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Backwards steps in audio gear?


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3 hours ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

I reckon Sonus Faber has gone backwards since Franco Serblin left. That’s just my opinion - I know many others disagree. 

To be fair, he didn't just leave Sonus Faber did he? I'm sure that if they could they would have him back in a flash.

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Time to take a step back, a deep breath, and cool your heels fellas. You're both beginning to dig yourselves into entrenched positions and are blinded by your own sandbags. Nothing good can come from

Fair point. sorry folks.  I’ll try to stay on topic.    I reckon Sonus Faber has gone backwards since Franco Serblin left. That’s just my opinion - I know many others disagree. 

It happens all the time.Especially when engineers get involved who are more fixated on improving measured performance rather than sound and especially with speakers .It seems to me some of the very be

8 minutes ago, JukKluk2 said:

To be fair, he didn't just leave Sonus Faber did he?

I don't know the story there to be honest?

 

8 minutes ago, JukKluk2 said:

I'm sure that if they could they would have him back in a flash.

Yes, well I think we'd all be very happy (and more than a bit surprised) if he came back :)

 

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1 minute ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

I don't know the story there to be honest?

 

Yes, well I think we'd all be very happy (and more than a bit surprised) if he came back :)

 

Er.....actually, he passed away.

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Just now, sir sanders zingmore said:

er… yes I know that ..hence my attempted humour :)

 

 

But that's not the reason he left SF… he died in 2013, seven years after leaving SF

?

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Just now, JukKluk2 said:

?

I realise I misunderstood your comment.

I interpreted "he didn't just leave SF" to mean that there was a story behind his leaving.

I see now you meant he didn't just leave SF, he left everyone 

 

Silly me, sorry

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Back to the opening topic - the brief period where Audio Research moved away from valve gear and made solid state only equipment. Even they realised what they were getting into and dropped their "high definition" moniker and just called them "definition."

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29 minutes ago, Ittaku said:

Back to the opening topic - the brief period where Audio Research moved away from valve gear and made solid state only equipment. Even they realised what they were getting into and dropped their "high definition" moniker and just called them "definition."

Perhaps they thought that, at that stage, Audio Research was hi-end by definition?

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I came here to post about Sonus Faber but everyone beat me to it. Think that’s gonna stop me? I hated the direction they took after Serblin left. That said, I’m not really a fan of his eponymous designs either so maybe there was some beneficial editorial synergy going on there or something. I even had the dubious honour of defending my position to one of the SF execs after he popped into a comment thread on the Stereophile website where I was sh!t-talking a new design. Not my finest hour :D 

49 minutes ago, Tony Martello said:

I’ve heard (and read) that the BelCanto 2.5DAC sounds better balanced than the 3.5 which Is newer and cost more. 
Can’t verify. 

I had one of them (2.5) that I ran single-ended and it sounded great! I never ran it balanced but I wish I had tried it now :) 

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6 hours ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

Fair point. sorry folks. 
I’ll try to stay on topic. 
 

I reckon Sonus Faber has gone backwards since Franco Serblin left. That’s just my opinion - I know many others disagree. 

Is it the design or the sound of the newer speakers that people dont like and have they actually gone backwards?

Edited by cafe67
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56 minutes ago, cafe67 said:

Is it the design or the sound of the newer speakers that people dont like and have they actually gone backwards?

Interesting question. I think in the early days after his departure they stuck very well to the design aesthetic. More recently, their entry level speakers have lost that. 
But for me, it is the sound that went backwards. 
 

Design is an interesting point of discussion too. I think McIntosh have taken their signature designs and made them pretty garish with the artificial green lighting everywhere. 
(that is no comment in their sound as I’ve not really heard a lot of their gear)

Edited by sir sanders zingmore
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Just now, stereo coffee said:

Try reversing the phase  ?

Or try another brand.

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What you are noticing for audio equipment is true for any product in this current economic/social system we call capitalism. The model that some people think is the best we can think of, works roughly like this:

 

- the shareholders expect constant rate growth on their investment, which, when translated to the language of mathematics, results in exponential growth over time.

- when this is applied to a product which requires finite resources to be created, means that somethings has to give. Cheap labour and materials has limits - since they cannot be free. Innovation, although initially stimulated by the false illusion of scarcity, very quickly runs of of steam, since there are only so many ways you can create the product in question. Finally, the quality of the product goes down, helped by marketing that has to come up with always new ways to convince people to spend their hard earned money. 

-  To make things worst the universe is not entirely supportive of this economic model. The material resources are finite and getting harder and harder to produce and therefore getting more expensive. The labour force, although initially cheap, eventually gets more expensive after years of training and gained experience. Even the value of money is naturally decreasing since a controlled inflation is the only way to sustain the illusion of credit driven money creation for fiat currencies. 

 

All in all - the "things" are getting worst and worst while getting more and more expensive (in real value terms - not the currency terms). So, do not complain about engineering - your problem is not with creative people - your problem is with  the banks that created this economic system. 

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2 hours ago, cafe67 said:

Is it the design or the sound of the newer speakers that people dont like and have they actually gone backwards?

Speaking for myself (and anyone else with impeccable taste), Serblin’s design philosophy was about simplicity; natural materials, first-order crossovers, single-wired terminals, superb craftspersonship. My Sonus Faber made speakers that didn’t just reproduce music, they played it.

 

It sounds like a sales pitch and it absolutely was but it was the shortest route to understanding that SF won’t be the most accurate speaker (you want that, get a B&W or something) but will be the most musical (as much as any of us might hate that word) in its category. I sold a lot of Sonus Faber speakers with that very same pitch and never had any complaints. Strads are still my end-game dream speaker but I’m not even really interested in hearing the Arias or any of those that came after. SF immediately strayed from Serblin’s design philosophy after he left with weird techy extra drivers and super-complicated designs. There’s already plenty of brands that do that. Almost no one was doing was sf was doing in its heyday. Why throw that away?

 

I don’t know if I’m properly articulating what I mean so I’ll stop ranting now :) 

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21 minutes ago, Decky said:

What you are noticing for audio equipment is true for any product in this current economic/social system we call capitalism. The model that some people think is the best we can think of, works roughly like this:

 

- the shareholders expect constant rate growth on their investment, which, when translated to the language of mathematics, results in exponential growth over time.

- when this is applied to a product which requires finite resources to be created, means that somethings has to give. Cheap labour and materials has limits - since they cannot be free. Innovation, although initially stimulated by the false illusion of scarcity, very quickly runs of of steam, since there are only so many ways you can create the product in question. Finally, the quality of the product goes down, helped by marketing that has to come up with always new ways to convince people to spend their hard earned money. 

-  To make things worst the universe is not entirely supportive of this economic model. The material resources are finite and getting harder and harder to produce and therefore getting more expensive. The labour force, although initially cheap, eventually gets more expensive after years of training and gained experience. Even the value of money is naturally decreasing since a controlled inflation is the only way to sustain the illusion of credit driven money creation for fiat currencies. 

 

All in all - the "things" are getting worst and worst while getting more and more expensive (in real value terms - not the currency terms). So, do not complain about engineering - your problem is not with creative people - your problem is with  the banks that created this economic system. 

Well put, Comrade :D 

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@RankStranger

 

No I agree you are close to the mark, although there was apparent simplicity in some of the Serblin SF designs, it was still about performance and “musicality” (I accept that term or characterisation may be derisive for some).

 

When SF was sold to sumiko it became more about trading on the Serblin reputation and SF name in the service of generating profit, which IMO has severely diluted the brand over time. Although some of the designs like the e3tr3ma and the “Sonus Faber” have been impressive from a performance perspective, the knowledge and passion has long since left the building.

 

another brand which IMO has degraded is Audiolab, strangely the phenomena is intrinsically linked to being sold to a larger conglomerate...

Edited by Ray H
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3 minutes ago, Ray H said:

@RankStranger

 

No I agree you are close to the mark, although there was apparent simplicity in some of the Serblin SF designs, it was still about performance and “musicality” (I accept that term or characterisation may be derisive for some).

 

When SF was sold to sumiko it became more about trading on the Serblin reputation and SF name in the service of generating profit, which IMO has severely diluted the brand over time. Although some of the designs like the e3tr3ma and the “Sonus Faber” have been impressive from a performance perspective, the knowledge and passion has long since left the building.

 

another brand which IMO has degraded is Audiolab, strangely the phenomena is intrinsically linked to being sold to a larger conglomerate...

I don’t presume to know his mind but I really don’t think Serblin would ever give a speaker a name like extr3ma. I groaned when I read that last week. It’s embarrassing. 

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8 minutes ago, Decky said:

What you are noticing for audio equipment is true for any product in this current economic/social system we call capitalism. The model that some people think is the best we can think of, works roughly like this:

 

- the shareholders expect constant rate growth on their investment, which, when translated to the language of mathematics, results in exponential growth over time.

- when this is applied to a product which requires finite resources to be created, means that somethings has to give. Cheap labour and materials has limits - since they cannot be free. Innovation, although initially stimulated by the false illusion of scarcity, very quickly runs of of steam, since there are only so many ways you can create the product in question. Finally, the quality of the product goes down, helped by marketing that has to come up with always new ways to convince people to spend their hard earned money. 

-  To make things worst the universe is not entirely supportive of this economic model. The material resources are finite and getting harder and harder to produce and therefore getting more expensive. The labour force, although initially cheap, eventually gets more expensive after years of training and gained experience. Even the value of money is naturally decreasing since a controlled inflation is the only way to sustain the illusion of credit driven money creation for fiat currencies. 

 

All in all - the "things" are getting worst and worst while getting more and more expensive (in real value terms - not the currency terms). So, do not complain about engineering - your problem is not with creative people - your problem is with  the banks that created this economic system. 

Sorry to say but you can't be more wrong. 

Modern capitalism with democracy and human rights is the best system that every existed on planet Earth. Majority of advance technology including HiFi is coming from capitalist countries. 

BTW Russia and China currently have capitalism with communism.   

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9 minutes ago, Irek said:

Sorry to say but you can't be more wrong. 

Modern capitalism with democracy and human rights is the best system that every existed on planet Earth. Majority of advance technology including HiFi is coming from capitalist countries. 

BTW Russia and China currently have capitalism with communism.   

Can you say more specifically what was exactly wrong in what I said? I never said anything against capitalism as a system or compared it to any other system? 

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Incoming non-technical CEOs do the most damage, as they are are victims of their own magical thinking which will somehow create 'shareholder value' (and thereby inflate their own incentive bonus).

Every product or service is promptly re-imagined at a higher pricepoint... for no reason at all... which means gimmicks and fairy dust must be relied upon as selling points. 

And there's always an engineer willing to ingratiate himself, full of hare-brained ideas, which will be seized upon by said CEO who actually has no genuine interest in anything but his bonus and next job.

Cynical much? ??

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48 minutes ago, tripitaka said:

Incoming non-technical CEOs do the most damage, as they are are victims of their own magical thinking which will somehow create 'shareholder value' (and thereby inflate their own incentive bonus).

Every product or service is promptly re-imagined at a higher pricepoint... for no reason at all... which means gimmicks and fairy dust must be relied upon as selling points. 

And there's always an engineer willing to ingratiate himself, full of hare-brained ideas, which will be seized upon by said CEO who actually has no genuine interest in anything but his bonus and next job.

Cynical much? ??

sadly true in many companies of all kinds. 

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1 hour ago, RankStranger said:

I think this thread has already had its share of irreconcilable differences. 
 

Maybe it’s an intrinsically negative thread. Maybe it’s cursed!

I think most of us can agree that when a hifi company is taken over by companies that are motivated by profit it can lead to a deterioration in quality.

 

I wonder if there are examples where the quality has gone backwards for other reasons?

 

When people lust after say vintage Yamaha or Luxman etc, is that because the old stuff was better or is it driven by nostalgia ?

 

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8 minutes ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

I think most of us can agree that when a hifi company is taken over by companies that are motivated by profit it can lead to a deterioration in quality.

 

I wonder if there are examples where the quality has gone backwards for other reasons?

 

When people lust after say vintage Yamaha or Luxman etc, is that because the old stuff was better or is it driven by nostalgia ?

 

I recently flipped a vintage rotel for over $600 on eBay at auction so there was more than one person willing pay that for it, much to my surprise. It sounded nice but nowhere near as good as my sonofa-gum that I sold for almost half that. The difference? Nice glowy meters on the rotel that must’ve added at least a couple of hundred dollars to the sale price. People aren’t rational when they buy and nostalgia is a powerful fist-loosener :D 

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29 minutes ago, RankStranger said:

I recently flipped a vintage rotel for over $600 on eBay at auction so there was more than one person willing pay that for it, much to my surprise. It sounded nice but nowhere near as good as my sonofa-gum that I sold for almost half that. The difference? Nice glowy meters on the rotel that must’ve added at least a couple of hundred dollars to the sale price. People aren’t rational when they buy and nostalgia is a powerful fist-loosener :D 

Nostalgia and VU meter aesthetics are certainly value adds for some people, but the other factor in that example is that Rotel is a known quantity. Having not heard either, you could be fairly confident that the Rotel would sound at least okay. More esoteric stuff is somewhat of a gamble. 

 

Going back to the initial question, it'll be interesting to see what LS50 owners make of the new version - we could see an example of Mk1 v Mk2 play out in real time (my money is on the new one being the same or very very very slightly better).

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22 minutes ago, twofires said:

Nostalgia and VU meter aesthetics are certainly value adds for some people, but the other factor in that example is that Rotel is a known quantity. Having not heard either, you could be fairly confident that the Rotel would sound at least okay. More esoteric stuff is somewhat of a gamble. 

 

Going back to the initial question, it'll be interesting to see what LS50 owners make of the new version - we could see an example of Mk1 v Mk2 play out in real time (my money is on the new one being the same or very very very slightly better).

ok here's a better example. the buyer could've gone into a store (COVID notwithstanding) and, for the same or less money, purchased a brand new Rotel RA10 with full warranty, about the same power and features but without the fancy meters. I personally think that would've been a better buy but it's not my money (well, it is now :))

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2 minutes ago, RankStranger said:

ok here's a better example. the buyer could've gone into a store (COVID notwithstanding) and, for the same or less money, purchased a brand new Rotel RA10 with full warranty, about the same power and features but without the fancy meters. I personally think that would've been a better buy but it's not my money (well, it is now :))

That's fair. Although if you'd said the same about a similarly aged Sansui around these parts... 

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Back to the original question...

I recall that a firmware "upgrade" to an Oppo CD/BluRay player actually removed some features.  Unfortunately, it is impossible for users to install an earlier firmware version.

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