• 08-21-2008, 05:28 AM
    Feanor
    Won't help
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by nightflier
    I'm not sure I agree. I think American goods can compete at all price levels. This is especially true because higher fuel prices will bring parity to the lower-priced markets first. Let's remember that the high-end niche market only represents a small percentage of the total market. If new American entrepreneurs aren't willing to compete in the larger market segments than it will be much worse for everyone in the long run.

    ....

    As for higher fuel prices helping American manufacture, they won't in the end. The manufacture's relative cost position might improve, but his customers will be spending so much more on fuel (for their macho over-sized vehicles) that they will have less money to spend on his product. When people have less money to spend they, they are forced to seek out only the cheapest products, thus the trend to cheap, off-shore stuff will be reenforced by the higher price of fuel.

    This illustrates how economic primacy of the U.S. economy will be undermined. Not so much by the cheaper compedition to U.S. goods but by the failure of consumer demand. As people loose their industrial jobs for service sector jobs paying less than half as much, and as they loose their ability to finance their lifestyles through ever more borrowing, consumer demand in the U.S. will collapse and with it the American economy.
  • 08-21-2008, 08:56 AM
    hermanv
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by pixelthis
    .....edit....
    When this hobby started you practically had to build your own gear,
    those days might be coming back:1:

    I am an EE and have built a few items, one of the problem with this is that few companies want to sell one or two of anything.

    A second problem is that the very best results are obtained with discrete semi-conductors, they are slowly being dropped by all semi manufacturers in favor of chip based solutions such as Op-amps. While few disagree that op-amps keep getting better, those industry stalwarts like John Curl, Nelson Pass or perhaps Charles Hansen (of Ayre) and many others feel that discrete devices offer that last increment of quality reproduction.

    Toshiba might select special transistors for these folks, they are quite unlikely to do it for individual DIY folks.

    While vacuum tubes continue to be available at inflated prices, solid state design has been assaulting the weakness of vacuum tube designs successfully enough that it has become a game more of personal choice rather than one of best quality sound.

    While class D amplifiers have made considerable improvements, they still have a long way to go to achieve a truly first class sound digital signal path from source to speaker.

    So for now we are stuck with proven companies and designers procuring the sometimes hard to get parts and using quite expensive measurement tools to optimizes those same parts into products. These products seem overpriced and some do spend more money on glitter that the function absolutely requires, but for the most part this is still the all around most reasonable path to assembling a truly good system in your home
  • 08-22-2008, 01:02 AM
    pixelthis
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by hermanv
    I am an EE and have built a few items, one of the problem with this is that few companies want to sell one or two of anything.

    A second problem is that the very best results are obtained with discrete semi-conductors, they are slowly being dropped by all semi manufacturers in favor of chip based solutions such as Op-amps. While few disagree that op-amps keep getting better, those industry stalwarts like John Curl, Nelson Pass or perhaps Charles Hansen (of Ayre) and many others feel that discrete devices offer that last increment of quality reproduction.

    Toshiba might select special transistors for these folks, they are quite unlikely to do it for individual DIY folks.

    While vacuum tubes continue to be available at inflated prices, solid state design has been assaulting the weakness of vacuum tube designs successfully enough that it has become a game more of personal choice rather than one of best quality sound.

    While class D amplifiers have made considerable improvements, they still have a long way to go to achieve a truly first class sound digital signal path from source to speaker.

    So for now we are stuck with proven companies and designers procuring the sometimes hard to get parts and using quite expensive measurement tools to optimizes those same parts into products. These products seem overpriced and some do spend more money on glitter that the function absolutely requires, but for the most part this is still the all around most reasonable path to assembling a truly good system in your home

    So when I do get ready for a small discrete amp for a pure audio
    system for music I will be looking for a unicorn most likely.
    What is the world coming to?
    In electronics class my instructor used to scavenge transistors off of old computer circuit boards, not much chance of that in the future:1:
  • 08-22-2008, 08:30 AM
    hermanv
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by pixelthis
    So when I do get ready for a small discrete amp for a pure audio
    system for music I will be looking for a unicorn most likely.
    What is the world coming to?
    In electronics class my instructor used to scavenge transistors off of old computer circuit boards, not much chance of that in the future:1:

    It seems that jFETs in cascode configuration are the lowest noise reasonable distortion answer for audio small signals, quite unlikely they can be scavenged anywhere. You can still buy a few, but the best circuits use push pull symmetry to cancel distortion and matched N and P units are quickly disappearing,

    Ditto for small signal bipolar transistors, op-amps offer such an easy solution that in todays labor cost driven designs they are everywhere. Most discrete transistors these days are optimized for switching.

    It is still possible, but getting harder. Some very good designs and ideas are on the audio DIY forum.
  • 08-26-2008, 11:49 AM
    O'Shag
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by nightflier
    I'm not sure I agree. I think American goods can compete at all price levels. This is especially true because higher fuel prices will bring parity to the lower-priced markets first. Let's remember that the high-end niche market only represents a small percentage of the total market. If new American entrepreneurs aren't willing to compete in the larger market segments than it will be much worse for everyone in the long run.

    Look, let's consider the Chinese as an example. Prices from Chinese goods are so low because they horribly abuse their own employees and don't give a hoot about the environment. The problem with this is that this type of abuse throws considerable blowback in their direction. With higher fuel-prices, Americans are buying more locally now than they have in decades and this is not good for the Chinese. Likewise, the blatant disregard for global pollution has or will have considerable effect on the lifestyle of Americans. Illness/epidemics, extreme weather patterns, pestilence, and the deterioration of the food-supply all preoccupy the consumer too much to care. And I haven't even mentioned the loss of jobs to overseas, the longer commutes, the higher cost of basic necessities like food, and the inability to pay the bills. These all make Joe Sixpack less likely to buy that new receiver, BR player, or TT.

    Now for Joe Sixpack, that American manufactured VPI Scout TT is going to remain in the store window - nice but way too expensive. It might appeal to Joe Cadillac, but he too is feeling the crunch because Joe Sixpack is no longer able to buy his widgets. So Joe Cadillac does what Joe Sixpack does and buys something less expensive, something made in China. Not good for VPI, not good for the economy, and not good for the consumers who are forced to settle on a product that is either lower quality, or abusively produced. If on the other hand, there had been a reasonably priced, locally produced alternative, both Joes might have purchased that instead. But there isn't - I can't think of any reasonably priced TT company that still manufactures in the US. And that's a shame.

    The sad reality is that buying American (ironically, just like buying Green, or being Vegan) is much more expensive and ultimately just a rare luxury. While some of us may still be willing to make that choice with our A/V gear, most consumers won't pay the premium. If there is one thing that our current government is most negligent about it is the evisceration of the middle class and mid-priced industry. This government, and it is my opinion that it is by and large the fault of elected Republicans rather than Democrats, has done more to destroy the middle class than any government before it. Ironically, the Republican party historically always stood for the defense of the small business owner, but that is certainly not the Republican party of today. Yes, Democrats are also to blame, but a lot less so.

    If you want to point the finger at someone for the demise of American A/V, there you go. This is my opinion of course, and I'm sure some people will disagree (Rich are you there?), but all debating aside, where is that $500 American-made TT? That's right, it no longer exists. What will it take for enough people to care? When Toyota buys Ford? When Philips buys GE? When Sony buys Microsoft? If they pay in dollars, they'll pay garage-sale prices for them.

    Excellent points. The danger is the 'domino' effect. Have you noticed how the Chinese/Asian made goods are getting more expensive? Go and look for a piece of clothing - most made in China/Asia now - and see how the so-called low-price value has been whittled away. The American/European made item that used to cost $150 is now replaced with a Chinese item that cost $150 ie there is no justification. The only people getting anything out of the deal (and only for the now) are the designers/manufacturers. they are certainly not passing on savings to the consumers. In order to buy American or European now, one has to pay through the nose. Again I am very happy for China to benefit. In general I happen to have a fondness and respect for the Chinese, and I know the Chinese manufacturers are capable of producing world class products. But my concern is that America - especially the all important working/middle class are paying dearly for the sea-changes going on and not realizing the long term effects on the prosperity of the average American. Also NightFlier's points about the environment are eminently relevant to the well-being of world citizens not just Americans.