Dan D 'Agostino, Mark Levinson, Jim Thiel,

What happens to the sound, quality and everything else to the products of a company when the founder leaves? Do the original companies sustain their lustre they had in their heyday under the founder?

Dan D 'Agostino (Krell), Mark Levinson, Jim Thiel, Arnie Nudell (Inffinity) and Bob Carver(Carver Corp & Sunfire) left companies they founded to be run by others. Can you name any others that left to start up elsewhere? How did their old companies fare after they left?
Infinity has gone to the dogs. Carver Corp and Sunfire did fine for a while after Bob Carver left, but both are now defunct.
Terrible! You couldn't pay me to buy a Krell or Mark Levinson. Thiels I don't know much about. Krell hasn't designed anything truly new since Dan left to start his own company which is producing the best stuff Dan has ever designed sonically and visually. Some of the best from Levinson started Viola and Viola designs are superb. So to me, the companies have languished after the chief designers left.
Levinson started Cello.
If only Dan would make some equipment affordable real world pricing, I believe Dan D Agostino is making some of the very best solid state out there, but $85,000.00 for a state of the art intergrated amp, Really?, That intergrated by all means should cost $15,000.00 at best!, and that says volumes at that price.
I think Nelson Pass has, more than most other manufacturers, delivered on the promise of SOTA sound at prices while, still not inexpensive, make a lot more sense than some "other" products out there. As for Levinson i couldn't disagree more- they have been (and still are) making some incredible sounding components for many years. Krell makes good stuff too, but due to CAST technology, you need to get everything made by them in your audio chain including CAST wire, which is simply impractical from a monetary standpoint.
One of my favorite long-time examples of an enduring legacy are ADS speakers, whose designer now produces Aerial Acoustic, which are superb (if a lot more money, but not compared to the present-day competition). I once had a pair of ADS L-1590-2 speakers in Rosewood veneer that sounded amazing and were beautiful to look at as well.
French_fries, you will not believe this!, My friend has a ADS tube electric guitar power amp with two 12" woofers in the cab, cheers.
Nelson Pass is a great example; look what happened to Threshold when he left.

On an unrelated note, I see that SAE is coming back. I presume that Jim Bongiorno is no longer associated with the marque having passed on a couple of years ago.
I stayed up last night worrying about that!!
Levinson (the person) has designed some new-ish stuff from Daniel Hertz and lives in Venice (on a boat maybe?). He seems to come up with interesting things from time to time, as does his old company owned by Harmon (I think). Same with Krell in the sense that they keep at it with some well regarded integrateds and such...D'Agostino must have found some VERY deep pockets to finance his line of extreme toys, or he got rich from Krell, but the designs he's out there with are pretty cool and other's could take a que from this stuff as most audio gear looks stale or more Bauhaus than Art Deco.
+ 1 with your post wolf_Garcia about the Agostino equipment!
One example where the founder's leaving (in this case, passing away) did not result in a company "going to the dogs" was Snell, where Kevin Voecks produced some excellent designs following the death of Peter Snell.
Speaking of Snell, Dave Smith and Joe D'Appolito, both of whom followed Voecks were great designers for Snell in their own right. But eventually the marque did lose traction in a very crowded marketplace.
I suppose you can add Steve Jobs in the list.
Did any of you see the new Bob Carver speakers yet?, Bob Carver company is still in bussiness!, The new speakers are called The amazing line source, There is a whole page advertisement there in the july/august Absolute sound, thought I would chime in here and give the good news to all!, BTW, they appear to be a awsome statement pair of speakers that will get noticed soon, I believe Bob Carver himself is pictured with the speakers, cheers.
These brands will carry on because they are established. I will always be a fanboy of Thiel loudspeakers. Simply the finest out there at this juncture. It is amazing to see the innovations that Pass, Carver, Curl and D'Agnostino are doing currently. Sometimes, leaving a comfortable postion to explore an unknown postion is warranted. Happy Listening!
Audiolabyrinth...unless you're joking or working for Carver...that add has run before and I think it's ridiculous, and although those with 5,000 sq ft listening rooms might like the speakers, that add does little to dispel Carver's reputation as somewhat of a clown. I also have to wonder what Carver is thinking with the 700 watt mono tube amps that look like tube testing equipment...just strange. I think he recently designed some nice little tube amps but his tacky demeanor just takes away from credibility, such as it is.
I am not joking, No, I do not work for any audio company, nor am I a dealer, I am suprised at your post, you may not know much about carver speakers?, I have exsperience with the Carver speakers called, The Carver Amazing speakers, they were from the late 80s and early 90s, They were a panel speaker with 4 twelves on the panel along with a giant 5ft ribbon mid/treble, with out board cross over, they, to this day are one of the most transparent speakers I have listened too, They are just like electrostat speakers in all aspects, way ahead of it's time for speakers when they were produced, so if the new carver speakers are up-grade over these, I would like to listen to a pair, I would be amused if they better the originals!
Surprised that I think Carver is an annoying freak? I might be the only one who feels this way, but he seems insane.
I saw and heard the Carver Amazings in 1988. I was smitten by them. I had heard the Magnepans back then, DCM Time Windows and other cone speakers. They didn't impress me. The Carver speakers were not cheap but I gave up the cash for them gladly. I enjoyed them for 14 years. I upgraded to the one piece ribbons, upgraded wiring, crossover caps and bypassed the fuses. My audiophile buddies liked them too. They were fast, but didn't have the tight bass like a cone speaker. The problem was after being used to the fast ribbons, cone speakers sounded like two boxes. Not until I heard my buddies' Thiels could I consider a cone box speaker. They are fast.

People in audiophile circles seem to bash Carver products so much that I didn't feel like I had a real stereo. So I finally switched to a pair of Thiels. Notice I didn't say upgrade. I was pretty bummed that once going to the Thiels I spent significant $$$ upgrading the amp and wires just to get the Thiels to sound as good as the Carvers. Out of all of that I do like the bass better now. My wife liked the looks of the Carvers. It's been 12 years and she still reminds me how much she liked them.
Tonywinsc, Great post about the Carver amazing speakers!, also a very good read, as a matter of fact, I know where a mint pair is!, however, the cross overs are missing, I bet, Bob carver could accomadate a cross over that was better than the original, I know how to get tight good bass out of these, with todays technology, that would be an easy task but perhaps costly, in the end, these would make out to out-perform most over priced speakers of today, cheers.
Wolf_garcia...Bob Carver an annoying freak, a clown? The only thing that is annoying and clownish is your post. Have you owned his tube amps or speakers? Although his ads are often filled with hyperbole, his designs are sound, innovative, and reasonably priced by audiophile standards. Unlike most designers out there, he was trained as a physicist and have the ability to think outside the box. I've owned his 200 watt monoblock tube amps for the past 5 years without a single problem except for a signal tube failure which is not fault of the amp. It is one of the most dynamic, spacious, well imaging and tonally correct amp I've ever owned in 30 years in this hobby. And also the quietest tube amp I've ever owned, comparable to a top notch SS amp. His new speakers are innovative and I don't see an equivalent out there. In the midrange and lower frequences, it acts as an omnipolar true line source giving a spacious soundstage. The tweeters are forward firing line source and give very precise stable imaging. It can put out realistic concert level dynamics. I've heard the preproduction version and believe it has tremendous potential. And no, I do not work for Bob Carver.
BTW, Bob's new speaker will work just fine in a room 15' x 20', not the 5000 sq ft you claim. Who really seems to lack credibility here? You or Bob? He is one of few legendary designers who will actually talk to you on the phone and shoot the breeze with you about audio in general, not just about his products.
One can still buy some genuine "Thiels" from the new Thiel company. But alas, their latest models must have poor Jim spinning in his grave.
I would call-out Harbeth as an exception. Alan Shaw didn't start the company, but bought out Dudley Harwood. Shaw has since been very successful at continuing Harwood's legacy.
I would also include Philip Swift of Spendor another exception !
That company is very successful after the founder Spencer
Hughes gave it up!
..good point.... I'm woried that Richard Vandersteen will retire leaving another brick in the wall.
In the year since my "annoying freak" comment I've realized something…Carver is still an annoying freak. His designs might be fine, although also freaky…except his smaller tube amps…I like those.
My Carver 180s have been clowning around driving a pair of Eidolons since their introduction without any issues. Before audio I beat the crap out of a Phase Linear amp to drive a PA system for nine years and sold it still working perfectly.

Nothing wrong with a checkered career. I'd love to hear the details of his selling the tube company to that chump in Tennessee.
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Bob's tube amps are no longer made by that "chump" in Tennessee. Bob is in charge of full production of his amps and speaker now.
no dan, no krell

no mark, no levinson..but mark is a terrible businessman.

no jim, no thiel

the answer to your question is without a doubt nelson pass and...

no pass, no threshold.
Sunfire is still in business, he sold it to a big corporation and did quite well for himself. Carver was/is a man who has the guts to think outside the box. He invented the cube subwoofer, the tracking down converter power supply that allows his SS amps to produce insane power levels.

He is also an accomplished speaker designer and his new line source speakers look incredible. It’s sad when ignorant people besmirch a man who has for over 40 years been a leader and pioneer in audio.

You really want to judge a mans life work by describing him as a clown? Grow up... That’s extremely insulting not only to him, but to the many people the world over who have come to love this hobby by owning equipment he built and continues to build.
Oh and btw: Bob Carver's first company Phase Linear is still around in car audio...he also started and sold a bio-tech company that I presume is also around. Not to mention the various patents he holds for ribbon speakers, amplifiers and so on.
IME, Pass Labs is the very best solid state at this juncture.