What happened to Sonic Frontiers, exactly? - diyAudio
Go Back   Home > Forums > General Interest > Everything Else
Home Forums Rules Articles diyAudio Store Gallery Wiki Blogs Register Donations FAQ Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Everything Else Anything related to audio / video / electronics etc) BUT remember- we have many new forums where your thread may now fit! .... Parts, Equipment & Tools, Construction Tips, Software Tools......

Please consider donating to help us continue to serve you.

Ads on/off / Custom Title / More PMs / More album space / Advanced printing & mass image saving
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 26th May 2004, 01:04 AM   #1
KT is offline KT  United States
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: USA
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.

  Reply With Quote
Old 26th May 2004, 02:36 AM   #2
jleaman is offline jleaman  Belgium
Join Date: Apr 2002
Send a message via AIM to jleaman
There still around http://www.anthemav.com/
  Reply With Quote
Old 26th May 2004, 07:40 PM   #3
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Michigan
Send a message via AIM to EvilYoda
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.
  Reply With Quote
Old 26th May 2004, 07:47 PM   #4
diyAudio Member
Peter Daniel's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Toronto, Canada
Send a message via AIM to Peter Daniel
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.
“Do something really well. See how much time it takes. It might be a product, a work of art, who knows? Then give it away cheaply, just because you feel that it should not cost so much, even if it took a lot of time and expensive materials to make it.” - JC
  Reply With Quote
Old 26th May 2004, 07:59 PM   #5
lgreen is offline lgreen  United States
diyAudio Member
lgreen's Avatar
Join Date: May 2003
Location: San Diego, USA
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.
  Reply With Quote
Old 26th May 2004, 08:00 PM   #6
diyAudio Member
jan.didden's Avatar
Join Date: May 2002
Location: The great city of Turnhout, BE
Blog Entries: 8
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.

Jan Didden
Music is dither to the brain; lets me think below the usual chaos - me
Linear Audio Vol 13 is out! Check out my Autoranger and SilentSwitcher
  Reply With Quote
Old 26th May 2004, 08:03 PM   #7
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Toronto, Canada
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.
  Reply With Quote
Old 27th May 2004, 08:39 AM   #8
diyAudio Member
Hybrid fourdoor's Avatar
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Ft. Worth, TX
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.
  Reply With Quote
Old 27th May 2004, 11:35 AM   #9
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Toronto, Canada
Paradigm isn't interested in kits, and Parts Connexion isn't allowed to use the Assemblage name.
  Reply With Quote
Old 3rd February 2016, 12:49 PM   #10
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Feb 2014
Default Sonic Frontiers

I have asked the same question at one of the large audio shops who new the old Sonic Frontiers personnel. They said that the owners at the time would be busy developing new products (such as an all tube 5.1 channel amp) while one year old customer orders were not being filled. This was not so much meant as a criticism of Chris Johnson and Co., they were doing what they were so good at, designing and developing great equipment. It sounds like they were trying to wear too many hats so to speak, and needed someone in the business to keep the work flowing out the door. I really like the old Sonic Frontiers gear, and Chris at Parts Connexion along with his current team have always been very helpful with upgrade advice, parts, repair advice, etc. Especially for the DIY crowd, some of the old amps and preamps can be a great addition to a system with a few little tweaks and upgrades.
  Reply With Quote


Hide this!Advertise here!
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Sonic Frontiers Jitterbug eleakist Digital Source 2 11th February 2008 04:23 PM
Sonic Frontiers Line 2, please help? henkel Tubes / Valves 2 23rd December 2006 04:40 PM
Sonic Frontiers Power 2SE sonic Tubes / Valves 1 21st June 2004 03:19 PM
Sonic Frontiers and Iris martioz Digital Source 0 17th March 2003 09:56 AM
sonic frontiers SFS-40 Thomas Giz Swap Meet 4 5th February 2003 02:17 AM

New To Site? Need Help?

All times are GMT. The time now is 02:50 PM.

vBulletin Optimisation provided by vB Optimise (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Copyright ©1999-2017 diyAudio

Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.3.2