Had to send the above quote recently to a distributor who seems to be losing product lines and clientele. We have exchanged e-mails over the years and each time i could tell he wanted everything for nothing from manufacturers, magazines, consumers... everyone. He seems to be the type that charges high prices to his customers and be overly greedy to everyone else he did business with. Needless to say, this type of behavior is so short-sighted as to alienate many of those around him (read: not just me). His reputation, naturally, probably precedes him everywhere he goes. End result, my refusal to do any reviews or anything else ever with this person (and his e-mails go directly to my Junk folder). And for the record, he never advertised and while he did try time and again i flat out refused as this is not the type of person Enjoy the Music.com readership should be subjected to. And this leads us to my focusing on product quality... which leads to price... and of course the all-important how manufacturers and dealers treat end users.
Recently the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) released their finding from a new study that focused on the consumer's desire for high-quality audio electronics. The result is that 39% were moderately interest in audio and willing to invest more money to achieve it.
"Sound quality depends on both the audio source and listening device. Manufacturers and retailers have the unique ability to educate consumers on what constitutes high-quality audio," said Ben Arnold, CEA's senior research analyst. "Similar to HD and 3D video technology, quality audio is experiential, so we encourage consumers to do in-the-field research. Hearing the difference among superior audio products can effectively sway consumers to consider and purchase high-quality audio technology."
So we have enthusiasts and 'normal' people wanting higher quality sound, though of course eventually comes the question "At what price?". Another saying, or is it axiom, to understand is:
For if you want a low price yet excellent customer service, you may have to sacrifice high quality. If you want high quality at a very low price, you may find that customer service is lacking. Lastly, is you desire high quality as we all do within our high-end audio products plus have great customer service, which is in my humble opinion necessary to be a company that stays in business for decades, then said products will not be low price. Some great examples of companies that are some of the best examples of high-end audio are conrad-johnson, Gryphon, Kimber Kable, Manley Labs, Pass Labs, and Wavelength Audio (to name a few, there are many, many more). Of course there may be exceptions such as Audio Engine that offers low price yet still provide a very good quality product and great customer service, yet we all must admit they are not truly 'high-end' where, say, the Reference 3A monitors and above come into the echelon of true high-end audio. NAD, Paradigm and Rotel, for example, play an interesting grey area and are doing well. Of course they also offer product from lowish price with great quality and features to those easily priced at the high-end level with state-of-the-art technology. My main point being is that you can't have everything for nothing. Sure there are those who may bend 'the rules' of the price/quality/service saying to some degree, yet virtually no one has broken them and stayed in business for decades.
So summing this all up, as the Rolling Stones song goes "You can't want, you get what you need." My dad harped on me time and again while growing up to separate my 'wants' from my 'needs'. Needless to say, young kids tend to do as they please and it is only later in life that one realizes the valuable lesson taught to us by those far wiser than ourselves. Just be realistic about your needs and your wants. And this, too, goes for manufacturers and distributors who through experience have learned some valuable lessons along the way. Since we audiophiles desire high-end audio products and excellent customer service, we are generally willing to invest a bit more to achieve it. Just remember this other famous axiom, "If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is".
Of course in the end what really matters is that you...