PREAMPS: Why are high-end ones so expensive?

Frank Malitz, Owner Bob Carver Corporation (2015-present)

It’s a great question because out of all industries, no consumer does more research than the audiophile . He can audition six great Loudspeakers in 20 minutes. You cannot audition six great automobiles in 20 minutes.

due to the plethora of manufacturers, and the almost uncountable options available, countless hours are spent in the dark evaluating product.

The best retailers give a money back satisfaction guarantee. If it doesn’t sound better than what you currently have, bring it back after the weekend for a refund. Now let’s get specific:

I have a factory. We build audio gear. Like all factories, we calculate our landed cost which includes insurance, the cost of the building, the cost of employees including their medical benefits, the cost of materials, the cost of research and development and all that sort of stuff. We finally get a figure and we add a given percentage of gross profit margin depending on the industry. If you’re making little plastic widgets or even razor blades, the cost can be almost nothing except for the packaging! If you’re building a higher quality product you might make 33 %. show me the streets will permit a double money markup for the manufacture. it’s called business.

supposing I make a high-end product and everybody loves it. If I charge more than the market will bear, my sales will drop and the dealers will have difficulty displaying the product because the demo costs can run $1 million for an average high-end store. We have to be competitive. The product better sound better or we will all choke on our inventory.Remember, except for rats or Bose, neither one a high-and company, there is no marketing for Audio. You’ll never see an advertisement for preamp in Sports Illustrated. you will never see an advertisement for a phono cartridge during the World Cup.

The volume control in a guitar wholesales, to a manufacturer, for about a dollar and a half. A super high-performance volume control in a high-end preamp can cost $1000 to assemble.

The transformers in our best amplifier cost me thousands of dollars. all of our component purchases are small quantities. The product is handmade.

So because it’s targeting a more demanding consumer, we tend to spend more time on research and development and we buy better components that have proven themselves empirically to sound just a little bit better.

with the economy of scale, conversely, the Japanese are building tens of thousands of surroundsound receivers for each model! And it’s also a global market. So they can put 1000 gadgets inside of a box. It will never sound as good as a handcrafted and hand designed super component from a manufacture with a visionary who has proven himself or herself in the marketplace for decades. We have a simple axiom: listen for yourself and decide.

I want to add one last thing: people who cannot afford high-end systems or, do not consider it a priority, tend to denigrate the concept to justify their own cherished beliefs. There is always something that costs more. There is always something that sounds better. But I must say, as the price goes up, the difference is breathtaking. It’s the kind of stuff that keeps you awake at night wishing you could afford it.

So do not be swayed by people who claim that it’s not worth it. If you can afford it, it will enrich your life every day. That’s the nature of music.

Finally, those people have so little experience that they’re not aware that you can put together a truly high-end system performance-wise for a little over $1000 complete. It just takes experience which the naysayers lack. So they shoot from the hip. Don’t get shot.

Leave a Reply