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The dearth of pro audio


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Been noticing a disturbing trend that worries me... many audio companies are being acquired, and their "good stuff" gets discontinued after the acquisition.

 

JBL - my repair tech - whose decades-long specialty was speaker reconing - tells me that after JBL was acquired, they no longer supply recone kits for speakers. JBL used to stock replacement cones and drivers for products dating back 50 years. This will p#ss off many owners of professional installs (including me). JBL used to make excellent speaker enclosures, but good luck finding speaker recone kits or high frequency replacement drivers.

 

Lexicon - long a revered name in digital reverb, they aren't even a shadow of their former self. After the acquisition, none of the pioneering digital reverb engineers work there anymore and the Lexicon brand was marketed to home theater products. Not sure if they still make the PCM96 digital multiFX, which was an unfinished product whose development was stopped years ago.

 

Rane - long a respected name in pro audio. Acquired by a DJ company, all pro audio products discontinued except those that appeal to DJs. This p#sses me off because I liked the Rane product line - esp the four SM82s I own.

 

Alesis - acquired by a DJ company, all products discontinued except those that appeal to DJs.

 

Rather disturbing trend...

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JBL and Lexicon have been owned by Harman for at least two decades, haven't they? Alesis was bought by Numark in 2001. Rane (a fairly small player mostly known for a few rack processors) has been doing the DJ thing for quite a while. Not sure why you think this is recent...? :idk:

 

There are a whole bunch of pro audio companies that I do not think are in any danger at all of being acquired. More pressing concerns include the hardware vs. software thing, and the fact that the value that dealers are supposed to bring continues to decline.

 

dB

:snax:

 

:keys:==> David Bryce Music • Funky Young Monks <==:rawk:

 

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JBL and Lexicon have been owned by Harman for at least two decades, haven't they? Alesis was bought by Numark in 2001. Rane (a fairly small player mostly known for a few rack processors) has been doing the DJ thing for quite a while. Not sure why you think this is recent...? :idk:

 

dB

 

Unless the discontinued recone kits coincide with Samsung acquiring Harman. :o

 

Samsung Acquires Harman

 

 

 

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Hey I'm sure those recone kits were a big subject at the board of directors meetings:

 

"Yeah, I mean sure 8 billion dollars is a lot of money. But if we screw The Real MC by discontinuing those JBL recone kits..."

 

:roll:

 

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Rane (a fairly small player mostly known for a few rack processors) has been doing the DJ thing for quite a while. Not sure why you think this is recent...? :idk:

 

The definition of "trend" usually encompasses a long period of time.

 

Last summer I had a set of JBL horns replaced. Yesterday the same tech who did the work told me JBL isn't making recone kits or replacement drivers. JBL is a recent addition to the abandoned pro audio product line.

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Rane (a fairly small player mostly known for a few rack processors) has been doing the DJ thing for quite a while. Not sure why you think this is recent...? :idk:

 

The definition of "trend" usually encompasses a long period of time.

Well...over time, anyway. I would suggest that "long" and "period" are both relative... ;)

 

..and, yes - big companies have been buying smaller ones in the pro audio industry over the last 20+ years, along with a whole bunch of other industries - even some keyboard ones (IIRC, Young Chang buys Kurz, Samick buys YC, Hyundai buys Samick).

 

It could even be argued that it's a trend for more than a few companies to be mainly focused on not much other than buying other companies. :idk:

 

Without any effort at all, this thread could go political. That'd be ungood. :(

 

dB

:snax:

 

:keys:==> David Bryce Music • Funky Young Monks <==:rawk:

 

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Without any effort at all, this thread could go political. That'd be ungood. :(

dB

 

Good is better than ungood!

 

Dave, have you considered doing some type of equipment survey with the community? There's so many deep technical, cultural and business focused discussion about equipment. Discussions go off on tangents, into numerous and interesting rabbit holes.

 

Seems it could be valuable to do a deep survey across many detailed equipment related topics and categories, boards/synths, amps/speakers, stands, all brands, price ranges. Include all the various people & usage categories, how are people using their equipment, touring, recording, local gigs, home studios, years of experience, current equipment used, etc etc etc.

 

To have all the results, sliced and diced, quantified, stats - the results might be interesting and useful? Do it once/year, identify themes and trends? Might help the community to put all these discussions in some context?

 

Perhaps this has already been done somewhere else, but I can't think of a better group of people to weigh in on this. Call it the KC 2017 State of Equipment Survey or something..

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One counter-example (so far at least) is Yamaha buying Line 6. Not sure if that influenced the production of the Helix, but that thing is a big step up and a big deal among guitarists (giving the Axfx products some good competition).

 

I wish Yamaha would buy a leslie software maker so a good one would end up in their synths :D

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And then there's Behringer that bought Midas, Turbosound, TC Helicon and TC Electronic. So far they seemed to have folded the engineering expertise into their other products as well as continue products under the original name.

 

From the article referenced above: "...even as Harman, which counts 30,000 employees, continues to operate as an independent subsidiary." I guess the Samsung execs/bean counters did away with a low profit part of the business, but it's good at least that they're an independent subsidiary, though of course that could be a highly qualified statement.

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.........Without any effort at all, this thread could go political. That'd be ungood. :(

 

dB

 

hahaha, why not let it DB? You can always lock if it gets too rad :D

There is no luck - luck is simply the confluence of circumstance and co-incidence...

 

Time is the final arbiter for all things

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With advances in powered speaker cabs, and smaller independent companies like JTR and Danley flourishing I think these are very exciting times for pro audio! It's just that things are fluid and constantly changing - but when have they not been?

 

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe JBL offers recone kits and replacement diaphrams for all their current drivers. Just how far back they go with the discontinued stuff I don't know, but there are 3rd party kits for many common older JBL speakers.

 

How long should a company keep supporting it's discontinued stock? It's a tough question to answer no matter what the circumstances.

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.........Without any effort at all, this thread could go political. That'd be ungood. :(

 

dB

 

hahaha, why not let it DB? You can always lock if it gets too rad :D

I do not want to referee a political discussion. They tend to get...heated.

 

dB

 

Not to mention you're too busy working on that comprehensive equipment survey. BTW how's that coming along? :steve: :D

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.........Without any effort at all, this thread could go political. That'd be ungood. :(

 

dB

 

hahaha, why not let it DB? You can always lock if it gets too rad :D

 

PLEASE. PLEASE, PLEASE NO. NO POLITICS. PLEASE! (did I say please?

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe JBL offers recone kits and replacement diaphrams for all their current drivers. Just how far back they go with the discontinued stuff I don't know, but there are 3rd party kits for many common older JBL speakers.

 

A small place, but these guys can fix just about anything speaker related, and are a big friend to DIY types.

 

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