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  1. #1
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    Klipschorn ten times as efficient as Audio Note's best

    Some people posting here claim that efficiency is a mark of performance in loudspeakers so here is a fact to consider.

    Audio Note's most efficient speaker and best design is the E series which has a rated sensitivity of 94 db.* Klipschorn has a sensitivity of 104 db.

    http://www.klipsch.com/product/product.aspx?cid=2

    That's ten times as efficient. If efficiency is what is important to you and the way you judge the quality of a loudspeaker, then there is no comparison. By this standard, Klipschorn blows Audio Note and just about every other speaker away. What's more, Klipschorn is probably as cheap or cheaper. Able to handle 100 watts RMS and 400 watts peak it can put out up to an ear shattering 121 db. It's range is alas only rated on the low end to 33 hz but that's at 3 db down not 6 the way Audio Note's is so they are slightly closer than they appear with A/N E rated at 18 hz. Of course there is the size. Klipschorn is a big boy. Audio Note E is an oversized bookshelf model. Klipschorn wants the corners although they have other models which don't. An probably should be mounted on its dedicated stands. Klipschorn can fill an auditorium with ease. What can A/N E do? I don't know but just looking at it, most likely it's no match there either.

    *based on A/N specification of sensitivity for E; level 1, 2, 3 = 94 db, level 4 E/SE=94.5, level 4 E/SE Silver = 93.5
    http://www.audionote.co.uk/

    Conclusion, people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. When efficiency is the criteria, there's far better than Audio Note and most others as well.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Some people posting here claim that efficiency is a mark of performance in loudspeakers so here is a fact to consider.

    Audio Note's most efficient speaker and best design is the E series which has a rated sensitivity of 94 db.* Klipschorn has a sensitivity of 104 db.

    http://www.klipsch.com/product/product.aspx?cid=2

    That's ten times as efficient. If efficiency is what is important to you and the way you judge the quality of a loudspeaker, then there is no comparison. By this standard, Klipschorn blows Audio Note and just about every other speaker away. What's more, Klipschorn is probably as cheap or cheaper. Able to handle 100 watts RMS and 400 watts peak it can put out up to an ear shattering 121 db. It's range is alas only rated on the low end to 33 hz but that's at 3 db down not 6 the way Audio Note's is so they are slightly closer than they appear with A/N E rated at 18 hz. Of course there is the size. Klipschorn is a big boy. Audio Note E is an oversized bookshelf model. Klipschorn wants the corners although they have other models which don't. An probably should be mounted on its dedicated stands. Klipschorn can fill an auditorium with ease. What can A/N E do? I don't know but just looking at it, most likely it's no match there either.

    *based on A/N specification of sensitivity for E; level 1, 2, 3 = 94 db, level 4 E/SE=94.5, level 4 E/SE Silver = 93.5
    http://www.audionote.co.uk/

    Conclusion, people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. When efficiency is the criteria, there's far better than Audio Note and most others as well.

    who claimed it to be the most efficient?

    best-sounding efficient speaker is more like it IMHO!!

  3. #3
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    "The only reason to NEED more power is bad speaker design - Higher efficient speakers ALWAYS sound more dynamic more lifelike..."

    RGA, today, 12:39 AM

    ALWAYS? Then Klipschorn must be ten times more dynamic and lifelike than Audio Note's best. If A/N's best needs 10 to 20 watts, it is a comparatively bad design to one that only need one or two watts. At least that's the logic I just read from RGA.

    BTW, while Klipschorn is ten times more efficient than Audio Note E and marginally more efficient than ten times compared to Audio Note J, it is nearly twenty-five times as efficient as Audio Note K. Twenty-five times more dynamic and lifelike? I don't know. Maybe there's something to that. Ever hear a pair of Klipschorns? Why not RUN RUN RUN right down to your nearest Klipschorn dealer and listen to a pair. Mabye you'll decide it's time for a trade in. I'll bet they'd even give you a couple of hundred trade in....if the cabinets are in good shape.

  4. #4
    RGA
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    Part of my statement is 100% correct and part of my statement was incorrect. The Klispshhorn IS more dynamic than the best AN E/Sogon (which is 98db sesnitivie). And the K-Horn will play significanlty Louder than the E's. And to a horn lover it will probably be preferrable to the E's in certain regards - maybe a reason this 1940's K-Horn is STILL being sold is because it's probably one of the best 10 speakers ever built by anyone. There are some weaknesses that will put people off no doubt. I will take the sound of the AN's over the K-horn - despite the superiority in certain areas the K-horn possesses.

    It is really quite simple = if you make sopmething less efficient less sensitive you had better give me something in return for that trade-off. The lousy manufacturers claim that they are sacrificing efficiency for bass depth (Like AR) -- The Audio Note's have the bass have high sensitivity and do it from small cabinets and one single 8 inch woofer and 1 inch tweeter. Tell me why other manufacturers need a 3 way 12inch or dual 12 inch woofer or 15 inch woofer or multi-line arrays to get LESS bass from cabinets 5 times larger all with 85db ratings which also need to be placed 6 feet into the room and then need to spend a significant amount of money on a high power high quality SS amps capable of the ridiculous impedence swings also demanded by such loudspeakers? Where's the gain to all of this.

    Thanks but one can get a good low powered amp for a lot less money and buy a smaller speaker shove it in a corner - or not - and get better performance for less money.

    If you happen to love 1 watt amps however - then the AN E isn't going to be able to make full use of the amp that the amp would for the K-Horn or Avante Guarde Horns.

  5. #5
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    You can buy two new cars like Buick Centurys or Toyota Camrys or one new Lexus LS400 for about the cost of that pair of AN speakers. IMO, they aren't worth it. I'd take the Klipschorns even if they didn't throw in a Camry and enough gas to drive around the world more than 5 times. I'm not paying for Peter Qtwerp to put his kid through Harvard for a year on the windfall.

  6. #6
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    You can buy two new cars like Buick Centurys or Toyota Camrys or one new Lexus LS400 for about the cost of that pair of AN speakers. IMO, they aren't worth it. I'd take the Klipschorns even if they didn't throw in a Camry and enough gas to drive around the world more than 5 times. I'm not paying for Peter Qtwerp to put his kid through Harvard for a year on the windfall.
    Where do you get your prices from Audio Note is no more expensive than most high end speaker companies - they have speakers from $549US to $100,000US - Nothing is worth the latter unless it gives great Aural sex as well. The basic AN E/LX is around $4500.00US. I live at home - a car is a money pit to get me from a to b - thanks I'd rather have the cheapest possible reliable car I can find that costs me the elast to operate - stereos even pricey ones are still cheap. $15,000.00 car and $15,000.00 speakers any day over $28,000.00Car and $2,000.00 speakers.

  7. #7
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    Efficiency = Performance is rediculous.

    "The only reason to NEED more power is bad speaker design - Higher efficient speakers ALWAYS sound more dynamic more lifelike..."

    " maybe a reason this 1940's K-Horn is STILL being sold is because it's probably one of the best 10 speakers ever built by anyone."

    If efficiency were the standard of performance, a Volkswagon Beetle would be a much better car than a Ferrari and a Rolls Royce. It gets much better gas mileage hence it is more efficient.

    Maybe the real reason Klipschorn is still manufactured is that it is regarded as the Founder's claim to fame 65 years ago and is heavily subsidized by profits from much more modern and successful designs offered by the same company. In the late 1950s AR1 clearly demonstrated that it could produce much deeper less distorted bass in fact about an entire octave lower at around a fifth the cost and the space. These enormous dinasaurs are museum pieces. Few serious manufacturers of high fidelity loudspeakers actually use horns anymore for midrange and treble because of their poor dispersion and uneven frequency response. Only a handful of diehards are wedded to them. Their one legitimate use is in being able to produce an acceptable sound level from puny antiquated amplifier designs like the SET. It is sad to see so many people nostalgic for the obsolete technologies of a time that existed long before most of them were born. Why were these techologies abandoned? Because better ones replaced them, that's why. Same as in every other area of life.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Efficiency = Performance is rediculous.
    Inefficient speakers = strangled, clinical, lean and boring sound. they are often poor performers too when it comes to low-level listening since most amps that can drive them are the mega-watt types that only sound acceptable when played at loud levels.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    If efficiency were the standard of performance, a Volkswagon Beetle would be a much better car than a Ferrari and a Rolls Royce. It gets much better gas mileage hence it is more efficient.
    poor analogy there. in audio terms, i think efficient speakers simply mean high sensitivity speakers that have flat and high impedance curves. btw, aren't you contradicting yourself now. all of a sudden you find expensive, high performance, low sales volume cars that are sold by its makers for a higher margin to be better than the beetle types.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Few serious manufacturers of high fidelity loudspeakers actually use horns anymore for midrange and treble because of their poor dispersion and uneven frequency response. Only a handful of diehards are wedded to them.
    ever heard of hi-fi horn speakers called Avante Garde? more serious and far more HI-FI than BOSE, in my book.

    i bet the reason why they have such a small following is that few people really have the passion to go out there and listen to different types of systems before they decide what to get. i think popularity is a very poor gauge of a product's performance.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Their one legitimate use is in being able to produce an acceptable sound level from puny antiquated amplifier designs like the SET. It is sad to see so many people nostalgic for the obsolete technologies of a time that existed long before most of them were born. Why were these techologies abandoned? Because better ones replaced them, that's why. Same as in every other area of life.
    on the contrary, i think the reason why dry-sounding, low-noise, high-powered SS amps are generally perceived to be the best is because most of today's speakers have been designed to be so inefficient.

    i noticed from the other forums that you listen to vinyl too. do you listen to records purely out of nostalgia? many people now regret throwing away their records and turntables after realizing that CD's promise of "perfect sound. forever" just did not deliver.

    SET amps like vinyl has died many deaths but is seeing a resurgence because of the many sonic flaws of today's digital and modern transistor amplifier design . This, i think, has resulted from that fact that people are now better informed about what is out there.

    btw, here's a nice read on SET+efficient speakers:
    Thermionic

  9. #9
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    "i noticed from the other forums that you listen to vinyl too. do you listen to records purely out of nostalgia? "

    Actually, I listen to vinyl on rare occasion because I like some of those recordings and I haven't been able to duplicate them on cd. When I do, I am constantly reminded of the limitations of the technology of the vinyl phonograph record. I for one am not any more sorry that their day is over than I am that the day of vacuum tubes and horn loaded loudspeakers for home use is largely over. There will alway be niche markets for everything but by and large they represent a minute fraction, less than one percent of the overall market.

    The heyday of the horn loudspeaker was the 1950s. You only needed one loudspeaker and high powered amplifiers meaning 50 or 60 watts either didn't exist or were terribly expensive. The horn speaker evolved to satisfy the requirements of the motion picture industry. That's why manufacturers of them were predominantly west coast in the beginning (Altec and JBL) and they developed that west coast sound. Movie houses had to be able to fill up a large theater with a lot of sound from a small amplifier. But for high fidelity, they were very impractical in homes due to their size and they turned out to be highly inaccurate. Horns still play a major role today in sound reinforcement systems for theaters and sports arenas both indoor and outdoor. But today they are installed in banks and banks and more banks and banks of high powered amplifiers are used to power them.

    While they are still manufactured for these types of installations, they find their way into the home audio systems of people who are either unconcerned about accuracy, don't really know what it means, or are confined by the least powerful amplifiers on the market having been burned by poor equipment or combinations.

    "aren't you contradicting yourself now. all of a sudden you find expensive, high performance, low sales volume cars that are sold by its makers for a higher margin to be better than the beetle types. "

    If they offered little or nothing of useful value that would be true. And many of them are. A Lincoln Town Car may offer nothing more than a fully loaded Ford Crown Victoria or a Mercury Grand Marquis except prestige of the name and gingerbread interior decorating. If you need to go to the corner supermarket once a week and don't go for long rides, a Volkswagon Beetle may be perfectly adequate but if you are on the road for hours every day you would be much happier with something more powerful, more comfortable and larger especially if you carry a couple of passengers once in a while. If you have a gang of kids, you need an SUV. If you are a homeowner, a truck is more practical. Of course if you are going to use a car for drag racing, that Beetle would become the joke of the day every day.

    "Inefficient speakers = strangled, clinical, lean and boring sound. they are often poor performers too when it comes to low-level listening since most amps that can drive them are the mega-watt types that only sound acceptable when played at loud levels."

    Got any proof of that? Any DBTs? Any live versus recorded demos like AR conducted? Any input/output measurements to show that they aren't linear? The answer is undoubtedly no because such a thing can't be shown? Why? Because it obviously isn't true. What horn speakers have that better designed more advanced high fidelity speakers don't have is an irritationly irregular frequency response which makes you reach your threshold of wincing at a much lower sound level. If that is what you consider expanded dynamics, you can keep it.

  10. #10
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Efficiency = Performance is rediculous.

    "The only reason to NEED more power is bad speaker design - Higher efficient speakers ALWAYS sound more dynamic more lifelike..."

    " maybe a reason this 1940's K-Horn is STILL being sold is because it's probably one of the best 10 speakers ever built by anyone."

    If efficiency were the standard of performance, a Volkswagon Beetle would be a much better car than a Ferrari and a Rolls Royce. It gets much better gas mileage hence it is more efficient.

    Maybe the real reason Klipschorn is still manufactured is that it is regarded as the Founder's claim to fame 65 years ago and is heavily subsidized by profits from much more modern and successful designs offered by the same company. In the late 1950s AR1 clearly demonstrated that it could produce much deeper less distorted bass in fact about an entire octave lower at around a fifth the cost and the space. These enormous dinasaurs are museum pieces. Few serious manufacturers of high fidelity loudspeakers actually use horns anymore for midrange and treble because of their poor dispersion and uneven frequency response. Only a handful of diehards are wedded to them. Their one legitimate use is in being able to produce an acceptable sound level from puny antiquated amplifier designs like the SET. It is sad to see so many people nostalgic for the obsolete technologies of a time that existed long before most of them were born. Why were these techologies abandoned? Because better ones replaced them, that's why. Same as in every other area of life.
    It's interesting to note that JBL's new top of the line speaker under Floyd Toole and Harman are what do you know Horn speakers - and McIntosh's NEW top of the line is what do you know a tube amp - and the K-Horn is still being sold NEW. Yes all horns and tubes are obsolete junk all right. And it all looks like abandoned technology to me - I don't suppose anyone today could take those obsolete technologies and make them better.

    JBL and Tannoy are obviously not serious - fine by me their lower lines are dreadful and I can't say I've heard the K http://www.jbl.com/home/products/pro...rId=K2&sCatId=

    Of course for $25,000.00 it has less bass and the same sensitivity as the $4500.00 AN E and in fact the J has more bass and only sacrifices 1db on the sensitivity at half the size - so perhaps you are right. I mean 35hz -10db - the thing weighs 198lbs each and 15 inch woofer - despite all that the can't match the E or J in the bass department - WOW $25,000.00 for a pair - and Audio Note's are a ripoff? Well they might me that's up to you but look at JBL. Hell my Wharfedales beat these numbers for a mere 2k per pair. JBL will take twice the watts though...so that must be worth the extra $23,000.00 - and if you actually want a WOOD finish tha's an extra $2,000.00.

    Tannoy's Westminster Royal at 304 lbs and also under Harman - A dual concentric Compound Horn will grant you - 99db sesnitivie also uses the Acoustic Waveguide that Audio Note uses and interestingly also puts up the exact same 18Hz - 22kHz -6dB spec that Audio Note claims - the Westminster though does use a 15 inch woofer and 530 litre Ply wood cabinet. I'm sure Harman has kept her around for goiod reason since it is the companies top of the line flagship and best speaker. Costs a bit more than the E - not gonna be good for average rooms - I like it because it too is rather pedestrian. I'll grant you this one specs better in the sensitivity and ultimate volume department - but man it took a lot to get that 4.5db extra. http://www.tannoy.com/frame.cfm?ID=1&D=1

  11. #11
    RGA
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    "It is sad to see so many people nostalgic for the obsolete technologies of a time that existed long before most of them were born. Why were these techologies abandoned? Because better ones replaced them, that's why. Same as in every other area of life."

    Hmmm - try a 3000 Bar-BQ - Yes nothing old is any good http://biggreenegg.com/bge.htm

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    Having exploited the best technologies to their limit, it appears JBL, Tannoy, and McIntosh are looking to fish in ancient waters to see if they can generate some money trying to teach some old dogs new tricks. I don't think it will fool many audiophiles. Just the SET/horn fanatics. When you have gone as far as you can with acoustic suspension systems, you expoit ported designs to the fullest as Theil and Small did. When that's pushed to its limit, exploit horns. I don't know where you go from there. Horns actually hearken back not to the thirties but to the wax cylinder and days prior to electronic amplificaton. This is an industry at a technological dead end. The desparation of JBL and McIntosh to find something different to sell no matter what it is, proves it.

  13. #13
    RGA
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    But skeptic is this not what I have been saying - you seem to keep changing your mind or something. At first you attack Audio Note for besically re-vamping an old design - you imply this is bad because it is old - so therefore unless it is NEW it crap. But there isn't anything new and that was my point all along. All these supposedly NEW great things are just taking stuff that has been around for 40+ years like the transistor by the way - and revamping them.

    The difference as I see it is that Audio Note at least gives the original designer credit - they don't LIE by trying to state their new metal tweeter is revoloutionary. They say these are Snells these are SystemDekII these are Sony Transports here's the model number - here's the design spec on our amp build it yourslef or we'll do it for you. You don;t like the price don't pay it. It is not really difficult. YOU the browser/consumer can do it all yourself nothing is hidden - it is older designs. To hear JBL put it this is a revolutionary horn speaker - BS. Looks like an expensive version of what you would get from a night club - throw on a supertweeter which you can't hear anyway??? and charge the world for it. At least AN has an Excuse being small and of lower production runs which some will argue drives up costs. JBL the second largest maker in the world - if that speaker costs them more than $250.00 for the pair I would be amazed.

    Some companies like Mirage are attempting to do something different and trying to progress - which from an engineer's perspective is probably a good thing - but from a consumer's perspective it has to sound good. WHile I respect their attempt their result is horrible - their speakers are more of a distraction than an improvement. If they get it right and make them room friendly they may have something - but the recordings themselves would have to vastly improve including classical labels for it to matter.

    Better to spend a moderate amount on a home stereo and use the extra to go to live symphony's/concerts.

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    I'd like to know what's in those boxes that makes them cost so much. As near as I can figure out, the drivers are identical to or similar to Vifa and ScanSpeak drivers you can buy from Parts Express and I will be the first to admit that if they are what they seem to be, they are likely very high quality drivers. Yes they make dome tweeters without ferro fluid cooling and they make woofers with very extended low end responses and high sensitivity which by the way is related to the magnet design and little else. But then what about what's in the rest of the box. What drives the price up from one level to the next. How does a few hundred dollars of drivers translate into as much as tens of thousands of dollars in the selling price? Don't give me a lot of baloney about silver wire, there isn't that much wire in there and silver wire isn't that expensive to begin with. The labor is more or less the same from level ot level. In all likelihood the crossover network has been tweaked changing crossover points, slopes, maybe going from Butterworth to Lindquitz Riley. These changes do not run into significant incremental cost increases. There's only so much you can do with a two way loudspeaker system anyway especially once you have figured out the drivers and the box. A lot of it sounds like baloney. I don't trust people who will not tell me in fairly extensive detail what they are selling especially when the price seems high in comparison to what the competition offers that is comparable, and yes there are other people who make high quality 2 way louidspeaker systems.

  15. #15
    RGA
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    Well here is where I won't disagree with you Skeptic. Let us both agree that $99,000.00US for the AN E/Sogon is a joke. Nothing is worth that.

    But lets take the $4k version. Yes they are Vifa, SEAS and Foster depending which model - The J and E use a custom Foster 1 inch tweeter and a 8 inch SEAS woofer - with different custom magnets. Alnico in their upper units. The drivers are only made for Audio Note. The Wood is Russian birch ply about an inch thick front and back. Carted sheeps wool inside, crossover - black gates all silver again, tantalum or whatever - and thicker silver wires including voice coils - everything is silver. Higher model is matched to within .1db - if anyone could hear that? Likely not, but the high prices are more about prestige and Statement making or throwing the Gauntlet down to competitors.

    The cost is high in part due to shipping a 100% sampling rate - checking every model bbecause you're putting them all together and running them through the computer to make sure the driver you got from Foster is up to spec and making an adjustment to each speaker to account for the variance from each driver - TIME to ensure your speaker is within spec. Don't quote me on this because they explained it better than I am trying to but I can't be bothered to find all this.

    I say ignore all the expnsive versions and look at the cheaper versions - you are not the first to ask it nor will you be the last:

    "If you are worried about high priced items [not value] here are some more:
    Audio note makes a 100 watt set amp for $350,000

    Wilson watt puppy has a dealer cost of about $11,000/pr, they sell for $22,000/pr, they cost probably $1,200 a pair to make.

    There are speaker cables that cost $20,000- $30,000. A lot of that expensive stuff costs about $9.00 per foot to make.

    Hamilton 2-way speakers with diaural crossover: $13,000 [for stand mount speakers]

    Rip-off is in the eye of the buyer. Most people that buy this stuff have wallets so deep, that $20,000 to them is no major expense. If they like what they are buying...great. If I were to suddenly inherit 500 million dollars, I'd still get buyers remorse if I bought any of that stuff because I cannot fathom the value. I am incapable of understanding how a few hundred dollars in parts sells for as MUCH AS A NEW CAR or a HOUSE."

    REPLY

    Dear Music from Horns,
    Just because a product is expensive should that automatically make it a rip-off??

    Should we not start by defining what a "rip-off" actually is and I disagree that it is solely in the eyes of the buyer, some people have a lot of money and very poor judgement.

    In my view a real rip-off is something that does not perform its designated tasks properly or a product whose promises far more than it delivers if you will, regardless of price, like a poorly cooked meal whether cheap or expensive or a badly designed tool that breaks first time you try to use it.

    Rip-offs take many shapes and are rarely related to price.

    As far as audio products are concerned, I think what you are objecting to are products that either have or appear to have a very high "ratio" of cost of materials to retail price.

    In some products this ratio is justified by other factors, such as,

    1.) High initial or on-going R&D costs
    2.) Large up front investment to make first example
    3.) The retention of a large overhead against uncertain production volumes
    4.) Enormous on-going marketing and promotional costs in a crowded market (perfume, cosmetics, fashion clothing etc. etc.)

    These are four of the main "invisible" costs in any expensive product.

    I did not know we made a 100 watt amplifier at $ 350,000.00, we do plan to make a $ 125,000.00 pre-amplifier, for which we are taking out two international patents and perhaps that will lead to a $ 350,000.00 pair of power amplifiers who knows?

    The comparison to houses and cars is not really that valid, when you look at prices of hi-fi equipment, brick are cheap, timber is cheap, wiring, plumbing etc. is also cheap, so why is a house less of a rip-off than a super expensive pair of speakers or an amplifier??

    Likewise car parts are not expensive when mass produced, the average large family salon takes less than 20 hours to build so labour cost is not that much of an issue either.

    A better comparison would be between hi-fi equipment and small volume sports cars, such as a Morgan or a TVR or s car like the Bristol with these cars production volume and price are very similar to the audio market.

    If you study the accounts of "luxury" product producers such as Gucci, LVMH (Louis Vuitton/Moet/Hennessy), Patek Philippe, Rolex, etc. you will not find excessive profits being made, mainly because whilst the products themselves are not necessarily expensive to make the cost of maintaining their market position and get them sold in the market are enormous.

    Does that make them a rip-off??

    Is it the fact you can live without them AND they are expensive??

    You choose.

    Sincerely,
    Peter Qvortrup

    Another

    "I think it is pretty safe to say that those $20K speakers do not have $20K in parts.
    So what are you paying for? IMHO, you are paying for the fact you own a $20K pair of Audio Note speakers and the ability to tell others that you own a $20K pair of Audio Note speakers."

    Dear MM,
    I have to take issue with your comments.

    Does your $ 20K car have $ 20Ks worth of parts??

    Imagine that was the case, how would wages in production, salaries to sales staff at the distributor and the dealer, plus rent, telephone, shows, travel, advertising, etc. etc. etc. get paid??

    I think you should explain to us all where the money would come from.

    Before you do, I recommend you carefully consider your response here, because if you still after careful consideration believe it should be so, then I have a job for you here where you get no salary as well!

    I recommend a bit of realism here, that's all.

    Sincerely,
    Peter Qvortrup


    In the end you can either pay to have Audio Note build or you yourself can build it for about 35% of the retail. But it will take you time to build them as well - so how much do you charge yourself for labour. I see this all the time the amp kit is $699.00 and the built version is $999.00 - nearly 50% more money. And those are CHINESE makers - where labour is some 12 year old girl making a buck a day - an American British or Canadian worker who is also an electronics engineer - holy Labour Batman.

    Some of us simply don't have the ability or the time or both to build the stuff ourselves.

    The ridiculous priced amplifiers etc are IMO just a prestige factor - alla Rolls Royce. My only gripe would be if Audio Note's 100K prestige factor amp or speaker did not prform anywhere near the next fellows 100k prestige factor amp or speaker. They have built their own measuring facilities and their own in house computer programs.

    And at the end of the day there is profit to be made - to ensure you keep your business going. There is no reason a $5000.00 in parts materials should make a Ferrari cost $400,000.00US - except the perceived value of the performance. It ain't getting me from my house to the grocery store any better than the Beetle.

    Hell a Ferrari may not even get me from BC to Ontario any FASTER than a Beetle since the former will probably need 3 tune-ups and 30 times the gas filling and stops from every cop along the way. And the Ferrari is probably less comfortable - and the Beetle more reliable.

    But despite that c'mon I know which is the best car - give me that Ferrari.

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    "The Wood is Russian birch ply about an inch thick front and back. Carted sheeps wool inside,"

    I thought that A/N speakers didn't deal with cabinet resonances or have damping material inside. This proves the exact opposite of what is claimed. It proves that a great deal of thought and trouble has been taken to reduce cabinet resonance and to provide the optimum damping factor to the driver. And it has to be that way or it wouldn't work. Most good speaker cabinets today are made with 3/4" MDF and contain either fiberglass or a non hazardous substitute. I am sure that both the birch and sheeps wool are much more expensive and were chosen because they work better. BTW, the wire adds almost nothing to the cost.

    "The cost is high in part due to shipping a 100% sampling rate - checking every model bbecause you're putting them all together and running them through the computer to make sure the driver you got from Foster is up to spec and making an adjustment to each speaker to account for the variance from each driver - TIME to ensure your speaker is within spec."

    That is what you expect from expensive multi thousand dollar electronic equipment. How is this accomplished with a kit? You can't do all of it. You can't test the completed system and tweak it at home the way you can in the factory. Even if you knew WHAT to do, you wouldn't have the test equipment and replacement parts to do it. Once it leaves the factory, quality control is out of the manufacturer''s hands.

    "Just because a product is expensive should that automatically make it a rip-off?? "

    NO!

    "As far as audio products are concerned, I think what you are objecting to are products that either have or appear to have a very high "ratio" of cost of materials to retail price."

    It is the enormous markups which IMO are a ripoff. Something that retails for not 5 or 10 times its build cost but 50, 75, or even 100 times, now that's what I call a ripoff. Especially when it is hardly unique. So are Gucci handbags.

    "In some products this ratio is justified by other factors, such as,

    1.) High initial or on-going R&D costs"

    Again we have the spectacle of wanbee engineers and scientists calling their creative tinkering Research and Development. It's an insult to what real scientists and engineers do for a living. No it's not rocket science. These are all very well established principles which most people with a reasonable technical background in electronics can readily understand if they want to.

    "2.) Large up front investment to make first example "

    Another joke. What does it take to put this stuff together? A few workbenches with soldering stations, a garage or basement with some woodworking tools, and a few pieces of test equipment, and maybe one small room arranged as an anechoic chamber for speaker testing would be adequate for a small electronics company of this type. This is not an automotive production plant requiring a million square feet. I know, I've built real manufacturing plants. Maybe what he's really talking about is usurous interest rates he had to pay because no bank in its right mind would lend him the kind of money he needed because his business plan didn't make any sense to them.

    "3.) The retention of a large overhead against uncertain production volumes "

    Translated into English, he bought parts for a lot more equipment than he could sell. He thought the world would beat a path to his door. Now he has to pay off the loans it took to buy it without the revenues he expected from selling speakers and amplifiers. Somebody's got to pay for it if he is going to stay in business. It's got to be the relatively few customers he does have.

    He's also got a lot of employees sitting around on their hand because there aren't enough orders coming in. He not only has to pay them exhorbitant labor rates and tons of social benefits such as 5 week paid vacations, cradle to grave medical benefits, and every other employee benefit you can think of, he can't fire them even though he has no work for them to do because he was duimb enough to manufacture in the EU, the world's worst place for anyone to make anything.

    "4.) Enormous on-going marketing and promotional costs in a crowded market (perfume, cosmetics, fashion clothing etc. etc.)"

    This means he's having trouble competing. He tries to compensate for low volume with a high markup.

    ""I think it is pretty safe to say that those $20K speakers do not have $20K in parts."

    I think it is pretty safe to say that they don't have $2K in parts.

    "So what are you paying for? IMHO, you are paying for the fact you own a $20K pair of Audio Note speakers and the ability to tell others that you own a $20K pair of Audio Note speakers."

    That and $1.25 will get you a cup of coffee at a diner.

    "The comparison to houses and cars is not really that valid,"

    That is the understatement of a lifetime. Have you ever visited an automobile manufacturing plant? Do you know what goes into building an automobile? The factory costs many tens of millions of dollars to build. Between 10,000 and 20,000 parts go into an automobile. If you counted all of the manhours it takes to build a car and all of the subassemblies which go into it, it takes many thousands of hours. The testing and inspection of all of them right up to the final assembly and dealer prep takes hundreds of hours. The shipping cost alone is for one to two tons of steel, not a couple of small wooden boxes. When you are talking about a $100,000 car, you are talking about individually hand made precision cars like Rolls Royce with engines manufactured to very tight tollerances and 75 coats of paint. Just the leather upholstery probably costs more to make and install than any A/N speaker or amplifier.

    Building a new home, even a condominium is also in another realm. What does it take? Architects, engineers, draftsmen, land purchase, putting in streets including underground utilities like gas, electricity, water and sewer lines, building permits and inspections, concrete foundations, framing, roofing, interior electrical work, pluming, heating and air conditioning, appliances, walls, ceilings, flooring and a lot more. Yes in some places you can still buy a new two bedroom condo for $100,000.

    What does it take Qtwerp to build a $100,000 pair of speakers. A couple of hours to assemble two small wooden boxes, an hour or two to install four drivers and two prewired crossover network boards, and a few hours to sand and finish the cabinets.

    What does it take Qtwerp to build a $100,000 preamplifier or amplifier? A chasis, a couple of small transformers, a few tube sockets and tubes, a handful of resistors, capacitors, chokes, and miscellaneous other parts, and a few hours of semiskilled labor to put it all together. Why can $1 a day labor in China perform this work? Because it is so easy and uncomplicated. And it's cheap and easy to check and make necessary corrections immediately.

    "And those are CHINESE makers - where labour is some 12 year old girl making a buck a day - an American British or Canadian worker who is also an electronics engineer - holy Labour Batman."

    Yes holy Labour Batman. Setting the vast cost difference aside (a factor of 200 to one or more for labor) there are many reasons why the 12 year old Chinese girl will likely do a much better job of building your amplifier than an electronics engineer in Canada or Britain. The reasons should be obvious but if you can't figure out even one, just imagine the difference in attitude and motivation. That girl in China needs that job to feed her family. And she doesn't have a big ego telling her she's better than being a lowly assembler with an expensive college education. She also has in all likelihood much better manual dexterity and has no problems following other people's orders and directions. And like a good soldier, she doesn't think, she just performs. If she screws up once, they warn her. If she screws up a second time, she's out the door.

    It seems to me that no matter how good or bad his products are, as a businessman Mr. Qtwerp will remain a small time operator if he manages to stay in business at all. For his sake, I hope he didn't quit his day job.


    So, a $100,000 Rolls Royce, a $100,000 two bedroom condominium, or behind door number three, a $100,000 pair of two way 8inch A/N loudspeakers OR A/N amplifier. Now which one is the ripoff? I say it's the item behind door number three.

  17. #17
    Forum Regular gonefishin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Some people posting here claim that efficiency is a mark of performance in loudspeakers so here is a fact to consider.

    Skeptic, there seems to be one thing consistent in your posts directed toward RGA...and that's that you want to argue with him. It is making for some good (read funny) posts tho.

    Some thing to consider on some HE speakers (and other speakers as well)...

    Many of the pro version woofers and drivers are extremely well built with very low distortion ratings. You keep bringing up that the Klipsch and Altec speakers are extremely colored...that is true. If the color of the horn or cabinets doesn't suit your tastes, then you have the option of either modifying the horn or cabinet to reduce these colorations. If this still doesn't suit your tastes you can have someone build...or build it yourself. If your not qualified (which it sounds like your not) to design your own enclosures, horns or crossovers...I would suggest you do what I did. Get advice from those more knowledgeable than youself. But to suggest that ANY driver is inferior because of the sound of a particular speaker you've heard is silly.

    Something to keep in mind is that a speaker is a combination of of the drivers used, the enclosure (of many types) and crossover.

    Just some things to keep in mind, that it seems you had forgotten.

    take care,
    dan
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    Horn speakers have characteristics which make them excellent for certain applications. They are ideally suited for sound reinforcement systems because they can be designed for constant directivity. This maximizes gain before feedback and allows multiple arrays to cover large areas in public spaces with the best possible uniformity. They are very efficient and can be designed to handle lots of power with enormous undistorted output. This also makes them valuable for use in public spaces. It is probably safe to say that most if not all large venues have horn speakers installed for sound reinforcement.

    However, they have definite drawbacks as home high fidelity speaker system. To get satisfactory bass from them they must be very large to enormous. In most people's homes in the United States, that means that a pair of them would dominate even a large room and are completely impractical for an average to small room. They generally do not reproduce the lowest octave of bass unless they use the best drivers and are well executed folded designs. Furthermore, large horn speaker cabinets are heavy and expensive. One of my all time favorite systems, the JBL Paragon weighs 850 pounds. Even in my very large house (by American standards anyway) if I owned a pair, they would have to go in the basement. Therefore, for most people, they are not practical. Worse yet is that horn tweeters simply can't compete with other designs such as domes when it comes to dispersion, a critical factor in high frequency performance IMO. If you look at a photo of the Paragon, you will see a curved surface in the front deliberately calculated as a reflector to improve lateral dispersion of mid and high fequencies.

    If you are not restricted to very high efficiency loudspeakers because of amplifier power limitations, then IMO, for high fidelity in the home, there are much better choices. Of course, if you like the sound of horn speakers, well that's your business.

    I argue with RGA because he parrots back rediculous blanket statements from someone manufacturing and selling a particular product who would have you believe that he alone has the corner on the market for high quality audio equipment and can therefore charge whatever he feels like. It doesn't bother me to challenge him about this at all. If it bothers you or anyone else, I urge you not to read my postings on the subject.

  19. #19
    Forum Regular gonefishin's Avatar
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    Horns (like other speakers) sure do have drawbacks. Like you mentioned Size and weight are certainly two of those drawbacks. These two things alone would keep them out of many households (especially many with a wife). The horn tweeters may not be able to compete with domes on dispersion...but if you couple the tweeter to a suitable horn you could achieve a flat response with very low distortion while maintaining nice dynamic range. Using the appropriate horn (for your preference/drivers/room) can yield a flat response with low distortion with excellent micro and macro detail. Of course, Horns (or HE) aren't the only way to achieve this...and quality HE drivers can get quite expensive.



    I argue with RGA because he parrots back rediculous blanket statements from someone manufacturing and selling a particular product who would have you believe that he alone has the corner on the market for high quality audio equipment and can therefore charge whatever he feels like.
    Yeah, RGA does seem to parrot back several claims in marketing advertisements...I can understand your reason for wanting to argue. But you also seem to make similar blanket statements, just directed against RGA's point of view...rather than for some marketing scheme. (edit add I should add that I do really enjoy reading RGA's writings about his subjective preferences...he really has a talent with a pen to get across what he hears and feels in each audition.


    Anyway, I can see your point. I just thought I'd pipe in with my comment. I also have a better view of the points you were trying to make before too. Thanks for clearing them up.

    happy fourth to all who it applies to...and happy weekend to all it doesn't>>>

    dan
    Last edited by gonefishin; 07-04-2004 at 08:43 AM.
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    Happy fourth to you as well.

    At least I try to keep my postings civil and directed at the issue, not at the person making it...well most of the time (when I'm not clowning around with PC Tower.) It's only when someone comes on this board trying to convince people not to get themselves or their kids vaccinated or take prescribed antibiotics for an infection that I begin to lose it. It occurs to me that someone might actually believe that kind of crap.

  21. #21
    RGA
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    I only get into this because AN is called out for making 20k+ equipment - last I checked so did EVERY other high end maker - and the crappy ones like JBL also mmake them and they have no bass??. It is really quite simple - regrdless of costs - you listen to the Audio Note 20k speaker and B&W's or Dynaudios or JM Labs' counter.

    Any high end piece of equipment has far higher mark-up than a lower priced one. The cars by the way - Toyota already stated that ANY car they produce has a combined labour cost of the ENTIRE car just under 20 hours. There is not a mass production car built that would cost the manufacturer more tha $6,000.00.

    The Kits are kits - the folks at the audio note kits forum can answer those question. The words largely undamped means that in cetain areas it is and so is internal bracing used to augment frequencies - which is different from the original Snells that were stuffed to the hilt full of dacron.

    You have a massive company like B&W and a small time player like Audio Note(Peter owned and ran a much bigger audio company was a multi-millionaire before starting Audio NoteUK). Find out what B&W's designers think about Audio Note.

    I find it more interesting that so many reviewers use Audio Note products as reference componants or heck even more of a compliment to JUST listen to in their homes. It is quite dispraportionate that a small company would manage a feat that the big guys can't.

    There are plenty of more expensive companies as well - Audio Note is nowhere near as expensive as stuff from that eye-candy site.

    I don't tell people to buy Audio Note - but you seem to take issue with recommending people give a $2000.00 Audio Note speaker a listen when they are shopping for a $2000.00 B&W or Paradigm? I wonder why that is? Surely no one has anything to fear - after all Paradigm and Energy and PSB and B&W's $2000.00 loudspeakers have more expensive materials than the AN's right? - well except for silly things like wiring, crossover materials, drivers, and the cabinetry - but besides those things.

    Bottom line - no name company, don't advertising, ugly, expensive, demand dealer's carry the entire lines - not the top end ones but a full sampling from DAC to wire to speaker (Yes that is a sign they are desperate to make sales - this limits their dealers by about 98%). Why would any dealer want to carry such a line? Oh they heard the speakers for themselves - all they have to do is let people listen to them against those big guys. What a terrible company and pushy Mr. Qvortrup for asking one to listen to equipment befrore they buy. You think it's a rippoff fine - but before I call a $1500.00 TV a rippoff I usually like to see it along side the $399.00 version and other's in between to be sure it's a rippoff. and sometimes I can see that gee that $1500.00 tv has a better picture.

    "Hoopla? AN doesn't advertise, nor does it produce product literature, because they would prefer that people get out and listen for themselves. That's pretty much the entire sales pitch. How very over-the-top of them!" (DrCope)
    Last edited by RGA; 07-04-2004 at 11:38 AM.

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    "Toyota already stated that ANY car they produce has a combined labour cost of the ENTIRE car just under 20 hours."

    That's just the number of manhours on their assembly line. That doesn't take into account the thousands of man hours to assemble the parts that go into it. It may take 2 minutes to install a transmission that took 30 hours or 300 hours to assemble itself. Then there are the countless tens of thousands of hours of real R&D, development and testing that went into designing it and the machines necessary to build it. And of course there is an army of people behind the scenes ordering materials, tracking deliveries, inventories, shipments into and out of the factory. Then there is the factory itself which is no small deal. The difference between manufacturing a loudspeaker and manufacturing an automobile is like the difference between building a model airplane and building a real one. If they built cars as inefficiently as Peter Qtwerp builds loudspeakers, they wouldn't cost $20,000, they'd cost $220,000.

    I'm only singling out Peter Qtwerp because of his arrogance to present us with such expensive equipment without any evidence of what we get that is worth so much money. I'm sure that in the audio industry, he is in very good company. This seems to be a common practice among many of his competitors as well. It's the only industry I can think of where what you get becomes less and less and what you pay becomes more and more. BTW, in the professional audio industry it's very different. Engineers who have to account to their superiors and the end users for the way they spend their money don't put up with games. In the consumer market, Bryston may cost several times what Crown charges for an amplifier but in the pro market, they are neck and neck in their bidding or Bryston wouldn't sell a single unit.

    " which is different from the original Snells that were stuffed to the hilt full of dacron."

    The amount, density, and properties of stuffing controls the degree of damping of the woofer resonance, especially in acoustic suspension systems. It is a direct consequence of Newton's second law of motion. There is no way around it. Too little and it is underdamped exhibiting an annoying unmusical resonant peak. Many less than audiophile speakers suffer from this. Too much and it is overdamped having less bass. Many audiophile speakers suffer from this. By the way, this is the same law used to design the suspension of a bicycle, an automobile, a railroad car, and a phonograph cartridge.

  23. #23
    RGA
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    My dad used to work as purchasing agent for Giffin Sheet metals who supplied GM with their parts - these rolls were stamped out in no time and that was in the 1970's. Bolts nuts and all that stuff are stamped out and sold for next to nothing to GM. You can add up whatever you wish - but when a Car is $15000.00 Retail - and the dealer is making at least $3000.00 on that car - and probably more like $6,000.00 and being an American car it will likely see $3000.00 in Warranty work in 5 years - this is factored into the vehicle. The low end of the market has the highest sales.

    The car I probably overestimate costing $6000.00 to build it is probably Closer to $3,000.00. If you honestly think GM is building a car for $8,000.00 and selling it to a delaer for $9,000 then mate you're on drugs. GM and Ford would close down tomorrow and build something they can make more profit on - like clothes.

    The plants have been around for 50 years - I think we can dismiss initial overhead by now and R&D - on a car - you must be kidding - the same V8 the same V6 the same 4 cylinder Pontiac Grand-Am they made in 1989(which is a derivitive of the same engine and tranny they made in 1979 with a new body and internal seating - cheaper then oit was then - all $1.00 plastic inside and outside. Hybrid? A couple of 17 year old high school students have developed a Hybrd engine for their go-carts - real difficult to stick a battery and a computer chip in a car and then charge 50% more money for it when it doesn't go as fast and the fuel mileage as stated by honda of 38 MPG is barely better than the all gas engine - I had one which got close to 40mpg subtract the difference of the Canadian version of litres to gallon. But still - what the hell are you buying a $30,000.00 version of a Honda Civic. The Accord is basically the same car a bit bigger.

    Ever wonder why upgrading from a 4 banger to a 6 they charge somehting like $4,000.00+ for. WHY? Both engines have been around 25+ years - both engines are stamped out of the plant in the same amount of time - the difference in materials is maybe $5.00 between the two. And this is not even giving you a credit on the 4 cylinder this is JUST the difference. 4WD yes another $8,000.00 retail - does that cost make any sense. No but the market will bare it for some reason. You do get a 4WD sticker on your door - and you can tell people it is better off road when you do your 1 off road trip in 10 years.

    R&D on a speaker - Yes B&W's Nautilus has revolutionized the audio industry so you better trade your AR9 in for one right away - only $14,000.00. Or you can get the Batman artiste version for a mere $40,000.00(but you need 8 amplifiers to get the same bass the $4000.00 E produces with 3 watts - but hey it's up to you - I've heard em both. But B&W does claim it is the most accurate speaker ever designed and on the market today - and with their engineering team it must be true - unless you ask them outside of shop hours.

    99% of the people who read these forums are likely never going to buy or even listen to Audio Note speakers. So if you're trying to do people a favour - why not blast some of the big guys like harman and B&W that with all their marketing and so called revolutionary R&D and hiring of highly touted engineers as spokespersons and advertising in every issue of every review magazines(conflicting interests) that when after all of that stuff their comparably priced speaker sounds like a clock radio compared to some nobody for less money - maybe that should cause you to rip those companies. Of course this requires you to actually listen to them.

    It is simple apples to apples comparisons. The AN K is the same price as the B&W N805 and Energy Veritas of the world, etc. The AN J you can treat as a floorstander so compare it to the big guys' $3500.00US speakers - I'll even give AN a disadvantage - compare the AN J/Spe to the other guys' $7-$10k models. Not to say there isn't going to be those who prefer one of those others - they may(some love Magnepan or certain specialty designs) - can only go by what I hear mate. Most people are not engineers but listen to music - every company claims some sort of techie advantage. AN uses good to the best materials currently available all the way throughout. Many costing what AN costs do not use as high of quality materials.

    Please you can tell me the break down of cost to price ratio of the $11,000.00US N801 over the $3500.00 AN-J/Spe - I would be interested in where the extra $7,500.00 went. Sound of course aside as to me the J is a better sounding - but if it's ALL about cost of materials and sound has nothing to do with a loudspeaker then give me the part numbers of drivers of the N801. $7500.00 extra - wow Kevlar is more expnsive than I thought. And why is the Paradigm S8 worth $8,000.00US compared to the Studio 100 at $2,000? Same basic design and same basic size. Okay you get real wood and better drivers - $6,000.00 more. It costs Paradigm that much to use real wood and a nicer finish that you could buy 4 pairs of Studio 100's for the same price as one pair of S8's? Any my dealer brought themn in for a few weeks because they carry and are the biggest Paradigm dealer on Vancouver Island - told me they had them in but basically they sound so similar to the 100 that it doesn't make it worth selling - especially when the competition for half that blew them away - which makes sense if they don't sound much better than the 100.

    And at least you can ask PQ about his gear directly on internet forums or e-mail. Ask Harman for a breakdown on all their parts - and ask them for the complete schematic so you can build them yourself for 1/10 the price - they will give you some drivel about people stealing their wonderous revolutionary design.

    I simply try to give a voice to a company people may miss when out and about because they are inundated with commercials for the big brand names - is there any harm in listening to an Audio Note product at your dealer? You don't have to buy - they don't hold a gun to your head.

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    You'd better stick to discussing audio equipment. You know even less about maunufacturing automobiles than you know about consumer electronics.

  25. #25
    RGA
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    Attack and avoid - I guess my friend's Mazda which he bought brand spanking new in 1990 for $7600.00Cdn and in 14 years is selling comparable stuff for $17,900.00Cdn is worth it is because it suddenly take way more man hours to build cars every year - sheet metal didn't go up more than about .50 a ton.

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