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Nagra SD Recorders, Players & Tape Machines
Old 2 weeks ago
  #91
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Plush's Avatar
Sorry, I DO question a lot of Chinese manufacturing.

A lot if it is not supervised.

An example of supervision in Chinese manufacturing is how Apple stations lots of Apple personnel in China assembly plants during critical manufacture of the new phone models. Supervision, oversight, and ISO quality control are essential lest the Chinaman steal your technology or slack off using slave labor.

I'm comfortable with Audio Technology Switzerland making their hand held recorders in China because of their excellent technical spec and supervision. My Nagra SD has performed very well without any problems.

I have also had very good luck with Tascam China made products. My #2000 cd recorders are still going strong.

However, to say that there is no difference in Euro manufacture and China boy manufacture is really stretching it.

For myself, I will always pay a LOT MORE for it to be not made in China.

Recently I bought some UK made corduroy pants, an American bison leather belt and some Swiss audio equipment. I paid to have them not made in China. I feel really good about that.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #92
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Originally Posted by Plush View Post
I feel really good about that.
That's ultimately what your purchase decisions seem to devolve to...your 'feelings' about the sale (or more particularly, the seller), hence the Plush-led Chinese trade embargo...lotsa luck with that one

Here's an oldie (but an Uncle Sam Goody) for you: The cost of bringing home American jobs - Apr. 14, 2016
Old 2 weeks ago
  #93
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Plush's Avatar
No, nothing devolved to your inaccurate and randomly plucked conclusion. I gave all the specific reasons for my caution with CHI-COMM made products.

Specifically, I mentioned the methods used to make sure a satisfactory Chinese build out happens reliably.

It is still a repressive and lawless state using slave labor, and violating intellectual property rights, copyright and all else in an urgent attempt to get ahead of the US and other countries.

Do you sanction their methods?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #94
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
No, what you've had denied to you is the ability to repeat outdated, often jingoistic half-truths about the generic superiority of one country's manufacturing and quality-delivery capability over another's (or continent/hemisphere or other geographical marker).

Failure to change one's thinking and dogma in line with rapidly shifting economic trends, selective outsourcing of parts of the production/supply chain . Lower cost AND higher quality production, leading to larger sales volumes and happier customers, is possible.

Create new "references" instead, those which reflect the evolving realities of the marketplace and manufacturing trends......and lose those old clichés
It's not just about clichés.

I base my opinion on my own experience and until now for me the "Made in China" has been a very mixed bag. I'd have countless examples of random quality assurance and also some examples of excellent quality.
As example I already mentioned portable LED lights with Li-Ion batteries. I've some which are great and others which cell failed quickly. Same supplier, same SKU#.

Let's take 100 items manufactured in China and 100 items manufactured in the USA, Switzerland, Germany or so. What do statistics say about quality, reliability, etc.?
Just today I saw a case made in China with metal latches with sharp edges. Could it happen to Swiss or US products? Maybe but it's way less probable.
Other example: corrosion protection, I've examples of Chinese zinc platings which corroded after a few weeks and the list goes endlessly on.

ISO quality assurance, standard and lots of paper? Been there done that (was involved in quality assurance blablabla in industrial manufacturing with SQS certification etc.). Experience shows that those certifications are by far not a proof of serious quality assurance. Quality of goods was usually better before we got all those ISO 9001 certificates or however you want call them etc. Quality is a mentality, a work philosophy, not something you can enforce with paperwork (and here in Switzerland we really focus a lot on quality).

I'm sorry but overall statistically speaking I see many more defective parts manufactured in very-low-wage countries than for example in Germany. Example: Industrial 24 V DC power supplies (from a very major European company but unfortunately I only discovered the country of origin on the invoice, sadly the German made PSU models of the same company were not in stock). Again there's a long list of problematic items.

Semiconductors made in China? I worry less because foundries are extremely complex factories and expensive to build (talk about a billion or more) and must be staffed with highly competent people. Also major mainboard and PC manufacturers have a good control of the quality regardless where they manufacture.

Now back to Nagra. I don't know how well they can control the quality of their Chinese made products but sure is that if there would be serious issues it would harm their reputation and IMO it is not worth taking that risk.
I worked for very small companies where everything from hardware to software was developed in-house (including complete microprocessor boards), assembly and testing was also in-house; only PCBs were outsourced (but repaired in-house). If there was a customer request, a quality issue, any sort of technical detail to check, everything could be done in-house as everyone was present in the same building. Now you manufacture in China, if there's a problem it's much more difficult to handle it several thousand km or mi away.

IMO for a leading-edge high-end manufacturer it isn't worth having something made in China, there's a fairly high risk that problems will harm reputation and that can be fatal.
It's far sounder to only focus on the existing high(est)-end market rather than trying to make money selling overpriced lower-end products (with a pricing level some customer base will agree to pay simply due to the brand).

Personally I'd rather develop some rock-solid (case milled in massive aluminium) mixer-recorders with very high technical performances but relatively basic features (analog limiter, some filters, timecode,...), low channel count, direct controls (i.e. not via menu) for the most important functions and especially clever modular power supply options.

Further I fully agree with the points mentioned by Plush.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #95
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Originally Posted by Schoeller View Post
Let's take 100 items manufactured in China and 100 items manufactured in the USA, Switzerland, Germany or so. What do statistics say about quality, reliability, etc.?
Just today I saw a case made in China with metal latches with sharp edges. Could it happen to Swiss or US products? Maybe but it's way less probable.
Other example: corrosion protection, I've examples of Chinese zinc platings which corroded after a few weeks and the list goes endlessly on.
Yes indeed, let's please have those 100 items listed here, and the comparative tests you've performed on them, to reach your conclusions.

All I see is a laundry list of accusations and suppositions, with no data to back them up, apart from exhaustively extended verbiage..hardly persuasive to anyone not sharing your particular anti-Sino axe to grind. Repetition alone doesn't make an assertion true.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #96
Gear Maniac
 

I don't want to start a rant and the whole discussion has become fairly off-topic. But I'm sure that other forum members can attest similar experience.
Take randomly 100 tools made in China in a compare them to 100 tools of the same functionality made in the USA, Germany, Switzerland or so. Compare their lifetime, safety, etc. and let me know. I've numerous examples in all domains, from simple household and kitchen accessories to industrial power supplies, generators a.s.o.

I don't say every Chinese product is bad, I mainly say that statistically they're more a lottery than "equivalents" made in Western countries (and even Eastern countries of the EU).

Referring to Nagra I'm not convinced that manufacturing in China was a wise decision. There's too much on stake, in case of the slightest problem their reputation will suffer. But it's not the first of what I consider as strategic error. I remember several decades ago when they tried to enter the video market with the Ampex joint venture instead of focusing on digital audio.
That said, nowadays audio is only a small part of the activities of the groups owned by the Kudelski family.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #97
Lives for gear
Apple achieve very high quality control in China
So can Nagra
Both products are hardly cheap but QC and customer satisfaction can be attained, with care and selection
Old 2 weeks ago
  #98
Gear Maniac
 

I don't say that Nagra products manufactured in China suffer quality issues. I only mean that IMO for a very small Swisss company it is much riskier to manufacture demanding high-end products in China than in Switzerland.

You can't compare Apple to Audio Technology Switzerland SA (Nagra audio products, not part of the Nagra Group though owned by Kudelski family members). A multi-billion company can build and operate own factories and has enough power to not suffer mood swings of more or less local politicians as much as a smaller company. If you manage your own factory you've the means to enforce your own rules when it comes to quality assurance (for example for semiconductors, HDDs,...).
I don't know if the Nagra SD or Nagra MEZZO are manufactured in China by a company owned by the group but I suppose that it's outsourced to a 3rd party, while the Nagra Group counts over 3000 employees, Audio Technology Switzerland SA is much smaller.
Some pics from 2009 can be found here, very surprising as usually you can't take pics and even less publish them when visiting such factories:
6moons industry features: RoadTour Nagra

From the manufacturer website:
Our Profile | Nagra - Professional Audio and High end HiFi
Audio Technology Switzerland S.A. was born on January 1st 2012 when the Audio division was spun-off from the Kudelski Group as an independent entitiy. The company is located in Romanel, some 8 km north of Lausanne. Still owned by the Kudelski family,

They use the brand Nagra but the Kudelski Group focuses on other activities (Kudelski Group).
See here: Kudelski Group - Wikipedia
You can also download annual reports to get some idea about the group activities.

What I mean is that Audio Technology Switzerland SA is a small company which makes it much more difficult to control manufacturing processes several thousand miles away in China compared to a large group which can invest hundreds of millions in a new factory.

Another point is about the customer: Many who buy a Nagra brand product implicitly expect it to be Swiss Made.
Overall I don't really know if developing small handheld recorders was a good idea but as I don't use any I can't compare the Nagra to the much cheaper alternatives.
Are the Nagra VI and Seven objectively so much better than their competitor's products to justify quite higher prices?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #99
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schoeller View Post
What I mean is that Audio Technology Switzerland SA is a small company which makes it much more difficult to control manufacturing processes several thousand miles away in China compared to a large group which can invest hundreds of millions in a new factory
That's the entire point about 'offshore manufacture'...you don't attempt to control processes at the factory floor level.

You test the finished products in your own premises 'at home', using the money saved by the offshoring to ensure that your test regime is complete and comprehensive. Only then, when the offshore made items have passed your in-house testing, do you slap the "approved and tested, guaranteed for x years" sticker on the box and ship them off to dealers with confidence in your product.

If you have chosen your offshore manufacturer with care, specified the manufacturing tolerances etc appropriately, your rejection rate of items not fit for sale will be low. You can then deal with any customer repair issues with confidence, should they arise.

I'm saying this is how off-shoring should be done, not that it necessarily is by any stretch. Neither is the situation as dire as you paint it to be, with your sweeping, unsubstantiated allegations.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #100
Gear Nut
 

I've been dithering about buying one of these or the Sony PCM-D100 etc. I'm not so bothered about the Nagra SD being made in China, although part of me thinks of the Nagra brand as being Swiss-made - with precision engineering, and high cost as a consequence. It's probably less important in these days of digital recorders, where mechanical quality is less important. However, I'd still like to think that they designed and built in great audio quality. What puts me off the SD is that there are (or were) very similar units (ie in the same case) put out for sale by the Chinese at a much lower price. Some have suggested that Nagra's version would offer higher audio quality, but there's no evidence of that. Also, the SD is a relatively old product now, and the same Chinese manufacturer is offering high resolution players (including DSD playback) in a similar form factor, whereas the SD hasn't been updated.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #101
Gear Maniac
 

I assume that such compact solid-state recorders are mainly based on COTS (Commercial Off-the-Shelf) strategic semiconductors, i.e. parts which have not been specifically developed for the OEM and which everyone can purchase (see the topic here: Audio interfaces and their AD/DA chips LISTED).
Of course the integration plays a major role though basic specs cannot be enhanced, only degraded if the design and/or execution is lousy. Likle already mentioned, a good OEM can carefully sort some critical components while a lesser high-end manufacturer won't sort anything and also apply less stringent final tests and calibration procedures.

So overall I don't expect miracles, I suppose that various clever designs based on very good COTS audio chipsets will lead to quite similar performances. Also, the cost of the bare electronic components of the boards is often surprisingly low even for very expensive devices. The parts like pots, encoders, switches, buttons, LCD, connectors, case as well as assemly and testing labour cost a lot and you've R&D, marketing, support,...

It would be interesting to compare a solid-state recorder developed by some forum experts here to a commercial product from Sound Devices or Nagra, I mean a double blind test based exclusively on listening (and also between a MixPre-3 and a Nagra VI).

Of course an important issue is the software development. Many years ago I had been involved in R&D (non audio) and the biggest issue was always the software. After some time the hardware development is mature but the software/firmware development is like a vicious circle and costs a lot.

Interestingly many companies try to outrageously optimize costs and end saving very few CHF/EUR/USD (maybe 10 or 20 or so) manufacturing cost per item while accepting lower performances. IMO it would be wiser to sell at a slightly higher price but using really good components where useful.


@studer58:
You basically suggest to play more or less play lottery just producing outsourced in China and sort in-house in Europe, USA, etc. to discard the the out-of-spec items.
Sorry, but I prefer by far beginning with a good quality than trying to produce at low cost and just pick the good items. It's far less risky to control quality during the manufacturing process than relying on some sorting afterward. Also even if a device passes alls tests you'll likely face higher failure rates.

Your strategy is risky also because you could end with a high percentage of defective items you'd either have to replace or repair under warranty or afterward and in both cases it would quickly ruin your reputation.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #102
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schoeller View Post
Sorry, but I prefer by far beginning with a good quality than trying to produce at low cost and just pick the good items. It's far less risky to control quality during the manufacturing process than relying on some sorting afterward. Also even if a device passes alls tests you'll likely face higher failure rates.

Your strategy is risky also because you could end with a high percentage of defective items you'd either have to replace or repair under warranty or afterward and in both cases it would quickly ruin your reputation.
Not what I was suggesting. What successful European and US companies do when outsourcing, if they care about their ongoing reputation, is to insist on high manufacturing standards at the factory AND ALSO implement strict testing regimes when the items return to to country of sale.

This is what Sennheiser have been doing with their high-end headphones, made in that well known Far East Asian country...Ireland....for decades. I presume Nagra are doing the same with their SD
Old 2 weeks ago
  #103
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boojum's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schoeller View Post

<snip>

It would be interesting to compare a solid-state recorder developed by some forum experts here to a commercial product from Sound Devices or Nagra, I mean a double blind test based exclusively on listening (and also between a MixPre-3 and a Nagra VI).

<snip>


The 788T and Nagra VI were tested in a double blind under rigorous standards in 2012. While the results were posted without naming the machines there was a general discourse about the ever-so-subtle differences between the two unidentified machines. When the machines were revealed the Nagra fanboys overflowed with praise. Once they knw which machine was theirs they could identify and praise it. In reality the differences were miniscule and more a matter of taste.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #104
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Not what I was suggesting. What successful European and US companies do when outsourcing, if they care about their ongoing reputation, is to insist on high manufacturing standards at the factory AND ALSO implement strict testing regimes when the items return to to country of sale.

This is what Sennheiser have been doing with their high-end headphones, made in that well known Far East Asian country...Ireland....for decades. I presume Nagra are doing the same with their SD

Sennheiser also make Neumann loudspeakers in Ireland on a robotic assembly which runs on demand
Roger
Old 2 weeks ago
  #105
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolo 46 View Post
Sennheiser also make Neumann loudspeakers in Ireland on a robotic assembly which runs on demand
Roger
Holy Blurred Lines of Provenance, Batman....that's really messing with the flat-earthers who believe everything has to come out of the singular sausage factory of primary origin !

Sennheiser Meet our services

Last edited by studer58; 2 weeks ago at 12:38 PM.. Reason: linkage
Old 2 weeks ago
  #106
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Not what I was suggesting. What successful European and US companies do when outsourcing, if they care about their ongoing reputation, is to insist on high manufacturing standards at the factory AND ALSO implement strict testing regimes when the items return to to country of sale.
In theory maybe, but it's not that easy to enforce quality assurance several thousand miles away in a country with a totally different local language, culture, politics, administration and justice...

Of course there are manufacturers which very successfully produce in China according to very high quality standards. For example higher end mainboards are extremely well designed and manufactured using the best availble production and test equipment.

Now to be honest, a major problem we have in countries like where I live (Switzerland) are huge avoidable costs related to administrative annoyances imposed by the state at all levels, from municipal to federal. Also a huge amount of useless paperwork costs a lot. Here if you want to build a factory you'll waste a lot of time until you finally get the construction permit. Elsewhere in the same time your build that factory.

Another issue is that we've never focused enough on optimizing production. In each and every factory I visited here there could have been a few percents of productivity increase without increasing the work load, just by optimizing sub-optimal processes, especially logistics.

IMO in some cases we could manufacture in our own countries at competitive prices compared to China or so just by seriously optimizing processes and invest in automation. Personally I prefer a factory filled with robots in Switzerland than having the production in a low-wage country. Each factory even if production is highly automatized still requires staff. It's not about less employess but producing more with the same workforce.

As Swiss I've always focused on quality, so seeing some Nagra products made in Asia just hurts. It's like if suddendly Rolex [as example I don't own any expensive watch] would made watches in China (but as said some [I don't mention which ones] Swiss watchmakers use boxes made in China and also some other parts may be manufacturead abroad).

I still consider that for a high-end manufacturer it is not worth having some products manufactured in China. It's just too risky and anway also sort of an ethical question (just my POV, how many know that some Nagra devices are Made in China?).

Whenever I'm involved in purchasing decisions I try to avoid subcontracting with parties located in non-democratic countries (see Plush's messages, I couldn't agree more with him).

The other more general question is about the market segment itself: While there are only extremely few high-end professional (non-handheld) portable digital recorders, there are lots of handheld recorders (see deejayen's message).
Also such handheld recorders are less demanding to develop and manufacture than obviously the former tape-based recorders. The small size precludes the integration of very advanced own electronics so basically we can expect that all manufacturers of handheld digital recorders have to use some commonly available COTS as strategic components.

Fortunately for Nagra and Sound Devices manufactuers like Zoom and Tascam blindly focus on prices instead of developing some slightly higher-priced recorders with a seriously built metal case and a well-thought firmware and maybe somewhat better preamps and RF interference resistance. In various domains you sometimes need high-end equipment not necessarily for the electrical specs but simply because the buils quality of less expensive products is too low (especailly the case and parts like connectors sockets, pots, switches, displays...).
Old 2 weeks ago
  #107
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by boojum View Post
The 788T and Nagra VI were tested in a double blind under rigorous standards in 2012. While the results were posted without naming the machines there was a general discourse about the ever-so-subtle differences between the two unidentified machines. When the machines were revealed the Nagra fanboys overflowed with praise. Once they knw which machine was theirs they could identify and praise it. In reality the differences were miniscule and more a matter of taste.
Thanks for your interesting reply.

Personally I'd be by far unable to hear such subtle differences.

I'm wondering if most users of high-end solid-state recorders use them because they really require the ultimate audio performance or if it's more about the ruggedness, functionalities, ergonomy/ease of use, tech support and other factors not directly related to the audio as such.

The very subtle nuances you mention mayb be noticeable by professionals but at the end of the chain (at home, in a cinema or so) they will probably either no longer be present due to degradation issues or not perceivable by average listeners due to the used audio equipment or even simply because they're too subtle to be noticed by average people (me included).


Overall I also expect that audio IC performance will still progress, like for example by Analog Devices, Texas Instruments or Asahi Kasei. Where discrete solutions were required a few years ago we'll be able to also achieve higher integration levels, lower power requirements. OTOH this will also mean that it will become easier for lower-end manufacturers to access audio performances formerly only possible at much higher costs and with more important R&D.
Maybe 8K video will once replace UHD/4K but for audio it's not really useful to sample beyond 192 kHz at 24-bit so we've possibly reached the limit beyond which we'd only waste money for nothing (and typically even 96 kHz 24-bit is often considered as sufficient).

A look at the bare specs of the best audio processing ICs available shows that the challenge for manufacturers is mostly about integrating them (including a very stable timebase) and especially also a question of software development but the raw specs are outstanding (SNR, THD, etc.).

What I mean is that it becomes easier to design ADC and DAC-based audio devices than in the past and possibly the strictly audio-based difference of performance between high-end gear and more volume-oriented products will decrease.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #108
Lives for gear
You can't beat globalisation, its inevitable that manufacturing will always follow cheap labour
Robotics may be an answer especially for hi tech automated assembly, but its social consequences are as yet unknown
Sound recording devices with high build quality are a niche market
Hand held shaver devices are not
Its all common sense
Roger
Old 1 week ago
  #109
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jimjazzdad's Avatar
Rode has managed to develop a successful manufacturing model based in a country where wages are definitely not 'third world'. Naturally robotics are used extensively, but creative thinking, problem-solving and a very good marketing plan also contribute. While much of their product is pro-sumer, they have used that market share to leverage interesting R&D: viz. the NTR, the much-anticipated TFM50, etc. However, I am not sure Nagra could attain that economy of scale without resorting to out-sourcing, given their relatively small, high end line. Sound Devices seems to be able to tread a middle ground; like Rode they cater to the film & video crowd to gain market share. Competing with the Chinese is not for the faint of heart...
Old 1 week ago
  #110
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimjazzdad View Post
Rode has managed to develop a successful manufacturing model based in a country where wages are definitely not 'third world'. Naturally robotics are used extensively, but creative thinking, problem-solving and a very good marketing plan also contribute.
The alternate to outsourcing and offshoring is to invest heavily in high-grade robotic manufacture, and highly trained operators in those crucial areas that require 'human input'...not too many 18 hour a day sweatshop workers in this video (which incidentally gives you a preview of the TFM50 and TFM49 mics, as well as the new valve ribbon mic....new capsule designs required for each of the TFM mics) : RODEShow 2017 New Product Releases on Vimeo

The country of origin, if all the above preconditions are met, is scarcely relevant, is it ? I expect a 1000 word essay on my desk in the morning.....
Old 1 week ago
  #111
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John Willett's Avatar
 

Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by deejayen View Post
I've been dithering about buying one of these or the Sony PCM-D100 etc. I'm not so bothered about the Nagra SD being made in China, although part of me thinks of the Nagra brand as being Swiss-made - with precision engineering, and high cost as a consequence. It's probably less important in these days of digital recorders, where mechanical quality is less important. However, I'd still like to think that they designed and built in great audio quality. What puts me off the SD is that there are (or were) very similar units (ie in the same case) put out for sale by the Chinese at a much lower price. Some have suggested that Nagra's version would offer higher audio quality, but there's no evidence of that. Also, the SD is a relatively old product now, and the same Chinese manufacturer is offering high resolution players (including DSD playback) in a similar form factor, whereas the SD hasn't been updated.
The Nagra SD is different internally from the other units in the visually same case - I double-checked this with Nagra's John Owens.

And I have been very happy with my SD

Last edited by John Willett; 1 week ago at 11:23 PM..
Old 1 week ago
  #112
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
The Nagra SD is different internally from the other units in the visually same case - I double-ckecked this with Nagra's John Owens.

And I have been very happy with my SD
Thanks - that's helpful and good to know!
Old 1 week ago
  #113
Gear Maniac
 

I'll count the words later.

I know the industrial automation domain quite well as it's part of my job since a few decades, I tested brushless servodrives for robotics already in the early 90's (DC servo was still quite popular at that time).

IMO in countries like (listed in no specific order) Switzerland, Germany, the USA, Canada, Australia, etc. it would be possible to manufacture many things at competitve prices IF we'd heavily invest in automated AND optimized production processes. Of course overbloated administrations, overregulation (and especially all those lawyers who cost billions for nothing real) in all domains cost us a lot in term of competitivity.

For example to manufacture simple Tupperware-like parts you've expensive molds, the machines aren't that expensive and if you run them highly automated 24/24 you can remain competitive if you you've optimized logistics. Energy, water, all sort of taxes are higher than if producing in China but OTOH goods travel less far and long and you can react much faster if any issue arises. Raw materials come anyway from some major chemical groups so prices will be about the same wherever you're located (see the Lego factories in DK).

studer58 refers to quality controls of assembled good made in China to be performed in-house. But that's not so easy. That would mean that you must do or redo all packaging as you can't perform quality assurance controls magically through a closed retail box with the device nicely wrapped in its bag and the power cord neatly tied.
So according to your process you get the Made in China stuff and have to take in on the test bench and perform a whole set of qualification procedures and after that you must have it packed again. Not sure that it will so interesting financially speaking especially if you if considering that you'll have to discard items and/or perform corrective work.

Specifically referring to high-end low-volume products I'd definitely keep the production in-house, also the already mentioned reputation loss risk in case of problems should not be underestimated.

SMT PCB boards can manufactured with a very high degree of automation, processes are well known and reliable (see advanced mainboards which are extremely demanding multiayer PCBs), it's merely about the machines and infrastructures which are very expensive; also some skilled staff is required.
Those you can manufacture in China but if considering all pros and cons I'm not sure that for small series it's worth the hassle. Also there's a higher risk to see know-how stolen though that can happen everywhere.

If referring to high-end non-handheld solid-state (obviously digital) field recorders, the highest production costs are probably the assembly by hand, some hand-soldering of connectors, bench testing, packing and logistics, etc. Also as I already mentioned it, mechanical parts like connectors, pots, switches, connectors, case parts, etc. are relatively expensive and their price doesn't drop over decades because their production is demanding (in comparison, ICs become less expensive while performances increase).

The price of the populated PCBs boards (here considered without pots, connectors or so) which production can be mostly automated is often surprisingly low compared to the end-user price of the whole device.

Count: 533 words only.
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