New Blackstar HT MK2 Amps

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longilongi Frets: 61
edited October 2017 in Amps
Looks like Blackstar have updated the HT Range. They have some nice new features on them too.

https://www.blackstaramps.com/uk/ranges/ht-venue-series-mk2

No Updated HT-5 as yet though.
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  • ecc83ecc83 Frets: 807

    Yes, I got this a day ago but have yet to have a listen to the clips. I just wonder though if the 'improvements' are those developed for the confusingly named 'Artist' and if so what will be the impact of sales on that?

    The Venue range were originally made as 'budget' amps. They all followed a common design brief, just EL34s for instance, even for 20watts and so if they get pimped up will they still be such good value?

    The HT-5 and its derivatives is a rather different beast (and unique until Bellringers stole it!) and not in the 'mainstream' of the Venue range.

    The Katana seems to be sweeping all before it? I wonder what the Northampton design bods are working on to counter that?

    Dave.

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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 31102
    It's a bit frustrating that with all that work to improve the amps, and "adding every major enhancement that guitarists have requested", they appear to have ignored the most important one of all.

    From the back views it looks like they're still fitted with Seventy/80s, which are one of the worst speakers Celestion make - and it's quite an old model now, there are several new models which are getting great reviews. Even if they didn't want to go to the expense of (say) a Neo Creamback, why not the new V-Type? It's not much more expensive than the Seventy/80 and it sounds far better.

    I imagine the form factor of the HT-5 might make it difficult to get the extra clean channel control to fit, which might explain why it's not included.

    The problem for Blackstar vs the Katana is that the concept is broadly the same as the ID series, but the Katana is less than half the price if you compare the Katana 50 to the ID60 combo, and the Katana 100 head is still cheaper than the ID100 head even though it also has a speaker built in.

    Still waiting for a lunchbox-size ID60 head that isn't 50% wasted space too!

    I hope they aren't falling behind the curve a bit...
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • ecc83 said:
    The HT-5 and its derivatives is a rather different beast (and unique until Bellringers stole it!) and not in the 'mainstream' of the Venue range.
    What's the story here??
    My trading feedback

    is it crazy how saying sentences backwards creates backwards sentences saying how crazy it is?

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  • ecc83ecc83 Frets: 807
    ecc83 said:
    The HT-5 and its derivatives is a rather different beast (and unique until Bellringers stole it!) and not in the 'mainstream' of the Venue range.
    What's the story here??


    Do you mean the Behringer story? If so they just copied the cosmetics pretty verbatim and from the claims made, much of the circuitry. The amps were not supposed to come to this country (where B's could 'ave 'um!) but I think a few have. Only the giant MVFP companies can fight such things worldwide.

    If you mean the difference twixt the Five and everything else? Well, 12BH7 for starters! It has been said by others and it is largely true that the Five is an HT pedal with a MOSFET PI an a valve OP stage but that is slightly unfair IMHO. Before HT5 V low power guitar amps tended to be single ended and very basic. One VC, one Tone pot. Single speaker Z, no loop, no headphone out and generally poor performance.

    Apart from its low, clean power the amp is pretty much everything you need in a gigging and especially recording amplifier (unless you are ICBM!)  Gigging?? Yes! Into a decent 100dB/W speaker it can hold its own in a small venue with a vegan drummer.

    The Venues, HT-20 and up are more convention designs. Op amps yes but valve stages where it matters and they were designed by a different chap, Cliff Brown who has gone on to produce his own designs and very good they are too!

    Dave.

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  • AlexCAlexC Frets: 1308
    Nothing about price far as I can see. Appreciate different models will be different values but what's the price range here?
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  • TeetonetalTeetonetal Frets: 5727
    edited October 2017
    @icbm i asked blackstar directly what speaker they were using. They pointed me to the website where it says "celestion"

    So I wrote back and asked if it was a good celestion like any speaker not the 70/80 or is it a 70/80

    They haven't responded.

    I just don't get why amp manufactures don't put in a speaker that really suits the amp and shows it in its best light.
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  • StefBStefB Frets: 404
    edited October 2017
    AlexC said:
    Nothing about price far as I can see. Appreciate different models will be different values but what's the price range here?

    Prices are noted on GuitarGuitar's page - £849 for the HT Stage 60 2x12 so hardly budget territory any longer...
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  • AlexCAlexC Frets: 1308
    @StefB ouch! Thanks.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 31102
    On the other hand the Fender Hotrod Deluxe - comparable to the HT40 - is now up to £767, vs £649 for the Blackstar, so they're still cheaper than the industry 'benchmark' amps.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • There is a worse speaker than a 70/80 , it's the rocket 50, truly an abomination which was fitted to the ht20
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 31102
    There is a worse speaker than a 70/80 , it's the rocket 50, truly an abomination which was fitted to the ht20
    It is shockingly bad, but I think it's the only one in Celestion's current 12" line which is worse than the Seventy/80.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • ICBM said:
    On the other hand the Fender Hotrod Deluxe - comparable to the HT40 - is now up to £767, vs £649 for the Blackstar, so they're still cheaper than the industry 'benchmark' amps.

    Yeah it's easy to forget that all prices are going up when you're not longer in the new amp market.  I took a peek at some new amp prices and was surprised at some of the costs, but it's pretty much across the board.
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  • I do like that they've listened about making them smaller.  I don't think anybody wants huge heads anymore, but plenty of people still like high powered heads.  

    Hopefully they'll take that design point on to the next series of ID TVP amps too
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  • @icbm i asked blackstar directly what speaker they were using. They pointed me to the website where it says "celestion"

    So I wrote back and asked if it was a good celestion like any speaker not the 70/80 or is it a 70/80

    They haven't responded.

    I just don't get why amp manufactures don't put in a speaker that really suits the amp and shows it in its best light.
    In my opinion it would be good sense to sell it without a speaker and you select the one you want fitted. With the ht20 combo they may as well have fitted it with a pile of dogshit seeing as it came with a rocket 50.
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  • ecc83ecc83 Frets: 807

    WRT the speaker situation? I really don't know and I have said this before but... The speaker in  combo is a big single cost item and (as the price comparison debacle above shows) this is a HUGELY competitive market.

    Blackstar must know by now that some people are not happy with the units they fit to some of their amplifiers but, they probably get a really good deal on the 70/80 (and Focket) and unless amps were coming back en mass or getting slated in the press they will continue to fit them.  It  is not as though the drive units are unreliable AFAIK?

    Some here will say, "But! The amps would sound SO much better!" Well, to THEM perhaps but will 90% of the punters pay another £10? Or will that tenner push the amp into another 'price brand' and lose a sale?

    Not, I don't think to just make a bit more profit but mainly to keep an 'edge' on the competition pricewise. There are enough amp makers here who will surely tell you that the ratio of BOM spend to store cost is about 1:10!  Not that high for high value, low production amps of course but anyone who has been in serious manufacturing will I am sure agree.

    Dave.

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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 31102
    ecc83 said:

    WRT the speaker situation? I really don't know and I have said this before but... The speaker in  combo is a big single cost item and (as the price comparison debacle above shows) this is a HUGELY competitive market.

    Blackstar must know by now that some people are not happy with the units they fit to some of their amplifiers but, they probably get a really good deal on the 70/80 (and Focket) and unless amps were coming back en mass or getting slated in the press they will continue to fit them.  It  is not as though the drive units are unreliable AFAIK?

    Some here will say, "But! The amps would sound SO much better!" Well, to THEM perhaps but will 90% of the punters pay another £10? Or will that tenner push the amp into another 'price brand' and lose a sale?

    They're definitely not unreliable, which is at least a good point. (The only 'unreliable' Celestion I've come across recently is the G12H-30 Heritage, which is not cheap!) My point is more that when other manufacturers do fit better speakers, it makes no sense to hobble the amp so badly when it may go head-to-head with a competitor in a shop situation and lose a sale that way.

    This is actually one of the reasons I think the V30 is so popular with manufacturers - it's extremely loud (and as we know louder sounds better!) and really cuts through a noisy shop environment. Take any decent amp with something like a Seventy/80 and a comparable power/quality/price amp with a V30, put them together in a shop and the customer is going to go home with the one with the V30. (The V30's lack of subtlety may only become apparent later…)

    OK, in today's world of online sales it's possibly less of an issue, but even then when the punter takes his new 40W amp with Seventy/80 along to a band practice and his mate's 30-watter with a V30 walks all over it in the mix, he's going to be a bit peeved. And since most punters don't know how much difference the speaker makes, they're just going to assume it just isn't a very good amp.

    Given that the new Blackstars are substantially cheaper than the industry-leading Fender offerings of the same power and speaker arrangement (I admit I haven't looked at other similar amps) my conclusion would be that they've overdone the penny-pinching on the speaker. I certainly wouldn't advocate going too far the other way - or to a V30 even, I don't think it would help the voicing - but they could do a lot better for not a lot more cost.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • I’m delighted. PMT slashed the prices on their HT mk1 range so had to drop the price of the second hand HT40 I was looking at even further. After a bit of chin scratching they said call it £239. Don’t mind if I do! 
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 31102
    I’m delighted. PMT slashed the prices on their HT mk1 range so had to drop the price of the second hand HT40 I was looking at even further. After a bit of chin scratching they said call it £239. Don’t mind if I do! 
    At that price you can probably afford to put an Alnico Cream in it if you like!
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • A compulsory step after buying a ht combo is to chuck the speaker in a skip and fit a decent one,then get a quality compressor and you have improved things no end. I keep a ht20 combo in my garage, the rocket 50 was flung into a skip and replaced with a greenback. Sticking my diamond cpr1 compressor out front and it sounds pretty good, enjoy the ht40 and that was a great price.
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  • ecc83ecc83 Frets: 807
    A compulsory step after buying a ht combo is to chuck the speaker in a skip and fit a decent one,then get a quality compressor and you have improved things no end. I keep a ht20 combo in my garage, the rocket 50 was flung into a skip and replaced with a greenback. Sticking my diamond cpr1 compressor out front and it sounds pretty good, enjoy the ht40 and that was a great price.


    And THAT ^ is a point I thought to make but thought I had droned on to an amplitude!

    I would guess 90% of the buyers of Blackstar amps never compare them to another and many never gig!

    Take the HT-20. Just about loud enough for gigging but very well specified for home practice and recording. The newb will not know the speaker is bad (it annoys mum, gotta be good!) and the recordist will likely run emulation through monitors or cans.

    The seasoned player who wants a decent amp of modest power, size,cost and weight, maybe micc'ed up on stage will KNOW to fit a better speaker (or, more likely, have a gaggle of cabs to pump it through)

    Of course the top of range Artisans have Greenbacks and V30s but even there, parts of the world wanted V30 in the A15! Can't please all.............

    Dave.

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  • bloodandtearsbloodandtears Frets: 419
    edited October 2017
    ecc83 said:
    ecc83 said:
    The HT-5 and its derivatives is a rather different beast (and unique until Bellringers stole it!) and not in the 'mainstream' of the Venue range.
    What's the story here??


    Do you mean the Behringer story? If so they just copied the cosmetics pretty verbatim and from the claims made, much of the circuitry. The amps were not supposed to come to this country (where B's could 'ave 'um!) but I think a few have. Only the giant MVFP companies can fight such things worldwide.

    If you mean the difference twixt the Five and everything else? Well, 12BH7 for starters! It has been said by others and it is largely true that the Five is an HT pedal with a MOSFET PI an a valve OP stage but that is slightly unfair IMHO. Before HT5 V low power guitar amps tended to be single ended and very basic. One VC, one Tone pot. Single speaker Z, no loop, no headphone out and generally poor performance.

    Apart from its low, clean power the amp is pretty much everything you need in a gigging and especially recording amplifier (unless you are ICBM!)  Gigging?? Yes! Into a decent 100dB/W speaker it can hold its own in a small venue with a vegan drummer.

    The Venues, HT-20 and up are more convention designs. Op amps yes but valve stages where it matters and they were designed by a different chap, Cliff Brown who has gone on to produce his own designs and very good they are too!

    Dave.

    Cripes.. The Bugera G5 INFINIUM looks "familiar"..  I always thought Bugera were a boutique amp....

    obviously missed this way back when....

    http://www.thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/45092/buggera-behringer-have-an-original-idea-not

    My trading feedback

    is it crazy how saying sentences backwards creates backwards sentences saying how crazy it is?

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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 31102
    ecc83 said:

    I would guess 90% of the buyers of Blackstar amps never compare them to another and many never gig!

    Take the HT-20. Just about loud enough for gigging but very well specified for home practice and recording. The newb will not know the speaker is bad (it annoys mum, gotta be good!) and the recordist will likely run emulation through monitors or cans.

    The seasoned player who wants a decent amp of modest power, size,cost and weight, maybe micc'ed up on stage will KNOW to fit a better speaker (or, more likely, have a gaggle of cabs to pump it through)

    Of course the top of range Artisans have Greenbacks and V30s but even there, parts of the world wanted V30 in the A15! Can't please all............

    I thought the exact opposite - they should have put Greenbacks in the A30 :).

    With respect, I don't think that's a very good attitude to new buyers - I saw too much of that when I worked in an old-fashioned general musical instrument shop which sold a lot of low-end guitar gear… 'it doesn't matter if it's crap, they don't know the difference'. They may not - yet. But when they do they will most likely never buy that brand again.

    I also think it's daft to force more experienced buyers to pay for a speaker they know they will replace immediately at even more outlay, even if it doesn't lose the sale in the first place. If they don't want to price the whole series higher, maybe they should offer a factory upgrade option (at a price, of course)?

    But since I'm always Mr. Grumpy, on a positive note at least they haven't moved to control panels to the top, as seems to be the unaccountably popular retro fashion now :), and the styling seems to have been improved overall - the new grille, knobs and more textured vinyl look classier.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • TeetonetalTeetonetal Frets: 5727
    ecc83 said:
    A compulsory step after buying a ht combo is to chuck the speaker in a skip and fit a decent one,then get a quality compressor and you have improved things no end. I keep a ht20 combo in my garage, the rocket 50 was flung into a skip and replaced with a greenback. Sticking my diamond cpr1 compressor out front and it sounds pretty good, enjoy the ht40 and that was a great price.


    And THAT ^ is a point I thought to make but thought I had droned on to an amplitude!

    I would guess 90% of the buyers of Blackstar amps never compare them to another and many never gig!

    Take the HT-20. Just about loud enough for gigging but very well specified for home practice and recording. The newb will not know the speaker is bad (it annoys mum, gotta be good!) and the recordist will likely run emulation through monitors or cans.

    The seasoned player who wants a decent amp of modest power, size,cost and weight, maybe micc'ed up on stage will KNOW to fit a better speaker (or, more likely, have a gaggle of cabs to pump it through)

    Of course the top of range Artisans have Greenbacks and V30s but even there, parts of the world wanted V30 in the A15! Can't please all.............

    Dave.

    I would disagree, I think the HT20 and HT40 are exactly the amp that will get bought by people looking to gig in maybe a first band, want valve because valves are cool and blackstar has a ton of endorsements.

    They then get fatigued with the muffled sound they get, have bad thoughts on blackstar and don't buy it anymore.

    My point is more that the 70/80 sounds awful in it. Dark, Muffled, no punch and low sensitivity.
    But almost any other compatible celsestion or WGS speaker in it and something is improved. I'm amazed more companies don't go with a Celsetion V (not v30) as standard.
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  • cruxiformcruxiform Frets: 1491
    edited October 2017
    I have the HT40 Vintage Pro which has the V30 fitted. I've played through a standard HT40 and I can tell the difference. Mine is a lot clearer, especially on the clean channel. It still sounds 'dark' on the OD channel. Saying that, @jdbwales (who I bought it from) recommended using an Eminence Legend GB128, which he had used but I had a V30 handy so that's what went in. Wouldn't mind trying another speaker to make it sound brighter. Overall though, it's a great amp.
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  • ecc83 said:

    Not, I don't think to just make a bit more profit but mainly to keep an 'edge' on the competition pricewise. There are enough amp makers here who will surely tell you that the ratio of BOM spend to store cost is about 1:10!  Not that high for high value, low production amps of course but anyone who has been in serious manufacturing will I am sure agree.
    There's the rub. In the world of manufacturing if your factory gate cost is more than 10% of the retail price then, as a general rule, you are doing something wrong. With Veblen goods such as 'prestige' Swiss watches the difference in manufacturing cost versus retail is much, much higher.  So, an amp retailing at £500 probably cost lest than £50 to make, and 'upgrading' to a speaker that costs £10 more would not translate in an amp costing £510, but one costing £600.
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  • jpfampsjpfamps Frets: 1323
    ecc83 said:

    Not, I don't think to just make a bit more profit but mainly to keep an 'edge' on the competition pricewise. There are enough amp makers here who will surely tell you that the ratio of BOM spend to store cost is about 1:10!  Not that high for high value, low production amps of course but anyone who has been in serious manufacturing will I am sure agree.
    There's the rub. In the world of manufacturing if your factory gate cost is more than 10% of the retail price then, as a general rule, you are doing something wrong. With Veblen goods such as 'prestige' Swiss watches the difference in manufacturing cost versus retail is much, much higher.  So, an amp retailing at £500 probably cost lest than £50 to make, and 'upgrading' to a speaker that costs £10 more would not translate in an amp costing £510, but one costing £600.
    The mark ups in musical instrument retail are much lower than most other industries tolerate, eg fashion.

    The difference in cost between the speakers discussed here would be much less than £10 at OEM prices. I think the extra £10 was on the retail price.

    My main gripe with the HT40 was incredibly small size of the output transformer; it's smaller than the OT in the Orange Tiny Terror! It can't pass a clean 100Hz full power sine wave with obvious signs of saturation.
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  • you can't put a great speaker in a cheap amp, then it would sound too good and no one would buy the expensive amps.......

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  • edited October 2017
    jpfamps said:

    There's the rub. In the world of manufacturing if your factory gate cost is more than 10% of the retail price then, as a general rule, you are doing something wrong. With Veblen goods such as 'prestige' Swiss watches the difference in manufacturing cost versus retail is much, much higher.  So, an amp retailing at £500 probably cost lest than £50 to make, and 'upgrading' to a speaker that costs £10 more would not translate in an amp costing £510, but one costing £600.
    The mark ups in musical instrument retail are much lower than most other industries tolerate, eg fashion.

    Maybe, but all that means is that instead of running a 10:1 retail to manufacturing cost ratio, in the fashion trade the ratio is more like to be 100:1 or more. Just look at the reports of Nike getting clothing made for a few tens of cents which then retail for 40-50 Dollars.

     Companies don't even have to be in the business of selling sweatshop clothing to run a huge manufacturing cost to retail cost ratio. As I said, things like Rolex watches are classic examples of Veblen goods, where the value people put on them is determined by the price asked, which actually bears no relationship whatsoever to the manufacturing cost. The reality is that watches such as Rolex are entirely made on automated machines at a low cost, and for many cheaper brands 'Swiss Made' means little, with imported parts being used which are then assembled in Switzerland, hence earning both the 'Swiss made' label and a tasty margin. The name of the game is marketing, and it is pretty common these days for companies to spend more on marketing than actually manufacturing the goods they sell!

    I would be very surprised if the unit manufacturing cost of a mass-produced amp such as a Blackstar wasn't less than 10% of the retail price, especially given that most (all?) of then seem to be made in China. (Does anyone know if some are still made in Korea?)
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  • jpfamps said:

    There's the rub. In the world of manufacturing if your factory gate cost is more than 10% of the retail price then, as a general rule, you are doing something wrong. With Veblen goods such as 'prestige' Swiss watches the difference in manufacturing cost versus retail is much, much higher.  So, an amp retailing at £500 probably cost lest than £50 to make, and 'upgrading' to a speaker that costs £10 more would not translate in an amp costing £510, but one costing £600.
    The mark ups in musical instrument retail are much lower than most other industries tolerate, eg fashion.

    Maybe, but all that means is that instead of running a 10:1 retail to manufacturing cost ratio, in the fashion trade the ratio is more like to be 100:1 or more. Just look at the reports of Nike getting clothing made for a few tens of cents which then retail for 40-50 Dollars.

     Companies don't even have to be in the business of selling sweatshop clothing to run a huge manufacturing cost to retail cost ratio. As I said, things like Rolex watches are classic examples of Veblen goods, where the value people put on them is determined by the price asked, which actually bears no relationship whatsoever to the manufacturing cost. The reality is that watches such as Rolex are entirely made on automated machines at a low cost, and for many cheaper brands 'Swiss Made' means little, with imported parts being used which are then assembled in Switzerland, hence earning both the 'Swiss made' label and a tasty margin. The name of the game is marketing, and it is pretty common these days for companies to spend more on marketing than actually manufacturing the goods they sell!

    I would be very surprised if the unit manufacturing cost of a mass-produced amp such as a Blackstar wasn't less than 10% of the retail price, especially given that most (all?) of then seem to be made in China. (Does anyone know if some are still made in Korea?)
    I don't think 10% manufacturing cost is likely in that end of the music industry, now talk about Friedmans etc and you may be closer....
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  • jpfamps said:

    There's the rub. In the world of manufacturing if your factory gate cost is more than 10% of the retail price then, as a general rule, you are doing something wrong. With Veblen goods such as 'prestige' Swiss watches the difference in manufacturing cost versus retail is much, much higher.  So, an amp retailing at £500 probably cost lest than £50 to make, and 'upgrading' to a speaker that costs £10 more would not translate in an amp costing £510, but one costing £600.
    The mark ups in musical instrument retail are much lower than most other industries tolerate, eg fashion.

    Maybe, but all that means is that instead of running a 10:1 retail to manufacturing cost ratio, in the fashion trade the ratio is more like to be 100:1 or more. Just look at the reports of Nike getting clothing made for a few tens of cents which then retail for 40-50 Dollars.

     Companies don't even have to be in the business of selling sweatshop clothing to run a huge manufacturing cost to retail cost ratio. As I said, things like Rolex watches are classic examples of Veblen goods, where the value people put on them is determined by the price asked, which actually bears no relationship whatsoever to the manufacturing cost. The reality is that watches such as Rolex are entirely made on automated machines at a low cost, and for many cheaper brands 'Swiss Made' means little, with imported parts being used which are then assembled in Switzerland, hence earning both the 'Swiss made' label and a tasty margin. The name of the game is marketing, and it is pretty common these days for companies to spend more on marketing than actually manufacturing the goods they sell!

    I would be very surprised if the unit manufacturing cost of a mass-produced amp such as a Blackstar wasn't less than 10% of the retail price, especially given that most (all?) of then seem to be made in China. (Does anyone know if some are still made in Korea?)
    While you're right that most Swiss watches are valuable because of branding marketing and people's perception of those, they are far from being "entirely" made on machines. 


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