Who are the biggest audio companies you know, and where do they manufacturer speakers and headphones? Bose manufactures in Mexico; Sony, all around Asia; and Sonos, in Malaysia. The reality is most of the audio companies you’re familiar with, American-based or otherwise, don’t manufacture in the States. Why? It’s really expensive.
There are American-made audio companies, though — a lot of them. They just don’t mass produce products. Instead, these companies focus on high-end audio equipment that strikes a chord with the audiophile world. “It doesn’t matter where you make something if it is stamped out by a machine,” says Neil Patel, president of Avalon Acoustics in Colorado, maker of some of the world’s most expensive loudspeakers. “When your creations are handcrafted, the designers and builders become critically important.” Read on for a few of our favorite companies making some of the finest audio products on the planet — and doing so in America.
For the past 15 years, YG Acoustics has specialized in extremely high-end floor-standing speakers that reproduce the “being there” concert experience. Its speakers aren’t tuned or artificially manipulated in any way. Instead, they “simply convey the recording – nothing more, nothing less,” according to Yoav Geva, president of YG Acoustics. “As such, they work with any type of music, and in fact, many other audio manufacturers have purchased YG Acoustics speakers to use as their reference when testing other equipment.” (Fun fact: one pair of YG Acoustics’s flagships speakers, named Sonja, can go for over $100,000.)
The third-generation family-owned company is best known for its flagship pair of hi-fi headphones, the PS1000. All its headphones are made in Brooklyn with the same meticulous craftsmanship found in high-end watchmakers. “Our headphones are used by hundreds of recording engineers because we build Grados to accurately reproduce what is in the recording,” says John Grado, owner and CEO of Grado Labs. “We feel if someone wants to hear what the recording engineer heard and recorded, our headphones are correct for all genres of music.”
McIntosh is synonymous with hi-fi everything: wireless speakers, amplifiers, recievers, headphones and turntables. And it’s all meant to last. “It’s not unheard of for some of our products from 40+ years ago still being used today with little or no service work performed on them,” says Charlie Randall, president and CEO of McIntosh. “Our products are often treated as family heirlooms and are handed down from one generation to the next.”
Klipsch has specialized in home and professional audio systems since 1946. Its Reference and Heritage line speakers are known for high efficiency and low distortion — and for being really loud. “The Klipsch signature sound is not ‘tuned’ for American music,” says Mark Casavant, Klipsch’s SVP of global brand and business development. “Our speakers are voiced for all genres of music — for a neutral, yet dynamic accuracy in sound reproduction. Our goal is a natural sound that moves the listener emotionally.”
“Avalon Acoustics’s clientele are rarely beginners: they are sophisticated and cultivated music lovers seeking the purity and truth of the original performances they know so well,” says Neil Patel, CEO, designer, and president of Avalon Acoustics. The Rocky Mountain–based audio company crafts innovative and design-focused loudspeakers, some of which command few grand, while others are some of the most expensive speakers on the planet. But, as Patel explained, you’re paying for “an unsurpassed musical experience.”