"Provenance (from the French provenir, "to come from"), is the chronology of the ownership, custody or location of a historical object.The term was originally mostly used in relation to works of art, but is now used in a wide range of fields, including archaeology, paleontology, manuscripts,science, wine, spirits and culinary."

Remember when Naim sounded like Naim? Quad sounded like Quad? Spendor sonics could not be mistaken for Celestion, AR or JBL? Remember the British Sound, the American Sound, the Japanese Sound? I do. I must be so goddam old. Once upon a time, people would meet me and say, "I thought you would be older". Now I am. Which sucks. Then again, I still have a rather fast bike so will probably avoid the nursing home.I digress, again.

When I change any component in any Naquadria design, I agonise over it; I evaluate the supplier, the materials they use, the location in which they manufacture, the specs they provide; in the same way a winemaker would not lightly alter the terroir of their product. In the same way a whisky blender carefully evaluates their contributing distilleries. This is because every single component makes a difference, a contribution, to the final product. 

So, when an iconic hi-fi manufacturer moves its production to China, to India, to Taiwan, Muldovia or Syriana, what happens? Simple. Everything changes.  


Except of course, the price. I'm, uncharacteristically, not going to name naims here (only because I have limited time) but one needs to ask the question: 

You moved to Asiana, your production costs plummeted, your component cost and quality followed and yet, you want us pay the same as when you paid real wages to real employees?

The delicious irony here is that we are now seeing numerous manufacturers complaining about Chinese clones of their products, while the clones are often of superior, (or at least equivalent) quality to the "genuine" products. Genuine? A hundred out the front door, twenty five out the back.....yeah, genuine.

If one was to move a whisky distillery ten miles its product would likely be totally different. Build the same amplifiers in Sydney and New York and they will not have the same sonic signatures because everything from the component manufacturers to the solder composition is likely to be different. Different; not necessarily better or worse but different. But throw in molecule thin circuit tracks made from recycled Landcruisers rather than real copper and components that can be labeled whatever the hell their manufacturers think is fashionable because "intellectual property" is whatever one can copy and Provenance, Terroir, Character go up the smokestack to join the rest of the impending fallout over Beijing. 

So, to those manufacturers, I say; reap exactly what you have sown. 

William Crampton