It’s the time of year for saving money!
Last week I got a product announcement from a new speaker
company touting their $7700 stand mounted speaker. By audiophile standards it’s
priced slightly on the high side for a smallish two-way, but not beyond the
pale like the $4.7 million dollar Hart monitors. But the dedicated speaker stands
for these speakers are $3800!
When I looked at the photographs of the speaker stand in
question I could see why it was priced as it was – the stand was beautifully
finished and detailed solid hardwood, and probably required as much time, if
not more, to build as the speaker itself. Yes, I could see the intrinsic value
of the stand, but I still question it efficacy from a marketing, rather than
absolute value, perspective.
In some special situations a $3800 speaker stand might not be that
outrageously priced, but the problem here is that it raises the cost of the
whole speaker system from $7700 to $11500. And while this new speaker will have
some tough competition at $7700 a pair, for $11500 it will be an even harder sell. Some prospective buyers might find these speakers ideal for under $8k, but for $11.5k they may discover better options.
Obviously choosing something other than the manufacturer’s
dedicated stand is always an option for a speaker buyer. And, depending on the
third-party stand’s design, the ultimate sonic effect of the stand might even
be an improvement over an OEM stand. But for some prospective buyers, not
buying the dedicated stand could make them feel as if they weren’t really
getting the complete speaker system. This kind of niggling doubt could put the kibosh
on the entire speaker purchase. And while I would never suggest that
manufacturers of monitor-sized speakers should always make inexpensive stands for
them, I do think that some thought to both to total cost of the system WITH the
stands and what percentage of the total package price the stands will consume is
an important marketing decision that needs more thought than merely, “Well, it
matches the speaker…”