Originally Posted by charmerci
I would imagine that Ascend is now the high-end best deal around. (I would pretty much bet that all their speakers are assembled in China??? Anyone know?)
I really can't imagine finding any company that could do what Dennis did at his prices.
No speaker manufactured or sold under the Ascend Acoustics name is fully assembled in China. All Ascend speakers are assembled and tested here at our factory in SoCal. This includes even our lower priced line (CBM-170 etc.) - although admittedly, it is becoming very difficult to maintain this without raising retail prices.
We take things a step further with our towers and most of our newer Sierra line - with even the cabinets themselves being made here in SoCal.
The complexity of manufacturing our towers and horizons is extremely challenging.
For example, the following components used in our towers are all consigned from different
companies, most being located here in the US.
Bamboo needed for the cabinets
Packaging (boxes and molded foam)
Felt (for wrapping each cabinet prior to shipping)
Just to build 1 pair of our towers, requires that we receive components from 13 different companies. It's rather insane, if I forget to place even one PO, or if one company is late to deliver the components, it sets us back. As an example, our bamboo supplier (the absolute best quality bamboo available, and we have tried them all) has had some issues for the past ten months - resulting in a massive backorder for our horizons and towers. Luckily for us - we finally received a container of bamboo about 8 weeks ago.
If I may add some additional perspective -- I am quite confident that I have more experience in this industry than any other individual in the factory direct (ID) speaker industry. And likely more than most in the brick and mortar speaker industry as well... I have seen so many companies close up shop over my now 35 years of experience, and I can only recall (2) that did it right without leaving a trail of damage behind them. One is Adire (although they are back with new ownership) - the other is Philharmonic. Dennis didn't shut down due to not being able to pay his bills, or faulty products, or lack of sales - he did it by choice, in looking after his own personal well being.
I absolutely understand his decision, the work load we endure to provide exceptional products at very reasonable prices is truly monumental. It requires incredible sacrifice - I often joke about how I have 2 fulltime jobs. One during the day here at our factory testing speakers all day long while assisting in helping customers and running a small company - the other job starts when I get home - answering emails and doing R&D into the early morning hours.
I think to many consumers, it might seem as though what we do is simple with high profits. Trust me, it is just the opposite - and we must actually make a profit on what we manufacture to not only cover our expenses (employees, insurance, rent and a dozen others) - but we also must feed our families. Ascend's profit margins are laughably low (not even a single product over a 50% margin, most at 40%, - industry standard is at least 60%) - we have never raised our prices yet our costs and expenses continually increase year after year. Prices on some of our products will also be increasing, we don't want to do this, it is something we must do.
Jim priced the BMR where he needed it to be in order for him to add it to his line (hopefully Dennis will receive a royalty) I am sure it will do fine at that price point as well. There is/was no reason to bicker over this and it accomplishes nothing but causing Dennis more stress.