Why is Shahinian not more popular

I am a German living in Moscow, and only recently got to know the speakers of Shahinian. I first received a pair of Obelisks in the summer of 2001, and liked their sound and presentation so much that I upgraded to the Diapason when Audiogon-member dogman7515 offered them for sale. I drive them with a MacIntosh MA6500, a German Audionet CD-transport and the Chord DAC64. Everybody who listens to these uncoventional, omnidirectional speakers is amazed, and I already have my best friend shopping for Obelisks as well. Having fallen in love with the Shahinian-speakers, I took a look around, but was astonished to see that there is almost no discussion of these speakers on Audiogon. Nor, it seems, are there dealers of Shahinian in the US. Why, dear Audiogons, are they not more popular with you? To those of you who own Shahinians: What is your experience as far as room acoustics are concerned? And what are your experiences with bi-amping and bi-wiring them? A review in the German journal Image Hifi stated you'd nee to dampen the wall behind Shahinian-speakers (Diapasonns, in that case)to get decent soundstaging. And finally, does anybody know what Shahinian is doing like? A German Hifi-dealer told me the rumor that Shahinian might be in trouble and bankrupt soon.
Thanks for your insight. Florian Hassel
I listened to a set of Obelisks back in the late 70's and the next day ordered a set of the box, as I couldn't afford the Obelisks. I enjoyed those fine speakers for several years before upgrading to large floorstanders but should have kept them for back up. (and my eventual second system).

As to why they're not too popular, I'm guessing that they don't have much of a dealer network, as you rarely see them advertised. In addition, if you cruise over to AA you might find some more information by doing a search on his name.
They sound too much like music and lack the "flash" of "hi-fi" speakers. They are more a speaker that you come to love rather than sells you the minute you hear it.

They are also a little harder to set up due to their radiation patterns. Someone that buys a pair second hand may not know what it takes to really make them tick. Talking to a dealer or Richard Shahinian might solve those problems.

Another problem is that there really isn't a so called "dealer network" to sell, advertise or market this product. This makes it low demand due to lack of familiarity and popularity.

Another factor is that the speakers are not only placement sensitive, they are also somewhat equipment sensitive. They need an amp that is powerful yet offers very quick and well controlled bass. Otherwise, they tend to sound a little slow and thick on the bottom end. Sean
I find them interesting, but I prefer the sound of direct radiator speakers. I never really enjoyed omnidirectional designs.
No offense, but I never understood the fuss over Shahinian Obelisks.

A friend of mine in London sold his Apogee Stage speakers to buy a pair of them and I found them to be perfectly ordinary.

I would love to hear from others who have discovered magic in them -- maybe with certain associated components?? -- but I have always thought they were an overhyped cult speaker with middle of the road sound.
I think they are very room sensitive. Every time I've heard them they sounded different, even with the same equipment. Often they sound stage was scattered, even Bose like. Sometimes it wasn't so diffused . Sometimes they exhibited a lumpy bass. Sometimes it was just a bit slow. Seemed risky to me.
Hassel, I have tried to become a Shahinian dealer, so far without success. Dick Shahinian has no US dealers, and doesn't really need any. He has a hard enough time keeping up with orders from Europe and Asia. I have been contacted by people who've told me that if I could get them a pair of Shahinians, they'd buy 'em in a heartbeat.

So please don't take the absence of US dealerships as a commentary on the sonics of the Shahinian line. What they do well, they do very well.

I still hope to convince Shahinian that they need at least one US dealer...
Duke, Shahinian may not WANT dealers for very specific reasons other than production volume. It is possible that the dealers he has dealt with in the past may not have been reliable and / or known how to really market / set up his products. As such, it would be better to have NO dealer than a dealer that will end up damaging your product reputation to do poor representation. Especially if you are already running at or very near production capacity.

Having said that, i don't think that he would run into that situation with you. I think that you cater to a more select market and do a better job of it. If most "dealers" had the love of music in their heart and customer service that you offer, we wouldn't see all of these negative posts about bad dealer experiences that we do. Hopefully, Richard will reconsider his stance and work with you. While i don't think that the Shahinian's would do direct competition with the Sound Labs, i do think that it would give you a smaller and slightly more conventional speaker to work with that had many of the "airy" qualities that "panel" type speaker lovers look for. Like most panels though, they do require quite a bit of TLC to get them to work right due to their radiation pattern and rear mounted bass driver. Sean
Sean -

Once again, thanks for your vote of confidence.

In a sense, the Shahinians have some common ground with the Sound Labs - both systems recreate a well-energized, diffuse reverberant field whose tonal balance is very similar to that of the direct sound. I think the Shahinians would fit well into my little line-up, if I can make it happen.
I have a pair of ARC's, having previously had Tannoy and B&W speakers. I think it's a combination of things:

1. Relative scarcity of reviews, press and zero advertising / PR and the website could be better : http://www.shahinianacoustics.com/ if you already did'nt know.

2. Looks / the 'ooh' factor - people are more used to seeing 'a box with a speaker driver stuck in it' as Richard Shahinian likes to say, than the squat pryamid-y look of the Shahinian speaker family.

3. Hard for people to get demo's as readily as mainstream makes - I live in the middle of London - one of the worlds biggest cities for godsakes - and still its difficult! Most potential buyers won't do that much legwork.

This ties into the comments made by others about the dealer network or lack thereof and the fact for some reason they simply aren't presented in stores like other speakers are.

I don't think being ' hard to drive' and room placement are issues, when you consider that ALL speakers have various niggles and preferences and Shahinian's are no worse than other makes.

In fact it's that kind of rumour perpetuation that can further harm Shahinian's profile, encouraging prejudice. Professional reviewers have gone so far as to say room placements actually LESS of an issue than conventional speakers, see the reprinted reviews from respected independent hi-end audio magazines on the Shahinian's website for confirmation of my own personal experiences regarding placement etc.


I would really urge any prospective buyer to disregard any 'nay' sayers and think why this brand has survived for so long, with so many devoted fans & simply listen to the Shahinian range.

When compared to the competition, Shahinian's performance & value come out really strong across all their models.

Give 'em a try & then make the call, having decided for yourself.
most hi end consumers would rather spend thousands on tweeking a room rather than buying a loudspeaker that uses the room to its benefit. other guys did this too with varying success. allison,vilchir,bose.....they were all brilliant like mr shahinian. all were scorned by much of the hi end community were not that brilliant.
Venus Hi-Fi (Michigan) is the only U.S. dealer.

Realizing the Shahinian spaker is not for everyone... I'm enamored with my Shahinian Arc's.
They fit my room, have a HIGH WAF, disappear when the music is flowing, create a broad and believable soundstage...
I own a pair of Arcs and have also had the pleasure of a pair of Hawks in my listening room for a few months. They do love a bit of power, but in saying that they are still quite driveable with most reasonable power amps.

I bought mine from a Dealer in New Zealand and had never heard of them prior to walking into his store. His problem is supply, and I understand that is across the board. I believe that Shahinian are happy not to advertise and to build a quality speaker that "speaks" for itself and is known by word of mouth rather than flashy advertising.