Denon Opens Online Store

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You can now purchase Denon products directly from Denon in the US at http://usa.denon.com/

Why would you want to purchase direclty from Denon?

Pricing - Nope. Denon controls their pricing and you have to pay the same price from all authorized dealers, the price on their website is List Price. Same as what you'll pay everywhere else.

Shipping - For the moment they are offering free shipping but you have to enter the promo code Welcome

Perks - Right now they are sending free hats with every purchase. OK, cool, but not a reason to buy from them.

Bottom line - Buying from the manufacturer direct is a good deal IF they offer the same support as a dealer. You will need to pay tax if you are in NJ, NY, CA or IN Since Denon has offices in those states.

Denon is not known for great customer support so you have to consider this when purchasing. On the other hand they need this to succeed so you might have leverage you won't have at other online stores.

Buy from Amazon - You can of course get the free shipping, no tax and the full support of purchase from Amazon. At least with Amazon you'll know for sure that issues and returns will be handled quickly and without problems.

When AirPlay is Better Than Bluetooth

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When AirPlay is Better Than Bluetooth AirPlay compatible speakers are starting to come out in greater numbers. Mostly though these are higher end wireless, streaming speakers. Bluetooth speakers tend to be of lesser quality (sound wise), not bad, just not up to par with AirPlay offerings. It won't always be this way we're sure but for now...


High End Full Sounding AirPlay Speaker

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Libratone, BeatFiled under "not here yet" This Scandinavian speaker company with their Full Room technology and 360 degree sound experience Libratone promises detailed audiophile-like sound from a small, wireless, and AirPlay compatible speaker.

First they are a bit weird with the fuzzy cover and all the colors. Not sure how many folks will buy the colors. I'd bet some time around June of 2012 you'll see red and green Libratone's on sale.

Sale Price Would be Welcome!

These are also very expensive speakers, airplay or not. At the $699 range they certainly tip the scale at hte very top end. At this price you can get a very nice Sonos system with a base and two speakers, or two Bose docks.

Nice Specs
Expensive but the specs may or may not support the price.

  • 1x5" bass, 2x3" midrange and 2x1" ribbon based tweeter
  • Wireless active speaker with built-in Digital Signal Processing and Digital Amplification.
  • 150W total. 1x50W bass, 2x25W tweeter & 2x25W midrange.
  • Satin chrome handle, body of wood, high-end piano finish and Italian cashmere wool.
  • AirPlay (wireless) and 3.5-mm audio minijack for analog or optical digital sound.
Coming in September


Finding Deals on Speakers

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In a recent article about the cost of speakers the author talks about 5 reasons good speakers cost so much.
  • 2000% Increase In Price of Neodymium -Neodymium is a rare earth material that is a very effective magnet. 
  • Chinese Labor - One of the dirty little secrets that no speaker company will tell you is that after Chinese New Year in February, many of the workers return home after a year of training, work and gaining experience. And then they never return back to the factory to work again. 
  • Other Raw Materials Costs 
  • Transportation and the Cost of Oil -A gallon of gas costs a lot less three years ago than it does today and that affects the price of good speakers in many ways. Petroleum products go into speakers, speaker drivers and speaker materials including boxes, packing materials and beyond. 

The author goes on to say "good speakers are not very different than commodities, as they are more expensive today than in the past. Unlike video and computers, the cost of producing heavy, durable goods like speakers are being passed onto the consumer for all of the reasons stated above. Will speaker prices come down? I don't see it any time soon but as long as performance is up, finishes are excellent and the value is there - buying a new pair of gleaming speakers is one of the world's great joys. As an owner of some new Paradigm Signature Reference S8's (made in Canada),  

Our thoughts on Speaker prices

Interesting article but the only factor that holds any weight (excuse the pun) is the cost of Neodymium, which does not effect all speakers which typically use traditional magnets. Certainly material costs fluctuate and the cost of labor in China has been increasing, but likely has less to do with migrant workers moving out of highly automated factories, but with a rising standard of living. The real reason speakers cost so much is pretty simple.

Multiple Mark ups Drive Speaker Costs

Due to the nature of many people justifiably wanting to listen to speakers before purchasing them they are sold at retail. This causes extreme price pressures at the point of purchase. ... 
  • Factory Costs 
  • Manufacturer Markup 50%. 
  • Distributor Markup 50%. 
  • Retailer Markup 50%. 
Once each player in the distribution channel takes their profit, the price goes up. (the above percentages are for example only, they could be higher or lower). Though this is also true of many products speakers are a particularity tough sale direct to a consumer who has not heard them. I would more easily purchase an amp or receiver than I would a set of speakers I have not heard. There are many fine online direct speaker makers who sell their goods at reasonable prices. Buyers just need to be prepared to buy them on faith, and a good return policy.

Examples of High End Speaker Companies that Sell Direct - So You Save

Try these direct to consumer speakers as an example, both companies sell direct to consumer and through Amazon, at no additional markup. Real high quality, without the crazy markup.

Aperion speakers
NHT speakers

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