New PS Audio speakers?

My thought is once released should the FR30 speakers be a hit by reviewers and early adopters they will fly off the shelves. By this I mean the FR30 as a perceived value or bargain competing with speakers at 2+ their asking price. There have been some rather valid comments regarding comparison and all that entails as local dealer listening opportunities are not an option. At the assumed price, and if they are indeed a superior value, a road trip to Boulder would not be out of the question. How PSA prices these, and how they provide for their trade in program will be rather interesting. Shipping DACs, disc spinners, amps, and preamps is one thing. Larger speakers, well that is a horse of a different color. Clearly an audio convention or scaled down regional demonstration would be a preferred method to experience the speakers sans local dealer participation. Ultimately it is PS Audio’s risk. In the mean time as there is no PSA product on the market , but there are some rather fine opportunities currently available in the target price range.

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Seems to me, the absolute best way for me to get an idea how speakers sound, is in my listening room, hooked up to my system. Listening to them at a dealer is second best, at an audio show a distant third. That said, even with a no risk return policy, a lot of people don’t want to go through the hassle of unpacking, setting up, and a possible return, even at not cost. I think most people (me included) would prefer to dip our toe in the pool and make our way to deeper water, rather than just jumping off the high dive, even with the security of a life guard (free return shipping).

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How many of PSA’s customers even have a single credit card with a $30k credit limit? Probably not too many.

PSA will need to make sure the order UI permits input of multiple credit cards if the price comes in at $30k as mentioned possible in recent video.

I don’t think peoples method of payment is any concern of PSA, that’s down to the buyer.

The point is the world is moving on, PSA are one of the early adopters of a very successful sales model which a lot of people are moving towards.

I’m afraid people need to adjust with the times, the age of dealers and local trade shows is a thing of the past, it’s just not viable in todays climate both financially and logistically.

Those who are truly interested in the product will take the avenues granted to them to try it out.

We haven’t even had any confirmation from PSA about what their plans are for direct sales of this product, let’s give them time to inform us going forward.

They’ve only just been announced, there’s plenty of time before they officially hit the market for PCS to get further information out to us regarding trials etc.

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To a large degree I agree with your position, ultimately how a speaker sounds in your listening space with your equipment is what matters. That said component selection, especially speakers as they provide the most variability in sound, is more of a vetting process. Weeding out the wheat from the chaff so to say. Shipping multiple speakers and returning the less favorable can be a real chore. When I search for a speaker I use user feedback and reviews as a starting point. More or less what is the market response to a product. Next those that seem appealing I seek out and arrange for auditions either at a dealer or salon style at a willing owner’s home. This intermediate stage can take a far amount of time and travel. Depending on price range I’d be willing t travel up to 500 mies, more or less for a meaningful audition. If possible I like to narrow things down to two or three contenders and arrange for an in home audition. This latter step is where we agree, how I get to that stage, well we may disagree. For a direct ship model to work for me my preference is to first audition and then attempt a home trial. This suits my needs and the sellers, minimizing the possibility of a return. I did just this when assembling a low powered SET system. Speaker options were limited and somewhat elusive. Fortunately I was able to arrange salon style auditions to identify the strongest candidates. Ultimately landing on the Pure Audio Project Trio15. Delivery and set-up were done in home by the owner/USA representative. Note, Pure Audio Project in the USA is driven by online sales. The sales team is most accommodating. Seeking out an owner in one’s region can be daunting, but fortunately I was able to accomplish this. Going forward I would offer the same opportunity for individuals considering the speakers. So yes the direct sales approach can work, but there is more risk for the buyer and seller in terms of an unfavorable in home audition. COVID induced supply chain issues further complicate the experience. So this is not necessarily about what would I do or my approach to building a system,; it is what I did.

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I think we are in full agreement, sorry if I didn’t say it as clearly as I could. I think most of us would prefer to see/hear them in person. Get a sense of, not only sound quality, but fit and finish. Getting a listen at a dealer is great because you can generally compare them with other like priced (or higher and lower) priced options, maybe even comparing with other speakers from the same manufacturer. You may love the FR-30, but what if PS Audio also had the FR-25 and the FR-40? How many models are you going to have PS Audio ship you? Ideally you have them at the same time for a quicker comparison. At a dealer, very possible. Home trial, a bit more complicated. I’m not against PS Audio’s approach, I think for the most part, it’s the reality of the market. Time will tell, but I also think these speakers need to get out of the warehouse and available somewhere more public for people to touch…I say that RV needs to get gassed up for a road trip.

I’m sure you’re aware here in Blightly the dealer system is perfectly healthy, much the same in the EU.

Besides the geographic issues, the US system seems to have suffered badly by manufacturers and dealers competing against each other for profit, rather than working together.

Selling speakers through dealers requires good relationships to get floorspace. I understand KJ gave up on Quad after 50+ years of being a dealer as Quad wanted floorspace for their expanded speaker ranges.

I have no idea how PS Audio are going to sell these speakers and it’s something for which I hope they have a plan.

I would somewhat disagree with that, I don’t think we’re immune to the changes that are underway worldwide.

In our neck of the woods, storefront rentals are pretty much the same as central london, as such, local dealers are fast disappearing.

The high street as we know it died a long time ago, most of the larger storefronts have either already admitted defeat and are moving online, or haven’t accepted the realities and as such are going bust.

Even the major banks have all sold most of their high street properties facing the very real threat of competing FinTechs and realising they really need to get with the times to be able to remain remotely competitive.

But even the smaller operations, it’s just not feasible to have a high street store anymore, it’s far too expensive.

I know for a fact that Germany is facing the same crisis on their commercial property fees.

A huge portion of Spanish villages and cities are now derelict ghost towns, whole areas of brand new buildings that are entirely vacant and no one has any intention of moving to them.

I completely expect the same for large areas of London, all that development they’re doing around the Tate gallery alongside the river, there’s no way they’re going to be able to sell them. London haemorrhaged young families and people starting up over the pandemic, with the promise of remote working and the scale of covid deaths in the city, people quickly vacated to Gloucestershire, Wessex, and up north. It’s opened their eyes to the quality of life available to them outside of the city and they won’t be going back.

Before Covid hit, the high street was already over, now though, with what’s going to be the biggest recession in a century, it will be even worse than it was going to be.

Around here a lot of the retail space has either closed completely, added residential rentals upstairs or replaced the retail space entirely as residential space just to be able to stay out of bankruptcy.
Seasonal retail is getting by but just getting by and no more.
Online sales of everything from soup to nuts (and stereo gear) is the future for people who do not have a local dealer still in business.
The super high end dealers will probably survive just fine as they never had a lot of blue collar walk in business anyway. Their customer base picks the fruit from a little higher ladder.

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Maybe someone with a dedicated room and hundred thousand to spare would blindly buy a set of massive speakers off magazines. However, for the average audiophile, we need to hear and SEE the speaker in person before committing $10K or above on a speaker.

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Yet Amazon is opening retail stores. Why?

Old school retail is being crushed by Amazon due to their scale and pandemic killed small business due to poor gvt policies. That’s why retail is being crushed.

However, stores for audiophiles aren’t typical retail store in every corner. Typically you need 1-2 stores per medium city. I’m in Vancouver and we have 3-4 in our town and at least 10 in suburbs around.

I wish PS Audio was in one of these stores and actually because I’m in Canada I think there will be as they don’t sell direct to Canada yet. But for US you guys are out of luck.

I believe a showroom only model without new gear inventory is the way to go. A store that essentially demos products, fulfills orders, deliver and installs products and only has used gear inventory.

Of course high streets have suffered badly, but you don’t need a hifi store on every high street. If someone is not prepared to travel up to an hour for a financially significant purchase of something they should see before they buy, or even a fairly modest purchase, then the problem is then and not the industry. Several more recent openings are in Home Counties locations, more space, more relaxed, no parking issues, and they have been successful.

In my part of North London the housing market is booming. Two months ago a friend a few doors down sold their house at the asking price of £1.9m in a day. The house next to mine, which needs a complete rebuild, went on sale on Thursday, there were 15 viewings on Saturday and it will probably sell tomorrow at above the asking price. My son in South London is complaining that rental prices are going up like crazy. Getting a builder these days is near impossible. Even the restaurant trade is booming, with lots of new openings, but a severe lack of staff. Apparently I’m going to a soft opening of a new Atul Kochhar restaurant next week. Never say no to a good Indian. If the hifi trade is suffering, it’s not for the lack of disposable income around here.

The UK economy has changed significantly and the threat is from inflation, as in the USA.
The ifs has published its annual outlook recently. UK economic outlook: the future isn’t what it used to be - Institute For Fiscal Studies - IFS

Germany’s economy was struggling before Covid and Spain had a massive speculative property surplus and huge unemployment pre-Covid.

Hifi’s problem is not economic, it’s the simple fact that there are easier and cheaper ways of enjoying music at home and on the move.

I think if the city is large enough it will support a high end audio (or amazon, whole foods, etc.) store without trouble. The smaller towns across America (<10k people) are suffering severely from online sales pressure.

Most small towns around here are almost shuttered with just a few small stores hanging on by their fingernails. America in general is too spread out to keep the small towns alive anymore.

Yes the housing market in desirable areas is booming. Lake front lots here are selling for $1m USD+. A ~1300 sq ft house just sold for $900k a couple of weeks ago and today when we drove by it was demolished and the concrete forms for a new build were in place.

10 miles inland housing sells for 1/10 of that price but without jobs to support the blue collar families there aren’t many takers. Without getting political the huge backlog of inbound cargo ships at the ports should point to the much of the problem here.

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Long-winded, the narrative too prolix and discursive. What in the name of hell has Indian food and name-dropping Atul Kochhar have to do with the logistics involved in moving PS Audio speakers across America, and to various other places around the world.

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Entirely agree. I’m not sure if you were speaking US based or UK, but the situation in the UK as I see it is exactly the same.

Housing prices are still premium, but it’s all people moving out of the cities that’s driving it, and it won’t be long before the bubble collapses and prices bottom out.

Oh. Towns under 10K for sure can’t handle a hifi store. As long as one is available in driving distance that’s fine.

Restaurants are one of the best measures of consumer confidence, just like Mars bars used to be a good measure of inflation (until they started making them smaller). Rstasurants are picking up, partly because they are probably getting good deals on property. Turnover rents are, I understand, fairly common in the USA, largely unheard of in the UK, but I think will become more common. We usually only eat locally, but a good Indian half price (usual for soft openings) sounded like a nice idea. We love Masterchef, never miss it, Kochhar is on it occasionally and seems like a good guy.

When is the last time you’ve actually been to an audio dealer? Seriously? In the US anyway brick and mortar audio dealers are absolutely thriving. Bicycle stores are too.

I bring up bicycle stores because that is actually more relevant to audio dealer health than how Amazon is doing.

Why?

When people buy a bike or spend 5-figures on audio gear, they want to touch it and compare it to what else is available. They want to push against the speaker and see if it wobbles. They want to hear it. If they want to take it home for a listen, at a dealer they often can. But they can’t take a half dozen competitors home, so listening in showroom helps whittle it down.

Don’t believe those on these forums who tell you audio dealers are dead. Ask yourself why they might say that, and then go stop in a dealer and ask them if they are dying. Then post back here and let’s see who is telling the truth

The UK is a very service-driven economy and has a lot of inward investment, due to political stability, it being English-speaking, strong financial services and various other reasons. A lot of the low wage labour force was imported and was lost in part due to Brexit, but also improving wages elsewhere. London is a bit of a bubble, like other major towns, but prices remain high 15 miles from the centre, and further out transport becomes expensive.

My plumber only works local to me, but moved out 60 miles/75 minutes and stays over in a Holiday Inn on Monday and Thursday evenings, so only does 6 journeys per week. It was the only way he could afford a nice house, a good lifestyle, and still earn well. If he had to travel down to London by train, an annual ticket would cost him $10,000.

So all these people moving out is all very idyllic, but it is only viable if your job allows it, which usually it doesn’t, or you are prepared to take a cut in earnings and downsize your hifi perspective. On the other hand you might be able to afford a house with room for a hifi,

I am in the US and agree on the price bubble. Here due to being able to make a living anywhere you have internet access a lot of “high value” wage earners are driving housing prices up in the areas that are forcing the local people to look elsewhere. The rocky mountain states are now getting a huge influx of internet wage earners from California (silicon valley jobs).

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