Jack Setton was based in NYC but had "research" centers all over the globe - he was french in the first place and the french distributor of Pioneer, among other things.
By 1976, the Japanese, however, definitely had the price by mass-production equation going for them and ultimately won on all counts and all markets : Setton's only well remembered units, the receivers, were made in Japan - case in point.
When the Setton HIFI CONTROL CENTER RCS.X.1000 was unveiled, Eumig, Philips, 3A, Grundig or Telefunken were making truly amazing gear to try and counter-attack what was namely named an "invasion" : the battle was lost already as all would all too soon start to have some of their respective lineups made or OEM'ed in Asia.
The european and american high-end revenge hadn't started yet and all that was left was to try and be "original". Among others, Lecson tried, and failed. Setton tried... and failed : none of his regular lineups sold in significant quantities. And they all were made in Japan - case in point II.
But some of the results of that battle really are worth remembering, and the RCS.X.1000 pre-ceiver probably is _the_ coolest component I have seen from the late 70s era, if not from that entire decade. The design was drawn by Alain Carré and quite a bit of cutting edge 1976 technology also went in it.
The RCS (Receiver Control System) is a two-box receiver : the visible control board, admiteddly inspired by airplanes' walls of controls, being hooked to a hidden black box which holds all amplifiers and terminals, the former being a sort of giant remote control on steroids.
The list of features is quite impressive and so are the visible controls : 6-preset PLL tuner, digital displays for the tone controls and tuner frequency, 20-Led level stereo display, touch-cancelling frequency lock (à la Luxman), relays for source switching, pink noise generator - and then some.
None of the contemporary Technics, Sony or Marantz receivers had any of this inside. Given the "cottage" manufacturing in very low numbers, the RCS must have cost fortunes to make.
Needless to say, you don't see RCS.X.1000s on eBay every day. One unit has been spotted in Germany with a serial number of # 089 so it is likely that, as all things super-high-end, whatever the period, around a hundred were made, at least.
The box and control "pad" both have separate serial numbers ; Wilem's own parisian RCS sports a # 034 for the back box and # 026 for the control box.
The RCS.X.1000 made a swift, if noted, appearance : nice moody ads here and there, a big 1978 Stereoplay review (DE) and noted presence during a couple of hi-fi fairs.
However, a short while after "stocks" were completed, french salesmen at Setton's Pioneer headquarters were asked to... discount all !
The RCS clearly was a one-year wonder - outdated the next.
Also, despite a promised 5-year guarantee, the final list price probably was as over the top as the RCS itself was reaching for distant skies : distributed in Germany by Bodo Eichöfer at Dynaudio KG with a list price of 10,000DM in 1978, this was for the Concorde crowd indeed.
But the very rich only make a market when there are millions of not so rich you can sell the profit-making components to. And Setton didn't have that either - case in point III.
Setton closed shop circa 1980 and went to other grand adventures, far from audio land.