My own personal "What the heck is wrong with Sony nowadays" well-deserved RANT

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Javier_Huerta, Aug 2, 2002.

  1. Javier_Huerta

    Javier_Huerta Supporting Actor

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    First, an apology. To whom, I don't know. But a well-deserved rant always deserves an apology to whomever might be angered by it.


    I'm what you might call a "Sony kid". During my childhood my dad always had a nice Sony Trinitron set. The ones with the interchangeable remote control (do you remember those?). Grandma loved her "huge" Sony TV. She used to watch soap operas all day in it.

    When I grew up, dad brought a Betamax VCR home. Boy, was it huge and well built. I remember playing Superman over and over and over again. Later he got a SuperBeta VCR, with B1 recording capabilities, Hi-Fi sound and excellent video quality. I laughed while everyone else bought VHS VCRs (the joke was on me, though).

    Still keep fast forwarding. Dad bought a CRT Sony projection system. My jaw dropped when I saw the huge 100" images on the semi-parabolic screen. By that time, Sony was invincible in my book, so I bought a High-Density mini-component system. It came fully loaded: real speakers, cassette tape with Dolby, Metal tape detector, CD player with optical digital output, 30 honest-to-God watt RMS amplifiers and very nice sound.

    I could go on, but you get the idea (I still remember my incredible XR-7070 car stereo).

    Fast forward to today. What do I see?

    * TV sets. I was going to buy a TV set, and was going to get a Vega. No way, says the salesman. Get a Tantus by Samsung. I laugh. He shows me the models. They already have line-doublers, hi-def inputs, high resolution, a much better image than any Sony, and a little bigger price tag.

    * Mini components. Sony minicomponents make me laugh nowadays. They look like something out of "Men in Black II". Full of "turbines", weird light shows, and the flimsiest build quality I've ever seen.

    * Playstation II. Don't even get me started on that one... no anti-aliasing! GameCube and Xbox make this one seem like a fossil. The only thing that keeps it alive is the incredible software support.

    * Video tape recorders. They are not even an important player anymore.

    * DVD players. Middle market player.

    Now, I have to admit. They still have a couple of aces under their sleeve. But it seems they don't know what to do when things go right with them.

    Case in point #1: Minidisc. They could have completely wiped out cassettes from the face of this earth. Instead, they chose to focus on a marketing campaign that never emphasized the strengths of minidiscs (recordable digital format), instead concentrating on pre-recorded media. People didn't want to buy yet another audio source. MiniDisc failed in the states.

    Case in point #2: NetMD. Since MP3 is all the rage, they release a new "system" (ATRAC3? How original) and define an interface to connect MD's to PCs. The result? Useless. I can't record in ATRAC Type-R and transfer to my MD player. I can't download music I already had in my machine. All I can do is transfer music from my MD to my computer and back. Wow.

    Also, my "new" MZ-505 player is the flimsiest piece of hardware I've ever had the displeasure of owning. My old MZ-R900 is a much better piece of hardware, and even without ATRAC Type-R it sounds MUCH better. Why? Because Sony actually put a decent amplifier inside it! The MZ-505 can't even power a line-input in an amplifier!

    Case in point #3: SACD. Leave it to Sony to come up with the better system (just like Betamax) and then screw up completely in the marketing department. Had Sony developed fully its promise of "1 layer SACD, 1 layer CD", I would already own a couple of SACDs. As it is, noone stocks them because of their incompatibility with the rest.

    And, since I can play them on a normal DVD-V, I already have 3 DVD-As.

    How many more blunders will Sony make until they realize they have EVERYTHING to make incredible products? Why do they refuse to do so?

    Sigh.

     
  2. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    To be honest, IMHO, sony's kinda going the way of BOSE... just ever so slightly... Their stuff is pretty good, but overpriced.

    PS2 IMHO was overrated, and totally hyped (but hey, it worked for them, they dont care)

    Im looking for a cheap minidisc player, and i was planning on geting the MZ-505 when i have the money.. But after seeing your review of it, im going back to the drawing board. I dont use ordinary earbud headphones, i have a pair of DJ-style ear-cups (from SONY of all places), which require more juice to get a good volume, so from what you say, i doubt the MZ505 will do much good
     
  3. Javier_Huerta

    Javier_Huerta Supporting Actor

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    DO NOT get the MZ-505. 5 mW per channel is not going to make it with your headphones. I assume you own a set of V6's. Besides, it really looks as cheap as it is. Maybe you'd better be off with Sharp.
    My MZ-R900 has a 5 mW per channel amp, too, but it sounds great. I don't know what's wrong with the MZ-505 amp, but it's completely outclassed by my older model's one.
    Heck, my old MZ-1 sounds better than my new MZ-505, and it's a 10 year old model!
    You might want to get a portable headphone amplifier such as the Airhead or Total Airhead (www.headphone.com). I use my MZ-R900 with a set of Etymotic ER4-S earphones and it sounds a lot better than my home system's headphone output.
     
  4. Don Black

    Don Black Screenwriter

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    Sony has a measly 1% profit margin on its consumer electronics lines. The overwhelming majority of its profits comes from Playstation-based businesses and their new focus is on online gaming (e.g., EverQuest) because of its profit potential.
     
  5. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    No, i wish i had the V6's.. Mine are the cheap MDR-V150... but still, they'll require more power to get some good audio...
     
  6. Greg Haynes

    Greg Haynes Supporting Actor

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    The only thing issue I have with Sony is that they try to be a part of everything. The want to make products for everything. By doing this they start focusing less on quality on more on quantity. But they are #1 in name regonition in the entire world. Thats tough to do, so their marketing is definitely there. I know its a cut-thoat market but the need to somehow slowdown and start focusing more on quality and customer service then trying to come out with Sony chapstick or Sony motor oil[​IMG]
     
  7. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    Greg: Hmm, that doesnt mean they're destined to lose focus on quality... It didnt stop Yamaha and Mitsubishi from producing quality products...
     
  8. John Watson

    John Watson Screenwriter

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    Sony? Isn't almost any name in a brand driven economy a front for a financial conglomerate with expertise mostly in marketing, with lottsa legal fire power to kill copying, and financial muscle to enforce prices, ranking way above quality of any product or service. Sony would push say, both Celine Dion, and a sound system, at us. Its a fluke when a good product comes out of an unlikely source.
     
  9. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Cinematographer

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    Not all companies have trouble juggling multiple product lines. As mentioned, Yamaha is one of the few companies that has more or less consistent quality along their entire product line whether it's A/V equipment, musical instruments or motorcycles (now THAT'S diversified!)

    Unfortunately, I've also seen the overall quality of Sony products decline over the years. Their professional grade products may still be as good today as they were for years, but the performance and build quality of their consumer products have become highly inconsistent over the last twenty or thirty years.

    An example is their trinitron technology. Their picture tubes with the "piano wire" shadow mask is still among the best designs out there not only exploited on their TV sets, but also exploited by other companies on their computer monitors. However, the equipment built around that revolutionary picture tube is often substandard and poorly configured. A few years ago, it was very difficult to find a Sony TV that didn't have some amount of tilt in the image. And there wasn't any easy way to correct this anomaly.

    It's because of elements like this that I've stopped trusting Sony products in general. I just have to spend a few minutes with a Sony product to find an inconsistency in it's design, disqualifying it from any further consideration.

    When I think about it, I was very lucky with my then-expensive Sony S500D DVD player. The on-screen menus are very basic, but they are also straightforward and not cluttered with colorful and incomprehensible designs. The remote's slippery cursor pad was fixed with a square piece of self-adhesive cork, and the lip-sync problem was resolved with a simple ROM upgrade while under warranty.
     
  10. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Not really sure if this thread belongs here in AH--but neither does it seem to quite fit in at Audio/Video Sources or in "Display Devices."

    As for me, Sony is fine.

    Remember, Mitsubishi also manufactures aircraft and automobiles (Mitsu gave us the legendary Zero, which seemed invincible during WWII, until the P-51 Mustang entered the Pacific Theater). And in addition to musical instruments (which gave them their start), motorcycles, and audio equipment, Yamaha also builds Formula 1 racing cars and one of the most expensive production cars, the OW-1 (aimed at the McClaren F1 crowd)--got a spare million for a car?

    Big deal. Product diversification. Makes sense in any economy.
     
  11. Javier_Huerta

    Javier_Huerta Supporting Actor

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    I agree, diversification is fine, as long as you keep quality consistent across the line.

    My rant came across because I was looking for arguments (both pro and against) Sony's lack of quality. I remember Sony used to be the benchmark in whatever enterprise they started. Now it's just another mass market player.

    Still, I guess their "brand cachet" comes from years and years of technology innovation. And having a good brand name, I guess, means better profit than a company with no brand name recognition, yet excellent products.

    I'd love for Sony to be different... if so, I'd already own a SACD, my new MD player would be a high quality model, and I'd be getting fair prices on electronics. Still, I guess success has made the company lose its initial focus and drive.
     
  12. Justin Doring

    Justin Doring Screenwriter

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    Sony makes some good gear, and sony makes some bad gear. I'll just leave it at that.
     

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