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Labarum
2009-06-06, 12:29
When you look at the cost of a small form PC, does that make the SB far too expensive?

This is cheaper that an SB3 in UK

http://www.oyyy.co.uk/product.php/92102/acer-aspire-revo-r3600l-ultra-small-form-factor-pc-atom--n270--1.6ghz-1024mb-8gb-solid-state-drive-wlan-linux--geforce-9400--revo-multimedia-keyboard-and-optical-mouse?CAWELAID=346463406

Granted, it only has an HDMI out, but the eeeBox has an optical out even if it costs more

http://www.plemix.com/macc-asus-eeebox-desktoppc

A small form PC can run silent and headless, and do all that an SB will and more?

The small form PC has more electronics in it, yet costs less. Why?

ddewey
2009-06-06, 13:38
Quoting Labarum (Labarum.3tdjhz1244316961 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com):

>
> When you look at the cost of a small form PC, does that make the SB far
> too expensive?
>
> This is cheaper that an SB3 in UK
>
>
http://www.oyyy.co.uk/product.php/92102/acer-aspire-revo-r3600l-ultra-small-form-factor-pc-atom--n270--1.6ghz-1024mb-8gb-solid-state-drive-wlan-linux--geforce-9400--revo-multimedia-keyboard-and-optical-mouse?CAWELAID=346463406g
>
> Granted, it only has an HDMI out, but the eeeBox has an optical out
> even if it costs more
>
> http://www.plemix.com/macc-asus-eeebox-desktoppc
>
> A small form PC can run silent and headless, and do all that an SB will
> and more?
>
> The small form PC has more electronics in it, yet costs less. Why?

What size is the display on that? Oh, it doesn't have one...

The display is likely by far the largest manufacturing expense.

rickwookie
2009-06-06, 13:44
The small form PC has more electronics in it, yet costs less. Why?

More electronics? Do you mean a greater number of components? One individual component (a top-end CPU for example) could easily cost more than that whole PC, so the amount of 'electronics' is not a measure of anything.

Personally, I think the Squeezebox is very well priced. If you look at HiFi equipment in general, good quality components have no real price ceiling. Some interconnects can cost more than a Squeezebox.

Just because a device appears to do 'more' it doesn't necessarily do anything 'better'. Would you question the price of a high-performance sports car if you found a cheaper car that had electric windows and air-conditioning, if the high-performance car lacked those features?

I use a cheap PC (built from scraps) for my SqueezeCenter server, and I thought I may as well make use of it as another music zone (using SqueezeSlave) since it's got sound output (the motherboard built-in sound device) and has to be switched on anyway, and using another device such as a Squeezebox Receiver is just a waste or electricity. When I played music on it, I realised how horible it sounded compared to my SB3. Sure the manufacturer managed to add sound to the board using very cheap electronics, but it's no use for anything much other than system beeps.

When you're talking about using digital audio outputs (as I do on one of my SB3s), the argument changes slightly, since I wouldn't think that you're going to get anything different out of the SFF PC than an SB receiver, but then you're simply not using half the device you've bought (the DAC). Then again, the receiver is only 85. Comparing it to the SB3 (or Classic as it's now known), the SFF PC has no display (those displays are not cheap you know, and I think they're excellent) and no IR remote interface.

Goodsounds
2009-06-06, 14:05
The small form PC has more electronics in it, yet costs less. Why?

Please don't think that the price of an item is solely determined by adding the cost to manufacture to a summation of the piece parts or raw materials it contains. The world is not so simplistic!

What else is considered? Software development costs (which are continuing and very substantial for the SB line). The prices, availability, similarities and differences and relative strengths and weaknesses of other products that are either substitutes or competitors. Distribution, market trends, warranty, the cost of companion products, and on and on and on. And arguably one hundred other factors. And arguably none of them at all sometimes, in cases when a "whatever the traffic will bear" approach is used.

toby10
2009-06-06, 14:36
I suppose you could even just use a cheap laptop or the mini computers, assuming you had a decent digital out or a no mux analog out to speakers or an amp. But to me that defeats the whole purpose of the SB players: to free yourself from directly interacting with (or even seeing) a computer. :)

Nonreality
2009-06-06, 17:51
When you look at the cost of a small form PC, does that make the SB far too expensive?

This is cheaper that an SB3 in UK

http://www.oyyy.co.uk/product.php/92102/acer-aspire-revo-r3600l-ultra-small-form-factor-pc-atom--n270--1.6ghz-1024mb-8gb-solid-state-drive-wlan-linux--geforce-9400--revo-multimedia-keyboard-and-optical-mouse?CAWELAID=346463406

Granted, it only has an HDMI out, but the eeeBox has an optical out even if it costs more

http://www.plemix.com/macc-asus-eeebox-desktoppc

A small form PC can run silent and headless, and do all that an SB will and more?

The small form PC has more electronics in it, yet costs less. Why?
You have to be kidding. The SB3 that I bought almost 2 years ago is one of the things that I really think was too cheap (the price) compared to the enjoyment I've gotten from it. It's been wonderful and beyond that a lot of fun for me and my family. Now that I've used it I would have paid a lot more for it. I guess you either get it or you don't. We love it and it's expanded my music appreciation considerably allowing us to explore our music so much more than before. Very few devices have made me feel that I didn't pay enough for it and this has. If it's not for you then no problem but let it be known that it is for a bunch of people.

st2000
2009-06-06, 17:56
Labarum wrote:
> When you look at the cost of a small form PC, does that make the SB far
> too expensive?
>
> This is cheaper that an SB3 in UK
>
> http://www.oyyy.co.uk/product.php/92102/acer-aspire-revo-r3600l-ultra-small-form-factor-pc-atom--n270--1.6ghz-1024mb-8gb-solid-state-drive-wlan-linux--geforce-9400--revo-multimedia-keyboard-and-optical-mouse?CAWELAID=346463406
>
> Granted, it only has an HDMI out, but the eeeBox has an optical out
> even if it costs more
>
> http://www.plemix.com/macc-asus-eeebox-desktoppc
>
> A small form PC can run silent and headless, and do all that an SB will
> and more?
>
> The small form PC has more electronics in it, yet costs less. Why?

The VFD found in most SBs is expensive. The OEM price is probably close
to $100US. And, you could raise a holy war here if you want to talk
about the D/A converter used in SB vs. other D/A converters. I suspect
the raw materials for the basic SB to be around $150. Roughly speaking,
the price of a product should be about twice the raw materials. So $300
is about right.

If you still think the price is too high, the server code and protocol
used is open to the public. That is, there is enough information on the
web to build your own client. Many have. I have suspected the cheapest
possible client would be certain types of routers with a USB port and a
cheap USB to stereo dongle. Some routers can be re-purposed (hacked)
for internet radio:
> http://hackaday.com/2008/12/19/wifi-streaming-radio/

....it should not be very difficult to add a squeeze center client to
such a project. This approach, cost wise, should not exceed $150.
Actually, if you are frugal, the router should not be more than $50 and
the stereo dongle not more than $15. Do not forget this is a hack and
you will probably have to crack open the router and flash it with
OpenWrt software. And, at this price, there is no local display, no
local IR receiver and no remote control. But that does not mean you
can't hack them in as well!

pfarrell
2009-06-06, 18:27
stuart wrote:
> the raw materials for the basic SB to be around $150. Roughly speaking,
> the price of a product should be about twice the raw materials.

No, for most electronics, the retail price is five to ten times parts price.

Sean and others have said that the VFD is way expensive. Which is why
the Receiver is less expensive.

The nearly free cost of netbooks and nettops is amazing, I wonder how
anyone can make any profit at their current costs.

After buying three SB, a Duet, Boom and Transporter, it should be clear
when I stand on the value vs price discussion.

--
Pat Farrell
http://www.pfarrell.com/

Goodsounds
2009-06-06, 21:55
pfarell and st2000-

I suspect for most things, reality lies in between your two estimates (each of which I think is probably too extreme). But it's true that some products are more parts intensive, others more software intensive, and for these products there's no separate charge for the software. And it's not free.

Labarum
2009-06-06, 23:26
O dear. Such passion.

I ask the question in a fairly disinterested sort of way. It is surely worth asking.

For my part I like my SB3 very much and listen to it all the time. With an external DAC it betters my Quad FM tuner and streamed FLAC betters my Quad 77 CD Player. I listen mostly to hi bit classical music radio streams, and to BBC Radio 4.

I do not object to the price I paid for my SB3, and yes, I have had my money's worth. I simply observe that a small cheap PC will do more for less. Others have observed there are other hardware solutions to music streaming, and very soon media streaming boxes that handle video as well as audio formats will be cheaper than an SB3. It may be that they will not manage audio as elegantly or as well.

The SB3 internal DAC is better than some, but not good enough for me; but I appreciate the difference in production cost between including it or not will be very small. Half a duet would do me as I hardly ever look at the SB3 screen, and I usually tap the keys of the laptop on the coffee table in front of me rather than try and find the remote.

I bought the SB3 after quite a lot of personal research. I bought it to sidestep the re-sampling/bit-perfect issues of hardware running Windows; I bought it because it was a silent box; and I bought it because of the (mostly) open source software that I could see would develop in response to a myriad of different needs.

Was it worth the cost to me? Most certainly, yes.

Does it still cost too much? Probably, looking at what other boxes do and contain. And yet the quality of construction is far better than many cheap boxes . . .

Let the discussion continue.

autopilot
2009-06-07, 04:08
You have to look at volumes too. The SB3 might out sell one specific model of SFF PC, but the componants in a SFF PC will almost certainly shift more than the custom parts in an SB3, as they are used in many different products. Vastly so in fact. A large PC firm can operate on much lower margins too, as they shift many more units as a company. The super cheap stuff is often sold a low margins to pull people into the brand, helping market the more expesive stuff with better margins. Loads of factors at play here, i think you are looking it a little simplistically.

The R&D and ongoing development costs will be significantly lower in a PC too. You can't really compare the two. If if the SB3 is cheap or expensive, the SFF PC market is completely irelevent.

That said, even the market it operates, the SB3 is still a complete bargin IMO. Just look at the cost of Sonos, even without the remote (which is over-priced IMHO). The tacky old Roku's did not sell much bellow the price of an SB3 either.

ModelCitizen
2009-06-07, 13:42
After buying three SB, a Duet, Boom and Transporter
Pardon?

MC

rickwookie
2009-06-08, 02:31
I simply observe that a small cheap PC will do more for less.

But it doesn't do 'more'. If it has no display and no remote, on its own, there's lots it can't do. It may be able to do a variety of things being a PC and not a dedicated audio device (although for most them you'd need to purchase a display, which could easily add another 100) but the phrase is - 'Jack of all trades, master of none'.

You seem to be of the opinion that you don't use/need the VFD for the most part, and prefer to use your laptop as an interface. Fine, then I draw your attention again to the fact that the SB Receiver is only 85, so the SFF being cheaper, whatever way you look at it, is simply not true.

Labarum
2009-06-08, 04:38
the SB Receiver is only 85

Best I have seen is 100. Who is selling at 85? That is a good deal.

browellm
2009-06-08, 05:49
Best I have seen is 100. Who is selling at 85? That is a good deal.

Google it, ya lazy oik ;-)

http://www.superfi.co.uk/index.cfm/page/moreinfo.cfm/Product_ID/3876

Labarum
2009-06-08, 05:59
Google it, ya lazy oik ;-)

http://www.superfi.co.uk/index.cfm/page/moreinfo.cfm/Product_ID/3876

Thank you for your kindness and your courtesy. Last time I looked they were selling for close to 100.

browellm
2009-06-08, 06:57
Thank you for your kindness and your courtesy. Last time I looked they were selling for close to 100.

That's why there was a smiley on the end. I didn't realise you were such a delicate flower. Humble apologies.

Labarum
2009-06-08, 07:09
That's why there was a smiley on the end. I didn't realise you were such a delicate flower. Humble apologies.

<very big grin> I did see the smiley, but two can play at that game!

badbob
2009-06-08, 08:11
Have you factored in a operating system, and software? What about a display? Please. A PC is far more expensive than a Squeezebox.

I've got a few computers, and use a HTPC but for music the Squeezebox clearly wins in cost, usability & flexability.

Try and build a fully working PC for 165, zero noise, low power, with large VFD, operating system, plugin for VFD. IR remote control.

A Mac Mini may come closest, but you still need VFD, remote control, and VFD plugin/itunes support.

Mushroom_3
2009-06-08, 08:14
Every now and then you can find a deal (in UK at least) that makes the SB3 price OK.
On the other hand I think the Transporter is over priced.

browellm
2009-06-08, 08:26
Every now and then you can find a deal (in UK at least) that makes the SB3 price OK.
On the other hand I think the Transporter is over priced.

At 1080? I disagree.

Dogberry2
2009-06-08, 20:13
Does it still cost too much? Probably, looking at what other boxes do and contain. And yet the quality of construction is far better than many cheap boxes . . .

Let the discussion continue.
There's really nothing to discuss. You ask if the SB costs too much. That's like asking "how long is a piece of string?" Since what you mean by "too much" is obviously nothing more than "more than I think it should" nobody can dispute that; you're free to think whatever you like.

But your claim that a low-end PC should be the price point of reference is simply silly. The SB isn't a PC, and isn't intended to be. No bottom-end PC is going to produce the sound that the SB does. The point that a PC "can do more" than the SB is also silly. A cheap toaster can do things neither the SB nor the PC can do, but so what? I have dremel tool that can do lots of different things, and it cost less than the SB or a PC. But I don't base my notion of the value of either of those around the cost of a dremel tool.

Ultimately, the concept of "costs too much" is nothing more than a personal opinion of the value of an item. If you're willing to pay the price for it, then by definition it doesn't cost too much. If you're not willing to pay the price, then it costs too much. That's the only definition of "too much" that has any meaning. Any attempt to discuss whether something "costs too much" in any other terms is sheer amphigory.

Labarum
2009-06-08, 22:45
There's really nothing to discuss . . .

Much of what you say is unanswerable; and yet I have this nagging doubt that behind the "objective" analysis in your post, and in some of the others, is a subjective and deep attachement to the product. (Which I too like and enjoy.)

Had I posted a similar question on a Mac forum "Are all Macs overpriced" I would have seen a similar strong reaction.

Some HiFi forums are chat-rooms for devotees of particular products - ask the wrong question in those forums at your peril!

But I do note that my SB3 cost a fraction of my Quad FM Tuner, and trounces it when working through an external DAC. What value?

Goodsounds
2009-06-08, 23:05
Much of what you say is unanswerable; and yet I have this nagging doubt that behind the "objective" analysis in your post..

I think dogberry's comments are quite clear, and perhaps you're either ignoring his points (and others' too, for that matter) or you don't understand them. I think it's the latter.

rickwookie
2009-06-09, 01:43
Best I have seen is 100. Who is selling at 85? That is a good deal.

Was recently at http://audioaffair.co.uk/ for that, but they don't seem to have it in stock right now (when out of stock, things don't seem to appear at all on their website). Also BroadbandStuff.co.uk is always pretty good for consistently low prices on Squeezey stuff (Squeezebox Duet Receiver (http://www.broadbandstuff.co.uk/index.php?cPath=128&osCsid=9041649a27080cd4c4787ef6eeb23e06)). Note the Classic cheaper than the SFF PC in your original post, and even cheaper here (http://www.misco.co.uk/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=292005&sourceid=2459&CAWELAID=150044546). :-)

funkstar
2009-06-09, 04:16
I think part of the question relates to peoples perception that the SqueezeBox range has more to do with computers that audio hardware. Probably because you need a computer of some description and the core users are from a computing background.

When you compare the price of a SB3 (for example) to a good quality CD player or DAC, you see that it isn't expensive at all, and is in fact it is very good value.

Dogberry2
2009-06-09, 04:42
Much of what you say is unanswerable; and yet I have this nagging doubt that behind the "objective" analysis in your post, and in some of the others, is a subjective and deep attachement to the product.Perhaps I didn't state things clearly enough. My entire point was that there's no possibility of being objective in deciding whether a particular product is "too expensive" or not, because "too expensive" is entirely a subjective notion. Every individual is going to make his own subjective judgment about what something is worth to him. Consumers may (sometimes) be objective in evaluating whether they can afford a product, but their estimation of whether the product is worth the asking price is always subjective. This isn't a particularly new or deep philosophical notion; it's long been a fundamental axiom of business and marketing, regardless of the product.

Dingostrategy
2009-06-09, 05:04
My girlfriend spend a thousand bucks in a day on a pair of shoes, a handbag and lunch.

Case Closed.

eganders
2009-06-09, 19:14
My girlfriend spend a thousand bucks in a day on a pair of shoes, a handbag and lunch.

Case Closed.

Yeah. Explain that!

Here's a paraphrased answer from above. What you discuss is unspeakable; and yet I have this nagging doubt that behind the implicit analysis in your post, is a subjective and deep attachement to your girlfriend. (Who you like and enjoy. Most of the time.) :)

pablolie
2009-06-09, 22:49
...there are different ways to look at this. and ultimately only market success will tell the story.

(1) one side of the story goes... "hey the basic SB design has been on the market for several years, and typically computer based products go through aggressive price reduction cycles..."

(2) the other side goes "... the SB transcends usual computer hardware because (a) it lacks true competitive pressure (b) it provides ongoing software development and thus constant product improvement (c) it even crosses over into the esoteric audiophole realm, and is a bargain when that is considered ..."

That's just in a nutshell. From a Logitech perspective the key question is whether this is a market where lowering price (and reducing margins) results in radically increased volume and market share. I trust they have done such analysis, and have found that it is not; meaning that (2) reflects the value proposition as perceived by potential customers. mind you, that also means this is not a mass market, yet...

Labarum
2009-06-09, 22:57
Thank you, Pablo, for a good analysis.

It would be good if the Squeezebox achieved the market penetration of straightforward consumer electronics, but I do wonder if it ever will. It is not truly "plug and play", and requires both knowledge and dedication to master. I guess it will remain a "techies toy" with a relatively small user base, and will therefore never see the fall in price that comes with volume sales.

DoomWolf
2009-06-10, 00:57
There's often special offers on. I've bought an SB3, Duet and Boom and only paid full price for the SB3. I got 40% off the Duet from Logitech, sold the Receiver that I never actually used and bought the Boom from Amazon for 105 with a discount voucher code. Taking into account selling the Receiver, I work out I paid 90 for the Boom and 120 for the Controller.

You just need to keep an eye out for bargains on the internet.

Labarum
2009-06-10, 02:08
120 for the Controller.

The new iPhone prices will concentrate minds - at least in the USA.