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One version of unit? Or choice of options which cannot be heard before buying?

Discussion in 'audio' started by Arkless Electronics, Feb 22, 2020.

  1. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    I have a feeling I can guess the answer to this one... But do people prefer to buy something knowing it comes as one fixed version and theirs is the same as everyone else's? And they can hear this one version? Or to be able to specify things such as maybe whether it comes with a SMPS PSU or linear, the type of output capacitors, what op amps are fitted, what brand of valves, the make of the resistors used etc etc BUT due to the many possible combinations you cannot get to hear it before buying? (Assume you can get to hear a "standard" one though).

    Obviously no manufacturer could be expected to build a unit to your individual spec just so you can demo it... So does that make a choice of options off putting? as you would be too worried that you may have preferred it with say polypropylene caps rather than the paper in oil you choose, and therefore this unit leaves your list of possible purchases altogether?
  2. booja30

    booja30 pfm Member

    I don't worry about part specs inside because I know I can change the sound after the fact with new fuses and mains cables!
  3. Woodface

    Woodface pfm Member

    Personally I think you can be blinded by choice, I would rather be given a product that is designed as an optimum solution; it would drive me mad wondering whether a particular capacitor sounded better etc.

    I could well be in the minority.
  4. Bob McC

    Bob McC Living the life of Riley

    99% of the population have no idea what the components mentioned by the OP are.
    Rockmeister likes this.
  5. Alex S

    Alex S carbon based lifeform

    I don’t dem anything and just by on a whim with a bit of research and discussion with the maker. I prefer the thrill of buying stuff I’ve never heard before.
  6. graystoke4

    graystoke4 pfm Member

    i have an esoteric K0-1X, cdp, which has multiple filters, why, you pick the one that sounds the best, and never use the rest, the best is the best,
  7. AndyU

    AndyU pfm Member

    Go for a crowdfunded money up front option and take on board every possibility that every user suggests. Employ a Rumanian software guy and move to Nicaragua where the electricity supply is intermittent. After you’ve got the money encounter production difficulties which can only be resolved by you buying your own production line to make small runs of valves. Ask for more money. If you can find a working camera, post the odd picture of a bit of circuit board and suggest you might have It nearly working by Munich. Then your llama gets sick ...

    Or just design and make a product that’s right and sell it.
  8. sq225917

    sq225917 situation engineer

    Just make one version, as good as sensibly possibly, peasants can dream how good it is, while serious buyers will pay your rent.

    That said, I do 3 versions of the Paradise, boggo, + Calvin's or + Calvin's and stupidly expensive riaa resistors. You can probably guess which one everyone buys.
    torstoi likes this.
  9. matt j

    matt j pfm Member

    I'm not sure I'd be confident in the bloke/company who made it if he wants me to spec it. He/they designed and built it, if they aren't confident enough to offer it as a single definitive version of the product and stand by it then I don't want it.
    mansr likes this.
  10. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    I'll actually guess it's the most expensive one!?
  11. sq225917

    sq225917 situation engineer

    Yup nine times out of ten.
  12. Rug Doc

    Rug Doc pfm Member

    It’s not really an upgrade path, rather a “mines better than yours” Ghia vs GTi scenario....

    I’d build it the best you could with the best components for the job, rather than building a base model and allow for internal upgrades.. looks like the manufacturer is in it for the money rather than the music doing it that way.

    This is why manufacturers have (separate) components at different price points... an ‘upgrade’ path if you like.

    you could do a Marantz and have a “JA signature” version (like KI signature) but that was, again a different marketing idea.
    Snufkin likes this.
  13. mansr

    mansr Well-Known Member

    Thinking as a would-be manufacturer, I'd be reluctant to put in the effort of verifying the design with all the different options. As a buyer, I'd prefer that the full price went into designing the thing I'm buying rather than being spread across a hundred different variations.

    One exception to the above could be to offer a "gold-plated" version with more expensive high-precision parts if that made a readily measurable difference. If a design works with cheap 1% thick-film resistors, it will work with low-noise, high-precision thin-film parts without extra effort.
  14. uncl_nigel

    uncl_nigel pfm Member

    I would go for the single model done right approach.

    But then I feel no need to play around with the filter settings of my DAC and only buy valves if the ones in the amps actually start playing up...
  15. thebiglebowski

    thebiglebowski pfm Member

    I assume you are thinking of selling something?

    I prefer a fixed version, different designers have different 'flavours' of sound. I think now I'm looking more for synergy and don't consider anything is wrong, just not right for my setup.

    Amp makers are defined by their sound so find yours and stick to it.
  16. Mullardman

    Mullardman Moderately extreme...

    But what if they didn't include the filter that sounds best to you?

    How do you sleep?

    Ibbots likes this.
  17. Sue Pertwee-Tyr

    Sue Pertwee-Tyr pfm Member

    I’d say there might be a market for some degree of customisation, but that might be better directed to optimisation for the purchaser’s other components, so cart & speakers mostly, but maybe a menu of options if the subjective characteristics are different. So if there’s a trade off between tonality and timing, perhaps?

    But as a business model, supplying each unit with a little plaque, a ‘Built for Fred by Jez A’ then you might have something that could appeal to a certain percentage of the market. My concern would be that those sort of customers might be the ones you dislike the most.
  18. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    Thanks for the replies people. All as I expected and in the way's I expected.... It was a "sanity check" really on the concept of "specify your own amplifier" as an extra selling point:) It's something I thought about several times in the past and this was a check before offering such a thing for the Arkless 640P phono stage. My main worry was that if people have a choice of various permutations then they would be confused as to which was potentially the best for them and be put off buying it altogether.
    As many will have realised from recent threads I'm about to launch a current input MC only variant (the GTI maybe!?), I'm also going to bring back the Turbo version as I keep getting asked for it.... there is an obvious question of "and can Turbo improvements also be done to the current input version?" the answer to which is yes... So we end up with a few variants anyway without giving people a choice on components etc:)
  19. zippy

    zippy pfm Member

    A bit of a mixture - I have in the past bought a 'basic' system after audition, and then added upgrades such as power supply at a later date just on the assumption that they're unlikely to make the sound worse.
  20. Fretbuzz

    Fretbuzz pfm Member

    Having component options on say an amplifier could be good so long as the manufacturer is clear and honest about the differences.

    eg Nord amps had (when looking into them couple of years ago) options for opamps, one described as warmer the other clearer - take your pick. I thought that was fab.

    More recently been researching First Watt amps and really got to like Nelson's simple, genuine way of describing and comparing the different ones, though all of a style/price. Not quite the same as options but still gets away from the usual single (cost) path to greatness approach.

    All feels more informed decision.

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