What happened to Sonic Frontiers, exactly? - diyAudio
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Old 26th May 2004, 01:04 AM   #1
KT is offline KT  United States
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Default What happened to Sonic Frontiers, exactly?

I was thinking about kits and audio companies just now and remembered Sonic Frontiers.

I remembered they were really popular around the early and mid nineties. Then I dropped out of audio for a little bit and when I came back they were gone.

I dug up some Stereophile Industry Updates online which talked about Paradigm buying them, and that the value of the company had dropped, but I didn't find exactly what put them out of business.

They seemed to be making decent products. Was it bad management/business practices, did they lose market share because their products didn't keep up sound-wise, did they lose out by not capitalizing on the single-ended movement, or what?

I'm just curious because they seemed to be such an up-and-coming success story in the nineties.

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KT
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Old 26th May 2004, 02:36 AM   #2
jleaman is offline jleaman  Belgium
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There still around http://www.anthemav.com/
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Old 26th May 2004, 07:40 PM   #3
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Yep, they're completely solid state now, and called Anthem. They just introduced a new line of very-high-end stuff, with a pre/pro and amp. They also have their very-popular AVM20 pre/pro, TLP1 stereo pre/pro and 2 lines of amp.

They're still around...just in slightly different form.
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Old 26th May 2004, 07:47 PM   #4
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But those are different people running the company now. It is not the same. The Anthem line was available at the time when Sonic Frontiers were in business. Also, old Parts Connection is gone and we have internet accessible only partsconnexion.com.

I don't really know what happened there.
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Old 26th May 2004, 07:59 PM   #5
lgreen is offline lgreen  United States
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Default Sonic Frontiers

My understanding is that Sonic Frontiers had a huge success with its low end Anthem line in the area of surround sound products (low end in compared to SF, but high end compared to all other HT products avail at the time), and realized that they could do much much better by focusing in this area, so they dropped all Sonic Frontiers products entirely (retiring the brand). I don't know if this was before or after they were acquired by Paradigm. Its an open question whether SF will reappear, but they are doing well with Anthem so I wouldn't hold my breath.

www.partsconnexion.com is where the a few of the people from SF ended up. They still will service your SF components (not under warranty) and provide upgrades, and they are the ones that designed the components in the first place, at least is what I understand the case to be. Although Anthem still services SF stuff too, and they in fact sent me free parts for my Sonic Frontiers Line 2 when I had some problems with it.
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Old 26th May 2004, 08:00 PM   #6
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I know what happened. You can only survive as a company if you make more money then you spend. Called positive cash-flow. SF was not able to keep that up.

It is very difficult for this type of company. You need to constantly come with new models etc to keep the money rolling in. But you keep on spending also on design, metal work orders, PCBs and parts. For instance, metalwork is much cheaper by the 200, BUT those 200 may well cost you more than you have. So, you either buy only 30 to begin with, which means your margin is low, or you lend some money, order 200, and hope you're not stuck with 150 because you only sell 50 units. A couple of wrong estimates, or a dip in the economy, and you're done in.

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Old 26th May 2004, 08:03 PM   #7
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Sonic was bankrupt. Paradigm bought them out several years ago. Paradigm was not interested in developing the Sonic line, and decided to only sell the product as long as there was a demand for it. With no new development... It's a shame, because their last line of products (Line and Power) where of extremely good design, very low distortion, approaching solid state. In fact, many claimed that it sounded like solid state done with tubes. The circuitry was based on old Tektronix test gear.

Paradigm was really only interested in Anthem to get into home theatre electronics.

There was some nasty business with Parts Connection, but basically Chris Johnson (founder of Sonic) started his own company called Parts Connexion. That's where the situation is now.
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Old 27th May 2004, 08:39 AM   #8
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Whatever happened to Assemblage? Did they pass away with the buyout? I have old AudioXpress mag's with ads for Assemblage DAC's and stuff in it.
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Old 27th May 2004, 11:35 AM   #9
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Paradigm isn't interested in kits, and Parts Connexion isn't allowed to use the Assemblage name.
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