Brazilian amplifier maker SounDigital appears to be shaking up the amplifier market, after winning a 10 percent or higher of US amp sales, according to industry estimates.
Its formula of super high power output in compact amplifiers at low prices has struck a cord with consumers, especially in the motorcycle audio market, which is a high growth segment in amplifiers, said industry members.
High output and distortion are flip sides of the same coin, so some say SounDigital amplifiers have more distortion or clipping than is traditional. SounDigital denies the claims. Either way, these amps have caught on with consumers and some traditional amplifier makers are responding with similar models of their own.
Diamond Audio said it is considering offering a higher output compact amplifier to compete with the new Brazilian style amplifiers. Another company, who wished not to be named, said it is also working on a high output, compact amplifier for the same reason.
“If everyone else comes out with them, we have no choice,” said the amp maker.
Still others said they are benefiting from the renewed interest consumers are taking in high power.
PowerBass said its higher power amplifier sales are up by as much as 25 percent and some models are flying out the door as fast as they come in.
“There was a lull for a little while where higher power didn’t matter to people. They weren’t buying 2,000 watt amps,” said PowerBass VP Product Development & Marketing Erik Harbour, noting that this was true about three years ago. “In the last one and a half years, things started to change,” he said, crediting SounDigital with drumming up interest in the segment.
“People are starting to advertise high powered amplifiers and therefore people are searching for them on the Internet so our higher end is selling through much faster than it ever really has,” Harbour said.
Diogo Iannaccone CEO SounDigital USA said he couldn’t pinpoint SounDigital’s US market share but noted, “I feel very confident that we are one of the main brands in the motorcycle audio amplifier market. We are definitely number 1 in motorcycle audio competition style bikes.”
He said SounDigital amps do not have elevated distortion. “Regarding what some say about raising distortion this is totally untrue… I would say most car audio brands in our market have zero engineers and do not understand new technology when it comes. We have 17 engineers in our staff in Brazil working non-stop to create the best possible product.”
SounDigital is releasing this quarter a new EVOX line, which it claims has better sound quality and uses “some of the best components in the world,” said Iannaccone.
“In the next 5 years we will be expanding a lot our product offerings and will become also a major player in the powersports market in general and also regular car audio. We are the manufacturer, which is a very rare thing this days. We develop all our products from the ground up and control all steps. This gives us the flexibility and agility to be able to answer very quickly to the market,” said Iannaconne.
Another relative newcomer to the market, also with many “pro sound” amplifiers is DS18, which manufactures out of China rather than Brazil. It said its sales grew by 40 percent last year.