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Audio Marketing Reigns Supreme

arancano

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Following Amir for some time I have a number of takeaways. #1 is that Marketing, not Performance rules the audio world. His recent review of the PS Audio P12 is a case in point. It shows that it is a product without a valid purpose. Simply put, there is no need to clean up AC since audio gear runs on DC and devices already do that. Further, PSA has not demonstrated that cleaning up AC has any effect on audio performance.

Yet, PSA is quite proud of its power regenerators, claiming they invented the category. Power regenerators are the first thing you see on their landing web page. The very second line on that page reads “Regenerate the magic”. What magic? It is never explained. It is hyperbole at its best.

Consider this:

“A P12 gives you greatly improved performance and safety from just plugging into the wall socket and far better dynamics, bass, and a much bigger, open soundstage than any passive power conditioner on the market.”

I can understand why power regenerators take center stage at PSA. With prices ranging from $2,500 to $10,000, the profit margin must be significant. The hyperbole is understandable. So is the attempt to defend the new P12 regenerator against Amir’s claim that it is a product with a misdirected mission.

PSA’s intention is sales, but is the company using deception which is believed and relied upon by others? If it is, the same might be said about the marketing of other audio products by a number of manufacturers. Cables come to mind. If it is, its marketing comes close to the literal definition of fraudulent behavior. What I think keeps it from crossing the line is that the purchase of an audio product is a voluntary act. Companies may truly believe that technologies in their products make an audible difference. However, to Amir’s point, where is the proof?

I don’t ever think of myself as a victim. I chose to buy a P15 regenerator as my first PSA device. Other than being influenced by an excellent salesperson, it came without pressure. Over the last two years, I have tried hard to hear a difference between my gear using the P15 and no regenerator. I failed. Fortunately, the P15 can still play a role, albeit as probably the most expensive power strip I’ve ever owned.

I once drank the PSA Kool-Aid. It was hard not to. Besides the P15, I owned a DSD DAC, BHK 250 amp, and BHK preamp. Getting those devices was part of my effort to see if the considerable expense would have sonic payoffs. The same applied to my purchase of fairly high-grade Audioquest cabling and $12,000 Focal speakers. The hard and expensive lesson to learn was that, in the end, I would find exceptional performance without the high cost.

Fortunately, I sold all my PSA gear, except for the regenerator. Why I'm not sure. Perhaps as a reminder never to make that mistake again. I had enough money left over to get a whole new system, bank a few bucks, and pay for more than a few fine dining experiences. It was not hard to let go after acquiring a pair of Klipsch Forte IV speakers, a Denafrips Pontus DAC, Decware Zen single-ended triode amp, Schiit SS preamp, and Blue Jeans cabling throughout. I now have the high-fidelity sound I wanted, at a fraction of what PSA gear cost me.

I wish I had discovered the world of high-sensitivity speakers and low-powered amplifiers a lot sooner. I wish I had learned that price and performance are not necessarily correlated before spending considerable money on all the high-end gear I’ve had over the years. I wish I had used my critical skills much earlier and saw marketing hyperbole for what it is. I wish I had discovered Audio Science Research sooner.

But if I had, I might not now appreciate firsthand the brilliance of much of today’s audio marketing. However misleading it can be, it is brilliant. If I had a “Brilliance in Marketing” award to give, PSA would most definitely get it. There is a lot that is good about it. A 30-day home trial with PSA-paid returns is hard to fault. Trade-ins that give you the full retail price of whatever is traded against the purchase price of PSA gear (up to 30% of the retail price) are hard to beat.

To be sure, customers pay for the privilege with the unnecessarily high price of PSA gear, which does not reflect its true sonic performance value, at least not for those who do not return the product or trade their unwanted components.

I would rather trade-ins were eliminated and prices lowered. Still, since I am no longer a PSA buyer, I am glad the program exists for those folks who find Paul McGowan credible. It can be difficult after seeing chronic, fundamental mistakes in videos and posts. However, there is some value in his pronouncements, and there are many who find his folksy charm genuine and compelling enough to overlook the flaws and reward PSA with their hard-earned dollars.

In my mind, absent proof of concept, misleading the audio community about regenerators throws doubt upon PSA assertions about other claims in its product line. I just hope that folks at least consider, many times over, the purchase of a PSA regenerator. There is far more than reasonable doubt that purchasing this type of product is like throwing money into one of those infamous Florida sinkholes.
 
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Cbdb2

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BSaudio is one of the worst. Paul is a moron or a liar, probably both. He knows nothing about electricity and its obvious, his claims are all BS. And he was self admitted a used car salesman and still uses what he learned there. His smarmy act makes my skin crawl. And what an ego. He wrote a autobiography (who the f would read that) .
Instead of getting an EE degree like most audio designers he was " always running from something: the law, the Feds, the draft. Flight took me over the border to Tijuana for contraband, inside a county jail, into the hands of the Secret Service, onto the streets of Haight-Ashbury. I visited the armpit of Munich and the shame of bankruptcy court. I failed at just about everything I tried." His book should have been called 99%BS.
 
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voodooless

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PS Audio is just one company. It however needs a whole network of deceit to pull off what’s going on here. It’s other companies, dealers, magazines, forums, reviewers and many more cogs in the machine that is the audio industry. Rotten to the core, running on make belief, greed and a false sense of belonging.
 
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LightninBoy

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Right. I'm uncomfortable with the PS Audio pile on. They are one player in the game. The goal isn't to take down PS Audio, it's to expose the corrupt game that allows PS Audio and others like them to thrive.
 

valerianf

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I remember in the 80's, the Japanese audio companies were rivaling technically improving their gear. Measurements were published to justify the claims.
Nowadays, with iPhone and Earbuds used daily, who is trying to improve the audio technical performance?
Only new "gadget" features are permanently popping up to justify the marketing department work.
 

clearnfc

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I didnt read your thread but marketing reigns supreme everywhere.. its often more important than the product itself. The amount of money a company spends on marketing its products is often even high than the research and development.
 
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arancano

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I didnt read your thread but marketing reigns supreme everywhere.. its often more important than the product itself. The amount of money a company spends on marketing its products is often even high than the research and development.
Please read the post, but you are correct.
 
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arancano

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Right. I'm uncomfortable with the PS Audio pile on. They are one player in the game. The goal isn't to take down PS Audio, it's to expose the corrupt game that allows PS Audio and others like them to thrive.
You are right. I mentioned that the problem is more widespread. PS Audio is just an example a lot of folks here know about.
 
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arancano

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PS Audio is just one company. It however needs a whole network of deceit to pull off what’s going on here. It’s other companies, dealers, magazines, forums, reviewers and many more cogs in the machine that is the audio industry. Rotten to the core, running on make belief, greed and a false sense of belonging.
Amen!
 

Waxx

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PS is not even the worst, outside this forum the most bashed company (with reason) is Synergetic Audio Research, that sells the biggest bullshit in audio land and made the owner very rich: https://www.synergisticresearch.com/

PS sells a lot of bullshit, but their amps are at least quiet decent (but way to expensive), and the ego of the owner does not help...
 
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