Made in Japan components....are they better than others?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by SteveSpoon, Jun 21, 2002.

  1. SteveSpoon

    SteveSpoon Stunt Coordinator

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    This question has been bugging me for a long time, so guess there's no time like the present to finally ask. I'm under the assumption (that word has gotten me in a lot of trouble over the ages!!) that made in Japan receivers, amps, etc., are better than componenents made in China, Malaysia (see lots of receivers made there now). Am I assuming correctly, or doesn't it matter?

    I purchased my Panasonic DVD player (DVD RV-65) last year simply because it was made in Japan (plus, I've had good luck with Panasonic stuff). Seems like a lot of the other DVD players were either made in China or Malaysia. I obviously don't know a whole lot about audio stuff, but always thought it was better to stick with electronic equipment made in Japan vs. most other countries.

    And one more question I hope somebody can answer: What is my RV-65 lacking that the new DVD players have now? I stick a disc in it, it runs to my cheapo Technics SA-DX950 receiver, and sound comes out of all the speakers. What is this player missing that the new ones have? MP3, etc., I don't know what all the termonolgy means.

    Thanks a lot.

    Steve

    A proud owner of a Yamaha M-80 amp, C-80 preamp, GE-60 equalizer, Nak RX-505, T-85 Tuner.....but deep down, realizes he isn't worthy to own any of it!!
     
  2. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Without tearing this entire issue apart, generally speaking, if a player such as Sony or Yamaha, or whomever constructs factories in other countries such as Korea, China, Malaysia, wherever, it is generally done so to gain an economic advantage. The factories used to make the products utilize advanced manufacturing techniques and employ statistical quality control to ensure the products are just as good (no worse) than those manufactured say in Japan. There are reputations and images to maintain. For lesser known companies, some of which may represent the audiophile hi-end, the production quotas are much much less, and economies of scale are not able to be taken advantage of, hence, the prices are correspondingly higher. In these cases, one can find poorly constructed units irrespective of country of origin be it China, US, France, etc. Smaller companies may rely upon some outsourcing of components such as circuit boards, with final assembly, often by individuals in their respective country. What sort of quality control is employed, I can't say. Some shoot for an ISO certification, some state they are made in ISO accordance. These are 2 quite different things though.
    In the end, if it turns out more defective receivers are being produced by say JVC, they'll see it in their bottom line and if they choose not to address it, undoubtably their market share will fall and that image which they've spent years cultivating, may never quite recover.
    So in genteral, your statement or position is a bit of an oversimplification.
    As far as your other questions, I think you can do some research to find out if the features of other brands are of a desireable nature that would compel you to change what you have now.
     
  3. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    Chu is on target in assessing why Japanese manufacturers turn to factories in Malaysia and Singapore, China and elsewhere in Asia to take advantage of a globalizing economy.

    I've read that some Japanese companies are even relocating or establishing RESEARCH&DEVELOPMENT labs in mainland China.

    And who would've believed a few years ago that some popular and innovative speakers would come/be assembled from Thailand. (Hint: NORH)
     
  4. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    indeed Bill! I speak also as one who has had personal experience with Japanese companies that have built or bought manufacturing plants in the US. As a matter of self-interest they will not necessarily rely upon data gathered here but will have product sent back to them on a regular, and spot-basis, by someone who comes over from Japan, quite unannounced, to randomly select product. Tests are then performed at the parent company and they're not always pretty!
    I forgot to mention other reasons have to do with issues of tariff and currency fluctuations.
     
  5. Justin Doring

    Justin Doring Screenwriter

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    I'm somewhat reluctant to buy Japanese electronic goods, because their North American and European counterparts are usually better. For items like monitors and DVD players, however, Japan is basically your only choice unless you want to spend big bucks. When I do buy a product from a Japanese company I want it made in Japan (or in the U.S. as is the case with their monitors).

    For people who say there is no difference in quality between a Japanese product made in Japan and a Japanese product made in China or Malaysia, I would ask you why the flagship products from Japanese companies are made in Japan, yet their cheaper products are usually made in China or Malaysia.

    "There is no difference." Rrrriiiiight.
     
  6. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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    a friend who's an engineer suggested that the difference is that the Japanese "get it right first time", i.e. they test everything, from the QC process to the products themselves, to death, to ensure that it's right first time out. whereas in their other plants, whether China or Malaysia, they implement the same QC process, but it may or may not be as strictly adhered to, and they accept a small number of returns as being the "cost of doing business".

    for flagship products, isn't that a slightly different kettle of fish, being that the components may be individually tested before installation into the products, adding another huge layer of cost, whereas "basic" products the company just takes the word of the component supplier that they are up to scratch?
     
  7. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Justin: I have no idea what particular goods it is that are 'better' but the following statement by you,
     
  8. Aslam Imran

    Aslam Imran Second Unit

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  9. ColinM

    ColinM Cinematographer

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    Kanban, six sigma, etc. indeed.

    I'm an APICS certified inventory controller for a plastic card industry leader, and the Japanese way of manufacturing and doing business makes our factory look ridiculous. (Olympus, however, needs to get their act together)

    As far as HT, I have a 2nd gen DVD from Sony made in Japan, the DVP-S300 (No DTS, no Component, $450. What was I thinking?). 5 years strong and never a problem at all, even after 3 moves.

    It may be 50% legend / myth, 50% truth, but all else being = I'd take the Japanese built version vs. all else, unless it's USA.

    - C

    (800 posts - WHOOP!)
     
  10. Eric_Lakes

    Eric_Lakes Agent

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    2 Arguments on why Japanese made specs are better than outsourced 3rd world manafacturing plants.

    1) We can all agree that the education level in Japan is far better than the outsourced countries. And that the average quality of life in Japan is also much more advanced (for example: A Japanese family might have 1 car, 2 TVs, cell phones, HT, etc... While the average Malaysian might not have any of these technological conviences). So what does this mean.. You take the average Japanese worker, high school or better education, used to the technology, understands and sees the use of the products that they are make, vs the average Malaysian worker, no education taken straight from the "Jungle" and has no idea what they are making. You ask them to assemble these electronic parts, which one would have a better understanding of how important Quality Control is?

    2) Fault Tolerence levels. There was an article I read a while back comparing Ford and Mazda Manafacturing Plants. They were making transmissions for cars. Both plants followed the same design blue prints both plants were new and comparable in almost every way. Both plants meet every single fault tolerence level in the manafacturing process... BUT... the Ford made transmission was never as smooth as the Mazda transmission. Why did this occur? It turned out that the for 100s of individual parts that made up the transmission, there were 100s of different fault tolerences. Every part fell within there fault tolerence. But Ford was more relaxed on there fault tolerence. If one part was 1% too big and the adjoing part was 1% too small, that made a 2% difference in fit. Every part fell within specs, but the difference spread in both directions. Mazda was more stringent on their specs. Almost every part was made exactly to spec, with very little divergence. Moral to the story, 1% here and there quickly adds up.
     
  11. ChrisAG

    ChrisAG Supporting Actor

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    That explains why my Ford Probe GT (Ford body, Mazda mechanicals, built in a joint Ford/Mazda plant in the US) is simultaneously the most reliable Ford product and the least reliable Mazda product, according to Consumer Reports repair histories.
     
  12. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Eric...
    1) If you think the factories are being run by Malaysians taken out of the jungle, or uneducated Chinese, Koreans, you're sadly mistaken. These modern manufacturing plants employ skilled, educated workers and scientists and the level of automation utilizing robotics is remarkable. Regardless of where the plant is situated, you don't need very many skilled people to produce a lot of product.
    2) Ford owns either a significant stake or more of Mazda. I don't recall. I'm not familiar with the story but simple control plots would point out the spreads. If you recall the publication I'd be interested in reading it.
    One of the goals in manufacturing is to tighten those plots so they don't travel out of their upper/lower control limits. This leads to greater consistency.

    In the end, one needs access to data to substantiate such a claim of attributing 'quality' to the country where it was made. Otherwise it becomes hearsay and may lead to erroneous assumptions.
     
  13. Eric_Lakes

    Eric_Lakes Agent

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    Chu,

    If you dont like my first 2 arguments, then here's another one. How about Total Cost. The labor outside Japan might be soo cheap that to recall or refurbish a part is more expensive than to make a new one. Therefore to spend lots of money to make the plant and personal equivalant to the ones in Japan would cost more than to simple replace all defective products.

    BTW: The article I was refering to with Ford and Mazda was in a Management text book that I read when I was in college.
     
  14. Bill Cheng

    Bill Cheng Auditioning

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    To all,
    I agreed with Chu that the factories are being run by asian countries are NOT taken out of the jungle!!! If one think the people in these asian countries are "jungle" man than it is racism!!!!
    Back to the topic, I think there is no answer for which is better than the others, in fact all of my HT equipment are japanese model, Denon 3802 amp., 3800 DVD, Sony 11HT. On the other hand, all my audio equipment are from the rest of the world, CJ pre and power amp from USA, Sonus Faber speaker.
    To conclude what I said, there are a only few high end audion equipment from Japan, but their home video products are very GOOD.
    Bill[​IMG]
     
  15. Kevin. W

    Kevin. W Screenwriter

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    WHen I bought my new Panasonic RP56 DVD player the salesman tried to sell me it on the fact that it was made in Japan. I almost felt like laughing. I base my decisions on a combo of Price/features/quality. The RP56 was bought because the price was $100 cheaper than anyone else in the area was selling it for. And it was definitely worth the money.

    Kevin
     
  16. Justin Doring

    Justin Doring Screenwriter

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    Chu Gai, your statement that my comments are "misguided and appears based upon a lack of understanding of both R&D as well as economics" is amusing. I don't need a pedantic pseudo R&D or economics lesson from you.

    I'm not saying that third world nations produce "bad" goods, nor am I saying that the money companies save is not passed on to the consumer, but I am saying that electronic goods produced in these nations are inferior to those produced in Japan.

    You write that Outlaw, "recognizing they need to bring the 950 in at a particular target price, they likely shaved a few corners in R&D and got nicked." No, most likely they shaved a few corners by building the pre/pro in Malaysia and the problems stem from poor quality control, not design. A state of the art factory manned by the most brilliant and capable person is no better than its labor force. As in audio, the weakest link holds true.

    Could you also please clarify these two contradictory comments? "Again tens of millions are saved by having them made in a country with cheaper labor." This is followed by, "These modern manufacturing plants employ skilled, educated workers and scientists."

    Aslam, You write that my comment about North American and European goods v. Japanese goods, "is mostly untrue. It was untrue for cars and its untrue for electronics. [. . .] Like it or not we Americans and Europeans are behind the Japanese in manufacturing technology and automation."

    Given the car analogy, if your view is true, please explain why, for example, a $28,000 base price Munich made BMW 325i is infinitely superior to a $28,000 base price Japanese made Infiniti I35? Lets talk materials, fit and finish, and build quality shall we?

    Also, if your comment is true, please explain why Japanese electronics, relatively speaking, sound terrible compared to their American and European counterparts.
     
  17. ling_w

    ling_w Second Unit

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  18. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Well I'm sorry if you felt my brief answers were pedantic. Perhaps it comes from some sort of misunderstanding. My comments are specifically directed towards issue of quality where a Japanese company creates and/or sources out manufacturing in a country other than Japan.
     
  19. StevenK

    StevenK Second Unit

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  20. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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    Whatever you do Justin, don't bring sonically superior sounding anything to an argument with Chu. Based on his posts, everything sounds the same to him and its on you to prove scientifically why the sound different.

    My experience tells me that Japanese made things are always better built, longer lasting, and sound superior but I have no scientific proof to post nor do I give a rats butt to post it.
     

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