One passion: musical Hi-Fi, since 1979
It is with sadness that I took this decision, but since two years the situation was becoming unbearable.
In the past, since I sold so many CEC transports and players, the Japanese team, like my other manufacturers, respected my decision to sell only the products I consider interesting for my customers.
Since 2008, with my direct distribution, I offered prices never seen with other legitimate distributors in the world.
I had decided to do so because the Asian grey market was doing damage: 100V Japanese products came to North-America... and sounded awful. N/A customers being obsessed bargain hunters, this damaged the brand reputation. My low prices were the best answer... and something I always do with all my products.
Then a US team designed their top DAC, the DA0, asked to get the US distributions, and proposed a standard distribution with prices twice as high as mine, matching the European price structure.
I was not interested in the DA0... the Audiomat Maestro 3 Référence is the DAC to beat, as everyone has been able to discover.
As for the TL0, a product I sold in the past, when Audiomat launched the Drive D1 transport, it simply outperformed the TL0X on every possible parameter... while costing a fraction of the TL0X's price.
I still considered the TL5 in its Mutine Edition to be the best value for money and the best musicality for affordable transports.
But, suddenly, I was supposed to sell the CEC products at double their former price... impossible.
When I sold for years a TL5 including a 400 usd stabilizer for a total of 2000 usd, doubling that price was a no-go.
I can understand my low prices annoyed many distributors, but it was just fair to my customers.
As a result, I got more than 60 calls from US customers, telling me they could not order a TL5 in the US and asking to buy from me!
As for the future, yes, dematerialized progresses; at my price, a TL5ME was still a tad more engaging with musical CDs.
The TL2N was even better and made the superiority of the CD more evident; then the Audiomat Drive D1 is the best (see Paul Candy's review here, written by a man loving dematerialized music), and with the new price all my customers spent the difference to get the Audiomat.
For those who would like to hear this by themselves... you can audition at my place a TL2N, a TL0X and a D1 side by side...