Price points for equipment, what do you do?What formula do you use when you buy equipment to match your system? Do you even use a formula?
The reason I ask is this, today I bought a new phono cart - the Grado Platinum (love it by the way), but the thing was $300. My turntable is an Ariston Q-Deck that is twenty years old, but great nonetheless. However, it cost like $30.
Now I am considering speakers and I have a $600 Marantz PM7001. How much paper would you throw at speakers in the same situation? I am looking at Vandersteen 1s or 2s. $1000 or $2000, that is the question.
I have always thought of it this way:
Amp to speaker ratio gt; 1-2 (i.e., $1000 amp, $2000 speakers)
Turntable to cartridge gt; 1-1 ($400 table, $400 cartridge)
CD player to amp gt; 1-4 ($600 amp, $150 cd player)
Do you have a similar system?
Mine is, Do I like the look of it - yes continue, no forget it, if yes, do I like the sound of it, yes continue, no forget it, if yes, can I still pay my bills if I buy it, yes buy it, no - is it rare, yes buy it, no forget it
You think to much if you can afford it buy it cause you want it. If you can't afford it adjust your desires to come close to your budget or increase your patients.
I have speakers I paid $25.00 with a Vinyl front end that is worth $1300.00 running through an amp I have close to $500.00 in that I just bought one like it off eBay for $31.00.
What you pay for something only matters if you think your going to make money on it later.
I don't use a quot;formulaquot; so much as logic; I try to keep the approximate quality of all the components the same. F'rinstance, I wouldn't put a Dual 5000 in my system, nor would I put a BSR ceramic-cart'd changer. I wouldn't put a Shibata-stylus'd cart on my present Dual, but an Ortofon 10 or 20? Sure.
Roughly equal quality guides me.
I'm still in quot;the kid in the candy storequot; mode. There were many components I wanted to play with in the 70's and 80's that I couldn't afford at the time. Now I am finding stuff all over the place, not by looking for something in particular, but by looking for good value. There are so many excellent items at such ridiculously low prices, that good values abound everywhere. Sometimes I find myself in competition with many, but since my list is large I often find myself being the only potential buyer.
For example, in turntables I now have a Yamaha PX-3, a Rega Planar 3 with the RB-300 tonearm, and a Luxman 121 with a Dynavector 505 tonearm. I also have 6 excellent, lesser turntables (Duals, High-end Pioneers, JVC, etc). Total cost has been very reasonable, since I was willing to go with what was available at a good price. Cartridges are a slightly different story, since they are more of a crap shoot in terms of whether they work and how much life they have left. I've picked up some great ones, but most need a little refurbishment.
And even bigger deals are usually available in speakers. Sometimes because they need to be refoamed (and people think they are broken, which technically they are), sometimes because they are just too big (and they are downsizing), and sometimes just because. I don't know where you live, but in my neck of the woods Vandies don't cost anything near your quoted price. I also wanted Vandies, and eventually picked up a near-perfect set of 2s at a very reasonable price. Its funny, but along the way to getting them I found something I liked even more, and the Vandies are going out on long-term loan to a friend.
I don't even want to think of what my current gear would have cost in the early 1980's. I haven't gone by ratios as I did when buying retail 25 years ago. Instead, I've gone by what I liked and what I wanted to try, always referenced against getting a decent price, and accomplished because there were so many excellent components for me to choose from.
I buy what I want.
I have a formula as a guide that has worked well for me. Used equipment rated 9 out of 10 I start with 55% of original list. I sometimes go as high as 60% of original list. The end result are prices that are lower than audiogon and ebay.
I buy the nicest gear I can find, that I can afford. Swapping around components looking for quot;synergyquot; in the system can be very rewarding... a formulaic approach by cost/quality just seems limiting to me. If I can land a $1000 amp, why would I not want to use it with my $150 speakers?
$$$ is MSRP, of course once it's vintage original price is a moot point. I have far more $$ in my quot;bestquot; speakers than I do in my quot;bestquot; amp, even though the amp retailed for about 7 times the price of the speakers originally.
I guess for me it's all about the final sound.
I buy based on the amount of effort it will likely require to refurbish. This would include parts only as my labor is part of the hobby. Then I estimate what the market for that component is worth. Mind you, I don't buy and flip, but I do like to know that I'm not investing more than it will be worth.
There's only one place where this doesn't come into play: family-owned gear that has sentimental value. In this case, I'll bring it back up to original condition but plan on using it - not just sit on a shelf and look pretty.
Not much of a formula there, I'm afraid, but reality.
My motto: You make your money when you buy it - not when you sell it.
Agree with many points here. The specific dollar ratio only really applies to buying new gear at full retail. Once you start mixing new and used/vintage, that goes out the window.
For example, in my living room setup, I have a Sansui 7070, paid $125 used, hooked up to Dynaudio Audience 15s, paid $1,200 ten years ago, with a Denon cd player, paid $20, using $25 interconnects and cheap speaker wire that the guy who sold me the Sansui threw in for free.
In my bedroom system, I have a vintage Kenwood KA-6100 driving Tannoy Mercury M1 speakers, retail was about $300 new, with Project 2.1 turntable and Grado cartridge, originally paid $400 for the TT and $100 for the cart. Cd player is a Phillips changer, paid $35 used.
In my third system, I have Arcam cd and amp, total retail new $1,600 driving a pair of Polk monitor 7, paid $100 used, with Wireworld speaker wire and Audio Magic Interconnects, paid about $160 new ten years ago.
None of these systems is radically out of balance, although I supposed I could keep the used and secondhand stuff together, that would not be ridiculosly out of balance either.
I appreciate it. Still figuring out what to do with my system.
Buy with what you like (or think you like) that you can afford. Cheaper the better. I'm all for flipping things to make my money back, a profit if possible, but keep things fair and reasonable. Enjoyment is more important than profit.
Some things will cost me more than it's worth to repair. Sometimes I've sold things and lost money on shipping. Sometimes I make a little bit back, and just try to balance it all out.
I paid 4x as much for some kabuki Technics speakers than I did for some AR-2ax speakers. The AR's *will* sound better (I think), but it will require further $$$ spent, and labor. The Technics sound quot;good enoughquot; for temporary use. Be it 6mos or 6 years, eventually, they'll find a new home. I might lose some money, might make a wee bit, might break even. If I were to sell them RIGHT NOW, I'd have to sell them for more than I paid...but once I fix up my other sets, the Technics will probably go for less than I paid.
Does that make sense?
Basically, it's all really subjective.
I simply use the tried and true:
Will the wife be pissed? - No=Buy Yes=Don't buy
However, I still occassionally subscribe to the ever popular quot;It's easier to beg for forgiveness, than to ask for permissionquot; theory.