Brett66 asked whether it’s worth visiting an audio store in London, mentioning KJ West One, which happens to be my first port of call. It’s a fabulous store since a refit about 5 years ago, with two rooms, one large and one small, intended to represent the type of space their customers might have. Not sure how keen they would be to have listening rooms occupied by tourists, they are usually used by appointment.
There were a few complaints about UK prices, part of which is probably because we pay 20% sales tax, about average for Europe.
I wondered whether people in the UK/Europe and USA have different perception of prices. So I compared the cost of my Devialet Expert 250 with the equivalent PSA kit, which would be BHK250, BHK Pre, DSD DAC, Bridge II and Phono converter. The Devialet 250 includes a sophisticated streaming card and the PSA system would need some cables.
Anyway, comparing UK and USA prices, in the USA the PS Audio system would be 13% more expensive than the Devialet, but in the UK it would be 60% more expensive. That’s a massive increment.
There are obviously freight and duty costs, but in the USA the Dev costs 10% more than in the UK, whereas in the UK the PSA costs 29% more than in the USA. So there is a much bigger premium for PSA customers in the UK.
Add to that PSA servicing in the UK is non-existent, there are no trade-ins and resale is difficult. Devialet provides free door-to-door collect and return servicing.
The other big issue is space. Looking at system pics from the USA, most Londoners could only dream of such space because of real estate prices (in our suburb around $1,000 per sq. foot is typical), and that’s before purchase taxes (10% when buying over £1m and it gets worse). So many people don’t move and wonder how their kids will ever afford to buy. So you either have to be very wealthy, single or have a very devoted wife to have the luxury of filling a room with multiple boxes of audio equipment. People move out of town, but then you lose the cultural life. That’s the big compromise as far as I’m concerned, that we’re not prepared to make.