He has a low power SET amp, and a high power 70wpc push-pull amp, both with ZOTL technlogy. They are extrememly good amps, with the best reliability record in the business. They are limited production, and hold their value very well on the used market. Self-biasing and easy to use, they run cool, and have 10-20 year projected tube life. Price range $4500-$7k. The sound has to be heard to be believed. About the most transparent, revealing, and frighteningly fast tube amps available.
Remember, Peter, you'll want something reliable that is backed by its manufacturer as well, or you won't want to be a dealer for it because your customers won't be happy. With that criterion firmly in mind, Twl is right on the mark, in my view.
The Berning gear is terrific as the others have stated but David Berning is a one man show with a very limited number of products. Cosmetics may also be a problem (although it shoudn't be).
On the other hand, Art Audio has a reasonably broad product line, including amps, preamps, phono stages and DACs, albeit with an emphasis on low powered designs. The designs are pretty attractive as well.
I have gear from both companies and love them both. Actually, if I were a dealer I would carry them both.
Having not heard or dealt with Berning, my choice as a "dealer" would probably be Cary
. If you are looking for spaciousness & warmth ( why else would you buy tubes ??? ) with reliability and excellent customer service, i don't know if you can do better than Dennis Had and the crew at Cary.
Besides all of that, they also offer their "budget" product line [[url=http://www.superamp.com/]SuperAmps[/url] and kits (Audio Electronic Supply
) too. Taking this approach, you've got the DIY'er covered, the person that wants tubes but can't afford "top shelf" stuff ( AES ) and then you've got the Cary stuff to carry the load for those with more cash. One product line that covers every aspect of tube audio with only one reputable manufacturer to deal with. From a business point of view, why would you want to go anywhere else ? After all, "dealers" are "businessmen" ( and women ) too. Sean
PS... I don't own Cary products but know others that do. Nothing but fabulous things to say about their products and customer support.
Audiogon needs to correct something in their system as i edited the correct website address for "SuperAmps" above and it wouldn't show up as a clickable link. This happens ALL the time, so they've got a glitch in their matrix somewhere. Other than that, here's the correct link in clickable form. SuperAmps
Hope this helps... Sean
PS... Don't forget that as a dealer, you'll need to find a manufacturer that can both supply volume and offer reasonable turn-around times on repairs.
Too bad Sonic Frontiers is gone. Neutral, well built,low output impedances, single ended and balanced, remote and lots of inputs and out puts. Their componenets were compatible with a lot of gear including solid state.
BAT- Small, responsive, great service and extensive product line, including (gasp!) SS and HT products, integrateds, balanced and s.e. Great sound of course.
$7,500 = Moderate to low priced?
Crap, i dunno what it is you do for a living, but i think im totally gonna sue my guidance councelor.
Anything over 2,000 is pretty pricy in my wallet! :)
Atma-Sphere Atma-Sphere Atma-Sphere.
From a business perspective (not based on sonic merits) a well known company with a long history would make the most sense. So Audio Research, Conrad Johnson and (maybe) Krell. These companies heavily advertise and get favorable press so a lot of the work is already done for you.
Carrying Berning products is a bad move business-wise. First of all he sells the products direct off of his website (and I know first hand he offers a discount if there is no dealer in the area- easy to circumvent). Second, as the above posts indicate his product line is limited in products and production and has a definite "home brew" look to it. And lastly, who is going to repair his gear if he is not around (his circuit design and parts are so complex that a major manufacturer tried to reverse engineer it and failed)?
what aobut VTL? David Manley makes some wonderful sounding units, and has some great "entry level" products. I wish I had a dealer near me.
My first experience with high end audio was with a small audio "boutique" located along my walk to university. It was a small store which carried Sonic Frontiers products. Since then I have heard a number of different lines of gear but the the Sonic Frontiers gear will always have a special place in my heart. Like Unsound, I too would like to lament the fact that they are no longer in the market. However, that taken into consideration, Cary would be the line I would carry. Sweet sounding and eye candy to boot.
Rogue Audio. Quality tube audio with owners that are approachable and caring.
Their greed quotient is low, also. I believe their Zeus and 150 Monoblocks would easily sell for one-half to one-third more by most other companies. Same goes for the rest of their components.
I agree with Richard 100% Rogue sells a great product and they have great customer service. Rogue amps could easily be sold and marketed for double the price if they were so inclined. However, they do little advertising and get little pub.
Cary. I just bought a Rocket 88. I got the older version without the extra gain stage. My Sony XA7ES CD player drives it easily through the variable out.
This is my first tube amp since I sold my 2 Dynacos. What a leap in build quality & better sound.....
I'd look into something that is under-represented within your geographical market. In addition to a few of those mentioned, what about some other well-established, solid-value lines that are also a bit tougher to find, like Quicksilver and Music Reference?
For a performance to value perspective, definitely Berning, I'm prejudiced but freely admit it, it is a great value folks but it sure ain't gone to pay the monthly nut. Its a hobby to the manufacturer and based on annual production, it sure isn't going to come remotely close to paying for a brick and mortar operation. But it sure would be a lot of fun to put this 10 lb amp against the heavy hitters in the industry, what a rude awakening!
To make the nut probably Audio Research and/or Cary. Is this a fantasy question? Who makes money in high end audio but the large market guys and those that have been in it so long they long ago forgot when or why?