Better Value: "Internet Direct" or "large manufacturers" - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 08-17-2012, 08:08 AM - Thread Starter
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So as I've been researching various towers for my next move, I've been going back and forth between Kef, Focal, PSB on one side and brands like Salk, Selah and Sierra on the other.

This got me thinking, what offers the "best bang for your buck" not so much from a specific manufacturer point of view.

I can appreciate that ID brands certainly do save by cutting out the middle man, less on advertising etc, but I also would think that large companies are able to negotiate better deals on supplies, and also have an inherent value on the (assumed) millions they spend on research (better sound through research, right?rolleyes.gif).

Anyway, just wondering what those more experienced than I think about this

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post #2 of 14 Old 08-17-2012, 08:15 AM
 
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What you're asking about is profit driven, profit margin.

It's all about sound reproduction quality and what one can afford. Factory direct or at a Mom-n-Pop, brick-n-mortar store, it's all about what kind of quality can you afford and in the process, what compromises are you willing to make.

I buy a boatload of stuff online as I feel very comfortable buying online. I buy speaker wire, speakers and receivers online. I believe in online as brick-n-mortar retail fails me more often then it serves me.

Personally, I don't care how a company chooses to come to a price as for me, it's about the limited size of my wallet, not the profits of some unfeeling company who doesn't need to care if I'm in sickness or health.

The point, it's all about quality and the price of the deal as in the end, it all ends up in our living room being used to reproduce movies and reality shows; entertainment.
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post #3 of 14 Old 08-17-2012, 08:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madhuski View Post

I can appreciate that ID brands certainly do save by cutting out the middle man, less on advertising etc, but I also would think that large companies are able to negotiate better deals on supplies
Where quantity discounts are concerned they plateau out around 100 to 500 units, depending on the item. The more expensive items, like woofers, would be at 100 units, inexpensive items like capacitors 500 units. Additional discounts above those quantities exist, but the difference isn't that much.
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I also would think that large companies... also have an inherent value on the (assumed) millions they spend on research (better sound through research, right?.
The largest companies in terms of units sold tend to have no R&D departments at all, they hire independent designers. I know, because I am one. The highest level of R&D tends to be found in smaller owner operated companies, not corporations. Chances are you get not only a high level of engineering but also a much better value with a smaller company that sells direct rather than one where marketing and distribution accounts for upwards of 20% of what you're paying.

As for the thinly veiled reference, their marketing department outnumbers their R&D department by about a 20:1 personnel ratio, and a 100:1 budget ratio, so the vast bulk of their 'research' is in the field of how to better sell their products, not how to make them sound better. And since full page ads in every magazine and newspaper in print plus TV ads don't come cheap their marketing and distribution costs are closer to the 30% range, to some extent explaining why they are priced twice what they're worth and why you never see them on sale.

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post #4 of 14 Old 08-17-2012, 12:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

As for the thinly veiled reference, their marketing department outnumbers their R&D department by about a 20:1 personnel ratio, and a 100:1 budget ratio, so the vast bulk of their 'research' is in the field of how to better sell their products, not how to make them sound better. And since full page ads in every magazine and newspaper in print plus TV ads don't come cheap their marketing and distribution costs are closer to the 30% range, to some extent explaining why they are priced twice what they're worth and why you never see them on sale.

That.

Mandates for internal gross brand margins way over 50% are not out of the question, which is before the product makes the Big Box shelf at dealer cost.

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post #5 of 14 Old 08-17-2012, 02:01 PM
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Depends on the speakers' aesthetics and discounts you can get.

Hard to make a B&W 802D.

Hard to beat a KEF, Revel, B&W, Focal, Dynaudio, etc, @ 33-40% off.
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post #6 of 14 Old 08-17-2012, 02:45 PM
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The greatest bang for your buck will be in the speakers you are happy with.

You could buy a 5K set of ID speakers with the best drivers, cabinets and fan base. You could sit in front of those and be bored to death.

You could also buy a big name like B&W for 5K new at full price and be totally happy. But don't look them up online! Lots of people hate B&W!

Ultimately it's about what you like.
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post #7 of 14 Old 08-17-2012, 05:02 PM
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I find my best value in the secondary markets. My big Maggies were a 10/12k speaker when new, and I have them here in my living room for the princely sum of about 1500 shipped. A little bit of elbow grease and they sound fabulous. I have never(AV receiver excepted...demo:p) bought any of my gear new. If I did, I am sitting on some 40 grand worth of gear. Due to buying right, making friends and some flipping, my net outlay is still less than 5k.
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post #8 of 14 Old 08-17-2012, 05:38 PM
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Would the Harmon Group's JBL and Infinity etc still fit within your model of no inside research? I am under the impression that they do R & D?

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post #9 of 14 Old 08-17-2012, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Bone215 View Post

Bill
Would the Harmon Group's JBL and Infinity etc still fit within your model of no inside research? I am under the impression that they do R & D?
They do, but not to the extent that they used to, JBL specifically. JBL Pro is still pretty much cutting edge, JBL Consumer, not so much.

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post #10 of 14 Old 08-17-2012, 05:58 PM
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Thanks.

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post #11 of 14 Old 08-17-2012, 06:04 PM
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I've generally found that internet direct and DIY speakers provide the best performance and sound than any big name brand that i've heard. Of course, the secondhand marketplace also provides for great deals. I've listened to several high-end B&W speakers (the 8XX series,) Martin Logan, Sonus Faber, in treated rooms, and found them to be severely overpriced -- especially when compared to DIY builds from Zaph or GR Research that are about 1/4 the cost. You can most certainly acquire high-end boutique speaker sound literally for a fraction of the retail price.
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post #12 of 14 Old 08-17-2012, 07:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loopaddiction View Post

I've generally found that internet direct and DIY speakers provide the best performance and sound than any big name brand that i've heard. Of course, the secondhand marketplace also provides for great deals. I've listened to several high-end B&W speakers (the 8XX series,) Martin Logan, Sonus Faber, in treated rooms, and found them to be severely overpriced -- especially when compared to DIY builds from Zaph or GR Research that are about 1/4 the cost. You can most certainly acquire high-end boutique speaker sound literally for a fraction of the retail price.

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Originally Posted by michaelkingdom View Post

The greatest bang for your buck will be in the speakers you are happy with.
You could buy a 5K set of ID speakers with the best drivers, cabinets and fan base. You could sit in front of those and be bored to death.
You could also buy a big name like B&W for 5K new at full price and be totally happy. But don't look them up online! Lots of people hate B&W!
Ultimately it's about what you like.

I agree with Michaelkingdom. It's whatever makes you the happiest.

I think plenty of the ID companies are overpriced. They sound as good (some argue "better than"), but none of them have anything that looks as beautiful as the B&W 802D/800D in my eyes. And that's the key. Everyone is different. Some may think the B&W are ugly. biggrin.gif

And whether one sounds better than the others is also purely a matter of opinion.
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post #13 of 14 Old 08-17-2012, 07:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AcuDefTechGuy View Post

They sound as good (some argue "better than"), but none of them have anything that looks as beautiful as the B&W 802D/800D in my eyes. And that's the key. Everyone is different. Some may think the B&W are ugly. biggrin.gif

Those are ugly to me, but in an R2-D2 kind of way they are cool. Does that thing on the top project holograms too, or is it just a tweeter?tongue.gif
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post #14 of 14 Old 08-17-2012, 08:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nooshinjohn View Post

Those are ugly to me, but in an R2-D2 kind of way they are cool. Does that thing on the top project holograms too, or is it just a tweeter?tongue.gif

Actually, the design is 'form follows function' with a bit of polish.

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