reference amplifer from genesis, manufacturer of audiophile reference loudspeaker systems

what do you think of brands which were once dead or having its founder left the company but now being resurrected with new owners?

a few names come quickly to mind - mark levinson, vimak, counterpoint, genesis, micromega. i am not sure if mark levinson is still with red rose but he is definitely not making headlines as much as he was in the 80s. to be blunt about it, mark levinson products today are no longer as hot-selling as they were in the past.

vimak and counterpoint - the brand name, registered trademark - have respectively been bought over by the chinese. vimak, in particular, have come out with some new products which offer outstanding values. but it is left to be seen whether they can overcome the stigma of being a MIC product.

micromega is a disaster story. having resurrected their life with the new "aria" cd player 2 years ago, the owner absconded a large amount of money from their dealers (including our malaysian dealer) and disappeared overnight! so we won't be seeing micromega for a while yet.

genesis by the brilliant arnie nudell (he who invented "infinity" speakers in the 80s) is another story. bought over by a singaporean, gary leonard koh, genesis tried to stage a comeback but all attempts were futile as arnie nudell fell out with gary koh a couple of years later and left the company.

the latest i read is gary koh has ventured into amplifiers. the reason, he stated, “as loudspeaker manufacturers, we are at the very end of the chain, and at the mercy of all the electronic bits that come before”.

bravo to all these "new" brands but it is not easy to emulate the success of the original founder, who is the brainchild of the brand.

can you imagine krell without dan agostino? audio research with william z. johnson? magnepan without jim winey? unthinkable!


aboon said...

I think Not one man make a company.
What is important is rather than buying a brand ,a lot of are looking for a particular sound.Krell is krell because Dan is a perfectionist.And the story goes on .I think The Hi-Fi industry is the least brand conscious of all the industries..Having said that ,Could you imagine listening to Gucci's speaker?

Sam Elliot said...

To me I am ok if you want to revive a defunct company but you must follow the fouding father"s sound.If not might as well start from scratch.To the best of my Knowledge Mark Livinson Is still with red rose though his main interest is mainly producing SACD ,the "pure"form" not the Hybrid one.He also design For Cello Audio A superb range of electronics not available in M"sia.In Fact ,The first SACD ever recorded was played on cello electonics driving the Wilson WATT/Puppy speakers

fion said...

So Sad about Micromega,their CD player was an exceptional value for money. I think The Hifi Business is such a cut throat business that a lot of the designers 'ran'out at the first opportunity to make big bucks.,ML was a classic example....

aeron said...

WE buy a certain brand because of what we believe in them .Unfortunately a lot of the brands are in it for the money.I notice that the trend is different though with the Japanese Ultra Hi end brands{47 labs,Audionote Etc>.Those people do it for the love of music.They rarely souled out and they rarely fail too.Cant go wrong if you follow your passion

ricky said...

Since it has been takenover by Harman International ,Mark Levinson has lost it"s sound.What made ML so great in the past was that they sounded so anologue.This was achieved as a result of adherence to Pure class A designand no feedback circuit.I think most people would agree That Simaudio Moon series sounded the mostlike the old Mark Levinson.Try To search For Moon Amp In Audiogon ,You would be lucky to find one in the 2nd hand Market.So again it is not abt the brand,it's about the sound.

alain said...

as the saying goes "what's in a name?Everything......"
In HiFi it normally means everything else but the original sound.
Hey Maggielurva,why dont YOU start something I could feel your passion,YOU should revive something.....

mafan said...

A lot of us audiophiles are afflicted with sentimantilism.That is why we tend to hang on to a certain brand instead of using our ears when we upgrade.Ownership change does not mean a definite death.Look at Quad,the chinese owner has taken them to a greater height than the WAlkers could ever dream of. The main thing is having an owner who love the original sound instead of being in it for a quick buck.

maggielurva 愛美姬 said...

guys, quite varied opinions there.

my take is that for some of us "older" audiophiles, sentimentalism plays a part, like what mafan said. but to quote frank sinatra - "don't mistake new as hip" - newer things don't necessary sound better. yes, modern solid-state amps sound better than the older gen in terms of resolution, bass, dynamics etc etc but tube amps? i don't think so. i know all about it because i am an audio research guy (and i have played enough modern tube amps to reach this conclusion) and i am hanging on to their older tube amps.

true, chinese companies may have more marketing bullets but do quad sell as many as their heyday? and command the same attention as their ESLs of yore?

in the 80s, there were not many brands hence only a few brands really stood out but in today's arena, there are many more new players fighting for the same piece of shrinking pie. but the same few brands still stand the test of time, altho' their house sound have change somewhat.

to alain, i rather be the end-user of hifi than a manufacturer or dealer. as fion rightly said, it is a cut-throat biz fighting for a shrinking pie.

to sam eliot, since you know much about mark levinson, may i ask - is this the same mark levinson who married kim cattrall (samantha jones in "sex and the city") and wrote a sex manual together with kim? i thought no because this mark levinson apparently is a jazz musician and not a hifi guru. if that is true, no wonder mark doesn't not have time for hifi (cos kim cattrall is such a nympho!) hahahaha. just joking ;-)

thanks guys for sharing!

sam elliot said...

Hey dude I love the man!
For a more complete story on Mark Levinson,Please read Mike Fremer story on the man in May 2001 issue of Stereophile,It will make you weep
Wikipaedia also has an interesting short biography on him..