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Old 19th April 2012, 07:37 PM   #1
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Default Pricing out the competition

I saw a remark in another thread:-

Quote:
Originally Posted by qusp View Post
i'm not looking forward to a lot of objectivity thugs now armed with an article on digital, going around telling people their diy not commercial fun is a fruitless/pointless pursuit
Nobody's more of an objectivity thug than I.

qusp's point is particularly with reference to non-commercial activity, but I'm interested in talking about commercial activity.

There's no doubt in my mind that some commercial enterprise in the audio market is verging on, if not actually fraudulent. Anything that can be done to discredit the perpetrators is OK in my book.

I'm concerned, at the same time, that skilled individuals with an entrepreneurial bent are finding themselves faced with an increased investment barrier to entry into the market, to the detriment of us all.

RocketScientist (the nwavguy) is fortunate in being in the position of being able to blow $10,000 (or thereabouts) on a Prism dScope with no commercial return. He's now made it virtually impossible, however, for anyone without a similar sum to invest (invest, not blow) to enter into the headphone amplifier market, and looks set to undermine the market in DACs in a similar fashion.

In some cases the objects of his attentions have done themselves no favours; AMB is a case in point. AMB should have responded to criticism in a constructive manner and should have shown some intention to invest some of his profits in improved test facilities. Schitt can afford to buy advertising on Head-Fi and have more than one employee, to my mind this makes them well able to afford appropriate test gear. Simply becoming defensive or even going on the attack is only evidence that they are not acting in good faith.

Head-Fi discredited themselves by their partisan support for advertisers. Why do they have no independent objective test facilities, but instead produce a continuous flow of subjective assessments?

Having said all this, perhaps a less confrontational approach from RocketScientist would prove more effective and less destructive of honest entrepreneurial activity. Perhaps an open offer to review equipment privately with a view to improvement before committing to sales would be effective in bringing about the generally higher objective standards I, for one, would like to see without one-man startups with no more than design facilities and the resources to produce a few prototypes being squeezed out of the marketplace.

Another alternative might be the improvement of low-cost test facilities such as RMAA, which would benefit those purely DIY developers mentioned by qusp. A set of recommendations on how to obtain good results based on comparative measurements with the Prism or AP test sets would help. If it is possible to produce a low-cost DAC exceeding the measurement floor of the dScope then home-computer based measurement exceeding the threshold of audibility cannot be far away if it is not already possible.

We all benefit from a diverse marketplace. Good as the O2 and ODAC may be, I don't want to see the only choices available being these or offerings from the big players such as Grado or Fostex.
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Old 19th April 2012, 10:33 PM   #2
tvrgeek is offline tvrgeek  United States
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Having the home computer with measurement accuracy better than labs when I was first a tech, I can clearly say: we don't know what to measure. Not completely, and we don't really understand the ramifications of what we do measure. It helps, but does not tell the full story.

This leaves us with some reliance on subjective tests. Unfortunately, what clues make you believe what you hear is music, what clues I need, and what clues my wife with her super sensitive hearing need are different. So every evaluation needs to end with "my opinion, your mileage may vary." Reviews are only of use when you have heard enough of the equipment a given reviewer has written up to see if what you hear correlates with their reviews. Not an easy task.

Nothing seems to shelter us from hype and corporate sway in reviews. I pre-screen with my ears, and then pass the final judgement to the wife.

If I want to be upset with anyone, it is how there are no places left for me to go and hear stuff for myself. HT and portability markets with a couple of go, go, go generations have shrunk the true high fidelity market. There is only one high end store left within 100 miles of my house and when I was there, the salesman was a snake oil pusher. How many of us are left who come home after work and put on music to just listen? Small market. I don't have a HT and don't have an iPod, IPad or any "i". I am in the small minority. Yes, a dinosaur. O2, got to check that one out.
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Old 20th April 2012, 02:18 AM   #3
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It is not necesarelly a money barrier.
I have blown $250 on a sound card with AKM AK5394 ADC (THD+N -110dB). If I buy some $100 software I think I can do the same audio measurements like the $10K tool from above.
As for new enterpises... fads are coming and going, only the sound remains the same.

Last edited by SoNic_real_one; 20th April 2012 at 02:25 AM.
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Old 20th April 2012, 02:28 AM   #4
Pano is offline Pano  United States
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A lot of folks travel to audio shows because they have no local high end dealers, or the dealers are so snobby they won't talk to you if you drive the wrong car. I heard this over and over at audio shows.
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Old 20th April 2012, 02:36 AM   #5
SY is offline SY  United States
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OK, I admit that I haven't been in the market for commercial audio gear for a looooong time nor in a hifi shop for a whole lot longer (maybe 25 or 30 years), so I may not be au courant on what it takes to do the marketing. Are you saying that unless someone has a particular piece of test equipment, they can't sell headphone amps?
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Old 20th April 2012, 03:02 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by counter culture View Post
RocketScientist (the nwavguy) is fortunate in being in the position of being able to blow $10,000 (or thereabouts) on a Prism dScope with no commercial return. He's now made it virtually impossible, however, for anyone without a similar sum to invest (invest, not blow) to enter into the headphone amplifier market, and looks set to undermine the market in DACs in a similar fashion.
As someone interested in making a killing in the DAC market myself I don't agree. There's not just one market for these devices, there's segmentation. I am by no means deterred by NwAvGuy's entry into the DAC market - the total market pie size increases by his contributions raising awareness of DAC issues to the populace. Go NwAvGuy, go I say.

Quote:
Having said all this, perhaps a less confrontational approach from RocketScientist would prove more effective and less destructive of honest entrepreneurial activity.
Actually, quite the opposite. His confrontational style is making it easier for the honest entrepreneurs, not more difficult. The more he hypes his own offering the bigger the crash when his objectivist stance is revealed for the sham it actually is Pride has always come before a fall.
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Old 20th April 2012, 03:08 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by abraxalito View Post
The more he hypes his own offering the bigger the crash when his objectivist stance is revealed for the sham it actually is
The same feeling I had with the DAC on the other thread (Octave snake-oil smells) .
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Old 20th April 2012, 03:11 AM   #8
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Where do you see the snake oil with the Octave (other than in your imagination) ?
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Old 20th April 2012, 03:16 AM   #9
jcx is offline jcx  United States
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Quote:
Actually, quite the opposite. His confrontational style is making it easier for the honest entrepreneurs, not more difficult. The more he hypes his own offering the bigger the crash when his objectivist stance is revealed for the sham it actually is Pride has always come before a fall.
I don't see how you can say his "objectivist stance" is a sham - his extensive writings give pretty good evidence of what/why he believes

if you are attacking the validity of his version of "objectivism" in audio product design there is no need to phrase it as a personal attack on his honesty/integrity
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Old 20th April 2012, 03:24 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcx View Post
I don't see how you can say his "objectivist stance" is a sham - his extensive writings give pretty good evidence of what/why he believes
I agree that you can't see it - you're an objectivist yourself jcx are you not? If you could see it then you'd become subjectivist.

What he presents from what I've read is not so much evidence, as belief. He believes the Benchmark DAC is transparent (subjectively). I have no such belief.

Quote:
if you are attacking the validity of his version of "objectivism" in audio product design there is no need to phrase it as a personal attack on his honesty/integrity
I make no attack on his person whatsoever. I merely state that I see his stance is not totally honest. Total honesty is extremely rare amongst humans, my observations are not judgments on his person.
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