Rude pro audio dealers

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Meriphew
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Rude pro audio dealers

Post by Meriphew » Sat Aug 14, 2004 6:06 pm

I was going to buy a couple shockmounts for my Neumann KM184's today. I was planning on getting them from www.bswusa.com , but they were closed, so I called Sweetwater to order these: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/product/298 ... 0/REG/1449

The salesman was pretty much a cock right from the get go. He had this attitude like he was bothered to have to help me, and was absolutely no help in the info dept. (I thought the Sweetwater people were supposed to be so knowledgeable :roll: ). Needless to say, I will never purchase anything from them in the future.

Anyone else have any rants or warnings about pro audio dealers?

Professor
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Re: Rude pro audio dealers

Post by Professor » Sat Aug 14, 2004 6:32 pm

I can safely say that I hate dealing with those folks in Indiana as well, and have tried my best to discourage all of the music faculty here from calling on them. In my experience it seems they absolutely prey on schools and churches who just slavishly follow their advice mostly because they don't think there is anyone else. Just yesterday one of the faculty here told me that when she asked about buying a wireless handheld transmitter to replace a 'plug-on' transmitter for our existing system, the guy said, "oh no, you'll have to buy a whole new system, and I have these on special right now." That's from the same guy who sold them the original system a couple years ago (before I arrived) and sent 6 units all running on the same frequency bands with no antenna distribution. Hate 'em, hate 'em, hate 'em but I have such a hard time convincing everyone that they are a rip off, and not the only place to buy Kurzweil! :hammer: I am happy to say that over the course of purchasing over $280,000 worth of gear for the school studio and sending out perhaps as many as 20 or 30 individual 'bid requests' not only did the boys in Indiana lose every bid, but they were almost always the HIGHEST bidder, which shows exactly what they think of "loyal customers". (The school bought over $150,000 worth of stuff for a piano lab from them just 5 years ago, and that's the thanks we get!)

Sorry for the tirade there - but consider it a warning.
On the other side, I love working with Full Compass. Granted I'm working with one of the upper-level guys there, but he respects that we've been a customer for over 25 years and just basically goes to his lowest price automatically and every time - no dicking around & trying to squeeze a little more out of us.
Other folks I've enjoyed are BSW in Tacoma, B&H in Manhattan (a little weird perhaps, but great pricing) and Pro Audio Design in Mass. has been very nice as well.
I encourage you guys to patronize any one of those fine establishments.

-J

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Re: Rude pro audio dealers

Post by cgarges » Sat Aug 14, 2004 6:35 pm

I just had a really interesting experience with Sweetwater.

I had a bad experience with them a couple years ago. A friend of mine (who does LOTS of business with them) found out about it and a few days later I got a phone call from Chuck Surack's (the owner) assistant. He was very curious about what went down and was very nice to me and apologetic. He even recognized my name and asked me if I wrote for "Tape Op" or any other magazines.

I think it might behoove you to call and talk to Chuck. The upper management there seems very interested in people having experiences like this. Granted, I told the guy who called me that I have great relationships with a number of pro audio dealers and that I probably wouldn't have a need to call Sweetwater again, but he was very nice and understanding and asked that I give them another chance sometime. After that, perhaps I will.

I have had really nice conversations with Fletcher at Mercenary and nothing but REALLY, REALLY great experiences with the folks at Studio Tech Supply in Texas, Full Compass in Wisconsin, and the staff at Brent Averill. They're pretty much my first calls now.

Chris Garges
Charlotte, NC

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Re: Rude pro audio dealers

Post by joelpatterson » Sat Aug 14, 2004 6:41 pm

I think you're always going to find sensible and reasonable people at the upper management level, but the problem is the clerks in the trenches at Sweetwater are all failed recording engineers, and so, they know alot about what works for failure, follow their advice, you can be a failure too.
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gradwellhouse
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Re: Rude pro audio dealers

Post by gradwellhouse » Sat Aug 14, 2004 7:27 pm

people actually shop through sweetwater?
their prices are outrageous!!!!
here in nj (10 mins from philly) we have a sam ash and a guitar center 3 stores away from each other and you can almost anything for cost or just above it if you are good at haggling.
sweetwaters retail price is usually the same is the list price. retail stores starting price is 30%-60% off list. you guys need to move here.....
of course you cant get all the "pro pro" stuff that sweetwater has but they can special order almost anything i have ever wanted in my "pro pro" studio.
P.S. i hate both sam ash and guitar center, this is not a plug for them but an anti-plug for SW.

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Meriphew
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Re: Rude pro audio dealers

Post by Meriphew » Sat Aug 14, 2004 8:58 pm

gradwellhouse wrote:people actually shop through sweetwater?
their prices are outrageous!!!!
They actually had the best price on the shockmounts I was looking at, but I refuse to do business with @holes.

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Re: Rude pro audio dealers

Post by JES » Sat Aug 14, 2004 9:13 pm

Had terrible salesman experiences with Sweetwater. I once called and got assigned a salesman, who told me I "had" to get ProTools and that nothing else was worthwhile. Blah.

Full Compass has been nothing but awesome though. Back in 1998 when the MOTU 2408 first came out, they got backordered, and my salesman actually hooked me up with another place in WI that was selling it for the same price as Full Compass so I could have one right away. From then on, I went to him first for mailorder.

In Pittsburgh, there was a store called Pianos N Stuff that would meet mailorder prices, so in support of the local dealer, I gave them as much business as possible.

Best,
--JES

Professor
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Re: Rude pro audio dealers

Post by Professor » Sat Aug 14, 2004 9:19 pm

See, I don't worry about SW for my needs, because I don't need their advice. I research what I want quite thoroughly, including competitive products, I know how it will integrate into my system, and I know how I'll use it now and how I hope to use it tomorrow, so my only need for sales guys is in cutting deals and moving the product around most of the time - and I'll choose carefully if I do ask for advice. I've given Ft. Wayne more than a 2nd chance, I've included them on every single 'bid' purchase (anything I buy over $2500 total has to be sent to bid from multiple vendors) and they have not just missed but been highest bidder damn near every single time. The rare time I did buy some Auralex products from them, they screwed up the order and sent half of it to another customer.
My main concern is that I have to convince all of the faculty here to stop calling on them for advice, because they end up being told to buy whatever is cluttering up the warehouse on that given day.

And I can't believe I forgot to tell you to try the wonderful folks at Wind Over the Earth in Boulder. Marvelous, wonderful, honest folks to work with. Small, so they may not always be low bidder, but they are fabulous folks who are actually WORKING engineers with their shop nestled between a mastering studio and a newly built recording studio (they actually share back doorways to each other). I was very happy to send $80,000 worth of business their way for the consoles & PT system in the studio. And they're in Boulder so they got me a nice deal on the Grace preamps too.

-Jeremy

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Re: Rude pro audio dealers

Post by cgarges » Sat Aug 14, 2004 9:34 pm

Professor wrote:See, I don't worry about SW for my needs, because I don't need their advice. I research what I want quite thoroughly, including competitive products, I know how it will integrate into my system, and I know how I'll use it now and how I hope to use it tomorrow, so my only need for sales guys is in cutting deals and moving the product around most of the time - and I'll choose carefully if I do ask for advice.
That's really funny because that's where my issue arose. I'm the same way, but it was a total pain to buy something if my "personal sales rep" was busy with someone else. Apparently, they've rectified that situation somewhat.

Chris Garges
Charlotte, NC

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Scodiddly
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Re: Rude pro audio dealers

Post by Scodiddly » Sun Aug 15, 2004 5:49 am

My understanding was that Sweetwater used to be a really smart, well-run place to buy from. These days I've noticed a fair number of "come work for us" ads, so I'm guessing they're stuck in the lowest-prices competition and are hiring accordingly. :(

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Re: Rude pro audio dealers

Post by Cellotron » Sun Aug 15, 2004 8:16 am

I worked in the Pro Audio dept. of Manny's a couple of years in the 90's - and the reason a culture of rudeness is developed at a lot of the pro audio stores is that when working for commision only the time you spend helping someone on a small ticket item (which often take the longest time to locate the part # and inventory for) or just giving a demo to someone who obviously is not going to purchase the item (in store speak a "hoser") is time taken away from helping the next guy who might just want you to "clerk" a high priced item to them immediately. So often the salesman with the best numbers (i.e. the best income) is the most "abrupt"! The "good" salesguys learn pretty quickly how to identify people that are serious about buying big ticket items and the "hosers" who you want to brush off as quick as possible (which includes people purchasing small ticket items that take a while to fulfill the order) in order to get to the next guy who will get you a decent sized commish.

Another thing to watch out with pro-audio places is that often manufacturers give "spiffs" to reps - additional kick backs paid directly by the manufacturer to the sales guy for every unit sold of a particular product they are promoting at the time - so often a rep will direct you to a particular product, even if they know it isn't the best one for your needs, knowing they'll make extra cash if you go for it instead of one that you might be thinking of in the first place.

I found that often the smaller stores & not the big chains give the best recommendations & service - I've received excellent service & prices from Bayview Pro Audio. Sonic Circus and Vintage King. and I cringe every time I have to go to Sam Ash here!

Best regards,
Steve Berson

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Re: Rude pro audio dealers

Post by SONICLAB » Sun Aug 15, 2004 10:45 am

Blevins. I called this place about 2 years ago asking about an Otari MTR-90 and guy on the phone was a complete prick to me. I asked him a simple question about how many volts does the tape machine run off of: 110, 220, etc... He snapped at me and asked me what does a Toaster run off of? Nice costumer service! Who knows, I could have been intrested in buying a Neve console from this company. Blows my mine. I guess I just look at this expericence as how not to treat people who come in to the studio.

Scott

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Re: Rude pro audio dealers

Post by inverseroom » Sun Aug 15, 2004 1:10 pm

A lot of people who sell specialized equipment of any kind find the work appealing because it gives them the opportunity to feel like they know more than everybody else. Any suggestion that they might be incorrect tends to make them very sullen.

It's a rare thing to find a cool, confident-yet-patient, respectful person working at a guitar, pro audio, record, or hi-fi shop, and when you find them, be very nice to them and hang on tight, because they are impossibly awesome.

(Portlanders: buy your hi-fi crap from my friends Steve and Kurt at Echo Audio. They are the nicest hi-fi guys in the world.)

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Re: Rude pro audio dealers

Post by Substrated » Sun Aug 15, 2004 5:35 pm

Pacific Pro Audio in Seattle $1,925 for a FATSO is one example and I don't buy a lot of shit but when I do I go there now! Brian there is really straight fwd and good to work with.

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Re: Rude pro audio dealers

Post by Meriphew » Sun Aug 15, 2004 6:07 pm

Substrated wrote:Pacific Pro Audio in Seattle $1,925 for a FATSO is one example and I don't buy a lot of shit but when I do I go there now! Brian there is really straight fwd and good to work with.
I've done a few transactions w/PPA (Garth) as well, and have always been very pleased with them. They are normally my first call.

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