What makes something high end?

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My son Scott is being thrown into the fire without a protective suit, answering hundreds of emails and questions about his new product Sprout; some pretty rough. I feel for him. It's really generous when people help him get the word out and support his ongoing effort, the flip side is all the naturally occurring questions; some can be rather heated and direct. One gentleman lambasted Scott over his claim Sprout is a high end piece. The poster pointed out that an Audio Research product is high end, Sprout is anything but. I would imagine all my readers would chuckle a little at this poster's assertion; Audio Research is clearly high end, but why would one automatically assume a small integrated isn't? It got me to thinking about the question. What makes one thing high end while the other isn't? I am sure it's not price - if it were then products like the Audioquest Dragonfly USB DAC wouldn't be accepted in high end circles. I am sure we've all heard stelar sounding budget systems and equipment. And to be honest, it doesn't really have to apply just to hi fi to be high end. I would suggest there's high end foods, high end cars, high end cameras, high end lots of stuff. No, I think high end has to do with intent. Did you intend to build a product that serves the masses and makes everyone a little happy and gives little reason for anyone to be upset and reject it? Or did you build a product designed specifically to honor the end goal first, and worry about what people would think second? The first is what Bose and McDonalds does. The second is high end.
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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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