In my January 2008 editorial various subjects including the economy and of course the upcoming Las Vegas shows was covered. Since that time, the shows have come and gone, while various stock markets around the world have recently 'crashed', with a loss of over 10 percent in overall value! Of note is the e-mails and quantity of manufacturers and distributors who gladly discussed the state of the economy with me during the Las Vegas events. In fact one professor e-mailed me asking if he could use the article Holy inflation, Batman! for his classes! The great news is that American made high-end audio devices are becoming more and more of a bargain for everyone else around the world, as the United States dollar continues to depreciate with no sign of a substantial gain in value anytime soon.
Add to that, it appears many American manufacturers have wised up and asked me about showing at the upcoming High End Society Munich show, as they have experienced many overseas sales even without a distributor and have realized they can greatly benefit from the now bargain-priced United States made goods. "Bravo!" i say as the Internet has indeed made the world an easier place to buy and sell high-end audio luxury goods and services. As such, Europeans and those in Asia who desire American high-end audio, yet have no local distributor, can simply e-mail the manufacturer and purchase products.
Of course the opposite is true as the Euro, Pound Sterling and other currencies have strengthened. As such, Americans looking to purchase products made overseas are seeing price increases. During talks with European manufacturers in Las Vegas only reinforced my belief that these companies will have a hard time keeping up with the pricing of their products within the American market.
Of course with such currencies like the United States dollar and the Euro generally backed by, quite frankly, nothing of any value, it should be no surprise many people are exchanging their paper money for things with real value such as gold and highly sought after goods like audio equipment. These are indeed interesting times for luxury goods in general, as a few percentage points in currency fluxuation can add up to thousands of additional dollars in manufacturer retail pricing. The value of your home may be highly reduced today as compared to only a few months ago, plus very few people appear to be buying homes, yet new old stock (NOS) tubes and exotic audio may only go up in value as many buyers seek the best they can afford as the vale of their paper currency is being reduced with each passing month.
CES / T.H.E. Show
The one thing less than positive about the Las Vegas shows were how far spaced everything was. For someone to cover the CES alone is a tremendous undertaking, let alone also traveling to each venue for daily coverage. CES is now so spread out that it is impossible for one person to attempt reporting on it all. T.H.E. Show is much better organized between the familiar hotels right next to each other. The rooms are easy to access and there are no elevators to content with, which at CES' Venetian was a nightmare to say the least! Perhaps one day the entire high-end audio industry will find the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest as a home like the High-End Society provides in Germany each year. This would be a blessing!
A huge thanks go out to all the writers from Enjoy the Music.com who attended the Las Vegas events, with some providing additional show coverage. They have arranged to review some very exciting new pieces of equipment during 2008, so stay tuned and some very interesting reviews of these new prices will be appearing online shortly!