The conversation started over a Bryston CD Player in a basic email thread.
A very short and humble response from Bryston Ltd. (just below) prompted the follow open letter response that we're sharing for this month's blog: Subject: Bryston BCD-3 CD Player Lou, My days of image status componentry are behind me. Bryston Ltd. www.bryston.com
From: Lou Hamilton Subject: Re: Bryston BCD-3 CD Player
Dear Mr. Tanner,
As a 40 years veteran of the Audio business, and starting out with Bryston under John Russell, who was a critical mentor, I have watched our industry turn into a tragic run for egos. Gone is the race for performance at the lowest price. It has been replaced with the race for price and status around "I have one of these and you don't." Glorification of greed has become the call best symbolized by programs like Storage Wars where people's greed is portrayed as good while the poor person who could not get back what was theirs in a storage locker goes poorer. It's like the call "Greed is Good" in the movie The Wolf of Wall Street has become not only a national motto but the basis of manufacturing to it.
I just was presented with an opportunity to sell from another company a 50th Anniversary 15 watt integrated amplifier for the sum of $3600. I sold those originally for $750. It was a lovely little piece in its day and a stepping stone into Naim Audio by Julian Vereker. As the 2nd longest Naim dealer in the United States, I about spit out my coffee when I saw the price. Oh, but it's value must be based on limited edition. Really? It is just one of many examples that I see today. The other is where terribly expensive parts are used but the end result does not merit it. I call it putting a gold steering wheel on a Hyundai to get the price of a Ferrari. Under today's logic in audio, it would be justified if it was a limited edition.
So, what does that mean about Bryston and Audible Elegance? Well, your stuff is a lot more expensive than when I first started to sell it. However, that cost also reflects a vastly superior product with the traditional Bryston build quality and superior reliability. Indeed, there is more expensive equipment out there which leaves Bryston somewhat out of the ego race. But Bryston was not founded for ego, it was founded for music and audio. Audible Elegance was founded upon the same goals as Bryston and remains dedicated to that mission.
Frankly, I find it a bit silly that people can wrap their ego around something that few get to see in their house. Want to display your ego like a peacock? Buy a sportscar.
What I ultimately find sad is that people find "importance" in possessions. To me, if you have excess money to burn, go to one of those storage places and pay someone's bill so they can get their stuff back. In the end, it makes for a better world. I can't afford that but I have been known to go to truck stops on a holiday, sit down with a trucker and buy his meal. He doesn't really want to be there but that is what he must do in support of his family and keep his job. I can, at least, say thank you in a very small way.
So it is. Keep doing what you do and, in the end, I am sure you will be proven right.
Lou Hamilton, President