From the desk of Len Wallis
2018 marks 40 years for Len Wallis Audio. It has been a fabulous journey. We have witnessed a great number of changes, made an ever greater number of friends, and most importantly count ourselves incredibly lucky to work daily in an industry that we love and enjoy so much.
I came into this industry almost 50 years ago through my love of music. That has not diminished – and I doubt it ever will! The components and systems that we recommend are simply a means to an end. Ideally every system we provide should have the ability to allow the music you are listening to have the same emotional impact on you that I find it has on me.
This industry is currently undergoing some profound changes, and I predict that we will see these changes continue for some time. 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. Most industries, including this one, find that they need to adapt, and adapting they are.
Len Wallis Audio has been around long enough 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 making their product as close to international parity as possible. While not the first to do so, Bowers and 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.
Other companies are now following suit. In this publication you will also find companies like Triangle loudspeakers and Stax headphones announcing new prices, with some of the largest reductions coming from American company Krell.
The obvious winner from this is you, the consumer. Pricing for audio in this country has never been more affordable. Nor has the choice been greater or the performance been better. This is a golden age for the reproduction of recorded music!