Thanks for taking the time and the thumbs up.
I agree with Kemosabe that commercial success is an elusive dream for most small manufacturers whether diy or someone who tries to put it on a more commercial ground. I guess it is a sense of perspective where one sees yourself. I am involved in the industry for more than 20 years and were for a long time the importer of a respective Uk brand of speakers, namely ProAc. So I understand the cost model of what it takes to make a product available for the local consumer. With loudspeakers, the scenario concerned me. I realise we pay transport costs on duties and taxes on the full ex-factory price of speakers. A large component of the cost lies in the cabinet and bulk of the product while the technology elements and IP are relatively low. So if we can produce locally, the material for the cabinets as well as the labour can be stripped out of the costing model and if one can achieve quality, a product can be available to local consumer at a more reasonable cost. Obviously that is the start of the logic, but there are lots more involve. Building a brand that people out there will trust, getting volumes to get the interest of manufacturing partners are only but a few of those. My day job involves developing strategies for companies large and small and one of the theoretical models that I often use is the idea of value innovation published inHBR in 2004 in which Kim and Mauborgne highlight that value innovation is not related to product innovation only, but also service and delivery. So helping others understand this insight, I thought how does that impact on my own interest and passion. It does not imply that I wanted to do a me-too product, quality is paramount. Quality for however is a relative concept, and I see it as having huge strategic potential on how one defines quality.
Loudspeakers are an interesting product for me. For some, the technical performance is all that counts. This segment interest is in frequency extension, ie for example bass and these days high-frequency extension. Other segments of consumers value other parameters, like fit and finish, maybe design or form factor. Obviously these are not mutually exclusive but as a designer one has to make certain decisions and then represent that with confidence. I recognised that not all can be satisfied. The insights that are involved in loudspeakers come from engineering(electronic, acoustical, material), but also industrial design, interior design, psycho-Acoustics, marketing etc. Also psychology and philosophy in terms of consumer behavior, ego needs such as i want mine to be bigger or more expensive than yours.
what makes the Air speakers in my mind a strong value proposition for a well-defined group of potential customers are based on well-proven engineering and scientific principles, quality in execution and in fit and finish, at a price that constitute extreme value from a financial perspective. The form design is important as loudspeakers are used mostly in a domestic environment and psycho- acoustic factors are also important. On a more subtle level, there are people who enjoy enjoys being part of a story, they feel they must back the underdog, small guy etc.
I have strong technological partners and have strong relationships with them. The business to business relationships that were established on the back of Airmusic involvement in the industry created opportunities for me. I have an open door to many who have deep skills and are involved in tuning some of the icon products in the market. There are definitely many talented diy designers and builders in SA, and world-wide who can do the same and better. I think they are my peers and I don't compete with them, most likely they will never buy a product nor will they take a sale away from me. The challenge is now to bring all this to fruition.
I am working on the next generation of products that will embody my vision more accurately of what a great loudspeaker should be about. It is taking the story written so far to the next chapter.
By the way Kumosabe I assume you don't like 3.5 ways ported designs.
The Air Forte is a 3 way build with customised drivers around the concept of an almost full range speaker with high sensitivity that has a friendly impedance so no monster amps are required to make them sing.