Everyone knows Bose, in large part because it's the most heavily advertised audio brand in the world.
Then again, I can't think of any other audio brand that advertises on the radio, national magazines, or in newspapers. So unless you're an audiophile, or a regular reader of this blog, I doubt you could name another audio brand, if you're under 40. Older people might remember a few names from the days when audio was more mainstream.
Sure, a lot of folks would probably cite Sony or Apple, but those companies make all sorts of products. Bose just makes speakers and audio electronics; I might have to also include Monster's headphones or JBL as brands people know. That's it, I've run out of names that almost everyone would recognize.
My beat is audio, and while I'm never at a loss to find great products to write about, most of the best ones come from tiny companies, like Decware. Their tube amplifiers are sold with lifetime warranties, and I can't name another manufacturer of tube (or solid-state) amps that offers lifetime protection. The bulk of the company's sales are in the U.S., but they also sell handmade amplifiers and speakers factory-direct in 54 countries.
I've always been impressed with Emotiva's electronics, but they've just released a new line of self-powered speakers. I'll review their airmotiv4 speaker soon, but I'll say this for now, it is hands down, my favorite $399 (per pair) desktop speaker.
Hifiman's products have been praised in this blog from time to time, but their new HE-300 full-size headphone ($249) is another standout design, from a brand that's just a few years old! Review to come.
If you think I've missed covering an exceptional audio product, please tell us about it in the Comments section.