I had just sold my Proceed PAV/PDSD combo, with a trio of Jeff Rowland Model 7s, and EAD Theatermaster. While I was waiting for my new system (Cal Audio CL-2500 pack) to arrive, I realized I needed some tunes and went to the yard to see what was 'laying' around. What I found was not only fun, but the idea to begin this thread. Personally, I am interested in this question from a Home Theater standpoint, but welcome 2 channel responses as well.
What is the BEST systems or pieces you have heard from companies that are no longer in business!!
I went to the garage, and pulled up a Golden Theater GTX-1 I had purchased a few years back. Solo Electronics went under about a year into these units. They received rave reviews from the magazines, but they just didn't hang around for a curtain call. I then pulled out an older 5 channel amp and here is what I gathered!
The DTS/DD Golden Theater GTX-1, which is STUNNINGLY good in 2 channel (what everyone loved about this unit!) was the start, and I paired it with a Chiro 5 channel C-500 amp. I thought, hey, this company is also out of business too!!! This amp was also favorably reviewed and when I put this system together, I realized how good they both were, specifically in 2 channel!! These companies both had GREAT products and when matched together, WOW! Obviously this set didn't chase the Proceed/Rowland gear out of my house, but you know, it did give it a run for its money!! Here is my thoughts on the BEST OutOfBusiness Home Theater!!
Golden Theater GTX-1 (DTS, DD) Chiro C-500 (140 x 5, THX (for whatever that is worth) Hales Concept 5 (owned these 250 lbs monsters some time ago) and for a center channel the Hales Rev 1!!
This system would be stellar for music and if for music, it would kick butt for Home Theater!! The Hales are fabulous speakers, require substantial power (like the Aerials I run now) but if fed properly, even the mother of 'The Fridge' would be proud!
Put your best OutOfBusiness (OOB) companies down!!!
I can only speak about two-channel components, but I'd definitely include several Museatex/Meitner products: the STR-55 stereo amp, the MTR-101 monoblocs, the PA-6(i) preamp and the CDD transport-Bidat DAC combination. Museatex cryogenic cables and interconnects, too.
I've never owned the CDD or Bidat, but I still use the preamp and power amps every day and have no plans to dispose of them.
Then there's the components I sold and now kick myself for getting rid of: Technics SL-1000MKII (SP-10MKII turntable with SH-10B3 stone base and EPA-100 tonearm), Stax UA-7 tonearm, Tannoy System 12 DMT II studio monitors.
Technics, Stax and Tannoy are all still in business, but they don't make those products any more.
Whatever happened to the Beveridge electrostatic speakers? They were beautiful 7 ft' towers with direct-coupled tube amps that although were lacking in dynamics, had a very seductive sound. Is the originator Harold Beveridge still around? I sold his line back in the late 70's when I was working at a now defunct high-end dealer while going through college.This is when I really got hooked as an audiophile.
Spica!! I still have tc-60's in my main system. Their ability to image and create a large believeable soundstage would have been a natural in the home theater craze. On a good night, when the goblins are asleep, I am amazed at how good my system can sound with speakers that I bought as a dealer demo for $400.
(01). Museatex/Meitner: Some of the prettiest "high-end" components that I have ever laid my eyes on. Start out with spartran and stealth looking front panels, back them up with sophisticated audio technology, and then add some classy looking rosewood side panels, and you have some of the classiest looking components to ever exist in the "high-end" industry. They sounded as beautiful as they looked. Too bad I couldn't afford anything like those components back then. Because if I was able to afford them, I would probably still have them today. If there was anything such as a WAF (meaning "Wife Acceptance Factor") component, then the Museatex/Meitner components would be those components.
(02). Counterpoint was another company that has bit the dust. And this was a company I was deeply into when I was in the market of buying my first preamplifier (a used Perreaux SM2 that I purchased back in 1992). I had my eyes on their SA-3 (I think that was what the model number of their $3,000.00 preamp back then) back then. I thought that THAT was was a beautiful looking tube amplifier as well. And I am not a tube man to begin with. But if I were to get into tubes back then, then Counterpoint would've been the choice I would've made back then. Audio Research is a great company, and they have produced classics such as the SP-10, the SP-10 MkII, the SP-11, and the SP-11 MkII. But still, my company of choice if I were to get into tubes would've been Counterpoint. Counterpoint would've given me the chance to experience the tube sound without paying the high prices that Audio Research was charging for their component. Right along with their SA-3 Preamplifier, I also loved the Natural Progression Preamplifier and Power Amplifier as well.
(03). And what Counterpoint was to tubes, Threshold was to solid-state. This was a company that has had a great linage behind them (Nelson Pass in the 1970's (which co-incidently, is whose circuitry is inside of my Adcom GFP-750 Preamplifier), and then came out with Stasis current in the 1980's (this VERY circuitry has later started showing up in Nakamichi's (see below) first line of Stereo Receivers and their Power Amplifiers as well (the PA-5 and the PA-7 come to mind)). And they competed very well in the Accuphase/Boulder/Krell/Mark Levinson arena. Later on in the latter stages of their existence, they also had preamplifier that I fell in love with as well (I don't know the model number, but it had one control on the left of the panel, another one on the right of the panel, and a pretty blue looking dot matrix display in the center of the panel. The preamp was powered by an external power supply as well). Recently, the company did try to attempt a come back, but right now, I don't know what has come of it. I didn't hear anything recently. Maybe someone can bring me up to speed on this one.
(04). And now, we get to Nakamichi. They haven't went belly up yet, but I understand that they are in serious financial trouble right now. They have filed for bankruptcy about a year ago, and hopefully, they will make a strong financial recovery and re-emerge from bankruptcy as soon as possible. It would be ashamed if a company that has proven to be a institution to the "high-end" industry such as Nakamichi should go belly up, then the "high-end" industry would suffer a major travesty. Not only they made some very good audio components overall, but they made some damn good cassette decks too (at least the old ones were quite good). I happen to own one myself, a BX-300. And if I have something to say about it (and I do), unless I can find an unbelievable deal on a CR-7A anytime soon, the BX-300 isn't going anywhere. I don't plan on disposing my BX-300 anytime soon.
I would agree with Pcs about Spica. They made amazing speakers that were truly underpriced in comparison to what was offered when they were in business. I owned a pair of Spica TC-50's in the late 80's. They were wonderful. I then purchased a pair of Angelus that had greater frequency response, but was very close to the TC-50 aside from the extension. A great company. I miss them now.
Yes Viridian, you are pushing 50 if not there already.Do you know what happened to Harold Beveridge? I would imagine he has passed on as he was in his mid to late 60's when I met him in 1979. What happened to his speaker line? As my faint memory recalls these speakers sold for about $10,000 the pair( I think ) and it amazed me at how many we sold in the 2 years I was there.
1. Hales Design Group. I am biased because I own T-8's. But still bang for buck was very high. 2. Cello Music Systems. I heard a pair of the Performance II monoblocks and I was impressed. 3. Genesis Technologies. The 1.1's are still an awesome achievement. 4. Counterpoint. I heard a pair of Natural progression Monos and I recall them being very liquid. 5. New York Audio Labs. First tube amp that I ever heard. fell in love with tube amps thus still have a soft spot. 5.
I "think" that Harold Beveridge's son is still working with the speakers, but not sure. I remember reading something about that somewhere, but can't remember where. If really interested, i'm sure a search of either the Agon or AA archives would turn up something.
I would think that it would be nice to have a company like Apogee around, especially if they continued to refine their designs and work on newer technology at the same time. Same goes for Acoustat.
While i also love Threshold products, most of that has carried over to Pass Labs albeit in slightly different form. Same can be said for Counterpoint and Michael Elliot's current company Aria Audio and the few others that he's had in-between.
The only "come and gone" company that really sticks out in my head is Audio General Incorporated aka AGI. I would have liked to have seen what Dave Spiegel could have done with amplifier design, especially nowadays with the level of parts that we have available. He was ( and probably still is ) a designer way before his time.
Other than that, i think we have FAR more companies and products to choose from than in any other time in audio history. Maybe not as many "breakthrough engineers", but a LOT of "good stuff" none the less. Sean >
A company called Ultech made a cd player for $1000 that was the best value for dollar audio product I had ever heard. The technology has changed significantly and time has moved on but at that time nothing else in the price range could touch it.
Many companies like Sonic Frontiers, Technics, Fisher, etc, are still in business in name only. They really are gone. Someone just bought the name to sell something else using the old company's goodwill. Just look at all the classic American television brands that are nothing but Asian mass produced sets with the old American name slapped on because Uncle Harry will only buy a Quasar television.
I wonder if anyone remembers Advance speakers? They were a little company in New Hampshire in the late 1970s to early 1980s. I think some of those principals were later involved with forming Boston Accoustics.
I am still impressed with older nameplates like Superphon (Stan Warren), Motif (Conrad Johnson), APT Holman, and MillerSound Labs cables.
I also sentimentally miss Counterpoint and Melos (my first amp and preamp respectively), though I have to say I have found other equipment that suits my tastes far more, though. Not the same for Apogee...
Angstrom with their 200DTS/205 combo is still the best 5.1 digital surround processor I have heard. Too bad Mike M. couldn't keep them going. I love mine but hope and pray everytime I turn it on something doesn't foul up with it.
I have to second the Spica comment. I bought the first pair of TC50s to be shipped to Michigan in 1983. They are still my fondest audio memory, even more so than my first tube purchase - conrad-johnson PV3. There was indeed something magical about Spicas. Anybody know what the sensitivity and impedance of the TC60s is? I remember my TC50s being quite inefficient.
I'll second the Vero Research - Soundwave Speakers. My brother has a pair of the Grand Soliloquy's. They are about 11 years old, a two-way design. Both speakers had to have their bass/midrange units reconed due to a surround / cone glue issue and they sound great with the repair. When the speakers elements were removed by the repair shop the tech stated they were build exceptionally. You could see that the crossover parts and wiring were all top of the line for their time. He stated the gluing issue happends because the poly cones used with whatever glue was available; the test of time showed they reacted poorly with each other. This wasn't unique to this manufacturer and he gave other examples. Heck I had to have a pair of Magnapans sent back because of a problem with glue, voice coil and their diaphrams. I was hoping to buy a pair because of the way they are designed - very open and boxless. Well the company closed down so now I just find reasons to go to my bros' house to enjoy their sound.
Platinum Audio. Several years ago, I set out to find a new pair of speakers to replace my old Boston Acoustics T-1020s with a budget of $2K. I visited no less than 5 high-end audio boutiques and listened to all of the usual suspects (B&W, Martin Logan, Thiel, Vandersteen, Magnepan, Sonus Faber, Epos, PSB, Paradigm, Linn, you get the point) and while I enjoyed several of them - especially the Magnepans - nothing was very exciting and I was quite disappointed by what $2K would get me.
The last "Salon" that I visited carried a speaker that I'd never heard of...Platinum Audio. I noticed a "sale" tag on several of them including the Solo which was discounted to $1,300 including the factory stands. I sat there amazed, listening to disc after disc. At first I insisted that there must have been a subwoofer turned on that was giving them an unfair advantage over other "monitors" that I'd listened to. The salesman proved to me that they were playing unassisted. After several hours of listening, I took the speakers home with me.
Later I would learn that the reason for the discount was that Platinum was going out of business. Very sad indeed. They are some of the finest speakers that I've ever heard at any price.
Ryan Acoustics. For inexpensive monitor speakers, they weren't bad. I think that their most expensive speaker pair sold for around $1K. They recieved great press for their $400 monitor speakers, were doing well, then dropped off the face of the earth.
still crying over the loss of Luxman USA. When they marketed through Alpine they were the greatest. I think Luxman is still around, but their product support & warranty issues were so shakey that I didn't buy through their Canadian dealerships, much as I wanted to.
SHEROD; VIRIDAN: Funny you should ask about Beveridge Speakers. Harold passed away some years ago. BUT his two sons are trying to bring Beveridge back to the marketplace. In fact I visited with the Beveridge boys over Thanksgiving week end and they treated me to a tour of their production facility as well as a listening session of the prototype.
Presently they are located about 20 minutes outside of Santa Rosa California. I can't remember the name of the town they are in but it is quite close to Iron Horse Winery. (GOT to stop at Iron Horse for a pop or two before meeting with the Beveridge boys). Anyway, as I said they actulally have a prototype of the proposed Beverdige set up in their warehouse (a three panel job) with a cabinet frame for a six panel speaker. The molds for the panels are done in order to make additional speakers. There was even some talk of them trying to get a pair of the Beverdiges down to CES this year but - it did not happen.
I am quite interested myself to see if the Beveridge speakers come back to market - so if you'd like - e-mail me your contact information and I'll keep you posted or pass your info on to Richard Beveridge (one of Harold's sons) and he'll get in touch.
PS: Yeah - I'm 53. I first heard the Beveridge speakers around 1976-1977 and was blown away - my first memorable exposure to high end audio.
Dynaco for one, I still have a few pieces like the SCA 80 integrated,PAT 5 pre and a Stereo 120 pwr amp. The 120 needs repair but everyone is amazed at how good these pieces sound 25 or so years later. NYAL is the second, 2 Moscode 300s are still the main power amps in my system driving Maggie 1.6QRs. A CJ PV8 or Counterpoint SA 3000 rounds out the front end. I also have a NYAL Minuet in A pre which needs some minor service. I thought about the Sank mods but like the way it sounds as is.
Dynaco -- Omniclassic is right. Still have an SCA-80 amp in the bedroom system, an FM-5 tuner in the living room, and an SCA-35 tube amp for an extra system. Good stuff. There are still people out there selling upgrade kits for Dynaco tube amps and preamps, years after they went out of production.