Industry News

SME Buys Garrard; Shure Kills Cartridges; Gibson Files Chapter 11

SME Limited Acquires the Garrard Audio Brand

1st May 2018 – Steyning, England – SME, the British engineering and specialist Hi-Fi company, has acquired the rights to the Garrard audio brand from IGB Gradiente S.A. of Brazil.  A British brand synonymous with the design and manufacture of class-leading Hi-Fi products throughout the 1950’s, 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s, including the iconic 301 and 401 transcription turntables, Garrard is a much-admired audio brand whose products are eagerly sought out and traded worldwide.

Commenting on the acquisition, Stuart McNeilis, CEO of SME, said, “It is with great pleasure that we can announce the acquisition of the Garrard audio brand.  Responsible for true icons of vinyl reproduction with the 301 and 401 turntables, in many ways, Garrard’s legacy mirrors SME’s, with precision engineering, design and manufacturing, based in the UK. Many of these great turntables were paired with SME tonearms and there has always been a natural synergy between the two company’s products.  As an iconic British brand, Garrard deserves to be enjoyed by a new generation of audiophiles.”

To support owners of existing Garrard idler drive turntables, SME has also acquired Loricraft Audio, the only authorised Garrard service agent.  Responsible in many ways for keeping the Garrard legacy alive, Terry O’Sullivan, Managing Director of Loricraft, and his team has serviced and re-built Garrard products since 1997, along with manufacturing support products, including its renowned range of vinyl record cleaning machines.  “With years of experience and expert knowledge that will be crucial as SME develops the Garrard audio brand, the acquisition of Loricraft Audio was essential, as it enables the continued ability to service and maintain existing products.” added McNeilis.  “We are delighted that Terry and his team will join the SME family and bring their vast experience with them.”

There will be further announcements regarding the development of the Garrard audio brand in the near future.  For the time being, Loricraft Audio, now supported by SME, will continue offering its re-build and repair service for Garrard 301’s and 401’s, along with the supply of its accessories and record cleaning machines, from its facility in West Berkshire, England.

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Shure Statement Regarding the Discontinuation of Phono Products

Niles, IL., May 1, 2018—For more than 90 years, Shure has been committed to manufacturing and delivering products of the highest quality, reliability, and value. This commitment requires consistency in materials, processes, and testing, as well the capacity to react to fluctuations in demand.

In recent years, the ability to maintain our exacting standards in the Phonograph Cartridge product category has been challenged, resulting in cost and delivery impacts that are inconsistent with the Shure brand promise.

In light of these conditions, and after thorough evaluation, we have made the difficult decision to discontinue production of Shure Phono products effective Summer 2018.

Given our decades-long history of participation in the Phono category, we recognize that this decision may come as a disappointment to our channel partners and end users.

We are grateful for the support and loyalty demonstrated for Shure Phono products through the years and we are proud of the impact that these products have made on our customers’ lives and the reputation of the Shure brand. We believe that the proud legacy of Shure Phono is best served by exiting the category rather than continuing production under increasingly challenging circumstances.

Shure will continue to bring reputable, high quality products to market and we look forward to meeting and exceeding customer expectations on our current and future offerings. As Shure expands into new markets and product categories for audiophiles, our enduring commitment to premium performance and technological innovation will remain at our core.

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Gibson Brands Files Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

The inevitable finally occurred. Unable to service a half billion dollars’ worth of debt, Gibson Brands filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the Delaware District of Federal Bankruptcy Court.

We’ll have more to say in the nest issue of Copper, but as usual, Ted Green at Strata-gee.com has an excellent summary of events.