"The barrier to entry in the loudspeaker business has been relatively low ... you need a garage and a table saw...."
"Toole said that the law of diminishing returns comes in to play at $1800 per pair, and that you can do well at $700 per pair if you're willing to sacrifice some bass."
"If you can't build a good sounding speaker for $10,000 a pair, there is something seriously wrong with you. But if you can deliver comparable sound quality at a fraction of the price, then you really know what you're doing."
I haven't had much respect for Consumer Reports over the last 15~20 years. And that is for a large and diverse range of products that they have tested. Alot of their tests are really bogus.
But the people at Harman know what they're doing.
On the one hand, the folks at Harman deserve great praise for their research models which, according to the article, have been developed to identify a common scientific thread with which desired loudspeaker performance qualities can be identified and then predicted in design.
On the other hand, I'm still convinced that the consumers out there choose their audio (and video) gear in the same way they decide on buying paint - some people prefer red, some people prefer blue, etc., and as Harman gets further into their marketing plan based on this approach, I wonder weather they will find themselves more widely accepted or pushed into an increasingly tighter niche.
Interesting article. If I was going to buy new speakers at retail, I would look for many things other than just sound. Long term reliability and quality of build are most important. I would like:
veneer over plywood construction. Beautifully made drivers. Cloth surrounds not foam. Grilles that don't break apart(like on the 4343's). Name badges that don't fall off(like on the 4343). Good speaker terminals located in the right position(unlike Altec 19's). Bases under the cabinet that do not break apart(like on the L-300). Grills that do not rot(like L100's). Cabinets that have a base that keeps them off the floor so the bottom veneer does not chip (like the 250Ti). Nothing that sticks out too far to get damaged(like the butt cheeks on a 4430).
I am not sure if JBL has ever made the perfect speaker for me. The older Klipsch Cornwall had a nice cabinet and Grill. If you could put in JBL Alnico Drivers and put a nice base under the cabinet, that would be about perfect.
Years ago, at JBL, Ed May Said "You can place two identical loudspeakers on the shelf, and the average consumer will buy the one with more bass every time!"
He is absolutetly right.
Trying to ask an average customer about something else then bass, is like banging your head against a wall
2213 + 2435HPL w/aquaplas + H9800 (Matsj edition)
I'm glad they did. I loved the L110s, and got a great deal on the floor stock pair that we could never sell....
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