Gryphon, Ypsilon, Lansche, Kharma, Focal, Jadis, Mastersound, Swiss electronics etc. At the highest or close to it level they are overtaking big time. Yes, there are still competitive American brands, but it appears that Europeans are gaining more and more ground. With the help of Japanese - TechDas, Technics, Wavac, Kondo Japan, others. What is going on, I wonder ?
It's global, really. We 'Americans' (I'm assuming you meant the US - though I happily include North and South, Arctic to Antarctic) remain innovative as do all other people across our planet. I believe this is a very good thing.
The fruit simply reflects the vision and strategy of a company. With a few exceptions, the engineering brawn in the North American high-end companies dissipated after the 1990s. As you mentioned, in Europe and the Far East (including China and South Korea) the effort continues
The Nobel generally displays latency with respect to the sciences. The physicists you refer to began their work in the 1980s. It will be interesting to see who wins in ~ 35 years. That will be telling.
Geniuses walk among us today, here in the U.S. and elsewhere across the planet.
The dude who was head of NASA’s rocket program and who designed the "heavy lifters" used to go to the moon used to be a Nazi. And that's why there's a big old Nazi V1 rocket standing right next to all the other rockets in the Air and Space Museum. Gee, I wonder why they call America The Great Melting Pot? 🙄
Geof, just making sure you understand that if Werner Von Braun was a dedicated, political and practicing Nazi, he wouldn’t have had the time or the passion to be the amazing rocket physicist and engineer he was. The most brilliant minds don’t necessarily mean monster simply because they got caught up in a particular time and place. Perhaps we might instead cite that while he was conscripted by that political party, he stayed focused on his technical goals and fortunately got the opportunity to work with a political power after the war to put that knowledge and those applications to positive use. So, I wince a little when I hear you proclaim that he was a "Nazi" as if that defined the man. From what I’ve read, that is not the case. Should all Americans be defined as Trumpians simply because the guy is in office?
OK, let me rephrase the comment. Werner Von Braun was the father of the German rocket program during WWII at Peenamunde, the birthplace of modern rocketry, including the V1 and V2 rocket programs, you know the ones Hitler used against Great Britain. Does that make Von Braun a Nazi? You decide. You say he got an opportunity after the war. I say he got an offer he couldn't refuse.
Let's not mince words about von Braun. He was an officer in the SS and his weapons program used large amounts of slave labor. He was a Nazi. The US welcomed him and his team because we did not want the Russians to capture them. And yes, von Braun, like every other SS officer, definitely did not want to be captured by the Russians. I wonder why?
Many of the highest ranking Nazi brass actually did not fair too well in US (the Allies) hands. We hanged them. But Von Braun was not (rpt not) as guilty as the highest ranking Nazis and obviously could be of use to us.
The aforementioned work in physics and Nobel prizes have no correlation to what's happening with today's North American high-end audio companies.
The people doing that commendable work do not involve themselves in this business. Listen to the forums and the conversations at shows, and you can see a big change has occurred in the people involved in this realm. Compare the companies of the past with those of today, and the brain drain becomes obvious
Cut me some slack, Jack. There has always been Burmeister, Kharma, Lamm, Tenor, Jadis, Rogers, Tannoy, mbl, Siltech, Dart Zeel, etc. at the Shows for as long as I can remember. I’m pretty sure this is fake news.
@inna well, I'll point back to my original post -> follow the engineers. On this continent, they've left high-end audio for other fields in order to make a living.
But to flesh those thoughts out, consider the number of companies (excepting cable companies, for simplicity) that rose up in North America in the previous generation, and achieved some measure of success or familiarity (off the top of my head - course, I'll miss a bunch): Acoustat, Aerial, Aragon, Atma-Sphere, Audio Alchemy, Audio Research, Avalon, B&K, Boston Acoustics, BEL, Belles, Bryston, CAL, Carver, Cary, CAT, Classe, Coda, Conrad Johnson, Counterpoint, Dahlquist, Dunlavy, Electron Kinetics / Eagle, Fried, Futterman, GAS, Genesis, Hafler, Hales, Infinity, Jeff Rowland Design Group, Joule Electra, Krell, Magnaplanar, Manley, Mark Levinson (the company, not the man), Martin Logan, McCormack, Melos, MFA, Mirage, Music Reference, NHT, Ohm, Quicksilver, Paradigm, Parasound, Phase Linear, Polk, PS Audio, PSB, SAE, Shahinian, Simaudio, Sonic Frontiers, Soundcraftsman, Snell, Spectral, Theil, Theta, Threshold / Pass, Totem, Vandersteen, VAC, VMPS, VPI, VTL, Wadia, Well Tempered, Wilson. Obviously, the founders of these entities have come closer to the end of the road or beyond than the beginning of it, even if they still functionally operate in these companies or went on to form new ventures.
Allowing a somewhat blurry line of demarcation (and I'm pushing the line back probably farther than I should if using the term "recent", but we'll go with pre Y2K), we come to the recent past, what companies have emerged out of the USA and Canada in the current generation? Ayre, BAT, Bel Canto, Blue Circle, Coincident (now adopting offshore production to some degree?), DeVore, Gallo, Herron, Hovland, Lamm, Magico, Rogue, YG Acoustics - welcoming additions to this list to up the count. Even taking the position that the level of quality of design has not dropped off significantly in North America, the quantity and motivation to begin a new venture unquestionably and obviously has
I’d respectfully opine it’s not that there’s a dearth of engineering talent, it’s the economy! Anyone who thinks he’ll make a bundle in high end audio should probably consider getting a check-up from the neck up. 👤
Albert Einstein foresaw gravitational waves a hundred years ago, actually he reinvented the whole physics. It has always been brave and fearless individuals who change the world, not ideologies no isms whatsoever. And they are here with us today. I have been lucky as I met one nine years back and purchased from him an audio equipment that was totally beyond my understanding at the time. He is a humble man living in England. My other equimpment is made by another humble man, he lives in Finland. And my monitors are made in Finland in 1991, today a highly esteemed brand originally since late 70´s as very little company. Yes indeed, it´s been European culture here and we are enjoying the fruits of it, more than before. However, my best cartridges are over thirty years old, the other from the US, the other from Japan. So certain vintage Hi-FI is unbeaten but at the same time you gotta be openminded to seek new things, new worlds and your efforts will be rewarded. Best of luck to all.
All the European brands have existed for years. It's just accessibility. The World has become a global village. There are plenty of modest European brands with modest prices... It's a common thing that
prices of US products start where European end..
Harold-not-the-barrel Albert Einstein foresaw gravitational waves a hundred years ago, actually he reinvented the whole physics. It has always been brave and fearless individuals who change the world, not ideologies no isms whatsoever.
What Einstein didn’t foresee was that black holes would produce gravitational waves. Einstein was not (rpt not) on board the whole black hole train. But it was the merger of two black holes that produced the gravitational waves detected by LIGO in 2015. The Golden Age of black holes, when most of black hole theory was conceived, was in the 60s - after Einstein had passed away. Wheeler, Thorne, Hawking, et al. Mostly US, you know, MIT, Princeton, Caltech, the usual suspects. Actually, Einstein missed the boat on quantum mechanics, too. He was not (rpt not) a big fan. 😛
In America, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer . We have so many millionaires who can afford those high-end brands, regardless of country of origin . We don't produce enough engineers or scientists for our needs here and must hire educated immigrants to fill those jobs . Education in America produces vast numbers of moderately educated citizens . Europe took decades to recover from WWII and now compete and produce as America once did . My point of view , FWIW.
inna- good query. The companies that you cited realized that their counterparts are junk-sourcing to china. There are a few American originals still left. There are a few Japanese originals left as well. Excellent points of view as above.
Economic argument is a good but not the only one. And it may not be as straightforward. If we buy more of what some make now and keep buying it, what economic reason would they have to innovate? They would have more financial resources, but would they channel enough of them to R&D ? And what about those who do have motivation and knowledge but cannot establish themselves because of lack of funds? It also appears that Europeans manage to make good sounding equipment at all price levels.
MHO....the innovative companies are the ones that thrive on feedback, that care about their products, and know that happy customers tend to let others know how happy they are. Too true, not all survive, even given the above, despite a superior product. We've seen examples of this too often... We make our choices, and vote with our dollars. And hope the cream still rises instead of merely being an oil slick.