I'm pretty sure Bryston can afford to do anything they wish.
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There's a reason there are so few manufacturers that can successfully build and sell both electronics and speakers. A mid to high end company like Bryston working with a lower end speaker company to enter the speaker market seems like an odd strategy to me from a credibility perspective at the very least. This looks like a rare misstep by Bryston.
"Mis-step" - I don't think so and here's why, IMHO. Axiom has been known as a manufacturer of "high value" speakers. While they can offer enclosures finished in higher end materials their market has been to offer a very good speaker finished in less costly material and selling factory direct allows them to provide the public with a variety of speakers at generally affordable price points. Like many speaker manufacturers they have a cult following.
The Bryston speakers appear to use the same material in their finish but like Axiom would rather sink more money into the parts (drivers and x-overs).
Personally I would expect a higher quality finish on a speaker like the Model T that lists for $6500 but that's just me - guess I would be always getting caught up in judging a book by its cover.
Like any speaker an audition will tell the tale. I heard the Model T at the last TAVES show in Toronto and I was very impressed with its performance. Not an ideal setting for sure, shows rarely are, but I will say I was very struck by their bass response given the size and layout of the room.
Will they succeed - only time will tell. The initial commercial reviews (and we can all decide how to weigh those...) are very good but the customer auditions reported over at Audiocircles are very good to excellent.
Based on what I heard if Bryston were to sell direct like Axiom does they would be going out the door in droves. As Bryston uses a dealer network the final prices must reflect that additional level of support.
Like any speaker its a very personal choice but I believe that discounting them because of their resemblance to Axiom products would be doing them a disservice.
As is always the case YMMV...
I own a Bryston pre and am certainly rooting for them here, and I bet the speakers sound pretty darn good too. And I understand working with Axiom to get access to their drivers, but why oh why did they have to make the Model T look so much like the Axiom M80 that I think sells for like 1500 bucks??? Bryston already has a big enough challenge to gain credibility as a speaker designer at these price levels given the competition they'll face from more established speaker brands. On top of that they now have opened the door wide to fighting audiophile snobbery as many will not even give them a shot and dismiss them out of hand as a really expensive souped-up Axioms. And the fact that Axiom sells direct and Bryston will be selling through dealers makes them seem relatively even more expensive. If they're going to look so much like another brand they should've gone higher end and moved down the price scale. It would be a much easier sell as a perceived cheaper Magico than an expensive Axiom. (It's a lot easier to sell a cheaper BMW than an expensive Volkswagen). I realize this would be largely perception, but unfortunately among the audiophile crowd and at these price levels perceptions become very important. I hope Bryston can overcome this because the speakers may be very good, but given the way they executed this and who they're selling to I find myself a bit skeptical. As you say, time will tell.
Bryston has long been the target of audiophile snobbery already so I don't think this will bother them. I too heard the speakers at the most recent TAVES show in Toronto and I was pleasantly surprised at how good they sound but felt that they were still somewhat overpriced, but not by a lot. Taking this into consideration probably had a lot to do with Bryston decision to use an established companies basic cabinetry. Designing their own from scratch would most likely have put the final price even more out of reach then what the model T is now.