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Shouldn't it qualify for more - a sort of review of a heritage?

Discussion in 'TAG McLaren Audio Owners' Forum' started by Dr Udo Zucker, Aug 12, 2005.

  1. Dr Udo Zucker

    Dr Udo Zucker
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    I am a little amazed that nobody commented about the interesting statement, you can find at www.iaguk.com/tma , hence I decided today to start my very first "own" thread :)

    The statement says that "Audiolab has a heritage of good quality, no-nonsense engineering - producing hi-fi products that are robust, innovative and exceptional value-for-money. After an absence of seven years, in Autumn 2005, the Audiolab 8000 series will return to the world market...".
    Well, whenever I read this statement, I admit, that I am puzzled. I thought "innovative" would stand for "characterized by or productive of new things or new ideas" or in other words "not the same as what was previously known or done".

    Please don't get me wrong, I am not opposed to the return of the 8000 Series, in actual fact, in my opinion, it actually never disappeared. Or would the engineering name of a product qualify for its existence/no-existence? Audiolab’s 8000 series, with the exception of the 8000C, was improved and continued to be offered by old TAG McLaren Audio, hence all what could reappears is the "old" name. Didn’t IAG even confirm that their "new" 8000 series would be based on "old" TAG McLaren Audio’s improvements?

    Having said this, my question is, could this qualify for innovative or just the opposite? You might answer, that marketing allows everything that generates consumer interest, but may I then please ask, what the consumer should read into "no-nonsense engineering"? Does this maybe stand for "little changes"?

    Audiolab’s former owner, TAG McLaren Audio, was -in my opinion rightly known for being innovative. I also believe that TMA’s products tried always to exploit new technologies and push boundaries, resulting in products which often, still today, count to the very best in their field. I am proud, that I was allowed to be a member of the TAG McLaren Audio family, which was unfortunately not allowed to continue. Remembering my colleagues hard work, self-doubts and often frustrations when making the impossible, I strongly advocate that this should have pull in more than the return of the 8000 series...

     
  2. Kenny Glasgow

    Kenny Glasgow
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    Udo

    Good point. I never really anything just looked at pictures... :eek: :oops:

    It will be interesting to see what dealers stock the range
     
  3. roversd1

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    Hi Udo

    Good point, I suppose I am a little annoyed myself, I would call it a backwards step rather than anything 'new'.

    With the supposed 'return of Audiolab' (fanfare!), IAG are offering the equivalent of a 'new' Rover 25 which is still a Rover 200 which was based on the old 200, which in turn is till a Honda...
     
  4. caleb

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    Hi Udo,

    It's the Chinese you see - they tend to loose a little in the translation! ! !
     
  5. bushy30

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    Hi Udo,

    Well spotted, but actually, I think what is required is an English grammer teacher (which I most certainly am not!) the sentence appears to mix it's tenses. In one part saying what Audiolab was and in another announcing the future. So it probably was innovative, whether it still is remains to be seen (well heard!). Please don't spell check this text.

    Cheers

    Bushy
     
  6. Jules Tohpipi

    Jules Tohpipi
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    'Heritage' has a very specific meaning that can be looked up if you are puzzled.

    Audiolab do have a heritage of innovation and good value for money engineering; that's something nobody would deny.

    What happens going forward remains to be seen - it doesn't alter one's heritage. Not least of all - it ought to be pointed out - if you actually hold the following view: "in my opinion, it actually never disappeared. Or would the engineering name of a product qualify for its existence/no-existence?"

    So, on that basis, would you not count your own batch of products (including the AV30R) as having been innovative ? As you're suggesting the name change really means nothing then - leaving names to one-side for a moment - do you not therefore consider yourself Udo to have been an innovative person ? Should I stop myself from saying you have a 'heritage' of innovation ?

    Of course, we will see no more innovation from yourself or TMA in the future, but please note that does not preclude you from being rightly described thus: "Yes, you can certainly say the good Dr has a heritage of innovation." What happens going forward has no affect on the past.

    To be honest, I think the thing that's puzzling you is your mis-understanding of the word 'heritage'.

    Furthermore, just in case you had forgotten your history here (which I think you may have), what the new owners are releasing right now is not much behind in 'innovation' terms to your own efforts during the early years of TMA i.e. a re-hash of what's gone before. This time there's a brand-new, started from scratch product (the CD player) at least. The 'innovative' TMA products didn't arrive for at least a good 18 months IIRC !

    Nonetheless, at the time you could have correctly described the company as having a heritage of innovation.

    :rolleyes:
     
  7. GrahamMG

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    Well this is almost like the good old days, controversial but always with good heart Udo.

    Remember I did mention this a while back in another thread as I had certianly noticed the words used, I may have been a bit easy on the content at the time as I simply haven't seen the "new" product yet but I would say that "if" many of the range is the Audiolab-TAG guts in a new box it won't be long before someone says so and a lot of water has flown under the bridge since then...... Oh and remember IAG have owned TAG for how long now...????? TAG had owned Audiolab for 18 months before they rocked the world with the classic AV32R, no-one is going to deny that the AV32R was (and its desendents still is) a very good product, I can't help wondering if the like of that innovation will ever be repeated. I live in hope, maybe the Hammersmith show in Novemeber will tell us?
     
  8. derekn

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    The statement says that "Audiolab has a heritage of good quality, no-nonsense engineering - producing hi-fi products that are robust, innovative and exceptional value-for-money. After an absence of seven years, in Autumn 2005, the Audiolab 8000 series will return to the world market...".
    ][/QUOTE]

    Heritage = what is or may be inherited.

    So the first part of the statement is true - Audiolalab (IMHO) did "produce products that were robust, innovative and exceptional value for money" - and this "heritage" (ie history/record/reputation etc)(improved on by TMA) has been inherited by IAG.

    "In Autumn 2005 the Audiolab series will return to the world" This is also true.

    So the statement made by IAG is not false.

    The premise (ie link) we are expected to swallow is that "because the old Audiolab produced items that were robust, innovative etc, the new Audiolab will produce ...".

    This does not follow logically and only time will tell whether the premise is true or false.

    :boring: :boring: Sorry guys - just got back from the pub.
     
  9. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    good session then ;)
     
  10. audionutter

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    Lost Cause, are you part of IAG since you are identified as "manufacturer"?

    If you are, does this confirm that "new" Audiolab is releasing a "new" CD player? Cos the distributors I have asked so far cannot confirm anything about this. Is it going to be a pure CD player or a universal disc player?
     
  11. derekn

    derekn
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    I got sent home for being pedantic and boring.
     
  12. Dr Udo Zucker

    Dr Udo Zucker
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    Forword

    Please note, this time I have clearly marked the different parts of my contribution in order to allow our discussion to stay more focussed. Please make a reference, when responding, it will make everybody’s reading so much simpler. I apologies for not having done this in my starting contribution.



    Introduction

    Hi all, thanks for your interesting comments and explanations, which I admit, haven’t always completely convinced me. However, before expanding on my thoughts, let me assure you, that I don’t want to imply that IAG’s mission statement has been written with bad intentions. Reason for opening this discussion, was to better understand the future strategy.



    Now please let me expand on my points:



    Heritage

    Heritage is “something that is passed down from preceding generations”, therefore the first part of Nick Clarke’s statement implies “features” Audiolab possesses, at least in Nick’s opinion. Pointing out this heritage, particularly when writing in present tense, implies in my opinion, that you still posses what you inherited. We therefore have to discuss if these “features” are possessed/ still possessed.



    Old-Audiolab’s heritage of good-quality

    No doubt old-Audiolab [we speak here about the products of the British manufacturer Cambridge System Technology – make a web search for Audiolab and you will see how many other manufacturers use that name] produced products which were considered “good-quality”. However, there are two different types of quality people tended to refer to: Sound-quality and built-quality – so let’s look at each separately:



    Old-Audiolab’s sound-quality

    Audiolab’s products had, when correctly applied, a distinct, clinical sound, which wasn’t everybody’s taste. In actual fact, remembering the limitation of sources in those days (mainly LP and first/second generation CD players), some sources didn’t go well with Audiolab, whereas others did. Usually the better the source, the smoother their match. However, this was only strictly true, if the operating conditions (voltage and temperature) were closely matched to the assumption made by the designers. This was a rather difficult problem until all EC states adopted the same voltage band. Having said this all, I support the statement, that Audiolab products were considered to be of good sound quality, particularly if we limit that statement to the British market.



    Old-Audiolab’s built-quality

    Old-Audiolab existed from approx. 1984 to 1998, a time period were specialist audio products were frequently made by hi-fi enthusiasts, who often lacked the engineering skills, necessary when running a small production facility. Thankfully during this time, built-quality was much less expected than today, so many got away with it.

    Having closely dealt with Old-Audiolab products (1997/98) and even longer with their designs, I support the statement that Audiolab products had in general good built-quality, but this built-quality was only achieved because Audiolab made the very same products for a very long time, used “traditional” analog technology and mainly manufactured using leaded components.



    High investment for even better built-quality

    A huge amount of money was invested by TAG McLaren to allow high built-quality manufacturing of much more complex products, such as the AV192R, nevertheless TMA didn’t always get it right, see DVD32R- which one day will be the subject of another long discussion.



    Old Audiolab's No-Nonsense Engineering

    As before, I have to admit, that I don’t know what that means and invite your comments.



    Old-Audiolab’s products were innovative

    When Old-Audiolab’s original owners launched their first generation 8000A amplifier, it was innovative, as little existed at similar price/performance in the UK, but please let’s not forget that was around 1984!

    After that Old-Audiolab made derivatives of the very same amplifier technology, year after year.

    Continuous improvement, but surely no innovation.

    Then the CD players hit the market, fully based (as so many others those days) on Philips OEM technology. Well implemented, maybe, but short of being innovative. In actual fact, the only “original” part was the backlight construction of the LCD display, using for cost reasons bulbs, which had to be hard driven to work satisfactorily, and as a result became a continuous source of trouble making since then.

    Finally the tuner 8000T, loved by many for its outstanding sound-quality, but was it of innovative design? I don’t think so and as I showed those Old-Audiolab’s designers back in 1998. I gave them a Grundig Tuner ST6000 from 1981(!). This tuner, just as the 8000T, is a microprocessor driven design, well it even uses, just like the 8000T, a tuning knob with tactile feedback through enclosed magnets. Not only were these two products, whilst apart by a significant number of years, based on similar technology, they even performed very similarly. The ST 6000 only failed in its analog output stage, which showed the lower specification transistors available at the early “80s. All in all, both tuners were surprisingly similar, despite the fact that the 8000T came many years after the ST6000.

    Having said this, just to make it clear, my statement isn’t made to lower the quality of the 8000T, which was a good sounding tuner, it solely underlines that it wasn’t, in my opinion, an innovative design.

    In summary, I doubt that Old-Audiolab has a true heritage of innovation.



    Reappearance of the 8000 series

    The mission statement’s second paragraph can be interpreted incorrectly, as I tried to outline in my opening contribution. Old-Audiolab’s 8000 series, whilst improved, were continued by Old-TAG_McLaren_Audio, hence it is difficult to understand what has been absent from the market, beside the brand-name Audiolab. As the statement reads, a consumer, without specific knowledge of the brand’s history, might read much more into the statement as there is.



    New-Audiolab is more than Old –Audiolab- so why not making use of it?

    I am surprised why New-Audiolab seem not to build stronger on the achievements of both Old-Audiolab and TAG McLaren Audio. Whilst I (and I guess all of you) fully appreciate that they can’t use the name TAG McLaren anymore, they could still make a much stronger point about the combined achievements, from an 8000A to AV192R.

    However, as I read it, the new-Audiolab’s mission statement implies (or is it only in my imagination?) that there was a 7 year time-out period. I consider this a oversight, considering they own all the rights to the all these fine products.



    And thinking about it, that “suppression” of seven successful years is what caused my initial surprise…



    Disclaimer
    I aplogise for the length of the contribution and any spelling/grammatical errors which might remain
     
  13. johnson

    johnson
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    Udo,
    As always, very interesting.
    I look forward to a future discussion on the Dvd32r. Particularly, your thoughts on the parts that seem to be prematurely failing.
    Regards
     
  14. liam_b

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    Johnson, thats a cheap shot :( taken at the most helpful person I've ever dealt with regarding hifi/av products. I'm certain that if Udo could somehow have made all DVD32 work prefectly he would have.

    Udo, you make some well observed points, as usual. I think that the stratergy (if you can it that) from IAG is to try seperate themselves from the the turmoil that the closing of TMA caused in the minds of its dealers and users. One could just say that their statement is 'just marketing'. I will wait and see what they deliver, if the new boxes function well, sound as good and cost less I'm sure people will buy.
     
  15. johnson

    johnson
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    Hi Liam,
    I'm shocked. I'll have to read what I wrote again!
    My message was in no way intended to be derogatory(spelling!).
    I have a huge amount of respect for Udo. I own most of the TMA products sold and love them.
    I was just interested in his thoughts on the failings of the Dvd32r and if he thought a change of eprom manufacturer (which is what i believe happened)would result in improved reliability.
    Possibly some comments on what he might have done diferently with hindsight, would prove interesting also.
    I have never been accused of anything remotely close to this before, and I appologise to anyone offended.
    I shall have to think twice about posting in future.
    Regards
     
  16. liam_b

    liam_b
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    Johnson, perhap I read more into your post than is really there :oops: in which case - I sincerely apologise.
     
  17. johnson

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    Hi Liam,
    When I read Udo's post I was thinking about the part where he said

    " see DVD32R- which one day will be the subject of another long discussion."

    I was assuming he was going to write something about his thoughts on this player.(which I have 2 of and would be very interesting to me)

    I hope no harm has been done.

    Best regards

    Simon
     
  18. Miron

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    Udo, I think everything has already been told about TAG top loader. If you read all the threads on this forum (which I have no doubt you did) you will see there is no other subject that was discussed so often, so emotional, so passionate and so detailed. I do not think there is anything left to tell there!


    My personal (cold minded) summary would be: It is a great performer and one of the most beautiful players I ever saw, (still on my shelf), but it turned into a real desaster!

    About IAG's statement.
    Since it was put online I saw it as part of the marketing strategy (which might touch someone) but it is just a statement.
    The best way to judge about IAG's products is to do it in few years (same what Graham said about FLR)
     
  19. Aze_007

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    I do not post often on this forum but I read most of the threads. Once, Dr. Udo gave me a hint on how to get a 8000M repaired and that worked for me well. In the old Audiolab and TMA days I often visited the Forum there and also got useful information. Now I feel I could contribute to the thread started...

    I would like to comment (and use Dr. Udo's section titles):


    Old-Audiolab’s sound-quality

    I own 8000Q, 8000T, 8000PPA, 8000CDM, 8000DAX and 4x8000M. My speakers are the Monitor Audio Studio 20SE. I really love this setup since many years. I listen to all types of music and am never disappointed (appart from one failure on one 8000M and now something on my CDM which I cant yet really tell what it is - and of course the bulbs...).

    However I have noticed the following: ears get used to what they hear. I have listened to my CD's on other systems and immediately thought it is nowhere near to what I am used to from my Audiolabs. But if you force yourself to cntinue listening this changes and with time your ears (or brains) adopt to what you are hearing and how you perceive the result. I have experienced systems which then became superior to my own and some which did not. I have never tried to analyse which parts of the system contribute to the superiority as I just like my setup AS A COMPLETE SYSTEM.

    Having said this I also have to mention that the TMA updates or innovations of the former Audiolab 8000's did not really qualify in my ears of having become superior of WHAT I WAS USED TO (but I admit I was put off by the price tag as well). It does not mean they were not superior and I read several threads where Dr. Udo explained why they were. Probably he and all other TMA lovers were (or are) right but I just could not convince my HERITAGE of listening experience to think otherwise.



    Old-Audiolab’s built-quality

    I bought an English brand and never expected German style perfectionism (which I am not too fond of anyway as it does not leave room for human touches). I do agree that TMA made much better efforts at production quality.

    What I have allways disliked is the design of the TMA's. The Audiolab design basis (slim black elegant boxes with easy to use human - machine interface) is something I rarely see in other equipment (and which is something I have always loved about English brands. This paired with the sound was my driver for buying in the first place and replacing my Musical Fidelity A1 at that time. German brands like Braun disappeared - and never had the sound. T&A is there but I do not like the sound either).



    Reappearance of the 8000 series

    All I can say is I hope I can get my HERITAGE stuff repaired if there is new stuff around. But service has never been the bright side of these brands. I would look forward to a new 8000 CDM/DAX combination as (especially for the Stereo loving addict like I am) newest DA converting technology would be interesting.


    New-Audiolab is more than Old –Audiolab- so why not making use of it?

    I fully agree with Dr. Udo's views and am really disappointed about this marketing failure. Probably they have mad an engineer the marketing expert. I know what I am talking about as this is the same case for myself and I understand both views quite well I believe.



    As a summary I can say that I will listen to the new Audiolab very carefully but I doubt that my perception of performance will beat my heritage. If it does then what should I do. Exchange the old with the new Audiolab.... Now that could be a very interesting story to tell.

    Aze
     
  20. alexs2

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    Hi Udo...I totally agree,and wasn't really surprised,but perhaps a bit disappointed when I read the quoted statement on the IAG website.

    I'm quite sure that more could have been made of the heritage,by including the contribution of TAG,and I am also sure that it would have done the forthcoming products no harm at all in terms of alignment with a brand synonymous with quality and innovation.

    An opportunity lost.
     
  21. jolaca

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    I do agree with Udo. I am not English but for me the worst part, as I understood it from the marketing statement, is the one that 'forgets' subliminally the seven GOOD AND INNOVATIVE years of Tag McLaren Audio.
     
  22. GrahamMG

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    I think Liam hit the nail on the head, as far as the dealers are concerned they are extremely nervious of anything with a TAG McLaren Audio name on it (rightly or wrongly) so IAG have decided to only mention Audiolab as that name is rather further back in the minds of us old folkes than the recent TMA demise. Personally I think it a great shame that some credit for moving the industry forward is not laid at TMA's door as they really did try to shake up the market but if a brand has a certain perception these days among the people who sell the gear, any manufacturer cannot take the chance of rocking the boat.....
     

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