PS Audio's Decision to Go Direct Pushed Me Out of the Hobby

PS Audio’s decision to go direct pretty much killed my passion for HiFi hardware.

The massive cost increase to the loyal customer is insane. PS Audio’s business model is from the 1980’s. These types of business models in HiFi is the the primary reason most of the people in the hobby are old, male and white.

DirectStream Power Plant 12
Direct: $5000
Dealer: $2750
Direct Holiday “sale”: $4000

As you can see, the desired margins make Apple look customer friendly. I would never be a DirectStream DAC owner without dealer pricing.

Products like Mytek Brooklyn DAC+ is bringing high end to midrange HiFi hardware at reasonable prices. I hope the new PS Audio leadership reavaluates the company. Moving buildings multiple times and other costly business decisions should not be passed onto the loyal customer.

This is just my humble opinion. I could be wrong.



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If you’re upset with PSA’s new business model, can’t you simply buy from a different company? To give up audio entirely because of PSA seems extreme.


I think it still has to get figured out. If you know the pricing structure then you have a head start. With your example at least under the current pricing means there is room for negotiations between the old dealer cost and whatever the posted price is. You must leave room for the trade-in allowance or forego the trade-in if they give you a great deal.
So take that 4k price and subtract 30% and you are quite close to the old dealer cost. It does give you a chance to get rid of old gear you likely would have a difficult time selling.
I kind of like it but you must plan ahead and wait to take advantage of sales or be good at driving a bargain.
My take is it is way better than just calling a dealer and having him place an order for drop shipping(let’s you get the best deal if you are smart)but falls short for those that used to have relationships with dealers and used their services to make informed choices. Dealers are becoming quite scarce for Hi-Fi lately and seems to me to be shifting to a custom install business model.
You can still get good pricing you just have to be smart about it;).

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I’ll say that, if you have something, anything, to trade in, you will get near dealer pricing.

With a VERY modest trade-in, they took 41.82% off the stellar stack I demo’d. That would bring your $5000 power plant down to $2900 or so.


Yeah it seems high end audio is when you pay half (or less), when manufacturers best distributors and distributors best dealers and customers feel pissed occasionally or happy about bazaar deals. Whatever this pricing coordination is good for…not sure if there’s another consumer goods sector like that.

That’s very close to the swashbuckling internet dealer price people are upset about no longer having access to.

Complain all you like about the Power Plant 12 costing $5,000 in the USA. It now costs the equivalent of $6,800 in the UK and there are no discounts or trade-ins.

Even if PS Audio did a trade-in policy in the UK it wouldn’t make much difference. There are two big dealer/distributors that run sister used businesses so offer good trade-ins, and I’;ve had no problem selling used items. My old P3 went a chap in Germany, I’ve sent Quad amps to Norway, plus local collection sales.

I was seriously looking at the P12 earlier this year, but at £5,000 it just did not make sense, and that is before a recent 5% price increase. Part of the reason is I spoke to a couple of dealers and could not get a demo unit. Based on a review, I replaced by P3 with a Shunyata conditioner and three cables for a total of £3,700.

I got a slightly discount on the Shunyata, but the % differential between UK and USA pricing at retail price is much the same for PS Audio and Shunyata. The big difference is that PS Audio USA customers seem to be used to getting a discount of 30% or more.

In the UK, and I understand most of Europe, prices are largely fixed. You know where you stand. It makes decisions easier. You can also count of current items having a resale value of about 60%, older models about 40%, slightly more for popular brands and less for anything esoteric or containing tubes.

My guess is that overall PS audio is taking the right approach, but may have to rethink their pricing.

Hopefully the Octave software will kick-start a range of Stellar streaming DAC pre-amp products. I see the bigger problem is that streaming and Class D amplification obviates the need for multiple boxes, which only add to cost and distortion connecting them. There are some fantastic products out there already, like the NAD M32, which has modular phono and BluOS options. BluOs is a tough act to beat. This device, like Devialet, converts all inputs to PCM 24/192, keeping analogue signalling to the absolute minimum, making the unit more compact and reducing distortion.

I’m also of the view that if you have a display, it must be readable from 15 feet away, otherwise don’t bother.

There are great products from relative upstarts like Mytek, Auralic and iFi. Personally, I think hifi stacks will soon disappear from the mid-market.

Don’t forget there are wonderful other options out there. Schiit is really upping their 2 channel offerings, the latest Aegir proved that.

Also, Pass Labs, especially used Pass Labs gears, are very approachable, and they have rock solid reliability, as well as sounding wonderfully.

I’m on the same boat as you, can’t afford PS Audio anymore. I chuckled a bit at the current “sale” prices. :slight_smile:


Mr. Segal, you may know this–and lots more–already, but you failed to mention the two big factors increasing the retail prices of US-made equipment in England*… One is the need for another layer of importer/equipment warranter, so there’s another…say…at least 50%. The second is that confiscatory 20% national salestax that’s so popular across the Atlantic.

So USD5000RR plus, say, 40% = $7000RR plus 20% = $7000.

  • and, of course, most-any equipment imported from another country.

Wow! A disgusting generalizing biggot right here on the PS Audio Forum…very sad.

No one needs you Biggot !


Who is the, new PS Audio leadership?

Come on people. We can be nicer than that.

FWIW Each of the past three years at audio shows I’ve seen more and more women (not just spouses of audiophiles) and families. Some obviously have been at it for a little while (asking informed questions, etc.)


This has nothing to do with general support of Byrdman‘s conclusions, but if we consider „old“ as „over 40-50“, I must say I don’t think he’s wrong (multiple exceptions as Ted mentioned faded out). Just go to Hifi shows and you’ll see. I also don’t like polarizing generalizations, but I also don’t close my eyes from a certain reality.

The mention of PSA‘s business model is something I don’t see in direct relation.


But this isn’t the case for a lot of US products imported to UK, for instance Schiit’s products are pretty much neck and neck USD vs GBP factoring conversion rates.

Whilst I understand where you’re coming from related to PSAudio particularly, to generalise and say they’re “pushing you out of the hobby” is incredibly defeatest to say the least. I’m not going to comment on the biggoted statements made, there’s no place for that on any forum IMHO.

If you can’t afford their stuff, I’m sorry, but you shop elsewhere. They haven’t priced you out of the hobby at all, there are countless manufacturers and dealers in every nation in the world and each have their strengths and weaknesses. I have a lot of US products I’ve shipped over, including GrooveTracer mods and Schiit, I’ve got a few UK products including Rega, Naim and Trichord and various other regional offerings from Japan, Eastern Europe etc etc.

I certainly can’t afford anything like PSAudio stuff, but that’s not to say I don’t appreciate their products and expertise. My setup is very naive compared to this quality stuff, but it suits me perfectly fine, and I aspire to be at the PSAudio level of equipment years down the road. If anything, it gives me a goal and objective in the future.

And in the meantime I can frequent their fantastic forum for free and educate myself further on all kinds of hardware.


I’ve been priced out by Porsche for a while, so I guess I’d quit driving.


Big fan of buying used, stereos and cars.


I find the used market is more vibrant than ever. With Hifishark, it’s easy to come up with sold prices as a guide to negotiate.


“Pushed you out of the hobby”??? That’s pretty dramatic. Is your hobby hifi or is it collecting PS Audio stuff? Because as so many here have mentioned, there’s a world of hifi equipment available for far less than PSA, both new and used.


Out of curiosity, when is something a truthful demographic observation, and when is it bigotry? The word bigotry means an “intolerance towards those who hold different opinions than oneself”. Thus if Byrdman feels the audiophile demographic is overly old, white, and male, if that’s his opinion, then isn’t it bigotry to give him a hard time about his opinion?

Also, isn’t it true, though no fault of PSA itself, that the audiophile demographic is, while not exclusively, but overwhelmingly, older, white and male? And what is so wrong about observing the obvious? Does stating a demographic fact make that statement inherently racist?

I’m genuinely unclear and perplexed why some are upset by the original post. The only thing I see differently in it is that PSA’s pricing scheme did not create the audiophile demographic. Which is largely, middle age to older, white, and male - and of course, well off to wealthy.