Because I like to play nice in the gear world, I rarely post rants or complaints. But today, I was perusing an amp maker’s site – I will play nice here and not mention any names – and there were no prices posted! I understand that boutique gear normally runs much higher in price than mainstream gear, but when I’m looking a gear, nothing ruffles my feathers more than a manufacturer who won’t post their prices – or at least approximations. To me, it’s as if they have something to hide, and it also plants a seed that I’m going to get gouged. More likely than not, that’s not going to be the case, but I feel that being cagey about pricing – whether or not intentional – is simply a bad business practice.
I understand that especially with small, boutique amp builders that prices will vary from amp to amp, but I’ve been around long enough and have met and created relationships with enough manufacturers over the years to know that the best folks I’ve worked with at least provide a base price. That pricing could start out with the bare amp on a chassis, then build up from there, or start out with the pricing for a complete, no-frills amp, with modifications to the basic design costing a certain amount depending upon what you want.
Someone who’s great about this is my friend Jeff Aragaki of Aracom Amps. Yeah, I talk about him a lot, but not only is he one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet, he’s really upfront about what stuff will cost. He has a detailed price list on base models and options, but will also do custom work. He and I have talked about this very subject in past, and he questioned why people would hide their pricing because if you personally source the components, you can get an approximate material cost. Of course, the magic is getting the components to work well together, and that’s the value-add. As for me, I have no problem with someone posting a $3000 price tag. My philosophy is that good is good at any price, and I’m willing to pay for great sound. And I’m not alone in this…
So yeah, I was a bit irked by the manufacturer this morning. I just don’t see why they couldn’t be on the up and up….