Originally Posted by KG Jag
My first question is: what have/will they lose in market share and market penetration with regard to the higher end models for which they are enforcing their MAP?
Possibly. They wouldn't do it though if they were experiencing sales slumps - the recent explosion of higher end headphones means they will sell more. And for those who don't want to go stat, the HD800 especially does things no other headphone does.
My second question is: is Senn nuts [x 2] initiating this during the worst recession of my nearly six decade life?!
Remember that during this recession the high-end headphone market has blossomed, possibly in part due to its relative cheapness compared to 2 channel setups. Again, it's a boom market in an overall recession.
In addition the HD 518 through 650 are gateway cans to there most expensive and (I dare to guess) their most profitable cans. Less gateway cans sold almost certainly means less high end cans sold over time.
Possibly. Its a good point and one I would assume they thought about long and hard before enforcing this policy. One possibility is that outside of Head-Fi, those are not "gateway cans." If a speaker guy or a pro audio guy is looking for a great pair of cans, they don't necessarily start with the 600's and go up - they'd go straight to the 800 more often than you realize.
All of this is even stranger with regard to the HD 600 and HD 650 which are aging classics.
I think they run the danger of losing a generation of beginning audiophiles by pricing the HD 5x8 line as high as they have. Just lowering the MAP price (assuming they will continue this madness) by $20 on each of these cans would be a big help.
They probably wouldn't have a problem with retailers lowering by that much except then where does it end - so they make a blanket rule to enforce MAP.
I'd very much l like to know Senn's business plan and reasons for going to this hard enforced MAP--including the timing of it.
I don't think it was a coincidence that they released the HD800 at about the same time as they started enforcing MAP. The "luxury" tag was reserved for STAX, Grado, and some AT (at least that's how I remember it.) Sennheiser wanted to be perceived that way as well.