HERC Loves DAK - part five - THE END

By the early Nineties, the DAK ads and catalogs had trailed off and all but disappeared as far as I can remember, replaced in my mailbox by Sharper Image catalogs.  The Summer '90 catalog cover pictured above looks very familiar and may have very well been among the last time I heard of DAK until about three years ago.  But before we get to that, let me back up and fill in the blanks between the Nineties and the 2010s as best as I can:
  • At its peak in the late Eighties, friends and colleagues estimate DAK was mailing out 10 million catalogs a year;
  • DAK's high volume/low margin business was a vulnerable one depending on a robust international economy and supported by enormous lines of credit - in 1992 a bank pulled one of the larger lines of credit, forcing the company to seek bankruptcy protection;
  • In 1994, DAK ceased to exist;
  • Around 2000, company founder Drew Alan Kaplan started DAK 2000, a website selling software and a few gadgets and began referring to the previous incarnation of DAK as DAK 1;
  • After arbitration, Drew won back the domain dak.com which is where you find DAK 2000 to this day;
  • In 2012, he sold the company to Sol and David with Sol taking over as the voice of the company in all the posts and emails since with the corporate mailing address moving from California to Brooklyn.
In 2010, my dad (HERC SR) and I were reminiscing about our mutual love of gadgets.  The conversation led to DAK catalogs and a quick Google search uncovered the existence of DAK 2000.  I signed up for their Electronic Newsletter Updates and within two months had ordered this (see graphic below) though I was a little perturbed when I found it for $20 cheaper in a Japanese electronics catalog a couple of months later.  
The dongle and receiver worked as advertised and I used it to listen to music out the my pool for a Summer though I couldn't tell you where either piece is now.  Most of the emails were for software rather than gadgets and I read them before moving them to recycle bin.  Then in November 2014, an offer too good to refuse came to my inbox and I promptly ordered the black on black one a few weeks later after some internal debate, with Christmas looming just ahead.  It was delivered within a week and I eagerly tore into the box and plugged it in to charge overnight.  The next day, I unplugged it and attempted to use it but got no sound, which is the only thing you want from a speaker.  After a day of futzing about with it, I emailed DAK Support.  They suggested the usual diagnostics and after those yielded no results, they sent a return label by email for me to print up and stick on box.  I dropped it off at my local UPS Store on December 12th and on the 15th received an email from Adam, saying "a functional speaker would be sent out as soon as possible". On Christmas Eve, UPS delivered the replacement speaker and I am thrilled to tell you it worked right out of the box.  It is not as loud or as detailed sounding as I had hoped but it works consistently and travels well.  It's is slightly smaller than 10" by 10" by 5" and weighs about four or five pounds if my guesstimates aren't too far off.
An extremely similar product is offered from Pure Acoustics at the same price point.  The only differences between the DAK Power Squared and Pure Acoustics MCP-50 speakers are the corporate nameplates affixed to the speaker grill and the AUX inputs on top of the speaker: the DAK has a single 3.5mm input while the MCP-50 has standard RCA stereo inputs, one for the left channel and one for the right channel. As the speaker itself is not a stereo speaker, it really makes no difference I'm just curious, which model came first?

Thus ends the HERC Loves DAK Series that saw me get my first Walkman style portable tape player in Part One, a pair of huge booming speakers in Part Three and finally a Bluetooth speaker from DAK all in the span of thirty-five years.  And let us not forget my unrequited lusting after DAK's equalizer (Part Two) and tape deck (Part Four) offerings along the way as well.

Thanks to Cabel Sasser and his 2012 post for reminding HERC how much he loved those old DAK catalogs.  Downloading the vintage catalogs Mr. Sasser has lovingly scanned and uploaded to the Internet Archive and then browsing through them on the iPad thrills HERC to no end.

The DAK cover image is courtesy of Jim's SAE Site.  The DAK USB image is from an email dated September 29, 2010.  The Pure Acoustics images are from Amazon.com.  All copyrights respected.  The bonus DAK images below are from Cabel's scans of his collection of DAK Catalogs.

1 comment:

  1. I like that USB transmitter. I've crafted my own similar system using Bluetooth equipment but I won't tell you what I paid for those parts because I don't want you punching your monitor. Glad your Bluetooth speaker works - those things are hella handy.