Mr. PASS pls come in

i like your amplifier and diy project very much. for several years i have build some diy project, for example zen, son of zen.alpeh, of yours. but some days ago when i listened to your aleph 5 commercial amplifier, i know i can not reach so hi-end level, some long distance between you and me. so i make up my mind to buy
your product , when i saw their price, i think i should return to diy
your product, because they are too expensive for me ,for chinese.
so i ask you a question, would you make some product of less than $1000? so that some normal chinese can get your hifi equipment. maybe you can extend whole market of china. at same time you also will get your profit. now i am waiting for your good news. Mr. pass can you do me a favor, do chinese a favor.
john-china, we have these facts:

We in the western world let you build our stuff to low prices and then we sell it to high prices.

We(west europe) uses also former USSR (Poland, Latvia, Estonia etc). Your problem is that most of you don't earn much money so imported stuff tends to be VERY expensive. I think it will be very hard for Pass Labs to sell cheap products and still earn money. Their products are exclusive and cost money to develope.

I think your problem will continue to be a problem unless you charges us more...and then we make our stuff by ourself... Weird equation!

Passlabs could build cheaper audio. The circuit parts used in his designs are not exotic. And there are not many either. A lot of the cost is in the cases. His amps have a work of art look to them. He is marketing to the upscale and to the masses through his DIY forum and web site. You can make things very cheep on your own. The most bang for the buck would be an integrated amp. But, I asked Mr. Pass a while ago if he would build one in the future and he said he has no plans to. From a business perspective there is a huge market for an excellent sounding modestly priced integrated. Most of the world lives in small spaces and do not have the space for monster amps and speakers. Even in the US a lot of people live in urban small apartments. I have heard many big speakers and amps and most do not sound any more musical than simple small quality system with a quality two way speaker. And when you condsider the price of the big system it really does not deliver a big musical advantage to match the cost. Off course, the most important part of the system is the quality of the source recording and source equipment. The old junk source sound in yeilds junk sound out of speaker. Spend the most of your cash on the best recordings that you enjoy.
The high end hi-fi industry is characterised as being extremely crowded, with almost zero barriers to entry ie. almost anyone can become a "manfacturer" on a small scale. The number of enthusiastic individuals who think they can make a fortune from the industry and yet don't even earn a basic living is extraordinary. Despite that, Pass Labs has earned its place in the high end segment and I applaud their results. They produce a very good quality and have satisfied customers. If I were running the company I doubt I would change a thing.

Nelson spends a great deal of energy, from what I can see, giving back to the community through his efferts in DIY. Personally I can't see how he could ever make any money from the DIY area. Indeed I would imagine it must consume a geat deal of his time answering emails and participating in this forum. Nevertheless he has provided the tools for anyone to own a product every bit as good as that he sells commercially if they just put in the effort to build it themselves.

Can't afford the commercial Pass product? Tough. Bet you can't afford a Rolls Royce or 60ft yacht either. Cripes, they even produced the Volksamp to help provide the product to the masses at a competitive price. What more do you want from the guy?
arthur read this

first ,i think i did not disgrace chinese. in china , if i dont quit nation job, if i dont wanna be a boss, earning money is not decided by myself. maybe you are in hongkong, maybe you can afford commercial alphe amp. but i think it is impossible for me, for most of chinese.
second, pass can authorize license to volksamp, why not do it to chinese amplifier factory. or he can also setup factory in china.
krell can produce kav-300i, KAV-500i cheap amplifier.
mark levison can produce redrose ome builded by shanghai korsun.
third, hi-end is not decided by its price, but by its art and quality.

what i said is just a proposal , maybe give Mr. pass some inspiration.
To John

Keep going john, and pay no mind to those who laugh. The only stupid question is the one that goes unasked. Besides, if you don't ask the answer is always no. We all have one thing in common, a love for excellent sound. Australian, English, American, Chinese: we all have the same wants and ideas. We are no different. Isn't it great, this technology, that allows me to talk to someone anywhere in the world for 19.95 a month? We should all respect and admire a country that has been around for thousands of years and still passes down the beliefs of their forefathers through all those generations (it only took my country 200 yrs to cast their values to the side). Still, I think you are better off building your own and forget about keeping up with hong kong. Who knows maybe communism will fade away and be replaced with capitalism like in the USSR. As soon as that happens start forming UNIONS, or the capitalists will eat you alive. Nice to hear from you.:cool:
I think it's safe to say that everyone wishes that either things were cheaper, or that they made more money. Can't think of a single example to the contrary.
Pricing of high-end gear is an art form in itself, requiring the utmost care in balancing market forces, consumer expectations, parts & labor costs, repair costs, competition, sonic performance, and a thousand other factors including the very fact that Nelson spends part of his work day here with us. Keep in mind that every time he answers a question online, he's not developing new ideas or building current product. There aren't many people who are in a position to take time out of their workday to do something like that. Directly or indirectly, it costs money.
I've been on the inside of the industry (at the retail end) and on the outside as a consumer. It's trivial to say that the parts cost is A, the labor cost is B, and then come up with an arbitrary retail price C. The trick is to make a sufficient profit in the process that you're still around next year to do it all over again.
Saying that $10,000 is too high a price for an amplifier is easy on the outside. But if you're on the inside, looking at distribution chains and profit margins required to keep the doors open, things don't seem quite so outrageous. I suppose that if the entire industry were restructured from the ground up, then a more efficient way could be found, but it would be a difficult task.
Building cheaper equipment is a strategy that has repercussions beyond just the idea that you might find Pass Labs receivers in Best Buy or Wal-Mart. If Rolls Royce were to announce a model that sold for the price of a mid-line Ford, people wouldn't look at the higher price models the same. Okay, so you sell a certain number of units of the cheaper car, but you find that you sell less of the high-end models. It's a diffult tradeoff, and the market is always shifting.
If the economy continues to slide, Nelson may very well find himself considering cheaper equipment, simply because people can no longer afford the high-end stuff at current pricing. It's a rough business to be any level. What price to sell things for, and in which countries, are decisions Nelson will have to make as he goes along.
The times, they are a-changin'...

Reading John's original message I get some basic points:

John would rather buy Pass Labs products to making his own.

John suggests that more moderatly priced items could sell well in China.

With roughly 1/3 the world's population as a potential customer, Pass Labs could see an increase in profits.

That all sounds reasonable to me. I do not see anything that disgraces anybody. I do not see anybody begging for anything.


Where do you live? It appears that you live in Mainland China. If you can get to Hong Kong, you would be in DIY Heaven. I have been in Hong Kong and seen the electronics markets and shops. Parts available and prices are astounding. Just keep trying, you will learn more with every project.

to Aud_Mot

yes, i am living in mainland. you said hongkong is heaven , but i
said mianland is more heaven of diy audio. specially electronic
component for chinese army is good for diy audio, also so cheap.
if you like diy i think you should come to china, better than to hongkong.
maybe this thread is now wasting resource of so let us finish this topic , then discuss more technology. thanks everybody.

Nelson Pass

The one and only
Paid Member
2001-03-29 12:38 am
I'm back from vacation, returning with fine Gerber files
for the Zen Variations, part 4.

To address the issue of this thread, I would say that it
all sounds very reasonable, but in the reality that I work
with, it is a difficult proposition.

Historically, every effort I have made to bring product to
market at lower cost has been met with lackluster sales,
starting with the CAS-1 and 2 and ending with Volksamp.

This doesn't mean that I won't continue to make efforts
in this direction because personally I like the idea, and I
will have announcements later this year regarding this.

I get approached to do stuff for other companies, but it
almost always turns out to be somebody who wants to
cash in my name by sticking it on inferior goods, and that
I really don't need. Also, they don't want to pay. And then
there are the ones who stick my name on their stuff anyway.

I don't have a problem considering licensing designs to
*real* companies who want to make cheaper product, and
Nakamichi and Adcom have been good clients in the past,
so perhaps somebody will step up to the plate. In the
meantime, I am not holding my breath.

So currently my strategy is to continue building what sells
at a profit while encouraging budget conscious types to
build their own. It seems like the best compromise.
If Rolls Royce were to announce a model that sold for the price of a mid-line Ford, people wouldn't look at the higher price models the same
. Yes, but you know about that sister companies - Sony makes some good products (amps excluded, so you wouldn't eat me alive;), but Aiwa, a sister company makes cheaper products, designed for markets like china (or croatia ;).
So, why not make a second company, that sells Volksamp's ;)?