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Do smaller companies make better products than mainstream companies?

  • YES

    Votes: 34 46.6%
  • NO

    Votes: 39 53.4%

  • Total voters
    73
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Discussion Starter #1
Is it true? Yes or No. I believe that a smaller audio company that is more focused on quality control and product quality will produce better products than companies such as: Alpine, Kenwood, Pioneer, MTX, JL Audio, RF, etc. Smaller companies can be: MacIntosh, Sundown Audio, Incriminator Audio, SSA, Dayton, CDT, Brax, Tru, etc. These products can be speakers, subwoofers, amps, coaxials, processors, etc.
 

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Also depends on if the small companies actually make their own product, with their own r&d or if they buy from a build house and slap their label on it.
 

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I think it is a mixed bag.

You might get more power from an amplifier or more subwoofer excursion for less from a smaller company, often they will leverage existing designs and simply rebrand items. They will also often use more generic parts that might not integrate as well in the design. For instance look at input and output terminals. JL, alpine, JBl have more integrated designs for their flagships. You can see dollar store ones on the smaller brands.

You might not care so much at design and think you care more about power and performance, but then maybe after comparing you realise that having (number out of my ass) 25% more output power translates into inaudible performance benefits. So is it a toss-up?

The big boys can offer full product lines such as decks and better stock integration and system tuning. You don’t see the small companies bringing out self tune systems like we see from alpine and JBL. Certainly no advanced decks like the P99.

We often say install and tuning is where most benefits come from so, more often than not the tuning aspect, the “heart” of your system, will be coming from one of the big boys.

Small companies though are often good at filling niches and also being closer to their customers and many of us value that. However even the big boys are getting better at that to, how many reps for the major companies to we have on here?

I am glad that both sides do exist though.
 

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Exactly. Hell, Manville replied in this thread! lol if ANYONE has a quality issue with a JL product they were absolutely abusing the piss out of it.

Also, McIntosh is not small. Dayton is not small.
 

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I don't know if I would put JL audio as one of the big boys. They offer a modest line up of focused quality products IMO and resemble more the smaller compagny model IMO.

I think qualifying who is big and who is small might be a challenge in itself.
some small compagnies rebrand a lot, some don't at all.

Some big compagnies don't rebrand, some do.

Quality control I think has nothing to do with the size of the company but is more related to where the product sits in the line up... top or bottom?
 

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As a generalization, I would say no. Look at mainstream companies like Alpine and JL. They make very good quality components.

That is not to say that small companies dont make high quality. companies like Zed, ID, and Zuki are good examples.
 

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Exactly. Hell, Manville replied in this thread! lol if ANYONE has a quality issue with a JL product they were absolutely abusing the piss out of it.

Also, McIntosh is not small. Dayton is not small.
Do we have any other reps from the big boys though? Andy no longer works for Harmon. Grizz is now at Ground Zero which may or may not be small in Europe but is non existant for now here. Do we have anyone from Alpine or Pio or Kenwood? Almost forgot, and truely sorry Casey, we do have Casey from Morel.
 

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Is it true? Yes or No. I believe that a smaller audio company that is more focused on quality control and product quality will produce better products than companies such as: Alpine, Kenwood, Pioneer, MTX, JL Audio, RF, etc. Smaller companies can be: MacIntosh, Sundown Audio, Incriminator Audio, SSA, Dayton, CDT, Brax, Tru, etc. These products can be speakers, subwoofers, amps, coaxials, processors, etc.
Since when is McIntosh small?

And why would you think QC is better with smaller companies?

I think stereotyping in this way is a really bad idea.
 

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I don't know if I would put JL audio as one of the big boys. They offer a modest line up of focused quality products IMO and resemble more the smaller compagny model IMO.

I think qualifying who is big and who is small might be a challenge in itself.
some small compagnies rebrand a lot, some don't at all.

Some big compagnies don't rebrand, some do.

Quality control I think has nothing to do with the size of the company but is more related to where the product sits in the line up... top or bottom?
If nothing else we need a medium group. JL may fall inbetween that group and the big boys. I tend to think of them as a big boy though. They have wharehouses I would imagine thruought the states as I know they have one here in Phoenix. We also have countless shops that sell JL and if you want something that said shop does not have on hand they can have it for you by the afternoon. Small companies will not have wharehouses in other states other then theirs.

I know when I got back into audio a little over a year ago I walked into this one small shop and was told all they carry is JL and Kicker. I have since found another that carries only JL and RF. I am sure there are others too that rely mostly on selling JL.


For those in FL I just found this JL Audio - Factory Tours
 

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Do we have any other reps from the big boys though? Andy no longer works for Harmon. Grizz is now at Ground Pounder which may or may not be small in Europe but is non existant for now here. Do we have anyone from Alpine or Pio or Kenwood? Almost forgot, and truely sorry Casey, we do have Casey from Morel.
There is a rep for epsilon still on here that is not grizz, and there is Jim from alpine.

I think it would be hard to distinguish big from small.

Product line up?
# of employees?
Revenue?
sales?
 

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I would say NO.
Smaller companies more likely than not are buying things off the shelf and relying on the manufacturers to handle the QC/QA portion of the process, leaving room for more errors.
 

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Do we have any other reps from the big boys though? Andy no longer works for Harmon. Grizz is now at Ground Pounder which may or may not be small in Europe but is non existant for now here. Do we have anyone from Alpine or Pio or Kenwood? Almost forgot, and truely sorry Casey, we do have Casey from Morel.

Jim Walters from Alpine is a regular. Nick Wingate from ORCA. What exactly does a rep mean though? Nothing. It has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of the product. At all.
 

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I do not look at it as big vs small

Just because they are small doesnt mean their q.c. Is better then a large company

Look at a small auto manufacturer like Lamborghini vs Honda. Is the Lamborghini more reliable and will it last longer vs the Honda? Is the q.c. At Lamborghini better then Honda?

To me its more about simply their targeted market. Alpine makes great stuff however they do not want to compete against $5,000 car audio amplifiers or $2,500 subwoofers but they do compete quite well in the under $500 amp and $100-300 sub market. Small companies usually do not want to compete with the large electronic companies in areas that are difficult to enter and make a profit, cd/nav/head units as a example. They stick to areas which are easier to enter and turn a profit.
 

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The quality of our products has improved as we became a bigger company. More resources give us the ability to invest in better production equipment, better tooling, more research and better quality procedures. The product we built today is the best we have ever built.

Here's are a few photo galleries that show what I'm talking about...
JL Audio

I tend to place more trust in a speaker assembled in a high-tech facility than in some "hand-made" operation where adhesives are applied to speakers with ketchup squeeze bottles. :)
 

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I think it depends more on the focus of the company than the size. A small company that puts a strong focus on QC is no better or worse than a large company that does the same. In addition, a company that focuses on mass production for minimum margin is going to place less importance on QC. Regardless of the overall size of the company.
 
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