A Remodel of the Sx1 Built to Prove a Point Goes to Market
Denon’s new Hi-Fi flagship model SX1 Limited Edition (sold only in Japan) was released last year, in 2019. This product was not developed in a conventional way, but rather, it was brought to market from your own prototype. Was this possible because there is a lot of freedom in making decisions at the company?
Yamauchi：I think so. In the general product development process there is usually a product planning meeting, and once the plan is approved a prototype development schedule is set up for further development. However in the case of the SX1 LIMITED EDITION, it was a series where I advocated Denon's new sound philosophy of "Vivid and Spacious” for the first time since I became the Sound Master. The SX1 LIMITED EDITION was a prototype series designed to demonstrate internally the concept of “Vivid and Spacious” sound. In the meantime, I was asked the same question, “This is interesting, why don’t you market it?” This was the first time we developed a product without a product plan, schedule, or marketing materials.
It proves that Denon has a corporate culture that says "do whatever you want for the sake of good sound.”
Yamauchi：That's right. They make it easy to a certain extent... (laughs).
As a result, the SX1 LIMITED EDITION became Denon’s new flagship model in the Hi-Fi category.
Yamauchi：As the SX1 was the base series, we assumed customers would see it as a minor change of a signature series, but the critics and audio fans found it very refreshing. I was a little surprised, the reaction was much warmer than expected.
The fact a product painstakingly developed by the Sound Master without a standard development process became the new flagship feels very “Denon” to me.
Yamauchi: I think the sound had an impact on me first and foremost. However in reality, it was an embodiment of the sound philosophy “Vivid & Spacious” that I had been working on since the NE series. Perhaps its warm reception among audiophiles was the result of our uncompromising pursuit of Vivid & Spacious sound, without setting a specific date that had to be executed against. The limited edition PMA-A110 and DCD-A110 reference anniversary models also took advantage of many technologies and components used in the SX series, extended even by the Ultra AL32 processing and the quadruple DAC configuration and of course are following the sound philosophy of “Vivid & Spacious” as well.