My ones and zeros sound better than your ones and zeros

Near my office is one of Tokyo’s audio equipment retail districts, and I recently happened to pop into a store with a co-worker who said he wanted to pick up a couple of things over his lunchbreak. High-end speaker equipment is not unique to Japan of course, but it was the first time I’d ventured into one of these stores for myself.

I entered the world of the audiophile, and I don’t think things will ever be the same.

How about this used speaker cable, a steal at just $2800 AUD?

Or how about one of these second-hand audio cables at only $977 and $1140 respectively?

I’ve got to say, they look the business.  If they also happen to improve sound quality, I guess that would also be useful.

I once happened to meet a guy who used to work in stereo sales. He confided that while the margins on the speakers and amps were only modest, they made an absolute killing on cables – sometimes up to 80% pure profit.

As he said: “Once a guy  – yes, almost always a guy – has already dropped multiple thousands of dollars on high-end stereo equipment, it’s the easiest thing in the world to say, ‘You know, it would be a shame if you weren’t getting the best out of your new gear. If don’t use these $2000 cables, really, what’s the point?'” Thanks the the miracle of price anchoring, that $2000 seems like a trifle compared to the several thousands more the punter has already outlaid.

What also makes this so effective as a money-turning enterprise is that as audio quality is such a subjective thing, you can always be lead to believe that there’s just a little too much bass, or that treble is not quite sharp enough.  If only you’d bought those more expensive cables!  Time to upgrade!

But don’t let me sit here and claim that audiophiles are alone here.  I have a funny feeling that this scene in a camera shop is based on bitter personal experience.  I imagine you can easily replace the word “lens” with “speaker cable”:

One thought on “My ones and zeros sound better than your ones and zeros

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