SSLtech

interestiong take on AMEK and Harman...
« on: January 14, 2008, 11:16:39 AM »
A little way down this page, under the heading "The rape of AMEK"

http://www.positive-feedback.com/pfbackissues/0704/pappas.7n4.html

Keith
"A waist is a terrible thing to mind"
Quote from: PRR
Ah, but that was 1999; we don't party like that any more.


gyraf

interestiong take on AMEK and Harman...
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2008, 11:23:08 AM »
My signature line says it all...  :?
..note to self: don't let Harman run your company..

interestiong take on AMEK and Harman...
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2008, 11:26:30 AM »
I agree with the article it makes me :cry:  :cry:  :cry:  :cry:

radiance

interestiong take on AMEK and Harman...
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2008, 11:28:46 AM »
Quote from: "gyraf"
My signature line says it all...  :?


Ah, I see  :grin:  I've always wanted to ask who Harman was....
"Knowing that you are dreaming, however, does not automatically guarantee full rationality.
Then again, being awake doesn't ensure good thinking, either." -  Lynne Levitan

interestiong take on AMEK and Harman...
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2008, 11:29:33 AM »
Harman should be penalized for there maliciousness under monopoly anti-trust. This kind of coporate disease is based on greed and widespread in the USA not just in audio but everything, and laws should be inacted to protect small striving and innovative companies so they can continue being innovative.

Bottom dollar economics is slow suicide and complete errosion of an industry , as demonstrated by Harmon Itnl.

I spent many a time in the lobby at Harman visiting the Amek tech ( name escapes me) , in So. Cal - it felt like I was among empty business garments disguised as management executives not audio enthusiasts. The Amek tech was a kind and helpful chap though (I'm sure he was uncomfortable working at Harman ).
curiousaudioparts at  gmail  dot  com
https://sites.google.com/site/diypartsstore/

PimD

interestiong take on AMEK and Harman...
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2008, 11:36:06 AM »
Makes me feel  :sad:

I've heard the story before.

Worked at a studio where they have a Media 51 (small brother/sister of the 9098i) which he bought 1,5 to 2 years before AMEK closed business, He almost had a nervous breakdown when he heard it.
So he told me about the same story.

Makes you feel kinda sick :S

bcarso

interestiong take on AMEK and Harman...
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2008, 01:25:25 PM »
I had an interesting new year's eve experience at Floyd Toole's home.  Floyd recently retired from Harman, where he was corporate VP of acoustical research.  At his retirtement party he mentioned that he had joined Harman voluntarily and was leaving voluntarily (something that few people in higher-level positions can say btw).

Virtually everyone at the 31st gathering had plenty of experience in one way or another with the company.  Some worked there still, others had before, and some merely used Harman products as installers.  As some know, I was an employee from 1990 to '94, and then after becoming a consultant (voluntarily), Harman was a key client until late '04.  Besides seeing things unfold pretty much first-hand, I know the story of the UREI acquisition as told me by the principals.

One of the areas of general agreement at the party, as we discussed history and current conditions, were the distortions and abuse that tends to be perpetrated by people who hide behind the corporate veil.  I have no problem with truly free markets---but I daresay that's not what we have most of the time now.

I don't know anything as such about the AMEK story, but it sounds perfectly plausible (and quite horrifying).  The question does arise though---if they were lean and mean and profitable, why couldn't they raise the money to meet the demands when Harman decided to drive them out of business?  Or were there no bankers with the vision, or the guts, to come forward?  Or were those that might have stepped in intimidated by the prospect of displeasing the giant?

interestiong take on AMEK and Harman...
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2008, 01:35:37 PM »
Quote from: "bcarso"
I had an interesting new year's eve experience at Floyd Toole's home.  Floyd recently retired from Harman, where he was corporate VP of acoustical research.  At his retirtement party he mentioned that he had joined Harman voluntarily and was leaving voluntarily (something that few people in higher-level positions can say btw).

Virtually everyone at the 31st gathering had plenty of experience in one way or another with the company.  Some worked there still, others had before, and some merely used Harman products as installers.  As some know, I was an employee from 1990 to '94, and then after becoming a consultant (voluntarily), Harman was a key client until late '04.  Besides seeing things unfold pretty much first-hand, I know the story of the UREI acquisition as told me by the principals.



One of the areas of general agreement at the party, as we discussed history and current conditions, were the distortions and abuse that tends to be perpetrated by people who hide behind the corporate veil.  I have no problem with truly free markets---but I daresay that's not what we have most of the time now.

I don't know anything as such about the AMEK story, but it sounds perfectly plausible (and quite horrifying).  The question does arise though---if they were lean and mean and profitable, why couldn't they raise the money to meet the demands when Harman decided to drive them out of business?  Or were there no bankers with the vision, or the guts, to come forward?  Or were those that might have stepped in intimidated by the prospect of displeasing the giant?



If ameks debts were to a UK bank, I don't think they would be very good at seeing the potential of the company as UK banks tend to be very narrow minded unlike in the USA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

bcarso

interestiong take on AMEK and Harman...
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2008, 02:17:49 PM »
And just to remind everyone:  megacorps and such don't always succeed:

http://www.forbes.com/2008/01/14/harman-international-electronics-markets-equity-cx_cg_0114markets21.html?partner=yahootix

When I looked at this I thought I'd clicked on the wrong stock!

Schadenfreude for all---drinks are on me  :shock:

Rochey

interestiong take on AMEK and Harman...
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2008, 02:40:41 PM »
i don't want to sound mean - but it sounds like AMEK shot themselves in the foot.

Removing the emotional connection to AMEK, if 20% of the records during the 80's and 90's really used AMEK, why the hell did they have so many debts?

The lesson is clear - if you want to run an audio company, it takes a lot more than design skill and passion. It takes boring things like accounting, and real marketing and accurate product definition for markets that pay the bills.

It takes "low end" products that sell at GC to act as cash cows to fund the development of higher end flagship products. Flagship products soak up design resource and cost a fortune, and while they may be high margin, the volume is normally significantly lower.

The key for any company in this market is to diversify their product offering.

A nice example in this case is Red Lion 49 (or SSL to everyone else). They still have their $$$$$$ mixers, but have also released single channel rack versions of their products.

okay - rant over :)
Expat Audio Home: http://www.expataudio.com


sodderboy

interestiong take on AMEK and Harman...
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2008, 03:53:26 PM »
Yes, the term "rape" is quite over the top.

Remember,   "Don't let Rupert Neve run your company either"   :wink:

The 9098i might be the holy grail of consoles, but I would consider the TAC Scorpion a Dixie Cup, and the Mozart or Einstein kegger cups.  Ribbon cable all over, poor PCB manufacture, cheapie flimsy patchbays,under-spec power supplies and wiring harnesses, hot internal temperatures and cheap electrolytics, and horrible QC leaving the factory.

I am at a loss to find an AMEK product that was in competition with Soundcraft except the TAC line, which ended in the early 90's.  Did Soundcraft even make a console bigger than 32 CH?

And a quick search will show many small companies supplying navigation and audio technology to the auto industry that have prospered after HAR purchased them.  Thats where they make most of their $$ anyway.

AMEK is more a victim of the dwindling "mainframe" audio console industry, rather than "Big Corp".
Mike
Disclaimer: I have owned HAR on and off since they bought dbx back in the 80's.

usekgb

interestiong take on AMEK and Harman...
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2008, 04:10:15 PM »
Hell.  I've seen Harman destroy JBL first hand over the last few years.  While they still have some innovative products in the pro industry, their consumer product line has taken a serious dump.  Also, the lower end JBL products such as the JRX and MPro are just garbage.  I understand the need to produce low cost, mass market products to supply all of the Guitar Centers, but enough is enough!  A big problem that JBL has had in the last several years is product support.  They introduce these new low cost lines at the expense of their flagship products and can't supply parts for either one.  I can't tell you how many times I've had to wait months for a simple replacement high frequency driver or re-cone kit.  So, what happens when someone buys a line array and blows a couple mids or a woofer?  If I'm out of stock on the parts, I have to wait.  In the meantime, that box is taken out of service.  Bad news.  Now, when you order the parts from JBL, they are either in stock or back-ordered.  If they are back-ordered, JBL can't supply a "real" date when the parts will ship.  They will just give you a day that is two months out.  This means that they could ship the next day, next week, or sometime further down the road.  You can't even try to schedule a repair for a customer, or our rental dept for that matter.  I know.  Rant rant rant.  Whatever.  It has become a huge problem during the summer touring and concert months, and right now during the Sundance film festival.  And, don't even get me started about Loud Technologies and EAW.  It can take months to get parts from those jokers.  I don't even recommend their enclosures any more, even though they make some amazing products.  Just my 2 cents.

Cheers,
Zach
Zach Griffen Audio
EvilTone

interestiong take on AMEK and Harman...
« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2008, 06:25:55 AM »
Quote from: "usekgb"
Hell.  I've seen Harman destroy JBL first hand over the last few years.  While they still have some innovative products in the pro industry, their consumer product line has taken a serious dump.  Also, the lower end JBL products such as the JRX and MPro are just garbage.  I understand the need to produce low cost, mass market products to supply all of the Guitar Centers, but enough is enough!  A big problem that JBL has had in the last several years is product support.  They introduce these new low cost lines at the expense of their flagship products and can't supply parts for either one.  I can't tell you how many times I've had to wait months for a simple replacement high frequency driver or re-cone kit.  So, what happens when someone buys a line array and blows a couple mids or a woofer?  If I'm out of stock on the parts, I have to wait.  In the meantime, that box is taken out of service.  Bad news.  Now, when you order the parts from JBL, they are either in stock or back-ordered.  If they are back-ordered, JBL can't supply a "real" date when the parts will ship.  They will just give you a day that is two months out.  This means that they could ship the next day, next week, or sometime further down the road.  You can't even try to schedule a repair for a customer, or our rental dept for that matter.  I know.  Rant rant rant.  Whatever.  It has become a huge problem during the summer touring and concert months, and right now during the Sundance film festival.  And, don't even get me started about Loud Technologies and EAW.  It can take months to get parts from those jokers.  I don't even recommend their enclosures any more, even though they make some amazing products.  Just my 2 cents.

Cheers,
Zach


Here in the UK people have been waiting over 6 months for repairs/ replacments and spare.

This has forced the sellers of certain products to refund their customers and lose money!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

interestiong take on AMEK and Harman...
« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2008, 07:41:18 AM »
Quote from: "tonebucket"
Quote from: "usekgb"
Hell.  I've seen Harman destroy JBL first hand over the last few years.  While they still have some innovative products in the pro industry, their consumer product line has taken a serious dump.  Also, the lower end JBL products such as the JRX and MPro are just garbage.  I understand the need to produce low cost, mass market products to supply all of the Guitar Centers, but enough is enough!  A big problem that JBL has had in the last several years is product support.  They introduce these new low cost lines at the expense of their flagship products and can't supply parts for either one.  I can't tell you how many times I've had to wait months for a simple replacement high frequency driver or re-cone kit.  So, what happens when someone buys a line array and blows a couple mids or a woofer?  If I'm out of stock on the parts, I have to wait.  In the meantime, that box is taken out of service.  Bad news.  Now, when you order the parts from JBL, they are either in stock or back-ordered.  If they are back-ordered, JBL can't supply a "real" date when the parts will ship.  They will just give you a day that is two months out.  This means that they could ship the next day, next week, or sometime further down the road.  You can't even try to schedule a repair for a customer, or our rental dept for that matter.  I know.  Rant rant rant.  Whatever.  It has become a huge problem during the summer touring and concert months, and right now during the Sundance film festival.  And, don't even get me started about Loud Technologies and EAW.  It can take months to get parts from those jokers.  I don't even recommend their enclosures any more, even though they make some amazing products.  Just my 2 cents.

Cheers,
Zach


Here in the UK people have been waiting over 6 months for repairs/ replacments and spare.

This has forced the sellers of certain products to refund their customers and lose money!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I have been left waiting months for JBL spares twice in the last year-or-so and made to look an idiot in front of clients (they don't realise what Harman are like, they think they're so big they must be good...). I now have a blanket rule that I don't work on anything to do with Harman... This costs me dearly as I have to turn away a lot of work... However, I'd rather lose the money than damage my reputation when it takes 6 months to get a part...    :twisted:

Justin

edit: BTW, I have long suspected that the ridiculous parts delays are deliberate, so as to discourage non-OEM-approved service agents from working on Harman gear...
Prepare yourself. You are about to become the voice of Interplanetary Parliament.

bcarso

interestiong take on AMEK and Harman...
« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2008, 08:03:16 AM »
Quote from: "thermionic"

I have been left waiting months for JBL spares twice in the last year-or-so and made to look an idiot in front of clients (they don't realise what Harman are like, they think they're so big they must be good...). I now have a blanket rule that I don't work on anything to do with Harman... This costs me dearly as I have to turn away a lot of work... However, I'd rather lose the money than damage my reputation when it takes 6 months to get a part...    :twisted:

Justin

edit: BTW, I have long suspected that the ridiculous parts delays are deliberate, so as to discourage non-OEM-approved service agents from working on Harman gear...


I'm inclined to believe it's attributable to management incompetence rather than any strategy.  You would just have to see what goes on there to get a flavor.  Morale in the professional group is, how you say it, not so good.

sodderboy

interestiong take on AMEK and Harman...
« Reply #15 on: January 15, 2008, 08:36:08 AM »
My experience with their other Pro and Home companies are exactly the opposite.  For instance, Lex only charges $4 for a stereo input pot, so I bought 4 of them.  Even in the middle of their inventory move, I received the pots in 10 days.

Glad I don't have to deal with JBL products, though.  You know, an anguished but polite letter to the head of JBL and Harmon Intl. can do wonders for the psyche, and you never know what changes you can bring.  Harmon is NOT the Death Star!  A letter as described to AMS back in the day changed a situation for me, in a positive way.
Mike
In the past, the worst company for me to deal with was TC Electronic and Lydcraft.  Now they farmed repairs and parts to a separate concern and it is very effifient.

okgb

interestiong take on AMEK and Harman...
« Reply #16 on: January 15, 2008, 08:39:19 AM »
I think too , for many industries , Auto for example
is a top down pyramid , where the flagship [ or rockstars ]
drive the bulk of sales for M.I. , weekend warriors & dreamers
alike . who want to feel in the game , can't afford the Jag or
les paul , but buy the other thing that looks close , not to
mention the service & accessories .

 one of the most successful studios i worked at would NEVER
buy any gear unless it was going to directly bring in money
They still cruise on allot crap and few good pieces aquired
every now & then , but certainly don't  keep up .
GKB Audio / Greg Boboski

usekgb

interestiong take on AMEK and Harman...
« Reply #17 on: January 15, 2008, 01:08:08 PM »
I know, I know.  My last ranting about JBL was after a long drawn out issue trying to get some replacement 2226HPL's order for a customer's club install.  One of the big problems that JBL has had, is that they farmed out their parts warehousing to a third party who doesn't know speaker parts from dog food.  I ordered a re-cone kit for an EON last week and got a speaker bag!  To top it off, when we called JBL parts, this had been the 6th call they had gotten about this same problem that same day.  Ahhhh.....  I miss the days when I could order parts and have them pulled and shipped the same day with few to no mistakes.  Now, it's just a crap shoot.  Oh well.  It's a living.  A frustrating living, but a living none the less.

Cheers,
Zach
Zach Griffen Audio
EvilTone

SSLtech

interestiong take on AMEK and Harman...
« Reply #18 on: January 15, 2008, 02:57:47 PM »
Quote from: "Rochey"
Removing the emotional connection to AMEK, if 20% of the records during the 80's and 90's really used AMEK, why the hell did they have so many debts?

Well, to be fair, the article was (I reckon) absurdly optimistic in terms of Amek's market penetration. They were bit-players I'd have said. I'd have put the number of successful music releases using Amek gear in the 5-10% range, not the 20%. A couple of other things were rose-tinted also.

I liked Amek a lot, but they were never dominant. SSL were kings of the era, and Neve were trying to stay second. After that, Soundcraft were gobbling up most of the scraps, with foreign players coming in after that.

Trident (another respected name) were doing naff-all... maybe half of what Amek did... and DDA were also selling into working studios. That about sums it up for the 'name' Brit consoles. API, Harrison, Quad-Eight, Ward-Beck and MCI from the states... MCI outselling all others by some handsome margin... and handily outselling Amek all over the globe.

What I found most interesting about the article was that Harman apparently never actually sought to acquire Amek, and that when they found that they had, they seemed to only half-heartedly try to keep the brand buoyant. -And if they steal sales from Soundcraft or other Harman brands, then that's it then. -Snuff them out by buying out -then calling in- the loans.

Keith
"A waist is a terrible thing to mind"
Quote from: PRR
Ah, but that was 1999; we don't party like that any more.

usekgb

interestiong take on AMEK and Harman...
« Reply #19 on: January 15, 2008, 03:41:02 PM »
I did one album about 10 years ago on a BIG.  I was pretty happy with it.  But, at that time, we tracked everything to ADAT so it's hard to tell if it was actually any good.  :wink:   Anyway, The automation was sure nice when it worked and the board really seemed to have a nice clean and warm sound.

Cheers,
Zach
Zach Griffen Audio
EvilTone


 

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