Theres another thread on here asking for cheaper versions. Theres severeral reasons:
*) Empirical Labs is not really set up for mass production in the 10's of thousands. Its a different type of company.
*) Making a cheaper version would draw our energy and customer support away from our premium products.
*) A cheaper version would take away sales from our premium products.
*) To make a cheap knock off would take time away from designing newer innovative products. The amount of time spent to design and test our products makes it dangerous to compete in the low end market.
*) It would "contaminate" our image as a high end company, and we would have to use cheaper components. We dont want to start using cheap knobs and pots and 5% resistors.
Maybe someday we will put out something well under $1000, but not for quite a few years, I dont think. Besides... it would really piss off our customers if we put out a $299 Distressor-Lite after they had paid $1500 to get the "sound." <laughing>