Show One -- value abounds: The Resonessence Labs Concero DAC is priced at $599. It uses an ESS Sabre DAC chip and has an asynchronous USB input. It comes in . . .
. . . a small chassis that is machined from solid aluminum. From a value standpoint, it is definitely priced right.
Another example is the new 8008 amplifier from the reborn Aragon brand. This amplifier is heavy hardware, about 80 pounds apiece, and is packed with huge power supplies and up-to-date connectivity all dressed in a solid-aluminum chassis. For four grand, this also passes the smell test as being priced appropriately for what it offers. RMAF 2012 is definitely the place to put together a real high-end system for under $10,000 total.
Show Two -- on the other hand: The new Zellaton Studio Reference One loudspeakers are priced at $52,750/pr. The speakers have two drivers per cabinet and, oh, those cabinets are made of wood. Does that math work for you? Maybe they are fine loudspeakers, but why do they cost so much? I just don't get it.
Show Three -- MIA?: So up to now we have, one, a great bounty of value-oriented, high-performance audio gear and, two, some extremely high-priced gear that defies logic from a pricing standpoint. I hope it doesn't end there. My goal for tomorrow is simple: find the third act, the state-of-the-art-type equipment that I think is worth the price . . . regardless of what that price is. I hope I'm successful.
Editor-in-Chief, The SoundStage! Network