It's a marketing tactic called 'planned obsolescence'
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I understand planned obsolescence, but look at companies like Audio Research. They keep improving on good designs with MkI, II, II, etc. This makes more sense.
I wonder if some of Cary's designs are not so good, or they didn't sell well, while the better ones stay around a little longer until Dennis Had gets restless. Anyway it is frustrating to know which were good and which were mediocre.
Upgrading doesn't satisfy everyone either, check out some of the ARC threads. There are a great deal of ARC owners that are miffed because ARC continues to upgrade their designs more than other companies. Let's face it, technology is changing very rapidly and companies need revenue to survive, just the way it is! I am okay with it as long as they continue to service the obsolete component.
A large manudacturer makes amplifier 'X' that has an appeal to a finite number of folks who buy them. After the initial sales period the demand is reduced to a trickle, so the manufacturer has two options, 1)Bring out something 'new' or 2)Bring out a revision/upgrade/improved version.
When a company has produced an outstanding design it will often offer improved versions relying of the rep of the original version to encourage sales. When the company has produced an ordinary product it will come out with a 'new' design and rely on sales from its overall rep for producing interesting products.
Cyclonicman is right - this all makes little difference so long as the manufacturer remains in business and is will ing to service their stuff (and you do due dillegence re the products actual performance before you buy).
The idea is to actually dump the amps once they met the expense building them. After paying off the cost of the production run and having made some money the remasining amps are free to them or as some might put it just gravy.
On the hand if they have a real winner they don't mness with it, For insrtance the SLP-05. You and I can probably get it for a few bucks off listat Upscale but not 40% off. Of topic kevin dfeal takes a really fair msrp will tell you that all he has is the Jaguar special paint edition with the kopndo platiunum in bonsia olive tree oil and paper made by hand that he personally winds Caps plus ther se , ex, sq, mods . all of this was custom made for his store atthe cary factory and obviously it ends up costing 100% over the or in reality a few grand more than the plain one. No unmodded are available. In addition since that is a very appealing preamp I watch the price and Mr. Had keeps raising it.
So even Cary will hang on to to a hot seller. In the current economy the days of preamps that cost that much are over. Thank goodness he still has some plain AE-3s for $550.-
when a company starts moving away frome the ,,made in america brands ,they seam to be looking for money insted of build .Most of cary products have went from point to point wire, tubes to solid state gear .and when china makes there products they move forward in technology.I dont even know if cary has service for there old stuff.THe pre pros sold an the dacs come from china .nothing like that made here .I think cary went west on his stuff.and if he comes out with a american made amp it will cost alot
Which amps? Solid state amps or valve amps?
The valve amps seem to be upgraded regularly - CAD-211C became 211AE and now 211FE. Same with the CAD-805C.
The solid state amps might be EOL'ed thanks to the end of a transistor run. Transistor manufacturers tend to make batches of these - if demand remains high, they will make more batches. But if a transistor does not sell well - once the batch sells out, that's it. You can't get any more. Cary might have run out of stock of a particular transistor, forcing a redesign and thus a new model.
I don't think they just kill off amps on a regular basis. The v-12 went through three iterations: v-12; v-12.I and v-12R. If I'm not mistaken, the v-12 in its various forms was in production for over ten years. I believe the CAD120 is doing the same thing with the newer II model. Both great amps, btw.
It's not just Cary,as suggested by others.What we lose sight of as audio enthusiasts is that audio companies are a business whose primary goal is to make money,if not for themselves than the shareholder.
In order to achieve this goal,like the car industry,they have to continually evolve their products.And yes unfortunately some top tier gear becomes obsolete.It's cocktail hour what do I know.
As Russe41 said, Had is not in charge anymore. The new leadership is trying to streamline the offerings. My guess is they are dropping things that do not sell very well, have too low margins or are difficult to make, possibly because of parts issues. This is pretty common when the founder hands over the reigns. These products were Had's products, not the new management's. But, as far as I can tell, the mainstream products are certainly still there.
"I understand planned obsolescence, but look at companies like Audio Research."
Arn't they the "leader of the pack" for this kind of thing?
I mean, how many preamp models have they done in the last 25 years, AND is there a point where they could have just stopped and still had an outstanding or maybe even better product - like the LS5- before departing into the "REF" series?
Two more reasons:
The Cary 120 amp needed a re-design because it runs too hot inside the chassis. The british press caught it, the american press went GA-GA over it.
The SLP-05 preamp has a Tube Engineering 101 mistake: the tube rectifier is mounted horizontally inside a slim chassis with very little ventilation. Rectifier failures are very common and expensive.
I believe that after Dennis left, they are clueless technically and from a marketing POV.
I have heard of two SLP-05 failures in my neck of the woods in the past 12 months.
These tubes are supposed to last for ages, 10 years for new production, 25 years or more if one is lucky to find an NOS Mullard rectifier.
Look how cramped and poorly-ventilated is the rectifier and decide for yourself if this is good or bad design:
I agree with the first responder. When companies continually to discontinue products, that means that they want their products continually reviewed by magazines and they want it to seem as if they are coming up with something new and better. Seriously, it just doesn't work that way. The science really doesn't take leaps and bound improvements. It comes rather slowly. The circuit designs have been around for quite some time, with subtle improvements here and there. Various manufacturing techniques have arisen that improve quality and also newer parts that are better made. However, I do have a problem with companies that discontinue equipment quickly.
Casouza - who knows why those 2 failed. If this was such a terrible design I am surprised that the boards are not full of stories of failure. Other than your account, I would only find one other person who reported such a problem and that was 3 years ago. The design may not be optimal, but it also may not be the disaster you think it is.
Casouza - again I find myself in agreement with Dtc. "Two swallows does not make a summer, neither does one fine day; similarly one day or brief time of happiness does not make a person entirely happy" as Aristotle once opined...
The evidence of a unreliable design would be found in widespread disatisfaction of the product, forums full of lament and woe and perhaps even a product recall.
I agree with Minorl. "New and Improved" has worked for numerous product lines from all manner of companies for decades. It is a way of manipulating consumer perception into believing you can NOW have the next best thing from company X, AND the improvements will make it outshine the old equipment and other competitors. In terms of audio components, sometimes the changes, "upgrades" may actually be a genuine improvement in the product. It is hard to differentiate hype from honest improvement. Whether it is or isn't is up to the consumer to decide. Problem is, one usually has to purchase the product first in order to know for sure. A patient wait and see approach is wise. New product out: read user reviews over and over. Where considering purchase> go audition if possible. There are numerous examples of good quality products, not just audio components, gone by the wayside due to the unknown decision making of a corporate head. I agree with one poster who noted new audio products get new reviews, market "buzz." I believe the audio mag's tend to pander to those sending product thier way just as media reporters of any kind tend to frame a news story to fit their ends. Perhaps having Peter Aczel review the "new" product might deliver a more objective opinion.