"Bass" and its consequences, spec's, and prices

Inspired by, and trailing some of the specifics in below (linked) thread from Stereophile, there are some issues herein I find of importance:


The crux of the thread centers on the OP(Original Poster) praising Stereophile contributor Art Dudley for addressing the alarming tendency of "ridiculous prices becoming increasingly common in the world of audio," yet at the same time the OP laments Mr. Dudley's seeming self-contradiction in the latters appraisal of the $18,000/pair Oswalds Mill Audio Mini's, which, apart from being regarded as smaller, high efficiency stand-mounted speakers(8" mid/woofer + a ~12" conical horn fitted with a comp. driver), are marred, per the OP and others in the thread, by a rather lackluster spec indication of a bass roll-off frequency below 60Hz; the argument being, that $18,000 for a pair of small-ish speakers with "no bass" is outrageous(my own words), and hereby contradicts Mr. Dudley's mission as outlined above.

The proof is in the (actual) eating of the pudding, as they say, and I suppose this would be my main argument in defense of Mr. Dudley here. Whatever he heard from the OMA Mini's clearly thrilled his ears, and likely didn't call into question his own stance on whether they're too expensive - which, I assume, he believes they're not. So, why would the OP(and others) choose to by-pass Mr. Dudley's enthusiasm and call into question his stance on equipment prices with reference to a mere bass roll-off specification number - sight unseen, so to speak? What does that say about another tendency, even, where not only spec's are held in high, and blind esteem, but where adhering to the very generalized notion (and unspecified nature) of 'bass' below some 60Hz is regarded with greater importance than questioning (the nature and quality of) the entire audio spectrum above named frequency?

I for one find it very welcome that Mr. Weiss of OMA sees the limitations in having low efficiency, typically smaller woofers handle both lower bass and mids, realizing the severe effects and compromises being made over their entire bandwidth usage - not only in the bass region. That the naysayers to the combo of the Mini's and their calling price do not even begin to ask themselves what might be gained by having the Mini's forego the last octave(give or take; in-room response and so on) is indeed worrisome, and to me signals how "hifi" has been steered unto a track where much else, and proportionately more than sound and quality could come into question.

I'd be willing to admit the price of the Mini's is indeed very steep, not to mention the addition of the $12k(!) sub, but compared to the competition I don't see why they should take such a hard beating; or, one could also say that if the Mini's are to bashed for being too expensive, there sure as hell are a lot of other speakers that should as well - and that with build-in limitations that compared to the Mini's may be much more severe.

Anyway, this wasn't meant to be a post about the OMA Mini's per se, but more what they represent and how it seems to contrast an often-found tendency in hifi, that bass extension as a further unspecified aspect sits rather heavily as a priority here.
depending on the type of music one listens to, bass may be more or less important. However, once a manufacturer decides to create a niche product, which the OMA Mini clearly is, and focuses on a specific aspect of the sound, the manufacturer knows his sales will be minimal, and has to recoup his costs over a much smaller number of units. So, its pure math. How many do you expect to sell divided into the cost to produce including design, engineering and marketing, as well as fixed costs of plant, overhead etc and you get your break even point for each speaker. add your profit, distributor profit, dealer profit and warranty costs and you get your retail price.
I suspect OMA's products are essentially hand made, not that they dont use a CNC machine, but they are not spit out of an assembly line like donuts.

That being said, there isnt a great deal of music out there with a lot of sound below 60hz outside a full orchestra. so if you listen to string quartets, or female solo pop, you might not care about deep bass.