The real value of SA Audio

Family_Dog

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ron g said:
we already have a "local is lekker" section??

Yes, open to all and everything, including local performers/artists. This one is to showcase equipment only, no performers or artists permitted.


-F_D

 

Gerry1965

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Joel,

you appear to have a passion for the local is lekker manufacturing companies and I applaud you for wanting to drive the quality of our offerings to the next level.  My next set of critiquing is a lot closer to home, but I am not attacking any individual, merely offering a personal viewpoint that may just assist someone out there to look at things a little differently.

Let's consider that which we have to look at every day - yip, the equipment that is staring back at us with a red or blue LED, resting on our shelves, racks, plankies or hidden behind closed doors (in which case no LEDs are staring back).
The visual representation of that consisting of metal, wood or what-have-you for an enclosure is as important to me as the electro mechanical aspects inside.  After all, I don't look at the innards whilst I'm listening to good music, so might as well look at something attractive (my wife isn't always around).

The 2 record player manufacturers have done a sterling job in my opinion, simply stunning designs and I am sure that they can compete with the best in the marketplace at their respective price-points.

Other than Vivid Audio, our speaker manufacturers are not breaking any new ground, but then again, that new ground comes at a price.  So, kudos to these gents for making a box look the best they can at a given price-point whilst, according to review feedback, still sound impressive and are up their with the best at their respective price-points.
Seeing as I dissed Sonor Audio re their website, I do take my hat off to Roy for the way his designs have matured over the generations ? they really are beautiful boxes.

Now, onto those metal boxes that are normally silver or black.  How droll.  Think I'm being harsh?  Let me give you some examples of beautiful industrial designs and you tell me if I'm out of line.  Gerry's view of examples of enclosure design excellence:

Pathos ? mixing metal with a little wood, with the addition of a mirror finish to trick the eye.  Let's not forget a little colour (red) goes a long way.
Unison Research ? metal and wood used a different way, with valve cages that actually look attractive, if a little art deco.
These are the Italians, there designs are always a cut above the rest of the world, cars, hi-fi, furniture (even their kitchen cabinets are simply wow!).  Must be their water, or maybe their wine?

How about the Japanese then?
Shindo ? the epitome of taking a simple metal box (steel, not aluminium) and making it look good without going over the top.  The bottle green finish with gold lettering may not be to every one's taste, but heck, it sure makes a statement of gorgeousness in my eyes (and I will never pick green as a favourite colour).  Even the insides of the boxes are finished in the same colour and hand polished.  What lavish attention to detail.
Mainstream manufacturers ? I am not terribly impressed with what they do.  But then again, different market segments and drivers.

If you want to see a beautiful rotary knob, look no further than the rotary controls of the Moonriver Audio 404's.  Whilst you're ogling the knobs (eish, hope that isn't interpreted in the wrong way), also consider the rest of the box ? it's not flat, the face has perspective.
On how to make slab-sided box look good, consider Copland, Primare or Electrocompaniet.
I have to admit, the Peachtree enclosures are gorgeous.

I haven't even touched the Chinese and those manufacturers are moving ahead with leaps and bounds.

Our local manufacturers can only consider themselves as boutique manufacturers, now all we need is for them to look at the outsides of their products and compare themselves with the best of their competitors from across the globe.

Ask the following questions:
How much does it cost to make a box look really attractive?
More importantly, can our manufactures afford not to make a good looking enclosure?
 

joel

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Gerry some valid points.

My personal take on design and based on years of reviewing is as follows

In the vast majority of cases those overly styled products were far more form than function, whats more they aged really badly.
Classic design stays classic.

Again this is a personal thing, but I have hated every glossy or chromed piece of kit that has passed through my hands. The person who first thought of making gloss speakers for home theatre, that reflects everything off the screen, should be shot on sight in Atmos surround.

I recently finished playing with some PL Audio gear and one of the things I really like was its almost simplistic design. Good classic looks coupled to even better build integrity. Here were products that would last a lifetime
 

Schalk

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Gerry1965 said:
Joel,

you appear to have a passion for the local is lekker manufacturing companies and I applaud you for wanting to drive the quality of our offerings to the next level.  My next set of critiquing is a lot closer to home, but I am not attacking any individual, merely offering a personal viewpoint that may just assist someone out there to look at things a little differently.

Let's consider that which we have to look at every day - yip, the equipment that is staring back at us with a red or blue LED, resting on our shelves, racks, plankies or hidden behind closed doors (in which case no LEDs are staring back).
The visual representation of that consisting of metal, wood or what-have-you for an enclosure is as important to me as the electro mechanical aspects inside.  After all, I don't look at the innards whilst I'm listening to good music, so might as well look at something attractive (my wife isn't always around).
How much does it cost to make a box look really attractive?
More importantly, can our manufactures afford not to make a good looking enclosure?

Taken on the chin by a man who makes bright sounding drab boxes  ;D
Be at the show to have a look at what we are aspiring to ?
Oops! Forgot I also make plankies with innards spilling out...
 

Gerry1965

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Joel,
horses for courses and different tastes reign supreme.  I respect that.
My classic differs from your classic and that's perfectly fine - we are all unique and our tastes differ.  Would be a boring world if we all had the same tastes.

Schalk,
not at this stage.  But do wish you and all the other SA players all the best  :2thumbs:
 

udwadia

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RRankin said:
Nico vd Westhuizen had a nice little shop in our little town called Lifestyle Audio, that's most likely where you heard it. Nico is still very much involved in the local industry, manufacturing one of the brands Joel mentioned in the opening post.
.        Nico is the perfect gentleman and knowledgeable .  I trust him completely. 
 

joel

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On the design front there will be a few surprises from Valve Audio.
You'll have to be there to se them though.
 

achim

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...I think Gerry made some valid points in a very polite way.....but why always beeing polite?
If our intention is to push our local heroes and to achieve further goals, shifting the poles and finally to grow - national and international - critic can be given and taken open, unparfumed or harsh!

The core question is...are these products competitive against or next to existing known and established brands?

Some are - some are not!

One short & unfininished thought about design.... I think there is no excuse for a bad design - and good design starts with eyes for little details - in my eyes a good design and a good product reflecting the pride and love for the own product. And in the best case ...if the brand gets accepted and established some aspects or details of their products becoming a signature - as mentioned by Gerry.
 

croak

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achim said:
...I think Gerry made some valid points in a very polite way.....but why always beeing polite?
If our intention is to push our local heroes and to achieve further goals, shifting the poles and finally to grow - national and international - critic can be given and taken open, unparfumed or harsh!

The core question is...are these products competitive against or next to existing known and established brands?

Some are - some are not!

One short & unfininished thought about design.... I think there is no excuse for a bad design - and good design starts with eyes for little details - in my eyes a good design and a good product reflecting the pride and love for the own product. And in the best case ...if the brand gets accepted and established some aspects or details of their products becoming a signature - as mentioned by Gerry.
Agreed.  The main sales pitch for local keeps being value. Performance.  The logos. 

People by nice things as a reward for working hard.  That emotion adds a different dimension. 
This is where an impeccable matched veneer or a magnificently sculpted/machined chassis adds value.  When just looking at your reward makes you feel a little warm. 

For large appeal, that?s needed.  Imo. 

If you are wanting to be niche (and there are many products successful in their niche with adequate looks) that?s fine.  I am just not sure decimating an already small SA market will allow a reasonable income. 
 

achim

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...oh and regarding Classic design and the mentioned brands as Pathos and Unison.

The Pathos Classic One is an icon and classic product - same as the Unison Research Simply Italy or Triode - or even a better example...look at a Brinkmann Vollverst?rker (Integrated) build in 1993 or build in 2020.
Classic One and Simply Italy or Triode 25 got sold in the many thousands...and they still sell every day.......(maybe not here in SA but in countries where there are even far more brands and products are available).
 

Air

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achim said:
...oh and regarding Classic design and the mentioned brands as Pathos and Unison.

The Pathos Classic One is an icon and classic product - same as the Unison Research Simply Italy or Triode - or even a better example...look at a Brinkmann Vollverst?rker (Integrated) build in 1993 or build in 2020.
Classic One and Simply Italy or Triode 25 got sold in the many thousands...and they still sell every day.......(maybe not here in SA but in countries where there are even far more brands and products are available).
1+

I was going to post pictures of the Pathos and UR products but then I thought I should rather be polite in what is intended to be a constructive thread.  ;)

I think the real problem or challenge for the industry and perhaps even more so for SA manufacturers is that the competition is not amongst each other but against other categories of luxury products. How do we get a share of the discretionary wallet of the consumer? How do we make it sexy to buy hifi again? If we don't pay attention to industrial design then we have no hope at all to grow our industry. Fighting for a bigger slice of the cake is short-sighted and for sure a slow death strategy for the industry if we don't grow the market. Products with good aesthetic appeal give the industry a far better chance than mundane and unimaginative products.

People spend money on watches, cars, carpets, flat screen tvs, cameras, jewellery, handbags, computer bags and much more and that is where our attention should be and we should create products that are as aspirational as the best of these kinds of products. Think of how cooking and the ecosystem around this growing global theme is growing in leaps and bounds. Cooking and household wares are up there with the best designs.
But yes if you are a dedicated follower from all that count is the performance then this view and examples are irrelevant.
 

croak

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Air said:
1+

I was going to post pictures of the Pathos and UR products but then I thought I should rather be polite in what is intended to be a constructive thread.  ;)

I think the real problem or challenge for the industry and perhaps even more so for SA manufacturers is that the competition is not amongst each other but against other categories of luxury products. How do we get a share of the discretionary wallet of the consumer? How do we make it sexy to buy hifi again? If we don't pay attention to industrial design then we have no hope at all to grow our industry. Fighting for a bigger slice of the cake is short-sighted and for sure a slow death strategy for the industry if we don't grow the market. Products with good aesthetic appeal give the industry a far better chance than mundane and unimaginative products.

People spend money on watches, cars, carpets, flat screen tvs, cameras, jewellery, handbags, computer bags and much more and that is where our attention should be and we should create products that are as aspirational as the best of these kinds of products. Think of how cooking and the ecosystem around this growing global theme is growing in leaps and bounds. Cooking and household wares are up there with the best designs.
But yes if you are a dedicated follower from all that count is the performance then this view and examples are irrelevant.
Spot on. 


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scrarfussi

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Personally i find the lack of technical info and story adds to it. Why this design? what are the benefits ? what makes it better not than other speakers but just in terms of acoustics etc
It makes for fun reading and piques the interest. [member=415]GECO[/member] was very good at that on explaining his design of his amplifiers and speakers. Made one want to listen to anything he made or released. It really pushed the DIY community.  Its more than just reviews that interest us tell me that this wood sounds better than that one, Tell me that this power supply design gives out more current and that in turn makes the speakers work better. Maybe Joel should spend sometime with these guys and get these stories and write about them
When I was talking to  Hein at sound structures he explained his design to me made me order a pair not because of how great they look but all the info he gave me.
 

croak

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scrarfussi said:
Personally i find the lack of technical info and story adds to it. Why this design? what are the benefits ? what makes it better not than other speakers but just in terms of acoustics etc
It makes for fun reading and piques the interest. [member=415]GECO[/member] was very good at that on explaining his design of his amplifiers and speakers. Made one want to listen to anything he made or released. It really pushed the DIY community.  Its more than just reviews that interest us tell me that this wood sounds better than that one, Tell me that this power supply design gives out more current and that in turn makes the speakers work better. Maybe Joel should spend sometime with these guys and get these stories and write about them
When I was talking to  Hein at sound structures he explained his design to me made me order a pair not because of how great they look but all the info he gave me.
The spiel.  We actually like it. 


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Nikkel

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Mods where's the like button please?

My grammar don't always allow me to express with the right words but the like button makes short work of it :pray:
 

Nikkel

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I know I might be stepping on a few toes here (maybe all of them at once...) but why not approach our big gun in SA...Takealot? :flame:

Open up the "Audiophile" genre to the masses?

I know there'll be be pro's and cons but surely the exposure would hopefully be awesome...?
 

TimbaLand

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Air said:
1+

I was going to post pictures of the Pathos and UR products but then I thought I should rather be polite in what is intended to be a constructive thread.  ;)

I think the real problem or challenge for the industry and perhaps even more so for SA manufacturers is that the competition is not amongst each other but against other categories of luxury products. How do we get a share of the discretionary wallet of the consumer? How do we make it sexy to buy hifi again? If we don't pay attention to industrial design then we have no hope at all to grow our industry. Fighting for a bigger slice of the cake is short-sighted and for sure a slow death strategy for the industry if we don't grow the market. Products with good aesthetic appeal give the industry a far better chance than mundane and unimaginative products.

People spend money on watches, cars, carpets, flat screen tvs, cameras, jewellery, handbags, computer bags and much more and that is where our attention should be and we should create products that are as aspirational as the best of these kinds of products. Think of how cooking and the ecosystem around this growing global theme is growing in leaps and bounds. Cooking and household wares are up there with the best designs.
But yes if you are a dedicated follower from all that count is the performance then this view and examples are irrelevant.

This too. When I was growing up, biting technics or pioneeer on my township was a status symbol. People that were buying these were not audiophile but people that wanted to show of their lounges as up to date with the right furniture and tech. People don?t do that anymore. They rather spend their money on other luxury goods than hifi. This has seen a huge decrease in appeal of hifi. Sound are are taking over and only us here are buying hifi.
 
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