Manufacturers past their heyday


There are many companies that we all recall from years gone by that are gone. There are some companies that while still around, seem be be past their glory days. For instant, while Conrad Johnson is still around, they just don’t seem to be nearly as relevant as they used to be. Of course, my thought on CJ are purely subjective. And yet other companies seem to be as relevant today as they were 20 of more years ago. VPI perhaps? Definitely McIntosh. 

Who are the other former high flyers that seem to be operating on an altogether different level these days? 
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Just because a well-known company doesn't have as high as profile in the U.S. as it once had, doesn't necessarily mean that the company is faltering.  Sometimes, simply, their primary markets shift overseas, and in those other countries they are highly appreciated.
Maybe your reliance on the rags for info?
probably should go have a listen to the top of the line CJ preamp before judgement……
I agree twoleftears, Pass Labs is a good example.
Nola speakers seems like one of those companies to me.
ML (both), Linn, Klipsch, JBL, MBL, LOL!
Rowland must be selling much of their production abroad, as I don't see them having much market penetration in the U.S.
Up to 40 years ago there were only so many companies. More than a few that were in the sound reproduction business were also in many other businesses. RCA, Philco, GE, is just a few.

The number of businesses that grew out of THE HIGH dollar market is what gets me. Little beautique shops are EVERYWHERE..

It’s as simple as "Exposure". To see some of the web sites and their promotions. You would think ALL the stuff they say they have, would take up at LEAST some type of store front. LOL

In reality they exist on papers sketched with ideas and some pretty fancy photo shop magic, They are in someone’s basement posing as a store front.. Is that wrong? Not at all unless they say they have something other than a VIRTUAL store front..

In reality 99% of the companies today around the world exist just that way, and NO OTHER WAY.

The need for exposure is gone, the need for a store front is gone, the need to spread by word of mouth is gone.

The ABILITY to SELF promote and AVOID issues is reflected right here on Agon, and Ebay to mention a few..

The seller unless they are JUST scumbags, usually get a pass on selling junk, snake oil, lies, hype, WRONG information, just to touch it with a needle it would POP, I see it all the time..

There are so many makers or sellers or what ever they call themselves that 30 companies in 60s is 30,000 companies ALL over the world, NOW

The USSR, remember that mess. A LOT of stuff is built there for export, NOW.. That was unheard of before the breakup.. TO mention just one in the region.

NOW China, All the old USSR, and India is the face of everything from the old made in Japan/Taiwan crowd.. TO 3/4 of the worlds population is now in the MAKE EVERYTHING business and selling to US.

We do have plenty of excess face covers and hand sano wash, as FUEL jumps a dollar per gallon in a week, on NOTHING more than speculation.

When Clinton left office fuel was .99 - 1.99. per gallon and the price per barrel was exactly the same price. It was the only thing he got kinda right.

I think current stereo gear (cables are #1) has the same whopping overpriced problem.. Middle man America and everyone thinks they earned a cut... and never lifted a hand..

A whole lot of GREADY, LAZY, FAT people!!! I’m 20 lbs over weight and purely ashamed. BUT I’m aware..

Regards
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Depends on your taste.
CJ has become so underrated. Their flagship ART150 ART300 are the best tubes I’ve ever heard.
Two companies that have gone out of business:

AcousticPlan (they made among other great gear a very cool cd transport where the cd was exposed)

Le Son (ultra high end Swiss company, made what some considered the best DAC, their website has been offline for 6+ months now so I’m assuming the worst)
Just because a well-known company doesn't have as high as profile in the U.S. as it once had, doesn't necessarily mean that the company is faltering. Sometimes, simply, their primary markets shift overseas, and in those other countries they are highly appreciated.


yes... or they are doing just fine without the marketing treadmill at high rpm...  it is called brand equity...
Agreed CJ 15 years ago was still a highly regarded name 
I bought the Premier 11A Tube amp, andPremier 17  great stuff.
When the owners stopped being part of it like McIntosh 
with it went the integrity and passion . I did see CJ has a-nice Amp 
They just came  out with . Audio Research took a slide also when they started going cheap. Their Reference-line is very good .

@audioman58

you have no idea what you are talking about

https://www.psaudio.com/copper/article/conrad-johnson-sold/

c-j still operates with high integrity and high standards... founding owners get old, retire or pass... this company was passed down to a loyal employee who continues to do the right thing

arc is a different matter, sold to french holding co who also owns mcintosh... but more recently has been bought back by the old management team led by former sales head 

https://www.analogplanet.com/content/mcintosh-group-sells-audio-research-corporation-tws-enterprises...
Jjss I have far more knowledge base then you and most others having owned a Audio store for a number of years,and40+ years in Audio  and been involved with modding and upgrades ,I know the products inside and out ,not just turning it on.
The death of my CJ ET-5 and ART300 Anniversary monoblocks have been greatly exaggerated, that is, unless I am hallucinating. Because, I am listening to them right now, through my Egglestonworks Viginti’s.

I understand people asking questions here, because other members can be, and have been, very helpful.

What I don’t understand, or really appreciate, are folks who have these notions they want to share with us, but can’t seem to offer anything specific, nor can they spell.
Nakamichi, I mean come on! They make a sound bar!
millercarbon,
You must be joking mentioning Klipsch. They are certainly experiencing Days of Glory with the Heritage line the last few years.
My new La Scalas run musical circles around most “hi-end” speakers 😎
BTW my “other “ speakers are Martin Logan Renaissance 15a’s 
@audioman58 lol. Calling out possible customers….real class and salesmanship. 
I haven't heard much from Ayre ......
Acoustic Research - made great speakers back in the day and turntables too. Now they make outdoor speakers last I looked. 
Much of the 'old line' of manufacturers have slouched into somewhat blah offerings....and,spread thinner, most lose the coherency that created their name & rep....

MBL?  Probably lovely, but selling the family into slavery and you may have the down on it/them....

Spouse wouldn't be thrilled about the slavery thing, no cute kids to please the peds....end up in EMERG will multiple ice knife wounds....

I'll stick with what appears to be 'junk'.....;)
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In resent years I have ventured into the Linn camp and very happy I did. Both my dealer and Linn have been great.

One of my all time favorites, which I was not able to buy at the time as I was still in collage, was a few stack Cello system. I had an opportunity to speak with Mark Levinson a few times and that was quite the conversation. There are some great offerings out on the market right now, but very expensive and if it broke it would be difficult to repair.

Some other brands that were big in the day were Phase Linear, Threshold, Magnepan, Dual, Nakamichi and Revox. All cool stuff. 

I really like audio companies with good heritage and stay true to their vision. Their products always seem to sound best to me. 


It's true that Ayre has a lower profile than it used to. Probably since the founder died.
true that since charlie h passed, ayre has taken a lower profile, at least in print and online advertising

that said, i currently own the following from ayre, c-j and arc

ayre -- p5xe, codex, k5xe mp
c-j -- et7-2, et5, prem16ls2
arc -- ref 3, ref 75, ref 110, 100.2, vt60, v70, vt100-2

not to mention over a dozen other items from them that i have since sold

over the past 10 years, each and every time i have called or contacted these companies for assistance, or just a question, they have been responsive and helpful - their gear is excellent, well designed and built, produce superb sound -- when an item has needed service or support or just a health check, they have been responsive and solved the problem efficiently and at a fair price, even during covid

i don’t feel they cut corners, lack integrity, or have diluted their customer service mindset, they have never let me down - in the case of my ref110, i told greg christensen that the cooling fans were audible with quiet music, he and i worked together and he sent me newer fans spec’d for a later version, which ran silently

i have no affiliation to these companies other than being a customer, and i turn on their gear on a regular basis and enjoy the music

maybe these companies are past their heydey as the hot thing, social media darlings... but high standards in product quality and customer care persist, and pleased and appreciative owners like myself abound
And what about WADIA, they had the best CD Players and DACs on the market, and now?
Nakamichi really stands out.
Many died because of his cockiness towards younger generations of music lovers. 
They called us: “The lost generation.”  

We say: “They lost generations!”

And some former relevant people of the audiophile establishment still call us like this. There are some examples on YouTube. They lived in bubble of same wired older white men and totally ignored two to three decades of people who love music and good sound. 🤷🏻‍♂️
I’m curious about all this discussion about CJ I owned classic 120 SE power amp and the ET7 SE although I Loved the sound very much when it was quiet I ran into nothing but noise and burning through tubes in six months try to work it out with CJ with no avail talk to Kevin at upscale Audio tried various tubes with him still the same sold it but Nagra never looked back!
Sorry for the typo “I bought Nagra”. Also would like to add tube preamp solid-state amplification now. I leave my present system on 3 to 4 days at a time and it is going on two years old and still dead quiet with the original tubes.
Wow, you youngsters do not know much audio history. There is only one company that I can think of that is around today that is not near what it used to be in terms of the product it makes.
Saul Marantz started a company in 1952 with a preamp he built in his kitchen, The Consolette. By 1965 his company was the undisputed maker of the finest audio gear in the world. It was also the most expensive and the best looking. He created the formula that dozens of audio entrepreneurs would use in the future to jump start companies over and over again, Mark Levinson, Dan D'Agustino, Nelson Pass, etc. The beginning of the end was in 1964 when Saul sold out to Sony Superscope. By the mid 70's Marantz was reduced to making high profit cheaply made mass market receivers. Their best equipment had been overtaken by newer marks and no more would you see Marantz the cornerstone of high end audio stores. 

Just like Marantz, KLH is another in name only. Sure ain’t the same company that Henry Kloss started.
https://klhaudio.com/
One of my father's friends was Rudy Bozak. In the late 1950's, he made my dad a custom pair of Bozak speakers. We lived in Connecticut close to where (Dr.) Bozak had a facility - he was a great fellow, and I do not think that his work was archaic during the time in which he lived, but I am not sure whether his brand lived on in any manner.
S.A.E., Harmon-Kardon (I guess Harmon lives on as a conglomerate but the celebrated “Citation” line is a relic of the past.), 
This sounds more like a marketing question. There are fewer high end audio stores that we can just walk into and listen to gear. Then the ones that are open have their favorite brands they carry. These brands have to be ones that bring people in and ones that they can sell at a margin that will pay the bills and they need to make a living selling them. Just as your question is positioned as companies that have fallen from where people used to perceive them to be I will say that there are companies out there that have been hyped way above what their quality really is. This is marketing 101 and marketing cost money. Some companies are content to let their product speak for it self.
Many if not most successful mfg are not in there HEY day.  Those days are reserved for the newer mfgs who come out with a new piece that punches above the others in their class. CJ as others have been doing that for 40 years. It's not unusual for them. The new kid in town always gets noticed. The longevity of their success depends on how long they continue to perform at the level which got them noticed in the first place. But at some point a new kid comes along and gets attention for a product that rivals the former new kid, to which people say, HEY have you heard about this new product? The HEY day starts for another.
Hey there.  "Heyday" is all one word: the time when a person or thing's success or popularity is greatest. I rather doubt even CJ has been at its greatest for the whole 40 years.
millercarbon,
You must be joking mentioning Klipsch. They are certainly experiencing Days of Glory with the Heritage line the last few years.

In that case then it would be a rebirth. Glory days, well they'll pass you by, as the great philosopher sang.    

Yes of course its a joke. The only hypotheticals I take seriously are how to build a system. If you ever think I'm being serious about ones like this all I can say is must have been some other buddy no, no, no it wasn't me.

Now you're talking! Silvertone. Definitely past its prime.  

How many remember Kenner?  https://toytales.ca/close-n-play-phonograph-from-kenner-1973/  

Kenner is so far past its heyday nobody even knew it had a heyday! 

How about MAG LEV? Or did they just have a hype-day?
Mark Levinson crapped out years ago he's history.
Yes, Linn is certainly NOT past its heyday.  I understand that they have recently completed facilities to bring all their manufacturing in-house.  My new Akurate system (hub, Exaktbox-i) and "old" AV-5140 speakers, now aktiv via the Exaktbox-i, sound about as good as I can imagine a system sounding.  I believe Linn is in the ascendant.
Biology is a bitch for small companies named after the founder/designer.