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I've seen a trend, especially lately, where more ID sub companies are going to larger, more powerful, more expensive subs. Obviously there has to be more profit in it to sell a $1,000 sub as opposed to a $500 sub, but will this price the average Joe out of the market? Is more competition forcing these companies to "one-up" the others? Just curious what others think.
 
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Actually, you are talking about just 2 companies AFAIK... ;)

Currently, the 3 oldest ID sub companies in the market are still adhering to a 4-6 year product life. These companies are producing their subs in China.

I don't think SVS is interested in offering the largest, the most powerful or the most expensive sub as it is no longer strictly a ID sub company. Because of this, I also don't think SVS is interested in offering subs with the best bang for the buck.

It doesn't matter how much the advent of technology has enabled consumers to have good quality audio/video equipment affordably, 5.1 home theater and 2.0/1 audiophile system are still niche markets.
 

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I've seen a trend, especially lately, where more ID sub companies are going to larger, more powerful, more expensive subs. Obviously there has to be more profit in it to sell a $1,000 sub as opposed to a $500 sub, but will this price the average Joe out of the market? Is more competition forcing these companies to "one-up" the others? Just curious what others think.
So there are a couple of markets that most IDs serve and they can be in more than one market as well.

Everyone will define these markets differently but I'm just using this as an example.

Budget ID ($300-$600) This is proably the toughest class with new players like NXG, BIC, Lava and others low end of the market is really flooded. Once you get closer to the 600 dollar mark you see more ID companies cover this amount. All of the production is likely in China

Mid market ID ($600-$1000) Still a very competitive niche and a lot of ID companies have something in this range and you might get more USA built parts and maybe even an entire sub. For most people this where they have to draw the budget line. They may have started in the budget market and not got enough for their money. And get pushed to up their budget many average Joes can't go higher than this.

High end ID ($1000-$2000) Competion is still very high here and many IDs will have their flagship in this market and will probably have a good amount of sales from bass crazy users.

Flagship ID ($2000 +) A lot of competion from very few companies. This is pretty much flagship models and diminishing return in one sub vs going with duals or more of a lower cost sub. Only handful of companies keep products in this market for long. There is also lower sales and possible longer lead times.

What I think we're seeing is, the budget market is very competitive right now. ID companies may not feel like the budget market is as profitable as necessary. Being in the budget market means various cost cutting measures. Such as lesser build quality, Built in China, very thin margins, a need for a lot of volume to turn a profit, less performance and so on.

So its not surprising that some companies are simply opting out of the budget market. And in doing so they could more quickly update products, offer better build quality and make more money. No one wants to end up like AV123, ED, or Epik...
 

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Don't be surprised if we see additional OEMs using Brian's ICE designs in the future. Jim and I have been discussing these designs with Brian for 18(?) months or so now. Trying to find the optimal power/ size / cost/ DSP ratios. We have been experimenting with(and offering feedback on) different modules and design ideas from Brian for approximately a year. When nearing finalization Brian asked if we would be okay with other OEMs using this custom "frontend". Jim and I thought about it for a couple days but the main goal in all of this was bringing back amplifier assembly/production to the USA. So we thought, what the heck, sell as many as you can..:)

Tom V.
Power Sound Audio
 

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a major cost of subs comes from their size (shipping and handling weight). I Don't see this aspect changing much. Of course they want to sell you the highest margin product possible. The best products are still the generally the biggest, especially in the lower price brackets. It is the most compact, highest excursion stuff like JL Audio or Paradigm's Sub-2 that are the most expensive. Even those don't save you a of weight since you need more drivers...

Another limitation is the power supply requirements. They might be able to provide you even more "bang" for the buck but many folks are not going to do the requisite power outlets.

Still the cosmetic problem of subwoofers being in the room creates an arbitrary size and functional ceiling to how many subs most folks will actually buy.

Best bang for the buck is DIY... but the mass market population is NEVER going to jump on that bandwagon. The mass market would rather not have any sub at all vs building their own. having custom subs made on location might work but again labor costs basically kill that right out of the gate. Also resale value is an issue there as well.

Build quad subs with at least dual 15" or dual 18" drivers and couple that with around 2500watts per channel. That is the pretty damn good no-remorse purchase but you would still need to be living in a house you don't plan to move out of. That brings us to another issue: younger folks in the 20-30 age range either don't have the dedicated space, priority, or money to really go crazy with subs. The impulse buying crowd is more likely to buy a pre-packaged single sub that they can move fairly easily with.

The best case scenario for the "mass market" would be if quad subs in media rooms became a standard that the public came to expect in a new house "spec" build... kinda like a whirlpool tub. On a side note, I didn't put those worthless whirlpool tubs into my most recent house build... Many new "spec" houses are at least wired for some speakers...

Anyway, mother nature makes bass reproduction simply not a priority for most people... A simple perusal of AVS also goes to show you how many education barriers there are as well.
 
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I'm all for whatever keeps the companies in business and what keeps ID subs available. I just picked up my first real sub with a Reaction Audio PV-15x. While looking, the only two companies I was even attracted to were Reaction and PSA. As far as I can tell, they seem to be leading the industry. When I was shopping around the wife really pushed for a $800 price point and I was offered a great deal on a great sub so I bit so both the wife and I are happy. If it was just me, I probably would have "settled with" with something around the $1000-$1500 range. As of right now I seem to be more than content with the output of the PV-15x. I know, how many times has that been said on this board with someone upgrading even a few weeks later. :)

Another thing, I also see the prices going up, but there does always seem to be a great deal in one of the above mentioned companies outlet sections. Those tend to cover the lower range pretty well, I think.
 
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