Better Luck with the Internet?

Longtime audiophiles no doubt remember Hafler for their early amp and preamp kits, which offered excellent value for the money. The company soon dropped the kits, but continued production with a complete line of popular amps and preamps throughout the '80s and early '90s, only to hit hard times as the audio recession kicked in.

Hafler, now part of Rockford Corporation (known primarily for their mobile audio companies), has spent the last several years focusing on the pro-audio market and has recently reinvented itself for the consumer-electronics customer. Last week, the company took the ultimate Internet-era step and announced that it will soon begin marketing its CE products direct to consumers from the company's website,

Hafler says that the site currently features the Hafler VRM line of satellite speakers and subwoofers, as well as a complete line of electronics, including amplifiers and surround-sound processors, scheduled for release online later this summer. The company adds that its new speaker products are designed by the same engineers that produce Hafler's professional studio speakers.

Explaining the move to online sales, Hafler's Jerry Cave says that " provides the consumer with a professional-quality audio system for significantly less than they would expect to pay for a system of comparable quality. From wherever they have access to the World Wide Web, they can simply point and click to buy an audio system bound to literally 'rock the house.' "

The site also features a "system configurator" that Hafler hopes will take the confusion out of deciding on the right mix of speakers, and offers a no-risk 30-day in-home trial. According to the company, " is a powerful, scalable, and secure e-commerce environment for fulfilling consumer orders of audio products and services. Shoppers have easy access to product selection assistance, an audio technology knowledge base, and order processing and tracking information. will reduce the cost of providing products and service, while enriching customer satisfaction."