Head-Fi.org › Forums › Summit-Fi (High-End Audio) › High-end Audio Forum › Sound by Singer to close!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Sound by Singer to close!

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 



Sounds like a pompous jerk, but also seemed like a very savvy business man.


The collapse of Wall Street must have really hurt his business.

Edited by mshan - 8/21/10 at 10:09am
post #2 of 17

Explains the firesale.

post #3 of 17

If he's liquidating it's unlikely he'll come back.

post #4 of 17

I called them last Wednesday to order a V-dac and they told me they are closing down.  It's unfortunate because it seems like they offer some good deals. 

post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 

V DAC v8 listed at $179 on their website:  http://www.soundbysinger.com/index.php?doc_id=387


(don't know when the list was last updated, though)

post #6 of 17
Originally Posted by mshan View Post

V DAC v8 listed at $179 on their website:  http://www.soundbysinger.com/index.php?doc_id=387


(don't know when the list was last updated, though)

They don't have it anymore, it's been sold long ago they just haven't updated their list

post #7 of 17

Unfortunately hard times hit Andy Singer with this economy. The cost of operating two channel stores is very high. The internet has changed the way even audiophiles and hobbyist purchase goods. I use to go to all the high end shops until about 1995. Very rarely do I visit shops anymore. I make decisions on reviews and most everything I purchase has a 30 day return policy. More and more of these boutiques will go by the wayside.

post #8 of 17
Originally Posted by Frank I View Post

Very rarely do I visit shops anymore. I make decisions on reviews and most everything I purchase has a 30 day return policy. More and more of these boutiques will go by the wayside.


Same here. If I go to a shop at all, its because I'm already in the area and its something to do. I'll take a look around, and maybe talk shop with a salesman if he isn't busy (usually isn't). It might be a reasonable process to visit a few high-end stores if you live in NYC, but what if you live in a typical suburb? You may have to drive 200 miles to get to the nearest shop that carries 5 brands and is open maybe 20 hours a week by appointment. Want to hear a 6th brand? Oh, that'll be 200 miles in the other direction. Why is this considered some great thing that must be preserved from the evil internet? 

post #9 of 17

Although I am saddened that another high-end shop will close, I cannot say that I am all that broken-up about this particular store closing.  I stopped in a few years back while visiting NYC.  I have never been treated so rudely.  Perhaps they immediately discounted me due to the clothes I was wearing (jeans and a t-shirt), apparent age, or whatever, but I received the cold shoulder the whole time, and the pompous "you don't belong in a store selling THIS nice of equipment" attitude.


Needless to say, I took my business somewhere else.

post #10 of 17

I'm not a fan of Andy Singer, he had a reputation in the business as being a PIA to deal with. That means that he was a shrewd businessman. His store was and is still successful. I believe that due to health issues and that he is getting to the age where he has probably been thinking about retiring anyway he is using "Loosing the Lease" as an excuse to close the business.


He had probably been looking for someone to buy the business, but since Sound by Singer was built as and has been run as a Personality Driven Business it makes it a tough sell. The Demo inventory at cost had to be close to a couple of million easy, based on Demo, Inventory and Sales the business should have been able to sell for (My Guesstimate) in  the neighborhood of 12-15 Million Dollars. The problem is that since it is a Personality Driven business (and Andy wouldn't come with the store) the future sales and viability become questionable, so in this economy it becomes difficult to find an outside buyer. So Andy's other options are to Retire and let someone run the business for him, but Andy is such a micro-manager that this would never work, or for Andy to provide financing for one or several of his Employees to purchase the store (Because he sure as hell didn't pay them enough for them to actually afford buying the store). However without Andy there the stores future viability becomes questionable. Hell he just might not want to sell the store because he doesn't want anyone else running his baby. So in the end Andy probably just decided to cash in and retire.


All just conjecture, but I've seen the exact same scenario play out the same way before.

post #11 of 17
Originally Posted by Yikes View Post

"The business should have been able to sell for (My Guesstimate) in  the neighborhood of 12-15 Million Dollars."


Your estimate seems wildly off -- not sure how you would even come up with a number without seeing an income statement.  But assume a buyer wants an ROE of only 15% (which seems pretty low given the cost of capital these days), Sound by Singer has to generate a profit after paying rent, financing inventory, paying employee benefits, salary, and commissions of about $2 million a year.  That wasn't happening.  My guess is that Sound by Singer was deep in the red for the last three years.  Every time I walked by the store or went in, it was empty except for 4 or 5 salespeople mulling around, doing nothing.  Not sure how they could finance their inventory and pay rent without anyone buying anything.  Certainly, the name is not worth anything either, since Sound by Singer has a bad reputation in Manhattan.  The sales approach was obnoxious and condescending.  I could have bought anything in the store, but didn't like the people and didn't feel like giving them a commission.  The only reason to pay full retail at a brick-and-mortar dealer is to "establish a relationship" so you can ask for advice in the future and get help in obtaining service or in troubleshooting.  But I had no interest in ever dealing with the salespeople at Sound by Singer, thinking that if they treat a customer badly before receiving my money, how would they treat me after they have my money.  When I shop at Stereo Exchange in Manhattan, I feel like royalty in comparison and as a result am far more likely to buy from them. 


But I suspect that any brick-and-mortar retailer of 2-channel audio equipment is experiencing tough times.  I actually spoke to the head saleperson at the Cable Company (an on-line retailer of audio equipment and cables) on Friday and he commented that he felt quite lucky to be surviving these tough economic times so well.  When I expressed surprise about this, he said that the Cable Company was doing well because so many "mom and pop" audio retailers had closed up shop during the recession, causing the Cable Company to win market share.  I suspect they were winning that share from places like Sound by Singer. 


Finally, all you have to do is look at Audiogon and wade through page after page of ads of unsold amps, preamps, interconnects, CD players, etc., usually offered at more than 50% off retail.  A lot of this equipment is only a year or two years old.  I sometimes query sellers about their reason for selling.  The usual response is "I need money" or "I am unemployed".  These folks will also tell you they are the original owner, meaning they bought the equipment from a dealer a year or two ago.  I ask myself how someone could have purchased a $5,000 power conditioner two years ago if there was any risk he might have to sell it to pay basic living expenses two years down the road.  So those "imprudent" customers have long since disappeared from audio dealers like Sound by Singer and are now in liquidation mode themselves, creating extremely difficult competition for any retailer trying to sell new gear at full price.


Bottom line, there is no way Sound by Singer is worth $12-$15 million.  (And I am not sorry they are going out of business.)

post #12 of 17

I agree, minimus, but a lot of people were blindsided by this recession/depression.  A lot of discretionary spending came from home equity and seemingly secure jobs.  Not everyone saw the trainwreck coming and were probably pulling out some money while thinking they were secure.  So I don't entirely fault those who are selling stuff.


And, yeah, it is amazing what's out there right now.  Deals that would have disappeared in hours are now lingering for weeks.  I've picked up a handful of things lately for two reasons.  First, the prices are good.  Second, I think a lot of specialty gear is going to disappear over the next five years.  Discretionary spending is gone.  Lots of restaurants are disappearing and ominous signs all over.  Audiogon, like you mentioned, is full of unsold gear at great prices.  I collect fountain pens, and the convention I went to earlier this year had attendance over 50% off previous years.  My family usually takes the kids to a dude ranch in the summers - it used to be hard to book reservations at the popular ones, but they've gone to nearly empty ranches the past two years.  A cousin does amateur car racing.  I usually go to the races and the attendance/participation is off by at least 50% from past years.


I've seen a few recessions, but this one is different.  It's like someone turned off the tap.


The only audio companies that are going to survive will be ones with low overhead and a lot of flexibility.  Audio might become not much more than a lot of cottage industries within a few years.

post #13 of 17

Erik makes very valid points. I believe the worst is yet to come. Unless banks start to loosten up on their lending and oil company price fixing needs to stop. The average Joe is getting hammered with the fuel increase and food prices have skyrocketed because of it. The middle income is struggling big time to maintain their lifestyle and even the people with money are also struggling as they were hammered in investments. I am afraid there is a deep recession yet to follow. This is the worst I seen in 30 yrs. Even in the 70's with 21 percent interest rates people were still buying> NO more I also believe with the aging of the high end market 2 channel audio is really dying. There will be PC audio in the future.

post #14 of 17
Originally Posted by Frank I View Post

 I also believe with the aging of the high end market 2 channel audio is really dying. There will be PC audio in the future.

Is 2 channel dying? I don't think so at all. Technically, millions of people listening to their iPods everyday are 2 channel listeners. It feels to me that several years ago when DVDs and Dolby Digital became popular, everyone was telling you to get a home theater. Electronics stores were pushing home theater really hard, and at the launch of SACD and DVD-A, surround music was in, and "old fashioned" stereo was dead. Didn't happen. SACD and DVD-A died instead, and they took surround music with them. The FLAC format has the ability to support at least 5.1 channels of 24/96 audio, so stores like HDTracks could offer DVD-A type releases without the disc in multichannel FLAC if they wanted to. They aren't, because no one is interested.


In my opinion the future of music at home is good old 2 channel, but not from the CD. It will be an iPod and a Wadia iTransport, a network music player or streamer, a fully integrated music server, or a computer. Audio companies that recognize this shift and are adapting like Linn, Naim, and Bryston will be fine. Companies that are still relying on hyper expensive CD players might be in trouble.

Edited by DaveBSC - 8/29/10 at 2:39pm
post #15 of 17

Coming back this Fall!!!!!!



Ok, so I am NOT a HUGE fan of all the employees, I have run into quite a few that were really great. I have to admit I was REALLY sad to see this store close since I lived 1/2 block away (blessing and curse!)


Anywhoo, I just noticed they are re-opening!




Cool, I guess but I really dislike going above 23rd street!!!


242 West 27th St, New York, NY 10001

Edited by Detex - 9/9/11 at 11:52am
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: High-end Audio Forum
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Summit-Fi (High-End Audio) › High-end Audio Forum › Sound by Singer to close!