Are internet direct companies overly hyped? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 36 Old 05-14-2012, 10:31 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm just curious if anyone feels some of these subwoofer companies are overrated? This isn't my belief, so don't flame me. Before I make an expensive purchase (for me) I always like to hear both sides.
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post #2 of 36 Old 05-14-2012, 10:39 AM
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A little. Many of the companies and many of the products deliver on the promise--better than you're expecting, overwhelmingly, write a letter to your mom so she knows about it. Some of the products (and some of the companies) fail to deliver on the promise.

I don't believe that a company's participation in the ID distribution model gives its products an automatic seal of high quality and value. In fact, the consumer should research each company and each product carefully. One cool thing is that most of the companies have pretty liberal return policies--liberal so long as you can stomach return shipping fees, although some of the companies will even pay for return shipping.

Still, just the same as with all electronics, I think it's best to sample as wide a variety of different makers, makes and models as is reasonable. This way you can get a sense of comparative value and quality.

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post #3 of 36 Old 05-14-2012, 10:48 AM
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In another thread an Internet Direct subwoofer maker states that the cost of parts and materials for retail brands is about 20% of the MSRP. The source also says that with Internet Direct companies the cost of parts and materials is about 40% of the subwoofers's price.

If you figure in the fact that ID don't have to pay a middleman. The value is even higher.

Of course not every make and model has equal value, however, in general ID is not only a better value but also a better performer.

Even so, some people prefer to shop in retail envrionment especially if they want to experience a product before they buy it.
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post #4 of 36 Old 05-14-2012, 11:07 AM
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Generally they are well deserving of the hype. Many have large, properly designed subs. Mainstream companies are stuck trying to make everything as small as possible.


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post #5 of 36 Old 05-14-2012, 11:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JPowers View Post

I'm just curious if anyone feels some of these subwoofer companies are overrated? This isn't my belief, so don't flame me. Before I make an expensive purchase (for me) I always like to hear both sides.

Not the major players that are discussed on these forums all it takes is a visit to each mfg.'s thread and do a little reading most meet or exceed the customers expectations.
I am as guilty as the next poster for product endorsement so long as the product met or exceeded my expectations.
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post #6 of 36 Old 05-14-2012, 11:56 AM
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+1 to SaviorMachine's post (#2).


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post #7 of 36 Old 05-14-2012, 12:43 PM
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It's funny... I've often wondered this question. But I personally just don't think so. It is staggering when you go into a store and look at what you can get for $300 $400 $800 $1100.. and then compare it to what you can get for each of those Price points from some of the top Internet direct companies. It's not 'slightly' better, as one might think. In each of those ranges, you get an entirely different class of performance.
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post #8 of 36 Old 05-14-2012, 01:18 PM
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I thinks it's all a matter of perspective. ID vs. mainstream then no, the ID companies (as a whole) will outperform most , if not all, mainstream companies for a lot less. I'm talking higher dollar subs. I'm guessing the sub $500 category doesn't have much in terms of profit margin, but there still will be difference. I'll give you my experience as an example. Before I heard of AVS or ID companies, I bought a Revel B15a (MSRP $3K). While it is a good sub, for the price I paid for it, I could have bought any other ID sub in that price range that would leave it in the dust.

Now when you compare higher end ID vs. DIY. It's the same story. For slightly more than the the price of one of the premier ID subs I can build two sealed LMS 5400s and LG clone amp. There is no comparison between the two. As good as they are, a single premier sub can't compare to the headroom of two LMS 5400's with sufficient power.

Keep in mind I am referring to the well known ID companies here like HSU, Rythmic, Seaton SVS, Epic, JTR, etc. I'm sure there may be some unknown ID companies that are not much better than the mainstream offerings or worse. In those cases, that could be the reason why they are not well known.
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post #9 of 36 Old 05-14-2012, 01:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaviorMachine View Post

I don't believe that a company's participation in the ID distribution model gives its products an automatic seal of high quality and value. In fact, the consumer should research each company and each product carefully.

+1

We've seen some ID companies products that fall short of their stated performance specs so you still have to do your due diligence.

Also, with regular speakers, I still believe that the regular retail brands have a lot to offer because it's all in the talent of the designer. Regular retail brands may have proprietary in-house designed drivers that offer something different (better?) than ID companies buying off the shelf parts. Also, you may find some of the most talented speaker designers in the industry at those companies (not all ID companies have that kind of expertise)

Lastly, even though retail brands are marked up, I expect that larger makers have economies of scale, and I've always gotten at least 25% off MSRP as well (sometimes as much as 50% off). This can turn the tables around the other way sometimes for value.

For subs though, few if any retail brands can match the big box for the $ niche that the ID companies cater to.

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post #10 of 36 Old 05-14-2012, 01:27 PM
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I don't think they are overly hyped but owners do get excited with the savings and performance. I had a single SVS PB12/plus/2 vs dual Klipsch KW-120's(THX ultra 2 subs) and they were about equal in my room. The SVS cost $1200 and the KW-120's with amp cost $3600. I also agree with the DIY comment as I surpassed that SVS easily for $800, not by a little!

As for speakers you can find value on both sides depending on use. For music it is hard for an ID company to beat the magnepan MMg's, while for movies it is hard to beat eD cinema 12's or CHT SHO-10's for the money. Of course this is my opinion. Again DIY can beat both.
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post #11 of 36 Old 05-14-2012, 02:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by warpdrive View Post

+1

We've seen some ID companies products that fall short of their stated performance specs so you still have to do your due diligence.

Also, with regular speakers, I still believe that the regular retail brands have a lot to offer because it's all in the talent of the designer. Regular retail brands may have proprietary in-house designed drivers that offer something different (better?) than ID companies buying off the shelf parts. Also, you may find some of the most talented speaker designers in the industry at those companies (not all ID companies have that kind of expertise)

Lastly, even though retail brands are marked up, I expect that larger makers have economies of scale, and I've always gotten at least 25% off MSRP as well (sometimes as much as 50% off). This can turn the tables around the other way sometimes for value.

For subs though, few if any retail brands can match the big box for the $ niche that the ID companies cater to.

It must be a little disappointing when you find that the subwoofer you saw in the store with a $1,200 price tag has been discontinued and is now selling new for $499 from a few on-line retailers like newegg. That 25% discount may not seem so great anymore. Almost enough to believe the old "rule" that there is a 100% mark-up every time such a product changes hands in the distribution chain.

Rarely do you see an Internet Direct sub drop in price by almost 60%.

Recently we have seen great sales on subs from Energy, Klipsch, and Jamo. There are probably others I have forgotten. Companies like Harman International are so large they can cut prices drastically to move merchandise that is sitting in warehouses. D&M is also huge and can give large discounts on discontinued merchandise.

It also makes me wonder when I see multiple full page advertisements in magazines like Sound&Vision how much of the cost of these products goes into all that print advertising. R&D costs have long since been recouped and production in China is remarkably reasonable.
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post #12 of 36 Old 05-14-2012, 02:20 PM
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Can you say AV666 and Mark Shifty? Not saying popular ID companies on this forum are like that. Anybody researched how many ID's have come and gone? Also, Velodyne is shifting to an ID model...what does that mean? Finally, maybe I can't fit a big ass subwoofer in the living room. ID seems to specialize in big ass subwoofers that serve the SPL Gods but are not a good fit for people who inceasingly live in urban areas with limited space.

As more than one person has said; it's much easier to build a big box, and put a big subwoofer in it, then it is to bring to market that fits the needs of most people i.e. a small form factor with power.

I think there's room and a need for both. Big companies have R&D dollars.
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post #13 of 36 Old 05-14-2012, 02:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spyboy View Post

It must be a little disappointing when you find that the subwoofer you saw in the store with a $1,200 price tag has been discontinued and is now selling new for $499 from a few on-line retailers like newegg. That 25% discount may not seem so great anymore. Almost enough to believe the old "rule" that there is a 100% mark-up every time such a product changes hands in the distribution chain.

Rarely do you see an Internet Direct sub drop in price by almost 60%.

Recently we have seen great sales on subs from Energy, Klipsch, and Jamo. There are probably others I have forgotten. Companies like Harman International are so large they can cut prices drastically to move merchandise that is sitting in warehouses. D&M is also huge and can give large discounts on discontinued merchandise.

Yes, that's the flip side of the coin, if you buy from retail, quite often, you may overpay for an item that, when it's discontinued, there is a clearout sale and the stuff is sold dirt cheap. But personally I wouldn't let it bother me too much unless you gauge your self worth on paying a lower price than everybody else. But if it does bother you, then you're right, ID brands don't get discounted as much so you everybody is paying the same profit to place food on the table of the ID brand maker. ID brands get to enforce their margins and establish their own price structure.

But if you play your cards right, you can get a steal of an audio bargin like the mentioned Energ subs, and as another example, you can get Martin Logan Motion 10 compact tower speakers for $300 a pair right now, which is a great deal for speakers with a heil type folded motion tweeter. I don't know of any ID brand that will touch that deal. You could drop down to your local BB and pick up a pair right now, listen to it, decide to keep it or not and return it the next day

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post #14 of 36 Old 05-14-2012, 02:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glashub View Post

ID seems to specialize in big ass subwoofers that serve the SPL Gods but do little for people who inceasingly live in urban areas with limited space.

A number of ID companies - and I'm sure this is far from an exhaustive list - have smaller subwoofer offerings:
- Emotiva (X-Ref 10 / 12);
- Rythmik (F12 / E15 / F15 / F15HP);
- SVS (SB12-NSD);
- HSU (ULS-15);
- Epik (Legend); and
- SimplySoundAudio (Rumba 12).


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post #15 of 36 Old 05-14-2012, 02:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by warpdrive View Post

Yes, that's the flip side of the coin, if you buy from retail, quite often, you may overpay for an item that, when it's discontinued, there is a clearout sale and the stuff is sold dirt cheap. But personally I wouldn't let it bother me too much unless you gauge your self worth on paying a lower price than everybody else. But if it does bother you, then you're right, ID brands don't get discounted as much so you everybody is paying the same profit to place food on the table of the ID brand maker. ID brands get to enforce their margins and establish their own price structure.

But if you play your cards right, you can get a steal of an audio bargin like the mentioned Energ subs, and as another example, you can get Martin Logan Motion 10 compact tower speakers for $300 a pair right now, which is a great deal for speakers with a heil type folded motion tweeter. I don't know of any ID brand that will touch that deal. You could drop down to your local BB and pick up a pair right now, listen to it, decide to keep it or not and return it the next day

This discussion comes at good time. Outlaw is having its "Secret Sale", LFM-1EX delivered for $600. Too bad the Outlaw rep is saying no more $549 delivered due to rising costs...

Funny you should mention the Martin Logan Motion series. I once had the original HEIL Air Motion Transformers in the top-of-the-line ESS AMT 1 Towers. Transmission Line bass and a really big bipolar Air Motion Transformers. ESS is back in business. Don't how they are doing, but I know that the Martin Logan Motions are much cheaper than anything comparable from ESS
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post #16 of 36 Old 05-14-2012, 03:05 PM
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One of the things that I havent seen mentioned (sorry if I missed it), and at least for me, one of the benefits of buying ID is the customer service. I own an Empire, and was taken aback by talking directly to the owner of the company. Chad spoke to me (on more than one occasion) and answered all of my questions without making me feel like I was a burden to him. From all accounts, the same Superior level of CS can be said for many ID companies on AVS; HSU, SVS, Outlaw, Rythmik, et. al.

The same cannot be said for your more traditional A/V Business (at least in my view). Samsung, Sony, and escpecially Comcast. That company might have the absolute worst CS I have experienced in my 41 years.
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post #17 of 36 Old 05-14-2012, 03:12 PM
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Thanks for the list. Also, since most of us go through a lot of equipment, what's easier to sell when one wants to upgrade? JL, Velodyne or Seaton, HSU? Just another angle to consider. I had a almost new Sherbourn/Emo amp that took me forever to sell vs.the selling times I saw on eBay and Audiogon for Parasound, B&K, etc. In addition I had to deal with alot of "what's Sherbourn" questions. Sold an 8 year old DD-15 for $1300 and have multiple inquiries.

Granted I'm drifting away from the SPL per dollar formula but what the hell I digress a lot.
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post #18 of 36 Old 05-14-2012, 03:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glashub View Post

Thanks for the list. Also, since most of us go through a lot of equipment, what's easier to sell when one wants to upgrade? JL, Velodyne or Seaton, HSU? Just another angle to consider. I had a almost new Sherbourn/Emo amp that took me forever to sell vs.the selling times I saw on eBay and Audiogon for Parasound, B&K, etc. In addition I had to deal with alot of "what's Sherbourn" questions. Sold an 8 year old DD-15 for $1300 and have multiple inquiries.

Granted I'm drifting away from the SPL per dollar formula but what the hell I digress a lot.

Im no expert, but from what Ive read on here, the Seaton is about as future-proof as you can get before you go the LMS5400 DIY route.
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post #19 of 36 Old 05-14-2012, 03:19 PM
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It depends on the item, some ID item are very easy to sell because they are overhyped Since their price is stable, usually you can recoup a lot of their cost.

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post #20 of 36 Old 05-14-2012, 03:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ratm View Post

One of the things that I havent seen mentioned (sorry if I missed it), and at least for me, one of the benefits of buying ID is the customer service. I own an Empire, and was taken aback by talking directly to the owner of the company. Chad spoke to me (on more than one occasion) and answered all of my questions without making me feel like I was a burden to him. From all accounts, the same Superior level of CS can be said for many ID companies on AVS; HSU, SVS, Outlaw, Rythmik, et. al.

on the flip side, you can speak to the owner and get directly lied to (in the certain case of a previous well known ID company)

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post #21 of 36 Old 05-14-2012, 03:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by warpdrive View Post

on the flip side, you can speak to the owner and get directly lied to (in the certain case of a previous well known ID company)

touche' I really thought I was gonna win that raffle...
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post #22 of 36 Old 05-14-2012, 03:38 PM
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Hey I already mentioned that guy. I didn't know there were raffles but if I did I would've bought a ticket because he was just that honest and humble seeming. Little did we know we were supporting....oh God know what kind of dark side habits.
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ID companies have the potential to deliver great bang for the buck, and many do that. I own twin Outlaw subs, EX-1s, and at the current sale price i don't think anyone could get a better deal, IMO. That being said, there are still some ID companies to be avoided. Stay away from any ID company that refuses to have their products tested by Pro reviews and/or independent third party testers. Avoid companies with a history of very long delivery times while charging your credit card, or companies with serious quality control issues. Do not patronize companies that seem to offer something too good to be true, because that usually will not be the case. Do your own due diligence, and stick with companies that have stood the test of time, and you will be a happy camper!
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What floridapoolboy said. Totally.

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post #25 of 36 Old 05-14-2012, 05:23 PM
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I will say HSU and SVS have been around awhile HSU since 91 and SVS since 98 they are obviously doing something very right.
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post #26 of 36 Old 05-14-2012, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by floridapoolboy View Post

ID companies have the potential to deliver great bang for the buck, and many do that. I own twin Outlaw subs, EX-1s, and at the current sale price i don't think anyone could get a better deal, IMO. That being said, there are still some ID companies to be avoided. Stay away from any ID company that refuses to have their products tested by Pro reviews and/or independent third party testers. Avoid companies with a history of very long delivery times while charging your credit card, or companies with serious quality control issues. Do not patronize companies that seem to offer something too good to be true, because that usually will not be the case. Do your own due diligence, and stick with companies that have stood the test of time, and you will be a happy camper!

An ID speaker company starting with an "A" it seems from reading over at the speakers forum.
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post #27 of 36 Old 05-14-2012, 05:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glashub View Post

An ID speaker company starting with an "A" it seems from reading over at the speakers forum.

Yep. That company that starts with an "A" isn't a very good value even compared to B&M brands. A lot of short cuts in their products, middle of the road performance, no testing, for the same price as much better speakers/subwoofers, even brands that have a middle man mark up they are still similar priced.
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post #28 of 36 Old 05-14-2012, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by gtpsuper24 View Post


Yep. That company that starts with an "A" isn't a very good value even compared to B&M brands. A lot of short cuts in their products, middle of the road performance, no testing, for the same price as much better speakers/subwoofers, even brands that have a middle man mark up they are still similar priced.

You know, that was one company I have to agree with. My reference was my M&K's for a long time, I tried Axiom top speakers and I immediately sent them back because my speakers were so much better. There are deals to be had buying used from B&M stores. I once bought a full klipsch THX ultra 2 system with 7.2 and sub amp for $4999. That would be hard to beat with ID, matching maybe, depending on the listener but DIY can beat it pretty good but that involves lots of extra work and time. If you want big and ugly you can get great commercial stuff that ID can't touch for the price.
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post #29 of 36 Old 05-14-2012, 06:17 PM
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They're not the bang for the buck they were back in the early/mid 2000's. Its as if they don't even pay attention to what their competition is doing. Subs for example are entry to mid level performance with prices that are the same or even 50% more than the competitors top end products. Add fancier finishes like the other brands offer as standard options and the prices sky rocket through the roof and makes brands with huge store mark ups look like a great value.
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post #30 of 36 Old 05-14-2012, 06:35 PM
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Yes, especially when they seem to bend the laws of physics.
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