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Pioneer's woes echo those of earlier Japanese audio legends

What became of Sansui, Nakamichi, and Akai?

Nostalgia for the golden years of radio: An early 2000s revival of the vacuum tube in a car stereo from Japan.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Pioneer, an ailing company that was once among Japan's best known makers of audio equipment, offers a case study in the difficulties faced by audio brands that flourished in the analog era.

Pioneer pulled out of the audio businesses in 2015, selling its assets to Onkyo, another Japanese maker of audio gear, and U.S. private equity fund Kohlberg Kravis Roberts. Its plans to move into the automotive equipment market went awry as it failed to adapt to the trend toward connectivity and the need to market to manufacturers rather than consumers.

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