New european "chinese built" turntables

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raphaelmabo
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Re: New european "chinese built" turntables

Post by raphaelmabo » 01 Feb 2019 23:52

Now, regarding Elac - the Miracord 50 is sourced from China yes, but their 70 and 90 models are their own designs. The 50 is a low cost entry to the market, that can help Elac to get more attention, it’s a starting point - but the 70 and 90 are the real Elacs.
Just like Thorens, they source a Chinese player for the entry market to get attention and to provide their sales channel and distribution network a less expensive alternative than their own and unique products.

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Re: New european "chinese built" turntables

Post by nat » 02 Feb 2019 00:28

Companies know that customers often identify with brands, and if someone starts out with a Thorens or ELAC, or whatever, they may move up the product line later on. So it makes some sense for companies that sell more expensive components to also offer entry level ones. But I think ravelax is correct in suggesting that spending a little more to make the cheaper components look similar to the the better ones would be money well spent.
CEC and Funai built many of the tables various Japanese audio companies sold (and further up the food chain, Micro Seiki seems to have built some of the better ones). But even though economies of scale required that many of the various bits and pieces of the the tables be the same, the name companies seem to have made a point of having consistent house cosmetics, and this was fairly successful in hiding the common origins of the tables.

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Re: New european "chinese built" turntables

Post by raphaelmabo » 02 Feb 2019 01:41

Nat, yes it’s simply not possible to beat chinese players on price, it’s simply too expensive to make turntables in Europe. So, in order to compete in a popular entry level segment one has to go the Chinese way. It’s an opportunity to earn money that can be spend on financing development and manufacturing of more expensive European-made players.

If Thorens, Elac and others earns money on them so they survive and can continue with their own and better products, then I’m fine with that.

And they do have differences. Headshells, the gimbala design, tonearm levers, speed selector, feets, plinth design and so om.. differs. But lift the platter and there they are identical.

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Re: New european "chinese built" turntables

Post by raphaelmabo » 02 Feb 2019 01:53

Norsenan, yes I have a diagnosis and this means that I look up everything. Not only Thorens. My amplifier, my camera, car, heat pump, winter tyres, dog, musical artists, composer. I collect data, information. My friends calls me ”a walking encyclopedia”. :)
I can’t help it, I do it automatically. I need medication.

Now, regarding the 240-2. It’s a fine and musical player. Perfectly ok. I’m not a fan of fully automatic players, but the 240-2 is rather good. Focus more on musical flow than details. I would skip the lesser 190, 170 and 158. They are popular on the market but not ”true” Thorens. However, they helped Thorens survive in tough times, so they got money to pay to Karl-Heinz for the development of the new product line.

Audio-Technica, Goldring and Ortofon cartridges works well om the 240-II. I think my Benz MC Silver will work very fine indeed, but I haven’t tried it on a 240. :) Warmer sounding cartridges may be a bit too much on the 240, depending on taste.

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Re: New european "chinese built" turntables

Post by AsOriginallyRecorded » 02 Feb 2019 02:40

The cold reality of the whole issue is that companies today are driven by fattening the bottom line, and the easiest way to do that is to cut costs. These are not, for the most part, companies that have any allusion to building upon a heritage or tradition of quality. They are generally just competing in a marketplace where volume of sales has long ago replaced the traditional model of increasing value of product for increased price. Currently, companies outsource as a matter of fact, pitch generally inferior product as compared to perceived norms (the classics we all love and covet), and finally, probably make more money selling their name rights than they could ever make designing, building, and merchandising their own brand. As others have mentioned, it is heartbreaking to see once proud designs and brands fall to the level of quality we now see. It is reminiscent of the BPC we experience late 1980s...perhaps this is CCC....use your imagination. And so many new entrants to the hobby will never appreciate the difference. It is one thing not to know, it is another not to care. #-o

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Re: New european "chinese built" turntables

Post by raphaelmabo » 02 Feb 2019 10:57

ravelax wrote:
01 Feb 2019 21:30
Last but not least, if I buy an Elac Miracord I don't want the platter mat to look like the platter mat on a late 70's Technics... And it really wouldn't cost Elac much to come up with a different design.
Then get an Elac Miracord 70, it has glass platter and a filt mat. Doesn't look like a Technics. :)
https://www.elac.com/product/miracord-70-turntable/

Now, you make quite a big deal about a rubber mat. :) Rubber mats are used on metal platters because they are needed to damp the resonances and ringing. The most important thing here is not how they look, but how they work, how they distribute the resonances. Looks are secondary. Many turntables with metal platters has similar rubber mats, because they are needed.

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Re: New european "chinese built" turntables

Post by raphaelmabo » 02 Feb 2019 11:00

AsOriginallyRecorded wrote:
02 Feb 2019 02:40
The cold reality of the whole issue is that companies today are driven by fattening the bottom line, and the easiest way to do that is to cut costs. These are not, for the most part, companies that have any allusion to building upon a heritage or tradition of quality.
For brands like Lenco that is true, they only have cheaper Chinese models. But for brands like Elac and Thorens, it differs. They buy Chinese models to get a presence in a popular market segment, to earn money so they can survive and still produce high-quality turntables with original designs for vinyl purists. Production cost in Europe is too high, you need volume.

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Re: New european "chinese built" turntables

Post by raphaelmabo » 02 Feb 2019 11:03

Norseman wrote:
02 Feb 2019 02:48
I was paying a compliment, I hope there was no misunderstanding. I've been reading a lot of your thoughts in various threads in here, and I have nothing but respect. And I imagine we're not terribly different. I just keep forgetting most of the info I gather.
The thought about you showing disrespect never crossed my mind, so all is fine. Thank you for the compliment.:)
I appreciate the advice on cartridges greatly. That's inevitably happening, at some point in the distance. And you are right, the 240 with the AT95E has a warmer feeling than other combos w/same cart. I really like that warmth, reminds me a little of my old Philips. I play many of the same records, too. But, as you say, it doesn't need to get much warmer. (Besides, I've got tubes for that.)
Yes, the automatic turntables like the 240 has a warmer tone than the manual Thorens turntables, the automatics adds resonances and this can be a pleasing effect causing a warmer coloration. Enjoy!

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Re: New european "chinese built" turntables

Post by ravelax » 02 Feb 2019 19:27

I'm happy to learn that there is indeed more to Thorens than just re-branding other products they come across! :)
However, I still think their product line is confusing. And while I may have made a very big deal out of that rubber mat, I do think looks are important too, even if function should be the primary concern. I've tried to explain that through my previous posts but will try to clarify some more:

It's about showing that the company actually have put some thought into the product it sells. An original design for the platter mat is a sign of such an ambition, even if it's functionally equivalent to the standard pattern. Simply using standard parts looking identical to every other cheap turntable makes me wonder why one should pay more for the Elac when one can get the same turntable in a slightly different plinth with another brand on it. One would be paying more for the Elac brand compared to, say, the same basic design marketed by Audio Technica (AT-LP3), and it seems to me that the only thing one would really get for that extra money spent, is a different logo on the turntable. That, I think, is a shame and gives me the impression that the company owning the Elac brand is only interested in making money off that brand and not really in the products they sell. At the end of the day, that's the company's problem rather than mine, because it devalues their brand.

That's my view of this phenomenon, and you're of course free to disagree! :) It might seem like this is a big issue for me when it really isn't. I just think it's a shame so many companies are selling the same turntable with just minor cosmetic differences (and sometimes not even that!), it makes the market boring.

I think Cambridge Audio do it the proper way with their new turntable, with an original design that one isn't immediately able to identify as something else (though of course with a Rega arm, which however is a popular, well regarded tone arm so arguably a sensible choice).

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Re: New european "chinese built" turntables

Post by Vinylfreak86 » 02 Feb 2019 19:53

It is not worth even to look at these tables. Shame is that good brands from yesterday are participating in this game. How would it look like if Technics would come with a hanpin DJ unit on a market? They would lose all credibility in hifi world.

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Re: New european "chinese built" turntables

Post by Issuesman666 » 02 Feb 2019 20:14

It's really time to stop living in the past....

I hate the whining on this forum. Why not try and understand how business works and quit bemoaning 'How it was in my day"?

Business and brands have to adapt with the times or die....

The market has to cater for all budgets.

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Re: New european "chinese built" turntables

Post by chgc » 02 Feb 2019 21:03

I have LCD tv’s labeled Westinghouse and RCA. They are ok devices, but the branding is a bit of a joke. I also have 40+ year old receivers bearing the names Fisher and Marantz. At the time they came out, I suspect many people were appalled that these American brands were being made in Japan. But they still sound good after all these years.
Also, I have some experience with a Denon dp300f (modern, Chinese, entry level automatic turntable) and I thought it was perfectly adequate for casual listening. I am very into vintage hifi gear, but if someone wants to be able to play records for not a lot of money, with a full manufacturer’s warranty, and without having to deal with troubleshooting old equipment, such a turntable seems like a perfectly reasonable way to go.
If vinyl is cool and trendy now, that’s great. I respect young people who want to ditch the ear buds and interrupt the digital stream. If dabbling in analogue leads some of them to learn about the technology and history of music reproduction and related cultural, economic and artistic subjects, then so much the better. But I’m afraid that the concept of brand has been so diluted by economic shifts and marketing hype as to have lost much of its relevance.

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Re: New european "chinese built" turntables

Post by Issuesman666 » 02 Feb 2019 21:24

chgc wrote:
02 Feb 2019 21:03
I have LCD tv’s labeled Westinghouse and RCA. They are ok devices, but the branding is a bit of a joke. I also have 40+ year old receivers bearing the names Fisher and Marantz. At the time they came out, I suspect many people were appalled that these American brands were being made in Japan. But they still sound good after all these years.
Also, I have some experience with a Denon dp300f (modern, Chinese, entry level automatic turntable) and I thought it was perfectly adequate for casual listening. I am very into vintage hifi gear, but if someone wants to be able to play records for not a lot of money, with a full manufacturer’s warranty, and without having to deal with troubleshooting old equipment, such a turntable seems like a perfectly reasonable way to go.
If vinyl is cool and trendy now, that’s great. I respect young people who want to ditch the ear buds and interrupt the digital stream. If dabbling in analogue leads some of them to learn about the technology and history of music reproduction and related cultural, economic and artistic subjects, then so much the better. But I’m afraid that the concept of brand has been so diluted by economic shifts and marketing hype as to have lost much of its relevance.
As a guy who owns both vintage and modern equipment I can understand that not everyone wants to mess around with 40 year old gear.

There are excellent modern new turntables with warranties.

The Chinese can make anything.

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Re: New european "chinese built" turntables

Post by ravelax » 02 Feb 2019 22:34

Keeping brands and businesses alive by selling the same generic product as everyone else, however good it may be, definitely qualifies as "living in the past" in my mind... What other purpose is there for keeping an old brand alive than nostalgia?

As for the market having to cater to all budgets, that may be true but it won't be accomplished by selling yet another version of the same turntable that everyone else is already selling. I'd prefer a proper market where there's an actual choice of different turntables, not the same turntable with different names on it. A healthy market is a diverse one. In that respect I think the market for affordable direct drive turntables seems to work a little better, seeing as there's more concrete differences between the different versions of the basic Hanpin Technics copy.

I'm not sure if those particular comments were directed towards me specifically, but I feel I might have come across as overly negative in this thread and I want to make clear again that I've never questioned the quality of these turntables per se or the ability of Chinese companies to produce good products, only the way these products are marketed by some Western companies! No hard feelings toward any other posters. :)

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Re: New european "chinese built" turntables

Post by chgc » 03 Feb 2019 16:44

I have more turntables than I know what to do with, so I’m not very familiar with the industry’s latest offerings. But I suspect the abundance of cookie cutter belt drives is because the turntable market is a lot smaller than it used to be.

Those of us who were alive back when vinyl was the dominant format got used to seeing lots of interesting and innovative turntable designs because there was big money to be made selling turntables. Today, turntables are a niche market, too small to support many different companies spending lavishly on r and d. That’s why vintage turntables are more interesting than most of todays offerings. (But you all already knew that.)