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Old 25th September 2012, 04:38 PM   #1
vintagehenley is offline vintagehenley  United Kingdom
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Location: Henley on Thames
Default Best Amp for 500 or less

Trying to still work out why amps are so expensive...please don't all reply saying "marketing" and "R&D" etc etc surely there is a company out there which has taken a different approach and is selling an amp for the pure cost of the parts plus an acceptable margin?

So far I'm yet to find one...any thoughts?
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Old 25th September 2012, 04:49 PM   #2
DF96 is offline DF96  England
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Except for those manufacturers who simply put a chip amp in a box, much of the cost is probably R&D as volumes are low by domestic equipment standards. If it is a good design then within a few years Chinese clones will begin to appear too. If, as is often the case, the official version is made in China then the clones could be made in the same factory as the genuine ones.

You also have to remember that now audio is a 'lifestyle' purchase, bought and sold by people who know nothing about electronics, then increasing the price can increase sales.

You could always DIY - that is what this site is for, after all!
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Old 25th September 2012, 04:53 PM   #3
vintagehenley is offline vintagehenley  United Kingdom
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I'm very interested in the DIT side of things hence joining but I don't think I'm anywhere near good enough to build an amp from single components. I was hoping to find good value, good quality and simple kits where the amp circuit was constructed and then it was a case of adding a transformer, case and basic internal wiring.

Maybe there is a kit, supplier etc and I'm just not finding them but I seem to continue to come across suppliers selling amps that probably cost no more than 200 including the case which are selling for over 3k...I know people need to have margins but I've never seen such margins in other industries.
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Old 25th September 2012, 06:16 PM   #4
fpitas is offline fpitas  United States
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Recently I was looking for a power amp, and asked myself the same questions. The best value I found was Parasound. My budget was a bit higher than yours, but they have some very good amps in the sub - $1,000 range, like the A23:
Parasound - Halo A23 - Power Amplifier - Demo-Audio Advisor

Not sure what the pricing is like on your side of the Atlantic. I have an A21 powering my midbasses, and it's a very, very good amp.

Last edited by fpitas; 25th September 2012 at 06:24 PM.
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Old 25th September 2012, 06:24 PM   #5
KatieandDad is offline KatieandDad  United Kingdom
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E-Bay is a great place to look too. Some of the Arcam amplifiers are a real bargain second hand.

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Old 25th September 2012, 08:47 PM   #6
vintagehenley is offline vintagehenley  United Kingdom
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I did look at Parasound but by the time it's hit the UK market the price has doubled...this is a constant issue I keep finding.

I was also looking at Anthony Gallo Classico speakers however unfortunately with the silly UK margins the speakers retail for more than double the US price...not acceptable but seems a common problem with the UK hifi industry.
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Old 26th September 2012, 07:53 AM   #7
Ian Finch is offline Ian Finch  Australia
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Originally Posted by vintagehenley View Post
Trying to still work out why amps are so expensive...
Is there a problem with this sort of gear in your budget range?
Search | whathifi.com.
I find these prices extraordinarily cheap for "lifestyle" products that are no longer in great demand nor produced in massive volumes worldwide.
Sure, there are higher specifications if you wish, but price skyrockets with lower demand and the number of "suits" with their finger in the marketing pie per unit sold.
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Old 26th September 2012, 08:09 AM   #8
fas42 is offline fas42  Australia
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: NSW, Australia
People speak highly of Emotiva, providing excellent value for money, low overheads of course makes a big difference. For the money you mention you could get this: XPA-2 | 300W x 2 | Emotiva Audio | High-end audio components for audiophiles and videophiles, spanning 2-channel music systems, as well as 5.1 and 7.1 home theaters. Products include multichannel amplifiers, stereo amplifiers, and monoblock amplifier, plenty of grunt, and enough finesse ...

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Old 26th September 2012, 02:57 PM   #9
jaycee is offline jaycee  United Kingdom
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The problem is that to survive, these companies have to charge a high margin. Why? Because most people dont want good quality hifi seperates, they went stylish, small micro system fart boxes that work with their iPods and "look cool" above all else.
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Old 26th September 2012, 03:43 PM   #10
dry joint is offline dry joint  United Kingdom
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Small scale audio firms that personally make their own stuff have to opperate at huge markups and the guys that run them will probably make a worse living than if they were senior employees elsewhere. They then have to decide to sell to dealers taking much less for each item or direct to the public and sell fewer items - a choice of which bucket of crap. When operating at a small scale the cases are terribly expensive, 10%+ of the retail price is just the case and transformer.

If you take a big firm selling integrated amps, I use my old 400 Sony as an example. 15% of that was sales tax and then Sony got maybe half of whats left to supply the following:

Motorized pot, remote control and circuit; 20ish in premium caps; a handful of PCBs cost to us 100; 20 transformer; a heafty selector switch; load of fancy knobs( retail 6 each); flash case which would be at least 80 retail; sundry connectors, cabling, resistors etc and then the transistors with 10-15 worth.

Even using vero board you couldn't DIY it for the amount that Sony would have received, it would be a doable but highly complex project to do for the retail price.

Things become much worse value for money the further up the range you go, which is down to dumb consumers judging products by price and looks rather than sound; do hifi dealers and journalists really help?
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