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What Does "High-End" Mean? - December 2023

High-end is a sadly overworked expression that has now been translated into expensive resulting in many manufacturers doing things to enhance their appearance and, really, little for performance.

They have reworked the cereal box, nothing more. Sadly, I have heard very expensive equipment that could not carry a tune in a bucket. I have even demonstrated this with the performance of cell phones with headsets vs. an audio system where the cell phone simply sounds better, musically speaking. So, we try to offer things that do what they claim to do which is to correctly play music.

I'd like to add an experience. I took a "non-audiophile" to shows in Denver called Rocky Mountain Audiofest. It was a great show, really, and sadly gone. I took them from room to room, some with systems costing well over 100,000 dollars (and even more), only to hear their response as they left the room "Why would I buy that, I can already get that at Walmart." They were correct.

Likewise, there are some manufacturers or distributors who consistently put up a good sound from very affordable products. Not the best, mind you, but certainly enjoyable. They never blame the room like so many others, they simply get it done. So, if "high-end" is defined as having the most expensive product so one can parade around like a peacock claiming I can afford something you cannot, well, that's a corruption of the term and that is exactly what has happened in my honest opinion. Putting a 14K solid gold steering wheel on a Kia makes it very expensive but I certainly would not put it in the same class as a "high-end" car. A lot of manufacturers have done exactly that with expensive parts, however well meaning, that either simply fail to do what they claim to do or make matters worse. The used market place is littered with these products that only keep their value because of their original asking price, not performance. Conversely, some products now sell for well above their original asking price because of their performance. And, yes, there are some very expensive systems that were truly spectacular. In the end, it comes down to performance and whether or not you choose to spend your money that way.

Even this expression "high-end" how now creeped into nearly every class of product as if obtaining it is some sort of merit badge of honor. Look all over the marketplace and you will quickly see it. High-end stoves, refrigerators, washing machines, cell phones, and the list goes on and on. It becomes imperative for the consumer to distinguish between what is the trade of advertising and what is the trade of engineering. We are trying to help.

This has led us to abandon the use of "high-end" generally speaking. We now use "Sensible" which is not only a monetary comment but also lends itself to exactly what we do. We try to provide quality sound or video to your senses for the dollar you are willing or able to spend to let you enjoy life.

That is the true competition: The best performance for the least amount of dollars.


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