June 21, 2010

Clearaudio Factory Tour. CMY Goes Analog.

It's spring time in Europe and the weather is pleasant. What a great time to be visiting The High End Audio Show in Munich! Apparently, some industry players are telling me that CES in Vegas has become a victim of it's own success, and the more industry focused High End Show is now "the" place where brands are acquired, secured or lost!
The place to be in high end audio now. The Munich High End Audio Show.

The main foyer to the show floor. If only KLIAV looked some thing like this?

John, big boss of CMY has been scouting for an analog brand for a while now, and has un unexpectedly scored(pardon me for using that pun, it's the World Cup month after all!) with Clearaudio. After the business is taken care of, John took a visit to the Clearaudio factory, and shared his journey with me. I persuaded John to allow me to show our readers, the impressive facilities of the establishment.
The latest Clearaudio Performance Series.

Clearaudio Innovation. Hmm.......... if I can only have a go at this?

Clearaudio Statement flag ship table, there's already 2 of these in Malaysia, which I've had the privilege to audition in one of the owner's home, and it was phenomenal!

John and Peter Suchy smiling after a satisfactory deal done. One for the contract!

John and Robert Suchy at the factory entrance.

At the entrance of the Clearaudio factory, one will be greeted by all the awards and accolades scooped by it's products, Namely turn tables and cartridges, but now also expanded to some analog related electronics, cables and accessories.
The Awards section!

The first area area of production always starts with the incoming store, where all the raw materials and out sourced parts are stored, and awaiting to be processed.
Just some of the out sourced parts for manufacturing turn tables.

Raw materials to feed the metal works and fabrication section of the factory.

Next up is the machining area, where all the metal fabrication work is done. There are flat bed CNCs and cylindrical machining facilities of all shapes and sizes. Some computer controlled for extremely tight tolerances. This is proof that Clearaudio makes most components in house.
Cylindrical milling machine.

A piece of bearing jacket being milled.

More cylindrical milling machines.

Note the scarred surface? This will be rejected.

A small sized flat bed CNC machine.

More metal work machines!

The turn table arm lift being peeled of the multiples. These will later be sanded down and polished to perfection, before final turn table assembly.

Computer controlled machining for very exact tolerances required on precision turn table parts.

Then we are taken to the assembly area. This is where most of the interesting "work" takes place. Some important sub assemblies like motors and bearings are also done in house. Then turn tables are line assembled for production.
Motor assembly by skilled hands.

Clearaudio CMB bearing assembly, note the white ceramic core to be inserted in to the inverted bearing jacket.

This man assembles tone arms.

Note the precision of the assembly.

The tone arm bearing.

A high end turn table under goes final assembly.

The most interesting part of the factory is where the cartridges are assembled under magnified glass.
This is what a cartridge coil is made of, a piece of wire wound, the cantilever, and suspension.

All the work is done under the magnifying glass with skilled, and nimble fingers. This is clearly some thing I was not born to do!

The magnified stylus profile for QC purposes.

The QC test results for the cartridges, was this for my Stradivari?

The completed cartridges, awaiting packaging.

There's also an area dedicated to cable assembly. Clearaudio cables are a growing portfolio in the business.
Ahh...... nothing like a pair of loving lady hands for the cable assembly.

Finally, there's the QC section, where most components are tested during assembly and finished turn tables tested prior to final packing
The assembly line for the Concept table. This is the base of the table.

More Concepts under going final assembly.

A scope for electronics testing, the most basic equipment in the business.

An LCR meter for cable testing. Also used to test loading, insulation and impedance of cartridges.

An instrument to test acrylic platter balance.

With an acrylic platter on for balancing test, just like our car wheels balancing!

After QC, the products can be packed and ready for shipping, to their final destinations, the dealers show rooms.
Some of the finished goods, packed and ready to be shipped.

One of the containers is coming to Port Klang! Guess which one? He!He!

Clearaudio is also in to Music Production, where they mainly output in to the LP format, naturally. Like Clearaudio turn tables and cartridges, the music produced have also received numerous awards and accolades over the years.
The music library section. All LPs only!

One of the Award wining musical productions by Clearaudio.

With that, the Clearaudio factory tour ends and I've been told that Robert Suchy(the second generation chief of Clearaudio) will be making an appearance in the coming KLIAV 2010(no, I haven't forgotten that event). Robert will be giving tips to Clearaudio owners on how to extract the most musical performance from their investments. Obviously, Clearaudio will be a major attraction at this year's KLIAV!
CMY doing Malaysia proud, with our national flag flying high!

Lastly, I wish to congratulate John, and team CMY for scoring(that soccer thing aagin!) one of the premium analog brands. CMY will start to display Clearaudio products some time next month, if all things goes as planed. I am looking forward to playing with some Clearaudio turn tables too!

1 comment:

Joseph Hogan Wilks said...

It is good to see that these technologies are not just thrown away and discarded. analog cable technologies should be cataloged and documented so that we can learn from their manufacturing and processes. Look at digital cable for instance, a simple way to describe how it works would be on the same level of Morse Code, but instead of dots and dashes, the code is in binary format.