Attention: Dunlavy Audio Labs out of business

I cannot believe that I am the first to post this.

Any comments to this? Was this just well known to everyone but me?
If it is true, it does not surprise me in the least. While great speakers, they are not good looking by any standards. In thier respective price ranges, there are several other speakers that are preferable. Sound wise they are very competitive but who wants cofins in their room when they could have Wilson WattPuppies or Merlins that look beautiful. It is sad though.
I have a pair if SC-III and Dunlavy speaker cables, and about a month ago I called regarding a question about the cables, the customer service person didn't know anything about the cables and didn't even know who manufactures then for Dunlavy, eventually he connected me with another person who gave me the name of the cable manufacturer, but when I called that manufacturer, they also were out of business.
It sounded strange to me that Dunlavy couldn't answer questions or knew who makes the cable for them.
This encounter made me suspicious and this announcement confirmed my concerns.
when the new owners killed the athenas because they" didn't fit the product line" (per their email responce to a question) i sensed trouble. killing probably their best mass apeal speaker on looks...dumb! I listented to a lot of speakers before i bought the dunlavy and couldn't find anything in the price range that compared let alone bettered the athenas. Glad i have mine.
The impending demise of Dunlavy has been mentioned on Audiogon over the past 6 months or so. Guess it's finally official. Too bad -- John Dunlavy designed fine speakers (among a small group making time- and phase-accurate speakers), and ran a very ethical business operation. I trust his business will be reincarnated in the not-too-distant future.
I bought a pair of SC-IVA, from local dealer, I had to wait two months for delivery, they arrived two weeks ago, now they go out of bussiness! If I knew they were going out of bussiness I would never bought speakers. How much notification were dealers given that this was going to happen? did my dealer know and din't say anything so he wouldn't loose the sale? Regardles the speaker are going back to the dealer, if he refuses, we will have to setle in court. The resale value of the Dunlavy will be next to nothing, similar to other pruduct lines that went out of bussiness.
Lpgal, I would have a heart to heart talk with your dealer. Any reputable dealer would most likely give you effectively their profit margin back on the speakers. They should at least give you that amount in store credit.

If your argument in court is going to be that your speakers now have lower resale value, and the dealer is responsible, so he should compensate you as a result, then don't bother.
Also, with your speakers retailing for about $9K, even if you were to win (on what grounds?) you would lose after attorneys fee's. Don't be surprised if your DAL dealer found out about the news at the same time as you. Also, warranty wise, you don't have much to worry about, not much can wrong, and DAL items can be bought through many sources. Give it a 3-6 months and someone else will probably buy DAL and revive it.
Its a sad day in Audio because Dunlavy made some of the best speakers IMHO.
I seem to recall that JD himself retired a while back and sold the company to someone else. I suspect his company wasn't worth nearly as much without him there. But his speakers enjoyed a fine reputation, and I would think their resale value will hold up pretty well. ("A Classic! Cannot be bought in any store!")
Just enjoy your speakers. I have Cantatas and had the crossover upgraded with better parts. They sound twice as good. Dunlavy is one of the best sounds out there even though it isn't the most beautiful. Enjoy.
To Lpgal:

You purchased the Dunlavy speaker because you liked the way it sounds. Does it sound bad now that they are out of business, or does it's sound please you as much as when you auditioned them? My bet is that Dunlavy will be back.
Give them a chance.

Myself, a few years back I bought a pair of Infinity IRS Betas used for a large sum. I can tell you all about no parts or support, however I boought them for the pleasure I get from their sound. Best luck to you.

Sucks, doesn't it?

-Hales owner
Sorry Ohlala, but LOL! Not laughing at your situation, only at your good timing & placement with the comment.

- x-Dunlavy owner.
I listened to the Dunlavy SC-IVs, they did nothing for me. Maybe a lot of guys agree.......
I inquired about the line last month, when I talked to them back then about inquiring the line, they sounded like it was business usual.....But they seemed very of Anxious to
Load me up with their speakers at the time of call, I requested info packet , but was never received, Now I see why........ I am really glad I did not load up when I first called, cause i would of been really stuck with some dead product.
Mythtrip this can be said about all speakers. There's no speaker that does it for everyone. I remember listening to a pair years ago and the dealer said everyone should love these speakers because they are tuned to be flat accross the audio spectrum. Hey some people like that and some don't. I have owned a pair of SC-IV and SC-IVa and was about to "invest" in a pair of SC-V about a year ago but decided not to. I'm a big fan of tall speakers. Hey if you like the sound they are good for you and if you don't they are not. I hate to say this but with this economy there will be more closings. I'm sure its hard enough in a booming economy to survive but it has got to be rough these days.

Just my 0.02 (before taxes)
I agree that they made some decent sounding seakers but I for one am glad to see this (donning flame suit). About 7 years ago, I was shopping for a small set of speakers for a second system. I settled on the SCI's. After HUGE runaround and months of delay from both my dealer and Dunlavy in actually getting them to me, I cancelled the order and bought a demo pair of Aerial 7's for $1500. This was for a $1k speaker (SCI) and I couldn't imagine this kind of treatment for more expensive ones... I am so glad I ended up getting the Aerials; the difference in service levels and concern for the customer was night and day. Since my speakers were demos and had a few small scuffs, I called Aerial to purchase sopme touch up stain, ended up speaking with Michael Kelly and he express mailed me a small jar of stain to touch up my cabinets. He wouldn't let me pay. He said to call him at any time if I had questions or concern. A very nice man and I'm glad his company continues to innovate and thrive.

This industry is much more than good sound to me. Community, trust, and reputation are critical to me. Maybe I was the only person to ever have a bad experience with them, but for me, that's all it took.

I don't know if Dunlavy's failure was due to poor management around their growth, product, dealer network, or something else. I was not on a crusade to see them go under but any time the company name came up, I was more than willing to share my experience with them...


Twylie I could not agree with you more. Anytime I got bad service from a dealer, company, etc I never did business with them again. There is a dealer I did business with for years and I caught him lying to me. After I brought it to his attention he tried to lie his way out of it. I told him plan and simple he would not see me again. That was about 4 years ago. With the good service Aerial gave you they have a customer for life.
John Dunlavy was the heart a soul of the Dunlavy speaker. When he left, it was only a matter of time before the reputation fell and the company closed. It was a very sad day in the audio industry when one of the top designers retired, but that is life. The worst thing in my mind is there are very few designers who can fill his shoes. The Dunlavy speakers were and are a great value, affording the highest quality sound for a reasonable price.
Given the fact that they had redesigned the III line my assumption is that someone will buy the facility and continue with the Dunlavy line. The hope would be who ever that buyer is recognizes the need to have John involved. If someone could keep John retained as a design consultant and have the facility he created, the line could continue and grow.
For those who somehow feel the lose of another high end manufacture is a good thing, I recommend you look deep in yourself and find out where that hate comes from. It's not needed here.
Ohlala The difference here is Hales are great spekers...
I'm very dissapointed by this news. Mr. Dunlavy was planning on using digital crossovers into individulally powered drivers in the future. I can think of only a hand few of others that could probably do this with the same expertise. The future is now that more distant.
Although I am sorry to see yet another manufacturer go toes up, I can see how that could happen to Dunlavy. Their speakers have always gotten excellent reviews, but are just not practical for a lot of listeners. To meet my needs for deep bass, I would have had to buy a pair of SC-IV's. However, I've never had enough room to sit the recommended 10 feet or more away. I'm probably not the only buyer that shopped around for another speaker that went as deep but didn't require a large room. Ever seen a pair of Duntech Sovereigns? Holy moly. It's like you expected to see Steve Reeves chained up between them. Sticking to your engineering principals is to be admired, but the products must be adapted to a real-world market.
I have never found the hieght of loudspeaker an issue. It's the foot print and relative distance to side,rear and listeninig positions that are a challange.
I would suspect that no-one will pick up the Dunlavy line. High end audio (for two channel or home theater) is a tough business in good times. In times like these, well--it's tougher.

For existing Dunlavy product owners, most of the drivers (if not all) are commercially available so you can keep your speakers as long as you like.
Who will pick up the void of time and phase coherent sealed boxes? James Thiel do you hear your name being called?
Dunlavy pro's and con's....................

Please note: I have sold almost every DAL model made,
and have had almost every DAL model in my own system.

Per customers and potential customers:
Too tall.
Too ugly.
Better fit & finish wanted on the standard finish models.
Set up an issue due to the need to be on the long wall (BIG issue).
Grills could be better.
SC-V & SC-VI packing was good, but a nightmare to deal with.

Per the people that sold them:
Terrible ads.
Terrible pics on the website (until recently).
Contradiction between John talking down about cables while
selling cables (although not incredibly expensive ones, but not cheap either).
HONEST SPECS (lot of BS in that area in this business...).

Positive comments (sellers and buyers):
Life like presentation.
Very easy to drive.
Great value.
Fantastic x-over design; similar specs from the SC-I to the SC-VI
(all frontward firing speakers were 91 db efficiency all downward
firing were 90, and specs were always a genuine +-1.5db!).

Anyone could visit the factory or call John.
John was ready to retire. He's been doing this a long time.
He could design, but marketing he never could figure out.
As I have said for years: "Designers should design, and sales people should sell".
Don't mix the two. He never could understand that.
Seemed to think people would buy the product simply because on
paper they could be proven to be the best. Well, that's not enough.

There are many die hard DAL fans out there, especially SC-VI owners.
Don;t be surprised if DAL returns. Will John return with it???????????
I can relate to the difference between Aerial and Dunleavy.
I've never met Michael Kelly in person but I used to sell his speakers and have logged perhaps 100 hours on the phone with him. He has a remarkable resume and doesn't talk about it. His focus is always on the products and the service.
I was given a tour of the Dunleavy factory in Colorado Springs by John himself in 1996 and the topic was him at all times. He had a trophy room and a wall full of press clippings from his days working for the government. A nice man but terribly self-absorbed. The factory, by the way, only had a handful of employees and was doing nothing the day I visited.
The passing of this, and other such companies, can best be viewed as a market correction. And we really don't need to lament their loss.
My friend Steven Stone has had Dunleavy VIs for years now and I've been impressed but never envious. They are too big and cumbersome for me. Back then I had Aerial 10Ts and I felt they were just as good for far less money and required far less adaptation to accomodate. But he loved those speakers and still uses them. That's what makes horse races.
Why do you want to return these speakers? Have they suddenly begun sounding bad? Doubtful. You can get aftermarket replacements should they be needed, and keep in mind that unless you abuse the blazes out of speakers, they tend to last a long time and operate trouble-free. You may want to rethink your initial reaction. Though I don't own any Dunlavy, I can tell you that the ones I've heard are most impressive. (In your situation I too would probably be aggravated but would most likely stand pat after cooling off.) They still will do a terrific job, as they tend to be indifferent to the fact that they company's out of business.
resale should not be an issue LPgal. If you did your homework and really liked the speakers before you bought them i really doubt you will find anything to replace them with because the dunlavys have an open sound that i haven't heard in other speakers. electrostatics with bass is the only way i can think of describing them. You won't be able to pry mine out of my house
Unsound, I think that Thiel is there in terms of phase and time coherence (the sealed cabinet part may be a bit of an issue -- is a cabinet wholly sealed if it has a passive woofer?). I have read that Thiel may not have the same quality of parts that Dunlavy did though the Thiel construction is superb.

One huge difference after reading the posts above is that Thiel seems to have it's act together in terms of customer service (very, very good) and general business acumen. As Brian states, this may be a good opportunity for someone to pick up where Dunlavy left off. Will used Dunlavy's be worth more now?
Ozfly, Thiel previoulsy made sealed boxes such as the CS 3.5's and the CS 5's. Except for the very first Thiels, all are time, phase and amplitude coherent. Thiel's new sub woofer is the only sealed box in their current line up. No, I don't think a passive woofer qualifies. I have yet to hear complaints about Thiel parts qualitity, in fact I have heard the opposite. I have heard complaints about Dunlavy parts quality. Obviously, I have a preference for sealed boxes. Yes, Thiel certainly seems to have their professional act together. I still think it a shame that Dunlavy is no longer, especially considering the future direction they were promising to go to.
Regarding everyone's concern about servicing Dunlavy speakers, I have had my pair of SCIV's since 1996 and have not had a single problem.
I am not at all concerned about long-term reliability and am considering looking for a pair of IVA's.
The sound is detailed and lively but not fatiguing like the Thiel CS6's I had for 6 months.
I am also saddened by this news. Recently I spoke to Karen Richardson and she had promised to send me a demo of their new DALLAS software (Dunlavy Audio Labs Listener Analysis Software). Not suprisingly it hasn't arrived, but I would be interested to know if anyone managed to get hold of it before they ceased trading?

I can't say that I know of any other speaker manufacturer that went as far as writing their own software to help users setup their listening environment for optimal performance, but I guess it hasn't helped them in the long run...

I have not had any problems with my SC-Vs and I appreciate that most replacement drivers are still made, however, I believe that Dunlavy specifically recorded individual speaker driver performance characteristics for all units sold. Therefore, if you previously needed a replacement they would be able to reassure you that the new driver had past their stringent benchmark tests (something like 60% of drivers are rejected) and they would also try and find the best possible match based on the archived data.
I am also saddened by the news that Dunlavy has ceased operations. Two years ago, after a somewhat exhaustive search for speakers, I purchased the Dunlavy Vs in the exotic Kevazinga wood finish. (I agree that the standard finishes leave a lot to be desired) And although they are tall coffins, like so many describe them, there was no denying the beauty of this wood. The height and mass of these speakers have never bothered me. In fact, I wanted big speakers.

Enough said about the looks. It's the sound that grabbed me! Since their arrival, I have never enjoyed music so much. I looked forward to getting home every night from work to spin an LP, a CD or an SACD.

Then I really did it. If the V's sound this good, their big brother should be even better. I took the plunge and ordered the VIs. I have never looked back. Like so many other audiophiles looking for that so called "perfect" system, I finally had mine.
I actually made two systems. I use the Vs in a tube setup and the VIs for solid state.

Thanks Mr. Dunlavy for the pleasure your products have given me. (I made these purchases before he sold the company to the present owners) I hope one day when economic times improve that Dunlavy will bounce back. I too, would like to try out the Dallas software.
As an owner of much Infinity IRS equipment (one pair of Gammas, two pairs of Betas and a pair of IRS V) I must say that the driver issue you face isn't that dire. Still, I can at least see a bit how you might be worried. I was afraid to play my speakers at insane volume levels, but once I was able to get over the fear and started playing the speakers like they are really capable, I was again reassured that I had the speakers I wanted and that I shouldn't be worried about the line being dead.

Once again, the super speaker market takes a hit, which makes my speakers that much more special. I tend to view these levels of speakers as like the big predator on the savannah. They are not common and if they were, they would lose some of that appeal that just makes you say "WOW!" when you see them.
Full disclosure: I have Dunlavy Alethas as my main speakers, and for home theater have an SM-1 center channel and 2 SCI-AV for the rear channels. Obviously I'm a Dunlavy fan.

I never had any trouble with Dunlavy customer service, in fact quite the opposite. I spoke with the Dunlavy factory twice. I called the factory the first time to confirm that I had indeed ordered the shielded version of the SM-1. Mrs. Dunlavy answered the phone and was extremely helpful and courteous. Two days later the factory called me. They let me know they were about to start building my shielded SM-1, and inquired as to the serial numbers of my Alethas. Though they didn't state this explicitly, I presume they were going to look up the measurements they had on my Alethas and insure the drivers in the SM-1 were a good match. (Both models use the same drivers except for the woofer in the Alethas.) They then put me on hold for a minute and John Dunlavy came on the phone. We spoke for a couple minutes about the system I was putting together. He too, was very courteous and polite.

Prior to my decision to go with Dunlavy, I also had several email conversations with Drew Rigby of Dunlavy. I was not a Dunlavy owner at the time but was evaluating different brands and models. Drew took the time to explain various stereo and multi-channel configurations for me, going over the pros/cons of each. Drew knew I was looking at used models so it's not like he was going to be making some great commission, yet he still took considerable time with me.

I have nothing but praise for my Dunlavys and my decision to go with them has been reinforced with everything I have listened to since. I love the sound and never fatigue while listening to them. I'm constantly amazed with their imaging and depth of soundstage. A woman's voice and cymbals often expose weaknesses in speakers. I swear you can tell when the drummer is using Zildjian or Paiste with the Alethas. Turn the lights off and listen to close-miked Diana Krall, yikes!

When I augment the Alethas with the SM-1 and SC1-AVs for home theater, the sound across the front 3 channels is absolutely seamless. The sound from the SM-1 and the Alethas is virtually identical (save the lowest octaves). The Alethas are relatively easy to place, simple to drive (I use a Bryston 4B-ST), and in my opinion, look damn good.

Yes I'm disappointed that Dunlavy has closed shop, but I don't believe for a minute that the reason for going out of business had anything to do with the quality or support of the product. It's a tough business to make money in when the vast majority of your customer base is satisfied with what's on sale from Best Buy. Quite often the ability to market and sell doesn't match up to a company's ability to make a great product. When that happens, it's tough to keep a P&L in the black.

I'm certainly glad I have mine. But it's too bad they're not made anymore because a lot of folks will miss out on a great product.
My conversations with Dunlavy were similar to Dave 1.
What about replacement drivers for Dunlavy. My friend has the Dunlavy 1V speakers. His are from 1996. If I remember correctly, Dunlavy used Vifa drivers on the speakers. But I remember hearing, John Dunlavy modified the drivers. So i'm not sure if you can buy stock drivers from Vifa. The Dunlavy SC-IVA which replaced the Dunlavy 1V speakers. The Dunlavy SC-IVA used 10 inch Scanspeak woofers instead of the Vifa woofers. The mids and tweeter are still Vifa on the SC-IVA Loudspeakers. What will happen with replacement drivers.
Bad news..Dunlavy was famous all over the world..From that sort of speakers now maybe only Duntechs are left..
Me too! With me, it is death do us part for Vs. Have II's and I. Guess what I worried about the future so much that I ordered a matching set of each speaker for my V's. Of course all of them are in a box, never had to use them. Vs been in my house since 97, and I can't even think my system without them. I am glad i have thoes extra speakers!

In fact I was saving for the TSW V's to go with my V's . But now it would be impossible. TSW V's are rare. They made only 4 or 5 pairs at 12K a pop.
TSW 5 ???
TSW-5 = Tower SubWoofer V'S same physical size as V's but has 4- 12" subwoofers extends low freq response even further down
If you are wanting them, I know where 2 pair are. Contact Widescreen Review. Although they will probably keep them for a while, at some point they will replace them.
Thx. Will check it out.
Very sad, but not too surprising after the sale. I spoke to the new owners at CES this past January (right after the sale), and they were frankly clueless. Not just about the Dunlavy line, but audio in general.

Hopefully, the DAL products will return, but without someone as knowlegable and passionate as John at the helm, it is hard to imagine that the speakers will be as good.
Actually, I made a typo. They have 2 of them, so it is one pair of the TSW5.
Yet another argument to buy speakers in the used market, risking only out-of-warranty service/parts fees from problematic speakers. Many people will now be left with speakers for which only esoteric buyers will exist.

No company will buy this company's assets when it consists of flagship models having among the worst possible WAF and a retired designer. I compared these to Revel Salons and enjoyed the sound for its distinct seamlessness, but the height, the height, and the height drove me off. Plus, I enjoyed the attack of the Salons, hence my purchase of the baby Studios. Still, that was a choice preference...The duns (dones?) are GREAT speakers...
Wait till you see what Dunlavy products are worth on the used market. It like Hales products buyer beware!!!
Mgminc, the one good thing about Dunlavy, they did use Vifa and Scanspeak drivers, so there easy to get.
Does anybody know the model of the Vifa and Scanspeak drivers used in SC-VI?

I am going to keep my SC-VI because they are great, and would like to get some replacement drivers, just in case.