just what do strata priced amps do that.....

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2bigears

just what do strata priced amps do that.....
« on: 18 Mar 2013, 11:22 pm »
 :D   make them worth,, ten,20..or 30 thousand dollars compared to good quality down to earth amps .. Is it control,finesse or a suburb clarity that shows its worth .. i have never heard and i really always wondered.... in these days of tight money ,, are they still selling ??  :D

geowak

Re: just what do strata priced amps do that.....
« Reply #1 on: 19 Mar 2013, 01:37 am »
Great question. But as some "well to do" people will have the money, they will be sold. Same as houses, boats, cars, or whatever...

dflee

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Re: just what do strata priced amps do that.....
« Reply #2 on: 19 Mar 2013, 02:30 am »
And those boats need anchors ya know

2bigears

Re: just what do strata priced amps do that.....
« Reply #3 on: 19 Mar 2013, 03:09 am »
 :D  ahh, so they are very heavy ??  :D  now we are getting somewhere .....
                 well get to the bottom of this yet .... :thumb:

steve in jersey

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Re: just what do strata priced amps do that.....
« Reply #4 on: 19 Mar 2013, 05:41 am »
I'm sure the kid who just bought a set of no-name $25 earbuds at Walmart would wonder why I just spent $1499 on a set of Senn HD 800 cans... ( I guess it's just one of those "Why ask why questions" when our interests in things outdistances that of others, whether our choices are rational or not ) (The real trick would be to convince others to share some of that "disposable wealth" they seem to be flaunting)

srb

Re: just what do strata priced amps do that.....
« Reply #5 on: 19 Mar 2013, 06:07 am »
:D  ahh, so they are very heavy ??  :D  now we are getting somewhere .....
                 well get to the bottom of this yet .... :thumb:

I guess it depends on the amplifier.  While I haven't seen physical specs yet, I would be surprised if Bruno Putzey's Mola Mola monoblocks ($15K/pair) weigh in at more than 15 lbs each.

Steve

SET Man

Re: just what do strata priced amps do that.....
« Reply #6 on: 19 Mar 2013, 10:08 pm »
Hey!

   You know they are more millionaires and billionaires today than ever. So, yes they are buyers for those strata priced amps out there. Whether or not they know they do care about the sound, know anything about the sound or just want them as status symbol is another story.

   Higher $$$$$ doesn't mean it will sound good to you. Believe me I've heard some high price stuffs that didn't sound right to me. Although some are great and worth the price.

    But don't be despair. They are seasonable priced audio out there that can give higher priced stuff a run for the money. With that I do have to applause those audio companies that make great sounding affordable audio stuffs.

Take care,
Buddy :thumb:

   

   

simoon

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Re: just what do strata priced amps do that.....
« Reply #7 on: 19 Mar 2013, 11:24 pm »
As far as I see it (as has already been stated) the high prices amps do not always sound better than their lower priced brethren, but there is a good chance they will.

Speaking in generalities, once you get to a certain price point and quality level, increasing price will not get you a corresponding increase in performance or sound. Lets say going from a $5000 amp to a $10,000 dollar amp will not get you double the performance or sound quality. It will most likely get you small degrees of improvement.

It is up to the individual to decide for themselves if drastic increase in price are worth small improvements in sound quality.

Steve in Jersey makes a great point. Most people can't even relate to our moderate investment in audio.

I believe we have a better chance at understanding those that buy strata level equipment, than the average music listener of today has of understanding most of us that stay pretty far below the strata level.



2bigears

Re: just what do strata priced amps do that.....
« Reply #8 on: 19 Mar 2013, 11:37 pm »
 :D  audio jewelry ,, and laws of diminished returns after a certain price point.. we all know that .. and makes total sense.. and we all love to death the true amp builders that kick ass for reasonable scratch and hangs right in there with the BIG $$ MAMES.... but i can't help but wonder, between a really well respected 5000 buck tube amp,, compared to a 30k buck....will the more expensive one drive most loads when the other won't do hard loads ??  will it kick ass in sound space authority ?? good lord ,, are the parts it uses that much better as transformers and point to point wires can really only add up to a certain price ----- you would think ??  i'm sorry guys,, this dam question and topic has always been on my mind.. is it chasing that top 5% or better sound or that you just want to have the big big names ????  :D

roscoeiii

Re: just what do strata priced amps do that.....
« Reply #9 on: 19 Mar 2013, 11:59 pm »
Well, there are a few things that I can think of that could contribute to BIG dollar amps performing better:

1) Better parts quality. Sometimes this means parts not available at lower prices. Sometimes it means more precisely matched parts. For tube amps, great transformers are not cheap.

2) A better power supply. Never sleep on the impact of a good power supply.

3) More R&D devoted to making these amps sound their best.

4) For high power amps (especially Class A amps), you also need to pay for some pretty big heatsinks to dissipate the heat. In addition to the power supply transformers that are necessary to obtain this higher power output.

All of these ought to add up to a better sounding amp, if done well. The degree of improvement gained by each of these things is the most interesting question for me.

Not that there isn't an audio jewelry effect too, which I think is an expectation that a buyer at these price points will likely have.

topround

Re: just what do strata priced amps do that.....
« Reply #10 on: 20 Mar 2013, 01:12 am »
I have a friend who plays with uber expensive amps and from what I have heard they deliver  a sense of realism that must be heard to be understood. We all have great gear or heard great gear, but some of this uber stuff delivers in a uncompressed way what we do not really ever experience with our just great stuff.

I really takes an A/B comparison to hear what can be achieved. And that is not because it is expensive, because not all the super duper stuff does it but some of it does what we will never know. Unless we buy that crazy priced stuff.

Do you need this crazy stuff? No of course not. But if you are a Titan of industry or a trust fund baby than you might want this stuff. Some of these guys get bored of driving their Pagani  :thumb:

Me..... I'm bored of driving my Chevy :thumb:

Tyson

Re: just what do strata priced amps do that.....
« Reply #11 on: 20 Mar 2013, 05:41 am »
I guess the real question is whether there is anything really, truly innovative in the design of these amps.  Because in the absence of true innovation, you are simply polishing existing circuits/approaches.  And how much is that worth, really?

roscoeiii

Re: just what do strata priced amps do that.....
« Reply #12 on: 20 Mar 2013, 05:45 am »
Great question Tyson. I'd be curious to know other folks' thoughts.

I know that for example, Nelson Pass had transistors -"SITs"- made to his specifications that we will eventually be seeing in Pass Labs amps. So far they are only out in his low wattage First Watt line of amps.

ZLS

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Re: just what do strata priced amps do that.....
« Reply #13 on: 20 Mar 2013, 05:40 pm »
    I think it would be valuable to know, (and perhaps the DIY folks can chime in) exactly how much does each component in an amp cost to purchase the best available.  Tubes/and or Transistors, Transformers, Heat Sinks, Wiring Binding Posts, IC's etc. 
    If we can start with a consensus of what the necessary parts cost, perhaps it would be easier to make a judgement on the overall price. 

roscoeiii

Re: just what do strata priced amps do that.....
« Reply #14 on: 20 Mar 2013, 05:53 pm »
Let's please not play the "add up the cost of parts" game.

See this post from diyaudio from Bruno Putzeys in response to a "cynical view" on audio manufacturer pricing (which John Atkinson from Stereophile called "the best explanation of audio product pricing I have seen):

"That's the cynical view. The non-cynical view of most high end is having philosophies instead of facts and esoteric parts instead of circuitry. Oh no that's still cynical. But there's a point. If one cared to look inside most high end equipment you'd find that whatever they lacked in knowledge they sure made up in expensive content. Heck, some buy up loads of obsolete parts under the presumption that they're better than the new stuff and on the other end of the scale some have their own power transistors made in an esoteric new technology. These guys are spending money, not raking it in.

Leaving aside the question of how well-designed the innards of an audio products are, there are some very basic economic facts:
1) Regardless of market, the mark-up between the BOM and the end-user price is around a factor 5. Most of that goes to the retailer. Then the distributor. The remaining pittance goes to the manufacturer.
2) Economy of scale: production cost drops with the logarithm of quantity until you hit the raw materials cost (i'm told that the old Philips TV factory in Bruges could reliably estimate the cost of a TV set by weighing it). The same product, manufactured in tens or in thousands ends up with a markedly different price tag.
3) People want their money's worth. You spend 5k on a piece of kit, it has to look expensive. I'm talking fit and finish, not looks. It may look "butt ugly" so long as it's polished like a baby's bottom (with only as many visible seams).

So you want to make a "better than average" product? That will make it more expensive than average. So you'll sell fewer of them. So your manufacturing cost will go up and you need to increase your profit margin. The price starts getting a bit "exclusive". So people will not want the same folded casework as a $25 DVD player. Some of these look pretty sleek with the sort of plastic casting that's available when you make 100k units. If you want to get the same quality with 1k units, it'll have to be machined. This spiral continues until a company almost but not entirely runs out of customers and equilibrium is reached. Of course, that leaves room for many more small companies with slightly different offerings who appeal to a different but equally small subset of potential audio buyers. All it takes is the above 3 obvious truths to explain why the high end market is saturated with innumerous tiny companies trying to be slightly different from one another. The same spiral explains why the middle segment (where say 1500 euros would buy a very decent stereo) has pretty much vanished from the market.

People seem to have the impression that manufacturers of high end gear are greedy bastards who are making way too much money. I can assure you that the companies that churn out cheapo DVD players have a boardroom full of way richer guys, none of whom actually give a damn for audio. Even a middle manager may fetch rather more than some of the people manufacturing the high-end gear that's meeting with such opprobium for their price tag.

You can have me ranting about the complete lack of technical sense shown by equipment designers and whatnot, but as far as economics goes, the smart ones and the stupid ones are in the same boat."




rollo

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Re: just what do strata priced amps do that.....
« Reply #15 on: 20 Mar 2013, 06:04 pm »
  I believe it is a matter of omission in direct comparison. There are many really good sounding amps out there. What separates them is the extremes. Meaning the bass and treble regions.
   Improvements after a while are minor however major in effect to some. Then there are house sounds. Shindo, Audio Note all have distinct sonics. Which is better ? None just different. Except for David Berning designs [ no caps, no trannies ] and some new hybrid class "D" amps not much in innovation, that I see.
    Now what has improved are parts, so even the oldest SET circuit can be improved sonically. Caps especially. Duelund [ ask Bill Baker ] far exceed IMO any cap out there. Voltage regulators as well as diodes are just better designs.
  Then there are trannies. Audio Note, Tamura and the like are excellent designs.


charles

Tyson

Re: just what do strata priced amps do that.....
« Reply #16 on: 20 Mar 2013, 06:31 pm »
One of the tragedies of our hobby has been the decline of people building their own gear, be it from kits or designing from scratch.  I will say this for myself - once you start to DIY, 2 things happen - 1, you get a sense of when a manufacturer is blowing smoke and when they are making a solid product; and 2, you have a hell of a lot more respect for the manufacturers actually building these things.  It's hard work and easy to f'up.

2bigears

Re: just what do strata priced amps do that.....
« Reply #17 on: 20 Mar 2013, 06:46 pm »
 :D   some good thoughts here to be sure.. so many people in-the-know here.. if the smoke cost 30 grand to the 1st buyer (the rich guy), used will get you 15 grand of audio jewelry and hopefully audio joy. But does this stuff drive the speakers with authority that lesser amps don't. do they have built in greatness that makes slaves from the speakers no matter the load. is image and field more defined and pin-pointed. cleaner sound than clean, almost real....
     like dac guys say their 0's and 1's sound like vinyl , do these larger than life amps actually finesse your ears or just wallets ????
         i really guess you gotta test drive ,, A and B these things in a controlled enviro.. not an easy feat though ....  :D :scratch:

roscoeiii

Re: just what do strata priced amps do that.....
« Reply #18 on: 20 Mar 2013, 06:56 pm »
:D   some good thoughts here to be sure.. so many people in-the-know here.. if the smoke cost 30 grand to the 1st buyer (the rich guy), used will get you 15 grand of audio jewelry and hopefully audio joy. But does this stuff drive the speakers with authority that lesser amps don't. do they have built in greatness that makes slaves from the speakers no matter the load. is image and field more defined and pin-pointed. cleaner sound than clean, almost real....
     like dac guys say their 0's and 1's sound like vinyl , do these larger than life amps actually finesse your ears or just wallets ????
         i really guess you gotta test drive ,, A and B these things in a controlled enviro.. not an easy feat though ....  :D :scratch:

As a recent AXPONA attendee I can testify to the importance of listening to these amps in person. While sound at shows is often not ideal, for many of us shows are a great way to experience sound at many different price points. (What becomes more difficult at shows is determining what the contribution of each component in the chain might be.  I tend to end up attributing much to the speakers and assume manufacturers have chosen their speaker/amp pairing wisely–though that apparently isn't always the case).

What buying new also gets you is dealer support and a warranty, and hopefully the option of auditioning the amp in question (preferably in your home).

geowak

Re: just what do strata priced amps do that.....
« Reply #19 on: 20 Mar 2013, 07:32 pm »
:D   some good thoughts here to be sure.. so many people in-the-know here.. if the smoke cost 30 grand to the 1st buyer (the rich guy), used will get you 15 grand of audio jewelry and hopefully audio joy. But does this stuff drive the speakers with authority that lesser amps don't. do they have built in greatness that makes slaves from the speakers no matter the load. is image and field more defined and pin-pointed. cleaner sound than clean, almost real....
     like dac guys say their 0's and 1's sound like vinyl , do these larger than life amps actually finesse your ears or just wallets ????
         i really guess you gotta test drive ,, A and B these things in a controlled enviro.. not an easy feat though ....  :D :scratch:

You certainly got that right about price. There is a guy here on AC who is selling a pair of Wilson Audio Duette speakers for 1/2 the price he paid. I have heard these speakers. They are the best I have heard for stand mount speakers. Have not heard the Magico, but for 7 1/2K you've got in made with the Wilsons for a bargain price.

But those are speakers, I would imagine amps would run a similar pattern..