May 9-12, 2013
All prices in euros unless indicated otherwise
Companies featured in gallery below: Audio-Technica, Spendor, Hegel Music Systems, Ayre Acoustics, NAD, Arcam, PSB, Vienna Acoustics, Pro-Ject, Astell&Kern, Opera Only, Rosso Fiorentino, Bel Canto Design, Straussmann, CH Precision
Companies featured in gallery below: Dynaudio, Grimm Audio, Sonus Faber, Wadia, Octave Audio, T+A, Audio Research, Crystal Cable, Penaudio, Apoll Acoustics, Gato Audio, Kaiser Acoustics, Auris Audio, Aurelia
Companies featured in gallery below: Gryphon Audio Designs, KEF, Nordost, AudioQuest, PMC, Tidal Audio, Audio Physic, Devialet, Simaudio, Naim Audio, Avantgarde Acoustic, Gauder Akustik, Soulution, Constellation Audio
Amphion's Anssi Hyvönen brings an interesting topic of discussion to every event in which he and his company participate. For High End 2013, the topic was studio-quality sound for the home for a reasonable price and without much inconvenience.
Last week KEF surprised everyone by jumping into the headphone market with the introduction of the M500 on-ear cans and M200 in-ear monitors. But is it any surprise? Hardly. This is the fastest-growing segment of hi-fi right now, so with speaker companies such as B&W, Focal, and Paradigm offering 'phones of their own, the folks at KEF probably thought they should too.
In "Part 1" and "Part 2" of this series of articles, I highlighted why it can be important for loudspeaker companies to make their own drivers. One reason is that, as a loudspeaker manufacturer matures, their capabilities grow, and showcasing that newfound growth can be important for the brand. From a more technical perspective, some loudspeaker designers naturally want to control the entire engineering process so that the final products are more wholly their own. These are extremely valid reasons either alone or in concert with one another.
Yesterday I examined the question that I know has been burning in your mind: does it matter if a loudspeaker company makes its own drivers? I answered in the affirmative, using the new Sonus Faber Olympicas as an example of why it can be important. And to whom. In Sonus Faber's case, it shows that the loudspeaker company has reached a certain level of maturity in their engineering and has improved their overall technical and logistical capabilities. In other words, they can really make a loudspeaker line. Make as in make.
Devialet's Manuel de la Fuente opened the company's May 9 press conference with some important remarks, but probably the most important for me was this one: "What is the future for our industry if everything simply keeps on getting more expensive?"
The subject of making your own drivers comes up at shows. The loudspeaker companies that are doing it themselves like to brag about it, while those that don't . . . well, they don't tend to mention it. To the consumer, as far as I can tell, it doesn't really seem to matter all that much. But should it?
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