the awful slide of a once revered name

Audionut

Next Round Is On Me
What is funny is that before opening the thread, I was going to jokingly post a comment saying I hope it’s not Altec, I hope it’s not Altec...😅
Sadly this is what happens to a company when you put bean counters in control! Or just executives that have a different vision with what a company/product should be.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
What is funny is that before opening the thread, I was going to jokingly post a comment saying I hope it’s not Altec, I hope it’s not Altec...😅
Sadly this is what happens to a company when you put bean counters in control! Or just executives that have a different vision with what a company/product should be.
This has been who they are for at least the last twenty years. I had a computer speaker setup by them back in 2001. Sounded pretty good for what it was, actually. Two stick-like things and a little sub box. I’d guess that somebody just bought the name? C2E04696-C359-450D-B17D-DDA22BB5A71D.jpeg
 

Audionut

Next Round Is On Me
Mine lasted about ten years, they were my work speakers that whole time. Sadly I listened to them about 9.9 years longer than my Boleros.
With that bolero comment, you are beyond saving!;)
Curious as to what you paired them with at the time and what were your main speakers?
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
With that bolero comment, you are beyond saving!;)
Curious as to what you paired them with at the time and what were your main speakers?
I had them with a Fisher X202b tube integrated and then they got bumped to a Sansui AU999 (a pair of Dynaco A25s that had been with the Fisher got that slot back, I think it was Kef 103.2 that took the slot with the equally short lived Sansui). They just weren’t my thing and I was flying through gear back then. My main speakers were either Sony SS-M7s back then, or Dahlquist DQ30s.
 
As a kid growing up in the 90s, I also had a pair of the generic looking Altec Lansing powered computer speakers. In fact, when I first found some vintage Altec speakers in the wild I thought, "hey, are these the guys that make the computer speakers?" 😁
 
The corporate history of Altec is pretty interesting. Beyond what's captured on Audio Heritage here (Altec History) I'd add the following over Jim Ling of LTV - D Magazine - 1982 Feature over Jim Ling. Ling and T Boone Pickets, I'm told, cut the path of the corporate raider. Given what later raiders have done to Altec, I think there's something remarkable about work that continued at Altec after its original founders had stepped down from the company.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
As a kid growing up in the 90s, I also had a pair of the generic looking Altec Lansing powered computer speakers. In fact, when I first found some vintage Altec speakers in the wild I thought, "hey, are these the guys that make the computer speakers?" 😁
When I bought the ones I had, it was a good 7 or 8 years before I was aware of their more storied history. I wasn't really in the hobby yet, and certainly wasn't in the vintage end of it. It's interesting to me how one's experience with a brand affects personal feelings about what becomes of it. I've never loved a pair of Altecs even after knowing what they'd been, so seeing the name on computer speakers doesn't really mean much to me. For some reason McIntosh putting tacky green lights under their tubes and selling gaudy lifestyle systems and putting blue meters on a car stereo, even though they still make nice gear, is more offensive to me. Maybe -because- they still are the old company, instead of it just being a name they bought?

I dunno, just making conversation. I do fully understand why those who have more of an affinity for the brand would look at what they've become as something that's really sad. Especially since they -only- make stuff like computer speakers now.
 
McIntosh is not the same company, though they do build in the same segment. In fact, I don't think any of the brands in the current McIntosh Group represent what they were prior to joining the group. Most are still thriving so at least there is that.

The Fine Sounds Group project took shape in 2007, when the asset management company Quadrivio SGR – main shareholder of the group – acquired the brand Sonus Faber, an Italian company specializing in high-end loudspeakers. In 2009 Mauro Grange joined the group as CEO of Sonus Faber.

The "buy and build" strategy carried on by Quadrivio resulted in the acquisition of Audio Research in 2009,[1] Sumiko in 2010,[2] Wadia in 2011[3] and McIntosh Laboratories in 2012,[4] which constitute the holdings of Fine Sounds Group. Through the acquisition of these brands, Fine Sounds Group became a relevant holding company in the sector of high-end audio, with €50 million sales in 2011.[5] The holding company took part in an official event as one unique family for the first time in 2013, with the participation in the Munich High End Show.[6]

On 9 May 2014 Mauro Grange and Charlie Randall, president of McIntosh Laboratory, Inc., announced their plans for a management buyout of Fine Sounds Group in partnership with LBO France and Yarpa, including a relocation of the Headquarters from Milan to New York.[7]

 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
McIntosh is not the same company, though they do build in the same segment. In fact, I don't think any of the brands in the current McIntosh Group represent what they were prior to joining the group. Most are still thriving so at least there is that.



What I meant by that is, despite McIntosh having been bought and sold by different holding companies over the years, D&M, Clarion and their current evolution of what was Finesounds, they still exist out of Binghamton, NY, with onsite engineers, etc. There's a piece of McIntosh there that has always been there. A holding company can buy a company and profit from it/invest in it with varying degrees of interference or freedom without it just being a name that's bought and applied to something completely unrelated. I don't know the history of the current Altec brand but my guess is its just a name, with no relation to what came before.
 
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JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
Altec has been nothing but a name for quite a few years now.


Think of Garrard, Polaroid, Vivitar, Dual, Fisher, lots more. Original companies long gone.
Yikes. Bought and sold and bought and sold and moved and pulled and pushed.

Polaroid still saddens me. The Impossible Project, which took on the noble but unenviable task of recreating instant film without the full polaroid recipe and a few chemicals no longer being allowed, still can't get the film right even after buying the Polaroid name. But at least they've earned the right to have the name after their herculean task of trying to bring back what the old company had made its reputation on. One of the few cases of a name being bought with the best intentions.
 

prime minister

Site Owner
Staff member
The corporate history of Altec is pretty interesting. Beyond what's captured on Audio Heritage here (Altec History) I'd add the following over Jim Ling of LTV - D Magazine - 1982 Feature over Jim Ling. Ling and T Boone Pickets, I'm told, cut the path of the corporate raider. Given what later raiders have done to Altec, I think there's something remarkable about work that continued at Altec after its original founders had stepped down from the company.
Great read. Thanks for sharing that.
 

1tumbleweed

Junior Member
Yikes. Bought and sold and bought and sold and moved and pulled and pushed.

Polaroid still saddens me. The Impossible Project, which took on the noble but unenviable task of recreating instant film without the full polaroid recipe and a few chemicals no longer being allowed, still can't get the film right even after buying the Polaroid name. But at least they've earned the right to have the name after their herculean task of trying to bring back what the old company had made its reputation on. One of the few cases of a name being bought with the best intentions.

Yes, but would you buy a Polaroid TV? Or Garrard speakers? Or whatever it is the Vivitar name is now attached to? I fail to understand folks buying a product with a well-known name, but has utterly no relationship to the original products produced.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
Yes, but would you buy a Polaroid TV? Or Garrard speakers? Or whatever it is the Vivitar name is now attached to? I fail to understand folks buying a product with a well-known name, but has utterly no relationship to the original products produced.
I can only guess based on my own experience with Altec Lansing, and buying those computer speakers back in 2001. I knew of the name, and that they'd been a known audio manufacturer, but at the time I didn't know what they had made. I don't recall why I bought those speakers, though if there had been two identical sets, one with Altec and one with a name I didn't recognize or a store brand, I assume I would have bought the Altecs because the name sounded familiar. It wasn't that I wanted Altec speakers, it was probably more that the name seemed legit to my untrained eye.

Reminds me of a conversation we had in another thread about Shinola. The current company bought the long-dormant name trademark for something like a million dolllars, to give their new enterprise a familiar sounding, established, Americana, image almost instantly, even though they had nothing to do with what the name originally stood for: shoe polish. They've done well by it and it at least fits what they have set out to make.
 

John Frum

Secret Society Member
I can only guess based on my own experience with Altec Lansing, and buying those computer speakers back in 2001. I knew of the name, and that they'd been a known audio manufacturer, but at the time I didn't know what they had made. I don't recall why I bought those speakers, though if there had been two identical sets, one with Altec and one with a name I didn't recognize or a store brand, I assume I would have bought the Altecs because the name sounded familiar. It wasn't that I wanted Altec speakers, it was probably more that the name seemed legit to my untrained eye.

Reminds me of a conversation we had in another thread about Shinola. The current company bought the long-dormant name trademark for something like a million dolllars, to give their new enterprise a familiar sounding, established, Americana, image almost instantly, even though they had nothing to do with what the name originally stood for: shoe polish. They've done well by it and it at least fits what they have set out to make.
And with Shinola’s entry into audio with the Runwell turntable, the “Schiit and Shinola” jokes write themselves!
 
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