With few exceptions, 2003 has been a slow year for specialty A/V retailers. In late November, both Ultimate Electronics and Tweeter Group reported disappointing figures for their third and fourth fiscal quarters, respectively. New York's Harvey Electronics, however, posted respectable gains given the stagnant economy.
Editor's note: When Jonathan Scull reviewed the Shun Mook devices back in 1994, he unleashed a hailstorm of controversy that continues to this day. Below is his original report along with some of the follow-up articles and fallout.
You're a typical audiophile. You read this magazine and others like it cover to cover, month after month, keeping up with industry trends and insider gossip. You've ingratiated yourself with every hi-fi dealer in your area, all of whom will let you take equipment home for extended auditions, give you generous trade-in allowances, and sell to you at a small percentage above their cost. Never pay retail, you chuckle to yourself, checking the newspaper's classifieds for audio bargains.
The Sirius Satellite Radio constellation will soon be in position, thanks to the successful launch November 30 of Sirius-3, the third satellite in the Sirius system. The transponders are being arrayed in geosynchronous orbits above North America for maximum radio coverage, which will begin in 2001. The previous two satellites were launched last summer and in early autumn.
The MP3 digital music format continues to gain momentum. Only two weeks ago, Thomson S.A., the international electronics conglomerate (parent of RCA and ProScan), announced a 20% investment in MusicMatch, Inc., the San Diego, California-based maker of management software for the upstart format. Last week Thomson took a further radical stance by announcing RCA's own MP3 player, the Lyra, to a gathering of more than 400 dealers at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas.
For the first time in more than 10 years, individual investors have a chance to own a piece of one of the oldest and most recognized names in the American electronics industry. As of November 1, RCA officially came back on the stock market, when parent company Thomson Multimedia made a successful initial public offering of 21 million shares. The stock (NYSE: TMS) debuted at $22.62 per share and closed Friday, November 5 at $29.25.
Holding his thumb and forefinger together to reveal barely a sliver of light, Chris English said, "This close. We're this close." He wasn't talking about how far apart we were sitting, but about how close Threshold is to being back in business after an attempted restructuring last year did not work out.
Owners of Threshold electronics will soon have an expert service organization available for their amplifiers and preamps. Threshold Corporation national sales manager Chris English reports that he has assumed the presidency of a new company to be devoted solely to servicing Threshold equipment. Based in Texas, Threshold Service Company will employ factory-trained technicians and engineers, and will offer warranties on all their work.