Umm, NO. It is totally a value argument. I've recently listened to a ton of "traditional" speakers, ranging from $1200/pair down to a few hundred. I listened to one ID speaker company (Ascend) where depending on model a pair of speakers cost $600 or less. The only speaker that I thought was in same class as Ascends was a pair of Focals that iirc were $1100. Next closest for me were PSB Image B25s that are $479 I believe. Lots of other brands (Klipsch, DefTech, B&W, Paradigm, Monitor, NHT, Polk) were just not in same league. So for me the Ascends are great speakers and great values, the Focals are just great speakers.
A question and a a thought:
Did you compare side by side?
And if so, I note, positively, that you used the words "for me
" as your results mean little to others.
Is Ascend making more profit $ per speaker than traditional companies? Don't know and don't care.
Your right it shouldn't matter, but some try to tie this into the "value" arguement, when it doesn't matter and they don't know anyway.
I care about value that I receive. Simplisticly, if speakers cost $200 to make and an ID company sells for $300 they have a 50% margin. If a traditional company sells $200 to produce speakers thru a distributor and a retailer they may only get $250 back (25% margin) and the speakers may sell for $350 because others a taking a piece of the profit. I know this model is obvious, but when I see lots of people posting the ID is not cheaper I get very confused. That statement is not wrong, but simply inadequate. ID can provide better value because of the elimination of distribution and retail. It doesn't have to, but the potential to deliver value is pretty high.
So what your saying is that because it could be a better value it should be thought of that way? I could easily (and I think it has already been done by someone) define the opposite scenario.
And if ID companies are in fact making more profit per unit than traditionals I believe it benefits consumers. Ascend can put some of that money back into R&D and ultimately offer better speakers. What benefits to consumers did Tweeter's profit dollars per speaker sold bring? I know, semi-adequate listening areas.
Nice that you are using Tweeter , which has been failing for some time now, to illustrate your example.
I'd rather have the ID guys making better speakers in an effort to outdo each other and audition what I think I want in my home.
But the arguement can be made that it's unlikely more than a handful are comparing them to anything, direct marketing is reliant on the fact that most will like them enough to keep from returning them , the people who are worried about outdoing each other are the ones that think it's likely that their products are going to be auditioned beside the others...this actually is precluding many of the more mass market B&M brands you mentioned as well, as there are few places that carry them that will take the effort to do a comparative demo of them either. Without people doing real comp[arisons quality will likely fall.
Agreed, but how and where can an aficionado perform such compairisons?
In my area:
Store A carries Def Tech, Maggies, Vandies, and Linn.
Store B, B&W and Dyn.
Store C, Paradigm and Focal
Store D, Monitor, Gallo, Klipsch, and Triangle
So how can I directly compare B&W to say Focal? I can think of several worthy B&M brands I have no chance of auditioning, let alone directly comparing. Are other areas of the country better?
Pick the one you like best from each store, then , after that amount of auditioning you could probably eliminate one or two of the stores offerings from the list because you know that they aren't impressing you near as much as the others, AND-OR they are the wrong color, size, price, style, etc.
When you've whittled dowm to two viable canidates at differant stores, ask the dealers if you could bring another brand in for comparison; buy one set and take it to the other dealer and compare, or buy both and take them home. I never like the idea of a shoot-out with too many brands all at the same time, it's confusing, just keep picking the best of two or three at a time and then work down to the last pair.