What on earth happened to Harman?

Discussion in 'GENERAL AV Discussions' started by allargon, May 18, 2017.

  1. allargon Audioholic General

    allargon
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    I don't just mean HK. I mean all of Harman. I know they were acquired by Samsung, but HK has no receivers supporting HDR. Lexicon has no processors supporting HDMI 2/HDR. Mark Levinson doesn't even seem to make multichannel processors anymore. Infinity can't really decide where they want to be in the speaker space. Neither can JBL. Only Revel seems stable.

    These were issues before the Samsung acquisition. I just hope (naively) that some of these will get resolved, as there are a lot of (formerly) great brands underneath that umbrella.
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  2. sterling shoote Full Audioholic

    sterling shoote
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    When JBL 4429's only get to US via Japan, you know something is wrong. Also heard JBL's Northridge CA plant is shutting down. What are these folks thinking of? Perhaps real leadership is in order.
  3. lovinthehd Audioholic Ninja

    lovinthehd
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    They may need to change their tune if the auto market is in a downturn....but so far seems they're happier with auto based revenue than home based....to an extent. Who cares what the Mark Levinson "brand" does, though? May as well just buy an ATI amp.
  4. TheWarrior Audioholic Field Marshall

    TheWarrior
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    A little birdie told me about JBL's new processors, and that there are major changes coming in each companies line up.

    The JBL 7-series makes it clear where they sit in the speaker space, bleeding edge! No one else offers that level of integration for each individual speaker's setup.

    The Northridge facility has been R&D for years (they demolished about 1M sqft years ago that was their manufacturing before sending overseas), and is responsible for the M2 and now 7 series, so I find it hard to believe that would be shutting down, but will look in to it.

    The auto market is exactly why Samsung bought them. Harman is the leaders in car integration systems with smart phones etc.

    The downplay of manufacturing simply because it is done overseas is shortsighted. Proper management, training and quality control ensure the best of the best, and tests performed to the CEA 2034 standard prove that!

    Kinda like the smart, quiet guy in the corner, everything from ATMOS/DTSX to even Audyssey will be 'put on notice' with their latest developments. Point is, audio only stands to win with what they have coming out!
    Last edited: May 19, 2017
  5. slipperybidness Audioholic Spartan

    slipperybidness
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    I'm not so sure that Sammy is the leader for car integration. I guess that the way you worded it with integration and smart phones, you may technically be correct.

    But, as far as the number of chips per car, and complete automotive solution suites, NXP is by far the leader in this market segment. And, much of that IP was acquired with the purchase of Freescale Semiconductor.

    So, the more accurate description is likely that Samsung is trying to become the market leader in that segment.
  6. TheWarrior Audioholic Field Marshall

    TheWarrior
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    Harman, not Samsung is the leader in the tech allowing seamless integration. But of course that only applies to new cars, so then there's this.
  7. slipperybidness Audioholic Spartan

    slipperybidness
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    Gotcha.

    Where do you suppose Harmon buys their silicon ;)

    Likely to change with the Sammy purchase, but Sammy just doesn't have the extensive portfolio that NXP does (for auto applications).

    Freescale Takeover Makes NXP Largest Automotive Chip Vendor

    http://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1329375
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  8. TheWarrior Audioholic Field Marshall

    TheWarrior
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  9. randyb Full Audioholic

    randyb
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    hopefully, it is something people can afford. The new stuff I have heard about is in their premium line. In the past, there has been very little trickle down such as Archos.
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  10. slipperybidness Audioholic Spartan

    slipperybidness
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  11. Pogre Audioholic Field Marshall

    Pogre
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    That's an interesting point. I was balls out into car audio for a few years then just got sick of tearing stuff out my vehicle when I sold it, then reinstalling everything after. To me, home audio just makes more sense. I'm home a lot more than I'm in my truck and do the bulk of my music listening at home. Any more when I'm driving it's usually a podcast or a youtube video that doesn't require watching, so I have no real desire to continue with hifi for my truck.
  12. slipperybidness Audioholic Spartan

    slipperybidness
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    Dunno how modern your current car is.

    But, modern cars with all the infotainment and GPS, and generally very good audio from the factory, it just isn't worth trying to work on it or upgrade it like it was 10 or 15 years ago.

    As far as I'm concerned, anything from about 2010 or later, it just isn't worth messing with it like it used to be.
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  13. Hetfield Audioholic

    Hetfield
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    I could not agree more with that.

    Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk
  14. lovinthehd Audioholic Ninja

    lovinthehd
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    Seems both Pioneer and Harman's factory auto offerings are a big thing $$ wise. Big difference from choosing whether you went no radio, am only or splurged on the am/fm radio LOL.

    Is aftermarket diy auto audio gear still a big thing? It doesn't seem a lot of the shops selling such gear are as numerous as they once were. As was mentioned, hard to beat some of the factory systems now; my last several cars have had decent systems from the factory and had no desire to change them.

    My current van has the most extensive non-factory setup I've had in a while but bought the van fairly bare-bones as it was a working shuttle van; after a while I couldn't take the stock system and upgraded; replaced the stock speakers, added a few more, changed to a head unit with pre-amp capabilities and added a coupla amps and a sub.
  15. Pogre Audioholic Field Marshall

    Pogre
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    Yeah, I dunno if it's a thing still or not. I do still pull up beside the the occasional car that thinks everyone should enjoy their music so I'm sure there's still at least a niche for it. I know when I look up hifi audio it's mostly car audio shops that come up and Best Buy still sells and installs.

    I'm still using the barely passable system in my little Toyota. It's not horrible, but it ain't exactly hifi either. I prefer listening to talk when I'm driving anyway so no big deal.
  16. Bucknekked Audioholic Chief

    Bucknekked
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    I think I will agree with you : automobile manufacturers have figured out audio is a feature that's not hard to do right at the factory. I can tell you it was one of the deciding factors when I bought my Cadillac. The sound system in that thing was the best sound system I had ever heard in a car. I drove it for over a decade with the tunes blasting INSIDE the car. I don't think I had anywhere enough power to blast them OUTSIDE the car like Pogre points out so many idiots still do.

    My current ride also has a killer sound system in it. Its not as sensitive at low volumes as the one in my Caddy was, but, when you put some watts in to it, its very very satisfying indeed. No way would I let the dudes at a big box store tear in to my car to replace it with something that "might" sound better. Just like at home, the magic is in the marriage of speakers and space. The unit in the dash provides the watts, but the marriage of speaker and space either sounds great when you buy it, or it won't.

    I watched my son tear out car stereo units for over a decade looking for a sound that resembled the one I got from the factory in my Caddy. He never came close. I don't think that's where the results are found. I think what determines car sound is the design of the cabin space and how the speakers are placed.

    Just an opinion. Like certain body parts, everyone gets one as standard issue.
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  17. Johnny2Bad Full Audioholic

    Johnny2Bad
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    The electronics in new cars are highly integrated ... the sound system no longer is just for making music, it's integrated with the body computer (as compared to the engine management computer), the anti-theft system, wireless technology like OnStar and it's clones, steering wheel controls, ODB system, the works. OEMs hire companies like Harmon to handle more and more of the integrated systems. Not new, automakers contract out everything these days, right down to entire vehicles (eg Ford does not make the GT, a Canadian third party (Multimac) manufactures the entire car; Magna International makes most of the interiors in North America, and they once built entire copies of one BMW model, etc).
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  18. Pogre Audioholic Field Marshall

    Pogre
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    I had a really nice after market system at one time that was pretty damned good. It had plenty of spl without breaking up or clipping and a bona fide 2 x 100W @8ohm McIntosh amplifier for my front speakers (Boston Acoustics, separates so I could mount the tweeters higher) and a Zapco mono amp (1 x 100W @8ohm) driving a 10" dual voice coil driver (TSW I believe) wired in parallel. I built a simple 1 cu ft sealed box for it, used fleck stone to finish and it actually looked pretty cool. No sanding or anything.


    188912-240x180.jpg

    That's not actually it, but looks a lot like it. You gotta spend some money (as with all things audio), but you can still put together a really kickass system that will rival or better most stock systems. I know OEM car audio has gotten better by leaps and bounds, but as far as clarity, very well integrated bass and overall performance at even high spl. I haven't heard a car stereo that sounded better to me than mine, but I have to admit it's been about 13-15 years or so since I had it to listen to. I've heard a lot more powerful, but mine sounded just, sweet.

    There were times when I wish I had a little more bass, but for my style of music my little sub worked very well, and the BA speakers with the McIntosh were pretty sweet too. IIRC that TSW speaker had very good sensitivity and didn't need a ton of power to hit good spl and the Zapco never got ridiculously hot. I ran the voice coils in parallel to it so I was guessing I was getting ~ 180w @4ohm. Definitely not a ground pounder, but that's not what I was going for. I wasn't trying to rock out the guy next to me, but I had plenty enough to drown him out! :p

    All of this is, IME, IMO and YMMV, of course.
  19. Bucknekked Audioholic Chief

    Bucknekked
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    Pogre
    From what I've seen of your subs in your home setup, I'd be stunned if any auto manufacturer could make an audio system that pleased your need for big bass. :D And its no surprise to me you built big woofer crates for your trunk. Not a surprise at all.......:)
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  20. TheWarrior Audioholic Field Marshall

    TheWarrior
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    ^ This. I think you guys started thinking about the aftermarket stereo market, not software (and some hardware) that makes new cars what they are with smart phone integration. Your tesla can be parked with a phone, that's a Harman system.

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