Great Speakers For The Price Of Good Speakers

Posted by Tom Hannaher , Friday, December 5, 2008

We exhibit at a number of shows each year, but our favorite is the Home Entertainment Show - sponsored by Home Theater and Stereophile magazines. We always see and hear things at the show that amaze us. But the most amazing things at the show are the prices. Most of the interconnect cables on exhibit sell for more than the price of our most expensive system (which, by the way, comes with two interconnect cables). For the price of a late-model car you can buy a high-end tube amplifiers. For the price of a brand new German sports car - 5-series - you can buy a three-part CD player or a component turntable.

And if you do - well good for you. We think it's probably a better way to spend your money than on the fancy car. But it all does seem just a bit silly. When I first got into this business, I was convinced that the expensive products were better. Until one day, in the listening room of a crowded stereo store in Dinkytown (a Minneapolis neighborhood near the University of Minnesota), I compared the Advent Loudspeaker to several competing models selling for over twice its price. I talked to Kenny, my store manager, about it, and he assured me I was wrong. The expensive speakers were better. But the more I listened, the more clear it became. The Advents were better.

I became fascinated by the idea that a company could pull off something like this. And later on I went to work for Advent, where I worked with Henry Kloss. I worked with him again at Cambridge SoundWorks. Henry really liked the idea of making great products that were really affordable. He was very, very good at it.
In the 1970s stereo dealers were always asking Henry to make a more expensive version of the Advent Loudspeaker. His response? "If you want better sound, buy two pairs and stack them on top of one another." As a result, hundreds of people - including myself - bought "Stacked Advents," perhaps the most ungainly looking speaker system ever sold. But boy did they sound good!

I'm not sure what my point is. I guess it all centers on my fascination with products that exceed one's expectations - products that sound great, for the price of good. I believe ZVOX home theater systems qualify. And so, apparently, do the large number of retailers who don't sell ZVOX for the simple reason that our systems cost too little. Over and over I've had retailers tell me we should sell our systems for twice the price, or more.

So the bad news is that a lot of retailers aren't interested in selling affordable, high-quality audio products. The good news is that real-world people - you guys - are apparently very interested in exactly that. Our sincere thanks to all our past and future customers.


Ronny Geenen said...

I agree that a speaker system does not have to be expensive, but each person has a different way of listening to music. I am from the Netherlands and love jazz music. But when I came in the US in 1981, I started shopping for speakers taking my own CD to the audio stores. After 6 month shopping I ended in a high end store in Pasadena. I told the sales person my problem and he told me that he has an answer for my problem.
He let me listened to a set of two Tannoy speakers and I did not like the sound. Then he hooked up two other Tannoy speakers and these two looks similar to the former ones. These two gave me the sound I really like.
His explanation: The second set were British made for the european market and the first set were made for the american market.
After that experience I ordered direct from England my B&W speakers and two Rotel amps and Istill have them.

Upshot Commerce
Shopping Cart Software by
Upshot Commerce