Q&A & information - non-technical
Many currencies have strengthened in relation to the CHF, so as announced earlier it is now possible to adjust some prices to compensate for the cost increases in all these years. This will be done in several steps rather than one single increase.
Q: Are FM ACOUSTICS products available ex stock now?
A: Delivery terms change by the day and our stock and backorder situation changes accordingly.
The backorder situation is mainly due to a lot of order influx for the same products. Some products indeed have a waiting time of 11 months, but only a few.
For actual (and real) information on delivery terms contact the official distributor in your area and do not believe what's written in blogs and on the web.
Our way of crafting a unit is very different so it is not possible to "ramp up" production like others can do. The actual delivery situation changes with order influx and production schedules.
And orders have been strong, so while some models are back ordered for many months, other products are available within 3 months (and not "years" like it
is claimed by some "experts" on the web...).
Certain specific units, however, indeed have a waiting list until winter 2016. On these products patience is needed - which most of our clients are willingly providing. They will reap the rewards.
For 21 years FM ACOUSTICS has operated continuously at 100% of capacity. As each unit is fully hand-crafted it is impossible to just "crank up" production.
Elaborate methods using time consuming and complex selection and calibration processes are used by crafts-women and crafts-men who have been with FM ACOUSTICS for many years. It is not possible to just hire additional personnel and rapidly increase production. Hundreds of small details need specific knowledge and know how. Even experienced senior personnel needs a year or two before they understand FM ACOUSTICS standards and can start to be productive.
This may sound overstated but it is a fact that only those who have thorough "hands-on" experience of the production methods can understand how time consuming and demanding the crafting of an FM ACOUSTICS unit actually is.
For accurate information on availability of specific products do not rely on rumours. Write us so we can advise our official representative in your area to contact you with accurate information.
Due to high order influx and the extensive production times the following products are subjected to a country-specific quota:
- FM 223
- FM 268C
- FM 1811
This is not a sales tactic; the market-dependent quota assures a fair distribution of these rare instruments.
Thanks for understanding and thanks to those who have a unit on order. For your patience you will be rewarded with singular musicality.
Q: Can I visit FM ACOUSTICS? Can products be purchased directly from the factory?
A: Neither one is possible. FM ACOUSTICS is a production company and has no capability of demonstrating, giving specific advice or selling. That is the strength of our appointed distributors who have the required knowledge and can optimally advise you.
FM ACOUSTICS wins large order
There have been rumours, so, yes: it can be confirmed that FM ACOUSTICS has won a large tender to supply precision power amplifiers for a prestigious concert hall and further multiple orders in
world leading studios.
Astonishing is that these orders were won despite the fact that there was no way that FM ACOUSTICS could compete on monetary terms (our prices were far above the other competitors; 220% - 700% higher...).
Twenty minutes after the FM ACOUSTICS were connected during the final comparison - while every one was mesmerized by the magic of the reproduction - the owner turned round and broke the silence:
"There is no choice, is there?"
The contract for many dozens of precision power amplifiers was signed shortly thereafter.
Such experiences are beautiful testimonies to the singular quality of reproduction that is achieved when using FM ACOUSTICS equipment.
But they are also great examples proving that professionals who really do appreciate quality are going out of their way with investments to receive a product that assures them of ultimate resolution and accuracy. As one engineer remarks:
"The moment I insert the FM ACOUSTICS the insecurity is gone. With other units we are not really sure - the result is like listening to a variety of colourations - different in their nature.
It is not assured if one of them may or may not work out.
With the FM's the guesswork is gone, everything immediately becomes defined and obvious. The result is much more efficient work. Thanks to this we are saving hours every day and that convinced the management that this is a good investment".
Q: Can different power supplies than the ones delivered with the unit be used?
A: Only the FM 105 p.s. which is delivered with each FM 155-MKIIR can be used for the FM 155-MKIIR. If other p.s. are connected the unit will be damaged.
For the FM 223 a similar looking but different power supply is used, the FM 205 (it cannot be used on the FM 155-MKIIR by accident as it has a different connector).
The FM 122, 133 and 155-MKI use an outboard transformer but have built-in power supplies. Only the FM 102 can be used with these units.
NEVER EVER try to connect any other type or brand of power supplies. Damage occurred from doing so is not covered by warranty.
Q: I cannot afford a new unit. Where can I get a pre-owned FM ACOUSTICS?
A: For those, whose budget is not sufficient for a new FM ACOUSTICS the best choice is to contact FM ACOUSTICS' official distributor in their area. He is
the one who knows best what is - or may become - available in decent condition.
To get details of your allocated distributor contact FM ACOUSTICS.
It is not a safe idea to purchase such valuables on the internet.
Before acquiring used FM ACOUSTICS equipment have it checked thoroughly. Plenty of sharks swim in "audiophile waters".
AGAIN: Check carefully BEFORE you buy. If there are any lingering doubts do not proceed.
Be careful; e.g.: some used equipment dealers purchase run down amps of the 70ies and 80ies' professional series, do a quick repainting job and then resell them on the internet or elsewhere for quite princely sums (sometimes such dealers pose as private individuals).
Well cared for FM 600A's, FM 800A's and FM 801's are indeed valuable but their number is limited. When they are cared for (and used correctly - not with ultra low impedance loads that some of today's speakers present) they perform very well - and they are superbly musical.
Some units have been totally mistreated which is why some run-down examples of these amplifiers are floating around. Don't just be impressed by a shiny outside, it's the inside of an amp that counts - and where problems could appear.
Units that come out of P.A. systems or discotheques may (but not always...) have been mistreated badly. Mistreated units are bound to be a poor investment as repair and refurbishment can be extremely time consuming and sometimes not viable economically. Only an experienced factory-trained engineer has a chance to evaluate the real condition inside a unit - and that can be a tiresome task.
However, it is a fact indeed that older units in good technical condition can provide a wonderful musical experience, the reason for their extremely high value - surpassing the original price - sometimes by 100-250%.
New equipment is ONLY available from our selected official distributors. Should you get offered "New" units by other sources better be careful and contact your local distributor for verification.
Recently, several rather blunt frauds have been reported, mostly on internet auction sites. A couple of nice pictures and the promise of a "great deal" make some people dismiss basic
NEVER purchase electronics unheard and unseen. Do not consider offers that come from people who remain anonymous. Get the serial number of the product offered, contact the local FM ACOUSTICS distributor and see if there is any history on the specific unit.
Get some form of security b e f o r e you send funds in advance. There have been reports of prepaid units never arriving and even of sellers who suddenly disappeared once the funds were transferred.
The high value of used FM ACOUSTICS equipment is attractive for unscrupulous characters that take advantage of the situation and target unsuspecting music lovers.
Remember: when an offer sounds to good to be true, it usually " IS " too good to be true!
Q: Why are Resolution Series amplifiers only available with FORCELINES?
A: It has been assumed that the reason is financial gain for FM ACOUSTICS. This is not correct. FORCELINES cables are not very expensive.
Contrary to what is often claimed, a speaker cable is N O T "a matter of taste", it is N O T something "to play with" (this is an area that some manufacturers and dealers love to exploit as it can be almost as good as "selling snake oil" - for near magic prices...).
While with some other power amplifiers certain cables may work fine, they will be unacceptable when using an FM ACOUSTICS amplifier. There are technical reasons for this; one of these reasons is that the output current capability of FM ACOUSTICS amplifiers is much higher than usual - which consequently increased demand on the speaker cable. A further difference is the output impedance which on FM ACOUSTICS amplifiers is lower than in other amplifiers. A lower output impedance means that the corresponding requirements on the cable increase in proportion. The reason why the Resolution Series was designed including FORCELINES is that the optimum must be available at the speaker terminals, not just at the output of the amplifier. Therefore, every order for a Resolution Series amplifier must include an order for FORCELINES.
CLASSIC SERIES amplifiers are slightly less demanding on the speaker cables and - while for optimal performance FORCELINES are recommended - it is not absolutely mandatory to order FORCELINES with the CLASSIC SERIES.
For more in-depth information on this subject please refer to our Technical Bulletin Nr. 23.
Q: I bought some P.I.T. interconnect cable over the internet but the performance is disappointing compared to the ones I had bought previously from your distributor here. This is lack of quality control!
A: Enquiries have shown that you are a victim of one of the unscrupulous wheeler-dealers that offer fake copies of P.I.T cables. As they look similar to the originals some users have been tricked into believing that these are originals.
The fake copies of P.I.T. and FORCELINE cables that are being offered in certain countries often lack the identification number, a tag around the cable near one of the connectors. There are other signs that can only be analyzed by official distributors. Also, do not accept the cable if it does not come in the blue velvet pouch printed "Precision Interface Technology" in dark gold lettering.
Actually, it was interesting that since the time the first fakes copies have appeared the order influx for our cables has increased considerably...
Since May 2007 all cables have been specially coded - to help distinguish the originals from fake copies. Show the cables to the official representative and he will assist you in ascerting that the cables are genuine (or not...).
The performance difference is large; for instance the copyists - who would have thought??? - fail to understand why 3 different "balanced" line level cables are required (and that only one type can be correct for a given interface). All three versions look exactly the same. Only by correctly understanding a circuit's requirements can optimal system interfacing be guaranteed.
Buying similar looking cheaper cables one can end up with non-optimal system interfacing and less than optimal performance.
Fake P.I.T.'s are not worth the initial "savings". The old saying "you get what you pay for" applies here too.
Q: What is the realistic value of second hand FM ACOUSTICS units?
A: That depends on the type of product, on how and where it was used, on the vintage, on the unit's condition and more. If an FM ACOUSTICS is in good shape without major scratches and has not been totally abused, it is often valued above the original price - and sometimes several times above - and this even with units that are 30 years and older. So it also makes commercial sense to be careful with an FM ACOUSTICS to better preserve the units' value.
Q: I just read about the new FM 223 Phono Master. Is this the replacement of the FM 222? When is it available?
A: The FM 222 series is a tremendous success story that continues unabated since its introduction in 1992. It is justly world-famous and shares most - but not all - features and circuits with the FM 223.
One must be realistic: not everyone needs an FM 223. Many collectors have scratch- and crackle-free LP's and/or listen to reissues. In such a case the FM 222 will be the right choice.
The FM 222 remains in full production. "Never change a winning horse..." a time proven proverb says.
Within months of its introduction the FM 223 has proved to be quite a success and we are completing the second series. Due to continuous order influx a third series of FM 223 has been started in May and a fourth series is planned for November 2012 as orders are flowing in regularly. It IS a great product and a milestone achievement for our engineers. Our thanks to all who have contributed to this instant success!
Q: What is the difference between the FM 222 and the FM 222-MKII?
A: The FM 222-MKII was introduces in the year 2000 as the newer version of the world-famous FM 222.
The principle and function were precisely the same, of course. All the features of the MKI version were included in the MKII. The development of advanced transistors allowed the MKII version to reach a new height of reproduction accuracy.
Furthermore, the FM 222-MKII featured a unique notch filter that allows the elimination of hum which is present on some otherwise fine and precious recordings (often from the golden aera of Classical and Jazz records of 1950 and 1960).
The FM 222 is not upgradeable to a MKII version because everything except the backpanel, top and bottom is different.
Q: What is the difference between the FM 222-MKII and the FM 222-MKIII?
A: The FM 222 MKIII is the new version of the world-renown FM 222.
The principle and function is precisely the same as the previous FM 222's. All the features of the MKI and the MKII versions are included in the MKIII. The FM 222-MKIII also features the unique hum filter that allows the elimination of hum which is present on some otherwise fine recordings. This elimination of hum is possible for recordings on 50Hz and 60HZ mains.
The change from MKI to MKII made especially good sense for serious collectors and libraries because of the added features. Externally the change from MKII to MKIII version is not obvious as the MKIII looks almost identical as the MKII.
Internally however, it is rather different. Recently, new parts have become available that - together with results from continuous research - allow excellent ameliorations. The refinements manifest themselves in some smaller modifications but also some more substantial improvements.
FM ACOUSTICS is very pleased to be able to offer these improvements with the introduction of the MKIII version.
The MKIII achieves a new reference standard in hum, noise and interference rejection in addition to the absolute standard of balancing. This absolutely singular standard of balancing, however, can only be achieved if the dedicated phono cables are used - which is why these are part of the MKIII system performance and must be ordered together with an FM 222 MKIII.
The FM 222-MKII is not upgradeable to a MKIII version because, with the exception of the back panel, the side and top plate, everything is different.
For a description and pictures please go to: PRODUCTS - AUDIOPHILE - FM 222-MKIII.
Q: Some phono stages use an additional HF filter in the de-emphasis correction as it is said that Neumann included such a filter in their cutting lathes.
Is this filter included in the FM ACOUSTICS phono linearizers?
A: On later versions of cutting lathes, Neumann did indeed incorporate an HF shelving filter (as a protection for the very expensive cutterhead). Some phono stage designers now just fix this compensation into their RIAA de-emphasis circuits in the belief that this is the way all LP's were mastered.
Well, that is not correct: while by far not everyone used Neumann cutting lathes, those that did often disliked this filter. Todays phono stage designers (and other "experts") just do not know that many experienced mastering engineers of the golden aera did not like this filter and just disabled it! No blame on those "experts" and designers - most of them were not born yet when this happened...)
Less experienced mastering engineers were told to use the non-modified Neumann machines (as there was a danger of burning the tremendously expensive - over USD 10000, which was a lot of money in those days... - cutterhead with HF signals).
No worries: the FM 122 and FM 222 provide the ultimate solution:
Thanks to the continuously variable "HF attenuation" control on the frontpanel it is possible to fine tune the HF response and thereby optimize the reproduction for each individual record and both "styles" of mastering.
Q: When will FM ACOUSTICS supply source components such as turntables, download servers, CD players, converters etc.?
A: The reason that certain product types - like the ones mentioned - are not manufactured by FM ACOUSTICS is quite simple: FM ACOUSTICS only introduces a product when it brings massive improvements over the current State of the Art.
It just makes no sense to introduce a product if it is only slightly better than the current best. While it could be attractive from a financial standpoint (a converter, for instance, contains only a couple of chips and a power supply housed in a chassis, so it’s easy to manufacture as no selection or special tuning or attention is needed).
FM ACOUSTICS never introduced a 'me too' product and we will not do it just for the sake of financial gain.
Q: Why is there no MKII version of certain FM ACOUSTICS products, like e.g. the FM 111?
A: We do not adhere to the more or less regular "upgrade" game or "a new product update every year" philosophy. Once an FM ACOUSTICS becomes available it has undergone countless tests "down to the bone" in critical situations in different parts of the world - before ! - it is made available. This assures that bugs or problems show up in the pre-series and in the "0"-series and can be ironed out before (and not after...) the unit becomes available.
As an example: since its introduction 15 years ago the FM 266 did not need a single modification. It was - and is - just right. This is good for the users and it is good for us; stable long-term production. So no need for a "MKII" in the past 15 years.
Recently, new parts have become available that - together with advanced insights due to long-term research - allow the first amelioration in 15 years. The refinement manifests itself in some smaller but also some more substantial improvements. These certainly warrant a designation of "MKII" and such is actually needed to differentiate the two as parts, pcb etc. are different.
Newer units incorporate such ameliorations, so on any unit where there is no "MKII" it just means that these already incorporate the ameliorations and are at top performance level.
Q: Can the MKI units like e.g. the FM 411 or the FM 255 be upgraded to MKII status?
A: The differences are so large that in most cases an upgrade is not possible or may cost more than a new product. FM ACOUSTICS only introduce a new version of a product when clear improvements have been possible. We do not follow the idea of an "upgrading spiral" (that can be costly and is often just a remedy of errors that should not have occurred in the first place...).
If a product is mature, tested and has no flaws it will take many years before a documentable improvement is possible. As an example: the original FM 411 was manufactured the same way for 12 years, the FM 266 for 15 years before it became possible to introduce the MKII version.
Q: Can old FM 600A or FM 800A's be updated to MKII or III? And what is the cost?
A: There are no "MKII" versions fo these units.
On these amplifiers two separate distinctions were made: the first was the Series: either "Standard", "Series II" or "Series III" (the indication on the series is located on the backpanel and by small visual clues). A few additions and ameliorations can be included in the old units, but complete changes are not possible.
The second distinction was the version: either "standard", "LI" or "ULI".
The "LI" ("Low Impedance") and then the "ULI" ("Ultra Low Impedance") versions were specifically designed to allow driving more contemporary speakers and monitors that often use parallel drivers resulting in much lower load impedance. The "LI" and "ULI" versions required very elaborate selection of transistors and other circuit modifications.
A change from standard to "LI version or from "LI" to "ULI" version is not possible (contrary to what is advised by some wheeler-dealers and "engineers").
FM 600A's and FM 800A's with silver handles on the frontpanel are always Series I and have standard drive capability (a few later "Series I" were made as "LI" but not "ULI" Version). Series II and Series III amplifiers had black anodized handles. However, some unscrupulous dealers now just paint the handles black and claim they have a "MKII or Series II" unit. To know if a version is standard, "LI" or "ULI" the Serial Number of the unit is required.
35 years ago these amplifiers were the epitome of musicality and drive capability but in 30+ years, technology does advance and so do parts.
The FM 600A and FM 800A were designed for accurate monitoring in music recording studios. These amplifiers built FM ACOUSTICS reputation of unmatched musicality. While even today they outperform other amplifiers (when driven correctly - they need a stable preamplifier stage with an output impedance of below 600 Ohm - 600 Ohm is a professional standard) they, of course, cannot seriously be compared with the much higher definition of the Resolution Series.
The Resolution Series amplifiers have much greater capabilities, use highly advanced circuitry and achieve higher resolution than these nice vintage music makers.
Q: Comments on the internet say that the "FM 600A is a professional version of the FM 611 series" and achieves the same performance. Is this so?
A: Some of the comments on the web must be taken with a grain of salt... When the FM 611 series was introduced the FM 600 series had been discontinued. Now, that does not make the FM 600A series a non-desirable amplifier! For many speakers and applications it is a very musical amplifier indeed (that is why it became a studio standard).
However, the Resolution Series technology - which is the base of the FM 611 series - just has totally different capabilities. With the Resolution Series a tremendous performance jump is possible thanks to new high-performance components, topology, elaborate circuits and advanced concepts.
Some dubious second hand dealers just advertise a hypothetical price of a Resolution Series amplifier and claim that an FM 600A or FM 800A or FM 801 is practically "the same for less money..."
When introducing the FM 600A's and FM 800A's their prices were indeed too low (we actually lost money on each amplifier sold in the first years...). It is correct that units in decent condition (not just repainted as some offered on the net) are indeed worth considerably more than the original price, the value and performance cannot seriously be compared to a Resolution Series amp.
On the web some absurd prices have appeared, just to make a "deal" look attractive. Be careful and - or have checked - the unit offered.
Q: The FM 122, FM 133 and FM 155 have a small power supply. Is there no bigger sized upgrade?
A: Size is not a quality factor. The days when people believed that bigger and heavier was better than smaller and lighter are pretty much gone.
And rather important: the FM 102 is N O T a power supply. It houses a low noise transformer that converts the 117 or 230V from the mains to a lower voltage, nothing more. All the rectification and multi-stage stabilization is done inside the FM 122.
Don't get misled by its size and by false promises of some tinkerers and gurus that the FM 102 "power supply" can be improved. The FM 102 must not do anything else than transform the mains voltage to the level required by the power supply that is built inside the FM 122, FM 133 and FM 155, and this it does perfectly.
Q: Which power amplifiers are more recommendable: the Resolution Series or the Classic Series?
A: This depends the associated components, some other variables and on the speakers.
Both series will provide superb linear reproduction. With most speakers the results will be identical. As a general tendency the Resolution Series would find use with monitor type speakers that are linear and are demanding loads. The Classic Series would have almost the same drive capability (far above any other amplifier) and they would have an additional benefit with speakers that tend to have a bit of a pronounced high frequency response.
While the Classic series is more economical due to a less expensive chassis, no compromises are made. They are manufactured by the same craftsmen using the same components and with the same care.
Q: In certain applications remote switch on of the power amplifiers is required. How can this be accomplished with FM ACOUSTICS units?
A: The amplifiers can be placed next to a speaker or in any remote location. All of FM ACOUSTICS products, the power amplifiers, the preamplifiers, the crossovers etc. keep their unique features such as delayed turn-on, all protection circuitry intelligence etc. even when power is switched on remotely. Within ten seconds they are fully operational and sound optimal (unlike some other audio electronics that need long warm up times).
Q: When I listen at reasonable levels the output level control of the FM ACOUSTICS preamp is about at the 9 o'clock position. It gets too loud when I turn it up. What can I do about
A: If this is the case with all types of sources your audio system has too much overall gain.
If your power amplifier has gain controls that do not affect sound quality (unfortunately some indeed do degrade the quality of the audio signal) reduce the level on the power amp by lowering its volume control.
If there are no gain controls on the power amp or there is an audible change when turning the amplifier's level control, push the -20dB "mute" switch on the FM ACOUSTICS preamplifier.
If this excessive gain is only apparent with one source, say the CD-SACD player/converter, while it is not with other sources, the converter does not adhere to the professional standards of line level signals and produces higher than usual output.
In other preamplifiers/line stages this can provoke overload of the input stages. All FM ACOUSTICS line inputs have very high overload margin so this is not of concern. However, the fact remains that there is too much overall gain and "the volume control is in the 'wrong' position".
An optimal gain setting is - if at maximum acceptable volume level - the preamplifier's volume control is close to full level (around the 5 o'clock position) - which will result in an 11 o'clock to 2 o'clock position at more normal volume levels. Such a setting will also help protect against an accidental heavy peak impulse that might destroy the speakers.
Do not think that there is "less reserve" when adjusting the gain as indicated above. The moment an amplifier clips it reached its limit whatever the Volume control position of the preamplifier is.
It is NOT a good idea to have excessive overall gain in the system and then run the volume control at low levels (say below 9 or 10 o'clock position).
If this excessive gain is only apparent with one source (say the CD/SACD converter) one solution is to reduce the output level of the converter but this may have a negative influence on sound quality (digital volume control circuits).
In the new FM 255-MKII and FM 266-MKII the gain of certain inputs as well as the overall gain can be programmed internally. If you own these units contact your distributor if your level control setting at normal listening levels is below around 10 o'clock.
If you use a phono section that has excessive gain you may be able to reduce the gain setting on the phono preamp (as featured in the FM 122 and FM 222 phono linearizers).
As only few manufacturers of "hifi" equipment adhere to standards, different output level and gain is employed - which is what leads to such effects. In the professional world such problems hardly occur (only with some semi-pro equipment).
Q: Why does FM ACOUSTICS not use detachable mains cables?
A: The main reason is that the cable is an integral part of these products. By fixing it we can assure the quality of reproduction is optimized and no deterioration can occur.
Also, with a detachable mains cable three additional contacts are added in the mains line. These are unnecessary and wherever possible contacts must be avoided as they are a weak link and it is always better to have as few contacts as possible.
This is also the fact with the widely used "Euro" plugs which are not suitable at all for high currents. While their ratings suggest that they can handle high power, practical experience shows that the contacts of these plugs are not optimal and often there is quite a bit of "play" between the plug and the socket. Due to this, the actual area making contact is rather small, clearly too small for high current demands. As the contact is not perfect, micro-arcing makes these contacts loose their initially more or less reasonably smooth surface within a short time. Thereby additional resistance is added into the mains line, certainly not what is wanted in precision audio...
The lower the impedance, the better - the fewer contacts in a product the better it will perform and the better will be reliability.
Q: In your cables, why do you not use silver as conducting material?
A: Just because silver is a bit more costly a raw material than copper does not mean that it gives better performance.
The usual reason quoted for using silver is that silver's conductivity is better. Correct, but the difference to copper is a mere 2%. Therefore, by adding 2% more copper in the cables the improved conductivity attributable to silver is effectively negated. By increasing the pure copper content up to the optimum, performance will surpass that of the best silver cable (incidentally, there is no speaker cable with a satisfactory square section made out of pure silver). Other characteristics (such as e.g. shore hardness, oxidation etc.) make silver definitely less desirable than copper.
However, one must be aware that considerable quality differences exist between the different copper cables. It is very important what kind of copper is used, how it is purified, how it is drawn, how the strands are prepared, etc. These differences can be audible.
Q: What is the difference between the FM 611 and the FM 611X?
A: Technically the amplifiers are the same; this includes all circuitry, drive capability, protection systems etc. The difference is that the FM 611X has an extended chassis with increased cooling area. This also allows the transformer to be mounted farther away from the circuitry. In addition it also boosts special damping techniques and shields. This improves signal to noise by 2 db and power output very slightly. Due to above the FM 611X is at an advantage over the FM 611 when continuous high level operation with speakers having very low impedance is demanded.
The FM 611X is considerably longer than the 611 which may be the deciding factor when space is an issue.
Q: Why do you keep manufacturing everything in Switzerland - one of the most expensive places in the world - rather than move production to a country with cheap labour?
A: Good question to which there are many answers. On one or two we will elaborate a bit:
Why are true Swiss top quality products still mostly made in Switzerland while the manufacturing of the less demanding items indeed has been moved abroad? Why are we still experiencing quality differences and are sourcing many components from not exactly cheap suppliers in Switzerland?
If one only thinks of quick profits we are clearly not doing the right thing.
If, however, one analyzes the situation more thoroughly one becomes aware of certain advantages despite the high wages: the higher accuracy of the specialized mostly smaller Swiss suppliers who take pride in what they do, the long term stability and parts availability, the preservation of exclusive know-how and the dignified and fair treatment of employees most of whom have remained with us for dozens of years. Due to their vast experience and knowledge these craftsmen can be more efficient and they avoid potentially costly mishaps a cheaper (and less experienced) worker might not even recognise. In usual standard products this may not matter so much. With units of ultimate standard, know-how and long-term experience is of highest importance and is what leads to unmatched results. Those who are looking for something cheap have plenty of choice elsewhere.
When analysing the entire situation the decision NOT to rush and relocate a very well organised "setup" that is efficient and has been running smoothly for almost 40 years just because of cheaper wages is quite reasonable.
Today's Switzerland may indeed have more problems than 10-20 years ago and smaller companies have to cope with similar excessive bureaucracy as in other countries but that has not deterred those who are instilled with the spirit to create the absolute best.
Q: Why are older persons still able to hear music details even when their high frequency hearing is limited?
A: Indeed, it is often claimed that older persons cannot "hear as well" as the younger. This may well be so in certain noisy environments and when simply checking the hearing with steady state sine waves. However, it has been proven that when music is used as a source signal, older people - even those whose hearing of high frequencies is limited according to the orthodox measurements - are often acute listeners. They can discern very well and are able to point out fine details and characteristics in the music despite having a hearing that is less extended in high frequencies.
While at first baffling, these results can be explained: many older people have not abused their hearing by being exposed to the extreme sound levels present by mobile personal audio devices and many of today's discotheque and P.A. systems. Also, many older people have been subjected to unamplified - or reasonably amplified - live music pretty much all through their lives. This keeps the ears well trained and sharpens the acuity that comes with experience.
A recent example proves the case in point: a senior person whose hearing was clearly limited to 11 kHz according to conventional medical checks turned out to be the most sensitive of a group of thirty experienced listeners. In a number of piano recording he was the most astute in pointing out details like small pitch variations between adjacent strings, the non-perfect intonation of a certain piano register and faint resonances.
Q: Where does the name FM ACOUSTICS originate from?
A: Initially "For Music and Acoustics" was applied for. However, a law was enacted during that time that prohibited most "descriptive" company names in Switzerland and so a non-registered name had to be found quickly. The resulting name became the brand name of the product range for accurate recording and reproduction of music.
Q: Which companies is FM ACOUSTICS affiliated with, in Switzerland and internationally?
A: FM ACOUSTICS is not affiliated with any other company. Of course, other manufacturers use our equipment for demonstration, at exhibitions, in their laboratories, as their reference etc. but all of this is entirely discretionary.
This page is updated from time to time...