Let me guess Finland trying to top Lordi?
I am paying a lot of money for that finale in Sweden but I would rather watch this then the mainstream crap we are sending ;)
Estonia. Good guess.
The entries are always more interesting from the countries who know they don't stand a chance and opt for being the most attention-getting instead (which really ought to be an official alternate award). If they have almost no budget to work with, that makes things even better.
The details of the Leviathan build are still coming together (and sort of under wraps). However I thought I'd share a really cool detail: there's a good chance it'll use mercury vapor or xenon rectifiers.
Why is this so cool?
Well, for one thing, COLOR!
Mercury vapor tubes have a lovely blue glow. Xenon tubes have a lovely purple / fuchsia glow. This isn't just an aesthetic thing however: there are sonic benefits to using them. Everything on the Leviathan is being done first and foremost for maximum sound quality. It's going to be absolutely bonkers.
They're making it pretty easy for me to dislike them right now, and I haven't even heard them yet. This is stirring up a particular shade of distaste that I don't even get from Beats marketing tactics... which I guess is somewhat impressive in and of itself (but not in a good way).
Wait a second... are they trying to troll us?
Strange. I didn't know Monster's marketing department also works with JPS.
The sad part is that for a $5000 dollar headphone, this is definitely not the way to market it. Word of mouth is crucial to many reputable companies such as STAX, and I remember a while back that when MuppetFace offered to review the Abyss, they declined.
Well, it's marketing, and bragging is one of the things you do when you're marketing. Coke is "The Real Thing" compared to what? Pepsi? That's what Coke wants people to infer, actually; that Pepsi is a poor imitation or an upstart. That ad campaign worked really well as a refutation of the taste test ads that Pepsi was running -- it ran for years and outlived the ad campaign it was pitted against.
"The Finest Headphones for Musical Reproduction" is easy to dismiss in that regard. What makes it galling is that it's bad copywriting. Of course they think they're the best -- if they're ethical, it's because they did their best and they believe in their work. If they're not ethical, they're going to say that because that's what they want people to believe. So it's utterly meaningless, and galling to boot.
If they're going to buy ad space, they could at least have set aside some budget to hire somebody who knows how to prepare advertising. Currently it looks and reads cheap, and ends up cheapening what's supposed to be a status-building statement product.
Monster's PR would never do something like that. That's just, rookie.
Yeah right? Wouldn't hurt these dudes to read up on Napoleon.
WUT? That is like the best thing that could have happened to them here. I mean, we're talking about someone that actually has a Muramasa!
Wait, I'm confused now... Mupps turned them down?
Yeah, TBH I've encountered so many claims of being the finest this or that, I just sort of mentally filter it out these days. That's marketing for you.
Rather it's their attitude as a whole that gets me.
First off, you have to have some pretty big cojones to make your first entry into the world of headphones something for summit-fi. Even bigger cojones still to make it a $5,600 headphone. That's right: the price has gone up even more apparently. You're a newcomer, and you're basically situating your flagship right in the path of the Stax SR-009 which has only gone down in price in recent months due to the yen. Sure, you need a specialized amp with the SR-009 as well, but given recent prices you could also factor in the cost of a fairly decent amp too.
A smaller company like JPS Labs needs to appeal directly to their customers, and they need to reach out to communities like head-fi which will basically make or break them. It's absolutely paramount to let customers audition your products at this level. So far JPS has only had one or two public demonstrations of their early wooden Spider-Man prototypes at noisy audio shows, and one or two more of their finished product at even noisier shopping malls. That doesn't really cut it. Honestly, I can understand the reservations of offering a listening tour for a product this expensive, but even a small well-controlled tour would suffice. Allow people time to adjust to your headphones, especially when it supposedly takes an entire day just to "dial in the fit."
Fang knows better with his HiFiMan brand. Even Audez'e for as opaque as they seem at times knows better. The categorical refusal by JPS to introduce the Abyss to the community ahead of its launch comes across as just the least bit haughty, and people may very well assume they're trying to hide something or do damage control. I'm not saying this is the case obviously, but it does seem as though they're trying to offer as little a preview as possible while stile reaping the benefits of appearing outwardly transparent about it all. After all, any less-than-optimal impressions can now be pinned on meet conditions (since "it's still a prototype" is now out of the running).
Stax doesn't offer listening tours. But then Stax has been around for decades and is an extremely well-established and well-respected manufacturer. They don't need to advertise anymore. They're proven that they know what they're doing time and time again.
Curiously, JPS isn't selling the Abyss directly as far as I'm aware. The entire production run seems to be going to third party vendors, and they've emphasized pre-ordering with these vendors (who, specifically, I still don't know). Ideally one could audition the Abyss through the third-party retailer before buying it, but again this isn't the same as a true preview. By that point the official launch will have commenced and pre-orders will have been filled. It just strikes me as a little bit odd, because I'm thinking they could have lowered the cost of the Abyss quite a bit had they sold direct. Vendors want a cut: sometimes up to fifty percent! Then again it's not that odd I guess, because most of the sales of the Abyss will probably be overseas to folks in Asia where there's a more of a market for expensive flagship headphones these days. This way JPS doesn't have to deal with overseas sales themselves.
Of course I can't help but feel as though the price of the Abyss--- breaching that $5000 barrier---was decided in advance. It's almost as if they decided on this price and then tried to do various things to justify it after the fact: throwing in a headphone stand, a leather travel bag, a wooden display box, high-end audiophile cables (they are primarily a cable company after all), and so on and so forth.
The Abyss has some really interesting research behind it, and I'm firmly of the believe that more orthodynamic flagships is definitely a good thing. It's the attitude of the company however that irks me. I mean, they seem to be under the impression that their almost $6k headphones are going to fly off the shelves and be the next big thing. They're doing the usual marketing thing by claiming it's the world's finest transducer, yet they're also acting like it's going to be a summit-fi legend when they mention the laser engraving for collectors.
"We're the best" is the intended message of every single advertisement ever made. Flatly stating "We're the best" as the verbiage is semantically meaningless, even within the realm of advertising copy, where the whole point is to make you buy things you don't need.
Advertisements for cars, watches, and other genuine status/luxury items never say "We're the best". Only wannabes and the desperate use language like that. Joe's Luxury Watch Deluxe, Inc., would say "We're the best!", but Patek Philippe never will.
Good ads for good products work through inference, association, or just plain lay the products out there and let you drool over how gosh-darn desirable they look, or how incredible their performance stats are.