M&K is Here To Stay - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 176 Old 03-23-2005, 07:17 PM - Thread Starter
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I have read some smack here on AVS about M&K being in trouble. Well, Boulderdash!

I can't say a heck of a lot, as I have literally been sworn to secrecy. But what I can say is that M&K is successfully adapting to the changing realities of the new manufactuing paradigm. If you have orders in for M&K products, be patient. If you are considering placing some orders, don't worry.

With my system, In my room, to my ears......
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post #2 of 176 Old 03-23-2005, 08:08 PM
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What is the " new manufactuing paradigm"?

I have M&K 150's with the 350 sub and love the system.

Paul
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post #3 of 176 Old 03-23-2005, 08:30 PM
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GREAT company with a LONG and very wonderful history...

Thanks for this post...

All the best...

mls

Founder and President
av123 / Rocket Loudspeakers
Perpetual Technologies
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post #4 of 176 Old 03-24-2005, 08:08 AM - Thread Starter
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I have nearly 12 M&K's. My favorites are a pair of S-1C's. A phenomenal speaker. And phenomenally hard to find. The support and service I have gotten from M&K, since I bought my first pair in 1982, has been almost as good as the sound. So I am a big M&K cheerleader.

When my long standing local retailer stopped carrying M&K, I became curious. Then I read some flames on this board, saying M&K was going to shut down. Fortunately, my line of work allows me to combine business with obsession. I have since been able to set my mind at ease regarding M&Ks future.

As far as defining "the new manufacturing paradigm", I think I had best leave that open to interpretation.

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post #5 of 176 Old 03-24-2005, 08:15 AM
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I'd assume "the new manufacturing paradigm" is to build in China. Since, they already have their drivers and cabinets made in China. Labor is the only thing left that can save them money.

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined. ~ Henry David Thoreau
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post #6 of 176 Old 03-24-2005, 08:27 AM
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My M&Ks had Vifa drivers that had "Made in Denmark" stamped on them. When did they move their driver production to China?

Tony

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post #7 of 176 Old 03-24-2005, 09:10 AM
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Recently they've gone to building their own drivers in China. I don't know if they do it for all speakers or not. Of course I could be completely wrong.

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined. ~ Henry David Thoreau
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post #8 of 176 Old 03-24-2005, 09:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Global sourcing has become important for a number of reasons. One of the big reasons is Wal Mart. In the push for lower and lower prices, a concept to which the American consumer has become addicted, factories in low cost manufacturing countries are building huge economies of scale. There are electrtonics factories in foreign countries that, in one or two shifts, could produce an entire years worth of parts for every high end speaker manufacturer in the world. So it becomes harder and harder for niche, high end electronic parts manufacturers to compete. When a business owner reaches a point where the costs of manufacturing exceed the market price he can get for his products, he either converts to a not profit charity, or shuts down. This forces his customers to seek new vendors, a painstaking and time consuming process for any company who is technically forward thinking and quality focused.

And as for the country of origin, parts are still parts, irrespective of the color of the fingers which put them together. A rich old guy told me he would rather have a Japanese car from an assembly line, than a hand built Rolls Royce made on the Monday following an important soccer game.

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post #9 of 176 Old 04-18-2005, 09:04 PM
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I love my M&Ks but just because they are going to use Chinese labor (slave labor) doesn't really make me feel that much better. But hey what do you do when everyone is doing it? You really can't blame M&K if they have to. Just wonder what this country is going to be producing in thirty years?

Kind of sad in a way....but that is just my opinion.

Stephen
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post #10 of 176 Old 04-19-2005, 11:55 AM - Thread Starter
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True. It is kinda' sad. Now that low prices have become the primary competitive feature in products ranging from denim jeans to tweeters, companies feel they have to find the lowest cost labor pools or perish. High end audio is a bit different: it almost seems as though the more you pay for item, the better you feel about the product. Even in the high end though, as M&K bears witness, the component/parts manufacturers have been forced overseas to supply the mass market manufacturers who account for the vast majority of their sales. Wether by choice or not, solid American brands are being forced to source their components from abroad.

The upside is that maybe the lower costs can be passed along to us!

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post #11 of 176 Old 04-19-2005, 01:10 PM
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Other than the impact of affecting American jobs, I don't care where M&K gets their parts as long as they continue to build amazing speakers! After purchasing my M&K 7.2 setup (3 S150's, 4 SS-150's, and 2 MX-350's), I can't ever see myself owning another brand of speaker. M&K rocks! Bryston too, but that's another thread...
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post #12 of 176 Old 04-19-2005, 01:30 PM
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BTW, does anybody know when M&K will be updating their speaker systems. It seems like the S150s hit the market years and years ago and have not been updated since. It would be nice to see a THX Ultra2 system to compete with Klipsch and Snell.
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post #13 of 176 Old 04-19-2005, 01:59 PM
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The move to China seems inevitable. An ugly box with 2 woofers and 3 tweeters is a hard sell at $875 each (the cost of the S150). Most folks will look elsewhere to spend their hard earned dollars. If you pay the American worker what he or she's worth, the American consumer will typically balk at the prices needed to make a profit. Outsourcing will allow M&K to lower their prices, be more competitive and sell more product. I'm sure that one of the reasons for the lack of product availability recently is that M&K found it hard to find workers willing to work for the wages necessary to charge $875 for each speaker! The economics simply no longer work.

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post #14 of 176 Old 04-19-2005, 02:50 PM - Thread Starter
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There don't appear to be any new highend consumer products in the works. They are planning a new pro audio monitor, but I have seen nothing that takes the S150 to new heights. There are voices inside M&K (not my head) that are clamoring for an ultra high end flagship speaker. Will Ken Kreisel listen? Who knows......

Why not a reissue of the AWSOME S1-C to celebrate M&K's 30th anniversary?

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post #15 of 176 Old 04-19-2005, 07:51 PM
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Quote:


Originally posted by Capfacsurf
There don't appear to be any new highend consumer products in the works. They are planning a new pro audio monitor, but I have seen nothing that takes the S150 to new heights. There are voices inside M&K (not my head) that are clamoring for an ultra high end flagship speaker. Will Ken Kreisel listen? Who knows......

Why not a reissue of the AWSOME S1-C to celebrate M&K's 30th anniversary?

I know I just took the high ground and spoke out against China's terrible labor practices. BUT if M&K produced something better then the 150s...well
hey what is so bad about twelve hour work days seven days a week?

I would probably go and buy it as the evil home theater addict I have become

Next thing you know M&K will be selling at wal-mart

Stephen
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post #16 of 176 Old 04-21-2005, 08:28 AM
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Thoughts:

M&K: Having used and listened to a number of speakers both at home and in studios I have to say that M&K is clearly my favorite and the favorite of nearly everyone in the movie soundtrack industry. I've been waiting on some SS150's for home since December and while the wait will be worth it in the end, I'm certainly glad they're getting materials in again.

US Obsessions: I live part-time in Europe and the comparisons to the US are really amazing. While not ever wanting to over-pay, Europeans will almost always go for quality over cost and many mfr's know this and don't sell some of their cheaper stuff there. Europeans place a much higher value on quality of life in general. They value family more than stuff, they rarely work more than 35-40 hrs per week, almost no store or business is open on Sundays and few are open on Saturdays. There is not keep up with the Joneses mentality (except among the royals). What do we get for all of our (US) hard work, long hours in the office, constant focus on cost? 3 times the divorce rate, 5 times as many rapes, 7 times as many murders, 8 times as many serious assualts. But we have a wal-mart on every corner...
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post #17 of 176 Old 04-21-2005, 11:36 AM
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I am in the process of purchasing some M&K 850's. I have spoken quite a bit with Barry at M&K. We didn't discuss the mfg. in China, but the one big change he did mention was greatly lessening the number of products they are offering. He said they were going to narrow the amount of different speakers to speed up mfg. time, and cut down on confusion. I am not sure which products are going away, but he did say the 750, 850, and 150 speakers are going to stay.

Greg
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post #18 of 176 Old 04-21-2005, 11:39 AM
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I don't know about all that, but I do know the Europeans have better beer. And I hope M&K doesn't ever lower themselves to selling through Wal-Mart! Next thing you know people will be comparing them to Polk or Boston.
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post #19 of 176 Old 04-21-2005, 11:51 AM
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I think the fact that M&K hasn't revamped the product line in a while is a testament to how good their products are in the first place. My MX-125 MKII subwoofer has been in the product line for a long time, and I expect it will remain in the product line, and in my home theater, well into the future. It's nice when you buy a product from a manufacturer to not have that manufacturer come out with a "new and improved" version months later that they claim will put the one you just bought to shame. It's nice to know that the company feels they got your product right in the first place, no reason to dump it from the product line or improve it.

Of course, most high-end speaker companies operate this way as speakers are the lowest tech item in the high-tech A/V world (from a changing technology standpoint, that is).

tjk
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post #20 of 176 Old 04-21-2005, 11:04 PM
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May want to learn some lessons from Japan high-end Audio Visual Manufactures. Some of them have already pull back from low cost countries manufacturing bases such as China, Malaysia etc to their own base country, Japan. Reasons being cited were compromised to quality and intellectual property rights.

Hope that M&K would consider thrice before moving their manufacturing bases to low cost countries.
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post #21 of 176 Old 04-22-2005, 08:14 AM - Thread Starter
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I think people have gotten the wrong impression. M&K is not outsourcing everything to Asia! They have been forced, in a number of instances, to follow the available supply of components to Asia, after domestic suppliers disappeared. The company still does all the assembly and quality checking here in the Los Angeles area. Your S150's will not be stamped "made in China". Maybe a tweeter or driver, maybe an amplifier in a subwoofer, but not the whole speaker! The K Series is another story.....

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post #22 of 176 Old 04-22-2005, 10:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Capfacsurf
I think people have gotten the wrong impression. M&K is not outsourcing everything to Asia! They have been forced, in a number of instances, to follow the available supply of components to Asia, after domestic suppliers disappeared. The company still does all the assembly and quality checking here in the Los Angeles area. Your S150's will not be stamped "made in China".

So much for being more competitive. I think it's great that they're still made in the USA, but $900 for an ugly 12 inch cube box? I think they're way overpriced. Maybe they should investigate the factory direct model. Then they'd be able to sell them for around $500 each.

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post #23 of 176 Old 04-22-2005, 10:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Overpriced? I think M&K is actually pretty inexpensive, when you compare the quality of the sound to other speakers. I measure the value of a speaker based upon what comes out of the drivers, rather than what surrounds the drivers. In my eyes, M&Ks are a great deal.

With my system, In my room, to my ears......
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post #24 of 176 Old 04-22-2005, 10:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Capfacsurf
Overpriced? I think M&K is actually pretty inexpensive, when you compare the quality of the sound to other speakers. I measure the value of a speaker based upon what comes out of the drivers, rather than what surrounds the drivers. In my eyes, M&Ks are a great deal.

Well, I've owned a complete set of 3 150s up front, 2 SS250s on the sides, and a pair of S85s in the rear. I was driving them with a Lexicon processor. Frankly, I think given the build quality, the finish and the sound that they are way overpriced. I think the fact that they can't seem to produce enough of them is indicative of the fact, that given the wage structure here, $900 does not allow them to pay enough to attract the help to sell them at that $900 price. Hence the lack of availablity.

I would ask that you compare them to the Ascend 340: similar cabinet, same excellent frequency response, made in the USA: $300 each. Reason: the direct model. Or, NHT M6: 2 6" woofers, a 4" mid-range, and 1" tweeter (I think they're all made by VIFA), for $600. Great price and value: Made in China. Dealers can sell them, make a profit, NHT can sell them, make a profit, and they're 50% less than the S150s. Oh, and I forgot to mention: Stereophile Class A rated.

I think M&K makes good stuff. I don't think they're competitive in the current marketplace at their selling prices.

Tony

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post #25 of 176 Old 04-22-2005, 11:04 AM
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They are expensive compared with many other brands, but at least for me they're worth it. They're apparently worth it for many others since they have a significant waiting list (and have had for about 3 years now). Despite numerous delivery problems over the past 3 years people keep buying them and people are still placing orders for them now even knowing that it might take a while to get them.

Speakers are a very personal decision. I know a sound engineer who's highly respected in the industry and who is in love with the Boston's in his home theatre (and given the cost diff I wish I loved Boston's). M&K's are extremely accurate and the diff in they and the Ascends cannot be measured by instruments, only human hearing. Many people consider them to be harsh and compared to the Ascends they probably are. My wife prefers PSB's to the M&K's (which really made the cost an issue) and I'd bet she'd choose the Ascends as well.

Now, you also mentioned build quality and finish which are much more objective. What about these do you feel is inferior to the Ascends?
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post #26 of 176 Old 04-22-2005, 11:36 AM
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Actually, I think they're very similar in build quality. I have heard that Dave Fabrikant is a former M&K employee and this would not surprise me as the fit and finish of the Ascends seems very similar to the M&K at 1/3rd the price! The boxes even look similar.

Re the waiting list, I think it has more to do with production issues rather than demand. If you have 10 people that want them and none in the warehouse (or being built because of a lack of qualified employees) you have a significant waiting list.

Again, I think they're a fine speaker and enjoyed them while I owned them. I did find the THX dispersion pattern to be less than ideal for two channel music (although not as big a problem for multi-channel), but ultimately I was bothered by a certain dryness that moved me to other speakers.

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post #27 of 176 Old 04-22-2005, 12:28 PM
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Considering the sound quality and the pedigree, I can't see how one can say the M&K's are overpriced. The build quality is rock solid, so they may not be made from rare South American furniture grade wood, but I don't think the majority of M&K buyers are looking for that. Most are looking for professional, studio monitor quality speakers that deliver accurate, uncolored sound suitable for high-end home theater. If one is primarly looking for a 2-channel setup, they're probably not the ideal choice and that individual certainly wouldn't want or need THX certified speakers anyway. If one were to buy a THX certified speaker and then complain about the vertical dispersion pattern, that individual obviously didn't make an informed decision.

Exotic woods and finishes do absolutely nothing for the sound quality, only drive up the price. If one thinks they're ugly, that's their opinion and there are certainly plenty of manufacturers out there that put a higher emphasis on selling pretty looking speakers. Personally, I like their looks and obviously alot of other people do as well. I like the no-frills monitor look of 3 mid-bass drivers and 2 tweeters facing at me from every location.

I don't really see myself ever owning another brand of speaker and I'm convinced it would take alot more money to find a speaker that would impress me more than the M&K's.

With regards to demand and wait time, I don't see how the demand aspect can be minimized. I doubt too many people walk into a retailer without knowing anything about M&K and walk out of the store with a truck full of M&K speakers. I doubt there's too much "darn, the M&K's are out of stock, I guess I'll buy the Bose instead." I would bet that most M&K buyers/owners are well aware of their professional monitor pedigree and of the fact that they are used by practicall every major film studio and sound processing company (Dolby, DTS, THX).

If there wasn't a demand for them, the buyers on that wait list would simply chose another option. Obviously, there are plenty of consumers as well as professionals who feel that waiting on M&K's is worth it. When I bought mine I was told that I would probably have to wait 3 months for my M&K S150AC but I knew it was worth the wait, even though I could have chosen from many other brands/options. Luckily, the wait was only 2 weeks and it was definitely worth it. Another indicator of demand can be found on the used market. I look for M&K's all the time on eBay and they can regularly be found for more than 75% of their retail price. Most other speakers are lucky to go for 50% of their retail price.

I'll add one other thing, I think the amplification used makes a huge difference in getting the most out of the M&K's. I initially was driving my 7.2 M&K S150/SS150 HT system with a Pioneer Elite 56TXi but I later added Bryston amplifiers and the difference in sound quality was immediately appearant. The 56TXi is a good A/V receiver and in tests has lived up to or slightly exceeded it's amplification ratings, but the Bryston's really woke them up and added even more detail along with an increase in mid-range depth. I also think they sound great with good DVD-A and SACD recordings which brings up another point, if the recording was bad the M&K's are simply going to reproduce that, they're not going to color it up like alot of other speakers will. Unfortunately, some people don't like that fact and blame the speaker.
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post #28 of 176 Old 04-22-2005, 12:40 PM
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I'm simply saying that for the sound quality provided, there are better (read less expensive options). I am very familiar with them, having owned a complete 7 channel setup. And no, I didn't get anywhere near 75% of their value on ebay. It was closer to 50%, and they were in perfect shape (as in like new).

They are a great company to deal with, stand behind their product, and have a great reputation. Given my listening preferences, though, (85% music and 15% movies), there were better options (to my ears) at far lower prices. Just my opinion. YMMV. Again, if they sold direct at 60% of what they ask for them, I think they'd sell way more, but that's just me.

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post #29 of 176 Old 04-22-2005, 12:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by tonygeno
Again, if they sold direct at 60% of what they ask for them, I think they'd sell way more, but that's just me.

I agree, especially with their reputation.

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post #30 of 176 Old 04-22-2005, 01:01 PM
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Capfacsurf, you must live near the M&K factory in California (perhaps you were hired) but your endorsements are oddly favorable (for a moribund company) and have fallen flat with me.

This is what I see with M&K at their web site:

New products!

1. M&K introduces the MP-4512.
Room-filling audiophile-quality five-channel surround sound from a single cabinet !
Simply Amazing !

2. Most subs on their site are listed as discontinued. No flagship sub (just the mediochre 350) and all of their new subs are of the wimpy variety...the heaviest topping out at a whopping 45 lbs! Their latest is Wonderfully compact sizes. The VX-760 / 860 are 15" x 15" by 17-1/4" deep; The KX-10 is only 10-1/8" x 13-3/4" x 10 " deep!

3. Award winning mini monitors that when you add a foam plug to their port, they are automatically crossed over at 80 hz and ready for a M&k sub.

What a crappy line up! These are the products you are bragging about??

They have totally gotten away from performance and are rarely upgrading their higher performance products. Most higher end products listed have been available for the last 5-10 years. They have sunk to pleasing the masses. Those above offerings are an embarrassment.

It is obvious that they are going the Best Buy route. This used to be a respectable company with forward looking products but looking at their latest offerings, I'd say they are a Bose wanna be!!


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There are more than a handful of [op amps] that sound so good that most designers want to be using them as opposed to discreet transistors. Dave Reich, Theta 2009
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