Less Expensive Gear That Replaced Pricier Kit

JoeThePop

Known member
while technology has certainly advanced, so has cost-cutting, cheap manufacturing, and a general disregard for great sound (vs price points, looks, convenience, etc etc). i dont think that its safe to assume that a piece of gear made today and adjusted for inflation will better a vintage piece of comparable price. it may. or it may not. cant really generalize. imho, of course.
Very true. Plenty of HiFi gear for sale out there that are crappily engineered and assembled with cheap components. But all things being equal, a receiver engineered and assembled with comparable components to mine, would more than likely be cheaper today. It is hard to compare though. Sort of like comparing quarterbacks in the NFL from different eras.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
while technology has certainly advanced, so has cost-cutting, cheap manufacturing, and a general disregard for great sound (vs price points, looks, convenience, etc etc). i dont think that its safe to assume that a piece of gear made today and adjusted for inflation will better a vintage piece of comparable price. it may. or it may not. cant really generalize. imho, of course.
That just hasn't been my experience, at all, with -well chosen- modern gear. There's certainly some junk made today if you don't get out of the big box stores or are just looking to save money, but if you adjust a '70s receiver for inflation you're into some pretty decent modern kit. I would go as far as to say that in my experience, every bit of new gear that I've had that was the adjusted for inflation price of something like a Pioneer SX-(whatever), was something I'd rather run and listen to and I'd also feel more comfortable that it wasn't going to break on me. I've had some pretty shit luck with vintage gear and so have a lot of people I know, to the point where I no longer recommend it to anybody like I used to. Just within this week I talked a friend out of getting rid of his Exposure 3010 for a Sansui 9090 that was selling for a silly amount. He'd been reading the internet and wanted the advice of somebody who has owned the Sansui and other vintage options, so I gave it.... his Exposure, sonically, walks all over it. It may not look as cool (subjective) but it sounds plainly better for what his taste is. At this point you can probably pick up that Exposure used for less than that Sansui.

But- that's the same argument that's been going on for ages. Just my opinion based on my experience.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
Sort of like comparing quarterbacks in the NFL from different eras.
Reminds me of Terry Bradshaw going after Aaron Rodgers today and calling him weak. In Bradshaw's day you could be a legendary quarterback with (looks it up) 212 TDs and 210 INTs. Rodgers has TWO HUNDRED more TDs and 121 FEWER interceptions.

Rose tinted lenses are all the rage when looking at the 1970s.
 

JoeThePop

Known member
Reminds me of Terry Bradshaw going after Aaron Rodgers today and calling him weak. In Bradshaw's day you could be a legendary quarterback with (looks it up) 212 TDs and 210 INTs. Rodgers has TWO HUNDRED more TDs and 121 FEWER interceptions.

Rose tinted lenses are all the rage when looking at the 1970s.
Terry Bradshaw is a bit of a clown. My point is that with the rule changes that benefit offensive output, quarterback numbers are going to generally be much better today than in the 70s. Not to mention defensive players these days have to be very careful about touching a quarterback. Something that wasn't much thought about in the 70s. But then players are bigger and stronger these days, so that makes a difference too. See? So many variables just makes it very hard to compare eras. And now we've gone from audio components to the NFL.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
Terry Bradshaw is a bit of a clown. My point is that with the rule changes that benefit offensive output, quarterback numbers are going to generally be much better today than in the 70s. Not to mention defensive players these days have to be very careful about touching a quarterback. Something that wasn't much thought about in the 70s. But then players are bigger and stronger these days, so that makes a difference too. See? So many variables just makes it very hard to compare eras. And now we've gone from audio components to the NFL.
Success! Nobody wanted another vintage vs modern audio gear debate.
 

Wntrmute2

Not So Mediocre Member
My question really revolved about, for instance, two power cords. One well engineered and utilizing good quality parts and workmanship. Cost would be what you'd expect.
Compare that to your fancy-pants power cord that contains some esoteric geometry, fancy wire and very expensive parts. Cost may be in the thousands.
Has anyone decided that the well engineered lower cost cable sounds better that the more expensive piece of wire for instance?

Furthermore, I THINK my Gadget pre-amp blows my Cary SLP-98 into the weeds ( a little more noise at high volume due to the gain needed). Cost was 25% of a new SLP. Now I know the DIY aspect skews things but I am trying to convince myself that a piece of gear that cost so little in comparison can be as good. The Lovely Bride confirms the improvement too.

Just because something costs more, does that mean it must sound better? From the majority of your responses, I'd say yes!
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I’ve gotten to a place with power cords where I don’t care which ones are attached to what, even though I have some that are hundreds of dollars and some that are tens of dollars. Not sure if that counts as it’s less of “this is better than this” than “they’re all functionally the same to me”
 

JoeThePop

Known member
My question really revolved about, for instance, two power cords. One well engineered and utilizing good quality parts and workmanship. Cost would be what you'd expect.
Compare that to your fancy-pants power cord that contains some esoteric geometry, fancy wire and very expensive parts. Cost may be in the thousands.
Has anyone decided that the well engineered lower cost cable sounds better that the more expensive piece of wire for instance?

Furthermore, I THINK my Gadget pre-amp blows my Cary SLP-98 into the weeds ( a little more noise at high volume due to the gain needed). Cost was 25% of a new SLP. Now I know the DIY aspect skews things but I am trying to convince myself that a piece of gear that cost so little in comparison can be as good. The Lovely Bride confirms the improvement too.

Just because something costs more, does that mean it must sound better? From the majority of your responses, I'd say yes!

"Just because something costs more, does that mean it must sound better?" Not necessarily. How's that for an answer.

I THINK Terry Bradshaw was a better quarterback than Aaron Rodgers is. Even if the numbers (he costs less) aren't nearly as good as Rodgers'.

There. Back to the NFL.
 

Wntrmute2

Not So Mediocre Member
"Just because something costs more, does that mean it must sound better?" Not necessarily. How's that for an answer.

I THINK Terry Bradshaw was a better quarterback than Aaron Rodgers is. Even if the numbers (he costs less) aren't nearly as good as Rodgers'.

There. Back to the NFL.
Ok then. Carry on!
 

JoeThePop

Known member
Ok then. Carry on!

I do get your point. One of the things I hate about many audio reviewers and their publications, is the outright fawning over some ridiculously expensive... watching what I say here so as not to start another debate, lets just call it secondary equipment; fawning over ridiculously expensive secondary equipment of dubious value. I get the distinct impression that the fawning is strictly based on cost. It certainly isn't based on science. Hmmm... maybe I should have stuck with the NFL.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
On topic I’m a bit in the in between. I’ve generally found good gear to be expensive. But I’ve also heard plenty of expensive gear that I didn’t like, including gear far more expensive than what I run. So that means that for me at least there’s gear that’s cheaper than other gear that’s better. But I’ve not really heard great gear, that was cheap.

My issue with reviewers is they fetishize price. Among other things.
 

Olson_jr

Active Member
Furthermore, I THINK my Gadget pre-amp blows my Cary SLP-98 into the weeds ( a little more noise at high volume due to the gain needed). Cost was 25% of a new SLP. Now I know the DIY aspect skews things but I am trying to convince myself that a piece of gear that cost so little in comparison can be as good. The Lovely Bride confirms the improvement too.

I have to ask, How many hours do you have into the Gadget and what is your time worth?

A new SLP-98L full optioned with boutique parts is just under 4K, do you really have less than $1000 into your pre with casework, tubes, etc?

Can't wait to hear your Gadget, especially if you will build one for $1K

Only asking because I want to steer this away from football, again.

Screen Shot 2021-05-05 at 8.08.04 AM.png
 

JoeThePop

Known member
I have to ask, How many hours do you have into the Gadget and what is your time worth?

A new SLP-98L full optioned with boutique parts is just under 4K, do you really have less than $1000 into your pre with casework, tubes, etc?

Can't wait to hear your Gadget, especially if you will build one for $1K

Only asking because I want to steer this away from football, again.

View attachment 36059
I’m looking at kits for both speakers and amplifiers because I’m looking for value. It’s a confusing world out there however when it comes to the value of DIY. For instance, looking at speaker kits, on paper it looks obvious that the drivers in the kits are superior to those in commercially available speakers at the same price point. But that doesn’t take into the account the engineering that went into the development of the speaker as a whole by the manufacturer. What is that worth? I’m sure there are competent people that have developed the kits, but when I look at somebody like Paul Barton at PSB with his experience and tools at his disposal, it makes me think his final product is more than just the sum of its parts.
 
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JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I’m looking at kits for both speakers and amplifiers because I’m looking for value. It’s a confusing world out there however when it comes to the value of DIY. For instance, looking at speaker kits, on paper it looks obvious that the drivers in the kits are superior to those in commercially available speakers at the same price point. But that doesn’t take into the account the engineering that went into the development of the speaker as a whole by the manufacture. What is that worth? I’m sure their are competent people that have developed the kits, but when I look at somebody like Paul Barton at PSB with his experience and tools at his disposal, it makes me think his final product his more than just the sum of its parts.
I’ve heard some speakers with the best drivers around that I thought were terrible. Tyler Acoustics Linnbrook stand mounts come to mind, and rumor is the crossovers weren’t the work of a skilled artisan.
 

mfrench

Senior Member
Well, I went from a very expensive pair of microphones, $5500 pair, DPA 4028 compact sub-cardioids, to a pair that is entirely comparable, but, at a whopping $300 for the pair, Line Audio CM3 sub-cards. And, I don't miss the spendy kit at all.

Then, just about that same time, Sweetwater ran a clearance sale on these add-on microphones for GoPro cameras, that were an outboard upgrade microphone. These Sweetwater clearance add-on mics are Sennheiser MKE2 omnidirectional capsules that sell for $400 each as just plain Senn MKE2 capsules.
Sweetwater marked them down to $20 each. So I splurged, and, bought four of them, and hacked myself into a pair of miniature omnidirectional mics for a whole $40, and, they sound fantastic (and I still have another pair as backup).
These replaced a pair of DPA 4060 miniature omnis that failed after a few years of use, and, that cost somewhere hovering around $700 for the pair. They also required a dedicated portable preamp to power them, which I wired the new Senn mics to utilize.

So, now, my new mic quiver is a whole whopping $340 for four high quality mics, as opposed to $6200'ish for the four same type of mics
 

Wntrmute2

Not So Mediocre Member
I have to ask, How many hours do you have into the Gadget and what is your time worth?

A new SLP-98L full optioned with boutique parts is just under 4K, do you really have less than $1000 into your pre with casework, tubes, etc?

Can't wait to hear your Gadget, especially if you will build one for $1K

Only asking because I want to steer this away from football, again.

View attachment 36059
I have huge hours invested in the Gadget and I believe I have well under $1,000 in actual cost for each one. I am not really trying to make a comparison between DIY and commercially available stuff. The power cord example I gave was more accurate. I have a second unit I built that you are welcome to try when I get home.

I'd build you one for that $1,000 because you are my friend.
 

StevenZ

Pending Gold Star Member
I have huge hours invested in the Gadget and I believe I have well under $1,000 in actual cost for each one. I am not really trying to make a comparison between DIY and commercially available stuff. The power cord example I gave was more accurate. I have a second unit I built that you are welcome to try when I get home.

I'd build you one for that $1,000 because you are my friend.
Curious, do you have pictures of this preamp?
 

jmathers

Junior Member
Curious, do you have pictures of this preamp?
 
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