Underwood HiFi Inc. is the home of Underwoodwally, a name very familiar to AudiogoN shoppers as the e-mail alias and user name of Walter Liederman. Walter is a 50-year industry veteran who spent 23 years as one of the partners in the 10-store Atlanta-based chain HiFi Buys. He worked as its Corporate Buyer for the home audio and mobile division while being intimately involved in corporate strategy sessions.
When this $100 Million/year operation sold to 'The Tweeter Group', in 1997 Walter worked as a consultant for Infinity speakers and Acoustic Research for 3 years. He also helped fund and became a partner in Perpetual Technologies, a leading player in DSP speaker correction and digital audio technology.
His 50-year tenure in the audio industry then led to home-based side business Underwood Hifi through which Walter marketed new products, closeouts, B-stock, discontinued products and other specialty audio items that manufacturers didn't want to promote through their established distribution chains. Earning an enviable track record with AudiogoN's savvy audio shoppers (over 2.500 points back then and now over 13,400 points), what had begun as a part-time side line soon developed into a full-time operation mostly selling new high-value high-end products.
Living in an Atlanta suburb, Walter then combined his exploding on-line audio sales venture with a small home-based retail operation to serve the local community by appointment to audition actual components and complete systems. Careful selection of a few chosen brands offering superior price/performance ratios led to such lines as Jolida, Emerald Physics, PS Audio, LSA, Gallo speakers, Music Hall, Carver amps & speakers, Quad and Peachtree Audio.
Walter remembered Chris Johnson with whom he had worked with at Sonic Frontiers as one of its largest dealers. Chris had left to start Parts Connexion, selling hi end audiophile parts to the industry. Walter had helped Sonic Frontier's president Chris Johnson sell off most the remaining tube inventory. The two began a partnership doing modifications to Walter's hi value products turning great value products into great products without regard to price. Walter would submit certain of his products for precisely predetermined upgrades. These products would, in many cases, retain their full original manufacturer's warranties or be covered by an Underwood warranty. Walter would market them through his usual consumer-direct channels as fully hot-rodded, brand-new factory-sealed units. They would bear an attractive discount made possible by remaining a tightly-run home-based operation.
In 2010 Walter moved full time to Maui, Hawaii and changed the business to an Internet-only model. Products are still shipped from the Marietta, Georgia warehouse or drop shipped from the manufacturer.
After becoming a dealer for speaker pioneer Emerald Physics and witnessing their amazing performance and customer satisfaction over 4 years, Walter had the opportunity to buy Emerald Physics in January 2010. Over the next 4 years Walter and his design team totally redesigned and expanded the Emerald Physics line and added electronics. The goal being to sell a complete Emerald Physics systems at Internet Direct pricing offering state of the art performance at real world pricing. Emerald Physics is sold along with many other high-value high-end lines thru Underwood Hifi. Currently there is an entire new Emerald line being developed with 3 open baffle speakers, a hybrid amp and new state of the art DSP based integrated amp. Walter has also bought LSA speakers and Core Power Technologies A/V, a supplier of line conditioning products and now a line of cables as well. After PS Audio went factory direct in 2019 Walter decided to expand LSA into a full lne of super high value Internet direct products with integrated amps, power amps, preamps, music streamers, headphones, turntables and phono stages. All products are designed and priced to deliver very high value direct to consumer products at pricing 30-60% below typical retail products.
The overall goal is to offer full systems at internet direct pricing. This will bring a new level of price to performance products to the entry level customer looking for better gear as well as audiophiles looking at more price is no object gear.
WHY BUY FROM UNDERWOOD HIFI?
You’ve seen all those other consumer electronics websites already, haven’t you? Most of them are just another variation on the same old boring cliché descriptions and cost comparisons. From site to site, the products are the same, the prices nearly so.
In short, we design many of our own products and sell them direct to you with low overhead and no distributor’s or dealer profits.
Read more for an in depth reason:
What can we offer? Lots of things. Like unique, high value brands that you simply won’t find anywhere else: Value Innovation in power management, cables, and audio components. Our brands are Core Power Technologies A/V power conditioners and cable products, LSA loudspeakers, electronics, headphones & turntables and Emerald Physics open baffle speakers and electronics. These products are owned by Underwood Hifi Inc. and we sell them direct to the end user without dealer or distributor markups. We also sell various high value brands that over the years we have found to offer uncommon value like Bob Carver tube electronics, Wyred 4 Sound and Black Ice Audio, among others.
What’s the common element here? These products have been carefully selected for their state-of-the-art performance at their respective price points.
Even more to the point is that each of our brands provide unique value because of Underwood Hifi’s rock bottom overhead direct-to-consumer price structure.
None of the Underwood owned products carry the overhead of a traditional “brick and mortar” dealer structure – the profit margins, factory sponsored advertising and promotional allowances, sales rep commissions, distributor profits etc. – and other allocations that just push the price up while adding little real customer value/satisfaction.
Instead, we design these brands ourselves. In addition, we cooperate with other companies who see the web as a way to offer higher value and greater savings than you could ever find at your local hi end retailer – even one of those “superstores” supposedly offering great deals. They are about cheap while we are about great sounding high end audio products at clear value pricing. Value does not mean cheap. It means we deliver superior performing products for whatever their price.
And we’ll make sure you get just the right product from our carefully chosen menu of great values. That’s because Underwood Hifi provides extensive and accurate information about each product on our site. And then Walter backs that up with 50 years of industry history to provide individualized application advice for those who need it.
Our model assures you that you’ll have all the data you need to make a proper choice – something that is often missing in today’s fast paced and often understaffed retail environment. A great deal on the wrong product is nowhere near as good as a very good deal on the right high-performance product.
Where’d That Money Go Anyway?
People constantly ask us how we can offer true high-end products at such low prices. Well, we’re gonna tell you. And probably make some conventional manufacturers and retailers pretty angry in the process.
The fact is that the Internet has revolutionized the manufacturer-to-consumer supply chain. Specifically, the web allows us to offer new products at savings from 25% to 75% when compared to prices of comparably-performing products offered by typical retailers – or by typical web sites offering the same retail based brands sold by stores!
We’re going to let you in on a few trade secrets (the “inside track,” if you will) as we show you a comparison of a typical high performance power amp selling for $5995.00 (or $8995.00 through distributors) and the LSA Voyager GAN 350 amp that sells for only $3495. Get ready to be amazed.
Typical $6000.00 Amp The $3495.00 LSA GAN 350
Cost to produce $1200.00 $1500.00
Cost to dealer $3,600.00 Not applicable – no dealers
Retail to consumer $5995.00 $3,500.00 40% less
Also note that the manufacturer also has the following expenses that we do not have:
Freight cost to ship to the dealer (2.5%)
Rep commission of 7-10%,
Advertising expenses paid to dealer of 5%
3% payment terms extended to dealer
Bad debt expense of dealers who go out of business of 2%
Total of approximately 20% of dealer cost
Note that both the typical retail model and our model require a salesman’s salary
Actual profit after expenses for manufacturer $1,644.00 at a retail of $5995.00
Underwood profit at a $3500.00 retail is $2000.00 and less when on sale. But note that we spent $300.00 more on our amp so we can give you more amp for your money at about ½ the cost.
The numbers get even worse for you, the consumer, when you buy imported products because there is now a US middleman, the importer, who make between 30% & 40% profit.
Typical $6000.00 Amp The LSA GAN amp
Distributor cost $3600.00 Not applicable – no distributors
Cost to dealer $5,397.00 Not applicable – no dealers
Retail to consumer $8995.00 $3,500.00
Look closely at these numbers and you’ll see that a direct-to-consumer sales approach is a win-win situation for everyone. As you can see, we can make a bit more profit on our $3500.00 amp than a typical manufacturer can make on a $5995.00 amp.
Products imported only make this worse and we have not even factored in exchange rates and import duties that raise costs and make imported products an even worse value to the end buyer. Notice we just said worse value, not worse product, because there are many great sounding imported products. They are just dramatically overpriced when compared to our direct to consumer model.
“That’s nice,” you say, “but what’s in it for me?” Simple, A better product for less money. We can spec better parts, a better chassis, more rugged construction, and invest in more advanced technology.
And that means better performance and value for you!
With loudspeakers, the numbers are even more in your favor! That’s because typical dealer margins for speakers are even more generous than they are with electronics.
The point is that a direct-to-consumer sales model makes an immense amount of sense for everyone interested in really improving a system in an economical fashion.
And that’s why Underwood Hifi makes more sense for you!