What He Said . . . 

Why high-end equipment is so expensive

In an article written for an Internet newsgroup, here's what Kevin Hayes of VAC had to say about why high-end gear is so expensive.
Author: hayes95 (info@vac-amps.com)
Date: 1999/02/21
Forum: rec.audio.marketplace

"For what it's worth, many years ago, before I started VAC, I remember looking into an MFA preamp and mentally tallying about $40 in caps and resistors, and thinking, `Wow, these guys must be making a fortune.' Well, I've seen it from the inside now (for 1998 we were probably the second largest tube stereo maker in the U.S.). Ultra high end audio takes incredible amounts of R&D time (2,000 hours in voicing our Renaissance 30/30 Mk III amplifier alone), the cost of high quality chassis & transformers made in relatively low volumes, the training and wages of assemblers that can properly do labor-intensive point-to-point wiring, etc. Did you know that, for example, it is common for a manufacturer to have only a 25% yield on cosmetic elements? Add dealer margins, taxes, health insurance, Stereophile shows, advertising, factory mortgage, and then divide by the quantity of high-end audio sold. I do not know of anyone getting rich in this field. Indeed, when I contemplate the other career paths open to me, I sometimes wonder why I do it. The reason? I love music, and enjoy bringing more enjoyment to the lives of those folks who `get it.' For those who don't, if a Bose Wave Radio is all you need, fine, just enjoy the music!"
Kevin Hayes VAC/Valve Amplification Company 807 Bacon Street, Durham, NC 27703 http://www.vac-amps.com
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