I know there are a lot of NHT fans out there, so this is probably good news for a lot of folks:
After some months of being away, loudspeaker manufacturer NHT (Now Hear This) has been reborn as a direct-to-consumer retailer. This new action has also fundamentally changed the way NHT markets their brand. As a result, consumers will be saving 30 percent on NHT products from their original suggested retail. Add to that, the company has redirected their resources as new product development will showcase a much broader assortment of applications. Some NHT products can still be purchased through retails chains at the moment. Those seeking a great deal right now may choose the NHT Xd system, which once sold for $7200 is now offered direct online for only $2999 plus shipping. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the NHT M-00 active loudspeakers and matching S-00 subwoofer. (http://www.enjoythemusic.com/news/)
Yep... I saw the news earlier this week on AVGuide... it's a good move for NHT.. especially since they have the advantage of being an established speaker brand... so it's a less risky proposition for potential customers...
To me, a decision by an audiophile grade loudspeaker company to stop selling through dealers and showrooms and go direct via the internet is short sighted and a cop out. I don't care how they can justify it, the listener should audition speakers each and everytime they are in the market. The fun and excitement of being in the market for new speakers is visiting the various hi-fi stores and auditioning, speaking with the sales person, learning, etc. That's how I've done it to date and plan on as long as I'm breathing. No, I completely disagree with this approach. IMHO, they just don't want to support the local dealers any longer and employ staff to call on them and spend the money. Who in the world would buy new loudspeakers without first hearing them? Sorry, but this to me makes no sense.
Several others have done quite well doing the online thing, including Axiom and Aperion. I think NHT is trying very hard to cope with a retracting global economy. This also makes them able to provide product at lower cost and share that savings with the consumers. Now I know this isn't seen as very positive for smaller dealers and B&M shops, but it's not like they don't have other choices - there are thousands of speaker manufacturers out there, and probably quite a few upstarts who would love nothing more than to occupy the shelf space that NHT will be giving up.
And regarding the issue about hearing speakers first, I'm sure NHT will follow the lead of the others and offer money-back guarantees, perhaps even free shipping. So home auditioning, which is actually way better than hearing them in the showroom, will be possible too. If they don't they'll be telling everybody to just trust the brand based on past successes, and that is sure to fail in the long-run.