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Discussion split from - Anyone making Apogee bass panels..
Discussion split from - Anyone making Apogee bass panels..
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Old 27th January 2021, 03:52 AM   #11
artm is offline artm  United States
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Graz and I have had a back-and-forth relationship for a few years. Initially, I disagreed with his business model, as I thought it killed affordable Apogee ownership. Here are my thoughts:

1. Graz could have kept Apogees within DIY reach, supplying bass panels. He could have avoided much of the support issues by making a video of the procedure. I have always believed that he should offer NO WARRANTY on panels that were incorrectly installed. We are all big boys when we decide to undertake a rebuild. If we fail, tough, it's on us. We should not whine to Graz, for support or financial relief. Period.

2. Graz could have kept on building Apogees with the old technology, offering them at affordable prices to a larger community. Here I speak of complete systems. But to become a real manufacturer (meaning greater volume) may have been unmanageable for him.

3. However, Graz chose to improve the product, as he is likely a perfectionist here. That involved heavy investment in machinery, among other costs in money and time. Consequently, that meant higher prices for his products as this became a business, not a hobby. This route was unfortunate for us DIY'ers but I believe this was the best route Graz could take.

4. Finally, I am not a Graz/Apogee blind follower, as I no longer own Apogees. I had gone through Quad ESL ownership and got tired of the maintenance with failed panels. This was beginning to happen with Apogees, so I was done. I also never had the space to fully appreciate them and they never had the looks to be accepted by "others". I still believe in those who want to DIY panels and ribbons; more power to you! I also believe in a modern Apogee product, an appropriate one to carry on the legacy. Graz offers this, thankfully.
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Old 27th January 2021, 05:07 AM   #12
mattstat is offline mattstat  United States
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As hinted at by Grazinoz, I also think many people overestimate the size of the audiophile market, imagining that a cheap pair of Apogees (or any other esoteric speaker) will somehow sell zillions of pairs per year or that cheap repair parts for a small volume product can be a viable business model.

An e-mail I got from Audio Advisor points to some of the realities. It was sent when Parasound's new P6 preamplifiers were setting sales records and had consumed the year's supply. The original forecast for this $1500 preamp: 500 units per year. So how many large, tweaky speakers are you going to sell at $15,000/pair, when there are a lot more speaker options than preamp options these days?

Small volume production is brutal, and almost all audiophile gear is small volume. If someone can carve out a market at $100k/pair, more power to them. That's where I'd be inclined to try to operate as well for something like this. Many times it's easier to make very small numbers of things for very high prices than it is to try to live in the middle price range. The market often appreciates it more, and the financials work if you can maintain the right reputation. The number of higher end products now made in China also points to the realities of the marketplace. High end audio is a fun hobby, but a very, very tough business.
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Old 27th January 2021, 02:12 PM   #13
narkotic is offline narkotic  United States
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Looks like the life got sucked out of this thread. Can we get back on topic? Some dude having fun creating something? That was way more entertaining than this argument that seems to go on for eternity ad nauseam.
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Old 27th January 2021, 05:26 PM   #14
Atom666 is offline Atom666  Canada
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I agree, back on topic, it was never my intention to hijack the thread as I really appreciate the original posters intention and ingenuity. A gift to the DIY inclined.
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Old 1st February 2021, 01:26 AM   #15
Davey is offline Davey  United States
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Every time Graz shows up in a thread he just makes it worse.

I'm very glad to see there are some affordable repair options showing up for Apogee speakers. I'm sure there are many Apogee owners out there that might now be inclined to repair their speakers vice letting them rot away and show up in refuse bin.

Dave.
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Old 1st February 2021, 01:57 AM   #16
Kornbread is offline Kornbread
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Quote:
Every time Graz shows up in a thread he just makes it worse.

I'm very glad to see there are some affordable repair options showing up for Apogee speakers. I'm sure there are many Apogee owners out there that might now be inclined to repair their speakers vice letting them rot away and show up in refuse bin.

Dave.
I am one of those owners who has a worthless pair of Apogee sitting in a corner of the shop in need of a bass panel. Paying for a professional repair on an essentially worthless speaker, is not an option, so it's rubbish heap or try the repair myself. And since this is a diy forum, most all of us know what it's like to buy an expensive part only to have it destroyed by our own hands. We also know the feeling of accomplishment and pride when we successfully build it ourselves.

IIRC, Graz sold some of the bass panels for ~$500. It's not unheard of for someone to spend that kind of $ on a single modern cone n dome. If I fry an $800 Accuton woofer, I'm going to be pi$$3d, but it's my fault. No whining to the manufacturer. If someone screws up installing a $500 bass panel, they shouldn't expect Graz to make everything better, but Graz's decision to subsidize their learning curve is also a bad decision.

Also, as Graz and others alluded to, the 'hi-end' business model is, well, funky.

Now that the urges is once again flowing, I need to find a bass panel for a Caliper Sig, study the replacement video, and fix those darn things. I love their sound.
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Old 1st February 2021, 02:17 AM   #17
Davey is offline Davey  United States
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The ironic thing is it's Graz' one-way attitude regarding this that prompted entrepreneurs to enter this market.
He, most likely, could have cornered the whole market with an assortment of products and services for every inclination.

Dave.
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Old 1st February 2021, 03:18 AM   #18
Grazinoz is offline Grazinoz  Australia
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The inferred assumption that all panels are equal in quality and substance is incorrect, as stated. The others do seem to have duplicated our pricing for quality machined parts made from genuine materials - for what they are offering, a very different product. Bear in mind our Installers have seen these panels turn up in speakers at their shop for rectification. The next inference that the installation and tuning procedures of a trained professional and a diy installation is a MASSIVE leap of misplaced faith. Despite the fact that our installers have been approached for our installation procedures by some of those offering their own version of panels. Our 90+ percent failed diy installation data clearly showed that proper installation does not occur often even with perfect parts. I have failed my own installations in the past, replaced again of course at no extra charge to a client.

Next - costs. If you are on a budget drop off a pair of speakers at an Installer's, and he will strip and assess the speakers. This is great for finding those "from new" surprises in original speakers. The installer will raise concerns of tolerances or potential problems ahead of fitting the panel and this is the time to do something about it! NOT after.

Last up - price. A pair of Caliper or Caliper Signature bass are still capped at $1190 per pair. All our cnc machined (yes) foam is custom produced to tight tolerances, and supplied FREE with the bass panel, despite a 100% price hike in the last 10 years by suppliers. The highest quality foam, made for us, to calculated tolerances. An Installer labor charge - this runs around 125% of the panel part cost to strip, assess, clean, re-foam and fit a pair of basic bass panels assuming there are no issues that need to be sorted ahead of a refit. If there are issues they are dealt with at a similar per-hour cost to your average car mechanic - and better they are addressed ahead of a bass installation! Or the panel will surely be a fail. So add those numbers up next time you are telling the story! But with the same few - why let the truth and reason get in the way of some on line trolling...

Last edited by Grazinoz; 1st February 2021 at 03:20 AM.
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Old 1st February 2021, 07:39 PM   #19
Polydactyl is offline Polydactyl  United States
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Default Business model

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grazinoz View Post
If you are on a budget drop off a pair of speakers at an Installer's, and he will strip and assess the speakers.
Well, isn't that breezy? We should just drop off our Apogees to an installer, just like dropping a letter into the corner mailbox.

The elephant in this room is the massive shipping challenge that Apogees pose. They are as big as doors, very heavy and very fragile. A bad combination. They require special crates and freight shipping services. Most owners are in the US. The US (and Oz) are not Austria; there could be more than a thousand miles of distance between owner and installer.

As a result, shipping costs are extremely high, and the risk of damage even to well-crated speakers is also very high.

All of this begs for an in-home solution to bass panel installation. At this point Graz is probably too entrenched in his business model to relent. Plus, it wouldn't surprise me if the installers had demanded exclusivity by cornering the market for getting new bass panels installed. I might not even blame them.

All of this is just business. I don't hold it against Graz or the installers. But I will also not discourage competition, which Graz has long needed, even in this tiny market space. Perhaps some enterprising person will invent a set of mounting jigs of some kind that can be shipped along with bass panels to make installation easier.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grazinoz View Post
TRUTH - Nobody knows outside of my family what arrangements/transactions were made regarding original owners equipment/ip/designs - that has remains a secret to this day.
Graz out
A secret held tighter than the nuclear codes. But why be so coy? Maybe because Graz doesn't want anyone to know how little linkage he has to the original company. He seems happy to allow others to make a linkage for him. They might say "Apogee Acoustics is still in business under his leadership." The truth is that the engineering prowess of Leo Spiegel and the ears of Jason Bloom died along with their company (as soon as it was sold to ADS), many decades ago.

Having said all that, I am glad that we have Graz as a supplier of replacement ribbons, for bass, mids and tweeters, even if a number of us disagree with his business model. But let's hope for an in-home solution some day, either from a competitor or from Graz.
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Old 2nd February 2021, 11:13 PM   #20
Grazinoz is offline Grazinoz  Australia
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Originally Posted by Polydactyl View Post
Well, isn't that breezy? We should just drop off our Apogees to an installer, just like dropping a letter into the corner mailbox.

The elephant in this room is the massive shipping challenge that Apogees pose. They are as big as doors, very heavy and very fragile. A bad combination. They require special crates and freight shipping services. Most owners are in the US. The US (and Oz) are not Austria; there could be more than a thousand miles of distance between owner and installer.

Back when the original owners of Apogee ran the brand clients requiring warranty or bass replacements could choose between sending their speakers back to MA-USA, or 4 other appointed trained (without full installation equipment) repairers. Now there are more, with up to date procedures.

As a result, shipping costs are extremely high, and the risk of damage even to well-crated speakers is also very high.

We offer a crate design plan to those seeking to ship, a good diy project. Special crates, very light, very stiff, and somewhat easy to build.

All of this begs for an in-home solution to bass panel installation. At this point Graz is probably too entrenched in his business model to relent. Plus, it wouldn't surprise me if the installers had demanded exclusivity by cornering the market for getting new bass panels installed. I might not even blame them.

There was one, it ran for many years until the end of 2007, with a 3 month warning it had to end! People would attempt, fail, call at all hours (what - it's night there? Well - as you are awake now - HELP ME!!!") requiring several hours of phone training and still fail. Detailed plans. Accurate parts. Intelligent clients - just not experienced in the task they would have to do once, perfectly. Failure rates on their FIRST try (obvious utter fails) were over 50%! Proven statistics show the fail rate (including diy reworks) as over 90%, the rest so far unknown. Not a horse you would want to ride in a race, as the jockey - with money on! Many irate clients that stated they had not been warned they would likely fail. At the time we offered a 50% discount on failed installations requiring second attempt parts, and consequently ended up subsidising almost all of the installations. It was a nightmare for years, for us (mainly me) and the clients.

Two kinds of people push for bass parts to attempt to repair Apogee's. The genuinely unaware - and those seeking to make a business of it. Both bad for the brand.

All of this is just business. I don't hold it against Graz or the installers. But I will also not discourage competition, which Graz has long needed, even in this tiny market space.

Business? It's brand protection. Business is about a good profit model, and I have to say the repairing of Apogee's is not about profit!! From experience. Most have no idea.

Perhaps some enterprising person will invent a set of mounting jigs of some kind that can be shipped along with bass panels to make installation easier.

We supplied such jigs from the start with a more accurate updated installation procedure. Still the failures occurred.

A secret held tighter than the nuclear codes. But why be so coy? Maybe because Graz doesn't want anyone to know how little linkage he has to the original company. He seems happy to allow others to make a linkage for him. They might say "Apogee Acoustics is still in business under his leadership." The truth is that the engineering prowess of Leo Spiegel and the ears of Jason Bloom died along with their company (as soon as it was sold to ADS), many decades ago.

We have repaired speakers of the original owners. You guys have no idea of how the original planar bass came to be, the true tale really surprised me...

Having said all that, I am glad that we have Graz as a supplier of replacement ribbons, for bass, mids and tweeters, even if a number of us disagree with his business model. But let's hope for an in-home solution some day, either from a competitor or from Graz.

Last edited by Grazinoz; 2nd February 2021 at 11:38 PM.
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