Why did the receiver war of the 70s end?

Discussion in 'General Audio Discussion' started by z-adamson, Apr 26, 2017.

  1. z-adamson

    z-adamson Active Member

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    The "receiver war" was seemingly over by 1980. I was born in 1982, so I don't remember any of this, but looking at the product released the difference is obvious and it isn't just technological advances.

    I began to wonder why the receiver "bubble" so to speak popped. What prompted the receiver manufacturers to make such a big change and for the worse?

    Logically this does not make sense, but I have to assume that people did not want underrated monster receivers anymore but instead wanted overrated bling. But that does not make a lot of sense either.
     
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  2. Chris Brown

    Chris Brown AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Many of the Monster Receivers were Japanese or at least had some Japanese parts. Japan underwent some pretty intense inflation in the 1970's and 80's, and the value of their currency fell considerably in relation to the US dollar during that time. I think that the previous level of quality simply could not be afforded any longer.

    http://www.macrotrends.net/2550/dollar-yen-exchange-rate-historical-chart
     
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  3. sqlsavior

    sqlsavior AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    The entire counter-culture fell out of favor then, and it happened fast. Groovy hippie dudes and chicks were gone, almost overnight it seems, and were replaced by establishment-loyal droids - no beards, short hair, with little but respect for authority to recommend them.

    Big receivers were the very least of what we lost.
     
  4. 62caddy

    62caddy Trust but verify Subscriber

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    Size limitations of cramming three components into a single chassis make ever larger receivers impractical - many of which having to be installed on table tops because they would not fit most audio racks.

    Secondly is the compromises to each component - namely tuner, preamplifier and power amplifier because they also must be designed on a single chassis. Much easier to design the best when lack of chassis space is not a limitation. It is also better for high voltage devices (ie: power amp) to be separated from those that operate on low voltage (ie: preamp & tuner).

    Also, if there is an issue with say the tuner section, you're out of listening until you get the receiver back from service and of course, if shipping is involved, it's a far cry easier shipping out a 25 lb tuner or preamplifier than an 80 lb receiver - especially with such a large and heavy item must also be handled delicately! - Not to mention the packaging needed to ensure safe transit.

    The "receiver wars" was pretty much a marketing competition that ran its course. At the time it gave the audio press and manufacturers something to talk about. It is an era that many who were involved in audio at the time recall fondly for having produced some truly memorable hi fi components.
     
  5. z-adamson

    z-adamson Active Member

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    Hmmm, then if the consumers still wanted the monster receivers and Japan could no longer produce them then sales volume of the non-Japanese product would skyrocket and the monster receiver would live on. Didn't happen that way. There had to be a reason the consumers no longer wanted them.
     
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  6. bimasta

    bimasta Well-Known Member

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    I question both your assertions that (a) there it wasn't because of technological advances, and that (b) it was "for the worse". Good sound is not all about watts, and lots of knobs, switches and flashing lights. There was also a major economic recession starting in the late 1970s that ran well into the '80s, and changed the consumer's spending patterns. Consumer's tastes also changed, it always does — the "old" loses its appeal, and the "new" is highly desirable. This is human nature, doesn't change, and it's with us today too...
     
  7. Chris Brown

    Chris Brown AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Most companies only do what they need to compete. The Japanese had to reduce costs, but everyone else was happy to do the same and dramatically increase their profits. Monster Receivers did still exist, the prices simply skyrocketed, and all of a sudden cheap plastic crap started looking like a better and better deal to most people.

    Keeping in mind that the best way to get lots of power has always been separates, so the people who actually needed that much power likely just moved on.
     
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  8. z-adamson

    z-adamson Active Member

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    I understand the limitation of installing multiple components into a single chassis and the compromises that must be made, but it can be done well and with good results. People still wanted receivers and still do to this day. But, the standards to which they were built fell off......why?
     
  9. 62caddy

    62caddy Trust but verify Subscriber

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    In a nutshell:

    Size.
    Design Compromises.
    Inflexible. Cannot choose individual components best suited for application - Tuner, Preamp, Power Amp.
    Difficult to service.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2017
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  10. alteclipsch

    alteclipsch Super Member

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    How true that is.
     
  11. Bodyblue

    Bodyblue AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Yeah, chicks with armpit hair, dudes wearing overalls with no shirts underneath, long hair and crappy beards was truly something to be missed.

    It was called growing up and getting a job, raising a family and becoming a contributing member of society.
     
  12. arts

    arts Super Member

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    The advent of ''home theater'' really sounded the death knell for the top of the line monster receivers,and the hefty price tags they came with. In my era,I got to see the introduction of home computers and video games.Where the younger generation once pursued hobbies like carpentry/cabinetmaking,electronics,amateur radio,music,and all of the other ''traditional'' pass times,everybody (well,maybe not everybody,but damned near!) was getting into computers and video games. Now industry and marketing was pushing these products,and music reproduction became mostly secondary.As the market for quality audio shrank,so did the profit margins.Many formerly top notch manufacturers threw in the towel and began producing for the masses,if they even continued in audio at all.

    On a positive note,I just had one of these dropped off for servicing.I gotta tell ya,between the specs and the size,this thing is pretty impressive and scary: Rotel 1603:)

    http://classicreceivers.com/rotel-rx-1603
     
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  13. z-adamson

    z-adamson Active Member

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    I said it wasn't JUST technological advances. Technology advanced, but there were other changes that were not for the better. That was my point.
     
  14. Bodyblue

    Bodyblue AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Another huge reason was that the top of the line "Monsters" were very expensive and sold in very low numbers. Then, just like now, mid priced units sold in far greater numbers because there is a point where performance meets price at a reasonable level for both. There are the other factors cited above of course but its not like SX 1980s were selling like hotcakes.
     
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  15. 62caddy

    62caddy Trust but verify Subscriber

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    Sure it can be done but who are you going to sell it to? Separates enable the flexibility for a system to be "tailor made" to the application.

    Take my main rig for example: You can make it all-in-one if you really wanted but it would be the size of a refrigerator. Then the question is who else is going to want (or need) the exact capabilities that I needed in my system?

    It's mainly about flexibilty and practicality.
     

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  16. z-adamson

    z-adamson Active Member

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    SX780 and 1080 sold like hotcakes. Never seen a modern 45wpc receiver that could compete with the sx780 and least of all the mass produced receivers aimed at average consumers.
     
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  17. Moby Dick

    Moby Dick Active Member

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    I would think the advent of VCRs became direct competition for the disposable income set aside for tech luxury items.
     
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  18. Johnny 007

    Johnny 007 Active Member

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    Yea. If you ever figure out how the world got to be so screwed up, let me know. I remember the 60s and 70s well and would go back in a minute, despite all the so-called "problems" of the time.
     
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  19. frankbooth

    frankbooth AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Color TV and the expansion of cable.
     
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  20. HTHMAN

    HTHMAN Super Member

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    There are several reasons and all are marketing. Not many people could actually afford the TOL receivers and the lower priced ones were approaching the power and specs of the "monsters". Tastes had changed. Smaller systems, rack systems etc became more popular. AV receivers were starting to appear to allow people to integrate their audio, TV, VCR etc into one unit. It was just evolution. You milk it until you no longer can.
     
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