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Old 18th January 2010, 02:46 AM   #1
gedlee is offline gedlee  United States
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Default Marketing rants

I am always ranting about how marketing drives audio and that there is no relationship between price and quality. That beauty and brand are the only features of worth in a modern piece of audio equipment.

Read this if you doubt me

Oppo on the Inside, Lexicon on the Outside — Reviews and News from Audioholics
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Old 18th January 2010, 03:07 AM   #2
poynton is offline poynton  United Kingdom
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Wasn't there a "Swiss High End" DVD player that was standard Japanese inside ???



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Old 18th January 2010, 03:14 AM   #3
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I agree that marketing drives the audio industry along with many other industries. But I do think, among the reputable companies (such as your own), that price and quality do have a minor relationship. That is meant as a compliment...forgive me if it sounds otherwise.

It can be argued that badge engineering was one of the major downfalls of the American auto industry.

The same practices can be observed in many other industries as well...clothing, cosmetics, and sadly pharmaceuticals.

Your argument is exactly why I have started building my own stuff whenever possible and then buying used as a second option.
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Old 18th January 2010, 03:22 AM   #4
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"You can never underestimate the stupidity of the general public." - Scott Adams

Marketing just proves that.

Cheers!
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Old 18th January 2010, 04:10 AM   #5
Pano is offline Pano  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poynton View Post
Wasn't there a "Swiss High End" DVD player that was standard Japanese inside ???
Yes there was.
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Old 18th January 2010, 04:36 AM   #6
Borat is offline Borat  United States
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I have Guess sneakers that i paid $110 for at ShoeMania. They are cream color leather. When i got home i went to check the prices online and they were only $54 in brown color ( which i didn't like ). So i kept my cream ones.

A few months later i saw the exact same shoe in BROWN color at Nordstrom only this time it was "Gucci" not "Guess" ( using a nearly identical pattern of "G" for the design ) and guess what - it was $400.

So the same shoe sells for $50 and $400 depending on whether it is labelled as "Guess" or "Gucci". I could care less what they think G stands for. As far as i am concerned G stands for George ( my name ).

why should it be any different for high end audio ?

also i can bet that it will be far from the worst shoe you can get for $400 ...

Last edited by Borat; 18th January 2010 at 04:42 AM.
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Old 18th January 2010, 07:06 AM   #7
Pallas is offline Pallas  Pakistan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gedlee View Post
I am always ranting about how marketing drives audio and that there is no relationship between price and quality. That beauty and brand are the only features of worth in a modern piece of audio equipment.

Read this if you doubt me

Oppo on the Inside, Lexicon on the Outside — Reviews and News from Audioholics
To start, I don't think there's a problem with taking something and making it either "prettier" or using higher-quality materials and charging a premium. Some people have to keep these boxes visible in the room. A separate question is whether Lexicon actually improved the appearance of the BDP-83. From pictures, I would say "no."

That's funny on one level, because it's from one of the (few) places in audio one wouldn't necessarily expect it. Though I think they did something similar with Bryston amps a while ago. I remember thinking that was odd because, after all, Lexicon should have access to perfectly good amp boards from corporate sibling Crown, and they're all commodity parts anyway.

It's hopeful on another level, because it makes clear that these kinds of electronics - which is to say, everything that's not "speaker" or "room" or "recording" - are commodity parts. Smart people already knew that, but these types of tricks (and articles exposing them!) might make the functionally deaf start listening a little more critically.

But the only unfortunate thing there is that if one wants a player to play SACDs, DVD-As, and Blu-Rays one needs to spend $500. My old Samsung DVD player cost more like $70 in 2005 or so and did everything except play Blu-Rays. (It even scored "no difference" against a $3k+ Meridian CD player in a blind test!) That said, I do like my BDP-83, if only because it loads disks much more quickly than friends' cheaper Blu-Ray players.

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A few months later i saw the exact same shoe in BROWN color at Nordstrom only this time it was "Gucci" not "Guess" ( using a nearly identical pattern of "G" for the design ) and guess what - it was $400.
That's a little bit different. What probably happened there is the opposite of the Oppo-Lexicon connection: Gucci showed a shoe on a runway, and Guess copied it. (It would, admittedly, be funny if Gucci took someone else's shoe and built an overshoe around it.) In apparel, most of the suburban mall stuff is knockoffs of "designer" stuff. (Uniqlo is a rare exception, but that's because they employ one of the best designers of our time, Jil Sander.) Gucci's not especially known for their quality any longer - though at one time they were better - so there's no guarantee the $400 Gucci sneaker will be better in materials or workmanship than the $50 Guess one.

They're both basically commodity parts. For my money, the only nontechnical "premium" sneakers worth the asking price are Reiter Sports from the Viennese cobbler Ludwig Reiter, because of the quality of the materials Reiter uses for their sneakers. Well, Hermes makes some very nice sneakers too - I normally hate logos, but "H" corresponds to the first letter of my last name - but for me to spend that kind of money on a shoe it better be Goodyear welted and leather soled. And possibly made of shell cordovan instead of calfskin.

Last edited by Pallas; 18th January 2010 at 07:13 AM.
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Old 18th January 2010, 12:21 PM   #8
Jen-B is offline Jen-B  United Kingdom
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On the one hand there is something morally wrong with taking a cheap player, putting it in a fancy box and charging a lot of money for it. It says "we are happy to pretend to be something we are not, and we are happy to rip-off our customers, and we do not care about them".

On the other hand, if people are stupid enough to buy based on brand loyalty and preconception then I can understand marketing men taking their money.

Personally, if I found that a company that I though was solid was actually ripping me off I would consider it a breach of trust and never give them my money again.
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Old 18th January 2010, 12:52 PM   #9
gedlee is offline gedlee  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by salesmonster View Post
I agree that marketing drives the audio industry along with many other industries. But I do think, among the reputable companies (such as your own), that price and quality do have a minor relationship. That is meant as a compliment...forgive me if it sounds otherwise.

It can be argued that badge engineering was one of the major downfalls of the American auto industry.

The same practices can be observed in many other industries as well...clothing, cosmetics, and sadly pharmaceuticals.

Your argument is exactly why I have started building my own stuff whenever possible and then buying used as a second option.
Price and quality should go hand in hand, otherwise "value" engineering is not being utilized. I was appalled some years back at the costs of decent "hi-end" speakers. Most weren't any good and good ones were ridiculously priced. There was no "value" in the offerings.

I agree that the marketing people are probably only doing what they are taught to do in a market that is driven by brand and image. The sooner this kind of thing comes to light, the sooner the consumer will refuse to be duped by this kind of marketing. They only get away with it because they can!
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Old 18th January 2010, 04:39 PM   #10
Pano is offline Pano  United States
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It's a sad state of affairs.

But that's what we get for allowing our universities to offer degrees in marketing! We all suffer as a result - and not just in audio.
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