Defunct Audio Manufacturers - Sf to So

Shearne Audio
Founded in 1990 by John Shearne and based in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, England. Put it's first product on the market in 1991 in the form of the Phase 1 pre/power amplifier combo, this is a transistor amplifier that uses a "valve amp like topology" or so the manufacturer claimed, it was also noted in it's day for it's unusual marble like livery. Added further amplifier models to the range in the latter half of the 90's, all based around the same ideas (and looks) as the P1 and introduced a couple of high end CD players as well, the circuits of most of their products were upgraded in or around 2000. All contact with them lost early 2003, it was noted however that for the last few months the company listed a separate address for repairs and upgrades (Upgrade were available for all their products), that address is listed here below in the off chance that it's still useful. You can still find information on their last line-up from their former USA distributor along with original USA RRP and that company may in fact still have some models in stock and so have a couple of UK dealers.
Shearne Audio, Technology House, 214 Station Road, Addlestone, Surrey, KT15-2PH

Shenzhen Yu-min Electronic Technology Co. Ltd.

Short lived operation based in Shenzen, Guang Dong province, China. Started somewhere around 2009 and manufactured iPhone and iPod accessories such as headphones, cases, adapters and so on under the Yu-Min brand. Is out of business by 2012.

Signet See --> Audio Technica

Silver Renaissance See --> Renaissance Aaudio (Cables)

Shinagawa Musen Co. Ltd.

Small company in Tokyo, Japan that was founded in 1949 by Akira Asakura to manufacture broadcast products, name translates as Shinagawa Radio Co. Initial product was an oil damped pickup-arm that faced competition mainly from USA based Gray Research, but their broadcast arms were unusually inexpensive in Japan since the USA occupation forces forbade the Japanese government to tax USA imports. Asakura-san hit upon the idea of using Roman characters for the brand name to make the brand seem more international and decided to call his products Grace as the pronunciation in Japanese is not too different to Gray.

The company was supplying pickups in 1953 and possibly sooner, these were not copies of USA or European designs but built on research into the properties of Rochelle Salts performed by the Riken research institute during WWII, but almost all gramophone pickups released in Japan in the first few years after the war were derived from technical data released by Riken. Introduced the F-8L moving magnet pickup in 1965, but that was designed in cooperation with NHK, it was one of the world’s first high end MM pickups although it was initially marketed purely as a broadcast product, it was meant to replace moving coil designs to enable NHK to have a pickup with a similar performance as an MC but feature a replaceable stylus.

Their products also appeared under the Andante trademark in the late 70's and early 80's but it's unclear if they owned that trademark, they also appear to have supplied Linn with a pickup design or 2 as an OEM. The company is still around primarily as a property holdings and rental company, they appear however to have helped owners of their products in getting service, rebuilds and re-tips. In 2009 the company made one last run of pickups and high end stylii for their older cartridges to celebrate its 60th anniversary, some with newer sylus profiles than were shipped originally, this is significant since some of their F-8 derived pickups used ruby and other precious stone cantilevers that has meant that in the last few years owners have only been able to get inferior replacements. The 2009 pickup and stylii run had already sold out to pre-orders in 2008 BTW.
Shinagawa Musen Co.,Ltd., 3rd Fl., Grace Bldg., 16-2, Higashi Ohi 3-chome, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo 140-0011, Japan.
Tel: +81 (0)33764 7131..

Shinall and Company

A small company run by Gary G. Shinall and based in Spring, Texas, USA. Mr. Shinall had been building loudspeakers as a hobby since the 1960's, in the 80's he built a workshop adjunct to his house and started building horn type loudspeakers as a sideline. By the mid 90's he had 4 models that he was producing on a regular basis and had started to brand simply as Shinall and there was enough interest in his products for him to incorporate and have brochures printed professionally.

By the turn of the century he had built up a catalogue of 6 primary models with a number of variations thereof, and after being was laid off from his day job in ca 2001 he decided to go full time as a speaker manufacturer.

Sadly Mr. Shinall was taken seriously ill in the fall of 2007 and passed away on the 16th of July 2008 at 65 years of age.

Shinbang Electronics See --> Etronics

Noted French loudspeaker manufacturer, while primarily a manufacturer of high quality driver they where also active as an OEM, for instance in the early 80's they designed and manufacturer much of the classic Mission Electronics lineup (700 et al.).


Founded in 1847 in Berlin, Prussia, by Ernst Werner Siemens (later Werner von Siemens) and Johann Georg Halske as Telegraphenbauanstalt Siemens & Halske to manufacture telegraph equipment, in 1958 the company merged with the English Siemens company founded by Werner’s England based brother Carl Wilhelm Siemens (later Sir William Siemens) in 1951, in the 1860’ Werner and Wilhelm bought out the part Halske had owned in the company. Siemens became the largest electrical company in Europe and was particularly big in both the UK and Germany and remains to this day the 400 pound gorilla of the European electric industry.

The company was formerly a partner in the Telefunken group and currently has interest in anything from power stations to computer memory manufacture. Founded Telefunken in association with AEG in 1903 but started the manufacture of radios and other audio equipment in 1941 after it had sold its share in Telefunken and manufactured Hi-fi separates at the least into the late 80's, they also sold TV’s from the 50’s and into the 90’s but these were usually built around a chassis from other makers like Blaupunkt, ITT, Grundig and Nordmende.

USA based company with production facility based in the Philippines that manufactured stock and custom wooden and fiberglass loudspeaker horns for use with home audio equipment rather than pro-audio products. Run by Kevin Brooks who now runs Brooks Audio and Victorio Sierra who now runs 11 Horns, both manufacturing products largely similar to what S-B was making, timeline appears to be circa 1998 to 2004 but that is not really known.

Silvaweld Audio Lab.

Company founded on March 29th, 1995 in Seoul, South Korea by Hang Jin Cho. Was one of the new wave of Asian producers of valve based audio products and initially had a small line of single ended power amplifiers on the market but soon added pre-amplifiers, integrated units, push-pull configurations, phonographic pre-amplifiers and even a couple of OTL designs. At first the products were mid/high end and despite having some rarely seen build options like silver wiring internally they were keenly priced compared to the competition, construction quality was good but not up there with the Japanese products but post 2001 the company increasingly went upmarket with their designs.

The Silvaweld products in general got very good reviews with the single exception of the remote controlled pre-amplifier, that was considered extremely good sounding but overpriced at the time. The amplifiers from the company were designed by Mr. Kang Su Park latterly of Allnic Audio, some of the enclosures of later amplifiers were designed by Metal Sound Design.

Silvaweld disappears somewhere around 2005/6 and its products are most common in their home country in addition to France and especially Germany, but in both cases they had excellent local distributors.

Spares & service : There is nothing extremely exotic used in the Silvaweld products, the most specialised parts are the transformers but in the unlikely event that they develop a problem they can be rewound by a competent technician, and the same goes for the amplification circuits, any skilled valve audio repair man should be able to handle them even without drawings if need be. Having said that, Allnic Audio has offered some support and repair services for the Silvaweld product line.

We have some information on the products the company made including Silvaweld Amplifiers but that is mostly on the minimal side.

Silvertone See --> Sears (from 1948 to the late 70's)

Sinclair Radionics
Originally founded in 1961 by Clive Sinclair and based in Cambridge, England, but Mr. Sinclair had been writing technical and construction articles for the UK electronic press for some years prior to that and had already began supplying simple electronic kits of some of the projects for readers that would rather get a kit than making their own from scratch. Initially SR sold small kit products usually uncased but as time wore on they became more professional in appearance and fully built products where eventually provided.

Many of Sinclair's products where audio oriented and relied heavily on the technological wow factor as much as anything else, the Micro-6 kit from 1964 was as small as a matchbox, the Micro-FM was the worlds smallest FM radio and most if not all of the power amplifiers sold by the company where PWM devices, unheard of at the time. A number of SR products where done using either sub-specification or end of line devices that the company bought cheaply from manufacturers of transistors and IC's, this sometimes meant that products that otherwise sold well had to be discontinued since the supply of the parts ran out, it also meant that many Sinclair products where often on the borderline of working properly, several of the amplifier products used class D topology had a reputation for doing evil things to the rest of your hi-fi system.

The Muntzing practices that Mr. Sinclair had a tendency to utilise was forgivable in the world of construction articles and kits but when the company started to offer built products as well there where problems, and while a number of the company's products where indeed innovative the hype from the company often outstripped (and outstrips) what they where actually able to deliver, a number of firsts claimed by the company such as the assertion that they designed the worlds first pocket television are debatable since it was never sold commercially, and their definition of pocket is slightly "expanded" as well.

Mr. Sinclair's current company Sinclair Research actually sells "the worlds smallest radio" so things have not changed that much in the last 50 years.

Smart Devices
Company based in Norcross, Georgia, USA and founded in 1978 as “Smart Theatre Systems” by Norman Schneider. The company initially manufactured accessories for sound system installations in movie theatres but grew into manufacturing more or less every audio product needed for smaller and medium sized cinemas from optical pickups to loudspeakers.

The company had by the mid 90’s grown into the largest manufacturer of cinema audio equipment in the USA a with over 120 products on offer ranging from custom transformers to theatre sound processors and had in addition to movie sound itself branched into utilitarian sound products such as automatic digital announcement systems, and had its own recording studio and training facilities. The company tried its hand at the consumer market in the latter half of the 90’s, initially testing the waters by introducing a surround sound decoder that piggybacked into an existing Dolby Laboratories to offer an Dolby EX compatibility.

Entered the audiophile and home theatre markets in 2001 with the introduction of the Smart 2X150VT amplifier, this was the old Hafler DH200 amplifier that the company had bought the rights to and tooling for, but updated with newer components and places a thermionic valve in the input stage of the amp, later a version that came minus the valve was made available alongside a version of their 3 channel offering for theatres that was now being offered for home theatre addicts, in addition the company introduced a line of power conditioners and a matrix decoder that took 2 channel sound and synthesised 5.1 channels out of it. The pro-audio and cinema related product where placed with a new division called Panastereo that continued the manufacture and marketing of surround sound processors and other audio & automation equipment for the cinema industry. Smart Devices also started distributing high end audio gear in the 2002/3 timeframe.

By 2005 the Panastereo division had been effectively renamed Panalogic after Smart Devices took over the Australian manufacturer of cinema automation systems of the same name. Facing increased competition and slowing down of sales in the theatre markets the company had by 2006 downsized considerably both in staff numbers and moved to smaller premises in Hollywood, Georgia. By 2008 the company ceased all manufacturing and sales activity although it still offers some support and repairs for their older products, the company still exists but is now primarily a distributor of phonographic related products, for that part of the operation or for service and repair info see Smart Devices Inc..

Smoke Company Ltd.

UK based trading company based in Stockport in Cheshire that sold special effects machines for use in entertainment venues, such as smoke, bubble and haze machines. The products were branded PowerFog and were actually bought in from Antari, one of the partners called Darren Cragg left in 1998 to found Source Manufacturing Ltd. that initially had the same business model as the Smoke Company and after that things started to get quiet, by 2002 the company was dormant and it was dissolved in 2005.

Snowcrash AB

Swedish company originally founded in Finland 1996 and showed its initial product range at the at the Milan furniture show in 1997 and was something of a hit there, but it is believed that in actuality there were few or no products shipped by the original outfit. In 1998 Swedish private equity fund Proventus who had had some success with Artek and other Scandinavian furniture and fashion item investments bought the trademarks and founded a new company now based in Stockholm that used the same name. The company had a host of innovative furniture products and managed during its lifetime to garner a lot of interest in the international press for some of their products, in particular the Netsurfer chair that combined a recliner chair and a computer workstation into a unit that had more ergonomic design features than you could shake a stick at.

More interrestingly in around 2000 the company started to make the Soundwave acoustic panels, these are panels made out of fire-retardant recyclable polyester fibre that worked as sound diffusers and absorbers. Designed to be used in offices and conference rooms and so on rather than in home or studio situations they were designed to look good and to facilitate a clearer transmission of speech, with some models offering absorption above 500Hz but not below for instance. Nonetheless since these were considerably cheaper per square metre that most such they got quite popular as an acoustic treatment in home environments and smaller studios.

Snowcrash was closed down in 2003 as Proventus thought that the operation was not profitable enough for their standards but the manufacture of the Soundwave panels was taken over by another Swedish company called Offecct.

Resources : - A review of the Soundwave Swoop panel by Soundstage. - Short info on the project from Proventus alongside info on other projects. Reading the funds own analysis of past investments is enlightening, and slightly creepy, investments that make money are all thanks to the leadership and vision of Proventus, investments that lose money do so due to the "lack of vison" of their partners.... not our fault, it dem other dudes, dem not know how o run da bussness .... weird to see traces of school-ground politics in multi million business investment portfolios. - Measurements of the Soundwave Swell and Scrunch effiency.

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The site was last compiled on Sun Nov 10 2013 at 9:15:00am