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ARSCLIST  December 2006

ARSCLIST December 2006

Subject:

Re: Clarifying the MAM-A gold comment

From:

Mike Richter <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 11 Dec 2006 20:10:08 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

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text/plain (81 lines)

Steven C. Barr(x) wrote:
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Mike Richter" <[log in to unmask]>
>> Soon after, the company folded. They could not compete on price with 
>> schlock from the Orient; they could not compete on reputation with the 
>> high-end product. I fear that without supplement, the wanderings of 
>> Mitsui/MAM gold will continue until a cliff is encountered and quality 
>> audio media vanish.
>>
> IF the "free market" works the way it is supposed to in theory (and note
> that I make my comment as a NON-fan of it...!) there should be the following
> result:
> 
> 1) There presumably exists (must, for this to happen) a body of users
> (aka "demographic") to whom quality is of sufficient importance to
> reduce the importance of price.
> 
> 2) Given the truth of (1) above, there will arise a manufacturer who
> specializes in making available discs of consistently very high quality
> and predicted life span...in order to sell them at a higher price to
> the above-defined demographic.
> 
> There are any number of products where there exists a minority demographic
> who demand and require a higher quality and/or dependability than does the
> average consumer thereof. In almost all cases, there arises a supplier who
> can fill that/those need(s). What can happen, though, is that the general
> public start purchasing these "high-end brands" based on their anecdotal
> repuation; in many cases, the increased production leads to a decrease
> in quality!
> 
> I have a personal example here. Among my posessions is a c.1946 E.H. Scott
> 800-B radio (the last model designed under the supervision of Mr. Scott).
> These sets were intended to be as close to perfect as a commercially-sold
> radio could be, and "hang the cost!" Mine has 24 tubes, chrome-plated
> chassis, a 15" coaxial dual-driver speaker, a solid-mahogany cabinet
> (veneered with decorative mahogany as well!) and cost over $1,500 at
> a time when a new Chevrolet cost $1,200.
> 
> I don't know the history involved, but not too long after the 800-B was
> introduced, E.H. Scott left his firm and it was sold to other owners,
> who tried to use the name to market ordinary high-end sets and quickly 
> went under...

I hope we're not belaboring this subject, but at the risk of that, let 
me add some notes.

Your first point is well taken, which is why I suggested medical media, 
where quality and longevity are mandated by the process and, in some 
cases, by law.

The second is less clear. If the market is not large enough to support 
reasonable cost - say ten times that of standard product - then there 
may well be no manufacturer. There was a time when RCA would press a 
custom disc if the customer had the high but standard price; that day is 
long gone, presumably because that price with all its overhead was 
excessive.

Your radio example is valid. Presumably, Scott built the 800-B as a 
proof of principle and as a personal indulgence. My guess is that its 
$1500 price did not mean profit for the company. At that price, there 
would have been too few purchasers to do great harm to the company.

But the CD-R manufacturer of whom I wrote was more comparable with a 
Haffler trying to work in a high-production environment. You can make a 
radio or a preamp by hand, but it takes massive capital investment to 
make CD-Rs. In fact, it takes ever more investment as the quality target 
rises regardless of how many units are sold. And there is another factor 
for the newcomer to the quality market: proof. You can prove many of the 
virtues of your Scott 800-B by listening and by measurement. But how 
does one prove the longevity of a CD-R? And how are claims made credible 
versus such established champions: T-Y and MAM?

Perhaps lining up with the few users of quality in quantity we will be 
able still to find archival media in several years. But the archival 
market alone is unlikely (IMHO) to suffice.

Mike
-- 
[log in to unmask]
http://www.mrichter.com/

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