I have been in this industry for close to 50 years and the changes it is currently undergoing are beyond precedent, both from the hardware/software perspective and from how consumers shop (we are not the only industry undergoing that shift).
One of the major changes is pricing expectation. The world is no longer shrinking – that has already taken place. The consumer now has the tools at their fingertips to shop where they like, research what they want, and dictate that business is done on their terms.
Len Wallis Audio has been around long enough (this is our 40th year) to remember when the prices of audio equipment were multiples of overseas markets. Import duties were sky high, sales tax was 32%, and dealer margins were at levels we can only dream about today. The only respite for the consumer was a trip to Hong Kong, Fiji or a similar duty free port – and many audio components made their way to our shores via these means.
Today customers can check international prices with a keystroke, and will no longer accept large discrepancies. Local distributors and retailers have accepted this, and many have now adopted a policy of pricing their product as close to international parity as possible. While not the first to do so Bowers & Wilkins recently took over the local distribution for their product in Australia, and one of the first things that they did was reduce prices to bring them in line with international levels.
The distributors for British brand Musical Fidelity recently sliced pricing so severely that on some key models they are below the recommended selling prices in the UK.
Krell have just followed suit, and in doing so have created some tremendous bargains.
Krell has represented the pinnacle of amplifier design for decades. Audiophiles all around the world aspire to own a Krell.
That aspiration is now a little easier to achieve. Krell has been repriced in Australia to bring it into line with US pricing, and in some instances they are slightly better. Several of the reductions have been significant, but none more noteworthy than the 200 watt/channel Vanguard Digital integrated amplifier. This is a stunning amplifier and was already considered to offer value at $9,995. It has been repriced at $7,995. Its less expensive sibling, the same amplifier minus the digital inputs simply called the Vanguard, is now $6,495.
The ever popular Solo 575 Class ‘A’ mono-block power amps rated at 575watts RMS have been reduced from $19,995 to $15,995 each.
The obvious winner from this is you, the consumer. Pricing for audio in this country has never been so affordable. Nor has the choice been greater or the performance been better. This is a golden age for the recreation of recorded music!!