As we all know, many American manufacturing companies are struggling to compete on the world stage. It has definitely been disheartening to see GM being bailed out by the taxpayers, and even worse to see a company as American as Budweiser get bought by the Europeans. Lucky for us, we still have a stronghold in the world market for something you may not have known…audio equipment and electronics! Whether you know it or not, American electronics are the “Rolls Royce” of the world, sometimes costing 10 times more than foreign equivalents, but truly the best.
We invented rock and roll, and so we also produce the best equipment to reproduce that sound. For years, Japanese companies like Denon, Sony, Kenwood, and more have been producing amps that have more features, but never sound as good as an American-made McIntosh (Not Apple) amp. A good comparison is to say that the Lexus may have more bells and whistles, but nothing compares to the raw power and performance of a Corvette. In the audio world, nothing touches the amplifiers made by Bob Carver, McIntosh, B&K, Crestron, and many more.
You may have heard of JBL? That stands for James B. Lansing. He was the inventor of the modern speaker back in the 1920’s. Since then, his same basic design has been replicated by thousands of manufacturers. Here again, foreign companies have tried very hard to do better, and the Europeans and Canadians have succeeded in making fantastic products. But speaker design companies like Klipsch, Martin Logan, and more have continued to push the envelope, and Americans remain in the top standings as one of the best.
Lastly, let’s talk Home Automation. We Americans are killing the competition! US based companies Crestron, Control4, Elan, and many more ARE the world’s inventors and innovators. Making homes easier to operate, more energy efficient, and a more pleasant place to live is catching on like wildfire. When the world saw the financial crisis and double-digit losses of 2009, Control4 was “upset” to only see a 20% increase in revenue from 2008 to 2009. As the smart grid takes hold in our neighborhoods and homes, be prepared to see more and more of these guys.
As it relates to in-house manufacturing, it’s a mixed bag. While Crestron manufacturers nearly all of their equipment in their New Jersey plant, Control4 designs the stuff here and imports it from overseas. As a result, Crestron is much more expensive (for example, they sell a $13,000 remote control!). Either way, though, the profits stay here, and that’s what matters in today’s economy. I feel extremely fortunate to be on the forefront of an industry that we as Americans have created and are currently dominating. So when making your purchases, try to ask for the American version, and know that when it comes to electronics, you’re getting the best.