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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I believe the following companies have suffered in some areas of quality since they have set up shop in China.


Martin Logan for cabinet materials and craftsmanship.

PSB for sound quality of the entry level speakers.(not synchrony)

JL got had their R&D stolen out from under them.


KEF took a general hit in overall quality.

Polk Audio. Long live the SDA SRS

Boston Acoustics. Components have lost weight.


Im wondering what other fine audio manufactures have taken a quality hit by setting up shop in China?


To be fair Im wondering if there are any companies that are outsourcing and have maintained quality or even improved?


Memphis and Emotiva may be examples of quality high value chinese outsourced products.


Please keep answers focused to HI FI gear. This has the potential to veer off into politics and lead painted toys but that isnt why we are here.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ich toxisch
PSB for sound quality of the entry level speakers.(not synchrony)
Why you say that..???


Their new image series seem to be better performers than their older image line.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Some reviews have indicated that the new towers are brighter and harsher than in the past. The tweeter is supposedly more glaring. Heavy EQ was required to get the speaker smoothed out. The speaker was still reviewed positively and as a great value. PSB has never been associated with harsh bright or unblanced. This is the first gen of Chinese prodcuct for PSB. I was shocked and concerned myself.


Synchrony One is still the best speaker I have heard to date.


I Own 2 pair of Stratus Golds. Love the company.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ive never personally found them too bright either. At some point I believe they also went from aluminum to titanium tweeters. This may have been a factor in some of the reviews as well.


The review I read was different than the one you have here. It was actually more aggressive than this one. I will try to find it and post it for you.

http://www.stereophile.com/content/p...t6-loudspeaker


Stereophile referred to them being tipped up in the trebble. They did comment that the cabinets were good. Martin Logan is suffering from complaints about veneer problems now.
 

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Another nutty China thread.


Any decent company can engineer what they want, and get it built to match those specifications. If quality has shifted, it's because the company made a decision to do that. Or has suffered a failure of business or production management.


Meanwhile, you completely ignore the fact that for average buyers the well-designed, well-engineered products of today (some are) give far more value for money, and work a lot better in their spaces, than a lot of what you could buy for the same inflation-adjusted dollars in the past.


Oh, yeah, bring back the Polk SDA. They're exactly what people want to buy today. The WAF is off the charts, baby.


There's the hobbyist audiophile market, and the broader market. Don't confuse the two.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
When Polk changed from Monitor/RT/SDA to LSI dealers started dropping the name like a bad date. Shortly thereafter they could barely sell anything in Circuit City. Whether their top end product has made any comeback or not I do not know. The high end stuff is kinda hard to find in my area now.


When Klipsch got thier first run from China the voice coils were full of metal shavings. My local dealer had to send back a lot of drivers for replacement.


And now Boston is making a plastic box that is a speaker cabinet? Far cry from the Lynfields.


I was reading Absolute Sound today. It looks like KEF may have something new and really good up their sleeve.....hopefully.


So how about some examples of these other well engineered items, Buzzy?

Not ingnoring anything. Looking for examples.


Nutty threads are fun threads.
 

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maybe you should stop reading highly subjective magazines, you will worry less


Quote:
So how about some examples of these other well engineered items, Buzzy?

You will not find many of them in any audio magazine. Instead you need to go online and read about actually speaker designers. Mark Seaton, Jim Salk/Jeff Bagby, Earl Geddes are a few names. Many more exist.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ich toxisch /forum/post/19628049


When Polk changed from Monitor/RT/SDA to LSI dealers started dropping the name like a bad date. Shortly thereafter they could barely sell anything in Circuit City. Whether their top end product has made any comeback or not I do not know. The high end stuff is kinda hard to find in my area now.

Well, is that because the stuff comes from China or is it because dealers are dropping a lot speaker brands because the margins are so thin due to different distribution models like the Internet? As for barely selling anything in Circuit City, isn't that why CC went bankrupt among other reasons?

Quote:
When Klipsch got thier first run from China the voice coils were full of metal shavings. My local dealer had to send back a lot of drivers for replacement.

More disheartening would've been if one couldn't get replacements.

Quote:
And now Boston is making a plastic box that is a speaker cabinet? Far cry from the Lynfields.

Were the Lynfields all that? And what speaker cabinet are you comparing to the Lynfields which sold for around $2K/pair about 5 years ago?
Quote:
I was reading Absolute Sound today. It looks like KEF may have something new and really good up their sleeve.....hopefully.

KEF seems to have been a pretty good performer for a number of years.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzy_ /forum/post/19626113


Another nutty China thread.


Any decent company can engineer what they want, and get it built to match those specifications. If quality has shifted, it's because the company made a decision to do that. Or has suffered a failure of business or production management.


Meanwhile, you completely ignore the fact that for average buyers the well-designed, well-engineered products of today (some are) give far more value for money, and work a lot better in their spaces, than a lot of what you could buy for the same inflation-adjusted dollars in the past.


Oh, yeah, bring back the Polk SDA. They're exactly what people want to buy today. The WAF is off the charts, baby.


There's the hobbyist audiophile market, and the broader market. Don't confuse the two.

The problem with China is that they'll have very erratic building standards or they'll purposely substitute a substandard material that in some cases is downright dangerous.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ich toxisch /forum/post/19628049



And now Boston is making a plastic box that is a speaker cabinet? Far cry from the Lynfields.

The Boston VS series speakers are not plastic - I own the VS 240.

The VS are the best I have ever heard from Boston. I also, owned

the E sreies speakers - and they were better than the VR series.

The E series were not plastic and were heavy.

Go to www.bostonacoustics.com and look at the VS series.


I have not heard a bright PSB speaker.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by penngray /forum/post/19628141


You will not find many of them in any audio magazine.

I'm not sure if I'm getting your drift. There are quite a few well made, great sounding speakers in audio magazines. Some of them are even priced at non-insane levels. Not that every speaker fits that description, just that more than enough do.


ich toxisch, all the companies you mentioned seem to me to have had major management issues. Bad business and design decisions, on at least some of their products. Not that much to do with China.

Quote:
Originally Posted by flyng_fool /forum/post/19630235


The problem with China is that they'll have very erratic building standards or they'll purposely substitute a substandard material that in some cases is downright dangerous.

Obviously that's a well known risk. Or you wouldn't be talking about it on a speaker forum. But choosing the wrong partners or not managing them well is a management failure.


Lots and lots and lots of companies have leading edge manufacturing done in China. Apple, for one. They make stuff people can hardly believe is possible to manufacture.


You've mostly got it backwards, IMO. I'm a lot more worried about how China is kicking our a55 in leading edge manufacturing.
 

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Truth.


Technology in speakers haven't advanced much. Car audio has seen more advancement with active crossovers and separate amps for each driver. Today's home speakers are built with cost-cutting in mind.


Take Infinity for instance. 8 years ago they had just started releasing CMMD (Ceramic Metal Matrix) drivers. That cone material is still to this day the BEST material for pushing distortion well above traditional crossover frequencies (so that by the time the distortion would be heard, the crossover filter has already long decreased the SPL to the point of inaudibility at that frequency). That was one HELL of an advancement in speaker technology and patented by Infinity. It is also a very expensive process.


Until around 2006, you could find CMMD on all their drivers in their least expensive speaker lines. Nowadays, Infinity watered down their design to a cheaper MMD (Metal Matrix) design. Notice the missing "ceramic" part of the design? That was what pushed midrange distortion up to 10KHz, well outside the critical midrange. The MMD is just aluminum, without the ceramic sandwich. This only pushes the distortion to 8KHz. Making it more difficult to design a crossover which keeps distortion inaudible when the volume is turned up and the distortion at 8KHz starts to become audible. A clear COMPROMISE in design quality even though they clearly used to have a BETTER design. This shows that the industry is cutting corners in quality. Nickel and dimeing the costs everywhere they can while still trying to maintain some quality.


Speaker design wouldn't be the only cost cutting. Cabinet construction costs have surely suffered. Quality costs money and if you haven't noticed, most audio gear these days is so inexpensive, a salesman can't make a living on the gear alone and must hope to push ridiculously priced audio cables on the buyers in hopes to make enough commission to put food on the table. Audio boutiques are dying out. People seem to be satisfied with "ok" audio gear. Auto-calibration in receivers has helped to cover up a LOT of weaknesses in cheap speakers. Manufacturers no longer have to design a speaker to sound good in "most rooms" running off a pure signal. Now manufacturers can breath easier knowing that if a speaker doesn't sound good in "most rooms", the audio processor in most theater receivers will largely "fix" the acoustic problem. So, good enclosures, well tuned crossovers and large drivers aren't as important as they used to be.


Also, the art and mystique of fine audio gear is dying out. Fewer people appreciate or even notice when a speaker plays a superior quality.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timothy91 /forum/post/19633411


People seem to be satisfied with "ok" audio gear. Auto-calibration in receivers has helped to cover up a LOT of weaknesses in cheap speakers. Manufacturers no longer have to design a speaker to sound good in "most rooms" running off a pure signal. Now manufacturers can breath easier knowing that if a speaker doesn't sound good in "most rooms", the audio processor in most theater receivers will largely "fix" the acoustic problem. So, good enclosures, well tuned crossovers and large drivers aren't as important as they used to be.

Are you sure - and what are the names and model numbers, of some of these speakers.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01
Are you sure - and what are the names and model numbers, of some of these speakers.
I'm not going to go thru a ton of trouble to write a book on a subject that most knowledgeable people should already know regarding today's speaker designs. Look at the average mainstream "tower" speaker using resonant sounding enclosures (Polk, Infinity, etc), cheap crossovers and small midbass drivers. That's not to mention bookshelf speakers being so small nowadays that they couldn't possibly be large enough to be "ideal" for the woofer they are using. Even subwoofers are using smaller enclosures than what would be "ideal" for the driver. If you were the take the driver's specs (QTS, FS, etc) and put it through a speaker box program, you would end up with a recommended enclosure size FAR bigger than what the manufacturers are using. That's just to further make my point. The designs of modern speakers aren't following tried and true speaker enclosure design principles. That includes basic crossovers instead of advanced ones that are time-aligned. They don't have to when a receiver's auto-tune can adjust for dips in frequency response, standing waves and phase. These receivers cover up for a lot of bad speaker designs. These modern DSPs are doing some VERY advanced tuning/signal manipulation to improve the sound.


You know a very high quality speaker when you take it out of the box, connect it to an amplifier that is fed by a direct signal from a preamp that is not messed with and then put in an average living room and it sounds "good" all by itself. I can't say I've heard any modern big-box store speakers sound good without having had some signal manipulation done to correct the sound. Speakers today aren't being designed to sound good, they are being designed to look nice and rely on DSP correction.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chu Gai
Well, is that because the stuff comes from China or is it because dealers are dropping a lot speaker brands because the margins are so thin due to different distribution models like the Internet? As for barely selling anything in Circuit City, isn't that why CC went bankrupt among other reasons?


More disheartening would've been if one couldn't get replacements.


Were the Lynfields all that? And what speaker cabinet are you comparing to the Lynfields which sold for around $2K/pair about 5 years ago?

KEF seems to have been a pretty good performer for a number of years.
As far as Polk goes it was a serious drop in sound quality and construction quality. I was in the shop the day the LSI arrived. The dealer went nuts. Nothing about margins or any other factor was mentioned. Pure and simple sound quality. This was in the early 90's not to sound too old.


Klipsch. Yes. They did fix it. But it looked really bad to have metal shreddings in the speaker.


Boston. Even thought the Lynfields werent my favorite speaker they were better than their replacements. Tweeters lost about 50% of their weight. China or not quality dropped.


I heard made in china thrown into the mix a couple times with these particualar instances. I enjoyed some of these companies very much and hated to see quality drop for any reason.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Good info on Infinity. I always liked them. I enjoyed the old days of the Kappa line. This before they were bought by Harman Group. I dont believe the best they have today competes with the old Kappa line. My opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01
The Boston VS series speakers are not plastic - I own the VS 240.

The VS are the best I have ever heard from Boston. I also, owned

the E sreies speakers - and they were better than the VR series.

The E series were not plastic and were heavy.

Go to www.bostonacoustics.com and look at the VS series.


I have not heard a bright PSB speaker.
I respect your opinion on the Boston.

I handled a Boston speaker that was a black plastic molded cabinet. It was a floor standing model. It had a matching black plastic subwoofer too. I guess it would work if it was rigid enough and braced well. Just seemed cheap. It is not the VS speaker you describe. I believe that it was the HS Speaker and HPS subwoofer? I think.


I did notice in the pic when I went to Boston's web site that the VS has a curvature. If this is not plastic what is the cabinet material now? Not biting at you. Im just curious.


PSB. My overall favorite. It started with the Platinum. Some reviews cited it as bright and harsh. I believe platinum was pre China. Then the image towers went from an aluminum dome to a titanium dome. Some reviewers also complained of brightness.

I have always heard PSB on good electronics and I agree. They have never seemed bright to me. Still my favorite speaker company. Synchrony One is best I have heard from anyone. I even prefer it to the Revel Studio2 which I really enjoyed.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ich toxisch
I respect your opinion on the Boston.

I handled a Boston speaker that was a black plastic molded cabinet. It was a floor standing model. It had a matching black plastic subwoofer too. I guess it would work if it was rigid enough and braced well. Just seemed cheap. It is not the VS speaker you describe. I believe that it was the HS Speaker and HPS subwoofer? I think.


I did notice in the pic when I went to Boston's web site that the VS has a curvature. If this is not plastic what is the cabinet material now? Not biting at you. Im just curious.
You are not biting at me - thanks for being curious.


For the HS series - I didn't waste my time with them and I don't

think they were a hit for Boston - the series didn't last long.


The VS series is made from composite wood board materials, that

are sandwiched togeher and curved. Go back to the web site and

click on floorstanding - and click on the VS 336 to move down, and

look it over and read about it. Also, it has good bracing - and they

sound real good and the tweeter is a winner.

They weigh 66lbs
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ich toxisch
Good info on Infinity. I always liked them. I enjoyed the old days of the Kappa line. This before they were bought by Harman Group. I dont believe the best they have today competes with the old Kappa line. My opinion.
They had the CMMD in the Beta line - to me, the Beta was

not very musical sounding. The Classia with the CMMD did

not last long either. The Kappa is good and I like the Infinity

Crescendo speakers also.

I am not putting down the CMMD material - I was expecting

more from the speakers.
 
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