Thread: The Audiophile Thread

  1. #101
    Member BobM's Avatar
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    Markup is decidedly NOT 100% over parts cost. The manuracturer generally sets the retail price at about 4-5x the manufacturing cost. A dealer generally gets a 40 point discount over retail so they can make a profit. This is not just in the Audiophile industry, it is pretty much true in manufacturing in general.

    So a component with $4000 in parts and manufacturing costs (excluding start up and research and test model costs) would result in a retail price of somewhere in the $20,000 range. The manufacturer sells to the dealer at $12,000, making an $8000 profit to cover those other corporate expenses, like rent and salaries and machining and those other initial expenses. The dealer will likely offer a $10-15% discount to attract buyers. All in all, for a component costing that much money the manufacturer will hope to sell maybe 20-30 per year. That's only about $200,000 in "profit" from the sale, most of which might go into a better lathe or computerized milling machine for the next product development phase.

    It really sounds more like a labor of love to me than a real profit generating operation. Of course, big manufacturers like Sony and such have far lower costs than smaller boutique manufacturers. The reason their prices are so high in many cases is because they can be. It's a reputation and pride thing, and I agree, that is out of control.

    But you will always pay multiples of a "reasonable" price for custom made boutique items of any type. Audiophile components are no different.
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  2. #102
    Outraged bystander markwoll's Avatar
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  3. #103
    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Let's shift the discussion and talk about the design features that make Tetra speakers interesting.

    1. Phase coherence. The tweeters are set back a ways from the midranges, which are set back a ways from the woofer. This aligns (ideally) the voice coils on the respective drivers so they are all working in the same plane on an incoming signal. Dahlquist pioneered this design and several other manufacturers have adopted it, but by no means is it universal. Unfortunately.

    2. Unsquare boxes. The very worst design for a speaker enclosure is a square box -- yet that is the most common. Internal reflections leading to resonant frequencies, edge diffractions at the corners, drivers mounted to the same front plane. But it's simple and cheap so most manufacturers still do it.

    3. Minimalism. It is far better to use a few really high quality drivers than a whole bunch of cheaper ones. You minimize your driver interaction, you minimize the THD, you maximize the efficiency. The IDEAL of course is a full-range point-source sphere, but nobody has come up with one yet.

    4. Vertical alignment. It's best to align the drivers in a vertical line, so your imaging doesn't shift when you move horizontally. It effectively makes "the sweet spot" the entire listening room. This was the Dahlquist's Achilles heel. Many other manufacturers compromise sound quality for compactness, so this obvious and simple design parameter is actually surprisingly rare.

  4. #104
    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    With all due respect, they were probably "comped" -- in the hi-fi and musical instrument industry, it is common for famous musicians to get the product free-of-charge -- as "comp"ensation -- for a glowing review to be published under their name. People who respect the musicians will think to themselves, "Well if Ron Carter likes them they MUST be good."
    Except, I'm afraid that once again you're mistaken when it comes to Tetra. I know for a fact that while they get a promotional price, they absolutely do buy them...and at a substantial percentage of list price. This is how Tetra works differently than the industry....they do not do "endorsement" giveaways - they actually think they're quite meaningless. They demo the speakers for the artists (like when Dave Holland was here a number of years ago); the artists have, quite universally, freaked out about the speakers and, while offered a promotional discount (I am not at liberty to disclose), I will say that it is well more than 50% of the cost.

    After Dave bought his Tetras, he called Herbie Hancock and arranged a demo, which led to Herbie buying his. That's how Tetra works: by word of mouth from people who know music, not specs. And who care about music, not specs or design. It really is about hearing music through a set of speakers where the artists hear the music as they recorded it. That, in a nutshell, is what makes Tetra special. All your info about design is great to know...it's great to hear they're doing things right and also differently than many....but at the end of the day what sells Tetras is how music sounds through them. I can only give you my experience: I was doubtful too. 2 hours later, I was in.

    So, I'm afraid you're mistaken in this case. Musicians buy Tetras and then advocate them because they love them. Not because they are paid to do so. It's a significant - and very real difference - to most product endorsements where, you are absolutely correct, artists are given freebies to put their name on 'em.

    I keep saying Tetra does not work within the boundaries of the traditional industry. This is just one more place that they differ.

    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    I don't doubt they *are* good. Comping some famous people doesn't diminish the product.

    But $33K worth?
    Having heard them? In a word: Yes. In more words: if i had the room and the money, I'd buy them. I can't convince you. Only you hearing them would do that.
    Last edited by jkelman; 01-09-2015 at 04:48 PM.

  5. #105
    Quote Originally Posted by BobM View Post
    Markup is decidedly NOT 100% over parts cost. The manuracturer generally sets the retail price at about 4-5x the manufacturing cost. A dealer generally gets a 40 point discount over retail so they can make a profit. This is not just in the Audiophile industry, it is pretty much true in manufacturing in general.

    So a component with $4000 in parts and manufacturing costs (excluding start up and research and test model costs) would result in a retail price of somewhere in the $20,000 range. The manufacturer sells to the dealer at $12,000, making an $8000 profit to cover those other corporate expenses, like rent and salaries and machining and those other initial expenses. The dealer will likely offer a $10-15% discount to attract buyers. All in all, for a component costing that much money the manufacturer will hope to sell maybe 20-30 per year. That's only about $200,000 in "profit" from the sale, most of which might go into a better lathe or computerized milling machine for the next product development phase.

    It really sounds more like a labor of love to me than a real profit generating operation. Of course, big manufacturers like Sony and such have far lower costs than smaller boutique manufacturers. The reason their prices are so high in many cases is because they can be. It's a reputation and pride thing, and I agree, that is out of control.

    But you will always pay multiples of a "reasonable" price for custom made boutique items of any type. Audiophile components are no different.
    Except that, since Tetra does not work through dealers, none of the above applies. Just sayin'

  6. #106
    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkelman View Post
    Having heard them? In a word: Yes. In more words: if i had the room and the money, I'd buy them. I can't convince you. Only you hearing them would do that.
    Fair enough, I should try to audition them somehow.

    Or maybe that would be dangerous.

  7. #107
    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    Fair enough, I should try to audition them somehow.

    Or maybe that would be dangerous.
    Based on my experience, I'd certainly say so. Let's just say I'm thinking about buying lottery tickets for the first time in my life so we can buy a house and I can have a man cave

    But in all seriousness, if all you could afford were the 222s, even without the 111s, you'd be surprised at how musical and full the sound is at a much more affordable price.

    It's not like they don't stand on their own - I was, originally thinking of just the 222s and would have been perfectly happy. The addition of the subs just fill things out - more felt than heard - and we had been saving up for this and could do it..so I did.

    If you're ever coming up Ottawa way, you're welcome to visit chez Kelman and heard the 333s....or, if you really want to find out if those speakers are worth $33k, I can set up a demo at Tetra central (President Adrian Butts' home).

    I'm serious - and not trying to sell you anything. But after all this discussion, I think everything would become crystal clear were you to hear them. And I tried the 222s alone, with both subs and with one. Then I listened to the 606s. They were amazing, but knowing they were out of reach both financially and physically, I can only say that the choice I made will be the best I've ever made and likely the best I ever make.

    So if you're ever coming up to Ottawa, shoot me a PM. Would love to meet you and have you hear why I am so pathetically excited

  8. #108
    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    I have an alternate proposal.

    Why don't you package up your new 333's, and I'll give you my shipping address.

    I'll return them. I promise

  9. #109
    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    I have an alternate proposal.

    Why don't you package up your new 333's, and I'll give you my shipping address.

    I'll return them. I promise
    Um...let me think about it for sec....






    .......






    .......





    .........


    Eh, sorry, no

  10. #110
    Member Birdy's Avatar
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    MUST....BUY.....TETRAS
    MUST....BUY.....TETRAS
    MUST....BUY.....TETRAS
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    On days without FEAR, when our heads are clear
    That angels, we could be
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  11. #111
    Quote Originally Posted by jkelman View Post
    Based on my experience, I'd certainly say so. Let's just say I'm thinking about buying lottery tickets for the first time in my life so we can buy a house and I can have a man cave
    Just marry a lawyer or something

    Actually just realized that the Tetras are closer to affordable than what's been slinging around here; 333's are $9000, while the 222's are $3750. Pretty expensive for the 111's, at least based on price per frequency
    Last edited by strawberrybrick; 01-10-2015 at 04:27 PM.
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  12. #112
    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Not price per inch though.

  13. #113
    cunning linguist 3LockBox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by strawberrybrick View Post
    Just marry a lawyer or something

    Actually just realized that the Tetras are closer to affordable than what's been slinging around here; 333's are $9000, while the 222's are $3750. Pretty expensive for the 111's, at least based on price per frequency
    its the 606 RNB-B that are $33,000.

  14. #114
    cunning linguist 3LockBox's Avatar
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    I'll never pay retail for a speaker again. I'll build my own. No, I wouldn't use exotic materials or expensive rare wood. But I would use quality drivers, probably a three-way tower. Not that purchasing raw drivers and x-over components are cheap. The components for even a rudimentary first-order 3-way design will cost well over $100 for one pair using modest parts. I wouldn't use anything less than perfect layer wound, open air coil inductors (low dc resistance value) and metalized poly caps. And that price is not including any other types of filters or networks.

    My dream DIY speakers (stereo pair) still wouldn't cost more than a grand using modest but quality drivers and components. Of course, the longer I wait the more expensive it'll get.

  15. #115
    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    And building your own, you get to pocket the manufacturer's profit -- which is somewhere between 100% (my estimate) to 500% (BobM's estimate). Speakerbuilding isn't rocket science -- at least not yet. Everybody still uses off-the-shelf drivers (or builds their own just like them) and the rest is just woodworking.
    Last edited by rcarlberg; 01-11-2015 at 10:33 PM.

  16. #116
    cunning linguist 3LockBox's Avatar
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    I dunno about building my own drivers, there's still plenty of quality drivers on the market. But yeah, cabinetry is an talent that even a lot of DIYers haven't mastered. I've actually repurposed some older cabinets with great success. A lot of older cabinets (if in good shape) were made when standards were different. Even some old RadioShack cabinets (from the late '60s/early '70s) are double-sided wood veneer fiberboard; cheap then, expensive today.

  17. #117
    Radio Shack/Tandy from the 60s/70s was some pretty good gear.

    I love vintage gear. I have a Harmon Kardon 330B (the one with the green faceplate and red power button), hooked up to a pair of AR's, or Epicure 100's. Classic sound.
    "Always ready with the ray of sunshine"

  18. #118
    Outraged bystander markwoll's Avatar
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    For a while in the 70's the big deal was to have 2 pairs of Advents ( or 4 pairs for quad ).
    I recall it was considered affordable audiophile. I went with Genesis I's.
    My how tastes and tech have changed.
    http://www.davidreaton.com/PDFs/Doub...ent_System.pdf
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  19. #119
    Member Jerjo's Avatar
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    Here's my speakers, floor standing and in black. I heard these up against a $2000 pair of B&W and they held their own. I think the company went tits up after that (website still functions though). The sound is incredible - warm, detailed, with a tight low end.

    http://www.patmcginty.com/eagle.htm

    Speaking of speakers, what's your thoughts on grilles? On or off?
    Last edited by Jerjo; 01-12-2015 at 01:53 PM.
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  20. #120
    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Grills on if you have kids.

    Nothing beats a tight bottom

  21. #121
    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    Grills on if you have kids.

    Nothing beats a tight bottom
    Yeah, on with kids, but off for serious listening!

    Quote Originally Posted by markwoll View Post
    For a while in the 70's the big deal was to have 2 pairs of Advents ( or 4 pairs for quad ).
    I recall it was considered affordable audiophile. I went with Genesis I's.
    My how tastes and tech have changed.
    http://www.davidreaton.com/PDFs/Doub...ent_System.pdf
    Ahh, Henry Kloss!
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  22. #122
    Banned Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    Grills on if you have kids.
    Grills on if you have cats.
    Put the grill back on when you get home from work, after picking up the cat who was sleeping on the grill that he pulled down while you were away.

  23. #123
    Banned Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by strawberrybrick View Post
    Radio Shack/Tandy from the 60s/70s was some pretty good gear.
    Not in my experience. And I'm pretty far from an audiophile. (Why am I in this thread?)

  24. #124
    Member Jerjo's Avatar
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    What CDs or albums do you guys use to show off your system? I just put on Supertramp's Crime of the Century and forgot how great the dynamics where on "School".
    I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means 'put down.'- Bob Newhart

  25. #125
    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerjo View Post
    What CDs or albums do you guys use to show off your system? I just put on Supertramp's Crime of the Century and forgot how great the dynamics where on "School".
    I started a thread on this subject a month or so ago. Lots of good recommendations. No one consensus answer.

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