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Old 7th July 2012, 06:57 PM   #6621
dvv is offline dvv  Serbia
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Wayne, I don't see where you could hear any decent German Hi-Fi in say the 70ies or the 80ies, because only a few of their companies were even represented in the USA. Consequently, the US market was TOTALLY dominated by the Japanese, who pushed everyone else out of business, or bought them out on occasion.

As an example, Kirsaetter. An old company which has always been in the forefront of technology in general, they were making 100W/8 Ohm FM only receivers when just a handful of Japs made it over the 60W/8 Ohm mark.

They made preceivers to be coupled with their active loudspeakers in the early 70ies, way before most others had even heard about the concept.

Look at their circuitry from the early 70ies and you would be forgiven for thinking it was from the early 90ies.

These people were the cream of the crop, no other European, Japanese or even American manufacturer could stand up to them. But at a price, of course, there is no such thing as a cheap Jaguar or Bentley or Rolls-Royce.

Since they made audio only, and no washing machines or bathtubs like many Japanese manufacturers, and most important, no TV sets, as was very much "in" at the time, they simply could not match the Japanese companies' advertising budgets, this in addition to the usual German inability to sell, caused primarily by their beliefe that quality goods will sell themselves elsewhere just as in Germany. It simply wasn't so.

Fortunately, they did survive, and still make incredible loudspeakers even today, but no electronics any more. A pity.

Another reason was that the US market was THE primary market for the Japanese. Quite a few Japanese models were made for the US only, and are consequently not well known in Europe at all.

In return, US products simply made zero inroads into the Japanese market, with the exception of JBL, a company which somehow hit paydirt in Japan like all the rest of the US audio industry put together. Japs will buy only Japanese, period, they are a closed market by culture, not by any administrative barriers. This was further promoted by the fact that each and every Japanese manufacturer had separate models for Japan only, which were never exported in any way whatsoever, not even rebadged.

Over here, it was a completely different game. Sure, the Japanese were here as well, but they did nowhere near as well as in USA, for two reasons: the first is that they never really understood the European customers, not until the late 90ies, by when it was far too late, and the second is that they faced an incomparably tougher competion in Europe, because everybody had their own audio industry and the local markets did the same as the Japanese market - they preferred locally made products.

As far as I am aware, only three overseas companies figured this out and adjusted: Sony, Kenwood/Trio and Harman/Kardon. HK is to this very day a very serious player in Germany, highly respected, as is Sony, while Kenwood/Trio is mostly gone, down to a few AV receivers and some car audio. All three actually offered, at one time or another, special models just for the German market.

You probably wonder how come the German market had such a powerful influence on the rest of Europe, figuring it's probably because it was the biggest single market. That would be true, but that's the least of it - as we speak, there are around 6 million Turkish, around 1 million Greek, around 0.8 million Serbian, etc., migrant workers in Germany. When these people go back home, many of them to small, poor villages, carrying a Grundig portable audio set, which actually sounds reasonably good and way better than its Japanese counterparts, everybody remembers the name of the manufacturers. Eventually, they will save up to buy a TV set, and whose do you think it will be? Grundig's, of course, or, failing that, it simply MUST be German made.

Just like cars - even today, Japanese manufacturers are making small inroads locally, Toyota is doing reasonably well because it has a few micro models, but if you want real quality, you buy German. No big Toyotas around, just a few diehards. No Mazdas, no Nissans, no Subarus, etc to speak of. But VW, Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz - loads of them. All imported second hand from Germany, even the French, once strong locally, have been almost ousted. Yet all of them, and more, are locally represented.

As are McIntosh, Levinson and Krell, with Accuphase running hard. But, being a poor market, their "representation" is in fact unofficial, and worked from an apartment, on direct order only.
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Old 7th July 2012, 07:09 PM   #6622
bcarso is offline bcarso  United States
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Just a note: although I am not a moderator (nor wish to become one) I feel driven to gently remind that it's a good idea to simply type the extra letters and say Japanese, rather than any truncations, as the first three letters alone are still perceived as offensive by many.
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Old 7th July 2012, 07:28 PM   #6623
dvv is offline dvv  Serbia
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Originally Posted by bcarso View Post
Just a note: although I am not a moderator (nor wish to become one) I feel driven to gently remind that it's a good idea to simply type the extra letters and say Japanese, rather than any truncations, as the first three letters alone are still perceived as offensive by many.
It was certainly not my intention to insult or belittle anyone, least of all the Japanese. While I am no lover of their audio products in general, I have much respect for their prowess in both making and marketing it.

The problem was purely my laziness to type out the word "Japanese" so many times, nothing else.
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Old 7th July 2012, 07:30 PM   #6624
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100% agree, Brad.

It jars and totally detracts from the intended message - but I'm sure no offence was intended.
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Old 7th July 2012, 07:48 PM   #6625
tsiros is offline tsiros  Greece
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dvv View Post
Just like cars - even today, Japanese manufacturers are making small inroads locally, Toyota is doing reasonably well because it has a few micro models, but if you want real quality, you buy German.
i thought it was the other way around? japanese car manufacturers were producing very reliable vehicles and forced the europeans to step up or be driven out of the competition

at least here in greece, japanese cars were (and are ) perceived as cheap, ugly but very reliable
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Old 8th July 2012, 07:50 AM   #6626
dvv is offline dvv  Serbia
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i thought it was the other way around? japanese car manufacturers were producing very reliable vehicles and forced the europeans to step up or be driven out of the competition

at least here in greece, japanese cars were (and are ) perceived as cheap, ugly but very reliable
Kalimera,

Given that I spend at least 10 days every year on my summer vacation in Greece, you really don't need to tell me that, I can see that for myself.

I did not want to imply that Japanese products in general, audio included, were not reliable, but what I am saying is that while they are reliable and generally reasonably to very well made (depending on their price point), they are still not on par with European cars. If you think I am overdoing it, do take a look at Germany's Auto, Motor und Sport site, they do a lot of objective measuring. In general, Japanese cars lag behind their European competitors in terms of exhaust residuals and fuel consumption. While the difference is not spectacular, it is there, and it is there consistently and across the board.

As for audio products, I would say they are about there in terms of reliability, on a par with European and American products, in terms of longevity, but in my view, they still lag behind in terms of sound quality. This is, of course, a very personal view.

Would you buy a Japanese bouzuki? Even if made by Yamaha, which has been making musical instruments since 1860?
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Old 8th July 2012, 08:15 AM   #6627
dvv is offline dvv  Serbia
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...

DVV,

I did have Germany hi-FI , grundig , revox, telefunkin, studer, they were never on par with American products ..The selling out of our industries to the Japanese is / were no different that what is being done today with the Chinese , same thing different era ...
Wayne, it all depends on which models you compared with which models. As a certified fan of Studer/reVox gear, I'll be the first to admit that their integrated amps were not their best efforts, and I've had them all at one time or another. However, if you go that tuner site (I don't have the link just now), you will find that their model B760 digital tuner was placed quite a few places above the first American offering, and the site is maintained by Americans.

Say what you will, but more studios had Studer tape machines that either Ampex, MCI, Crown or whatever - which is not to say these were poor machines, I worked with a mean MCI machine and know full well it was a monster, with outstanding build quality.

In the semi-professional arena, the venerable reVox A77 was King, it simply outsold eveybody else because it was a true KISS concept in which only performance mattered. Even its specifications were more stringent than everybody else's in that general price class. And I do believe there was never another tape machine which proved itself as reliable.

However, they made a design mistake with the newer B77 model, a blunder I find hard to believe to this day. I know this first hand because two of my close friends, both electrical engineers, bought that model. The old A77 was always praised for its instantaneous start up with no bump attached on the tape, whicl the B77 had a dire problem with its start-up. For several years, Studer/reVox sent both of them small bags of parts (resistors, capacitors) claiming that this would resolve the problem - but it didn't. After 5 or 6 years of dancing, both gave up and took the middle road - they put it in PAUSE before hitting REC. Even that didn't completely resolve the problem, but it did make it much less noticable.

It took the next model, PR99, to get back on the track, but by then, tape machines were quickly leaving this world, which had become digital.

Definitely a black spot on Studer's otherwise brilliant record. And one which I believe cost them.

On other fronts, I would very much like to hear of an American power amp with the same or similar build quality as Studer's A740. Damn expensive, yes, but it was built like very, VERY few others. Ever.

You say Grundig - let me ask, have ever seen or used Grundig's 1000 model tape machine? I have, and it was a killer, its only failing being that it came too late to make any real difference.

Have you tried Grundig's early 80ies preamps? Or integrated amps, such as the 5400V? I have, and frankly, I am hunting hard for a second hand model, it was not just good, it was excellent, even if it offered just 70 Wrms into 8 Ohms, it had all the makings of Grundig's best ever.

Of course, by the early 80ies, you had no American models to compare it with because by that time, most American companies were either bought out (e.g. Avery Fisher), or were too small to be well known (e.g. AR, Vector Research, Proton, etc). Marantz was wholly owned by Philips, and besides, they had already moved to Japan altogether (production and most of the design).

For all these reasons, Wayne, I beg to differ.
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Old 8th July 2012, 10:13 AM   #6628
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Funny thing is the Germans never made up their minds to take on Japan . They did it with cars and won . They certainly had the facilities . I suspect the VW beetle was so much what the market needed that it gave the whole industry a boost . BMW were making Bubble cars . BMW were capable of far better as the clone Bristol of 1948 proved . We mostly got bubble car hi fi from Germany .

I think people are confusing terms . Nips is possibly going too far . Japs , Yanks , Limese , Serb's ( that's almost correct both ways ) is fair enough . I worked in Social Services briefly . In the old days people were called Mongoloid , Now it's Down's Syndrome ( often Down's ) . I often said how long before we won't be able to call it that even ? We already called them people with learning difficulties as for some it was more comfortable . It made me cringe . More to the point we were people with descriptive power difficulties . Social services is like a wet handshake and so dam proud of doing everything badly . My best experience of Social Services was to drive many cars . I worked with about 20 women . I was treated like a prince . woman did not treat other women that way . Also the " love " shown to " clients " was inversely proportional to " love " shown to colleges . One learns the world in such places . Genuinely a lot of love was shown to our " clients " . I personally will say Japanese as Japs sounds to me lazy .
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Old 8th July 2012, 01:13 PM   #6629
tsiros is offline tsiros  Greece
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dvv View Post
Would you buy a Japanese bouzuki? Even if made by Yamaha, which has been making musical instruments since 1860?
both my electric guitars are korean made. Their pickups are US made, though. Origin of woods is a detail i do not know.

my amp is UK made though! (Laney VC15)
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Old 8th July 2012, 01:19 PM   #6630
dvv is offline dvv  Serbia
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both my electric guitars are korean made. Their pickups are US made, though. Origin of woods is a detail i do not know.

my amp is UK made though! (Laney VC15)
All right then, would you buy your electric bouzuki from Yamaha?

Even with American pickups?
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