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Sound Reinforcement - Forums for Live Sound Professionals - Your Displayed Name Must Be Your Real Full Name To Post In The Live Sound Forums => LAB Lounge => Topic started by: Jim Turner on January 27, 2013, 12:09:55 am

Title: How can this even bother me?
Post by: Jim Turner on January 27, 2013, 12:09:55 am
 I find myself upet by all the posts concerning the new CHEAP "consoles"...
How can a line up of new products made cheaply by the cheaply assembled robots in the cheapest of the cheap factories even garner our attention? I mean really?!?
 Sure, the guitar player in some cover band somewhere read somewhere in a GUITAR mag that these things are "game changers" but really? We all know they couldn't make any piece of gear that would last beyond a few gigs and/or moving a few times before it #@*%^ itself prior to now. How are these new CHEAP products any different?
 I guess what really bugs me is the fact that I'm unsure about the future for some formerly "industry standard" brands that have been assimilated into the collective.
There... I said it. Rant over. Flame suit on. Cheers!
Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: Evan Hunter on January 27, 2013, 12:52:41 am
I guess what really bugs me is the fact that I'm unsure about the future for some formerly "industry standard" brands that have been assimilated into the collective.


I can agree with the quoted section. I often worry about quality of some of the more "prestige" brands we have enjoyed for so long after they are acquired by other entities. Obviously corners are cut somewhere in manufacturing a "cheap" product. But it is also possible they fill a different niche. Thinking outside the box, as technology changes and an industry grows it could possible to design and build a product faster and more efficient, especially in certain niches or customer bases. IE, your guitar player isnt going to buy a Midas XL8 and you likely wont see an X32 on any arena shows.

I dont know, its my immediate thoughts.  Im sure others will have wiser words.
Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: Tim McCulloch on January 27, 2013, 03:11:14 am
I find myself upet by all the posts concerning the new CHEAP "consoles"...
How can a line up of new products made cheaply by the cheaply assembled robots in the cheapest of the cheap factories even garner our attention? I mean really?!?

People are easily distracted by bright, shiny objects.  Especially cheap, bright shiny objects.

Quote
Sure, the guitar player in some cover band somewhere read somewhere in a GUITAR mag that these things are "game changers" but really? We all know they couldn't make any piece of gear that would last beyond a few gigs and/or moving a few times before it #@*%^ itself prior to now. How are these new CHEAP products any different?

We don't know yet.  It's one thing to design a product, another to build it, and yet another thing to see what customers will subject it to.  Soundcraft is building a less expensive digital mixer, where did they take out 40%?

Quote
I guess what really bugs me is the fact that I'm unsure about the future for some formerly "industry standard" brands that have been assimilated into the collective.
There... I said it. Rant over. Flame suit on. Cheers!

The ROI for manufacturers is tougher at the very top end of their model line.  Sure, bigger and more expensive goodies but they come with R&D price tags to match.  The low and mid level products will subsidize the R&D for the big boy toys.

What I think you will see at all levels is a faster product "churn", but faster particularly for the top end... the things that traditionally haven't changed as fast.
Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: Bob Leonard on January 27, 2013, 05:41:26 am
There is a difference between cheap and low cost. It's up to the purchaser to make the distinction and the right choice. I know the difference, and I play guitar, duh.
Title: How can this even bother me?
Post by: Samuel Rees on January 27, 2013, 07:44:47 am
We don't know yet.  It's one thing to design a product, another to build it, and yet another thing to see what customers will subject it to.  Soundcraft is building a less expensive digital mixer, where did they take out 40%?

That's a good question. That said, I don't know how the costs of digital mixers typically stack up for companies. If say, R&D is more expensive than parts then once that cash is spent it's spent and the company can set prices more freely? (I can't imagine this is true though). For example does a GLD cost what it costs because that's what cost+x% is, or mostly because that's what they think its worth? Haha in simple terms... Could everyone drop their prices by 40% and still turn a profit, or is Soundcraft special?
Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: Bob Leonard on January 27, 2013, 08:04:02 am
After computing the costs for R&D, marketing, service. etc. are computed the manufacturer will set a MSRP. or suggested list price. The resellers costs are generally well below the MSRP, usually by 40% or more. If the reseller is given a MAP (minimum advertized price) then that is not the price they have to sell the item for, but the lowest price they can put in print. Manufacturers do this to keep dicounters honest. Volume dealers will usually receive up to 5% additional discount allowing them to quote another dealers cost and still make a marginal profit.

R&D costs can be recovered against more than one product. Power supplies, faders, chips remain the same, portions of the design remain the same, and the manufacturer can use those "building blocks" to design and assemble a newer product in less time, with less money.

I would be quite sure in my thoughts that Soundcraft has used a good number of their proven "building blocks" to create the compact. This to me means proven technology, reliability using proven design, the use of proven existing assembly methods and components. That is IMO the reason Soundcraft can compete with the Behringers and Presonus of the world. They've been around, they're proven, they have "building blocks" to work with ( why are all Presonus boards the same???), and they have one huge company behind them. That all equates to lower prices.
Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: David Parker on January 27, 2013, 09:08:03 am
as soon as I first used a digital mixer, I said that the prices would drop dramatically, and they would be cheaper than analog. They have a lot less parts. the new mackie that requires an ipad to operate took this thing even further than I imagined. Instead of one set of controls that is assignable to every input and output, they have no sets of controls, the control are all in the ipad that they buyer provides, and also uses for his other computer activities. theoretically, you could have a 1000 channel digital mixer with only one knob and one button. I fell in love with the concept of the new mackie 16 channel mixer, and can imagine that concept being expanded. I'd own one, but all of the bands I work for require more than 16 inputs. Also, my first experience with a digital mixer was a mackie TT24 and it crashed before I got to use it live.
Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on January 27, 2013, 10:29:52 am
Product pricing is a sharp pencil precise science based on vague (very human) ASSumptions about future sales volume. NRE (Non recurring engineering) costs can have a huge price impact if only spread over hundreds of units, not so much price impact when spread over tens of thousands. A chicken/egg issue arises where basing cost recapture on low sales volume assumptions, that can lead to higher prices, that damp those very sales. OTOH, high volume assumptions, do not always come true, while you very rarely realize high volume sales by accident.   

JR
Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: Dave Scarlett on January 27, 2013, 02:30:34 pm
My day job involves the other type of instruments... process instrumentation, sensors and digital control systems that run refineries and chemical plants. When I started a typical flow meter was about a $1000 an inch, so a 6 inch unit ran about $6K.

About ten years ago a new player came on the market in a big way, a German company who introduced quality products to industry at never before seen prices. I now work for Siemens and our 6 inch flow meter sells for around $2K. Mr. Behringer has already changed this market in a similar way I believe.
Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: Curtis Sumter on January 28, 2013, 09:24:35 am
I'm guessing that a lot of parts that were made in America, The UK or Germany is now being made in China for a fraction on what the parts use to cost. It still does not necessarily make the parts "cheap". Manufactures can have parts made to their specs, so the parts are the same, just made with cheaper labor. I'm sure that on the lower end equipment somethings have been changed to lower cost like less steel and more plastic but that's not a bad thing altogether if you have to move heavy equipment every night.
Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: Randall Hyde on January 28, 2013, 11:23:03 am

 I guess what really bugs me is the fact that I'm unsure about the future for some formerly "industry standard" brands that have been assimilated into the collective.
There... I said it. Rant over. Flame suit on. Cheers!

Same argument occurred with analog. $2K mixers were panned by those using $100K mixers.
Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: Jeff Babcock on January 28, 2013, 03:26:18 pm
How can a line up of new products made cheaply by the cheaply assembled robots in the cheapest of the cheap factories even garner our attention? I mean really?!?

So, have you visited any of these "cheapest of the cheap" factories you talk about?

Did you realize that publicly reported (ie minimal/non-bias) failure rates for some of the cheaper products are often not any worse than that of a "reputable" manufacturer?  Sales volume can radically skew public perception of failure rates, even when failure rates are not high from a percentage perspective.  Failures are extremely costly to a manufacturer, even MORE SO to high-volume low-margin manufacturers.

Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: David Parker on January 28, 2013, 03:58:35 pm
My day job involves the other type of instruments... process instrumentation, sensors and digital control systems that run refineries and chemical plants. When I started a typical flow meter was about a $1000 an inch, so a 6 inch unit ran about $6K.

About ten years ago a new player came on the market in a big way, a German company who introduced quality products to industry at never before seen prices. I now work for Siemens and our 6 inch flow meter sells for around $2K. Mr. Behringer has already changed this market in a similar way I believe.
in my former life I was a machinist in a refinery for 38 years. When we first started getting ball bearings from Japan, we wouldn't use that "cheap junk". A few years later the quality of the japanese made bearings was vastly higher than those made in the U.S., because the U.S. didn't keep up on quality, and the U.S. factories went out of business. The last 5 years I worked there we had started getting machine tooling (drills and other cutting tools) from china. There was no difference between those and the ones formerly made in the U.S. If anything, they were better. I made me angry, but that's just how it is. Sometimes the U.S. manufacturers make a choice not to keep up.
Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: brian maddox on January 28, 2013, 04:47:43 pm
in my former life I was a machinist in a refinery for 38 years. When we first started getting ball bearings from Japan, we wouldn't use that "cheap junk". A few years later the quality of the japanese made bearings was vastly higher than those made in the U.S., because the U.S. didn't keep up on quality, and the U.S. factories went out of business. The last 5 years I worked there we had started getting machine tooling (drills and other cutting tools) from china. There was no difference between those and the ones formerly made in the U.S. If anything, they were better. I made me angry, but that's just how it is. Sometimes the U.S. manufacturers make a choice not to keep up.

my travels abroad have taught me something.  namely, America is not the center of brain power or resourcefulness.  China has a lot of very smart, industrious people as well as a lot of very dumb, lazy people just like my country, and every other country in the world.  To think that because something is made in China it is cheap junk is foolish at best and racist at worst.

there are, of course, all kinds of things that give China a manufacturing advantage over the U.S. and other countries.  inexpensive labor, different safety and environmental requirements as well as a whole host of things i know nothing about.  There are also factors that put China at a disadvantage, not the least of which is the nearly universally held belief that they make nothing but junk.  But make no mistake;  China is fully capable of making excellent products that rival and best anything made in the USA or elsewhere.  All that is required is the process expertise and strength of will from the company that needs those products to be made.

to get back to the OPs opine...  All i can really think to say is that things change.  Some of the lower cost manufacturers have certainly had reliability issues in the past.  Frankly, i only care about what their reliability issues are NOW.  I for one am very excited to see what will happen in the future.  we're able to do so much more for so much less money that we've ever been able to do before.  I own a couple of the X32s and will probably own more from the product line before all is said and done, and the price/performance ratio is still mind-boggling to me.  i'd still rather be mixing on a Paragon with a rack full of Drawmer and Summit processing.  that's my comfort zone and i miss those days.  But it's much like comparing old sports cars with newer ones.  An old Jag is a thing to behold and provides an exciting visceral driving experience.  But if i need to get somewhere fast, reliably, and in comfort, i'll do better with my mass-produced VW Golf.  And that's all good too....
Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: Chris Clark on January 28, 2013, 05:00:53 pm
Did you realize that publicly reported (ie minimal/non-bias) failure rates for some of the cheaper products are often not any worse than that of a "reputable" manufacturer?  Sales volume can radically skew public perception of failure rates, even when failure rates are not high from a percentage perspective.

I couldn't have said it better myself. In fact, I've tried in a couple other threads and other forums but haven't been able to articulate what I've been trying to say.

In addition I still feel there is a strong skewing of publicly available failure "comments" due to the nature of the intended audience, and I've said that before too - Not only is the user base of a PM5D (just an example) smaller, the users in this audience are more likely to contact Yamaha or their distributor directly versus taking frustration to an online forum - perhaps because they know things will get taken care of, or perhaps because the users are a more "refined" population. Please don't take this the wrong way, but some MI/JV users of the level likely to purchase an X32, SL24, etc... are more likely to take to public forums with their frustration, with their console, with their speakers, with their cars. As the saying goes, "Misery loves company" - So instead of going to the manufacturer to address the problem directly as most users of higher level consoles would do, I'll vent my frustration to anyone who will listen, someone will agree and validate my complaint. Not always the right way to do it, but its the way it happens.

Now again, I'm not trying to say in any way that the X32, SL24, or any other example in the MI range is better or worse than something in, say, the PM5D or XL8 range, I'm just perpetrating the conclusion that failure rates are skewed as Jeff said too.


Another way to look at it, for those familiar with computers, is the Windows vs Mac argument when it comes to viruses. I've worked in the industry, I can tell you for a fact that Macs are not immune to viruses or in many ways ANY more secure than Windows. The reason you hear about and see more viruses targeting Windows is because of the user base and market share. Windows had the bigger share for years, so the viruses were targeted towards Windows to get more results (in the case of stealing personal information, for example). Additionally the user base of Windows was historically, how shall I put this mildly, less "savvy" regarding security, making them easier targets. Viruses for both sides have existed for a long time, but the viruses you hear about are Windows because they affect more people and people go public about them more (Linux security holes, on the other hand, are usually patched internally before the general public hears about them).

Sorry, I get on tangents and run.
Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: Mark McFarlane on February 01, 2013, 03:47:43 am
my travels abroad have taught me something.  namely, America is not the center of brain power or resourcefulness.  China has a lot of very smart, industrious people as well as a lot of very dumb, lazy people just like my country, and every other country in the world.  ...

China 1.3 billion, USA 0.3 billion.  Seems reasonable that China has many more naturally intelligent people.  Factor in the decline of the US education system (rated between 17th-40th in the world in some studies), and give China another generation of economic and educational growth, as they have seen in the past 20 years, and it may be impossible for any 'western' country to compete for quantity of educated-intelligent people.  India has a chance.

In my day job is as a scientist (well, I used to be a scientist, now I go to meetings...) I  work with scientists from ~30 different countries and some of the best are Chinese and it seems to be one of the best places right now for hiring young talent.

There are, however a lot of cultural differences related to how people think (particularly problem solving and diagnostics), how they work, and motivational influences. For example, older American scientists tend to have a stronger view on intellectual property than most other ethnic groups I work with, but that seems to be changing with the Napster generation.
Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: Bob Leonard on February 01, 2013, 04:38:37 am
Well put Mark, but only a small part of the equation. It's not a matter of who can make a better product, or which country has the biggest brain trust. American industry has given it's time, money, expertise, and industrial might away.

The now reversing trend was to push products off shore and into the hands of low cost labor, regardless of education or ability. After a period of years our path led to the strengthening of once poor economies providing not only a route, but a need for those countries to embrace technology as they had never done in the past. Embracing technology requires further education which America has, in most cases, provided as well. The american public was blind sided by it's own greed and agreements, NAFTA being one. The loss of entry level jobs has further eroded our abilities by eliminating a path for the average high school graduate to follow, paths in the past were entered by obtaining an entry level manufacturing job, or job associated with manufacturing. From the ore in the ground to the finished product America has slowly given away it's abilities to the detriment of everyones quality of life. Everything is cyclic and those jobs will eventually come back as America works smarter. Too bad that won't happen in my lifetime.
Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: Luke Geis on February 03, 2013, 05:47:38 pm
Behringer just released lately that they have a new single space rack version of the X-32 digital desk. It is a 100% network controlled version of the entirety of the desk, but in a single rack space! You have to purchase the stage boxes to utilize it yes, but it will certainly be cheaper than ever to get a scale-able SAC style system! So they can make an entire digital desk shrink down to a single rack space. HMMMMMM.......... what is a digital desk. It is a computer with hardware and network control. You can't convince me that this should cost as much as a mid level car to own.

I guess I'm in the opposite arena. I'm agast at how high the upper end equipment is. It's almost as if they are seeing how ridiculously high they can go before no one will touch the thing. The equipment is nice, no doubt about that, but then again it has to be for the premium that you pay to own it. The lower priced stuff is a result of the true buying market. If every Show Pro, Rat Sound and super sound company bought, used and touted that they have Behringer on tour with them, every other company in the world would probably jump on board. This would likely make the price of that product go up and we would be right where we are currently at. Some low end company will create a cheap product that we would scoff at.

Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: David Parker on February 03, 2013, 06:07:29 pm
Behringer just released lately that they have a new single space rack version of the X-32 digital desk. It is a 100% network controlled version of the entirety of the desk, but in a single rack space! You have to purchase the stage boxes to utilize it yes, but it will certainly be cheaper than ever to get a scale-able SAC style system! So they can make an entire digital desk shrink down to a single rack space. HMMMMMM.......... what is a digital desk. It is a computer with hardware and network control. You can't convince me that this should cost as much as a mid level car to own.

I guess I'm in the opposite arena. I'm agast at how high the upper end equipment is. It's almost as if they are seeing how ridiculously high they can go before no one will touch the thing. The equipment is nice, no doubt about that, but then again it has to be for the premium that you pay to own it. The lower priced stuff is a result of the true buying market. If every Show Pro, Rat Sound and super sound company bought, used and touted that they have Behringer on tour with them, every other company in the world would probably jump on board. This would likely make the price of that product go up and we would be right where we are currently at. Some low end company will create a cheap product that we would scoff at.

I've made similar comments over the years and got flamed. I agree. I do know that when peavey first got started, all the live audio equipment companies at the time priced their products based on what the market would bear. Peavey had this ridiculous notion that if you priced the equipment based on what it cost to make plus a modest profit, the average person could afford sound equipment and they would sell a lot of it. Well, that ridiculous concept worked, and then that opened the floodgate for all the common names we know now. Then when one company shipped their manufacture to china and undercut all the competition, they all had to outsource to china. It was a sad day for me when peavey moved their manufacture to china. They had bragged for years that all their equipment was built in Meridian Miss. At any rate, it appears to me that the upper crust still prices their products based on what the market will bear. Digital mixers have revolutionized the industry, because you can mass produce a product with massive processing power for a very low cost. It doesn't bother me in the least that a big tour specs a mixer that costs $200,000 or whatever, because that's not where I live. I get a kick out of all the wonderful products out there now that are dialed in for where I do live, and they are getting cheaper every day. I stay in business because all the hacks with their cheap gear still can't make it sound good if they don't know how to set it up and mix.
Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on February 03, 2013, 07:05:05 pm
China 1.3 billion, USA 0.3 billion.  Seems reasonable that China has many more naturally intelligent people.  Factor in the decline of the US education system (rated between 17th-40th in the world in some studies), and give China another generation of economic and educational growth, as they have seen in the past 20 years, and it may be impossible for any 'western' country to compete for quantity of educated-intelligent people.  India has a chance.
hmm... the end of the world as we know it...

While I don't dispute your population math, and I hold the US education system in even lower regard for what they "know" is right and wrong, but I won't go there. I will observe that china has had several times our population for a very long time, and even a better work/education ethic imposed by chinese parents on their children. Their rise in economic power is a relatively recent change, I track to their experience after getting HK back from the Brits (after 100 year lease). Rather than scrubbing it free of capitalism, HK has infected the mainland with capitalism, while this is still the early days as they try to shift their population to be more consumption oriented (like the west) and still need to work on that pesky rule of law, etc. 

I am not smart enough to declare anybody the winner of the future, but our recent path seems like we are aiming for only the middle of the pack, if lucky.
Quote
In my day job is as a scientist (well, I used to be a scientist, now I go to meetings...) I  work with scientists from ~30 different countries and some of the best are Chinese and it seems to be one of the best places right now for hiring young talent.
It used to be better before they had business opportunities so close to home.. Now the big companies have to build research facilities in China and India to gain access to that talent.

We are currently discussing fixing our immigration policy, but as long as we continue to chase off students with advanced degrees we don't deserve to continue our decline.  :-[
Quote
There are, however a lot of cultural differences related to how people think (particularly problem solving and diagnostics), how they work, and motivational influences. For example, older American scientists tend to have a stronger view on intellectual property than most other ethnic groups I work with, but that seems to be changing with the Napster generation.
I must be one of those older ones, because I value IP. Disrespect for IP can lead to short term gains if you allow blatant copying, but you disenfranchise your own creative class of inventors from staying and developing new technology at home. Perhaps I didn't understand what you mean...

I do see strong cultural differences first working with Japanese and later Chinese in group dynamics or how people interact and work together. I can imagine western scientists being  more independent operators (cowboys), while eastern scientists are more inclined to collaborate with peers, and in groups. I used to find it amusing how AES papers from Japanese engineers would have a half-dozen co-authors while Western authors generally wrote alone.   

I have strong opinions about what we need to do, but I don't want to get my posts gonged (for politics), so read my mind, or not.

JR
Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: g'bye, Dick Rees on February 03, 2013, 07:12:17 pm
hmm... the end of the world as we know it...

 read my mind, or not.

JR

OK.  I'm done.  Turn the page, please. ;D
Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on February 03, 2013, 07:16:22 pm
Well put Mark, but only a small part of the equation. It's not a matter of who can make a better product, or which country has the biggest brain trust. American industry has given it's time, money, expertise, and industrial might away.

The now reversing trend was to push products off shore and into the hands of low cost labor, regardless of education or ability. After a period of years our path led to the strengthening of once poor economies providing not only a route, but a need for those countries to embrace technology as they had never done in the past. Embracing technology requires further education which America has, in most cases, provided as well. The american public was blind sided by it's own greed and agreements, NAFTA being one. The loss of entry level jobs has further eroded our abilities by eliminating a path for the average high school graduate to follow, paths in the past were entered by obtaining an entry level manufacturing job, or job associated with manufacturing. From the ore in the ground to the finished product America has slowly given away it's abilities to the detriment of everyones quality of life. Everything is cyclic and those jobs will eventually come back as America works smarter. Too bad that won't happen in my lifetime.
Not quite sure where to start... Expanding free trade is generally a good thing that rasies the wealth of both countries (or three countries in the case of NAFTA).

I fear we are guilty of confusing "association" with cause and effect.

Some folks in power saw that home owners had a better life, so they figured making everybody a home owner who wanted to and could make an X mark on a piece of paper could get their wish (we know how that turned out).  :o

Another similar flawed association is that college graduates earn more money over their lifetime, and "had a better life"... So presto, college loans for everybody... Now we have a surfeit of college graduates. living back at home with mom and dad, jobless, but with a huge college loan debt, so they couldn't buy a house even with the old rulz...

There is no simple answer, and globalization raises the standard of living for poor workers (over there) far more than it drops ours (here).

We are suffering from self inflicted wounds, and keep signing up for more.

I take solace in being older so I won't have to watch the end game for the path we are on.

Of course maybe I'm all wrong...

JR
Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: Josh Billings on February 03, 2013, 07:36:48 pm
Correct me if I'm wrong here...but doesn't Behringer now OWN Midas now?
Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: Bill McKelvey on February 03, 2013, 09:14:19 pm
Correct me if I'm wrong here...but doesn't Behringer now OWN Midas now?
Sort of . . . . Music Group owns Behringer and Midas
Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: Loren Aguey on February 03, 2013, 11:11:49 pm
I find myself upet by all the posts concerning the new CHEAP "consoles"...
How can a line up of new products made cheaply by the cheaply assembled robots in the cheapest of the cheap factories even garner our attention? I mean really?!?

Well if at any point you read any of said posts you would see that people, myself included, are for the most part extremely happy with the X32 and the support from Behringer. The one I put in my club gig came with in input card not fully seated and I didn't have channels 9-16 and 25-32. A behringer rep personally showed up at the club, we opened up the desk and he re-seated the cards and all was well. He also had a loaner desk ready to give me in case the desk had to be sent back. That is service, and an indication of a company who actually cares about having satisfied customers.

Our SC48 also came with the desk not seeing seeing one of the output cards, and fat chance getting someone from Avid to show up and address the issue.

Whose to say that a company can't take a stride towards better products and service? It appears to me that is what Behringer is doing.

I was never a Behringer fan, and never wanted to see their gear anywhere on my gigs. But I'm now a huge fan of the X32, and its workflow. It was the absolute perfect solution for our club where we do lots of multi-track recordings. And I would find it pretty tough to argue that it is not a well designed mixer. The feature set you get at the price is ridiculous, and it puts a desk with a pro feature set in the hands of people who otherwise might not have been able to afford it, my club being one of many examples. 

So yes, its actually a pretty big deal in our industry.


Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: Tim McCulloch on February 04, 2013, 12:11:54 am
Our SC48 also came with the desk not seeing seeing one of the output cards, and fat chance getting someone from Avid to show up and address the issue.

There was a time when you might get a DigiDesign person, in person.   From Avid?  Uh...

That said, I've had uniformly positive interaction with Avid's Venue phone support techs.  They bat 1000 for me.
Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: Loren Aguey on February 04, 2013, 12:39:14 am
There was a time when you might get a DigiDesign person, in person.   From Avid?  Uh...

That said, I've had uniformly positive interaction with Avid's Venue phone support techs.  They bat 1000 for me.

Yes, to be fair, they were helpful over the phone and Sheldon was helpful online as well. However I was not remotely interested in opening up that desk by myself.
Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: Nick Simon on February 04, 2013, 11:36:11 am
really, just how long DID the Y's and S's get away with charging you an arm and a leg for a hard drive, some faders, and some software, just because they could?
Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on February 04, 2013, 12:20:58 pm
really, just how long DID the Y's and S's get away with charging you an arm and a leg for a hard drive, some faders, and some software, just because they could?
At the risk of pointing out the obvious, Behringer bough Midas, not the other way around. High prices do not automatically translate to high profits. More often high prices are caused by small company inefficiency and the need to recapture NRE (tooling/design overhead) from a smaller denominator (sales volume), so a too conservative approach to pricing kills the product, a too risky approach to pricing kills the company. 

The X-32 phenomenon is not simply about a fair price for electronic innards that have been falling in cost for years, but a leap of faith that the right price point would generate high enough sales volume to support that lower price. Uli has recently bragged about selling 30k units, so I suspect he may have exceeded even his own expectations, while he clearly ramped up for large enough scale production to hit those numbers. The good news (for him)  is that he was already large enough that he didn't have to bet his entire company on this one new product, but it was a significant gamble that he appears to have won with.

JR
 
PS: I suspect Yamaha lost money for years pioneering the digital console business, while in hind sight they were not aggressive enough to get this high volume prize. This is still early innings for this game. The next few years will be interesting since this substantial market sector is no longer hypothetical. 
Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: Nick Simon on February 04, 2013, 02:01:03 pm
JR, I kinda understand the business side of it.  Just to sort of put it in perspective (what I meant), I remember back eons ago when the VCR first came out (or plasma tvs for that matter) The price was like $600+ for a unit that had a wired remote, one head and could only record one show at a time,. (same with plasma, a basic 50" was about $9k), but even as the technology got better, the price dropped. I paid like $450 for my first VCR similar to the one described Two years later, they had all the bells and whistles for a c-note, and now obsolete (I just got a 51" plasma smart tv with 3D for waaay less than a grand). ... but you can bet that the manufacturers were charging as much as they could, for as long as they could, before somebody stepped in with something better for cheaper.   Volume rules in this economy...
Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: Bob Leonard on February 04, 2013, 02:39:26 pm
Nick,
The reduction in consumer costs is based on a very complex formula. One major reason for the reduction will always be based on demand. The end result of demand is enhanced manufacturing technique and better design which leads to lower component counts, which leads to lower manufacturing costs and then lower consumer pricing.

Components are maturing at a much faster rate then ever before as proven designs and tooling can and will be used for the next generation component. Boards that once required a hundred or a thousand external capacitors, resistors and op amps are now manufactured using a single chip.

It is usually the electromechanical components, chassis and housing that will continue to hold costs high, depending on the quality and materials used. Not having moving faders is a considerable cost savings, one large reason the Presonus boards can be sold cheaply. Housings and chassis made to loose specs decrease assembly time and manufacturing time. even the lettering and paint have an effect.
 
There is no substitute for quality, and quality will always cost more.
Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on February 04, 2013, 03:06:59 pm
JR, I kinda understand the business side of it.  Just to sort of put it in perspective (what I meant), I remember back eons ago when the VCR first came out (or plasma tvs for that matter) The price was like $600+ for a unit that had a wired remote, one head and could only record one show at a time,. (same with plasma, a basic 50" was about $9k), but even as the technology got better, the price dropped. I paid like $450 for my first VCR similar to the one described Two years later, they had all the bells and whistles for a c-note, and now obsolete (I just got a 51" plasma smart tv with 3D for waaay less than a grand). ... but you can bet that the manufacturers were charging as much as they could, for as long as they could, before somebody stepped in with something better for cheaper.   Volume rules in this economy...

The VCR is an interesting example since it was a complex new technology involving high NRE and huge capital investment, while ultimately enjoying a huge consumer market that drove down costs. I don't know if you are talking retail or wholesale, but early VCRs were well over $1k retail. After selling many millions of units <$100.

While the X-32's 30k unit sales is nothing to sneeze at, it is not mass market consumer numbers, while it will help Uli keep the lights on another year or two.  8)

Looking at the X-32 program IMO the NRE is mostly software development, with the scariest hardware (IMO) being the moving faders. Both moving faders and digital consoles are mature technology that has been around for decades already, so not exactly breaking any new ground regarding technology. Even the digital guts have cost economics being driven lower by the larger consumer market, not just the modest live sound market. I wouldn't be surprised if more X-32 were bought for recording than live use.

If anything, Uli made a winning bet that the market could support thousands of digital mixers at a few $k price point. Apparently that market can support a few tens of k units. Midas or any other existing digital console company could have made a similar bet if they had the same manufacturing muscle (and/or capital resources) behind them to back up that bet. Others probably should have, but didn't.

Uli deserves credit for making a smart bet/investment, but he didn't create something truly novel from whole cloth. That powerful price/performance milestone is making ripples in the industry and he can make hay while he enjoys his current position as leading that category, he pioneered. Now is the hard part and he seems to be making it though this roll-out without apparent disasters. Next phase is competition but he is no shrinking violet when it comes to that.     

 JR
Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: David Parker on February 04, 2013, 03:20:06 pm
The VCR is an interesting example since it was a complex new technology involving high NRE and huge capital investment, while ultimately enjoying a huge consumer market that drove down costs. I don't know if you are talking retail or wholesale, but early VCRs were well over $1k retail. After selling many millions of units <$100.


 JR

the short lived adat multitrack recorders used existing technology from VCRs to save money and guarantee reliable performance. I guess the only thing that survived from that design was the light pipe.
Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: Nick Simon on February 04, 2013, 03:55:14 pm
The VCR is an interesting example since it was a complex new technology involving high NRE and huge capital investment, while ultimately enjoying a huge consumer market that drove down costs. I don't know if you are talking retail or wholesale, but early VCRs were well over $1k retail. After selling many millions of units <$100.

While the X-32's 30k unit sales is nothing to sneeze at, it is not mass market consumer numbers, while it will help Uli keep the lights on another year or two.  8)

Looking at the X-32 program IMO the NRE is mostly software development, with the scariest hardware (IMO) being the moving faders. Both moving faders and digital consoles are mature technology that has been around for decades already, so not exactly breaking any new ground regarding technology. Even the digital guts have cost economics being driven lower by the larger consumer market, not just the modest live sound market. I wouldn't be surprised if more X-32 were bought for recording than live use.

If anything, Uli made a winning bet that the market could support thousands of digital mixers at a few $k price point. Apparently that market can support a few tens of k units. Midas or any other existing digital console company could have made a similar bet if they had the same manufacturing muscle (and/or capital resources) behind them to back up that bet. Others probably should have, but didn't.

Uli deserves credit for making a smart bet/investment, but he didn't create something truly novel from whole cloth. That powerful price/performance milestone is making ripples in the industry and he can make hay while he enjoys his current position as leading that category, he pioneered. Now is the hard part and he seems to be making it though this roll-out without apparent disasters. Next phase is competition but he is no shrinking violet when it comes to that.     

 JR

not really a fanboy, but excited to have this technology in my hands.. which up to this point, was way out of my/our price range and having to settle for "PV" stuff....  Also, Uli was smart to build this on a "living" platform, in esssence, having 20k+ R&D folks to tweak the product and come up with new ideas to incorporate into the "family" of mixers.  I Just read a post this morning about the 2.0 firmware release scheduled later on and asking what things owners would like to see included (as with most releases to date), including onboard RTA, more "lexicon" effects, etc.
Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: Luke Geis on February 04, 2013, 04:49:18 pm
Now we are talking about old technology vs recent technology. The classic Plasma big screen that once went for 9k that you can now get for under 1k scenario. I don't feel that applies to our industry. Analog desks have been around for many many years and some still cost as much as a house! The SC-48 is based off of technology that has been out and sold to the general public for well over 10 years already and the price of the desk is the same as it was when it first came out. They will never lower the price of the desk. Same with Yamaha....... The LS9 and M7 have been around for nearly 10 years. I haven't heard of any significant price drop on either desk which is nearly on their way out the door. Midas has been selling Verona's for many years and you can bet that the price is the same today as it was 10 or more years ago. If you could buy a brand new high end desk today for half, or less than what it cost five years ago from the same company, then we have a comparison. That just doesn't happen in our industry. You have to buy the knock off of the thing to get it at half price. The closest thing to the AVID desks knock off is the S.A.C system which allows use of Direct-X and VST plug ins!

It still stands with me that there is no way a mixer of any sort can cost as much as a car, or more. If brand B, or C can be sold for less than half the price at the cost of some durability, there is a premium that your paying for the brand A product. Be it the added level of quality, or the slightly better functionality, your ultimately paying more for the name, not the technology held within. If they sold the Brand A product at the same price as Behringer, everybody and their brother would buy them and destroy them. This is what Brand A doesn't want. They want the same money ( if not lots more ) and the security that only the best in the industry will be playing with their product.

Case in point. D&B will only sell product to companies or people that have been through their training program. They don't want the average joe getting a hand on their product and destroying the name. This is a program that you must pay to go to of course. This extends beyond even that. They keep tabs on the companies that have their product for rental stock to be sure that renter's of the product are also trained via their program. They don't want just anyone using it.

Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on February 04, 2013, 05:17:20 pm
not really a fanboy, but excited to have this technology in my hands.. which up to this point, was way out of my/our price range and having to settle for "PV" stuff....  Also, Uli was smart to build this on a "living" platform, in esssence, having 20k+ R&D folks to tweak the product and come up with new ideas to incorporate into the "family" of mixers.  I Just read a post this morning about the 2.0 firmware release scheduled later on and asking what things owners would like to see included (as with most releases to date), including onboard RTA, more "lexicon" effects, etc.

I've heard the living platform spiel before... as in "this will never be obsolete, we'll just issue new software." Just think about how many old PCs you threw away, because newer, cheaper, faster hardware came along.

I still predict consoles will disappear completely, with the functional circuitry being absorbed into other parts of the system that do actual useful stuff we can't live without (like speakers). 

But what do I know...

JR
Title: How can this even bother me?
Post by: Brian Larson on February 04, 2013, 05:51:48 pm
Well if at any point you read any of said posts you would see that people, myself included, are for the most part extremely happy with the X32 and the support from Behringer. The one I put in my club gig came with in input card not fully seated and I didn't have channels 9-16 and 25-32. A behringer rep personally showed up at the club, we opened up the desk and he re-seated the cards and all was well. He also had a loaner desk ready to give me in case the desk had to be sent back. That is service, and an indication of a company who actually cares about having satisfied customers.

Do not mistake an aggressive PR campaign for "a company who cares". Uli is still playing damage control for the years of bad mouthing his brand has taken. Behringer is trying VERY hard to convince us that they have changed their ways by going above and beyond trying to fix issues like yours. Whether or not they keep this attitude up after they have taken the majority of the market is yet to be seen and will not be seen for at least another two or three years.
Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: Tim McCulloch on February 04, 2013, 06:03:15 pm
Do not mistake an aggressive PR campaign for "a company who cares". Uli is still playing damage control for the years of bad mouthing his brand has taken. Behringer is trying VERY hard to convince us that they have changed their ways by going above and beyond trying to fix issues like yours. Whether or not they keep this attitude up after they have taken the majority of the market is yet to be seen and will not be seen for at least another two or three years.

+1.  I'm still cynical about the leopard's new spots.  I suspect it's a dye job.
Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: g'bye, Dick Rees on February 04, 2013, 06:07:26 pm
+1.  I'm still cynical about the leopard's new spots.  I suspect it's a dye job.

It's a case of do or dye, then?
Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on February 04, 2013, 06:39:12 pm
He deserves the opportunity to walk his new talk. Even if he has changed his spots and behaves like a model citizen from here until the end of his days, it won't erase history. I can't even predict what I will do tomorrow, so I surely can't predict what he will do in the future.

The new guys are entitled to their opinions based on their recent anecdotal experiences. This may seem as valid to them as our decades of experience seems to us.

I grow weary of lecturing history to students that don't care a lick, so why should I? Just appreciate that it is possible other people might be basing their opinions on first hand experience formed over a long time period and involving numerous events. Both opinions can even be correct within their different contexts.

None of us can predict the future (as much as I try). 

JR

Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: Tim McCulloch on February 04, 2013, 07:16:10 pm
None of us can predict the future (as much as I try). 

JR

My old analog crystal ball worked much better... the digital-smidgital crystal ball is crap, even with the outdoor antenna...  ::) ::)

I'm willing to give Uli the opportunity to do better, but that creates no obligation to ignore history.
Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: Loren Aguey on February 04, 2013, 07:54:39 pm
Do not mistake an aggressive PR campaign for "a company who cares". Uli is still playing damage control for the years of bad mouthing his brand has taken. Behringer is trying VERY hard to convince us that they have changed their ways by going above and beyond trying to fix issues like yours. Whether or not they keep this attitude up after they have taken the majority of the market is yet to be seen and will not be seen for at least another two or three years.

Given their history, they certainly deserve skepticism. But that was my experience and my impression after said experience. It wasn't the aggressive PR campaign that showed up at my club to fix the issue I had, it was customer service. Like none I've experienced before. So I'm not mistaking anything there.

Sure its possible they might let up after a while but speculating on that one way or the other is a waste of time if you ask me.

Regardless, my original point remains. Whether the OP acknowledges it or not, the X32 is a great product at a great price. I really don't see how anyone could be surprised that there's a lot of talk about it.
Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: Loren Aguey on February 04, 2013, 08:05:41 pm
The new guys are entitled to their opinions based on their recent anecdotal experiences. This may seem as valid to them as our decades of experience seems to us.

I grow weary of lecturing history to students that don't care a lick, so why should I?

I'm not sure if this is at least partially in response to the experience I shared or not, but to be clear: At no point was I ever trying to down play or ignore a history of poor products and borderline and/or blatant copyright infringement. I've had a few negative experiences with their gear myself in the past.

I was merely speaking of my current positive experience with a product, and the manufacturer, and acknowledging the possibility that they might have legitimately changed for the better. 
Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: Bob Leonard on February 05, 2013, 12:16:32 am
Loren,
Unlike other people I don't have crystal balls, mine are brass. My take on the service you've received is simplistic. One product, one small group of people whose primary job is to insure the product launch is a success. Rest assured that fly guy's cost plenty of cash regardless of the product, and this practice won't become the norm. The leopards spots haven't changed. It's the Earl Shieb paint job that makes them harder to see.
Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on February 05, 2013, 12:56:17 am
Once again it comes down to simple math...

The field failure rate was never as bad as the hyperbolic haters claim, or they couldn't afford to buy premium brands on the cheap,

At the same time, if every product hiccup gets a new replacement swap-out hand delivered, they couldn't afford to buy premium brands on the cheap.

DO THE MATH...

JR


 
Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: Loren Aguey on February 05, 2013, 01:36:15 am
Loren,
Unlike other people I don't have crystal balls, mine are brass. My take on the service you've received is simplistic. One product, one small group of people whose primary job is to insure the product launch is a success. Rest assured that fly guy's cost plenty of cash regardless of the product, and this practice won't become the norm. The leopards spots haven't changed. It's the Earl Shieb paint job that makes them harder to see.

Right...I'm not gonna sit here and be the Behringer defender. I happen to really like the X32, and the service I received. That's about as far as I'll go.

For the record, the rep lives across the water in New Jersey so it wasn't a fly out deal. And if I happened to be in oh...I dunno...the middle of South Dakota, I don't imagine I would have gotten the ol' stop by. But I think I still would have received good service given my conversation with him. If I gave the impression that that the personal visit was gonna be the case for everyone then that was my mistake. I live in NYC, so I guess my chances are better of something like that happening than in other areas.

At any rate, speculate all you want about the intentions of people I ASSume you've never met. I acknowledge the possibility that you may be correct, but I refuse to make blanket statements stating my opinion as fact, regarding the future business practices of any company.

Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: Nick Simon on February 05, 2013, 09:39:21 am
I'm not sure if this is at least partially in response to the experience I shared or not, but to be clear: At no point was I ever trying to down play or ignore a history of poor products and borderline and/or blatant copyright infringement. I've had a few negative experiences with their gear myself in the past.

I was merely speaking of my current positive experience with a product, and the manufacturer, and acknowledging the possibility that they might have legitimately changed for the better.

same here... if I could have had a new LS-9 32 for 3K, I'd have it....  but I really didn't have a choice, so I'll just try to mix on this thing as long as it holds up...
Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: Patrick Tracy on February 05, 2013, 02:43:56 pm
Wow. The time, talent and energy that went into this thread is enough to have put on some pretty impressive concerts. It makes me want to close my browser and make some music.
Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: Tim McCulloch on February 05, 2013, 03:03:39 pm
Wow. The time, talent and energy that went into this thread is enough to have put on some pretty impressive concerts. It makes me want to close my browser and make some music.

We don't make the music, we make it louder and share the love with the audience.
Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: Patrick Tracy on February 05, 2013, 04:41:39 pm
We don't make the music, we make it louder and share the love with the audience.

Semantics. We add value. It's a collaborative process that utterly depends on sound engineering.

Dang it, what am I doing back here!
Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: g'bye, Dick Rees on February 05, 2013, 04:45:21 pm
We don't make the music, we make it louder and share the love with the audience.

You never sang along over the talk-back mic?
Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on February 05, 2013, 04:50:04 pm
Not adding value....  But why start now... :-)
=====
This new uber-value product is undeniably shaking things up, so upsetting to any who prefer a comfortable slow changing, status quo.

Change is good unless it is bad... this looks more good (for the more) than bad (for the few), while it is surely upsetting some industry apple carts. YMMV

JR

Title: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: Nick Simon on February 05, 2013, 04:51:12 pm
You never sang along over the talk-back mic?

I have... thru FOH and full effects added... 8)
Title: Re: Re: How can this even bother me?
Post by: Jay Barracato on February 05, 2013, 05:09:15 pm
You never sang along over the talk-back mic?

Actually that is how I would get the bands attention when I wanted to talk to them.

One verse of something like Chantilly lace and they would all stop short with " what the $&#% was that."

Perfect paybacks to musicians that just can't stop noodling around on stage and listen to the instructions for soundcheck.