Hi-Fi Business: Down But Not Out
8/15/2010 12:17 PM
It’s not to notice wholesale changes occurring within the consumer electronics community as a result of the Great Recession.
Sadly, I just learned of the imminent closing of Sound by Singer, which has been one of the most respected, and equally vilified, luxury hi-fi shops in New York City.
|The big sale prices tell it all on Sound by Singer's website. |
Sound by Singer was known around the world for its diversity, from hard to find product ‘tweaks’ to esoteric things like phono cartridges costing upwards of $16,000.
While many of Singer’s peers will not shed any tears, maybe even revel the news, this will ultimately hurt everyone…manufacturer, consumer, and even competitor. As a sales rep to Singer I have grown to know Sound by Singer the dealer, and Andrew Singer the person to some degree, and it saddens me to know of his decision to close, because he really cares about the music, and how it is played back and ultimately appreciated.
Not many places in the country have 10 isolated and dedicated playback environments, and fewer still have the depth of equipment and knowledge of such.
Most of the staff at Sound by Singer were active musicians on the side, and have for many years set up, tweaked, and ultimately assisted countless music fans in finding the product selection in their price range. This experience will not be replaced at your local big box house.
|Most of the staff hired by Andy Singer, at Sound by Singer, were active musicians on the side. |
Custom integrations maybe the [new] hi-end audio vehicle, but for the true audiophile, music aficionado, or audio neophyte, nothing replaces the visceral experience of being immersed in a retail demo room.
On the equipment side of things, while not confirmed it appears that one of the last vestiges of a true U.S.-built amplifier, B&K, is about to end its run…at least in its current form. A company synonymous with value and quality has fallen on very rough times. As a sales rep for B&K, I feel let down, and as an a American, disheartened that our un-satiated quest for ever lower pricing has dealt what looks like a fatal blow to yet another U.S. company.
As of this writing, Singer is contemplating the reorganization of his business into a much smaller footprint. In the end, the consumer has less to choose from and the small, esoteric, audio firms, whose sole existence is tied to these types of dealers may find their days numbered as well.
Ears Nova is looking at new space, but nothing is confirmed. B&K may have its trademark and whatever is left of the company absorbed by another U.S.-based amplifier company, but that decision, and what happens to the dealer network, product selection and sales reps like me are yet to be determined.