Have you ever seen those employees at the airport wearing a "What Would Jesus Do?" lanyard attached to their security cards? If you drive around Santa Monica long enough, you might even see a Prius with a "What Would Gandhi Do?" bumper sticker affixed. All of these subtle or not-so-subtle forced media messages have oddly led me to ask the audiophile-related question, "What Would Dan D'Agostino Do?"
Those who know audio respect Dan as the founder of Krell and one of the biggest names in audiophila. This past summer, he and his ex-wife Rondi took on investors to help grow Krell as they added iPod docks, reference AV preamps and a Blu-ray player to the product line-up. The results worked out poorly, to be polite. Other than voting rights on the board, Dan and Rondi are out of the company that they founded 29 years ago. Since the corporate divorce, Krell moved on. Dan's moving on, too. Oh, I almost forgot - both sides are suing each other enthusiastically. It's a mess.
Back to the question at hand: WWDDD? Dan is unlikely to come back to Krell with the current ownership. Rumors (if you believe them) have Dan working on a new company with his ex-wife and his tech-savvy son, Bret. But what are they making? More importantly, what should they make for a new company designed to succeed in a new economy?
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For other articles of a similar nature, please read Dan D'Agostino Launches New Company With 300 Watt Momentum Amplifier, CEDIA 2010 Show Report from Ken Taraszka, and What Really Happened With the Closing of Sound by Singer and Why They Will Be Back Soon.
In speaking with a noted Krell dealer, I was told that Krell should go upmarket right out of the gate. Dan's Krell Master Reference power amps from a few years back are a true statement product from a designer known for making one hell of an audiophile statement. There are likely 1,000-plus global Dan loyalists who might be tempted to pop for a $200,000 amp, even in this economy. Do the math. That is enough to put a new company back on top, especially with relatively low overhead and debt structure. Add in a preamp and/or a reference player or possibly a $35,000 subwoofer and the uber-rich might be the solution for a new D'Agostino company.
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