Don Lindich’s Sound Advice: Smaller companies can produce some audio gems

Share with others:

Print Email Read Later

Ques­tion: You touched on big­ger com­pa­nies pro­vid­ing bet­ter value than some small, high-end com­pa­nies. What are some photo and au­dio prod­ucts from smaller com­pa­nies that out­per­form more ex­pen­sive, big­ger brands?


Plantation, Fla.

Answer: This is much more prevalent in au­dio than with pho­tog­ra­phy. With pho­tog­ra­phy, it is easy to put two pho­to­graphs next to each other on a ta­ble or on a mon­i­tor and even an un­trained ob­server can see dif­fer­ences. This makes it very hard to fool some­one.

When com­par­ing au­dio gear, it is easy to rig a demon­stra­tion. For ex­am­ple, if you play back the same mu­sic with just one more deci­bel of vol­ume, it will sound “bet­ter,” though the vol­ume change is usu­ally in­dis­tin­guish­able as a change in loud­ness to the lis­tener. The lis­tener will hear more de­tail be­cause it is very slightly louder and thinks it sounds “bet­ter.”

This tac­tic has been used to sell a lot of ex­pen­sive speaker wire. Lots of com­pa­nies (Bose es­pe­cially) have demo set-­ups in stores where you can only lis­ten to their spe­cially pre­pared demo ma­terial. If you re­ally want to test some­thing, bring your own mu­sic and mov­ies and check it out with ma­terial you like and are fa­mil­iar with.

The first ex­am­ple of a small brand dom­i­nat­ing a big brand is in head­phones.

I re­cently raved about how great the $79 Grado SR60e head­phones are and how much I en­joy lis­ten­ing to them. They have true au­dio­phile sound that is rich, nat­u­ral and de­tailed. I much pre­fer them to any of the Beats head­phones I have tried — even the very ex­pen­sive mod­els sell­ing for $300.

I know I am not unique in this opin­ion and if you seek out the opin­ion of au­dio­philes like my­self you will find they agree with me. mem­ber JBAn­dra­delIV ex­pressed it very well in say­ing, “the Beats are worth around $30-$50 at most, with like $300 worth of ad­ver­tis­ing poured into them. The Gra­dos are phe­nom­e­nal.”

You can read the thread at: http://​​gra­dobeats.

Grado doesn’t have the big-money mar­ket­ing power or flashy im­age of the Beats brand, so they are not as well known and don’t sell as many head­phones de­spite hav­ing a far su­pe­rior prod­uct at a much lower price. Grado head­phones are made in the U.S., and this very ded­i­cated, fam­ily-owned com­pany is wor­thy of your sup­port. Visit www.gra­

I don't mean to sin­gle out Beats here, but its “The Pill” Blu­e­tooth speaker is the next ex­am­ple that came read­ily to mind as a per­fect ex­am­ple. The orig­i­nal, small Cam­bridge SoundWorks OontZ speaker put the Pill to shame with its much bet­ter sound, while sell­ing for about one-fourth the price. The Cam­bridge SoundWorks OontZ XL cur­rently sells for around half the price of The Pill, and com­par­ing the two is like com­par­ing a stick of dy­na­mite (OontZ XL) to a lady fin­ger fire­cracker (Pill).

You can see OontZ speak­ers at www.the­

In the com­ing weeks I will try to list more ex­am­ples of prod­ucts that should be more suc­cess­ful than they are, some true gems of the elec­tron­ics world that en­thu­si­asts know about but many in the gen­eral pub­lic do not.

Read product reviews by Don Lindich at

Join the conversation:

Commenting policy | How to report abuse
To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.
Commenting policy | How to report abuse

Create a free PG account.
Already have an account?

You have 2 remaining free articles this month

Try unlimited digital access

If you are an existing subscriber,
link your account for free access. Start here

You’ve reached the limit of free articles this month.

To continue unlimited reading

If you are an existing subscriber,
link your account for free access. Start here