Firstly, just to clear things up, I am not discussing audio components in the audio gear.
I am actually simply giving my opinion about a&k products. I know close to nothing about audio components "stiffening caps, better emf shielding, better linearity, better dynamic range, better output stage, better taps, better current output, cleaner voltage"
I am trying to bring across the point that a&k does not make products that are value for the money. If you would claim that expensive audio components would have a "night and day" difference to well implemented audio components, prove it that you could differentiate between them in a blind listening test.
All dac/amps follow an exponential graph when it comes to price/performance. After the point of maximum efficiency, the price increases massively with very little/ neglectable performance increase.
Let me raise an example. Blind test the $869 ibasso dx200 against a ak flagship, the ak380 at usd $3499. Now, could you differentiate between the two. Let me tell you the answer. No, you cant. Is the ak380 better than the ibasso dx200 by $2630 ?No, it is not.
Secondly, you are extremely pompous to claim that "expensive does mean better".
Let me explain to people like you who simply love living in their world of "expensive means better".
The price of a product does not justify its performance. It is the quality of its implementation, the engineering feat that went into the product that makes it perform well. If ibasso can do it for $ 2630 less, why cant a&k?
Let me explain to you the inflated prices of a&k players.
1. People are Brand Conscious. It is exactly like Ferrari, people want an a&k player for the feeling of owning an expensive products that supposedly "puts all the rest to shame". The vanity of humans are why brands like lewis vutton and ferrari still have business, because of people like you.
2. People like to feel that they have the best. Oh you know I have best in class parts and the difference is night and day, oh I changed my audio cable to some silver cable, all the details are there finally, such a "night and day" difference. Oh please, stop it, for the simple reason that you had to continuously assure yourself that your audio parts are the best and therefore they would be a "night and day" difference, shows alone that you yourself are not even confident that your so called "expensive parts" would make a significant difference in audio quality when compared to well made audio gear.
3. a&k is riding off earning obscene profits from the rich/ brand conscious commoners. In case you didnt know, a&k is not making money through the quality of its products, it is making money through the human perception that "expensive is better". If you told me that the cost price of the components of an a&k player are equal to the retail price of the player, you should honestly stop being so gullible. Since you focused on components cost price, I shall explain. The components of an a&k player are probably much better than an xduoo, however what is the cost price of the components? Is the cost price of components used in a&k products 23 times more than an xduoo? No. The ratio of retail price to component cost price in a&k products are probably obscenely many times more than an xduoo. In layman terms, a&k is making much more from a single player when compared to xduoo.
To conclude, the main point of my argument is that a&k products perform poorly at its price tag when compared to other players like the ibasso dx200, and to be logical when purchasing expensive products.
What does the Noble K10 CIEM offer that other CIEMs cannot?
A different sound signature that no other IEM can replicate. Would I spend the $1.5k on it if I really liked the sound? Yes. Why? Because no other IEM can replicate the sound signature of the K10 extremely closely or to be even similar to it.
What does the $3499 ak380 offer that the $869 ibasso dx200 cannot?
So, please dont go around assuming that all expensive things are worth it like a proud and pompous person before using a bit of common sense.