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Has The Digital Market Become Saturated?

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  • Has The Digital Market Become Saturated?

    Seems to me that there's way too many servers, DACS, streamers, etc. on the market nowadays with way too little difference among them. How long can the consumer market continue to support all these companies?
    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
    ________________________________________

    -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
    -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
    -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
    -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
    -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
    -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

  • #2
    High end equipment supply exceeds demand in my opinion. Especially with digital equipment. Add with the fast evolution of digital, literally this year's DAC is next year's old news. Some people are constantly upgrading to have the "best" and end up being frustrated and poor. With digital, you don't have traditional 3-5 year or more product upgrade cycles.
    Speakers/Amps: Genesis G2.2 Jr with Powered Servo-Sub Bass, Genesis GR1440 Mono Amps, 5,000 watts total power
    Preamp: SMc Audio VRE-1C Preamp (fully balanced inputs and output)
    Phono 1: VPI Signature 21 Belt-Drive Turntable with 10” 3D Printed Fatboy Gimbal Arm and Ortofon MC Windfeld Ti Phono Cartridge driving Lehmann Decade Phono Preamp
    Phono 2: VPI HW-40 Direct-Drive Turntable with 12” 3D Printed Fatboy Gimbal Arm and Ortofon MC Anna Diamond Phono Cartridge driving Genesis Gold Phono Preamp
    R2R Tape: Studer A810 with Bridge Console
    Digital: Lumin Network Player with Lumin NAS
    Cables: Genesis Advanced Technologies/Absolute Fidelity Interface Interconnects, Speaker, Phono and Power
    Power: Audio-Ultra Power System, IsoTek Super Titan Passive Power Conditioning for Amplifiers
    Accessories: Custom Acrylic Equipment Stands, Klaudio Ultrasonic RCM

    Comment


    • #3
      High end equipment supply exceeds demand in my opinion. Especially with digital equipment. Add with the fast evolution of digital, literally this year's DAC is next year's old news. Some people are constantly upgrading to have the "best" and end up being frustrated and poor. With digital, you don't have traditional 3-5 year or more product upgrade cycles.
      Try this month's DAC is old news.

      In the beginning days of digital, there were some significant improvements. Doesn't seem that way anymore either.
      Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
      Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
      ________________________________________

      -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
      -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
      -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
      -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
      -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
      -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
      -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
      -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
      -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
      -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

      Comment


      • #4
        I'm happy with my Exogal DAC. It uses FGPA's so if its current feature set become less than current they can reprogram the device. Hasn't happened yet, but at least it's got the possibility of non-obsolescence.
        Analog: Holbo Turntable, Transfiguration Proteus; Forsell Air Reference, Transfiguration Phoenix S; Rega RP-8, VdH Crimson XGW; VPI Prime Signature, VAS Nova Mono, VAS Nova Signature, Symphonic Line RG-8
        Digital: Mac mini 6,2 with YFS PS-12M LPS; Exogal Comet Plus, Exogal Ion PowerDAC
        Electronics: Aurorasound Vida, Channel D Lino C; Merrill Cara, Gryphon M-100 Mkii (pair)
        Cables: Morrow, Gryphon interconnects; YFS USB cable; Morrow, XLO, Channel D phono cables; Morrow, Gryphon, Goertz speaker cables

        Comment


        • MylesBAstor
          MylesBAstor commented
          Editing a comment
          Great point about FGPAs like PS Audio, Exogal and Playback Design use.

      • #5
        This is why I chose to simplify my digital front end. Decided to not pursue the DSD/MQA options and focus the best PCM/Hi Rez files component to my ears. Am i missing out on some improvements? Sure. But does the improvement of some DSD files and updates to the newest digital technology make up for all the headaches/lost money of trying to different products, more expensive DSD files? For me, it doesn't. All the benefits in High End audio have drawbacks and risks. I chose to make up the difference through my analog setup and hope to be settled for a long time. Everyone has different philosophies I suppose but I agree that the digital market's product life cycle and over saturation has become a bit too. On top of that, most companies are completely phasing out the CD, which I unfortunately do like a hard copy of the music I play.

        Comment


        • #6
          Any love for schiit audio and their so-called "upgradeability"?

          Comment


          • #7
            Digital to me is just totally confusing so I stick to physical CD/SACD and forget about the rest.
            Dynavector DV20x2L MC cartridge - Genesis G7.1f speakers - Marantz Reference PM-KI-Pearl Int. Amp. - Oracle Audio Paris MkV turntable - Various Morrow & Valab/King cables

            Comment


            • #8
              Blue Sound server/streamer. $1200.00 and I'm very happy. It's only digital and it's 90% of the best out there. In the meantime let me spin some vinyl.
              TW Acustic TT with Ref motor & controller; Tri-Planar Arm; Ortofon Windfeld-Ti Cartridge, Harmonix-Combak platter mat & weight; PS Audio Stellar Phono Preamp; KLAudio Ultrasonic Record Cleaner.

              Bluesound Vault-2 Music Server & Streamer

              VTL 6.5 preamp Series II
              Pass Labs 150.8 Amp

              Piega C711 Loudspeakers

              Symposium Osiris Rack; Symposium Platforms and Roller Blocks plus grade 2.5 Balls

              Acoustic Revive RR-888 Low Frequency Pulse Generator, Synergistic Research 12 UEF SE Line Conditioner, Level 3 HC AC Cord and Level 3 power cords, Synergistic Carbon fiber wall plates, Synergistic Research Orange Outlet, Furutech NCF Booster Braces, Audio Art Ref IC, MIT Oracle IC, synergistic Research Atmosphere X Euphoria Level 3 Balanced ICs, Synergistic Research Euphoria Level 3 Speaker Cables, Synergistic Research Cable Risers.

              Sennheiser HDV 650 Headphone Amp; Sennheiser HD800s Headphones.

              Comment


              • #9
                I look at DACS the same as I look at the cables, everybody is making one offering some voodoo magical improvements as they play the old ONE UP the competition. A never ending cycle of market it and they will come and spend money. And each introduction is always more costly than the last.
                Chris
                ----------------------------------------------------------------
                Kef 201/2, Pass xa30.5, W4S STP-SE, Manley Chinook, VPI Classic, Dynavector DV20x2L, ExaSound e32, Acoustic Zen cables. (Office): Vincent SP331 Mkll, Quicksilver Pre, Lumin D1, (Ken Lau Signiture Edition PSU), Bryston BCD-1, Vapor Audio Breeze, WooAudio W6se,Questyle Audio CMA800R LCD-3,HD800s, HD600, Mr Speaker Ether C Flow,

                Comment


                • #10
                  The Digital Market continues to evolve, which is progress, I have heard notable improvements over the past 10 years.
                  Most consumers will opt for digital because of the flexibility and convience. The Digital Market will ultimately dwarf the analog market.

                  Comment


                  • mep
                    mep commented
                    Editing a comment
                    You didn't answer the OP question: Has the Digital Market Become Saturated? To state that digital has evolved and the digital market will "dwarf" the analog market does nothing to address whether or not the digital market is flooded with products by companies that may or may not be sustainable.

                • #11
                  Their are very few high-end audio companies that are long-term profitable, period!

                  Comment


                  • #12
                    Originally posted by Dr.Ears View Post
                    Their are very few high-end audio companies that are long-term profitable, period!
                    Those that aren't don't stay in business. A few companies that quickly come to mind that have survived the long haul are CJ, ARC, Magnepan, and McIntosh.
                    Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

                    Comment


                    • Dr.Ears
                      Dr.Ears commented
                      Editing a comment
                      That was my point. Four out of how many have made it long term? Actually Bose & Harman International have been 1-2 for a long time.

                    • MylesBAstor
                      MylesBAstor commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Actually I don't think the success vs. failure rate is any different than in any other industry. And Mark's names were just the tip of the iceberg if we look at high-end audio companies in business for around 20 years or more. In fact, Mark was referring to those companies that might be the grandfathers or great-grandfathers (close to or greater than 40 years in business) of the audio industry: Wilson, VPI, Grado, Krell, Quad, Vandersteen, ARC, cj, etc. Truly special achievements.

                      And BTW, Harman and Bose are hardly the longest lived audio companies. Try Quad, Grado, Ortofon for starters.

                      Just some names of high-end audio companies that came to my mind that have been around for around 20 or more years. Quite a list and sure others can add names to the list too (especially in Europe or Asia):

                      MBL, Avalon, van den Hul, Benz, Audible Illusions, Aesthetix, Rockport, Wilson Audio, Transparent, MIT, Cary, VAC, VPI, Ortofon, Grado, Lyra, Rowland, Quicksilver, Quad, NAIM, Harbeth, Boulder, FM Acoustics, Goldmund, Linn, BAT, Atmasphere, WAVAC, Clearaudio, CAT, Rega, Koetsu, Graham, Triplanar, Burmester, Classe, Gallo, Sonus Faber, Arcam, AudioQuest, Focal, Arcam, PASS, Gamut, Ensemble, Jadis, Audio Note, Kondo, ProAc, Eggleston, Wilson-Benesch, Vandersteen, Kuzma, Verity, Bryston, Oracle, Emiment Technology, VSA, Martin-Logan, Krell, KEF, NOLA/Alon, VTL, LAMM, Spectral, EAR, Unison, etc.

                    • cpp
                      cpp commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I was thinking, just because a business has existed for 10-20 year or longer and has a good history of service and quality, that really doesn't mean its the best piece of audio gear for a given purpose, I never thought the AR or MAC DAC sounded all that great, built great but that was it. . There are some DAC companies that are making great sounding DACS that have only existed for a few years. . I Guess one needs to define their requirements on sound vs service and build quality and can you have it all , but at what cost. Its a crap shoot these days with so many DAC manufacturers

                  • #13
                    Apologies in advance for the ramble: I think choice is a good thing and the fact is that there are plenty of "good" choices in the market. I presumptuously think that even for the average Audionirvana consumer, the choices come down to sound quality, price for the level of sound quality and ease of use (pick your priorities). I'd like to say that it is "sonics uber alles" for me, but previous posts have pointed out that the hunt can be very expensive - thank goodness analogue is inexpensive <chuckle>.

                    My ideal system would (1) allow me to easily burn my CD's to storage (Naim, Innous - same distributor as Aqua DACs), (2) play through a very good-to-great DAC at a mid price point that has upgrade potential, (3) have the ability to easily create a playlist from the server and services like TIDAL (Aurender app is very nice), and (4) at the very least give me PRAT. I often use TIDAL to listen to new music and then decide if I want the LP version if available.

                    Regarding sustainability of so many manufacturers, using moderation as my guide, a system with the above 4 attributes would probably be less costly than the loss may of us take when we upgrade amps, preamps, cables, etc... And if it brings me a couple of years of musical enjoyment, I'm OK with taking a small loss.

                    Currently I use a T+A D10 SACD/CD player with a tube output stage and it's only analogue out. All that said, my next purchase will probably be the DS Audio D002 for the fun of it, installed on a Goldmund turntable with a creaky Graham arm.

                    Rest of system: Xstatic EC-3's electrostatics (some of you may remember when Xstatic showed with Spectral at CES), a pair of REL 212's, ARC REF5SE, ARC REF150 with KT150s, all wiring is Empircal Design (ED), assorted other stuff.

                    Comment


                    • #14
                      Originally posted by mep View Post
                      Those that aren't don't stay in business. A few companies that quickly come to mind that have survived the long haul are CJ, ARC, Magnepan, and McIntosh.
                      You mean the McIntosh division of the new McIntosh group?

                      "After 6 years under the Milan-based investment firm Quadrivio, McIntosh Group has been purchased by new network of investors.

                      Mauro Grange, CEO of Fine Sounds SpA, and Charlie Randall, longtime President of McIntosh Laboratory, Inc., lead the Management Buyout of McIntosh Group in Partnership with LBO France.

                      The acquisition aims to facilitate greater opportunities for global collaborations amongst the product development, marketing, distribution and finance teams of each of the Group’s portfolio of brands."
                      http://www.mcintoshlabs.com/us/Pages/Home.aspx#

                      Comment


                      • #15
                        You guys are correct in mentioning the many names, which have survived, but many have undergone reorganizations and changes in ownership.
                        Many shareholders have been wiped out or diluted. McIntosh's recent buyout via LBO is just one example. I have done many LBO's and in all cases they usually involve more risk for equity investors because of the leverage. There is also a big difference between saving a name and saving the quality. I was short Pan Am for years prior to it's final bankruptcy, still someone paid a million dollars just for the name. On Wall Street the opposite happens, when a company fails, it is said to have lost it's name, but the talented guys find jobs elsewhere.

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