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seeking reassurance over new speakers

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Leif

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May 11, 2014
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The PMC twenty5 range is not a good example as PMC recognise that it IS an upgrade over the twenty range which is why it costs significantly more. But the Monitor Audio Silvers are probably similar to the new range. This of course is my suspicion based on not hearing the latest models, but if the OP really does have 'product anxiety' then it's best to look at a range of reviews. Or even better, demo a new pair at home.
 

Al ears

Moderator
grimharry said:
Primare i32 I think it's was given 3 stars but some people on this forum love it. The main thing will always be what you think. Any one can tell you to buy buy but it doesn't make them right.
It is well worthwhile reading other publications for reviews, and none that I can recall ever gave the i32 anything other than excellent. If you must use reviews as a short-list maker then do yourself a favour and read as many as you can.
 

grimharry

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Aug 2, 2015
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Quite agree it was other reviews that led me to my selections nothing to do with whf reviews
 
Q

QuestForThe13thNote

Guest
Leif said:
The PMC twenty5 range is not a good example as PMC recognise that it IS an upgrade over the twenty range which is why it costs significantly more. But the Monitor Audio Silvers are probably similar to the new range. This of course is my suspicion based on not hearing the latest models, but if the OP really does have 'product anxiety' then it's best to look at a range of reviews. Or even better, demo a new pair at home.
According to the what hi fi review they look to be an upgraded unit to the 6's trying to go for more dynamics, using newly designed drivers and a different cabinet construction. They may be similar in performance to the 6's at a similar price, but they look like an upgrade to me. Whether they are better and worthwhile depends on listening, and to the OP's tastes, but on paper they are an upgraded model.
 

Leif

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May 11, 2014
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Yes of course they might be an upgrade.

OP, bear in mind that when a product gets 'old' it can look stale, reviews will be quite a few years old, and competitors will claim whizzy new features. So the manufacturer will want to introduce a 'new' range every few years (the number of years depending on the product, the market etc) in order to ensure that it looks up to date. It can also be a way to introduce new technology, for genuine improvements, or even a way to make it cheaper to make (not necessarily worse) as new and cheaper components with the same performance become available.
 
Q

QuestForThe13thNote

Guest
I don't see much of a difference in looks.

the manufacturer is introducing a range to keep up with competition and get better performance whatever the reasoning for new model. And that's just as good news for them as it's for the buyer. I'd say to the op, the time to be pessimistic, if at all, is until you've heard it. If you decide too. Such is how fickle and unpredictable hi fi is.

but the optomist would think things can improve, and they do, and for the pessimist- well they have their own reasons.
 

davedotco

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Apr 24, 2013
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It helps if you understand how mainstream product is manufactured.

A company like Monitor Audio will design a product and then decide how many they are going to sell, the marketing guys will have a big say in this.

With this decided, they can order in the parts and materials needed for this production run and allocate time on the production line. This will determine the factory price of the product and keep it as low as possible. The production run will be completed in it's entirety with the sales people simply required to sell the product at a profit.

If the product is successful and sells well, there is a bit of a problem. The production run can not be extended as the stock of parts has been used up, they will no longer be available at the original prices, particularly if the numbers are smaller and in some cases may not be available at all.

This is understood so they move to the next product, which will be a Mk2, SE improved model if the first was successful or a 'brand new' design with a different name if it was not. The designers may have looked to improve the product but this is just one, relatively small part in the whole production cycle.
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2009
609
379
19,270
davedotco said:
It helps if you understand how mainstream product is manufactured.

A company like Monitor Audio will design a product and then decide how many they are going to sell, the marketing guys will have a big say in this.

With this decided, they can order in the parts and materials needed for this production run and allocate time on the production line. This will determine the factory price of the product and keep it as low as possible. The production run will be completed in it's entirety with the sales people simply required to sell the product at a profit.

If the product is successful and sells well, there is a bit of a problem. The production run can not be extended as the stock of parts has been used up, they will no longer be available at the original prices, particularly if the numbers are smaller and in some cases may not be available at all.

This is understood so they move to the next product, which will be a Mk2, SE improved model if the first was successful or a 'brand new' design with a different name if it was not. The designers may have looked to improve the product but this is just one, relatively small part in the whole production cycle.
Thats quite a revelation Dave, as I'd never pictured it that way. But it makes complete sense, especially where manufacturers outsource to China and the like. Presumably the relatively 'cottage' industries like my own ATC and those such as Harbeth pretty much make as they go?
 
Q

QuestForThe13thNote

Guest
I'd imagine the material prices from suppliers are set in advance with negotiations if targets are exceeded or as material costs change, but most brands will use commonality in suppliers from the same parts supplied, like I know pmc have cabinets made for them and also they make their own and hf drivers are from seas. But they must run in batches and a just in time style production model, to stop money being tied up in too much stock for cash flow purposes. At these type of prices, even with modest factories of the likes of b and w and rega, pmc, etc, the speakers are still very niche market and not many people buy them, so I'd imagine this just in time model works well. It's not uncommon to wait a short while if at end of production, but manufacturers have an interest to make sure dealers have demo stock. Obviously monitor audio are a bit more mass market though.
 

davedotco

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Apr 24, 2013
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nopiano said:
davedotco said:
It helps if you understand how mainstream product is manufactured.

A company like Monitor Audio will design a product and then decide how many they are going to sell, the marketing guys will have a big say in this.

With this decided, they can order in the parts and materials needed for this production run and allocate time on the production line. This will determine the factory price of the product and keep it as low as possible. The production run will be completed in it's entirety with the sales people simply required to sell the product at a profit.

If the product is successful and sells well, there is a bit of a problem. The production run can not be extended as the stock of parts has been used up, they will no longer be available at the original prices, particularly if the numbers are smaller and in some cases may not be available at all.

This is understood so they move to the next product, which will be a Mk2, SE improved model if the first was successful or a 'brand new' design with a different name if it was not. The designers may have looked to improve the product but this is just one, relatively small part in the whole production cycle.
Thats quite a revelation Dave, as I'd never pictured it that way. But it makes complete sense, especially where manufacturers outsource to China and the like. Presumably the relatively 'cottage' industries like my own ATC and those such as Harbeth pretty much make as they go?
This is how mass market manufactures work, the most interesting aspect being that the 'retail' price of such products bears almost no resemblance to the factory price. This allows pricing to 'suit' different markets and allows distributers to set prices high so that the dealer 'appears' to be offering huge discounts.

Small scale 'cottage' industries of course work differently but they are not immune to the realities of supply. ATC for example will have to order their cast alloy baskets in relatively large numbers and no doubt they will try and 'fix' the price by agreeing long term contracts but when these contracts are up, everything changes.

BTW. This all came to my attention some years ago, around the time that Marantz were cashing in with various SE, Signature and other variations. The original successful products had to change for the reasons explained above, so the marketing guys went into overdrive and canny designers made sure there was a difference, worked very well for quite some time.
 

lindsayt

New member
Apr 8, 2011
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davedotco said:
It helps if you understand how mainstream product is manufactured.

A company like Monitor Audio will design a product and then decide how many they are going to sell, the marketing guys will have a big say in this.

With this decided, they can order in the parts and materials needed for this production run and allocate time on the production line. This will determine the factory price of the product and keep it as low as possible. The production run will be completed in it's entirety with the sales people simply required to sell the product at a profit.

If the product is successful and sells well, there is a bit of a problem. The production run can not be extended as the stock of parts has been used up, they will no longer be available at the original prices, particularly if the numbers are smaller and in some cases may not be available at all.

This is understood so they move to the next product, which will be a Mk2, SE improved model if the first was successful or a 'brand new' design with a different name if it was not. The designers may have looked to improve the product but this is just one, relatively small part in the whole production cycle.
That is not how Linn work.

Have you visited the Monitor Audio factory to determine if they work the way you say they do, or if they work in a similar way to Linn, or have some other way of organising their production?
 
Q

QuestForThe13thNote

Guest
I've seen a video of the rega factory nearby to monitor audio in Rayleigh, and as with people like pmc, it's mainly an assembly job. Just the same with lots of hi fi audiophile manufacturers I know. They just put it together. Some like b and w have quite complicated machining processes where speakers are more elaborate.

but this description by Daved does sound somewhat rudimentary. I doubt anyone knows how many will sell, that will come down to time and experience of what is selling in the dealers etc. No manufacturer would then make a whole range in one go, not even the likes of the big electronics manufacturers.

Im sure this non 'just in time' model works for big companies like Sony with huge marketing budgets where they can be assured of sales on the back of the companies huge reputation, distribution capability, marketing spend, and can benefit the economies of scale they need to keep unit costs very low, but I doubt it with monitor audio. Also Sony etc need the tooling, and investment in same so to make a production run they would need to make it large. But most speaker manufacture aside from complicated designs like some of the b and w speakers, just require simple production and assembly that can be made more in time. There is absolutely no need to make in one go. A manufacturer will know what has sold in the past and based on their marketing they can agree appropriate unit prices from suppliers in advance, and set agreements on unit price dependent upon how the units sell and volume, at the end of the line of the speaker model.
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
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Sure my post was simplified, this is a hi-fi forum, however, the bigger the manufacturer the closer to my model they will get.

This does not really apply to 'boutique' manufacturers or cottage industry types but anyone competing in the mainstream market will do things this way.

I didn't go into the endless rounds of 'sales conferences ' where distributers place orders, often years in advance for product they have not yet seen or the endless market testing and marketing budget and strategy meetings. Do you really think that these companies bring out new products to 'see how they go'? Really?
 
Q

QuestForThe13thNote

Guest
But the point is most of the audiophile makers are nowhere near the model you describe of full runs in one, as you described.

They will bring out models based on gaps in the market, marketing revealing what's required, repeat customers and loyal customers etc. For the speaker that started off this thread - the silver 200, the idea was to get a big sound from a smaller more discrete cabinet. So that's what the marketing angle is. I accept you are correct - any product comes from marketing. The marketing mix - price, place, product, experience. But at the end of that the manufacturer still lives and dies by the sword, and that's to do with what else is doing well in the market place. So my point on 'seeing how they go' after marketing was just that.
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
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Who on earth mentioned that?

I am talking about mainstream and mass market product and made that clear from the begining, even going as far as to specifically exclude 'boutique and cottage industry' brands.

I was under the impression the Monitor Audio were a worldwide company whose product is built and assembled in China, and prominent in important markets in the USA and south east Asia.
 
Q

QuestForThe13thNote

Guest
You were referring to monitor audio who are a British mid to high end audiophile brand. they are far from a mass market maker of hi fi brands like Sony etc, where almost all elements of production are mechanised. Most British stuff is put together by hand.

I think, correct me if I'm wrong, but monitor audio still make all their stuff from their facility in Rayleigh, in Essex. Rega are in Southend nearby and are a similar sort of size I think. Monitor audio aren't as big as you think, I'm judging by tone of your comments.

https://youtu.be/x4RSPWpkki4
 

Leif

New member
May 11, 2014
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I work for an English company that makes products with Made in England stickers on the underside. In reality what we do is design them and then assemble and test units made from components imported from China. Our latest product is similar to an older one, it is supposed to be cheaper to put together, and it was designed according to requirements from the sales and marketing teams. In practice it does not work as well as the older product, although the price is similar. How a product is advertised bears little resemblance to the underlying reality, and reviewers are sometimes invited to fancy presentations with nice food and smooth talking marketing experts who pursuade them that the product is the next best thing since the last best thing. I'm not for one minute suggesting that reviewers are corrupt, but we are all human. And yes I have reviewed products at the request of very well known global companies, and enjoyed the pursuasive charms of senior sales executives.

You have to realise that this isn't a case of clever engineers continually striving towards greater audio perfection, it's a competitive industry driven by marketing and fashion. In the case of boutique brands you will be getting very poor value because overheads are spread across lower volume sales. But the marketing wonks may pursuade you that you are getting a special product. That is how the Swiss watch industry survived after the arrival of quartz watches which almost sent them under.
 
Q

QuestForThe13thNote

Guest
Ps companies house interesting on monitor audio, revenue in 2016 £17m, cost of sales £11m, profit after tax £1m. Pmc returning similar profit, so obviously this isn't mass market producers.

q acoustics had sales of £18m but profits of £680k last year.
 
Q

QuestForThe13thNote

Guest
Leif said:
I work for an English company that makes products with Made in England stickers on the underside. In reality what we do is design them and then assemble and test units made from components imported from China. Our latest product is similar to an older one, it is supposed to be cheaper to put together, and it was designed according to requirements from the sales and marketing teams. In practice it does not work as well as the older product, although the price is similar. How a product is advertised bears little resemblance to the underlying reality, and reviewers are sometimes invited to fancy presentations with nice food and smooth talking marketing experts who pursuade them that the product is the next best thing since the last best thing. I'm not for one minute suggesting that reviewers are corrupt, but we are all human. And yes I have reviewed products at the request of very well known global companies, and enjoyed the pursuasive charms of senior sales executives.

You have to realise that this isn't a case of clever engineers continually striving towards greater audio perfection, it's a competitive industry driven by marketing and fashion. In the case of boutique brands you will be getting very poor value because overheads are spread across lower volume sales. But the marketing wonks may pursuade you that you are getting a special product. That is how the Swiss watch industry survived after the arrival of quartz watches which almost sent them under.
dont agree. The people they employ are engineers who want to get best out of the product for what it's intended to do. That is why we have one of best hi fi industries in the world. Many industries centred around universities. If you believe your speakers are all about marketing, but not design, why do the designers go to the trouble of sound engineering principles to reach the sound they want. Be it transmission lines or what not. If it's all about marketing it pre supposes no thought goes into the design tuned for a sound, as to how the designer wants it to sound. And lots of ways of achieving that. And anyway this is a thread from someone asking for confidence, not the opposite.
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
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Leif said:
The Monitor Audio Gold 50 says Made in China on the back.
Of Monitor Audio product has been in China for many years, back around the turn of the century I was employed as a 'consultant' to evaluate the then new Bronze series with respect to the british marketplace. IIRC they were made in China.

Chinese manufacturing companies are very organised and very efficiant, they will require proper structured ordering and production contracts from any of their clients.

I have experienced this first hand, with a company smaller than Monitor Audio.
 

lindsayt

New member
Apr 8, 2011
16
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davedotco said:
Sure my post was simplified, this is a hi-fi forum, however, the bigger the manufacturer the closer to my model they will get.

This does not really apply to 'boutique' manufacturers or cottage industry types but anyone competing in the mainstream market will do things this way...
Can you name a larger UK manufacturer than Linn?

They don't organise their production along the lines you suggested for MA. They basically build to order.
 

Leif

New member
May 11, 2014
26
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QuestForThe13thNote said:
Leif said:
I work for an English company that makes products with Made in England stickers on the underside. In reality what we do is design them and then assemble and test units made from components imported from China. Our latest product is similar to an older one, it is supposed to be cheaper to put together, and it was designed according to requirements from the sales and marketing teams. In practice it does not work as well as the older product, although the price is similar. How a product is advertised bears little resemblance to the underlying reality, and reviewers are sometimes invited to fancy presentations with nice food and smooth talking marketing experts who pursuade them that the product is the next best thing since the last best thing. I'm not for one minute suggesting that reviewers are corrupt, but we are all human. And yes I have reviewed products at the request of very well known global companies, and enjoyed the pursuasive charms of senior sales executives.

You have to realise that this isn't a case of clever engineers continually striving towards greater audio perfection, it's a competitive industry driven by marketing and fashion. In the case of boutique brands you will be getting very poor value because overheads are spread across lower volume sales. But the marketing wonks may pursuade you that you are getting a special product. That is how the Swiss watch industry survived after the arrival of quartz watches which almost sent them under.
dont agree. The people they employ are engineers who want to get best out of the product for what it's intended to do. That is why we have one of best hi fi industries in the world. Many industries centred around universities. If you believe your speakers are all about marketing, but not design, why do the designers go to the trouble of sound engineering principles to reach the sound they want. Be it transmission lines or what not. If it's all about marketing it pre supposes no thought goes into the design tuned for a sound, as to how the designer wants it to sound. And lots of ways of achieving that. And anyway this is a thread from someone asking for confidence, not the opposite.
I simply reported how it is in the company I work for. In fact of all the companies I've worked for over 25 years, which is quite a few, marketing is often as important as technology. If you have actual first hand knowledge gained from working for a company, then let us know. Otherwise you are just saying what you think happens based on zero knowledge and it may or may not be true.

Regarding this thread, the OP was asking if the newer model would be an upgrade. Saying "Yes of course a newer model is better" is not helpful because it might not be. The only safe way forward is to demo the new ones at home. Or to ignore "product anxiety" AKA "Product Acquisition Syndrome". We all suffer from it.
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
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I understand exactly.

I often get criticised on here for 'blowing my own trumpet' when I point out some of the companies I have worked for/with and some of the people I have met. I have been involved in the hi-fi/pro-audio business since I worked saturdays in Tottenham Court Rd (for £5 a day!) when I was at university.

This is more than 45 years experience, so when you explain how parts of the industry actually works and get given a hard time by people with zero knowledge on the subject, it becomes a little tedious.

That said, if they want to believe that the modern hi-fi industry is full of enthusiasts working all hours in their labs and listening rooms in order to 'improve' their product for the discerning audiophile, then so be it.
 

grimharry

New member
Aug 2, 2015
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I suppose a way to look at is that when it gets past cottage industry into big business that to some extent it loses it soul and becomes more money making products.
 

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