Well, this topic has gone off the rails a bit, but my point still stands. One who does his homework doesn’t make a purchase of a high dollar, highly rated, well reviewed piece of “high end” audio equipment expecting the manufacturer to undercut or damage the resale value of their own product. Again, I’m not saying that is what PS Audio did here - the very basis of my post was a question - asking people if someone could remind me about the price history on the DSD DAC within the last year or so.
That question was answered, I think. But then I start getting email alerts that other people were misinterpreting the intent of my post and some of the replies it got, as well as making broad brush statements about what one should and should not do or expect when one makes a certain type of purchase, and worse, that some of us here concerned about resale value are really just closet haters that “don’t want another guy to get a good deal”, which is plain ridiculous on its face, so I decided to try to correct that misunderstanding.
I suspect that PS Audio wants to make a claim, by way of its higher end “reference” components, to the same section of the hi-fi or “audiophile” market as McIntosh or Krell or even Mark Levinson. I make this judgment by MSRP of the top of the line PSA products and what I’ve read in Stereophile and the other reviews (many linked to here at PSA’s product pages). How often does Krell or McIntosh hold a 1/2 off sale on one of their flagship products? Even ones that are about to become obsolete or less in-demand? They don’t - because they sell to dealers at a fixed price (probably with volume discount and such) - and it’s on the dealers to make deals and decide how much margin they are willing to lose. Up until very recently PS Audio was using a similar sales model, with dealers out there charging roughly the same list prices on PS Audio products that you would find on the website.
Right about the time that they stopped doing this, the DSD DAC (and other high end components?) were steeply discounted on what I have learned is a temporary basis. I wouldn’t at all blame the hypothetical someone needing to sell or trade his PSA product purchased at the higher price a few months before for being pissed. Someone else waiting longer to buy, without the benefit of “insider knowledge”, wasn’t “shopping smarter”, they were lucky or broke and didn’t hit “buy” until the product was deeply discounted. The retail industry in the U.S. has long had ways to deal with scenarios like this, BTW. Anyone remember, as a kid, your mom finding a circular in the mail or newspaper with a dress advertised at 30% off what she just paid for it the previous week? Did she take that coupon down to the store and did they refund her 30% of the purchase price? I do - that was common in the 70s and 80s. I’m sure the mail order electronics retail industry has some similar “good faith” practices.
Notice that I never went so far - nowhere near for that matter - to imply or theorize that PS Audio was trying to somehow manipulate the used market now that they’ve gone direct, by lowering the amount that they would have to offer in trade for their own used products in the upgrade program. Hmmm…now that wouldn’t really make sense in this case, right? After all, we are talking about non-obsolete items. I know of no plans to phase out the DSD DAC, or the top of the line pre-amps or amplifier, even though that’s PS Audio’s right to do any time they want. But if they were cynical profiteers - and I think this demonstrates that they are NOT - they could also drastically reduce the prices, even temporarily, on their “lower end” gear, especially gear that is on the block to be replaced or upgraded (such as the 50W Sprout to the new 100WPC Sprout - which is a bad example because of how long ago it happened) so as to drive down the amounts of trade in credit they offer to customers looking to upgrade to the aforementioned high end lines. Voila! Instant higher margins! But what a pain in the butt, right? I know that PS Audio is NOT doing this.
But I digress - I don’t think you’ll ever find McIntosh or Krell discounting their products, even though their business model is (now) slightly different than PS Audio’s - UNLESS - said product is about to become obsolete. Hell, I don’t even think they have temporary sales! Hence, because of this and the fact that they make high quality products, instant devaluation is not a huge issue with Mc or Krell products. You can buy an amp and then three months later probably sell it for near what you paid retail minus, say, shipping. But if during the interim, McIntosh had done a fire sale on the amp, at half price or so, and made it known that this kind of sale would repeat in the future (at prices lower than or equal to the current used market value), then I’d have a much tougher time selling my unit on the used market!
Now to the varying notions of what one should or shouldn’t do or expect from this hobby. I’m not making judgments like some others appear to be, tacit or implied. Some of us have more “volatile” situations in regard to a hobby like this. Size requirements can change rapidly, we may find a new product or a used one that we get a chance to hear and think “sounds better” than the one we currently have, or we may just need to sell for a personal financial reason, or emergency. Trying to paint anyone who asks the questions that those of us who do dabble in used stuff tend to ask, as some kind of fanatical equipment switchers, constantly cycling audio equipment in and out of our systems, is ridiculous. And I will repeat - buying used is a great way to experience the real “high end” in this hobby, because for one thing, markups are out of this world on new equipment (and I know this from personal experience with mfg.s like JBL and others) and it’s only a matter of time before you can find it used for less than half the cost (generally speakers are the worst here - they lose more value quicker - 2nd worst IMHO would be electronics that don’t have a raft of favorable industry reviews floating around (PS Audio doesn’t have that issue)). There is still nothing wrong with people whose hobby IS to cycle as much equipment in and out of their system as possible, but I don’t think that myself or anyone else who has responded to this topic meets that definition.
Re: the Corvette price drop - Yeah that’s actually very standard. Like “mass produced” “high end” audio, margins are also VERY high for “mass produced” sports cars and it’s standard to discount them (and still make a hefty profit) seasonally or when a new model update is anticipated. That’s smart shopping - assuming you’re not rich and obsessed with having the “best” and the “latest” in which case, screw frugality - you’re waiting for the C8 (or whatever the next in line is). Not sure how many Corvettes they make each year for sale worldwide, but with the Mustang, the margins go way up as you start going down the product line. Eg. the Shelby models, some of which have optional magnetic suspension and carbon fiber brakes, with the high revving naturally aspirated V8, are produced in much smaller numbers and margins tend to be lower, because lower margins will be offset by the average buyer putting down $30,000 for a loaded V-6/Ecotec or base model 5.0, usually on 5-8 year notes (which is another way that the auto industry can make such obscene margins), but the Corvette is kind of unique. Might actually be a very good analogue to the DSD DAC!
P.S. I forgot to mention it earlier, but in this day and age it’s very hard to actually audition audio products, especially expensive ones, before purchasing. A consumer must have the credit or cash on hand in order to try these products out in their system if they wish to buy new, even if they do get a full refund within 30 days assuming they didn’t like it. I can’t remember the last time I was able to go to a hi-fi shop and compare a reasonable range of high end stereo gear. So a lot of people often hear these products on the used market. I think having a high used resale value benefits both the mfg. and the customer in the long run.