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Anything Ever Appreciate In Value in High-End Audio?

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  • Anything Ever Appreciate In Value in High-End Audio?

    From long time audio writer/reviewer and now manufacturer’s rep Anthony Chiarella.


    Click image for larger version  Name:	D5F94856-99B9-43DF-84CC-EEA673A3E8D6.jpeg Views:	0 Size:	142.6 KB ID:	119325
    Anthony's Audio Asylum
    And Why We're Crazy About Hi-Fi

    Six Reasons Why High End Audio Is a “Sound Investment”? As a professional writer, I hate clichés. So, why did I use one to title this blog? Because there really is enduring value in a great two-channel audio system. Let’s be precise here: I’m talking about a discrete stereo system with, at the minimum, a high-performance amplifier and a pair of top-quality loudspeakers. Anyone who has purchased Home Theater, “Distributed Audio” or whole-house control and AV systems has suffered the sharp depreciation to which each of these purchases is subject. A “Super Stereo,” on the other hand, holds its value over decades of ownership and certain components will actually increase in value. So, why does two-channel gear hold its value while other media products don’t? I think there are a few reasons:

    Reason #1: The Stereo Format hasn’t changed in decades. Buy a Home Theater processor and it’s a safe bet that (with the exception of software-upgradeable products such as Trinnov) it will be obsolete, within two years. Fact is, multichannel formats change more quickly than a chameleon on a patchwork quilt (OK, another cliché) and, perhaps by design, the gear just can’t keep up with the algorithms. Buy an expensive projector and it will be surpassed just as quickly, and at a lower price. Control systems are even worse, as lower pricing and higher sophistication are the driving force of that market segment. Stereo, on the other hand, is pretty much the same as it was in the 1970s, and much for the gear from back then is still utilized and cherished today. There’s something to be said for stability.


    Reason #2: It’s never going to get much better than it is today. Decades of relentless refinement have brought solid state electronics, Digital-to-Analog Converters—even record players—to a state of near perfection. Whereas past generations obsessed about future “Mk II versions” which solved a host of sonic and reliability issues, today’s components embody the excellence of Swiss watches. Buyers’ Remorse has become a non-issue.

    Reason #3: The best pieces become classics. Audio geeks know that McIntosh and Marantz components from the “Golden Age” of HiFi have skyrocketed in value, but those aren’t the only audio products with investment potential. Have you searched ebay for classic receivers? A Marantz 2600 from the late ‘70s (about one grand new) recently sold for over $6250 and most similar-vintage Pioneer, Sansui, Yamaha, Technics and Kenwood Receivers and Integrated Amplifiers are selling for several times their original MSRP while Open-Reel Tape Decks, Technics “Broadcast Series” Direct-Drive Turntables, original Mark Levinson electronics and NOS Telefunken, Western Electric and Mullard Tubes appreciate like fine wine.

    Reason #4: Prices of new gear keep rising. In 1978, the Audio Research SP-6B—widely considered the best preamplifier available—retailed for $1,295. Forty years later, $15K is the de facto standard for a world-class preamp while flagship models from Simaudio, D’Agostino, MAC and, of course, ARC now flirt with $40-grand. Six-figure Monoblocks have become commonplace, as have speaker systems in excess of $500,000. As prices escalate, you can be confident that the gear you buy today will look like a bargain in 10 years.

    Reason #5: Rich people crave it. Let’s face it, there wouldn’t be so many exquisite and expensive products hitting the market if there weren’t customers to buy them. A state-of-the-art stereo system might not have the ubiquitous snob appeal of a Ferrari or Patek-Phillippe but there are certainly a group of wealthy connoisseurs who chase the best gear and, as a result, have become not only the patrons of our industry but also the catalysts for higher-budget gear. Expect this trend to continue.

    Reason #6: It delivers continual joy. Most exotic cars sit in garages and are driven infrequently, Ultra-luxe watches are worn on special occasions. Even a home theater is only utilized when the owner can devote two hours of uninterrupted viewing time. By contrast, a great HiFi is used and appreciated daily, not only as an end in itself but as a backdrop for parties and other activities, both social and solitary. How many discretionary purchases can provide infinite pleasure?

    Completely aside from its appreciation potential, a fine sound system is one of the most rewarding indulgences available, and among the most decadent. Trying to decide how to spend your next bonus? I have a few suggestions….
    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
    ________________________________________

    -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
    -cj 40th Anniversary ART300 monoblock amplifiers
    -Merrill Audio Elemente 116 monoblock amplifiers
    -cj GAT preamplifier Series 2 preamplifier
    -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
    -Lyra Atlas SL, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Allnic cables, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, MG Audio, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies Power Cords
    -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

  • #2
    Most of my stereo equipment was bought used. The reason: it was a lot cheaper than buying new. I appreciate that some equipment has appreciated in value (very little has appreciated faster than inflation however), but knowing what equipment is really only determined by hindsight. The author's mentioning of tape recorders increasing in price is only true because they plummeted in value from their original prices and are now coming back (still well belong original prices, even not including inflation). So buy new equipment (stereo or multichannel) because it will give you pleasure, not because it is an investment. Or ask your dealer for a full price buy back guarantee for any period of time on a piece of equipment and see what the response is. Remember, you are buying retail and selling wholesale.

    I did buy and still own one piece of equipment that has gone up in value, since I bought it a decade or so ago. Surprisingly it was already nearly a decade old when I bought it (and paid the original list price for which it sold). Even more surprising it is a piece of digital equipment. It is my Pacific Microsonics Model Two. The main reason it has increased in value is because it was a very limited production piece, only about 150 were produced, and it is still considered one of the best (or the best) of its type (A to D converter). But that circumstance is extremely rare.

    Larry
    Analog- VPIClassic3-3DArm,SoundsmithZephyrII+MiyajimaZeroMono, 2xAmpex ATR-102,Doshi3.0 BottleheadPhonoPre,Herron VTPH-2A
    Dig Rip-Pyramix,IzotopeRX3Adv,Mykerinos,PacMicroModel2
    Dig Play-mchNADAC, LampiPac, Roon, HQP, Oppo105
    Electronics-Herron 360Pre,CJ MET1mchPre, Cary2A3monoamps
    Speakers-AvantgardeDuosLR,3SolosC,LR,RR
    Other-512Engineer/Marutani Symmetrical Power, ArtKelmGround1, AudioDiskVinylCleaner,AirTightRecordFlat, Scott Rust Interconnects,
    Music-15KRecs(90%classical),1KR2Rtapes,50TBrips

    Comment


    • jonathanhorwich
      jonathanhorwich commented
      Editing a comment
      Correct Larry. Wonderful converter. Also I think the Cello (Levinson) EQ equipment might be near original retail or more.

  • #3
    Definitely not typical but my ARC SP8 , Oracle TT, Marantz Consolettes,5,7,8b,ARC SP3, Mc225 etc are worth more than I paid for them. The ARC SP8 sold for more than 2x what I paid for it new almost 40 years ago.

    Definitely not an investment strategy but can work if you buy the right piece to begin with.
    Front end: Aesthetix Io Eclipse with 2 Power Supplies and Volume controls
    Brinkmann La Grange & RonT Tube Power supply with Kuzma 4-point ,FR64S, Brinkmann 12.1 , .Koetsu Jade Platinum,Koetsu Rosewood Signature Platinum, Lyra Atlas, Lyra Etna SL Goldfinger Statement, KLAUDIO RCM, HRSM3X
    Amps: Wyetech Topaz, Futterman H3 Quad II,Citation II, Marantz 8b, 5 ,2
    Pre-Amps:Marantz 7, Marantz Model 1 Consolette Pair
    Speakers: Quad ESL 57, Beveridge Model 3 DD amps, REL S/2 x 2
    Otari 5050BXII, DeHavilland 222

    Comment


    • Rob
      Rob commented
      Editing a comment
      seems like ARC SP-3's and Marantz 8bs really shot up in recent years.

  • #4
    I wish I had the sense to stockpile Telefunken smooth plate ECC83 or ECC 803S tubes! They grew like weeds back in the '80s. But who knew?
    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
    ________________________________________

    -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
    -cj 40th Anniversary ART300 monoblock amplifiers
    -Merrill Audio Elemente 116 monoblock amplifiers
    -cj GAT preamplifier Series 2 preamplifier
    -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
    -Lyra Atlas SL, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Allnic cables, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, MG Audio, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies Power Cords
    -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

    Comment


    • JCOConnell
      JCOConnell commented
      Editing a comment
      Ya mean Im going to have to pay more for my smooth plate telefunken 12ax7 equiv. tubes than I did in 2005? bummer.....

  • #5
    Yeah I DEFINITELY made some money selling tubes that I had bought a few years prior for a tiny fraction of what they became worth.
    TAPE: Studer A807, A810; Revox B77 MkII; Tascam BR-20; Technics RS-1700; Pioneer RT-707, RT-909
    VINYL: Pioneer PL-50LII/Benz LP-S MR/ModWright PH 9.0; Denon DP59-L/Dynavector 20xH
    DIGITAL: Bryston SP-3, MacMini > Oppo Sonica/Pioneer N-50
    SPEAKERS: B&W Nautilus 800, Pioneer DSS-9
    AMPS: Cary SLP-05/Sunfire Signature 600, Pioneer SX-1980

    Comment


    • #6
      Back in the mid 90s we made an amplifier called the Novacron. It was the first amplifier made in the US to use the Russian 6C33 power tube. Here are some images:
      https://www.google.com/search?q=atma...w=1440&bih=725

      It was hand wired point to point and sounded quite nice. I think we first showed a version at CES about 1992. We discontinued it about 1996 or 1997. Shortly after the bidding wars on ebay began and we saw Novacron selling for double what we had charged for them just a few years earlier. This continued right up to when we re-introduced an updated versiont in 2015 or so. IMO it was the looks that sold it. Nice to have something that looks good and sounds good at the same time.

      Of course anyone watching the Technics SP-10 MkIII made valuable almost single-handedly by Albert Porter knows that older gear can become more valuable. I once sold a copy of 'The Reiner Sound' (1S A1 both sides) for $1000.00, which I had bought at a record show for $6.00. That made a nice downpayment on my MotoGuzzi 850T3 which was a faithful ride for many years. Porcupine Tree's 'Voyage 34' (on LP) was selling on ebay for about $1200 (early 2000s) prior to the Italian re-issue (which IME does not sound nearly as good as the original).

      And most any vintage tube gear is selling for more than it was when new these days- although I've not done the inflation math to see if its actually going for more.

      Comment


      • #7
        I paid only $525 for my CJ PV10AL line stage around 2005. That didn't come with a phono stage but the motherboard PCB had the traces and component locations for the phonostage so I populated the phonostage section with high quality components for about $75 and now its a PV10A. Those sell for around $800-900 now.

        p.s. The model PV 10A came out in 1992
        Last edited by JCOConnell; 07-17-2019, 12:05 PM. Reason: corrected release date
        Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Shelter 501 Mark II Cart (St) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (St) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (St) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (M) , Luxman Tonearm (M) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (M) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, DIY Silver Interconnects

        Comment


        • #8
          if I made a profit on trading gear it was a small victory, the losses still FAR outweigh the gains (monetarily). but I had lots of fun while doing it
          Linn Kilmax LP12 | Channel D Lino C | innous ZENMini | Kii Three

          Comment


          • #9
            Originally posted by Rob View Post
            if I made a profit on trading gear it was a small victory, the losses still FAR outweigh the gains (monetarily). but I had lots of fun while doing it
            Kind of reminds me of the merchant joke: "I loose a little on every transaction, but I make it up in volume".

            If I think about all the money I spent getting to my current system, the present value is a drop in the bucket. So if any one component actually appreciates in value, it's never realized.

            Comment


            • #10
              My graham engineering 2.2 tonearm is holding its value, I paid $2400 in 2000 for it.

              p.s.I did pay a little more to upgrade from 2.0 to 2.2 but I forget the cost but it wasn't bad.
              Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Shelter 501 Mark II Cart (St) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (St) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (St) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (M) , Luxman Tonearm (M) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (M) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, DIY Silver Interconnects

              Comment


              • #11
                Reason #7 Chicks dig it.

                Comment


                • Rob
                  Rob commented
                  Editing a comment
                  the kind that go by a gender pronoun and wear a butch haircut? I have yet to meet a hottie that took an interest in my stereo.

              • #12
                The classic gear holds its value very well. The Garrard 301 sells for far more than when it was new. Even the original SME 3012 sells for more than when it was new. I used to buy old tube amps to refurbish, and I still own Leak TL12.1, Brook 12A and Telefunken V69, having sold the others such as the Pye HF25 and the Audiomaster. I bought them for much higher prices in the 1990s than when they were new back in the 50s and 60s, and they are worth even more now. The Western Electric amps were already very expensive when I got into this in the 90s.
                I bought my Nagra T Audio tape deck refurbished from Nagra for 8000 CHF about 8 years ago, whereas they cost something like 24,000 CHF new in the 1980s. Same for the Nagra IV-S + QBG (bought for 2000 pounds at a BBC sale in 2001). However, they definitely cost a lot more now, since people are again listening to tapes.
                Other rare classics such as JBL Paragon, Tannoy GRF Autograph etc. are worth a lot more nowadays than when they were new. Classic drivers such as the Tannoy black and silver, JBL 375, not to mention the field coil drivers from Western Electric now cost a fortune.
                So, things like tape decks fall in and out of favour, but amps and loudspeakers tend to hold their value.

                Comment


                • #13
                  One must take into account inflation and the cost of money to determine if "something" has truly appreciated.

                  Comment

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