Imported audio are you getting the same level of performance vs domestic priced equip?
Imported audio usually runs 15-30 % higher in the country the equipment is exported to vs the country of origin. This is understandable with the issues of import fees, shipping costs and distributer mark up. I’ve gasped at times the difference one pays for the same product only because the product is being sold in a different country. If you take a domestic product at the same price point that’s not marked up with the extra costs logically you would believe the domestic product is superior since you are not looking at a 15-30 % mark up. 15-30 % is usually where you see a company offer something better than the previous price point. This is not always the case sometimes it’s 50 % above the lesser product. If I buy a $10000. Speaker from a foreign company that sells for $7000. In the country of origin, I’m paying $10000. for a speaker that’s actually a $7000. Performing one. Take Focal audio for instance the Kanta vs Sopra are all priced about 20% apart as you move up the chain. Each step up is an improvement over the other, they say. So I’m actually paying more for less by buying foreign audio equipment here in the U.S . The point I’m trying make or the answer I’m seeking to my question is are you getting less for your money buying foreign audio equipment than domestic ?
Generalizations probably won’t work here. I’m in the US and feel that the bang for the buck on my Slovenian Kuzma Stabi S is tough to beat by a US manufacturer. Conversely I don’t know anyone abroad making a phono stage that competes with the US-made Herron’s performance at the same price point.
Like most things in audio, "value" can’t be assessed by looking at foreign transaction fees and tariffs alone. Any manufacturer who cant compete on the world stage will have a much smaller market. The market afterall is the ultimate arbiter to your question.
This can be more unpredictable than you would think -
I find there is less differentiation between foreign and domestic products in terms of price and quality and more between large and small companies selling at retail.
Part of it is that most of the large speaker companies who do a lot of volume are foreign or produce their products overseas and the result is that even if you are a US based company, you are still dealing with the same tariffs and freight issues as foreign companies. Secondarily, some of the larger companies own their own US distribution companies and it is just US overheads. So thinking that Focal is a bad deal vs. say Polk because of country where the company is headquartered is not necessarily the case.
Where you are most likely to overpay is small company vs. big company and a foreign small company will be the worst. However, this only holds if you are buying at retail. I can produce a speaker that is fairly price in terms of price/value vs. my competition if I sell consumer direct as long as I am talking about products that are in the $1500 to $2000+ for stand-mount, $3500 to $4000+ for floor-standing price points. Even compared to big companies like Harman & Focal. Under that I can only compete if I was to buy speakers by the container from the far east and deliver parity quality. At higher prices small companies can represent a value if they don't jack their margins AND you are buying consumer direct.
Where you get really screwed is if you buy from a small company at retail. I can think of one company where I can build a speaker using their exact drivers in an identical cabinet and sell it for a little more than half their price consumer direct. At retail, I would likely be a parity and IMO, offer a poor value. With small foreign companies this gets magnified.
I see Canton loudspeakers, made in Germany for 50% - 60% off retail at accessories4less.com as well as some heavily discounted, French built or designed Cabasse and Focal loudspeakers. I've heard a pair of the higher end Canton's years ago and they were amazing. I don't think they mark them up double so they can discount them because their MSRP's are all inline with comparable Paradigm, Revel etc. products.
I am not in to the idea of a singular, objective promised land in audio, so the premium paid for being part of the bigger world of imports just has to be acknowledged as part of that item's story with the benefit being an expanded selection. There is only one Harbeth, ATC, Avantgarde, etc. Another problem is the instability of audio distribution.
I’ve gasped at times the difference one pays for the same product only because the product is being sold in a different country.
For real. I remember seeing the updated ATC price list...thought it was in Yen. And I remember a wife at visiting Avantgarde at Axpona. She was literally yelling at everyone about the price of the Zeros. Good thing for her husband it wasn't the Unos.
Which reminds me, one of these days really need to start a thread worrying about how everything costs more because fiat money. But then I would have to start another thread about how everything costs less because mining oil. Oh well the point is everything just costs more. Why can't it all just be free? And everywhere? All at once? For everyone?
Uh oh, I may have unwittingly just become the 24th democrat presidential candidate....
I use ebay for generally speaking bargain prices. I like Meridian pre/processors and American Amps and speakers. That being said, I am currently very happy with a Parasound C2, made in Finland. We all get to pick and choose which components we like. Caveat Emptor.
For me, it simply boils down to brand pedigree, performance, features and uniqueness of the product. When you look at all that, they far outweighs the import duties and freight charges. I love my Canterbury’s and there isn’t anything out there I care to own...I know I paid lot more in US than what they cost in U.K.
You only live once, buy what your heart desires cause anything else in comparison would be a compromise.
@verdantaudio I assume you are referring specifically to the Joseph Audio Pulsar. Pretty much any ID company can deliver you the same product for half the price or less. They intentionally priced that speaker with a massive arbitrage gap.
@wildfoxinn The Pulsar may be an example but there are many examples and I would not suggest zeroing in on one. I have done a lot of research on speaker pricing and now know what goes into each box. My plan is not to list off my competitors that I might deem a poor value.
Audioholics has done an an interesting article on this and what makes a well made speaker and examined the value ID companies offer vs major manufacturers. As I am building out my line, I have learned they were 100% right.
They also point out “marketing claims” from ID companies that are ways to cut corners and lower costs at the expense of sound quality but are spun to sound like they are better. For example - bracing adds mass and increases vibration so if you don’t brace your speaker will sound better.
Since Chinese companies pay a lot less for labor and probably don't have environmental standards we have they can sell for less. I like buying American as most audio products are made to high standards and perform flawlessly. It's also easier to contact the owner for advise and service if ever needed
Luxman and Accuphase are 2 brands that come to mind as both are much cheaper in the Orient than in the US. I have not made a significant arbitrage purchase, but have monitored the issue over the years. What I find interesting is differences in US MSPR when a distributor is changed. Prices can go up or down overnight, with no change in the product ! Yet customers are left to determine the intrinsic value of the product. No wonder so many are content to buy used and online. The only caveat is gray market purchases are made without any warranty or after sale support. How much is this worth to you ? Well we can find out how much this is worth to a manufacturer by examining Cary Audio's variable pricing strategy based upon the length of warranty included in the sale. A US distributor (for example) would bear most of the cost of warranty service, and that has to be factored into prices and profit margins. It is implied that one buys a warranty when purchasing through authorized channels, and one can deduct the cost of supplying a warranty when buying through gray market.
Im getting a very high level of performance better than my previous USA made products.I am using TW acustic Raven AC turntable made in Germany with TW 10.5 tonearm as well.Im also using Audia flight Strumento #4 mk2 amp and Audia flight Stremento #1 mk 2 preamp the combination sounds much better than my previous USA made amp and preamp.Im also getting great service as well.The dealers i purchased are giving me a very high level of service as well.My purchases were based on build quality and sound.
The US price of my Accuphase E650 is $16500 US. The price in Canada, in Canadian currency, which trades at about $1 US to $1.35 Canadian, is $14000. I purchased mine for $12500, Canadian, taxes in ,new, from an authorized Accuphase dealer here. Full warranty, 120 V model. That equates to less than $9000 US. Someone is getting hosed, as we say here!!..How they can sell any product in the US is a mystery to me.
@brrgrr sometimes prices in various countries makes no sense. Usher products cost like more than twice as much in the U.S. as they do in Taiwan. Elac costs more than twice as much in the UK than in the U.S. KEF costs like 35-50% cheaper in UK than in the US.
My Monitor Audio PL200 Mk11’s retail for $11,495 across the pond but retail at £6,299 here in U.K. so quite a bit cheaper. (Purchased mine for £3,999 on special offer). Generally gear is cheaper in it’s home market as there are no import tariffs or high transport costs.