Originally Posted by FMW
Very true and I would add that those high end companies only sometimes make the very best speakers and would fail miserably at trying to sell their wares customer direct. They do what they do because it is the best option for them.
Consumer direct companies offer more value every time. You can bank on it because returns would swamp a consumer direct company that failed to deliver superior value quickly and put it out of business. For those who either are content with sound that is only 90% as good as the very best or those with shallow pockets, I don't think there is a better option than internet direct.
Well, everyone has an opinion, and you are entitled to yours. On the other hand, you are pushing the idea that your opinion is factual, and I don't buy that at all. Anyone who is always certain that their opinion is a fact has his head screwed on a bit too tight IMO...lol.
Vandersteen has been in business for 30 years, and his Model 2 speakers are the best-selling high-quality audio speakers of all time (well-documented in a Stereophile article a couple of years ago). Customer loyalty is amazing; you almost never see used ones for sale; they are winners and owners keep them a long long time. That would seem to indicate that very good value is perceived by the owners (even though they are 100% made in the USA!).
Vandersteen, and most other speaker manufacturers, feel that only a local dealer can help the buyer to make good buying decisions through direct interaction, and also provide direct assistance with system setup issues.
Direct internet sales only work well for a certain type of buyer, not for the majority, which is why the majority don't utilize that option. Also, the assertion that internet direct companies offer better VALUE is obviously only a subjective opinion that is totally impossible to substantiate.
I bought my Vandersteen Treo speakers because no other speaker I have ever heard offers equal performance for their price IMO; that seems to me to be the only way you can define VALUE. If you know of some internet direct speaker that you think offers equal performance for the same price, that will be a surprise to me (and hard to believe).
The logical implication of your position would seem to be that if you set a price point, some internet-direct speaker will always turn out to be the best-sounding for that price. My experience with many many speakers at many price points leads me to a very different conclusion.
Besides, the simple FACT is that if you look at the speakers that are acknowledged by the experts in the field to be the very best speakers made, such as Focal, Vandersteen, PSB, Wharfedale, B & W, Thiel, Wilson Audio, Aerial, Magico, Dynaudio and others, almost none of their sales are direct internet sales. They sell through dealers.
Once you decide that you will only buy internet direct, you have eliminated 90% of the best speakers in the world; is that smart? It seems rather silly to me to restrict your choices to that extent.