(Audio) products with exceptionally long production runs

For discussion: why do some products seem to sell for years, sometimes decades, with few or no internal changes? Of course, the simple economics answer is "Because there is still demand, so manufacturers find it profitable to sell such items." I still find it remarkable, especially in markets where (in certain cases) technology moves at a fast pace.

:mad:: Google has recently taken away the ability to sort results by date! This seems odd, and will have the effect of making my half-assed investigations even more imprecise :D Instead I've used diyaudio search results to guesstimate year of origin. Edit: well no I didn't; I'm too lazy to even do that.

Please nominate audio items that may fit this criteria. Four items I've actually owned or used, that IMO fit the criteria are:

Yorkville Unity U15 speakers: 2008-present (11 years)

Behringer DEQ2496: 2004-present (14 years)

Volkswagen Beatle (1938-2003; 65 years!): I cite this as an example, even though clearly the Bug changed enormously during its lifespan. I include this in the list because mine had an AM radio, technically making it an audio good :)

and finally, the much-loathed Bose 901 (1968-2016?); this is not a fair comparison. The 901 went through six revisions. It was arguably two different speakers (sealed, ported), still half a century is a long product run, even for a low-tech item. Yes, I know that Klipsch and probably others still make "heritage" speakers, some dating to 1940s (?).

I'm sure there are many more possible examples. I think there is (was) a TI or HP calculator that sells (sold) for a few decades, it was so popular.

Particularly with high-tech items (with ltos of micro electronics inside), 14 years or even ten is remarkable life span. I'm not claiming that (for example) the DEQ2496 is the ultimate in studio gear, nor (God forbid!) the Bose 901 was the ultimate speaker. But the fact remains that some items sold, or still sell, for such long periods indicates that lots of people thought (think) the item is a good value.
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2018-04-17 6:50 pm
The new Quad II Classic is a faithful reproduction of the original.


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The original Dynaco Stereo 70, sold from 1959 to 1977.

And the parent company of Hafler’s modern incarnation has brought back an improved “Gen 3” version of the product that has a few modern tweaks that the designers feel David Hafler would have incorporated were he still around...

And they did some interesting research on the ORIGINAL Output Transformers, which, apparently, would be a “transformer-winder’s nightmare”, but which when re-created brought back some somewhat surprising performance gains. It seems that Hafler was more than a bit skilled in the science of audio transformer design...

Tie one of these to a new pair of Klipschorns and “Rock the House!”...


Paid Member
2003-06-12 7:04 pm
Maine USA
...I think there is (was) a TI or HP calculator that sells (sold) for a few decades, it was so popular.....

The original TI-30 was a big low-price hit, but only ran 1976 to 1983. LED.

1980 TI changed to LCD, making the TI-30 LCD for Europe and the 30 II for the US 1981. "X" models have extended display. Some models have solar cells.

I have abused several 30Xa for near 30 years. Even nominally-the-same models change. One had funny color 2nd button. One had a decimal point WAY too tiny to see. I have opened them to try to swap best-parts one to another and there are significant 'internal changes' among "same models".

The B-52 bomber is long out of production but will be flying for years to come. Some wear-refresh parts may still be in production.

The Waco biplane trainer was out of production for decades but you can now buy a new one. They are great for tourist-flights: balance of nimble and stable. (Yet the one that used to buzz my house went wheels-up in a nearby swamp.)

Continental still makes the series of horizontally-opposed aircraft engines known from the Piper Cub, but has stretched and blown it beyond the designer's wildest dreams. They may have dropped the teeny -40 but I think the -65 is still available as a Cub upgrade.

In pro audio you got some classics that does not fade way

Universal Audio (aka Urei) has quiet a few, their Teltronix LA2A (1960) and 1176 (1967) compressors are still made today and are more or less the same like the original.

Certain Neve channelstrips are also still in production. You can still buy new 1073 and 1084 channelstrips from them.

And API still work arround their infamous 512 preamp and 550 eq's, that also date from the 1970's. Those modules are also still in production in more or less the same form as back in the days.

And there are more of those...