I have been enjoying my Atom and B&W speakers a great deal, but as I listen more and more I am discovering the limitations of what I have. I am now convinced that the speakers are the weakest link, so on an information gathering quest I visited a local dealer (first time in a long time). I didn’t want to do any listening at that point.
I was particularly interested in finding out what was available. The dealer had a wide range of Paradigm (the factory, labs, etc. are 10 minutes from the shop) and showed me the Persona B. The dealer suggested I also consider the Focal Kanta 1. The Focal was really more than I wanted to spend at $11,500, while the Persona was ‘only’ $9,600 (all CAD, and local taxes included), and perhaps negotiable. I got to wondering what these these cost in the UK. I should point out here that I’m a Scot and don’t like to hand out money if it can be helped . It turns out that the Kanta 1 is 5,000 GBP, and the Persona B is 7,800 GBP in the UK. Converting to CAD, the Focal should be about $7,800 CAD, So where did the other $3,700 get to? The picture gets more extreme when you realize that the UK price includes tax of 20%, while here (Ontario) it is 13%. So that Kanta 1 is really a 4,200 GBP speaker. The Paradigm seems to have picked up some cost moving to the UK, but much less than the Focal gained moving the other way.
The story seems to continue into the electronics. A SuperNait 3 is 3,800 GBP, a Moon 340iX is 4,100GBP, and an Anthem STR Integrated is 4,800 GBP. (Moon and Anthem are both Canadian). The Moon and Anthem are more featured and more powerful than the sn3, so things seem in order. Looking at the prices in Canada however, the Moon is $6,500 the Anthem is $6,800 and the sn3? A whopping $8,360. (Taxes inc.) From my musing around on the internet this is not a Focal/Naim thing, it seems to apply to KEF, B&W and more.
This sort of price ‘enhancement’ doesn’t seem to happen between the US and Canada (once exchange rates and taxes are factored in) or for electronics sourced in Japan or China. So what’s with the UK?
Being a bit of a cynic I can’t help feeling that if I bought the Kanta 1, a good part of my money would be going to some distributor types in suits in a Manhattan office or something. I doubt if it’s going to the Engineers at Focal. Going forward I will plan on doing more research on different local prices and perhaps even leaning to more local purchases? Anyone else noticed this type of discrepancy, and if so, what do you do if anything?