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ShawnC

It Costs How Much? Another look at the Tone Tot by Thomas J. Norton

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The markup is insane, but everyone is doing it.  Only here it's like, this better sound amazing for a desktop speaker.  Maybe if it was self amplified would I justify the price.


PC/NAS/JRiver/Roon - PS Audio P5 Regenerator - KEF LS50 Nocturne - Rel 328 subwoofer - PS Audio AC5 Power cables 

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The parts chosen, together with the realities of manufacturing and retail sales, means that the Tune Tot has to cost that much.

 

I love it when reviewers take the task of justifying the absurd... 9_9

 

I’m 99% certain that the two drivers in the Tune Tot are from Scan Speak, either stock models or a variation on them. These are expensive drivers. The woofer is similar to a coated 5.5-inch Scan Speak woofer anyone can buy from a supplier such as Madisound for just over $200 each. I can’t pin down the tweeter as precisely, as it’s a relatively easy mod to fit a stock tweeter with a different faceplate, but I’ll be generous and call it a tweeter that costs roughly the same as the woofer. So we’re now up to $800 in drivers for both speakers.

Don’t forget the crossover. A two-way speaker with relatively well-behaved drivers doesn’t need a lot of trap filters to reduce troublesome resonances (and the paper-coned Scan Speaks are known to be well-behaved). But for a high order crossover you’ll likely need at least seven parts, including capacitors, coils, and resistors. If you go for the best, these will also be expensive, so here I’ll estimate $400 for a pair of crossovers. I don’t know what grade of parts Wilson is using, but photographs of the complex crossovers in its larger speakers suggest that some of the best offerings from high-end suppliers are likely in the mix. Google Mundorf, for example, if you want to see how pricey some of the best premium caps and coils can be.

OK, so we’re now at $1,200/pair. Doesn’t sound too bad, but we haven’t built the cabinets yet. Wilson doesn’t use the MDF found in most commercial speakers, or even the pricier Birch ply or bamboo. Those original Tiny Tots had cabinets made of Corian countertop material. Since then, Wilson argues that it has developed its own proprietary product that’s extremely dense, heavy, and likely difficult and time consuming to mill, assemble, and finish to automotive quality. So let’s throw in another $1,200 for a pair of cabinets and miscellaneous parts (terminals, internal wiring, etc.). We’re now up to $2,400.

Read more at https://www.soundandvision.com/content/it-costs-how-much-0
 
Surely Wilson buys their drivers at half the retail price or even less. Same for the electronic components for the crossover and the cable.
If they're selling at 12k US then my guess is that the price before shipping a pair out of the factory will be around 10% of that.
And it won't be better than a Kef of similar size...ah, some wil say, but its a Wilson Audio creation.
 
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High-end is not performance but exclusiveness and pride of ownership. The expression "nouveau riche" comes to mind.

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2 hours ago, ShawnC said:

The markup is insane, but everyone is doing it.  Only here it's like, this better sound amazing for a desktop speaker.  Maybe if it was self amplified would I justify the price.

 

Hmm...are you paying for the hardware or the sound that the hardware makes?  I'd say if you can't believe you're listening to desktop speakers... , or maybe,  if they sound as good as $5K floorstanders...,  it would justify the price.

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3 hours ago, PeterG said:

 

Hmm...are you paying for the hardware or the sound that the hardware makes?  I'd say if you can't believe you're listening to desktop speakers... , or maybe,  if they sound as good as $5K floorstanders...,  it would justify the price.

A local dealer here carries everything Wilson, so it won't be long before I'll have a listen.  


PC/NAS/JRiver/Roon - PS Audio P5 Regenerator - KEF LS50 Nocturne - Rel 328 subwoofer - PS Audio AC5 Power cables 

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I don't really have a problem with the price, I'd just never pay it. You can have really fantastic audio these days for cheap if  you don't mind a little diy or hire a local cabinet builder.

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2 hours ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

Outrageous? I can’t afford it, but I think it’s pretty cool. 

 

 

Now that's cool looking.


PC/NAS/JRiver/Roon - PS Audio P5 Regenerator - KEF LS50 Nocturne - Rel 328 subwoofer - PS Audio AC5 Power cables 

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2 hours ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

As I usually say about topics like this, I couldn’t care less what something costs. If I want it and I can afford it, great. If I want it and can’t afford it, I move on. 

 

I’ve never understood complaining about the price of something that isn’t forced upon us by the government. I understand complaining about taxes and what we get for the money because there’s no way around it. But complaining about the price of a luxury item, when there are plenty of alternatives, makes no sense to me. 

I'm usually on the same boat, I don't care what the price is.  I can't wait to hear them and compare them to there Duette's.  If they would have marketed it as bookshelf/desktop I might not have cared that much but desktop only seems odd.  I don't know of any other desktop speaker/studio monitor within $5000 of those.  Maybe their starting a new category for high end crowd.

 

BTW, I was the lumber business for 20 years buying/selling/milling.  Since we were essential the first step after the tree gets cut down we had no opportunity to make that kind of price hike for our business, since we were just cutting and drying.  We did create what you find at the Home Depot's of the world but we and every other lumber company would go out of business at 5X what we paid for the lumber, there are industry price standards.   Albeit we were not providing a finished luxury product. I'm now in retail and of all things bananas are the highest and most profitable product at 11x cost.  We also toss half of what comes in ?


PC/NAS/JRiver/Roon - PS Audio P5 Regenerator - KEF LS50 Nocturne - Rel 328 subwoofer - PS Audio AC5 Power cables 

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4 hours ago, ShawnC said:

I'm usually on the same boat, I don't care what the price is.  I can't wait to hear them and compare them to there Duette's.  If they would have marketed it as bookshelf/desktop I might not have cared that much but desktop only seems odd.  I don't know of any other desktop speaker/studio monitor within $5000 of those.  Maybe their starting a new category for high end crowd.

 

I think the Duettes are a great comparison point for the TT.  If you want Wilson sound in a package that will not dominate a room, you have to pay for lots of extra engineering.  

 

 

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Does anybody on here have a pair of these? I have a pair of the Carreras that I built, I would not mind comparing the two. Just for fun.

p.s. I'm in the Monterey/San Francisco bay area.

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6 hours ago, Mordikai said:

 I have a pair of the Carreras that I built, I would not mind comparing the two.

Sure would like to hear a set of those Carreras.
Wonder how they compare to a ProAc TabII? Or a Studio 100??
Have you put them up against any popular high end speakers?
If so, what were the results?


The important image in audio is the one you hear.
                                 Forget the others.
 

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7 hours ago, JDRodrigues said:

Sure would like to hear a set of those Carreras.
Wonder how they compare to a ProAc TabII? Or a Studio 100??
Have you put them up against any popular high end speakers?
If so, what were the results?

I've only been able to compare them to the LS50's and Usher BE718's as well as many other high end diy designs. I've heard some other speakers but I don't believe any real conclusions can been drawn until you have a pair of speakers in your listening room with your music for an extended period of time.

The Carreras really do everything well within the confines of a small two-way. The highs, lows, great midrange resolution yet still very warm, the Hyquephon is amazing with symbols. I'm pretty happy with them.

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On 5/23/2018 at 3:43 PM, The Computer Audiophile said:

I’ve never understood complaining about the price of something that isn’t forced upon us by the government. I understand complaining about taxes and what we get for the money because there’s no way around it. But complaining about the price of a luxury item, when there are plenty of alternatives, makes no sense to me. 

 

I think the concern here is that the alternatives are becoming more and more expensive.

Unfortunately this appears to be not an isolated example but a symptom of an industry trend.

 

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6 hours ago, PleasantSounds said:

 

I think the concern here is that the alternatives are becoming more and more expensive.

Unfortunately this appears to be not an isolated example but a symptom of an industry trend.

 

I disagree. Take a look at Elac for price and performance that’s never been better. 


Founder of Audiophile Style

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3 hours ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

I disagree. Take a look at Elac for price and performance that’s never been better. 

 

I'm sorry, this is like asking you with a serious face to replace your TAD CR1 because X brand offers price and performance that's never been better at 1/12 the price.  Then ? when your face wrinkles.  Which is not to say I disagree with your sentiment so much as the imperfect example.  Besides this, retail price is not the exact number most of us would pay.  Ordering Elac off Amazon... it would be very close.

 

Will have to review the press material but I don't remember where these were specified as desktop only speakers.  My first thought when seeing them was Wilson decided to make a play on getting their brand in one of these obscene corporate party penthouses.  The only natural environment I can see these existing in is designer wall shelving in a highrise apartment listening room perhaps as large as our erstwhile reviewers third bathroom.

 

 

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On 5/22/2018 at 5:08 AM, firedog said:

If parts materials cost is at the level of $2k, then when you add in labor, overhead,  profit for Wilson, and at least 2 100% markups on the way to the retail price as you go through the distributor and dealer chain, you get to that kind of price. In that kind of traditional electronics distribution chain, price to consumer is often 5-7 times the parts cost. 

 

Indeed, you can't stay in business as a manufacturer if the retail price isn't at least 4-6 times the parts and labor costs, especially if the bricks and mortar dealer is also going to pay the bills and feed the family.


Roon ROCK (Roon 1.6; NUC7i3) > Ayre QB-9 DSD > Ayre AX-5 Twenty > Thiel CS2.4SE (crossovers rebuilt with Clarity CSA and Multicap RTX caps, Mills MRA-12 resistors; ERSE and Jantzen coils; Cardas binding posts and hookup wire); Cardas and OEM power cables, interconnects, and speaker cables

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2 minutes ago, Mordikai said:

Wow! I can't say that I ever conjure up some contemptuous picture of the end user when looking at speakers. I think you might be over thinking this.

 

I have read and re-read my post and cannot at any point see where an illustrative portrayal of the end user was formed.  Much less a contemptuous one.  I did however make allusions to the speaker having qualities that I felt reflected meeting the physical constraints of an abode/space/dwelling neatly aligning with a modern luxury apartment in the sky.  Either putting a premium on living space or floor space for (drunken) guests.  Blame the heavily composited press release photos with inbuilt designer furniture for this impression if you must lower the hammer of contempt.

 

You do realize a 1500 square foot apartment inside a major city is large by most standards.  That this is independent of the person residing in it and completely unattached to however someone(s) on the internet want to imagine them.

 

 

@The Computer Audiophile So are you saying in your own personal listening space the likelihood of going with equipment 10-12 times more expensive is greater than 10-12 times less expensive?  ? (These new emoji are really quite useful for expressing ideas like pregnant statements.) 

 

I believe the answer is fairly self evident.  In fact I'd say it neatly echoes the response of someone working an equal amount of hours that is forced to find suitable accommodations in the city.  The basis of my ideal was not contempt but human nature.  Striving, betterment, getting something crudely expensive and enjoyable to make up for life lost to ceaseless labors.  American energy.  

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I see your point I may have over stated. This is what I was referring to:

"My first thought when seeing them was Wilson decided to make a play on getting their brand in one of these obscene corporate party penthouses.  The only natural environment I can see these existing in is designer wall shelving in a highrise apartment listening room perhaps as large as our erstwhile reviewers third bathroom."

 

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A recurring theme I see in audio is the old world "5 times+ the cost of parts" pricing as though it is normal.
That pricing model has been dead in other markets for many years.
 


The important image in audio is the one you hear.
                                 Forget the others.
 

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