A Visit to YG Acoustics

When Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2016 (RMAF)—the hot hi-fi rager of the Wild West—came to its close, I had one more official stop to make: YG Acoustics.

Located just 30 minutes from Denver in the city of Arvada, is the YG Acoustics facility—including the factory, showroom, and offices. Much like most factories, the exterior is an unassuming vanilla casing, with no evidence of the flavorful, no-compromise, high-tech, high-end speakers living (and being brought to life) inside.

The tour was informative. We breezed through the office space, then worked our way through the factory. Solid aluminum billets, raw cabinet parts, CNC machines at work, hollow speaker bodies, shipping containers, driver cones at various stages, the overhead crane, and their speaker measurement rig—I saw it all. The recurring theme: obsessive perfection. A $10,000 machine press that applies two tons of force to guarantee oxygen-free wire termination, a machine dedicated to winding toroidal air-core inductors—it's not about speed or quantity. YG prefers to do things right even if they take a little longer.

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Next/Last on the agenda: the showroom. A spacious, minimally outfitted escape cave that provided to be a warm hued refresher for my dry eyes. The showroom's focus was on YG's latest and greatest: the Sonja XV ($265,900/pair), an extreme four-tower version of the flagship Sonja's. "XV" marks YG's upcoming 15-year anniversary (200–2017), and will make its formal launch at CES 2017 in Janaury. The showroom system contained amplification by Audionet, and Kubala-Sosna Elation! cabling throughout. The digital front end was a dCS Scarlatti four-box system, through which we listened to a YG demo disc.

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Phenomenal. Gently persuasive, tastefully lyrical, and deliciously dynamic—the Sonja XVs were, indeed truly realistic. It doesn't feel right to comment on their sonic properties any further, because I know nothing about speakers that cost more than a quarter of a million dollars. But hey, I can enjoy them.

When we, listeners of the audiophile variety, think of speakers (or any component, really), we usually try to pinpoint what exactly makes them sound good. We tell ourselves it's the silk, it's the beryllium, it's the percentage of aluminum, it's all aluminum, it's the latest technology, it's the world's first, it's spherical, it's a braided, it's this, it's that—and so on. And these are all good to keep in mind.

When I entered YG's facilities, I had the following bullet points in mind: aluminum; made in the USA; luxury sound; luxury price. And sure, I added a few more bullet points through the course of the factory tour: perfectionists; toroidal air-core inductor winding machine; the precision of their wire termination machine, the image of an empty double-walled enclosure; and so on. And these are all good to keep in mind.

But at the core of it all lies the inexplicable reason behind it all; the driving force to reproduce a single sonic vision. The sole creator and brain behind YG Acoustics: YG himself. Yoav Geva is the President of YG Acoustics, but mostly focuses on inventing new speaker technologies, optimizing current designs, and programming the CNC machinery. YG Acoustics' speakers are named after YG's loved ones: Sonja is his wife, Hailey is his daughter, and Carmel is his son. The speakers follow this lineup in price and size, respectively. Being the sappy romantic that I am, I was touched to learn this detail.

I chatted with Yoav to learn a bit more about his personal background.

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Jana Dagdagan: Why did you decide to start making speakers?

Yoav Geva: I started building speakers as a hobby when I was a teenager. I come from a musical family, with a brother who is a professional opera singer, and a father who played bass guitar. I myself have been playing keyboards as a hobby since childhood. So, the interest in music was always there. When I was 15 years old, I bought my first stereo system. It was definitely not high-end. It had a Sony CD player and integrated amp, and Bose speakers. As expected, it didn't sound lifelike at all. I then asked my father what to do, and he gave me two options: work more, save up more money, and buy better speakers; or—build my own speakers, which he saw as offering an educational value, so he would buy me books to learn the science and some parts to work with. I chose the latter option. That was my first foray into the world of audio, and the rest is history . . .

JD: Can you tell me about how you started?

YG: I started YG Acoustics in 2002 in Israel, in an abandoned bomb shelter that I was able to rent for a mere $180 a month. I was assisted by a grant from the Ministry of Industry that I won for an invention related to speaker crossovers. After a couple of years, it became clear that while I would always love my home country, it didn't offer the type of opportunity that the US would present. So I moved YG Acoustics in 2004 to Arvada, Colorado, USA. The factory has expanded since twice, and is now three times larger than it was back then.

JD: In your opinion, what is the most important thing about speaker design?

YG: I design for robust reliability and lifelike sound. The order is intentional—while I care deeply about fidelity, I must remind myself that if a speaker doesn't work, the customer won't care how wonderful it may sound. To answer more technically, a speaker consists of three main elements: drivers, enclosure, and crossover. While all three are very important, the crossover is what separates the exceptional from the ordinary. YG Acoustics utilizes a unique crossover design called DualCoherent, which combines neutrality with phase-coherence, whereas most other speakers must sacrifice one to achieve the other. Of all eight of our unique technologies, which are described in detail here, DualCoherent is in my opinion the most important for precise, natural, relaxed and lifelike musical reproduction.

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JD: How many people were first working at YG Acoustics, and how many people are now working at YG Acoustics?

YG: When I started YG Acoustics, it was a one-man show for the first half-year, and only one additional employee for the year thereafter. Today we employ 12 specialists in two shifts, and in addition we have seven hard-working, precise, CNC machines to automate tasks from metal cutting to coil-winding.

JD: Who will you name your next set of speakers after? Rather, what do you have in mind for YG's future?

YG: My wife and I have no plans for more children, so the current lineup is pretty much fixed. For the past few years I worked nonstop on developing our new statement design, Sonja XV. Therefore, now I am concentrating on a few projects that were on the "back burner" during that time. The first of these, which you will be able to see at CES 2017, is a new made-in-house rack that I've been wanting to do for a while.

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COMMENTS
jporter's picture

$265,000...I bet he wishes you didn't publish that first picture.

georgehifi's picture

Fine to use braced aluminium enclosures, and the damping pads are still yet to go on.

Cheers George

tonykaz's picture

for a Brooklyn girl getting started in High-End equivalences.

Do these people know that you rely on LS3/5a?

Tony in Michigan

dalethorn's picture

The LS3/5a is a very fine speaker, but for greatest satisfaction, don't just assume a tiny room and a 25-watt amp (lest you blow a driver, which happened to a demo set I borrowed ahead of purchase). Get your "head" into the experience that the LS3/5a is capable of, and "let go" of the yearning for something bigger and more dramatic. For me, the average jazz record would sound superb on the LS3/5a, and it might not be any better on the big YG system, if intimacy is where my head is at. The big system, in the right room with the right tuning, can bring the big stuff to life that would be just hinted at by the LS3/5a, as much as a large jet airliner would offer things that can't be realized in a Lear jet or Cessna. I'd almost bet that the true audiophiles among the wealthy own both the big system and a small system built around the likes of the LS3/5a. The intimacy of the small-system sound isn't just someone's imagination, it's a real thing when the speakers are small and close-up.

cgh's picture

I was given a tour of YG a few RMAFs ago. It was cool to see the whole operation (although YG made sure he hid the crossovers while we were there). Watching the big CNC machine work the billet was interesting.

spacehound's picture

jporter remarks on pricing.

How come these things cost as much as an entire Ferrari when they are less complicated than merely ONE Ferrari cylinder head????

tonykaz's picture

These things are for the Walmart children who have no concept of "value for money".

If you inherited 3.2 Billion US Dollars you wouldn't ask 'silly' questions like this.

Instead, you'd be asking the simple question : Why on Earth are they showing these things to us?

Tony in Michigan

spacehound's picture

Though a long term 'HiFi' enthusiast and somewhat of a technical geek too, with some quite fancy gear, (mid-range dCS, Naim, Tannoy) I am becoming increasing cynical about the utterly ludicrous prices charged for much 'HiFi' stuff.

There used to be good stuff, such as the early McIntosh or Krell amplifiers, and Naim or Quad in the UK, plus people like Snell or AR, and again in the UK, Tannoy, all of whom charged high, but sensible, prices. Then it all went completely nuts. As a result 'HiFi' products, once seen and listened to in many 'slightly better off' households have almost vanished as any significant part of the consumer electronics business.

I suspect it started with all these nonsense high-priced 'cables' (I have never seen 'price' as part of an electrical equation) and went on from there.

volvic's picture

Yes, I too shudder when I see the prices but understand the environment. How many do we think he sells in a year to justify his costs, amortization, equipment depreciation costs and very small market share? Break even analysis, fixed and variable cost analysis can be quite a shocker when you have to report within a fiscal year. Look at Linn makers of the Keel, Radikal power supply. If they had a larger marketshare, greater economies of scale I believe they too would have priced things lower, but even Linn a few years ago was in dire financial straits. I think their pricing reflects a financial reality that we are sometimes not privy and it's easy (because I have done it) to criticize. This is not to say that some don't deserve the critique, dropping an Oppo player in a new case and charging a premium is criminal and some cable costs make me laugh, but most entrepreneurs are trying to survive, maintain their R&D and produce a quality product. Doesn't mean I have to like the price but such are the realities. On another note, I enjoy seeing the Stereophile crew reaching out and seeing how these things are made at the factory as it gives us an insight into how difficult it is to startup something like this and associated costs.

pango's picture

I think the author should visit other factories outside of the audio space, so when they see a machine performing a task it is not called out as "obsessive perfection". It's called manufacturing. The worst run automotive manufacturing plant would be written up as "Alien technology with robots everywhere" - - and it's not, it's just modern circa 2010 manufacturing with tools that had their design started back before 2000. The fact that they have CNC tools is not a sign of obsessive perfection but using proven tools for a solution. Working with metal requires modern tools. Can you imagine going to a wood speaker company and taking pictures of their routers? :-)

Bill Leebens's picture

I've worked in heavy manufacturing in addition to audio manufacturing, and while the statement, "it's a factory like many others" is superficially true, it's not generally true of audio. Aside from major multinationals and huge OEMs, most facilities of manufacturers in high-end audio do not possess the capabilities of YG's facility.

So---rather than bust Jana for her comment, how about saying something like, "it's good to see an American manufacturer invest in their facility and provide jobs, rather than outsourcing and offshoring"?

Comments about Ferrari pricing are similarly specious; without Fiat's ability to buy and produce in quantity, Ferraris would be a helluva lot pricier than they are. Almost no one in audio has that kind of clout.

spacehound's picture

In a Ferrari you get about ONE AND A HALF TONS of engineering, a LOT of material, some of it VERY expensive, and the culmination of about 50 years of experience, and LOTS of expensive machinery in the factory, much of it purpose designed.

R&D?
The current Ferrari V12 not only gives something like 750 brake horsepower, it is so clean running that the cars are the ONLY ones in the world that do not need a catalytic converter in any country in the world.

This speaker?
A few guys in a 'shed'. No specialised machinery, CNC is common everywhere. You can even buy 'hobby' CNC machines.
A few simple materials. All thoroughly developed by others - Lamborghini, for example is one of the world's premier carbon fibre developers and sits right alongside Boeing, Airbus, and Lockheed Martin on the 'international materials development panel'.

Speaker design is largely 'empirical', all the real 'science' was done many years ago. Now it's just 'twiddling' and trial and error.
And the requirement is simple. We are talking 'High Fidelity' here. It means 'Great Accuracy'
Which equals a FLAT frequency response over the audible range plus a little further. It does NOT mean "I like the sound". If it isn't flat its not 'HiFi' so isn't worth two cents, let alone 250,000 dollars. And it's not particularly hard to achieve.

Costs. Unlike Fiat/Ferrari, YG doesn't provide a sports ground, a social club, hundreds of personnel people, 'management experts' secretaries, etc, a health scheme, a pension scheme, free outings to museums/arts, etc. for retired employees, and so on. Small business 'incidental' costs are MUCH lower than those of large businesses where such things are the norm.

Craftsmanship.
Recently I happened to see a BBC hour-long program of the Lamborghini factory at Sant'Agata, near Bologna, Italy. They make about eleven cars a day, which is not many. Not only were there dozens of expensive robots and CNC machines, the hand craftsmanship was incredible. Very precise hand layup of robot-cut carbon cloth, of which the chassis is made, Hand weighing to match up sets of 10 (for the Huracan) or 12 (for the Aventador) pistons so they all weigh the same, and the same for the connecting rods, which are also sorted into groups so that each connecting rod in the set has the centre of gravity in the same place. Yards and yards of the world's finest leather in any color you want. Measurements on a rolling road, and an hour for each car driven really hard on the local country roads.They fit, and balance, a new set of tires afterwards. The ones used in the test are thrown away.
AND ALL FOR roughly the price of a pair of these speakers for the Huracan and only about 50,000 dollars more for the bigger 12 cylinder one.

It saddens me, but particularly in the USA, but it is true here in the UK too the HiFi business is destroying itself/has destroyed itself because of its suicidal crazy prices.

dalethorn's picture

I dunno about the comparisons. As I look around, everyone I know who "knows cars" knows about Ferraris and what they're made of, whereas I can count on one hand the audiophiles I know who know a lot about audiophile speakers. The difference is staggering. I think if someone did a street survey sampling a wide variety of locations and economic strata, you'd find that car enthusiasts outnumber audiophile speaker enthusiasts by orders of magnitude. And it goes from the finished product down to the spare parts. Drive around most towns - car stuff everywhere, everyone driving cars. Even though you don't see audiophile speakers from the street, you can sense that only a tiny fraction of the people who own $25000 and up cars also own audiophile speakers even a significant fraction of that price, say $5000/pair and up. Ferraris sit near the top of an enormous pyramid of car technology with universal support for that tech. Producers of large high-end speakers are nearly invisible against that. Worse yet is that large speaker ownership is steadily declining, for the reason that a diminishing number of people have the houses and isolation to justify such things.

spacehound's picture

Precisely. THAT'S the difference. I'm NOT saying there is anything actively 'dishonest' about these speakers, the price is stated, we can look at the boxes, and we can hear the result, and we buy or not buy them if we want. There is no 'unknown mystery' about cone in a box speakers. But HiFi enthusiasts, unlike car enthusiasts, are very easy to fool as it is all so 'empirical'. A high enough price and they will all say it's wonderful. If it was one twentieth the price it would have got little attention - we all know that.

You only have to look at some of the advertising garbage from so-called 'high-end' cable manufactures to see that. And a cable, being a passive device, can only DETRACT from the sound, it cannot improve what comes out of the previous box. And if a five dollar cable can carry the current at frequencies up to the maximum frequency of the amplifier response, and they ALL can, even a straigtened out coat hanger, it will be FAR superior to the box it is getting the signal from.

I'm not going to name names but some of the cable advertising stuff could be pulled apart by any school physics student. And HAS been, to the level that at least two manufacturers, both still in existence and both well known, have had to withdraw some of their more nonsensical claims about how they work. The phrase 'inducing quantum effects' comes to mind. If it was true they would have collected their Nobel prizes for physics by now.

And cone speakers in a box are pretty simple things, with only ONE end requirement - a flat frequency response. If it can't do something VERY close to that it is not 'High Fidelity' at all, is it? Because High Fidelity, by definition, means accuracy. And as 'rise time' is the exact reciprocal of frequency response (equals just another way of measuring the identical thing) then get a wide frequency response and the much talked about 'PRAT' comes automatically. It just can't help it.

Lows are easy - a big box and/or big cones does that. And a rigid cone helps of course. You can make a rigid cone out of of a dollars worth of carbon fibre cloth and 50 cents worth of epoxy resin, and Magico do. Aluminium ore is the most plentiful metal ore on the planet and aluminium is a pretty cheap material and it is very easy to machine. Highsway above human hearing are slightly harder, but not difficult as the tweeter size is small so distortion is FAIRLY easily (not as easily as the low end but not notably difficult) controlled and power requirements are very low.
Science of 'box' speakers? It was all known 50 plus years ago.

As I said, High Fidelity does NOT mean "I like it".

I just contend that the price, compared to the effort put in and material cost is nuts. If their manufacturing cost are somehow very high that's their 'problem', not ours. With CNC machining there is no reason they ahould be high, even at low quantities. That's what CNC machines were developed for - low cost at low numbers, as you don't need a machine specially designed to do one thing. Which you can't achieve with conventional 'pre-CNC' mass production. Cost of such machines are not huge - a retired (from the computer industry so he knows how to program it) friend who does 'occasional' machining work semi-professionally has one in his shed.

dalethorn's picture

I still don't agree. It seems pretty obvious (and the average audiophile can follow my logic above by just looking around) that high-end speaker manufacturing draws from a tremendously smaller 'pyramid' of technological support (parts, stampers, engine assemblies, coils, fuel mixers, .....) than car manufacturing draws from. The simple conclusion has to be that that accounts for the price differences.

KimAlan's picture

Dear Stereophile Comments Editor:

For the good of your readership and on behalf of millions of Stereophile readers, I'm begging you to block "spacehound". Granted, he may be from space, but the canid family has long since kicked him out of the species.

Seriously, anyone that cynical, nasty, and negative can't be adding or contributing positively toward Stereophile's goals, and I can't imagine that there is even one loyal reader who is receiving any benefit from his know-it-all contemptuousness. I'm asking you to block him so that we can enjoy thoughtful intelligent comments again. Thanks.

cgh's picture

These comment sections are maddening because they are not conducive to serious discourse. I would think SP doesn't care too much. I would also guess that after Jana's 2nd piece a grey-hair suggested to her that she not read the comment sections and just focus on writing and honing her game.

Anyway, spacehound has a good point, despite delivery, and that was around the product being "empirical". Take Wilson. I'll borrow Spacehound's term and say that Wilson is notorius for developing their products "empirically". So you spend X dollars and Y hours building the speaker based on some basic science. Thiele-Small parameters, etc. Then you spend Z hours tuning the box by ear. This may take years. What is the price tag for this thinking? I have advanced degrees in math and physics and years of work experience. My employer pays me a helluva lot more than the price of that speaker just to have ideas and act on them. All based on building cognitive biases (empirically) on top of my degrees. So if you choose to vote with your wallet and buy a Wilson, part of what you're paying for is that ear, in that room, listening for hours, and the resultant feedback loop on the final design.

So the real question isn't whether the total price is total BS. The real question is whether the incremental cost stemming from Z is a good value proposition relative to the whole. Couple this with an illiquid market and what's essentially a luxury good, and there's no end to this conversation. Regardless, Spacehound has a good point wrt what he is calling "empirical".

John Atkinson's picture
KimAlan wrote:
I'm asking you to block him so that we can enjoy thoughtful intelligent comments again.

I am conflicted when presented with issues like this. On the one hand, I strongly believe in the magazine and its readers having a dialog on what we say. but on the other, that dialog can become dominated by someone who shouts the longest.

I monitor the comments and so far Spacehound, while a loudmouth who appears unable to believe that anyone has an opinion better-informed than his own, has not crossed the line where I would block him from posting.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

jporter's picture

Spacehounds comments are well thought out and presented appropriately. I feel sorry for you. I hope going out to your front yard and straightening out your Trump for President sign will make you feel better. Cheers!

jporter's picture

Thanks..

Allen Fant's picture

Well, Jana- you certainly started at the top!
Excellent coverage. Can you cite any of the music from the YG demo disc? CD or SACD?

Did Mr. Geva play Elton for you?
Happy Listening-

Anon2's picture

YG, Wilson, and Magico are largely out of the realm of many American audio enthusiasts.

Taking an alternate view might cast these products in a different light.

I wonder how much export sales matter to these manufacturers. I would hazard a guess that the export customer base is probably a growing portion of these companies' order book.

Export sales might not make the steep price of these products any less uppalatable for me. However, if these products are going to the well-heeled of the world, then it's not bad. These are value-added, manufactured products of the sort that the US needs to offset the full-ship-in/empty-ship-out reality that our country has seen for the past 3-4 decades.

I attended a product presentation hosted by a representative of one of these companies. He had just returned from a tour of retailers outside the US.

It is true but uncomfortable that wealth has grown outside the US; look at our presidential election this 2016. However, these companies may be closing another uncomfortable trade gap that has become immutable in the US.

Perhaps Stereophlle can do a blind report on the extent to which US audio manufacturers have become exporters of high-value added products. These three speaker manufactures no doubt have a non-North American content in their components. However, much of the design and final assembly value added is "Made in the USA."

So for today, and in light of the other comments, I will try to take a glass-half-full point of view with regards to YG, Magico, and Wilson. I don't like that I will never be able to afford their products. It is heartening, though, that these firms may export in a measure to offset much of the gear that I (and others) are constrained to purchase.

Good reporting, Jana.

spacehound's picture

Use of US 'top' brands in many products, not just HiFi, is quite common here in the UK, for example, and the US HiFi 'majors' are well represented.
Many of us are prepared to pay higher prices because they are made by 'people like us' who earn real wages, have similar lifestyles to us, and don't work in a 'slave' factory, right alongside children, in some jungle. And who's factory owners would give up their products to make plastic garden buckets (of the sort that crack in a week of usage) instantly if they saw more money in it.

Over the years I have purchased two Harley-Davidsons at far higher than typical 'Asian' prices for exactly those reasons. They were, and are, fine quality. You don't see too many 'Asian' cars with unpronounceable names either. There's not a single one in my 'average UK income' street.

And France has a very active HiFi industry of its own. They are good at it, too. Same is true for Italy.

Amazingly, 90% of UK sold kitchen paper towel rolls are made in the USA. Why, I cannot imagine :)

cgh's picture

I am not going to jump on any band wagon. I will say this: it's all moot. Why? Somebody in Asia right now is mixing vintage Bordeaux with Coke and listening to YG speakers and they couldn't care less about our problems. When they are done they will go for a joy ride in their Ferrari.

misterc59's picture

There is a thing called the market. People will buy (or not) what they want. If they want to purchase something for their hard earned $$, family inheritance, lotto winnings, etc., so be it.
If they purchase without due investigative work into what they are purchasing, I don't think it falls on the shoulders of the producer (at least as far as pricing goes). It is a totally different story if a company misrepresents itself or it's products that there is an issue.
I cannot personally afford equipment anywhere near this price range, however, I hold no grudge to their pricing system as I do not know ALL of the factors involved, nor their pricing strategy.
If they aren't pricing their products (expensive or not) to their pricing models, I would assume they would not be in business very long. Again, who is willing to pay what. Obviously, all companies do not operate exactly the same, nor should they given the type of product, intended market, along with numerous other variables.
In a "free" market, if something is overpriced to general thinking, and customers with deep pockets buy that product, is it the fault of the company trying to make a profit, or the people with deep pockets driving up the price (cost of production, not withstanding)?
I am not in production, sales, etc., I am a (hopefully) typical consumer.

Thanks for reading,
Regards,
Terry

Les's picture

I have no issues with the cost of YG's products. And I have no doubt that they sound absolutely brilliant. But I do wonder about the cost-to-benefit of this Herculean approach (Magico included). Does the aluminum construction confer the speakers with qualities not attainable with lesser, cheaper materials? After all, the art of engineering is about achieving a desired result in the most efficient manner. Are any of YG's sound quality achievements capable of being trickled down(?), I wonder...

spacehound's picture

And as we have not heard them we don't know what their 'achievements', if any, are.

dalethorn's picture

I was very impressed by Klipschorns that I heard circa 1980. If someone could get me a side-by-side extended demo of Klipschorns and YG speakers, I could tell what are the differences. Or pick a $30000 speaker system using similar technology (enclosure size and type, driver size and type, etc.) to compare. Wouldn't there be some expert customers or independent bloggers who've already done that?

tonykaz's picture

Increase the mass yields lower resonance. Increase the Dampening and resonance lowers.

MDF is a better material and cheaper.

Aluminum is durable, more expensive and much more difficult to work with.

Both materials are CNC machined.

Repairing MDF is easy, repairing Aluminum is a very difficult task ( possibly impossible ).

All things considered, MDF is the ideal material for Loudspeaker design.

Tony in Michigan

jmsent's picture

What YG (and others) in the ultra high end speaker game are doing is akin to blueprinting an engine. Build it to the tightest tolerance possible. Use the highest quality parts. Match components perfectly. But in the end, it's still a very standard multi-way box loudspeaker with a passive crossover.And by virtue of its basic design, it is therefore compromised. Blueprinting a design with a rigid enclosue and fancy drivers can move the needle somewhat, but it won't overcome the fundamental problems with the ubiquitous "monkey coffin". A designer friend said years ago that many engineers approach loudspeaker design like being in a room with both an elephant and a mouse in it. You want to get rid of both, but inevitably you only succeed in eliminating the mouse while ultimately having to continue living with the elephant.

tonykaz's picture

When two people agree on everything, only one is doing the thinking.

Mr.Spacehound is a valuable asset. In a sense, we are all Mr.Spacehound.

Tony in Michigan

tonykaz's picture

CNC machines lower costs, not raise costs.

A low skilled person at a work station can do intricate machine operations, consistently. It takes 10,000 hours to train a Journeyman Machinist.

If we think of speaker building is an ART ( I do ), computer design doesn't quite qualify.

These YG designs look like machine designed objects ( which they are ), for this kind of money I'd rather a well designed listening room and a pair of B&W 802s. ( my wife's decorator would agree )

Those Italian cars achieve super high performance levels as a result of Skilled Craftsmen's "tuning" abilities, ( I'm told they require plenty of skilled maintenance to keep them running well ), I don't own one. I do own woodworking tools that need constant sharpening and tuning to work well but they don't do beautiful ( artful ) work, that's up to me ( I'm not all that good ), my results resemble a trained Beaver's work.

Computer designed speakers should have Ikea type price points. ( Ikea just got J.D.Power's Award for customer approval in Kitchen Cabinets )

I wonder if Mr.Spacehound agrees?

Tony in Michigan

spacehound's picture

I started working life in the UK aircraft industry and became a 'journeyman' (we call them 'skilled men' in the UK). I was a 'student apprentice' which was longer, six years, required higher initial school qualifications and ended with more 'academic' formal qualifications than a regular apprentice.
Once qualified I did not stay long as the aircraft industry relies too much on 'government military whims' for job security.

So I left and my qualififations got me a job at the IBM development laboratory near Winchester (UK) where I stayed for 35 years. IBM, with Lockheed and Dassault, the French military aircraft manufacturer, invented Computer Aided Design and Manufacturing so was initially responsible for the existence of all this 'CNC' stuff.
It wasn't developed at the location I worked in, but in the US/France but I did use it. In my office was the worlds first successful 'flat' screen, which we DID invent (after many failures, including a weird one which 'electroplated' the data on the display) where I worked and I did CADAM on that. The successful one was the origin of all 'plasma' displays, for all purposes, worldwide.

You are correct on CNC costs and IKEA. Machining on a CNC machine costs almost NOTHING other than the initial cost of the machines and anyone can operate it, though it takes knowing people to program it, of course. And making small numbers costs no more per unit than making thousands. And they can compensate automatically for tool wear, which takes considerable manual skill on pre-CNC machines, even ones designed for mass production.

Sometimes they overdo it, "just because they can". You can end up with designs that look 'modern' and work fine but in fact are completely pointless. Try these, look at the 'Reel' section. You will spot the 'CNC' ones instantly. They are not even any lighter than the regular ones, but weight, within reason, is not that important anyway. And they don't like being accidentally trodden on, which happens quite often :)

www.hardyfishing.co.uk

tonykaz's picture

Beautiful stuff, wow.

I'm not at all a fisherman, I'll buy a fishing kayak (Hobie 14) when I finally "Retire" in Florida but just for "Cruising" the Inland Waterways and adventuring out into the Gulf. I'll buy my fish at the Store.

But, that Hardy fishing stuff is beautiful, I could have a few pieces for Display ( and to "claim" that I actually caught the fish that I BBQ. : a BIG Trump-like fib! )

There seems to be a considerable portion of European and Brit readership making comments here and on Head-fi. Are there comparable sites in Europe?, I'd love to join in some International discussions, posing as an American ( I'm Swede/Russian ).

Tony in Michigan

spacehound's picture

I don't know about the rest of Europe as I speak only English so don't look for them.
But I am not aware of any worthwhile UK HiFi sites. Most sites are supported by printed magazines, as this one is. But we only have one decent magazine in the UK, HiFi News and Record Review, and while it has a small web presence it mostly consists of articles from its 'several years ago' printed issues.

As for Hardy, yes, those reels are very 'pretty' but the 'cutaway' designs, only made financially viable by CNC machines, don't have any advantage over the conventional ones. And Hardy know it, as evidenced by those designs only lasting about a year, being then replaced by new designs.
Whereas they have been making the 'Perfect', totally unchanged, continually for over 100 years and it is their top selling reel.
I've got a couple of the 'Bougle' reels, initially made by Hardy about 100 years ago at the request and design of a 'Monsieur Bougle' of France, and recently re-introduced. I think it is far nicer and more 'elegant' than the 'designed specifically for CNC' ones. Though both it and the Perfect are now made on CNC machines, just using the old designs.

It's quite 'psychologically interesting' how mankind, ever since stone age axes and still apparent today, spends great effort on the 'decorative' design and attractiveness of his 'weapons'. The peoples of Africa do it with their spears and the engraving on 'London Best' UK hand-made shotguns is incredible but serves no purpose in the effectiveness of such guns. A 'matched pair' of those can make these $250,000 speakers seem 'budget' yet there is a waiting list of years for them :)

tonykaz's picture

"A thing of beauty is a joy forever", they say.

On the Scale of hierarchy of human needs:

1). Money,Food, Shelter
2). Security
3). Social
4). Status
5). Ego

I'm pretty much stuck on No.3 as are most of us writers.

The top stuff satisfies the needs of the Ego craving people who have all the other levels well covered.

I'm only able to justify functional.

Paul Seller's Woodworking site is right down the middle of my ideals.

I did once see an Actual Faberge Egg ( in Egg Harbor Wisconsin ), I lived in England for a while and owned a Daimler 250 V8 with leather interior. Other than all that, my GM CEO Lady calls me the Patron Saint of Mediocrity ( I'm certainly not an Abner Milquetoast )!, I drank 5,000 fifths of Vodka ( and lived to tell about it) and I'm on Oakwood Cemetery's "Waiting List"

Bon Vivant,

Tony in Michigan

spacehound's picture

All true.

Those Daimler V8s were quite nice, but as they fell between the smaller and larger Jaguars of identical shape I never saw the point of them.

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