Salk Future TBD

Jim put up this post over on AC earlier today…;topicseen#new


Very interesting post. I don’t know any of the folks involved there, but being cynical I hope he had some type of contract or something the forbade those ’interested’ from using the design etc in a different business. In the tech industry they call it ’brain rape’. now that the sale fell thru, and he’s going to auction off the machinery, what’s to stop them from buying it pennies on the dollar and doing it anyway?

Like I said, they could all be great people that would never take advantage, and I truly hope that’s the case, but the cynic in me saw red flags.

Even considering the fact that Salk was a small boutique brand, I am very surprised that he considered the total worth of the company to be 300k, and then lowered it to 100k, including equipment, designs and brand equity. they do after all have a following, and they made a good product and have a reputation for excellent customer service.

It seems sad, but it looks like Jim is feeling good about it and what's next for him, so I guess all is well.

Wow.  I’m surprised some entrepreneur interested in making great speakers didn’t pick this up for a song.  Pun intended.  Best of luck Jim in your future endeavors!

Jim is a not the typical HiFi product maker. He is generous and makes

a product that is beautiful. He was the first person I approached in 2019

asking for his company's support for our Arizona SpeakerFest Event.

Whatever his future plans I wish him the all the best!!

 Sad to read this. I picked up a used pair of SongTowers several months ago and am quite impressed by them. I left them set up in my main rig for two weeks and really enjoyed them. I was contemplating buying one of their larger models in the near future. Best of luck to Mr. Salk.

I very much enjoyed my SS6M's before I sold them (for tower speakers). They are beautiful speakers and Jim was a delight to deal with. Small companies can be a wonderful adventures but they can also be confining. Getting out with your skin intact is the best outcome and I wish Jim well.

It is unfortunate that there aren't family members or employees who are able to continue the company.  Equally unfortunate is that beautiful cabinets are now being made in China more and more companies seem to be availing themselves of these cabinets in order to keep costs down which ends up putting a lot of pressure on the custom cabinet guys like Salk or Daedalus or name a few.

Audio is a very competitive business!



I was at that Arizona Speakerfest and clearly recall seeing and hearing the Salk speakers. I was hoping at that time that it would be an annual event.

this is horrible, is my first impression, for such a well regarded brand. I don’t understand this:

They simply did not feel confident they could market speakers at prices

what marketing? Salk is such a well-known brand, if you build it, they will come.


I think this thread will provide some context...

Increasing the price 20+% at a time when the whole country was bracing for a recessionary meltdown had to have severely hurt short term sales which might have scared the buyers...and then add to that the  concern that they  might have had as their business doesn't seem to revolve around the "pricier product".


@snapsc wow, that's a big deal! CSS is a pretty amazing company and I see the challenges of running (merging?) two very different brands. I guess it's really not that simple. Very different philosophies.

Just an observation -- I've been in commercial insurance for over 4 decades and had many clients move on or close their business -- sometimes retirement, sometimes burnout, sometimes money issues, and so on.  There isn't always a buyer. One thing I've seen with boutique shops is that their love of their craft often means that they make far less from their business than outside investors are willing to accept -- "I've got $100K (or a $1 mil or $10 mil...) to put into a business, so what's my return, and how hard will I have to work for it?"

Not too hard to see that without the passion the original owner had, a hard look at just the numbers may not make sense to outsiders.

Bummer and a big loss to the community. I had the honor of the being the caretaker for a week of the Chen Chen veneered Song3 Beats @jeffseight  secured for the AZ SpeakerFest. They were lovely speakers; almost bought a pair myself. I hope Salk is able to find another to take up the torch.

@roxy54 , we had another SpeakerFest last summer focused on stand mounts. It was even bigger than the one you attended. They are a ton of work and tough to organize yearly.

I have never owned any Salk speakers but from what I have gathered from reading and looking at his speakers I have admired the craftsmanship and Jim seems very professional and likable. This brand and Volti audio were on my bucket list for speakers I would like to own but just out of my price range. I wish Jim well and feel like he will be missed. Who knows, maybe I will pick up a used pair somewhere down the line...

Their should’ve been a succession plan in place. Think of Thiel, which was also a total fail in this regard. All owners of Salk speakers should now be worried about how they’ll get their speakers fixed should anything go wrong. That’s not a comfortable place to be.

I think Salk is just using off the shelf drivers, so driver replacement is actually easier compared to manufacturers that use bespoke drivers.


Actually Jim just posted that he will continue to service Salk speakers new and preowned but will no longer be making them. 

Sounds like an amazing opportunity for someone with the right skill set.  I love the idea of doing this but I know I don't have the skills or experience in either cabinet making or the speaker guts to make it work.

I’m fortunate to have a pair of SongTowers and Song Monitors...great speakers and great values...and gorgeous...I spoke to Jim one time (I live close to Salk Sound) and Jim was incredibly kind, generous and informative...

Damn! If this was 5 years down the road I might give it a go. Gotta get my kids through college first.

Even considering the fact that Salk was a small boutique brand, I am very surprised that he considered the total worth of the company to be 300k, and then lowered it to 100k, including equipment, designs and brand equity. they do after all have a following, and they made a good product and have a reputation for excellent customer service.

Yes, when I was involved in small business valuations you would use 3 years of net profit, minus the fair annual wage(s) of the owner(s) compensation to get an estimated value of a would use this method during a divorce in a community property state or when a business partner wants to cash a guide. 

I had the distinct PLEASURE of using the only pair of "sealed"Salk Veracity monitors as my mains two-channel for several years.  I further had occasion to sort out what turned out to be a non-issue with one of the tweeters, and Jim was an absolute gentleman in handling the situation.  Wishing Jim & Mary many more productive years...and, and Open-Invite to come visit me and my Mary in central Maine, Jim!!

(bold print of old eyes)      More Peace        Pin

Funny how karma comes back around, I think Mr salk gets what he deserves. I had a very bad experience with him personally and his business, have nothing good to say. Purchased a set of his tower speakers a year ago which cost me $1,500 to return a pair of $5,500 speakers. So much for his"if you don't like them just return them" policy, great business if you don't disclose what it cost. 

sorry reno...but I don't agree.  most people would look into the return policy and return cost....unless it says free...before making a purchase.

just as an example, go onto the tekon website and see what it says about the cost of returning their ever increasing line of giant above 100lb speakers.

jim is a super hones business guy who virtually everyone has had a great experience with...including those that own his speakers but did not buy them direct from him.

@mlsstl You hit the nail on the head!! If all these people on here think it easy and logical to buy a speaker company, they should throw their hat in the ring and give it a go! There’s a saying in racing that if you want to make a small fortune, start with a big one!! 😉

@mlsstl + 1, but it takes planning

@renosteve while your experience was unfortunate, I also disagree that Jim Salk deserves anything less than the very best. I say that because of all the folks I encountered at a couple of audio shows, he was the most gracious, down-to-earth, and professional. The other was Fritz Heiler of Fritz Speakers.

With Jim, he was the same both times I visited the Salk room. He offered information, answered my questions, and never made me feel in any way like I was wasting his time. Have you ever walked onto a luxury car showroom or high-end audio retailer, and were approached with a “what do you want looky-loo” attitude? Jim was the opposite of that.

He was always very responsive to my research emails, even after I decided to go with another brand. More recently, I was very interested in picking up his BePure 2’s as my next (and possibly last) speakers. I am disappointed that Jim decided to wind down his business due to lack of a suitable buyer. Which brings us to this point …

The reality is that the boutique audio industry is, by its very nature, very “designer centric”. There are many brands that are synonymous with their founders/designers and vice versa. Besides Salk Sound and Fritz Speakers, I’m sure we can all quickly name quite a few. When that’s the case, the business has extremely slim survival chances without the founder/designer. A rare exception might be the Backerts at Backert Labs where there is somewhat a built-in legacy.

In business, unless the owner has taken very deliberate steps to make the company “sellable” it will likely to cease operations beyond the founder/designer’s exit. Without naming them (kind of morbid), I can think of a couple of audio folks I dealt with who later died and their businesses died with them. Another industry veteran was hospitalized recently and folks were wondering what might become of his company if he was no longer there.

I was involved in the business sales and acquisitions industry during my professional career. The Salk Sound story is very common; and please understand I am not singling out Jim. But the reality is, not only in the audio industry, but also other successful entrepreneurs don’t plan for the ultimate and absolute certainty that they will exit their business eventually. That exit is certain. Either they will become tired and retire or they’ll die. Whether the company survives beyond that point is a matter of planning for the best outcome.

I thank and appreciate Jim Salk for his contributions to the audio industry. I wish Jim and his wife Mary nothing but happiness and success for the next chapter of their lives.

Return policy is often negotiated at purchase. But yes very important to know before purchasing 

I just wanted to say "thanks" for all the kind words.  I also wanted to respond to some comments so there is no confusion.

While we are going to stop building speakers, we will still be around to provide support to our owners.  In fact, I have some ideas on what I'd like to do next in the world of audio.  It just doesn't include building speakers.

As for CSS, I have the utmost respect for Dan and Kerry.  They were here almost every day for two months working with our crew and learning about how we do things.  They never charged a penny for the work they did while here.

Did they learn anything about how we do things? Probably. But I would have shared that information with anyone who asked.  Why?  Because I started building speakers as a hobby.  At the time, I knew nothing about speaker design and even less about working with wood.

Many people helped me master those crafts, providing critical information and advice.  I've always looked at it as my responsibility to do the same for others.  So I would have shared this information with CSS regardless of their interest in the company.

This is a tough business, not applicable to the faint of heart.  So it would take a special person or persons to successfully take the reigns.  

I was approached by three parties expressing interest in taking over in the past two years.  Since CSS is here in Michigan, this was the most promising.  In the end, they just didn't feel confident they could sell enough speakers to make a go of it.  I respect their decision.

I'll be 75 this year. I can't do this forever and have a few things I have always wanted to spend more time doing.  So it seemed like a good time to move on.  

I have thoroughly enjoyed working with so many wonderful customers over the years.  Many have become good friends and I treasure those relationships. 

As we approach the finish line, I have no regrets.  We've had a wonderful 20 years building speakers and have won more awards over the years than I ever imagined possible.  And for that I am grateful.

I plan to continue involvement in the audio industry. I just won't be building any more speakers myself.

Thanks again...

- Jim

Congratulations Mr. Salk to building such a great brand.  Enjoy the next chapter! I am about the age that you were when you started building speakers and your story is very inspirational and personal to say the least! 

I think that Jim, Like Rick Craig, was unique to the industry...guys that would build what you wanted. If you had a design idea...specific drivers you were thinking of....specific woods you wanted used...Jim would get his expert pals to put on their thinking caps...guys like Dennis Murphy and Paul Kittinger and together they would figure out whether it could be built and whether it would sound great. 

And for those of us that owned Salks over the years...we can attest to the fact that Jim's speakers sounded great.  I'm sure that is part of the reason that he has so many speaker offerings...because over the years, a lot of different designs were imagined and built and they never lost their relevance because of their looks and sound.

We all wish you and Mary the very best and really hope that whatever you choose to do next...that you have a lot of fun doing it.


@jsalk You are a true Gem - my best to you and yours in the new chapters AHEAD !

+1 @tomic601  @jsalk although I never had the pleasure of hearing your excellent speakers, by all accounts you are absolutely one of the gems in the industry on all levels, and I’m really interested in hearing what your next chapter involves.  Can you maybe give us at least a hint here?