If something costs more, is it inherently true that it is better than a less expensive item with the same function? I get it. AIX Records and our partners at the AXPONA show back in April filled a ballroom with around $1,000,000 worth of equipment, including a pair of German Physiks Emperor MK II speakers costing $400,000 (and that was just the front stereo pair). I agreed to the idea because it was pitched to me that attendees would have to visit a room that has that much money . As some readers know, the results were not exactly as expected.
Pricing is different than value. I had a vendor of very high-end cables tell me that his business is pretty straight forward. He told me that he puts about $50 worth of materials into each of his $995 cables…and then allocates $15,000 per month in advertising to promote them. What’s the value proposition? Are the cables really that good or is it the fact that people pay almost $1000 to acquire them? In my studio right now, I have a couple of very expensive power cables on loan from a vendor in this space. My plan is to break them in according to his instructions and then rigorously test them. I’ve assured him that I will be completely objective in my evaluation and involved other engineers that work in my building. Stay tuned for the results.
But my point is that pricing is difficult. I read an article at an Australian high-end audio site (where I contribute articles on occasion) that featured the world’s most expensive amplifier…it retails for $2.2 million dollars and is as large as a Cray super computer…and probably about as complex. You can read the article for yourself but does anyone really believe that you need 160,000 watts of Class A power? You don’t have to sell very many of those to make your annual sales goals.
My Blu-ray titles have at least 3 separate ultra high-resolution audio mixes and some even have a mix dedicated to headphone surround. There’s HD-Video and lots of bonus stuff on the discs and they retail for $35. I’ve only had a couple of complaints about the cost of of the discs but generally people are pleased with the amount of content AND the quality of the content. That’s a physical disc.
If you were download the same album from my iTrax.com site and acquire all of the available mixes in the same resolution as the BD disc it would total to over $80…clearly the better value is to purchase the Blu-rays. If I tried to price the downloads the same as the disc, each mix would be less expensive than an entire album on iTunes…and clearly that doesn’t work. I provide the extra value on the discs because it a single physical piece of entertainment and to allow people to switch between mixes to see which they prefer.
Paying a lot for something makes you believe that it’s better than a less expensive version. If you purchase a $1000 USB Cable or spend $5500 on a power conditioner AND believe that you’ll get, “more inner resolution, more separation of instruments, more dynamics, more bass definition and more air” than good for you. But be aware that the price of something doesn’t necessarily equate to higher quality.
Being a music lover and audiophile doesn’t mandate spending a lot of money. You can get The Absolute Sound without going broke.