Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Sony's new flagship speaker and you

Sony's new AR1 flagship speaker has launched with the kind of press many manufacturer's can only dream about, including two raves in Stereophile and The Absolute Sound. I am sure these are wonderful though I am equally sure snobs will ignore them because of the Sony name. For me, the idea that resource-rich manufacturing companies like B&W, Sony, SME etc put their efforts into audio excellence suggests real advantages and potential gains that smaller companies cannot afford.

But the real point here is just how divorced the launch and the reporting are from real audiophiles. "Go and listen for yourself'" is the mantra of reviewers but just try to do that with these speakers. A quick check of the Sony site reveals six dealers in the US carrying these new speakers, and the nearest one to me is only 300 miles away (guess that puts me nearer than most!). This reminds me of the time I tried to locate a pair of the TAD-induced Pioneer flagship line to audition, with a serious intent of buying if they hit the mark. Of course, no dealers were even listed as carrying them and an email enquiry to the company brought a polite reply asking me to clarify my request as they could not find those speakers themselves!

I suppose if you want to spend $25k on speakers you are supposedly able and willing to fork over a few more dollars to go hear them in a strange dealers or an audio show. OK, can someone please tell the reviewers then to stop hiding behind the 'hear it yourself' defense?

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