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StanleyNTL
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What happened to Mac build quality?

I purchased the C500T/C500P preamplifer combination on 15th
May 2010 at a cost of

Buddha
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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?

If you can, return it as defective and get a new dealer. None of this should have been "your problem," and you seem ill served.

Best wishes!

andy19191
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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?

> When I decided to invest in this premium product, I was not expecting quality issues or
> the kind of after sales service I have received.

What made you consider it a premium product?

Why weren't you expecting quality issues given that is made with valves?

After sales support for very expensive low volume products manufactured in other countries is unlikely to be quick but I would agree that the response looks rather slow.

> Will Mac do the decent thing by me? I remain unconvinced!

Why do you want another McIntosh? Wouldn't you rather have your money back to spend on something a bit more reliable?

Jan Vigne
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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?

McIntosh realizes everything they build can fail. In that respect they are no different than any other manufacturer of electronics. For this reason Mac has repair shops - just like any other electronics manufacturer. Unfortunately, most Mac dealers no longer have the customer support of in store repair facilities and the units must be shipped to Mac or an outside service facility for repair or to OK replacement - the same as any other manufacturer represented in those same retailer's shops. Therefore, I would suggest you consider how Mac quality is any different than any other high end manufacturer. It isn't.

At this point I'm not telling you what you want to hear.

McIntosh does not build every component that goes into their products - never have and certainy cannot in this day of microprocessors and electronic switching. Even when a manufacturer does their best quality control of components they can flick the switch or test the component 5,000 times and on the 5,0011th flip the component might fail. That's why there are repair facilities. Every component manufacturer is subject to bad runs of components purchased from a subcontractor. At times these affect entire production runs of a single component or multiple components which share parts.

No manufacturer wants to have a dissatisfied client - if they did, they wouldn't last long. However, it is not uncommon for products to become a lemon no matter which product you buy. Mercedes has issues or else there wouldn't be a repair shop that existed just to change oil and rotate tires. You have to accept the fact the fates are sometimes not working in your favor.

Exchanging for an upgrade is an excellent idea - for you. It won't happen and never has from most manufacturers of high end electronics where the difference between components can now days often times be several thousands of dollars. As "smart" as you were to ask, McIntosh has the right to refuse your suggestion if it doesn't benefit them as well. You don't get anything until you ask but you must not consider a refusal of your negotiations to be a personal affront. It's just negotiations and either party has the right of refusal.

The units were both exchanged for properly working products. From the way you describe the sound quality issues you are, first, happy with what you now own and, second, no more frustrated than you would have been with all but the smallest of the boutique manufacturers who have more direct contact with their clients. The problem there is they too rely on subcontractors and it's not entirely uncommon for the boutique builders who put together a pre amp for a week and then a power amp for a week to be out of stock of even just a switch needed to build another component. In this respect I have to say Best Buy has exchanged a dozen defective MP3 players for me without a question. Not what you want to hear either but thsoe are the facts as seen by someone who sold McIntosh and high end equipment for a few decades. If you have a real complaint it would be IMO with your dealer. Though, often even their hands are tied by the policies of a large company as Mac has become.

Good luck with the new system and enjoy the music. I own Mac tubes that will be 50 years old this coming year. They've visited the repair shop on occasion but they keep on ticking and sounding great.

SAS Audio
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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?


Quote:

Why weren't you expecting quality issues given that is made with valves?

I am surprised there was a reliability issue being a tube product. Heck, I have not had one reliability problem/failure with my 10A line preamps sold since 1997.

Cheers.

(Caveat: I design and manufacture tube components.)

JSBach
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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?

It's a good thing high-end audio manufacturers aren't building for NASA.

JoeE SP9
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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?


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> When I decided to invest in this premium product, I was not expecting quality issues or
> the kind of after sales service I have received.

What made you consider it a premium product?

Why weren't you expecting quality issues given that is made with valves?

After sales support for very expensive low volume products manufactured in other countries is unlikely to be quick but I would agree that the response looks rather slow.

> Will Mac do the decent thing by me? I remain unconvinced!

Why do you want another McIntosh? Wouldn't you rather have your money back to spend on something a bit more reliable?

Please explain why gear that uses valves should have quality issues?

Mac gear is usually considered to be premium gear. This is not a value judgement about the sound quality. You either like the Mac sound or you don't. In general Mac gear has an excellent reputation for reliability. Check the prices for used/vintage Mac gear on Audiogon and E-Pray

andy19191
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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?

> Please explain why gear that uses valves should have quality issues?

It is a low volume boutique product using long obsolete technology. Given this, it is reasonable to expect a certain amount of "love and care" to be required. I was asking the OP if this was what he expected when he bought the product or if it was more something he could "use and forget".

> Mac gear is usually considered to be premium gear.

The OP stated this was his view. My question was why.

> In general Mac gear has an excellent reputation for reliability.

Today? Or many decades ago when the brand was established?

Jim Tavegia
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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?

Off the McIntosh website there is an indivual who is responsible for "distribution". Have you contacted her directily? That is where I would go.

After I dropped $20K I would not be happy living through your story. 6 months is long enough. My guess is that you will be getting some snappy service shortly.

JoeE SP9
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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?


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> Please explain why gear that uses valves should have quality issues?

It is a low volume boutique product using long obsolete technology. Given this, it is reasonable to expect a certain amount of "love and care" to be required. I was asking the OP if this was what he expected when he bought the product or if it was more something he could "use and forget".

> Mac gear is usually considered to be premium gear.

The OP stated this was his view. My question was why.

> In general Mac gear has an excellent reputation for reliability.

Today? Or many decades ago when the brand was established?

Most really good gear SS or tube is a "low volume boutique product".

Sorry, but everyone doesn't consider thermionic valve's to be obsolete technology. That you do is only your opinion.

My preamp is a hybrid and I use tubes to drive my ESL's. Obviously "obsolete" or not I think enough of the technology to use it.

About that "certain amount of love and care" you mentioned, I check the bias on my tubed power amps once a week. I also check my cables and interconnects for proper connections at the same time. Does that mean my cables and IC's need "a certain amount of love and care"?

Mac's reputation for quality is still very good around these parts.

It sounds to me like you're just blowing smoke that's heavily tainted by reverse snobbery.

andy19191
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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?

> Sorry, but everyone doesn't consider thermionic valve's to be obsolete technology. That you do is only
> your opinion.

Obsolete technology follows from the research and development of the technology ceasing and research, development and production switching to the replacing technology. This effectively happened to valve technology half a century ago.

This doesn't mean that the use of the technology has to stop completely and indeed there were one or two niche areas where valves were technically competitive for a while but home audio wasn't one of them. Note the word technically. For fashion/luxury goods technically competitive can be a weakly weighted parameter and it is generally here that obsolete technologies can and do find a market.

> About that "certain amount of love and care" you mentioned, I check the bias on my tubed power amps
> once a week.

It is also common to have a stock of replacement valves to swap in and out as the ones being used degrade and as a buffer against increasing prices as replacements/equivalents become more expensive and difficult to find. My question to the OP, who does not seem to be responding, was about whether he understood this type of thing or whether he expected his valve based product to perform/behave like a modern solid state device.

> Mac's reputation for quality is still very good around these parts.

The question why still remains. Has it carried over from 40-50 years ago when the market and the company were rather different or have things happened in more recent times to bolster the reputation?

> It sounds to me like you're just blowing smoke that's heavily tainted by reverse snobbery.

Not sure that reverse snobbery has much to do with it. I have a technical background and simply weight various aspects of home audio rather differently to you.

Jan Vigne
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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?


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Obsolete technology follows from the research and development of the technology ceasing and research, development and production switching to the replacing technology. This effectively happened to valve technology half a century ago.

You seem to have missed quite a bit that has happened across the globe in the last half century. By your logic solid state has been dead for the last thirty years. But it's held onto its own niche market.

andy19191
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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?

> By your logic solid state has been dead for the last
> thirty years. But it's held onto its own niche market.

Can you explain how? Can I suggest perhaps using the solid state components in your computer as an illustration of how solid state became obsolete 30 years ago and has not developed since.

Jan Vigne
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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?

What research and development has gone into transistors over the last thirty years? They still suffer the same sonic problems as they did in 1980. The only thing that's really changed about them is they've become smaller, more cheaply made and more likely to be scrapped entirely rather than repaired partially? Big whooop! The vast majority of today's solid state components are not intended to be repaired. If they're repaired, it will be only a short while before actual replacement parts are unavailable. You can still buy 300B tubes without looking hard at all. To that end, good to great tubes win. Look at the resale value of a McIntosh MC275 or a Fender Twin Reverb.

Better yet, look at the re-issues of both those products. Mac has every 275 sold before it leaves the production line and Fender has a fast and growing market in their vintage designs as retro products. On the other hand, how often do most people replace their computers rather than repair them? I don't know, what's the going price for an Atari 200 or a first generation CD player?


Quote:
As I said, it is difficult to believe from its measured performance that the McIntosh MC275 was designed almost half a century ago (by a team led by company cofounder Sidney Corderman, footnote 1). Good audio engineering is timeless.
andy19191
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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?

What a strange answer.

> What research and development has gone into transistors over the last thirty years? They still suffer
> the same sonic problems as they did in 1980.

Sonic problems? Microphonics is a significant problem for valves not transistors.

> In that respect "solid state" was replaced decades ago by "digital" and all research on the analog
> componets of digital have ceased their forward progression other than as I have noted above.

What does solid state mean to you?

What does digital mean to you?

JoeE SP9
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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?

Since when does "sonic problems" refer to microphonics?

Jan Vigne
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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?

I guess it's "strange" if you don't consider that it's right. But it is. You are talking trade offs and there's no one who would claim each device does not have its own set of trade offs. For example, a vacuum tube's performance in a home audio device degrades over years while transistors start off sounding bad and only remains so for years.

However, I can make a tube not respond to microphonics. We fought three wars using tubes in our communications devices, you think those tubes suffered from "microphonics"? We had a space program before we had transistors, you think those tubes suffered from microphonics? Same with long distance, intercontinental communication - no microphonics. So the issue is not that tubes are subject to microphonics but that many tubed devices are subject to microphonics. I'm guessing you don't feel microhopnics trouble a transistor device. We've been down that road before and there's no point in rehashing it.

It's almost impossible to build a bi-polar transistor amplifier which doesn't have high order, predominantly odd order harmonic distortion components which are unmusical and not consistent with the sound of live, acoustic music. Tubes have no such issues. The best way to accomplish this with a transistor is to build a FET and make the transistor respond more as a tube would. Yet tubes are both more linear and more inherently stable than bi-polar transistors. You can build a single ended triode amplifier without a common feedback loop. You can only do that with bi-polars until they implode in upon themself from instability, they require constant correction to survive under load.

Tubes are more durable than transistors in some respects. Should the nuclear holocaust occur, tubes will still operate while all solid state communications systems will be dead. So we have trade offs, however the prevailing trade off which allowed transistors to take a foothold is as I described. In the early 1960's it was what? one third as expensive to ship a transistor, direct coupled stereo receiver with one transformer across the ocean than it would have been to ship a tubed and (three) transformer coupled unit. As I said, the advantage of solid state is size and weight and not much else. Sony wouldn't have made tubed pocket radios. Yet how many early transistor radios exist today vs. how mant tubed radios from the generations prior?

We were discussing "research" not trade offs. Quite a bit of research has occurred to improve vacuum tubes yet the only research to change transistors is to make them smaller, lighter and less repairable. Transistor technology stopped progressing in any other fashion after the introduction of the integrated circuit. For thirty years the most important development in solid state has been the size of the devices and their easy disposability.


Quote:
What does solid state mean to you?

What does digital mean to you?

Transistors, FET's, ic's and vacuum tubes are all signal carrying devices. "Digital" is a signal processing format. All digital audio processing in use today follows the theories and formulas developed by Nyquist, right? In what year did Nyquist formulate his "digital audio" concepts? In what year was the transistor introduced? So "digital signal processing" existed independently of the existence of transistors for twenty years, no? That would be because vaccum tubes, transistors and FET's are devices while digital processing is a format. As different as a milk cow and a beef roast.

Are you suggesting vacuum tubes cannot process 1's and 0's? ON and OFF? That would be silly of you to do. If your processor or digital player has a defective chip, do you repair the chip or replace it entirely? If I have a bad tube in my amplifier, I can replace that tube without sending the amp to the shop. It's a fixed bias amp so there's not much fuss involved beyond getting the tube cage off.

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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?


Quote:
However, I can make a tube not respond to microphonics.


In fairness to your assertion I should add that the Counterpoint SA5 that I ran had all it's tubes suspended horizontally from a flimsy vertical printed circuit board. So, it may have been the mounting that was the problem. However, whatever it was I couldn't solve it. I tried a number of different valve dampers and different valves to little effect.
OOOPS! I keep forgetting you people call em tubes.
I dimly remember reading some years ago in a R & R magazine an interview with someone from the Messa Boogie company claiming some of their guitar amps had a deliberately designed in and limited amount of microphonics for a particular sound popular with guitarists. Urban myth? I don't know but it sounds probable given some of the nasty sounds electric guitarists have enjoyed making over the decades.

Jan Vigne
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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?


Quote:
I dimly remember reading some years ago in a R & R magazine an interview with someone from the Messa Boogie company claiming some of their guitar amps had a deliberately designed in and limited amount of microphonics for a particular sound popular with guitarists. Urban myth? I don't know but it sounds probable given some of the nasty sounds electric guitarists have enjoyed making over the decades.

It's the truth, instrument amplifiers - particularly guitar amplifiers - are created with far more of a "voicing" than you'll find in the go for neutral home audio world. The joke is the tube the audiophile tosses out is the tube that's just getting broken in for the guitarist. Same with speakers, read the ads and the first descriptions are about the "crunchy, fat break up" and "heavily saturated overdrive". I'm currently trying to find a new driver ("speaker" to guitar players) for my amp and cabinet and when I say I play "clean", I get the strangest looks and the typical response is, "No, sorry, I don't have anything like that." Same way with tubes, "I don't want them to distort", gets you looked at funny.

http://www.guitarcenter.com/Fender--57-Twin-Amp-Combo-Guitar-Amplifier-102544772-i1145454.gc

http://www.jensentone.com/tonechart.php

As to your Counterpoint, it was unimmaginable to those who had followed their progression that the company would turn out (what was to be) their last series of products as they did. Clearly there were good ideas and fresh thinking which at times produced captivating music but most of the line was hobbled by just plain dumb decisions. Every retailer backed off the product because we were repairing each unit we sold by rebuilding it several times. Using the field techs to troubleshoot your product was bad enough with a company like Yamaha but it was totally unacceptable with a niche product such as Counterpoint. It left a lot of hard feelings between dealers and clients who had trusted our advice. From what I can tell, Michael Elliott has spent the last twenty five years trying to make right that last group of pre amps and amps.

http://stereophile.com/news/10202/

http://ariaaudio.com/Company.html

I'm curious, would you trust him enough to buy another product under another company name from Elliott?

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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?


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I'm curious, would you trust him enough to buy another product under another company name from Elliott?

If I was in the market for one maybe as I have a mate (buddy in the US) who's a brilliant technician able to get my out of all kinds of trouble. He couldn't however solve the microphonics problem with the SA 5 announcing "The silly c**t who designed this didn't know what he was doing" However, I'm blissfully married to my Leben RS 100/valve pre-amp (ugly as sin though!) running a pair of Nuforce Reference 9 V3 Special Edition monoblocks so I'm not in the market. I'm also scared silly of valve power amps having had several turn volcanic on me over the years.

Welshsox
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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?

I can see with my recent absence that JV is spouting his pro dealer rubbish.

It is absolutely correct that a consumer is entitled to an upgrade for all his suffering, your rubbish about each step up costing thousands in components in complete and utter crap. The difference is probably a few hundred at most, at the high end components typically have anywhere from a 1000-5000 % mark up.

Macintosh should step up and take care of this customer, not hide behind your dealer centric claptrap

Alan

Jan Vigne
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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?

I see in your absence(?) you still have not gained a firm grasp on reality.

5000% markup?!!!

ROTFLMAO!!!

Keep it up, Alan, the crazier you sound, the easier it is to prove just how crazy you are.

Welshsox
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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?

As usual JV you defend the greed of high end manufacturers.

LARS amp has probably $1000 tops worth of raw parts in it, sells for $100k thats 10000 %

Take a Monster HDMI cable for $125, i can buy the same cable privately labelled foir $2.50 delivered on Amazon

Nordost speaker cable ? inrinsic material value of a few dollars yet sold for $20k ish.

There are all sorts of examples of this, the only people who defend the ridiculous escalation in high end audio prices are people like you who benefit from the increased margins and therefore have to propogate the theory that 50 cents worth of copper is worth $10,000 because it was cryogenically treated with Ecuadorian anteater piss.

Alan

Jan Vigne
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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?

ROTFLMAO!!!

Keep it up, Alan, the crazier you sound, the easier it is to prove just how crazy you are.

I see your absence has not improved your disposition one bit - that's about $0.0005 worth of parts you know.

Welshsox
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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?

OK

Take a look at this link

http://www.musicdirect.com/products/images.php?i=-1&p=80901&h=89443

What do you see in costs ? 4 x pretty standard looking XLR connecrorsm available anywhere for lets be generous $10 each, then a 1 meter of cable. Lets be really really mad and say the cable costs $10 a foot, then lets throw in 30 minutes of labour at $60 an hour for a skilled person.

Thats a grand total of $100

How much raw cost do you see ?

Alan

Jim Tavegia
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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?

I am off in a short time to record a 80 piece orchestra and listening to a couple of EMC recordings through my home made desktop computer through an $80 Behringer FCA 202 2496 firewire box into my old, "vintage" (I say vintage rather then say old piece of crap receiver) Technics SA420 run through 16AWG radio shack speaker wire to my "vintage" Large Advents across the room. The recordings of the Hilliard Ensemble and Manu Katche' sound amazing and I so regret my recordings can't even come close to the work EMS does. Damn!!!!!!!!!!!

No thousand dollar anything here. I am beginning to think who needs it? Really!

Many will say he is old, his hearing has gone to shit, why would he spend serious money on audio any more. I more of the club why would anyone in the first place.

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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?


Quote:
OK

Take a look at this link

http://www.musicdirect.com/products/images.php?i=-1&p=80901&h=89443

What do you see in costs ? 4 x pretty standard looking XLR connecrorsm available anywhere for lets be generous $10 each, then a 1 meter of cable. Lets be really really mad and say the cable costs $10 a foot, then lets throw in 30 minutes of labour at $60 an hour for a skilled person.

Thats a grand total of $100

How much raw cost do you see ?

Couldn't agree with you more, Alan.

Of course JV, being a former stereo salesman, has a different perspective

Welshsox
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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?

Any answer JV ?

Jan Vigne
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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?

ROTFLMAO!!!

Keep it up, Alan, the crazier you sound, the easier it is to prove just how crazy you are.

What's the problem, Alan? You can't stand it when I ignore your crazy ass? You're that desparate?!

Ariel Bitran
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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?


Quote:
ROTFLMAO!!!

Keep it up, Alan, the crazier you sound, the easier it is to prove just how crazy you are.

What's the problem, Alan? You can't stand it when I ignore your crazy ass? You're that desparate?!

Cut it out JV.
I don't mind your sprawling posts, i just hate rudeness.

Answer his question.

Welshsox
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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?

Its OK

I just thought you might actually want to present a sensible rebuttal to my pricing argument, im saying that i see $100 worth of materials and labour I just want to know what do you see ? Its a very straight forward question.

I totally forgot that you have to drive all arguments into emotions and mud slinging as technically you have no argument to make.

My mistake.

Alan

Jan Vigne
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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?

Well, I'm glad to hear you "don't mind" my posts. I take it "sprawling posts" means you're not much into doing your job either.

You're going to have to be more specific about what "question" I'm supposed to answer. I don't see a question other than, "Any answer JV ?" Which IMO I answered.

This has been Alan's answer to everything from the day he arrived here. Raw cost equals 5000% mark up on retail pricing of audio gear. It never changes and it only gets more insulting as Alan goes on. He has been called on his rudeness before. His "question" has been answered a dozen times or more, John Atkinson tried to disavow him of his idiotic idea that raw costs equals retail price. Why don't you go ask him about this, Ariel? Or, do you really think, "Nordost speaker cable ? inrinsic material value of a few dollars yet sold for $20k ish", makes sense?

I'm not going to deal with this BS again. He has been proven wrong but he keeps coming back to this and to insulting me. Take a look, did I say anything to Alan before he insulted me in his very first post here? I had a post on the op's topic on page one. Alan came into the thread and immediately insulted me on page three. The thread hadn't been posted to for almost two weeks until Alan started this up again. Get your facts straight before you jump in with this "rudeness" BS. The thread isn't about the cost of materials or the cost of retail. The thread has been answered sufficiently in my opinion. If you want to go at this with Alan, do so with my blessing. Otherwise, be a moderator and not a lopsided referee.

PS: If you don't like rudeness, you are on the wrong forum. I wasn't the first to start this BS here. Pay attention, friend. If you want to do something about rudeness, do something about Lamont.

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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?


Quote:
I take it "sprawling posts" means you're not much into doing your job either.

i love moderating the forums and being the editorial assistant at Stereophile. everyone has their own style of posts. I dont mind many people's forms of attacks or style or post length - each gives a user their own character. What I wont stand for is insults and taunting between to individuals about each other (rather than discussion on a topic).


Quote:
This has been Alan's answer to everything from the day he arrived here.

ever since i've been a part of the Stereophile team, and the 2 years interning before, i do believe the majority of your posts have also constituted a similar opinion most of the time. (in fact, you practically have your own thread in The Open Bar, where you post all the like-minded posts you want). If someone shares the same opinion everytime (which the majority of the users do), its ok. To be honest, i get a little tired of it, but as long as you're not insulting the individuals on the forum, you're gravy.


Quote:
do something about Lamont.

For the most part, I find Lamont humorous when his posts are from the perspective of the discussion, but if you really want to see that i dont pick sides, please see the most recent thread in the dead zone.

--back to the topic--


Quote:
The thread isn't about the cost of materials or the cost of retail.

true. most of these threads never end up being what they start about though....

but back to thread... i am curious to know Jan, based on the image Alan posted, what you estimate are the raw costs behind that cable vs. its actual cost?

to Alan, if such extreme mark-ups do exist, maybe there are reasons for high prices beyond raw costs. what about R&D? a monster cable may have the same exact materials as a much higher end one, but possibly the level of skill involved in making the finer cable is greater i.e. greater cost of labor.

Jan Vigne
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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?


Quote:
i do believe the majority of your posts have also constituted a similar opinion most of the time. (in fact, you practically have your own thread in The Open Bar, where you post all the like-minded posts you want). If someone shares the same opinion everytime (which the majority of the users do), its ok. To be honest, i get a little tired of it, but as long as you're not insulting the individuals on the forum, you're gravy.

What's that mean? I'm supposed to change my opinions on a regular schedule to make the forum more "exciting"? So you don't "get tired" of reading the same opinions all the time?

I "have my own thread"? I was unaware anyone "owned" threads on this forum. And I don't get the idea that I post "like-minded posts". What are they?

You actually "get tired" of someone with the same opinion all the time? I'm afraid I don't understand any of what you've said here. I have opinions and they don't tend to change just because I'm posting on a new thread or because someone new is on a thread. That's kinda how things go on a forum like this, right? We listen but we speak our minds about our opinions.


Quote:
but if you really want to see that i dont pick sides, please see the most recent thread in the dead zone.

Wow! You really told him, huh?

I'm not starting in on you, Ariel, so don't start taking things the wrong way. Like I said, do a search on Lamont's past posts. i mean, I laughed my ass of when I saw, "BTW, Jan's wife has a dick." Whoa! Funnnnneeeeee!!!


Quote:
What I wont stand for is insults and taunting between to individuals about each other (rather than discussion on a topic).

Well, that would be great IMO. But the forum has a history of getting extremely rowdy and quite often posts are made that are exceptionally rude. Want me to tell you about "The Little Black Kid" joke or about the time Ethan posted fake myspace pages on me and then posted pictures of my house and said it was a shame he couldn't look inside, and then he posted a poll on how fast anyone would throw my system in the garbage? Want me to tell you about how Buddha would get liquored up each weekend before he started posting his insults? Or, should I tell you about the seven pages of "Let's get Jan" that ended with one of the guys challenging me to a bar fight? That was back in the days of dup - who posted "The Little Black Kid" joke.

Do you intend to be the sheriff here? That's fine with me but you're going to have to change some rules the forum has lived under for years. And, you're going to have to monitor this forum every hour of the day. That's not at all a threat from me, just a reality I don't think you've considered. This forum has been a free for all for years. You're the one who intends to clean this up? You have the OK to do that?


Quote:
...i am curious to know Jan, based on the image Alan posted, what you estimate are the raw costs behind that cable vs. its actual cost?

Again I don't know what you are referring to. You mean the BS numbers Alan pulled out of thin air? I don't think anything of them because he pulled them out of thin air. He sees a wire and it costs as much as he wants to say it costs. He sees a transformer and he thinks all components use that same transformer and pay the same amount for them. His rationalization of parts is parts and they're all that make up the cost of an item is pure lunacy.

I sold high end audio for 25 years. I no longer do but try to convince Alan of that. He always starts off with I'm going to benefit from something. I'm not. The only thing I have to do with McIntosh at this point is I own several pieces. That had nothing to do with my response to the op as I would have given the same response about virtually any reputable company and any reputable dealer. No high end manufacturer is going to give away the next highest priced model just because someome wants them to. Like I said, the op can ask, but that's negotiations and it takes two parties to negotiate any deal. If one party doesn't care to make a deal, move on.

My thinking has nothing to do with "raw parts" because "raw parts" have nothing to do with the value of an audio component any more than they do the value of anything else. What I learned in sales is a product, idea or commodity is worth what someone is willing to pay for it. No more, no less. If someone wants to pay "$XXX" for this product, that's their business. If they want to pay "$XXXXXX" for it, that's their business too. If they want to pay "$X" for it, then we don't have a deal unless I want to sell it at that price. Very simple, I don't set a price. The person who wants something sets what they are willing to pay for what they want or need.

That's the same answer I've given every time Alan starts this crap. It's my opinion and I don't intend to change it just so there's something new to read. 'K?

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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?

Hi

I dont do sprawling so ill be quick.

1 - I have no idea why JV cant find my question, it seems pretty clear to me.

2 - The transforer he is referring to is the output transformer of the LARS amplifier. The LARS sells for $100,000.00 the transformer had a cost of $147 ( give or take ) and is a commercial component available from Newark or Digikey etc. This part number was published in Stsreophile during the review. I continue to question how a perspex/wood box with distributor sourced components can possibly justify its price. JV will say its on sound quality, in which case im OK with that, just agree that your paying $98,000 for sound quality and $2,000 for the parts and ill move on, just dont try and tell me a Digikey part is anything other than a commercial component and therefore is nothing special.

3 - I fully understand that there are manufacturing, research, marketing costs etc that have to be incorporated into a products final selling price. Why i get upset and will not let it drop is that the value quotient of high end equipment is dropping exponentially. Twenty years ago i could have bought a fantastic top of the range system for six months pay, now the same thing is 5 years pay. I fully understand that the performance is better but my point has always been that the material itself is similar, what has increased is the mark ups being allowed by the industry. Everyone just seems to accept this and it drives me nuts that we accept companies charging these incredible sums for
basic raw materials.

JV - Why will you not just give a simple answer to the question ?

Alan

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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?

There is one point that JV always leaves out, I design audio systems for a living, including development costing for a wide range of speakers and amplifier related product.

Fifteen years of costing products at every level.

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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?

All forums, newsgroups etc at some time or other end up with these pointless, "He said, I said, no He said then I said" insulting flame wars.
Why male homo sapiens are so often obsessively driven to this particular form of bitchiness is as big a mystery to me as why high-end audio retailers are so often raving lunatic snobs of border line criminality.
As to audio companies who ask unjustifiably silly money for their products I suggest the answer to how they get away with it lies in that peculiar aspect of human psychology, the desire for exclusiveness in ownership. I also suspect many owners of silly money components gain huge enjoyment from telling their friends and acquaintances what they've spent. Manufacturers of overpriced 'exclusive' components and more especially their advertisers are well acquainted with this. However, those who get hysterically evangelical in raving against such products don't have to buy them.
There is however the very real issue the effect this end of the industry has on opinions held by non-audiophiles of our kind as raving lunatics. Justified?
Maybe, as I'm often too embarrassed to tell people my system cost as much, if not more, than they've spent on their houses despite the fact I think every cent spent was justified.

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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?


Quote:
Hi

I dont do sprawling so ill be quick.

1 - I have no idea why JV cant find my question, it seems pretty clear to me.

2 - The transforer he is referring to is the output transformer of the LARS amplifier. The LARS sells for $100,000.00 the transformer had a cost of $147 ( give or take ) and is a commercial component available from Newark or Digikey etc. This part number was published in Stsreophile during the review. I continue to question how a perspex/wood box with distributor sourced components can possibly justify its price. JV will say its on sound quality, in which case im OK with that, just agree that your paying $98,000 for sound quality and $2,000 for the parts and ill move on, just dont try and tell me a Digikey part is anything other than a commercial component and therefore is nothing special.

3 - I fully understand that there are manufacturing, research, marketing costs etc that have to be incorporated into a products final selling price. Why i get upset and will not let it drop is that the value quotient of high end equipment is dropping exponentially. Twenty years ago i could have bought a fantastic top of the range system for six months pay, now the same thing is 5 years pay. I fully understand that the performance is better but my point has always been that the material itself is similar, what has increased is the mark ups being allowed by the industry. Everyone just seems to accept this and it drives me nuts that we accept companies charging these incredible sums for
basic raw materials.

JV - Why will you not just give a simple answer to the question ?

Alan

I think JV has answered in the past Alan but it is now just a reiteration of reiteration
I think you will find Alan that high end has always been expensive.
So while some products were attainable for the average consumer the high end was still high end.
What has changed IMO is that high end performance and to a lesser extent build has now become attainable due to the price/performance ratio (just need to look) and modern manufacturing practices.
So while prices increase with inflation for reference priced products, modern technology (whether directly related to product componenets or design-process-logistics improvements technology can help with) can help to drive prices down and IMO this is why some may feel high end reference is more expensive.
In summary some excellent products can now be found cheaper than in the past, while the reference products still maintain their prices.
However in nearly all cases build quality has improved and again this will skew are thoughts when comparing to the past.
Anyway here are some reference product pricing I have info on and lets stay with the 20-30 years ago max (if interested average earnings earlier say 1966 was

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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?

Orb

Your points make good sense and I would wholeheartedley agree that products that the Magico/Muon/Nautilus altough very expensive do have the intangibles that the cost seems porportionate to the materials/engineering etc that went into the product.

My whole point is not to knock the high end products that show the intrinisic value but to knock equipment that is priced at the high end but does not have the substance to back it up. My poster child being the LARS amplifier etc.

Its like cars, the new Veyron is 1.4 million pounds, absolutely stupid, but you look at the product and you can see where the money went. In fact the rumour is that VW loses 2 million on each car.

Just as an aside 6000 GBP seems very low for average salary in 85, i seem to remember earning significantly more.

Alan

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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?

I do not disagree with some of the examples you show Alan, it is just sometimes the posts come across with those examples and then IMO go on to suggest generically that all or most high end today is extortionate.
Just want to say the figures "should" be accurate and are not assumptions on my part - not from memory but based on articles I spent awhile digging around for, must have too much time
The average house price in 1980 was

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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?

Your "poster child" is the Lars which was reviewed and thought not to be worth the asking price on the basis of construction values despite its sound quality ranking it as worthy of the high end. What's your point? You have none. You take one transformer from one questionable amplifier and you condemn the entire high end industry. That is illogical in the extreme. You hold up one piece of wire and assume all other wire is comparable. That simply is not true. What is the value of the very first wire? If it did not exist, then no other wire nor any of the consequences of wire's existence would have followed. "Value" is not "price" and you do not have the ability to set perceived value for anyone other than yourself.

Your "intangible" is exactly that, an intangible. Do you have any concept at all of what the word "intangible" means? It would appear you do not. It has nothing to do with "price" as I stated quite clearly above. It has everything to do with "value" - which you do not get to determine for anyone other than yourself. Got that?

Why you simply cannot accept that you do not control other people's life and why you continue to pound sand down a rat hole is beyond me. What someone sees as value, another person will see as either being too high priced or not sufficiently priced to provide the "value" they perceive in another product. It is their perception and not yours that matters. No one is forcing anyone to buy anything. The buyer either chooses to accept the perceived worth of a product or they do not. That is the basis for negotiations. Negotiations are the basis for all of life. Yet you refuse to negotiate. In any sales situation I would have simply walked away from you as being completely unreasonable. You cannot negotiate with someone who will not budge from their one ridiculous position. To try is just as ridiculous as is the idea stated here that parts cost alone makes up the worth of a product. This constant complaining and calling me a crook long ago reached the point of absurdity and I truly resent the idea Ariel wants this argument to go on again. You have been told on at least five occasions and by virtually every member of this forum that you are pissing down your own leg. And yet you continue to bash the high end and insult me for your own sick pleasure. That constitutes crazy behavior in my book. I disagree with you and so you resort to personal insults rather than rational arguments. Don't deny you've been called on what you've posted, Alan. You are a child who resorts to childish attacks when you are proven to be in the wrong. You childishly repeat the same incorrect words as if saying them 100 times will somehow make them sensible. It will not. If you begin with an incorrect thesis, "The transformer in one amplifier does not justify its cost", then you reach ridiculous conclusions in, "Therefore, all amplifiers are overly priced". No logic instructor in the world would do anything but flunk you for that assessment. But when this has been explained to you on multiple occasions and by multiple forum members, including JA, you just repeat the same crap with more personal insults towards me thrown in.

Why go on with this? You've been asked several times before but I'll ask it again, who do you expect to convince and to what end? Just to have someone say, "Yes, high end audio is expensive"? Are you that desparate for anyone to agree with you? You take one transformer from one not so well regarded amplifier and you ignore the entire value of all other components. That is crazy. Youy look at a wire and see nothing but parts. That is insane.

How much are the paint and basic materials worth on a Van Gogh? That's your argument. You claim you could buy a few tubes of paint and find a discarded piece of plywood at some abandoned construction site and the whole thing would come in under $50. And that's all you see. Therefore, "Anyone who pays more than $50 for 'Sunflowers' is out of their mind and anyone who asks more than $50 is a crook", becomes your sole argument. To which any sane person should understand quite easily who is the crazy one in that debate. "Intangible" means you do not get to set the value for another person. This comes down to perceived value and not price. Period. End of argument. This is over. Drop it. Go do something else other than continue with the same damned thing over and over and over. And don't you ever post that I am benefitting from the price of anything ever again. Do you hear? Do you understand?

Look at these examples;

A $4800 Gibson Dot; http://www.guitarcenter.com/Gibson-Custom-1959-ES-335-Historic-Dot-Reissue-100366811-i1149443.gc

A $299 Epiphone Dot; http://www.guitarcenter.com/Epiphone-Dot-Studio-Semi-Hollow-Electric-Guitar-103719142-i1168523.gc

A $3900 Hummingbird; http://www.guitarcenter.com/Gibson-Hummingbird-True-Vintage-Acoustic-Guitar-513690-i1174835.gc

A $349 Hummingbird; http://www.guitarcenter.com/Epiphone-Hummingbird-Acoustic-Guitar-518028-i1171404.gc

A $159 Dreadnought; http://www.guitarcenter.com/Yamaha-GigMaker-Acoustic-Guitar-Pack-102920113-i1150348.gc

A $7500 Dreadnought; http://www.guitarcenter.com/Martin-D-45-Dreadnought-Acoustic-Guitar-100159161-i1148367.gc

By your distorted logic in each case one is ridiculously priced when taking only "parts" into consideration. Looking at parts alone the comparisons would be similar. Yet each company runs a different type of business, appeals to a different clientelle and has a thriving business with dedicated life long customers. Anyone who plays can easily tell the difference between the instruments. And it is that intangible value that makes each worth its cost - not the cost of the parts alone. I can show you a $35,000 Benedetto that has the same on paper materials sheet as a $350 Epiphone. That does not make them equal and if they are not equal in their value, there is no logical thinking which would demand they be equal in selling price.

There is nothing that supports the ridicuous notion that one is the same as all the rest and therefore that one defines all the rest. There is no logic in the statement one part is the definition of the whole.

If you dislike the retail process so much that you feel you must tear down not only the designers who display talent and the salespeople who take their time and capital to learn their product and display it in an informative manner, if that is your argument, then as I have repeated every time we get into this BS, they do not like you either, Alan.

You do not design high end audio components and therfore your "argument from authority" that you know what parts cost has been proven to be a logical fallacy every time we get into this same debate. What you know and what a high end designer chooses to do are two vastly different things just as painting your house and creating a Van Gogh are two vastly different things. What you do and what a cottage industry manufacturer creates are not equivalents.

Drop this absurd argument for which you have no basis in logic or reality. I'm tired of seeing you waste hundreds of words posting the same thing. If you say it a 100 times, it still will not be true.

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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?


Quote:
I have opinions and they don't tend to change just because I'm posting on a new thread or because someone new is on a thread. That's kinda how things go on a forum like this, right?

like i said, i have no problem with this. no need to defend yourself.


Quote:
Well, that would be great IMO. But the forum has a history of getting extremely rowdy and quite often posts are made that are exceptionally rude.

I will honestly try to stifle this. I can't moderate the forums at all hours of the day and prevent individual posts by the minute, but i do hope by developing a culture of healthy discourse, we can maybe start talking a lot about audio again (and not about the people discussing it).


Quote:
You're the one who intends to clean this up? You have the OK to do that?

Again, I will do my best. It definitely requires cooperation from the other members, but the ultimately, i hope by a little further regulation and directing of conversation (only when needed--i.e. when i see a topic getting viciously off-course). The ultimate goal is to have a more enriching forum for more users - something we can all benefit from and use as a resource. I asked SM yesterday if I was crazy to actually try and put some reigns on this forum, with which he heartily offered the advice that it may be impossible (cause yall are a rowdy bunch), but ultimately, i got his blessing. He's got a killer column to work on for your monthly magazine, so forum moderation duties, have for the most part, been handed to me.

******

back to the topic

I believe Jan has a point when he said price is essentially indicated by how much the consumer is willing to pay for it. Essentially this is supply and demand.

Regardless of whether something is "high-end" or not is dependent on how the manufacturer positions their product. By virtue of being on the fringe, high-end is thus in lower demand and retailers can sell it for a higher price.

This brings about Alan's point about the LARS which is if only costs 2% of the entire price to make it, why charge so much?

- B/C thats how the company wants their product to be viewed. The higher the value the company wants to be viewed in the spectrum of high-end, the more they can charge.

this brings us to Alan's next complaint:


Quote:
the value quotient of high end equipment is dropping exponentially

to which Orb provided some numbers essentially stating that "well everything is more expensive nowadays"

so this brings us back to the original topic of this thread! (holy crap! I never thought we'd make it)

So this is a question to all users: do you feel components purchased earlier in your forays into hi-fi (in golden era, if you were there) surpassed the newer components which cost the same % of your income (not the $ value)? What new components that you have purchased defy this logic? When you buy a product, what the aspects of that product aside from sound quality that assure you that you paid the right price for it? Finally, what are some components that you've purchased that you felt the build quality was f*ck'n superb?

Just yesterday i was taking a gander at the Simaudio i3.3 in our official Stereophile closet--that thing is built like a tank and at a very decent midrange price (starting at $3.3K).

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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?

I think I do need to defend myself when what I see coming from the moderator of this forum is I post too many of the same opinions and that I shouldn't be offended by a South Park type character you find to be humorous in his vulgarity on a public forum. If the idea that I should come to this forum for South Park type entertainment is the new norm, then this forum is in trouble as you have just given your permission to LS to say anything he desires and to be the child when the rest are expected to be the adults. If you believe using logical, objective proofs to support a position "gets tiring", then I truly have no concept of what to say.


Quote:
I will honestly try to stifle this.

"Stifle"?! Ariel, I'm going to assume you are too young to remember the character Barney Fife. One of the comic aspects which made the character so outrageous was his desire to "stifle" others, to assume illogical and sometimes dangerous conclusions based on his inability to "stifle" the situation. Fotunately for Barney, he had a group of writers who would pull his bacon out of the fire by the end of each episode. I view your instinct to "stifle" conversation as I do the Republicans' pledge to cut the deficit while neither of you provide any specifics of how you plan to go about achieving your stated goals. As I suggested earlier, I am hoping this is with a fair hand toward all and not just toward those you view as "humourous" in their insults and the rest are supposed to "man up".

What you suggest is a major shift in how this forum has operated over the last six years. I think beyond SM's simple, "Don't be an asshole", which received no response from the plebs other than a continuation of same old same old, you might need to be a tad more specific about how you intend to go about your job as moderator of this forum. If rules are in place, then we know whether we are crossing a line and your job should become less tedious. Without stated rules, this forum will continue as before and you will be interrupting us on a constant basis.

Therefore, your rules for engagement are ... ?

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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?


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Therefore, your rules for engagement are ... ?

don't get personal. as long your post is intended to promote discourse on the topic, then its ok. And I do think we're all adults and we can handle some back and forth i.e. if someone is being a liberal bastard, you can call them a liberal bastard, just dont tell them to choke on a dick and die (unless its a big liberal dick). Most preferred of course is after calling one a liberal bastard, they then offer the conservative asshole opinion as the response, explaining why its right or why the opposing party is a stupid liberal bastard. The line is drawn when the discussion shifts from the topic to the intent of insulting people discussing it. IE Lamont posting a thread purely about some gripe with JJ. Nobody wants to read that nor does it help those using our forum as a resource.

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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?

That fuckin' StanleyNTL is a real shit stirrer.

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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?


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... to which Orb provided some numbers essentially stating that "well everything is more expensive nowadays"

It has nothing to do with everything being more expensive today. A pair of Original Advents inflation adjusted comes to roughly a $2k speaker. Therefore, when placing speakers in the perspective of preceived value, we cannot look at the $107 cost of an Original Large Advent but must compare it to the value of a $2k speaker. Has the perceived value of the product increased, decreased or remained the same? Perceived value is the key and no one gets to make that judgement for anyone other than themself.

The McIntosh MC275 has been re-introduced into the Mac line and sells for roughly what the original amplifier is priced at on the vintage market. Of the new amplifier JA wrote, "As I said, it is difficult to believe from its measured performance that the McIntosh MC275 was designed almost half a century ago (by a team led by company cofounder Sidney Corderman, footnote 1). Good audio engineering is timeless." This secures the value of the product new and old.

Looking at a Matin D28, the guitar has been in production for decades. A new D28 can sell for roughly $3500 yet a pre war Martin sells for $100k. Gene Autry's Martin is valued in the $100's of thousands. The current model described as a "vintage bracing" D28 today is often seen as more desirable than the standard version and sells at an appropriate upcharge though the materials remain essentially unchanged - only the craftsmanship is altered. A version sold as the Elvis Presley model sells for considerably more while having no real connection to Elvis other than nostalgia. The Eric Clapton Signature Stratocaster sells for $3800 while the standard Strat sells for $499. The orignal "Blackie" sold for almost $1 million. You can buy a Fender Squier Strat for $99 and I saw one in a pawn shop the other day for $59. Why? because of perceived value. Someone sees value in a product and they decide whether the value is acceptable to the cost. What is the "cost"? Maybe it means they have to do without something else or maybe it means they use a small portion of a paycheck bonus. The cost of a Martin D28 would be quite dissimilar for me when compared to the actual real world cost for someone like Clapton. That you could have bought a 1954 Strat in 1954 for $129 is immaterial to the dicussion other than "woulda, shoulda and coulda".

Today we sell ideas. Mark Cuban bought the Dallas Mavericks team with the billions of dollars he got paid for an idea which essentially never came to anything for the buyer. While the deal might look bad in retrospect from the buyer's prespective, the idea has turned into a team with what value to its star player? What value is there to Willy Mays? What value to Joe Torre vs his brother Frank? You cannot define these things as anything other than perceived value. If someone wants to pay the cost, then they assume they are buying a value of some sort and that's where the discussion must end. Value is subjective and therefore falls to the individual to determine. Essentially, in doing business you are asking, what is the value of a promise or, sometimes, the promise of a specific individual? Thus the phrase, "Would you buy a used car from this man?", originates and the "value" of anything is between the two parties who negotiate a cost.

None of this has anything to do with the original topic of this thread. McIntosh and the dealer have the right to make their decisions based upon what is in their best interest. The op has the right to negotiate for what is in his best interest. The parties then decide the perceived value of the offerings. If one party feels the cost is not valuable enough to justify the worth, there is no deal. Move on. This is business. We are not raising children nor are we deciding the value of one life vs another. It is business. If five years down the road we feel we have achieved good value from what we own - that pre war Martin for example - then we received good value. That's all there is to it. If, after two months, the buyer is dissatified for some reason other than their own petulance and irresponsibility, then negotiations can begin again under the same rules. I doubt you'll find a business person or a law stating the case otherwise.

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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?


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IE Lamont posting a thread purely about some gripe with JJ. Nobody wants to read that nor does it help those using our forum as a resource.

But, "Jan's wife has a dick", does help those using the forum as a resource? Explain that please.

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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?


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But, "Jan's wife has a dick", does help those using the forum as a resource? Explain that please.

no, and i apologize from not pulling that quote out as well. that was a miscued "copy and paste" where i unfortunately pasted both your comments and meant to include both yours and LS's.

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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?

Then please delete LS's post and my response.

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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?


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Then please delete LS's post and my response.

No. The power to delete a thread is reserved primarily for spam and posts which we feel go above and beyond what is unacceptable. For the purpose of record-keeping and accuracy of conversation, the general Stereophile policy is keep as much of the conversation as visible as possible.

I perceive my responsibility to be much more in the vein of "redirection" rather than "deletion".

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Re: What happened to Mac build quality?

If it is offensive, it is offensive no matter when you see it. There was no "conversation" taking place in that post and it has nothing to do with the topic of the thread. Do you suppose other people want to see such insults? Do you think they too will feel we have our own humorous little South Park here at Stereophile?

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