What brand is most recognized by non-audiophiles?

Yesterday at church the pastor used audiophiles in an example and mentioned that he probably shouldn't use the example without knowing the current best equipment. When he asked the congregation there were several quick responses that said Bose. I shook my head.

What audiophiles brands would be most recognizable to the masses these days? I think of Krell when I think of an audiophile brand, but don't know how many blank looks I would get out of non-audiophiles. Maybe B&W?
B&W, McIntosh, Marantz would seem to be three that non-audiophiles would recognize.
Bose, Polk, Sony, Marantz, Denon, Onkyo, Rotel, etc. When you think non-audiophile, think mass market.
this question is unanswerable, unless you query thousands of people.

personally, i think of audio research and conrad johnson.
I guess I should rephrase a bit. I am not looking for what brands the masses associate with high end (i.e.Bose), but what audiophile respected brands are likely the most well known. For example, MBL is obviously a very high end brand, but very few have ever heard of them.

Maybe Harmon Kardon. McIntosh has certainly been consistent over the decades.
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In your example the brand does not need to be an audiophile brand. In fact one could argue that ONLY an audiophile would know an audiophile brand very much like only an Oenophile will know the best wines.

So whatever brand is perceived as Audiophile to the masses is the brand that works in your example.

Unfortunately, I agree with those who have said Bose. Their marketing campaign is second to none in convincing the masses that they are very high end. Also, their ability to keep their overly high priced equipment from being discounted also, IMO, adds to the perception of it being an exclusive, high end, audiophile type product.
Bose, sort of like Glenfiddich, extremely so-so single malt that most have heard about.
The ones that make A/V gear.

That and Apple and then bose.

Then whatever else they sell at Best Buy these days.

All the rest don't even register.
The unwashed masses have the tastes of the Philistines when it comes to audio and rely on advertisements to show them the way.

That was kind of in jest but the advertisement part I truly mean. Aside from home audio adverts, the other one that comes to mind are the audio components that come with luxury cars so Bose, B&O, B&W and Levinson come to mind since they are highly touted as the best you can get for your car.

All the best,
Yeah, whatever is sold in cars and luxury cars also probably has good buzz.

JBL came in my Avalon.

I have Alpine in my 4runner.

I had fantastic Nakamichi gear in my car once. BEst sounding car audio I have had by far.
I think some 90's Lexus models had factory installed Nakamichi systems. Many non-audiophiles realize Bose is a "lifestyle" product not an audio component. My guess would be JBL.
It seems the brand I get the most when people find out I am into music and equipment. "Oh do you have Bose?" I think to myself,Serioulsy? Bose!! I find it very hard to explain to them that, Bose, isn't even a good place to start. But not to appear arrogant or instulting to them as they may own Bose, I just smile and say, no. No Bose, I bought some other speakers and they sound real nice except they play music real good...., the other brand I get is Denon, which is in my opinion much higher on the audio-chain than Bose. No reason to insult people, just agree and move on. As a side note about Amar Bose, when he died earlier this year, I thought it would be nice to give a eulogy and say "Let's all rise and face the back of the church and take a moment to reflect...."
I agree with McIntosh.

Perhaps Mark Levinson is also recognized, since it has been offered as a premium sound package in Lexus cars for several years now.

Yes, Bose has wider recognition than these, but I don't think the high end community considers Bose to be a high end name, so it doesn't make my list.
Audiophile brands are not recognized by the masses. If you aren't into it, you don't know them. All the answers above simply state what "normal" people have heard of. They are two different things...
But in the unlikely event that a truly great, high end audio brand were suddenly embraced by the masses, would it still be "high end"?
Oddly, SOTA turntables have gained recognition among younger hipsters who come to vinyl through dance parties. Also, SOTAs have appeared in popular media, like the House MD television series and mentioned in the Sopranos.
Interesting responses. Some of them are a reminder to me that some brands recognized by the public at large (i.e., Marantz) make some really good and well reviewed stuff. I won't pay for an audiophile "brand" without at least checking those other brands out. I don't really care if the public at large is aware of them.
10-27-13: Mceljo wrote "but what audiophile respected brands are likely the most well known."

Are you trying to imply that BOSE is NOT an audiophile respected brand?

I hear commercial Bose setups that make me think there is possibilities still there for good home audio, but most home audio Bose stuff I hear tends to be well sub-par.

I think there are ways one could make a good sounding home system with Bose stuff these days, but most that might have the interest and knowledge needed to give it a fair try probably end up elsewhere first.

There is a Bose store in a nearby mall last time I checked a couple years back. I went in looking for a good Bose 2-channel sound benchmark but there was nothing set up there that even gave it a decent attempt as I recall having seen and heard in similar Bose stores in years prior.

Bottom line is Bose has little interest in marketing traditional 2 channel home audio products these days. Too much money made elsewhere! Not to say Bose might not deliver good sound still if someone really tried. Bose definitely knows how to run a successful business built around sound. The numbers would indicate perhaps they know how to do this better than anyone. THey just don't give a hoot about traditional audiophiles. They tend to be more forward thinking and targeting the masses in regards to their products.

THey just don't give a hoot about traditional audiophiles. They tend to be more forward thinking and targeting the masses in regards to their products.

that's right! 'coz us old audiophiles are a cranky, nit-picky lot that turn our noses up if the audio item does not cost $$$$$. We say in our own minds " if it's not expensive then how it could sound the best?". Just the kind of words that audiophile equipment manuf wanted here to mark-up their gear to ludicrous values!
Bose realized quickly that $300 for a Bose Wave system from the masses would fetch more revenue that making, say, a $600 system & selling it to a niche audiophile market. The masses would appreciate the "better" sound more willingly than the audiophiles who needed convincing that Bose would compete with their existing hi-faluting systems.....
Piss as much as you want on Bose systems, their marketing dept got it right. You have to give the Devil his due.....
My response to the OP's question would be (besides Bose)
* Adcom
* Polk Audio
* Boston Acoustics
* Cambridge Audio
* Sony
* Onkyo

these are brands readily available at Best Buy, Tweeter, Circuit City (when they were in biz), Crutchfield, HHGregg, and J&R. That's where a lot of the masses shop.
BW, that's just it--my ears tell me that the Bose Wave does not compete with my system (which is rather modest but well-chosen IMO).

I'm not saying the Bose isn't better than a lot of other stuff at that price point--just don't fool yourself as to what you are and aren't hearing. To me the difference between the Bose and a well-made system is night-and-day.
Klipsch - from older people I talk to. I don't know if Klipsch is considered an audiophile speaker now but they used to cater to the audiophile market back in the 80's when high end audio was more of a main stream market.

But as Bombaywalla said about Bose, Klipsch found more money to be made in the mass market. The purpose of a business is to make money. The more of it the better and that is best done by:
1) Selling to a larger number of people. Even more so than making super expensive components. Who makes more money, Bose or Wilson?
2) Focus on marketing more than solid engineering. This is true even in the high-end market. Just look at B&W. They differentiate themselves with visible technology that may not even matter but convince laymen that it does. Bright yellow Kevlar drivers, tweeter on top, curved cabinets. People look at that and say hey, no one else does that. B&W has people convinced those visual cues make for good sound. So if no one else does those things, no one else can sound as good. Ka-ching, sale is made. Bash on B&W all you want but how many brands from the 80's are gone and who has survived?

If you're going to make your sales case based on fine nuances (to the masses that is), like paper vs. poly cone drivers, good luck. Even audiophiles can't agree on that.
From Mapman:

Hey just don't give a hoot about
traditional audiophiles. They tend to
be more forward thinking and
targeting the masses in regards to
their products.

I am reminded about advice given to
me when I first started out in

"Sell to the classes, dine with
the masses."

"But sell to the masses, and
dine with the classes."

This is why high end audio dealers
and journalists are easily and
routinely corrupted with little more
than a New York steak dinner.

Best wishes,

Bought four new tires for the daughter's vehicle. Got the
first statement from Firestone, along with a money-off coupon
for BOSE. "Targeting the masses" is an understatment.
"Let's all rise and face the back of the church and take a moment to reflect...."  very funny!
Most of my immediate family knows spit about audio equipment but they all know McIntosh first.

I'd say Bose second only because as a "high priced" brand for newbies they certainly have the most exposure at retail,  their own outlets,  other big box stores,  etc.

There aren't enough bricks and mortar stores to walk by and window shop any more which is why the perception of "high end" is too often Bose and its ilk.
Bose used to have 30-minute infomercials on the tube--what other brand has had that kind of visibility?
I have a hard time believing more non-audiophiles recognize McIntosh than Bose.