Denon, Marantz, McIntosh, and Boston Acoustics are on the sales block

D & M Holdings, the Japanese parent company for Denon, Marantz, McIntosh, Snell Acoustics, Boston Acoustics, and Escient, is up for sale.

As reported in Bloomberg.com D & M Holdings Inc, makers of Denon, Marantz, McIntosh, Snell Acoustics, Boston Acoustics, and Escient, is on the sales block. I can't comment on the business aspects of the deal, but speaking as an audiophile I'm concerned. These companies are in the upper echelons of audio, the Marantz name goes back 50 years, McIntosh has been building some of the world's best electronics in Binghamton, New York for 60 years, I was a friend of Peter Snell, the founder of Snell Acoustics, and the D & M Holdings owned company still builds speakers with the same attention to detail as it did when Snell first started in the 1970s. D & M Holdings has treated these brands with respect, so now I can only keep my fingers crossed that if a buyer steps up, it will also leave well enough alone.

Audio today, as exemplified by the iPod, has become a mere commodity, most mainstream audio products are cranked out by anonymous subcontractors. What part(s) of an iPod was actually designed by Apple engineers? There's no there, there.

D & M Holdings products are different, they're designed and made by real people; when I visited the McIntosh factory a few years ago I was impressed by their dedication. McIntosh engineers still design McIntosh electronics, and the McIntosh workers don't merely assemble parts made by subcontractors, the make most of the things that go into a McIntosh in house. The workers actually get to meet McIntosh equipment owners on a regular basis. The faithful schedule factory visits to see the place where their amplifier was built. McIntosh still stands behind gear they built when Eisenhower was President of the United States. Amazing!

So my deepest fear is that D & M Holdings' new owners close the factory and move production "off shore." Sure, the profits would skyrocket, but the soul of the brand would go out the window. D & M Holdings' brands each have their own story, I'm hoping this isn't the end, but a new start.

About the author

Ex-movie theater projectionist Steve Guttenberg has also worked as a high-end audio salesman, and as a record producer. Steve currently reviews audio products for CNET and works as a freelance writer for Home Theater, Inner Fidelity, Tone Audio, and Stereophile.

 

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