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Who Are the Grandfathers of High-End Audio?

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  • Who Are the Grandfathers of High-End Audio?

    Maybe even great grandfathers now? Over 25 years in business?

    Few that come to mind.

    ARC
    Magnepan
    conrad-Johnson
    VPI
    Linn
    Spectral
    PASS
    Vandersteen
    Wilson Audio
    VTL (with changes early on)
    Goldmund
    Jadis

    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
    ________________________________________

    -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
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  • #2
    Paul Kipsch - I've always felt he got less respect than he deserved.

    Comment


    • #3
      Wow - 25 years only goes back to what, 1992?

      Thiel ?

      Comment


      • #4
        Have to include McIntosh in that group, also Spendor, Quad, Naim, Exposure, Meridian. Lot's of British companies.
        Steve Lefkowicz
        Senior Associate Editor at Positive Feedback
        -
        Analog 1: Linn LP12 (MOSE/Hercules II), Ittok, Dynavector 10X5 MK.II Low, iPhono2/iPowerX; Analog 2: Pro-Ject RPM-1 Carbon, Talisman S, iFi iPhono.
        Digital: Samsung 300E5C notebook, JRiver Media Center 28, Tidal HiFi, Qobuz Studio), iFi NEO iDSD, iFi iUSB3, iPurifier2, Audioquest Jitterbug.
        Electronics: DIY passive line-stage, Antique Sound Labs MG-SI15DT-S, Burson Timekeeper Virtuoso
        Speakers: Tekton Perfect SET 15, Tekton Lore, Magneplaner .7
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        • #5
          original Marantz and Fisher
          Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mono) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

          Comment


          • Letsmakeadeal
            Letsmakeadeal commented
            Editing a comment
            yep

          • MylesBAstor
            MylesBAstor commented
            Editing a comment
            They are no longer high end. Current companies.

          • MylesBAstor
            MylesBAstor commented
            Editing a comment
            I'd be hard pressed to say Marantz was high-end for 25 years. First product was '52 and Superscope bought them in '64. By the late '60s Marantz was a shell of itself and their ss products a pale imitation of their glory years. By early '70s was junk.

            I also king of think they still need to be high -end.

        • #6
          I see an earlier set of companies as the founders of high end audio:

          MacIntosh, Dayton Wright, Marantz, Fisher, Harmon Kardon (Citation series), Ampex, Neumann, Quad, FMI (Fulton Musical Industries, long defunct but the founder of the cable industry and also some of the more ambitious speaker projects back in the 1970s)...

          Comment


          • MylesBAstor
            MylesBAstor commented
            Editing a comment
            Yes but they must have been in business for 25 years. Bonus points that are still in business. Not necessarily looking for in this thread founders but companies that are successful business wise.

        • #7
          Originally posted by atmasphere View Post
          I see an earlier set of companies as the founders of high end audio:

          MacIntosh, Dayton Wright, Marantz, Fisher, Harmon Kardon (Citation series), Ampex, Neumann, Quad, FMI (Fulton Musical Industries, long defunct but the founder of the cable industry and also some of the more ambitious speaker projects back in the 1970s)...
          Then Altec should be thrown in the mix too with JBL and EV.
          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


          • #8
            Could we please define "High-End Audio". It has seemed to me that the term comes from a couple of magazine publishers in the mid to late 1970's. And you have to include the amplifiers from Mark Levinson on this list. Even though many names on the list predate him, Levinson raised the performance bar in an era when Japanese manufacturers had taken over audio sales in much of the world.
            Krell.

            -Steve
            webmaster at The Analog Dept.
            system list:Classe' CAP 151 integrated, Carver TX-11b Tuner, NHT 2.9 Speakers, Thorens TD124 ( plus other Thorens models), Otari MX-5050 BII-2 R2R, Jolida JD100 cd player, ML-9600 digital recorder

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            • #9
              For grins and gnashing, here is The Absolute Sounds top 100 products 1973 - 2013,
              from their 40th year anniversary edition, (issue 234).





              Click image for larger version

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              Attached Files

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              • #10
                Don't forget

                Dynaco
                QUAD
                SURE
                GAS
                Threshold
                Counterpoint
                ADS
                Advent
                Classe
                Krell
                Apogee
                Levinson
                Primary 2 channel stuff: Atma-Sphere MP-1 Mk 3.3, Pass Labs X600.5 amps, Aerial SW 12 subs, True Sound Works Ultimate Apogee Divas, Dunlavy SC4s, VPI HRX Reference w Avenger mag drive and Reference footers, Gimbal Fatboy, Yamaha GT2000 for Mono, Miyajima Kansui, Miyajima ZERO, Fidelity Research MC-201 & 202, VPI ADS, Vendetta Research SCP-1, Audio Note UK- 3.1X II balanced DAC, Meridian Sooloos, Western Electric Speaker wire, mostly diy balanced interconnects, Furutech Power Cords

                Comment


                • user510
                  user510 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I like Classe. Thanks for mentioning them.
                  -Steve

                • MylesBAstor
                  MylesBAstor commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Again were they in business for 25 years? I don't think Apogee,Counterpoint, Threshold, GAS, Dynaco qualify. Not sure about some others too.

              • #11
                Originally posted by mep View Post

                Then Altec should be thrown in the mix too with JBL and EV.
                Yes! EV, along with MacIntosh, led the charge to create a voltage-based standard, wherein the amp was to be a 'voltage source' and the speaker 'voltage driven'. Before that such was not the case by any stretch.

                Altec and JBL were leaders in theater sound which had serious influence on speaker performance in following decades. Add to that list Western Electric.

                Really the issue becomes- what was considered high end and what was not? As best I can make out, intention has everything to do with it as its certainly not cost. When a company is reaching for state of the art, that intention is important. Western Electric was one of the older players no longer seen but their influence is profound! The Westerex brand was Western Electric. Westerex made the 3D cutterhead, an absolutely essential part of the charge to create hifi; many of the records made on such cutters are still sought after today.

                Comment


                • #12
                  Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post
                  Maybe even great grandfathers now? Over 25 years in business?

                  Few that come to mind.

                  ARC
                  Magnepan
                  conrad-Johnson
                  VPI
                  Linn
                  Spectral
                  PASS
                  Vandersteen
                  Wilson Audio
                  VTL (with changes early on)
                  Goldmund
                  Jadis
                  these are more like the Fathers, than the Grandfathers.
                  Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mono) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

                  Comment


                  • MylesBAstor
                    MylesBAstor commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Really? 40+ years doesn't make some grandfathers? That I think all but maybe two on the list meet? Spectral, VPI and cj turn 40 this year. Wilson has been in business now for 43 years? I think even more for Magnepan and ARC. No I would call them grandfathers of the industry.

                • #13
                  I think you can go back even earlier: the WE stuff, the Klangsfilm (Siemens), Williamson circuit, Altec, early JBL, all stuff that was adapted from the pre-hi-fi days. I'm enjoying my Kessler book about Quad, and now have a better understanding of the amps he built in the late '40s- in fact, he was working on PA systems during the war as I recall.
                  JCOConnell is, I think, on the same page, in the sense that a lot of the companies from the early -mid '70s weren't the foundation. William Johnson built upon Hafler's work and though it is beer budget, you might even include Dynaco as something that spans the decades between WWII era and the '70s. McIntosh is definitely early, but wasn't given much attention as far as I recall, by TAS or Holt (maybe I'm wrong, but it seems like some people were onto the old tube stuff before companies like ARC and C-J 'revived' and modernized it).
                  PS: I see Ralph captured the point as did MEP as well.

                  Comment


                  • #14
                    Bose

                    Comment


                  • #15
                    Originally posted by Metamatic View Post
                    Bose
                    Primary 2 channel stuff: Atma-Sphere MP-1 Mk 3.3, Pass Labs X600.5 amps, Aerial SW 12 subs, True Sound Works Ultimate Apogee Divas, Dunlavy SC4s, VPI HRX Reference w Avenger mag drive and Reference footers, Gimbal Fatboy, Yamaha GT2000 for Mono, Miyajima Kansui, Miyajima ZERO, Fidelity Research MC-201 & 202, VPI ADS, Vendetta Research SCP-1, Audio Note UK- 3.1X II balanced DAC, Meridian Sooloos, Western Electric Speaker wire, mostly diy balanced interconnects, Furutech Power Cords

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