper, kevlar etc ? Body made of any special wood, etc ?

Or is there any technology or manufacturer specfic patents which help in the sound quality being reproduced?

As of now , we have the speaker specifications, reviews in magazines and various forums to decide on, but no where the cost attached to it is justified.
 

unleash_me

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IME, the only way you can justify the cost of the speakers is by listening to it yourself. It??s that simple, actually!

The reviews that you find in magazines, only serve as a guideline. As far as forums are concerned, there are a whole lot of self proclaimed gurus out there who, just on the basis of online write-up, give out their share of gyan.

As far as specifications go, a good manufacturer always sticks to their claims when it comes to performance. The use of materials for various components make a lot of difference in how a speaker sounds ?? exotic stuff like Kevlar, Woodcone Pulp (JVC), PureMalt Whiskey Barrels (Pioneer), Beryllium tweeters (Focal/Usher), Diamond Tweeters (B&W) etc. comes to mind. End of the day, it all depends on how all these components act together to make the speaker reproduce sound as close to reality as possible. Again, speakers are just one slice of the pie!

Nobody can listen to every other product released worldwide. But as much as possible try to listen/experience yourself. If you are convinced about the sound you hear, then may be you will be able to justify the asking price as well!

Best Regards.
 

SuhasG

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Car Owner: ??What Rs 200 just to change a small screw that might cost Re 1 or less, this is a rip off. #@#$%@@&!

Car Mechanic: ?? Sir, Indeed the screw costs Re 1 only, rest Rs 199 are for ??To decide which screw to change?

I hope you got the message.
 

awedeophile

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IME Speaker specifications don't really mean much. They are a guideline more useful for system matching.

Also, 2 speakers using the same drivers will not necessarily sound the same. It is all in the execution. Cabinet design, glues, damping, crossover components, etc. etc. all play a vital role. Most high end speakers are 'voiced' by the designer and tweaked according to their preferences and/or measurements.

You cannot relate price of the speaker to cost of components. If that were the case, a Husain painting would sell for Rs. 5,000/-. The price is relatve and determined by performance, competition, exclusivity, branding, etc. like any other product. If there is a buyer, there is a price.

The best place to listen to a wide range of equipment is an audio show.
 

hifi

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IMO the overall cost of a speaker will include the material cost (that of drivers, cabinet,...) as well as some sort of Engineering cost.

Almost all speaker manufacurers have invested lots of money and effort in designing and perfecting the speakers.

A part of this cost also gets passed on to us.
 

reignofchaos

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Buy speakers which seem to have a high perceived value according to you. There's really no point buying something which you think does not have enough perceived value.

When one buys a speaker, one doesn't buy just drivers. Even the best raw drivers from scanspeak or seas don't cost more than 300-400 a pair. One buys much more than the parts. The main cost of a speaker is not the cost of components or the cost of the cabinet. The main cost is that of the research involved in creating the design, the cost of labor for manufacturing the speaker itself and finally the cost of promoting the product.
 

soundsgreat

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Hi,

Well I'd also have to say what Unleash and Awedeophile (partially) have said !

As far as forums are concerned, there are a whole lot of self proclaimed gurus out there who, just on the basis of online write-up, give out their share of gyan.

Before I start my gyaan :p ! Unleash you hit the nail on the head my friend ! there are tonnes and tonnes of these in every forum and obviously present here too !! but the sad part is they don't realise this and continue to do what they do and pollute the whole forum !!

Anyway coming to my views !

I though agree with most of the points mentioned here will not entirely agree with the general notion that if it has to be big brand then the price should also has to be the same !!

What Goes into an speaker ?? the drivers,crossovers,wood etc,The wood that any and every manufacturer use is MDF (with exception to rarest of rare case where they use some other,like pioneer's malt whisky barrel),Now cost of this is almost same to all ! The drivers this can be a real tricky one as some of the drivers used in the speakers are of normal material (meaning the driver is cost effective) but priced exorbitantly and another one which used exotic cones for the drivers and still be cheap! same goes to other components aswell !!

Now without going into too much deep and confusing everyone ! here's what exactly I think, Its not at all necessary for an speaker to be expensive on what components used or who makes them:p ! So what this means ?? simple I don't agree with the folks who say that XXX company spends XX $ for the R&D and hence its costlier !! if that is the case then we don't want those speakers ! there are tonnes of other companies who spend equally or less and yet produce a superb sounding speaker at a fraction of what that big baddie has produced !

Most of the times its just a marketing gimmick as thats what we pay for the product ! more often then not these companies piggyback on the brand Value to charge extra for a inferior product !

We all know about Almighty Bose ! battles has been fought and what not over this ! but still we serious music lovers ( Am not using the word Audiophile coz Am don't think I can call myself for various reasons including,I don't want to be the kind that Unleash has said) will almost instantly reject this product for the single reason,i,e the sound Quality ! so what this implies ?? Bose is very expensive and has loads and loads of patents in its kitty Via their R&D ! but where has all this patent been reflected in product ??:confused: No answers or no explanation !

For the folks who knows less bout Bose,here's a small dose of the actual fact ! The drivers used in Bose is based on paper cone (relatively cheap) and they never use dome tweeter (not atleast uptill recent models) and one of the ( or the only Am not sure) Suppliers of these cones to the Bose is "SHIVA"( don't confuse with shiva of corrson) from our very own country !! so now the same manufacturers cone has been used by various other companies who's cost is not even 1/3 of bose !

I myself in my towers have used a driver based on the cone from Shiva !!

Same goes to soo many other brands ! B&W was the first company to use Kevlar in their driver (infact they are the people who brought the Kevlar to Audio world) but look at the prices of their speakers,Using the very same Kevlar many others have also brought out speakers to the market which are not only cheaper but also much better sounding then B&W !

One more example is Usher, The story goes that when approached scanspeak to supply them the driver for their upcoming speaker,The scanspeak Ridiculed Usher for approaching them !! what happened ?? they went on to manufacture their own drivers and look where they stand today !! why this is revelent here ?? coz the price of the speakers Vs their Quality !

A scanspeak or a Seas driver costs a bomb !! for Ex. Seas Millenium series tweeter costs a whopping 10K Indian Rupees :eek: !! So the one who has used it and the other who hasn't whats the difference in sound ?? and most importantly the price of the end product ??

It is very much Understood that,The secret of a good sounding speaker lies behind its engineering ! meaning the attention to smallest detail like what type of driver,what type crossover including the quality of the components used for that crossover,box design,damping etc etc etc... but does all this mean it necessarily has to be very expensive ???

MY ANSWER IS NO !!

after this post there may be 100 response which may agree or disagree !! but the fact remains that at one point or the other,Every brand sells products to a customer using the brand value more then quality !!
 
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awedeophile

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While I agree that higher price does not necessarily mean a better product, more often than not it is true. Just because a component costs a lot, does not mean it is a rip off.

R&D cost is a major component if you are not mass producing the product. There are many small manufacturers that make low production runs and hence their manufacturing costs are higher. The lower the sales volume, the higher would be the price.

"What Goes into an speaker ?? the drivers,crossovers,wood etc,The wood that any and every manufacturer use is MDF (with exception to rarest of rare case where they use some other,like pioneer's malt whisky barrel),"

It's not as simple as that. Not all manufacturers use wood (MDF). Many use cabinets moulded from proprietary materials (Hansen, Rockport, etc.), while some use aircraft grade Aluminium (YG Acoustics). Baffle materials and thickness' are different. Inner constructions are different. Dampening compounds vary. Many speaker manufacturers get their cabinets out sourced. One of the largest OEM cabinet manufacturers is based in Denmark and hence a speaker builder in USA would have to pay huge freight on bulky cabinets. Then there is the finish - some are painted/finished using multiple coats (7 in the case of Wilson). Labour costs in Europe and the US are very high - @ $50 an hour, this translates into a lot. Crossovers also have varying costs - the better the quality and closer the tolerance of components, the more they cost. Driver cost is varying too and matching of drivers is also not an easy task. It all adds up..

"there are tonnes of other companies who spend equally or less and yet produce a superb sounding speaker at a fraction of what that big baddie has produced !"
"

Can you pls give us some examples?

"one doesn't buy just drivers. Even the best raw drivers from scanspeak or seas don't cost more than 300-400 a pair."

The diamond drivers from T&P can go upto $2000 each. The Alian Super Ribbon Tweeter costs $5000 a pair.

As a buyer, everyone has the option to hear and choose what they want to buy. You have to make an informed decision based on your budget, taste, passion, etc.
If a speaker mfr sells a product that does not sound good at a very high price, few people will buy it. As with any business, market forces (brand, quality, sound, etc. included) dictate how much a product can sell for.
 
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dinyaar

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Can anyone throw some light on how the speaker cost can be justified.

We can find speakers with similar or close specifications but with significant costs difference

Is it the material of constructions like whether cones are made of paper, kevlar etc ? Body made of any special wood, etc ?

Or is there any technology or manufacturer specfic patents which help in the sound quality being reproduced?

As of now , we have the speaker specifications, reviews in magazines and various forums to decide on, but no where the cost attached to it is justified.

U are also paying for the R&D and brand image when u buy a speaker or for that matter so many material acqusitions one makes. Regarding Justification of price i guess thats relative. A meal in a 5 star does not justify the cost but people will dine there anyway. Ambience, decor, etc etc are as important as the food to some and hence they choose to pay a hefty premium for their meal.
Marketing plays a very important part in how a product is projected and hence perceived IMO.
With the internet everybody and his mother are now 'Gurus'. Regarding magazine reviews well thats a different issue altogether. I guess as unleash suggested its u who has to make use of your ears and decide the speaker/ set up u like and buy it if it falls in your budget. If u have heard musical instruments live, been to a concert etc the goal IMO would be to replicate as close to that in ur living room with your audio set up without really bothering to justify the cost to yourself!
Regards
 
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dinyaar

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Well put Dinyaar...
Just sent you a PM of my most recent acquisition.

Thanks buddy read it. Have now stopped surfing the net for tweaks etc and choose to rather wait for my friend up north to update me!!!!! HAHAHA

This hobby is going to lead to insolvency or divorce if i indulge a bit more and hence i am cooling my heels FOR NOW!!!

Regards
 

awedeophile

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Thanks buddy read it. Have now stopped surfing the net for tweaks etc and choose to rather wait for my friend up north to update me!!!!! HAHAHA

This hobby is going to lead to insolvency or divorce if i indulge a bit more and hence i am cooling my heels FOR NOW!!!

Regards

Hahaha... Yes, more than justify costs to yourself, it is justifying it to the significant other that matters!!
 

SuhasG

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I can assemble a speaker or build an amp for much less than an established manufacturer but that doesn??t mean that manufacture must sell a product at the same price that I spent in assembly .

Being in Pune and being a Cadence customer, I had several occasions to visit Cadence factory. I have seen their manufacturing set up, their R&D set up, QA lab. Latest CNC machines foil bonding set up and the anechoic chamber. I have seen how each speaker get manufactured in fine steps. How each speaker is meticulously assembled and tested and calibrated. I also know how much money is being spent in R&D (that included patents too), I am also fortunate to see Cadence new product line up taking shape, tweaked and fine tuned to not only meet and beat the competition but also to create a world standard of reproducing music. There a lot and lot more than just wood, glue and drivers.

A small operator may not have all these leave aside some hobbyist assembling a speaker or two in his backyard. For me cost is not a sort of mathematical equation where in you put some raw material prices and get the MSRP! Why arrive or rather expect speaker cost based on raw material alone? Then what about hundreds of other products we buy on day to day basis, like Shampoo, toothpaste, Coke, a dozen mangoes, a dress shirt? Ask the same question to Coke , Colgate and Unilever.

I have seen a guy bought Marylyn Monroe??s bra for $10000+, people pay millions for painting, 1 square inch of paper called a postage stamp and what not. Do such thing really cost that much? Why pay $10000+ for a bra costing $29.95? No, but who bought it felt it was worth $10000. It is his money and his choice. Same can be applied to speakers too, if one feels that what s/he is paying is justified then others have no right to criticize him /her or the manufacture in any way.
 
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reignofchaos

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The diamond drivers from T&P can go upto $2000 each. The Alian Super Ribbon Tweeter costs $5000 a pair.

Are they better than the scanspeak revelator? That is a subject which can be debated. Many of these exotic drivers are not even mass produced. They are built to order for a few boutique manufacturers.
 

awedeophile

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Having heard all 3 I can definitely state the Scanspeak Revelator is not as good as the T+P Diamond Tweeter or Alian Ribbon. The Alian had the most resolution while the T+P's (30mm) sound the best to me. It has the most natural tone and I couldn't find a single flaw.
My speakers use the Scanspeak Revelator system tweeter. All 3 are in different speakers but the difference in the tweeters can be heard.

Nothing to do with them being mass produced or not. They are being made, are freely available and many use them. In fact a speaker manufacturer in Hong Kong uses the Alian!
?????件
 

santosh titus

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Thanks to all who have participated in the thread.

The technical comments as well as the outlook to be maintained towards the cost of a speaker were enlightening.

A rich experience for me in sharing my views / queries with all of you guys.

Thanks once again.:D
 

SuhasG

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Wow.. talk about Vintage value..!! ;)

SuhasG, Have you had a chance to hear the new line of Siltech Cables at Cadence?

Thanks god, you asked for Siltech cables. It could have been very difficult had you enquired for M.M's other wears on Sale :D!
 

soundsgreat

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Hi,

With all due respect to everyone I start this post ! as you all know I never indulge in fact fighting ! even the so called debate always turns out to be an argument in the later stage,so even that is a big NO NO for me !

But there are some things that needs to clarified hence my post !

Dear Awedeophile if just read the what the quote says,

"What Goes into an speaker ?? the drivers,crossovers,wood etc,The wood that any and every manufacturer use is MDF (with exception to rarest of rare case where they use some other,like pioneer's malt whisky barrel),"

Have I said that no other manufacturer uses other material ??? also when we talk its all about the majority ! I've said this time and again !!

When I say they use wood that means majority ! one for the fact,The much hyped and critically acclaimed Utopia Series from JMLAB is made from the very same MDF ! now this costs 40+ lacs per pair !! so what does this mean ??

Then there is the finish - some are painted/finished using multiple coats (7 in the case of Wilson).

The very moderately or cheaply priced Pacific Evolution (56K) from Wharfedale has 8 coats of lacquer ! The Usher has 13+ coats(BE718 costs 96K) so whats does this mean and imply ??

Now coming to the simple thing ! I've made it very clear that speaker making is an art not a backyard gardening (even this sometimes is art in itself) !! but even then if you have an issue then Am sorry !

"there are tonnes of other companies who spend equally or less and yet produce a superb sounding speaker at a fraction of what that big baddie has produced !"
Can you pls give us some examples?

Now again if you read my post !

One more example is Usher, The story goes that when approached scanspeak to supply them the driver for their upcoming speaker,The scanspeak Ridiculed Usher for approaching them !! what happened ?? they went on to manufacture their own drivers and look where they stand today !! why this is revelent here ?? coz the price of the speakers Vs their Quality !

Well is not an example to you ???? the Usher uses the Beryllium tweeters and some top of the line raw materials and manufacturing technics ( as mentioned above,the speakers are having 13+ coats), So I'll ask you now please show me a speaker that uses this very same or similar material at the same cost or less !!

Also for crying out loud this company has hired THE single most influential person in Audio field DR D.Appolito ! So does that mean the R&D is not as good as other makers ?? and does that mean DR. D.Appolito does not know about R&D ????

Well For the sake of information let me tell !! when I post I make sure I know what Am talking bout ! Am not one of those who GOOGLE COPY PASTE stuff !! I only post if I think I have some substantial facts to add ! I just don't post for sake of it !! Always I make sure that what Am talking makes sense and the same has been reflected in my 500+ posts !!

but even then if you guys think what I've said is not right ! then well Am sorry ! may be I should rethink my posting strategy or lack of it :p (coz uptill now I thought otherwise)!!

As always this is not to hurt anyone's feelings and as always if done unknowingly Please excuse me !!

Regards.
 
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