yea....its sad to see them loose out like this and close shop. I was almost considering some of their stuff last year, but now glad I didn't. I auditioned their Saphire tube amp and HP100 pre amp. Some of the most visually apealing and attractive products but not all out in sound. Quite expensive as well. But what is not expensive these days? With this economy I wonder how many more might shut down, although I was surprised to hear Hovland as a first one. At the CES 2009 in January they were showing off their products and no hint of troubles then all of a sudden its gone. I wonder how much it really costs to make some of this stuff? how much is dealer cut? how much profit? If they cant hold up on 7K preamps and 10K amps that are in class A and other award winners.....then thats not good sign for hi end audio.
Very sad indeed
Definitely sad...i always thought that they produced a nice product...very distinctive sound and not to everyone's taste but it was a sound i liked (haven't listened to them in a few years). i also thought they made very good (for the cost) transitors and cables that supplied a large part of the industry so i thought they would have been more resiliant as Sam said. i know that Alex was always pushing them to do a real state of the art UBS DAC, they they seem slow to get out that 'perfect' product and others certainly beat them to the punch.
These days if a company is selling amps in the range of 2K or 3K it is considered as mid-fi. So most companies get involved in price war and forget about real requirement of audiophiles atleast majority of them. They start pricing their products in the range of 6K, 10K ,20K or even 50K.
So the real music is lost some where in this price war and dealers and audiophile press are responsible for this senseless price war when they review and certify a 25K amp. or 25 to 50K speaker as good sound for the price or reasonably priced product.
Dealers are also responsible for this as they get big margins. But every one forgets that majority of audiophile cannot afford such products and these manufacturers are increasing every month as more and more new companies are coming with sky high prices. Again they forget after all they all are selling in the same limited market to same limited audiophiles.
So sooner or later they will have to close down whether we like it or not. Unless some thing is done to serve interest of genuine audiophile and eliminate middleman/dealers margins ,the audio manufacturers will face same fete. There was no reason for Hovland to price their products in that range. And even at these levels there are so many companies competing.
Every one is making their products more beautiful externally and increasing price. Inside is more or less same with minor changes in topology and improved parts quality . Now even an audiophile buying a 2K or 3K amp. feels he is buying a mid-fi or average sound as his mind set has been changed by various reviews, dealers and manufacturers.
As an audiophile sorry to learn about Hovland and hope others learn a lesson for future of highend audio and to make this great hobby available to more and new listners or to masses.
"Every one is making their products more beautiful externally and increasing price. Inside is more or less same with minor changes in topology and improved parts quality . Now even an audiophile buying a 2K or 3K amp. feels he is buying a mid-fi or average sound as his mind set has been changed by various reviews, dealers and manufacturers."
Excellent, well said!