Yes, I heard you loud and clear, and I AGREE with you
1001%. I have 4 Sony ES 200 disc CD changers that were
made between 1997-1999. The Signal-To-Noise ratio is
116db on these changers. NOW Sony DOESN`T EVEN MAKE a
changer with more than 108db, and that`s the ES line!
Also, my CX90ES changers have alot more features than
the ones made today. BUT, I paid FULL Retail price
on those back in 1997 and 1998, at about $1000 EACH.
NOW you can get 400 disc changers for $600.
Sony realized that, why make a great changer when
only 1000 sell, just cut back on the FEATURES AND
PERFORMANCE, and you can sell, 100000 changers.
BOTTOM LINE: IT`S ALL ABOUT CORPORATE GREED! WHAT
SELLS THE MOST.
OH YES, forgot to mention that the changers
DO develope problems after 4-5 years.
Quality isn't the main goal anymore in so many fields. Why should high end gear be an exception even if the name "high end" suggests quality all over. I do think that if you're not a "bandwagon person" you might still get high quality in many respects - i.e. WADIA, McIntosh, Revel, Sonus Faber, Kimber Select and the like. OK, they do not offer the latest hype but down the road you will be better served than with any (Japanese) quick buck stuff out there.
You guess that I rely on all the above mentioned gear in my system and somehow I don't need this neverlasting upgrade every other month or so. Well, that's just my way and my HO.
I don't know what's the cause but I to have noticed this. It started appearing around the same time DVD players did, from my experience most DVD players don't hold up that well. I am not sure if its because with addition of DVD players in a lot of homes so many more parts are needed and quality control goes down due to the increased demand??? just a theory.
Aida_w, most of the Japanese gear sold here in the U.S. is mid-fi, at best, or mass marketed crap in major chain stores. However, there is some very impressive high-end Jap. gear that does make it into the states...Accuphase and WAVAC are names that jump to mind. And never forget that high end is a very small niche market! For every great high end systems that is assembled by an audiophile, there are probably several thousand crap low-fi or no-fi systems that are sold. It's all about market research! Also, don't forget that even in high-end, there are some companies that spend megabucks on their advertising budget. Guess who pays for their advertising campaign...YOU DO! There are also charlatans in the high-end business; lots of advertising, schmoozing and freebees for reviewers, circuitry stolen from other engineer and designers, and basically, very little "bang for the buck". I won't mention any names, but if a manufacturer uses security screws to prevent removal of the top plate/chassis cover, or says "warrantee void if unit opened by other than authorized service facility", STAY AWAY! A manufacturer that is proud of their own (not copied) design will want consumers to look inside for the "Oh Wow" factor. Halcro uses an interesting strategy to keep others from copying their design...they "white out" many of the brands and numbers of internal component parts! Any manufacturer who seals the unit to prevent copying, has more than likely ripped off some of the circuit design from another!
Costs are up, profits are down. Everyone wants something for nothing. How is a manufacturer supposed to compete in the marketplace? What sells the most, a $100 CDP or a $1000? People want it cheap.
Quality is seldom an issue when it comes to buying anything these days. Consumers would rather spend $2.50 at McDonalds for a 1/4 pounder than $2.95 for a burger from the little mom and pop diner that uses real meat. Look at the cars on the road! I would not own most of them!
I wonder (as the retail price of my system pushes the $50,000 mark) what the average retail cost of a stereo is now.
Too many people want the illusion of quality at the price of Goodwill. Manufacturers have to give the people what they want or the next company will.
So Nrchy, when do I get one of those burgers?
I understand your place makes the best, but quite a drive from where I live.
McD's doesn't use real meat? :-(
One thing I would like to add is there is a difference in priorities these days.
In the past(1980s), most CD players came from Japan. The rule of the day was "Perfect Sound Forever", and many believed tha CD's sound was perfect. The emphasis was on quality and features. Most Japanese firms produced incredible quality, as witnessed by my Pioneer PD-5100, which still works perfectly. Moving up the price ladder bought more features and doo dads.
Today, mass market equipment is produced in China, still to price points, such as $99, $129, etc. and the quality is simply far inferior to what was made 15 years ago.
Audiophile equipment is produced by smaller companies, and their focus is on sound, detachable power cords, cosmetics(thick faceplate), and profit. This is not to say that quality is not important, but I feel that their passion lies in other areas, whereas previously the passion was quality.
As such, I agree, CD players were of a higher quality, from a Consumer Reports perspective, in the past.
Albert I'd bring one along, but by the time I get to your place it would probably be either cold or bad. See you in a couple of weeks.
Clbeanz you appearantly don't recall the McD Australian kangaroo meat uproar from several years ago!?!
I think some of it comes down to "shareholder's value". 15 or 20 years ago, many stock market investors didn't care much about it. If certian product sells well being said to be good long-term quality, then it means it must be a good company with future. So those manufacturers competed for the reputation based on that quality. Now the time has changed and the "disclosure" is getting more and more transparent and investors has become possessed with financial numbers based on such "transparency" , often only annual or quarterly basis. Yes, management's pay is also often linked to that very short-sighted stock price up/down.
Btw, Fatparrot, one thing to remember. "Jap" is a BAD word with historically racial and discriminatory implication. You have to be careful NOT use in public whatever your intention is. Therefore, three-letters abbrebiation for Japan is JPN.
Now, talking about the Japanese stuff. Based on the theory above (very general description and there is always exception, needless to say), recent acquisition of Marantz, Denon, and McIntosh by a large US equity fund implies the same path. For those who are not familiar with Private Equity Investment Fund, the fund managers buy out a company or companies with potential but bad management, and try to MAXIMIZE the value in order to sell the stock again to someone else or the public in a few to several years. These guys are, by definition, NOT interested in the longer term business. The fund managers replace the companies' management, often times from its own management firm, and watch the operation day-to-day, let alone squeeze every single penny from anywhere in the chain. In this instance, by combining these three low-mid-high end audio equipment manufacturers, the fund manager will further streamline the operation for sure. I don't know the fund's plan on this "investment" in detail or if it is good or bad for those brands, but certainly there may be a quality issue at hand in the near future. I really hope that high-end audio is immune to this capitalism, but wherever people spend bucks, there comes the capitalist. It's just another sad truth of the "freedom" we enjoy and advocate. I guess we should buy high-end from small manufacturers whose motivation to keep going is pure "hobbiest" mentality? Sorry if I got too carried away.
Just my two cents or less. Ken
Nrchy is right. Most everybody wants something for very little, it not anything. This is why Walmart, Costco, and Sam's Club are doing bang up business. People want lots of stuff but they want it cheap and cheaper and really don't care how cheaply made the stuff is. This includes stockholders who want to invest $10.00 and then get $20.00 back six months later. These two factors force electronic companies to source the cheapest parts available from anywhere in the world. They are constantly looking for a cheaper part and rarely for a better one.
Since hardly any of their customers take any pride in their belongings (which explains the popularity of Bose) why should the conmpanies give a damn? I visited a friend who bragged about his big screen TV for which he paid $1,100.00 - it looked cheap, was cheap, and had a poor picture even when you sat right in front of it. It was obvious he wouldn't know quality if it attacked him and this is how the vast majority of consumers are. Companies are just responding.
By the way, my AirTight SET is very well made and I expect it to last for decades but then it sells for $6,300.00 and probably moves 5-10 units a year in the USA.