Marantz's European Marketing Manager: Stereo is "a dead dog". :o(

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by KeithH, Jul 13, 2002.

  1. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    First let me say that I am not sure where this thread fits best.
    In the news section of the August 2002 issue of What Hi*Fi? (UK), I found the following headline:
    This comes from one of the pioneers of high-end stereo reproduction. My parents' vintage Marantz Model 7 tube pre-amp and Model 8B tube power amp sit in my den. As I look at them, I can't believe that a representative of this company would make such an abhorrent statement. Even if this is true, don't say it! Just focus on home-theater products and move on! This certainly is not my father's Marantz. Saul Marantz must be rolling over in his grave.
     
  2. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Well, Keith, take solace in the fact that the company started by the great and legendary Saul Marantz is not the same company that bears his good name today. It has gone through three changes in ownership since Mr. Marantz was producing those legendary products you mentioned (along with the Model 10B FM tuner and the Model 9 stereophonic power amp).

    At least this current incarnation of Marantz possesses a reputation for excellence.

    The old audio industry as we knew it is fading. Home theater is taking home entertainment--including musical reproduction--into the future.

    Which means the current stalwarts--Audio Research Corporation, conrad-johnson, the like--must either adapt to the new reality or die.

    After all, Krell is doing quite nicely as a home-theater electronics OEM.
     
  3. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Jack, as I said, this is not my father's Marantz. I realize that home theater has taken over at the low-fi and mid-fi levels for the most part. Just go into a Best Buy or Circuit City store. Of course, just because people have practically no choice but to buy a home-theater receiver at these stores does not mean that they all have surround-sound systems. Anyway, I have always hoped that the market for high-end stereo would remain. The market for conrad-johnson, Mark Levinson, Krell, etc. is rather small to begin with, so they might be able to continue focusing on stereo. Still, companies in any industry have to adapt to survive. I would just hate to see these companies do away with stereo components altogether.
     
  4. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    So I guess we can assume that Marantz will no longer give a flying hoot what their new x300 line of receivers (and hopefully a pre/pro) sounds like in 2 channel stereo? Shame on them.

    Quick story: Maybe 4-6 months ago, I saw a little blurb in S&V about how all the innovation was occurring in multichannel audio and not stereo. I pointed out to the dolts, that in the very same issue, the new product announcements for stereo components outnumbered those for multichannel. (MP3, stereo SACD, main speakers, etc.) Editor did actually wrote me back and admitted that stereo will always exist, just that multichannel is being *added*.

    Did any of you respond to the "polls" thread asking about SACD/DVD-A? (Not an HTF poll, but to an outside link.) I was very happy to see that out of the choices for what to use multichannel music for, that "just do stereo right" was by far the preferred choice.
     
  5. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Kevin, I make no secret that I greatly prefer stereo to multi-channel audio. The reason is that multi-channel audio is rarely done well, at least not at this point. When we are presented with a gimmicky, middle-of-the-band mix, I feel as though there was no rhyme or reason to why the mixing engineer chose that mix. There are an infinite number of middle-of-the-band mixes that one can create. However, there is really only one ambient-effect mix to be created -- the one that is realistic, meaning the one where the surround channels add realism to the presentation (e.g., crowd noise or hall effects) as opposed to distracting one from musicians at the front soundstage. I appreciate middle-of-the-band surround mixes as an occasional change of pace, but I will not be a fan of surround-sound music until and if the vast majority of releases are done right. Thus, long live stereo!
    I still think the majority of consumers will continue to run stereo systems. They might buy surround-sound receivers due to a lack of affordable stereo receivers and integrated amps, but they could very well use just two speakers. Likewise, the majority of consumers could buy DVD players for CD playback due to a relative lack of affordable dedicated CD players, but they will still listen to CDs rather than move over to surround-sound SACD or DVD-Audio. The majority of consumers are happy with the sound of CDs. They see no reason to adopt SACD or DVD-Audio. Then there are practical considerations regarding the number of speakers. Many people still do not or cannot spend money on a surround-sound speaker system. Others do not want the "extra" speakers taking up space in their living rooms. Still others do not have the space for extra speakers. As a result of all of these factors, I feel stereo will remain the dominant format with the masses for a long time to come.
    In light of the current climate that is seeing DVD-Video become ubiquitous and the statement published in What Hi*Fi?, it seems likely that Marantz will phase out production of all dedicated stereo components, or at the very least, seriously cut back such production. However, that is not to say that Marantz will completely forget its roots, which lie in stereo. Marantz surround-sound receivers are known to be among the best for stereo playback at a given price point. Hopefully Marantz will continue this newer tradition. After all, they should, because music matters. [​IMG]
     
  6. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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    Marantz is doing what they gotta do like it or not.
     
  7. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Lewis, I respectfully disagree. I meant to say consumers, not audiophiles. I know very few people who have surround-sound set-ups. Some have DVD players connected to stereo systems or even to their TVs. I am not saying that surround sound is not a factor in peoples' purchases. However, I still feel that the majority of folks will not entertain surround-sound set-ups for the reasons I stated.
     
  8. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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  9. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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  10. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

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    Keith,
    I don't want to believe it, but I feel audio is somewhat taking a step backwards. As for me I will listen to stereo for the rest of my life.
    Why backwards?
    1) Friends at work and acquantices frequently say things like "why do you listen to CDs? Just burn MP3s and you can listen to 100s of songs on a single CDR. You're silly"
    2) Same friends - "I really like bose, you should get some of those if you are that much into music"
    3) "I love listening to the five channel stereo on my new HT, it even has a setting for rock arena. its awesome cause all the speakers play"
    4) "my DVD player plays MP3s, cds are useless to me now because I can get all my music from the internet"
    Let's just hope the current trend doesn't continue. thankfully my close friends enjoy music and consider mucking with a good stereo recording a sin. Maybe that's why they're my close friends. [​IMG]
     
  11. Mark R O

    Mark R O Stunt Coordinator

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    Kieth, if it were a just world and all was as it should be, your assessment of the industries future trends would be dead on.
    Firstly, multi channel products dominate the current consumer market, having steam rollered 2 channel years ago.
    In contrast to those in your circle, I cannot think of anyone I know that DOES NOT have surround and home theater dedicated gear. Try to buy a stereo receiver from any of the big name electronic corps. Some may still make ONE, always entry level $139.00 garbage though. No one but us buys a seperate CD unit when they already have a dvd that plays them. Find a digital format capable piece of gear (other than a cd player) that DEFAULTS to stereo mode. (MP3 excluded, still a toy. Guarantee that it will be multi channel before it sounds good!)
    The Marantz statement wasn't an opinion, it was an acknowlegement. To their credit, they were the last hold out in their marketplace. Again, in contrast, I don't think the average consumer can afford NOT to buy multi channel HT gear. It is cost prohibitive for most to have dedicated two channel pieces, and even harder to justify. Simply isn't an issue for the majority of consumers.

    Obviously, high end is still stereo, but that is the audiophile market, and we are barely tolerated outside of our peer group, much less catered to.
    I agree with Lewis, that 2 channel even in the high end is has one foot in the grave and one on a peel. The software itself is being challenged with new formats by it's own vendors! The main dynamic slowing stereo's demise (IMHO) is economic. Few audiophiles I know can afford the amp or speakers that they REALLY want as it is, let alone pay for 3 more channels worth! In closing I point to the indicator that most strongly supports my opinion, the name of the forum you are in.
     
  12. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Mark and John,

    Perhaps I am wrong, but I am just giving an opinion. It is based on what I see as practical for a lot of people and what I see around me. High-end stereo will always at best be a limited pursuit. However, I can still see a lot of people buying home-theater receivers but only using them in stereo for movies. I see it all the time. Perhaps this will change. I certainly am not denouncing surround sound. Rather, I am saying that it may not take over peoples' listening systems the way that stereo did many years ago. We'll see what happens.

    I had said that stereo receivers are becoming an endangered species. It is very hard to find them in stores these days. However, again, just because people buy home-theater receivers does not mean they will pair them with a 5.1-channel speaker system.

    Getting back to the high-end, I feel that many of these companies will continue to support dedicated two-channel components. However, we may see more and more of them delve into home-theater. Many of these companies already have. However, they have not yet abandoned stereo.

    We are really talking about two things here. I feel high-end stereo will survive because there are still plenty of audiophiles who greatly prefer stereo. With the masses, I feel stereo will survive or practical reasons, as I had stated above. Again, we shall see. One thing I am quite confident of is that stereo music will still be the standard method of playback for years to come, whether it be in CD or MP3 form, or some other format. I still don't see the masses being drawn to surround-sound music like they have taken to stereo over the years. Once again, we shall see.


    Lewis said:

     
  13. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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    The figures I quoted came from CEDIA and it based on the sales reports from the dealers it reperesents,which may not even include e-commerce.So it's not a matter of belief,however one can choose to "belive" what ever they want,it's a personal choice.

    I can see that this is your opinion,but based on what fact?
    For instance I don't know anyone besides you who have that many CD players,but that doesn't mean there aren't many more?
    The same goes for the afformentioned surround set ups,as how it's being implemented by it's users is anybody's guess.
    And that's all I had to say.[​IMG]
     
  14. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Lewis, I saw the point about how you don't know people listening habits. However, I did not appreciate the whole "don't pretend" part directed towards me. You started this. I gave my opinion and never packaged it as anything but an opinion. You took on an attitude that I was pretending to know peoples' listening habits; that I was stating facts. I was doing nothing of the sort. If my views don't mesh with yours, it is because we have different opinions.

    I did not appreciate your tone. I have seen a questionable tone in some your posts lately and I do not appreciate it. Don't direct it towards me. I don't deserve it. I gave an opinion, and in return, you gave me attitude. Don't take my opinions and throw them back like I am giving facts. And, don't attack me for no good reason. If you think I am attacking you, it is only because you fired the first shot. Now, let's put an end to this.

    The remainder of this thread should be a healthy debate or commentary on the state of stereo and surround sound.
     
  15. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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  16. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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  17. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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