An open letter to RMAF Vendors 2014

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Don_S

Re: An open letter to RMAF Vendors
« Reply #20 on: 15 Oct 2014, 05:47 am »
I've never been to RMAF, or any other audio show. After reading this, I might never do it either. I'm a pretty level dude, but one thing I can't stand is being around snobby people (especially one's who are supposed to be helpful). I won't be treated like a lesser person, or be disrespected, even if I can't afford $100k speakers.

RDavidson,  Please don't be dissuaded by a few complaints. At least try one show for yourself and then decide.  Bad experiences tend to be remembered and commented on more than normal experiences.  The vast majority of exhibitors are great people with a sincere passion for the products they manufacture or represent. They are fun, energetic , creative and courteous hosts. However, I do see some issues.

Most exhibitors wear too many hats and some don't fit.  They may be great at design but very poor at marketing or room set up. But those are tasks they must undertake.

How would you like to attend 6-8 or more audio shows a year?  Would you get a little bored and apathetic?  Think about it from the exhibitors perspective.  With the dramatically increased number of shows, some are approaching burn out.  Also remember that they may be exhausted before the gates open for the hordes. They have traveled farther than the locals and spent a tiring day unpacking and setting up. Maybe they could not get their equipment delivered to their room until late and had to rush to set up.  And after the show they have to tear down and repack and deal with hotel staff to get equipment moved out.  I do not know how the small shows work but at CES I think all equipment is received at a central location and hotel employees transfer it to and from the rooms.  That puts the exhibitor at the mercy of their schedule.

There are some issues that I think are not negotiable.  Attendees must be allowed to hear music they are familiar with or the entire effort is lost. The reason for the exhibitors being there is unfulfilled.  And when there is no immediate request by an attendee the exhibitors personal choices need to be better. I can cut exhibitors a lot of slack for some things but not on this issue. I swear I don't know what some are thinking.  If they don't have a clue they should get one from what the attendees bring.  Sure a lot of it is dreck but there are some gems to be heard and remembered.




mix4fix

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Re: An open letter to RMAF Vendors
« Reply #21 on: 15 Oct 2014, 07:22 am »
I want to expand this to any audio show:

This next point is close to the heart. You absolutely positively 100% need to allow your customers the ability to listen to a CD and/or vinyl of their choosing. Few exceptions to this-If you are a vinyl only room you are exempt from the CD requirement. Same goes for digital only guys, no vinyl requirement. But if you're doing a server system you'd better damn well be ready to upload someones disc on the fly. Last exception- you have all the music ever recorded. Beyond that you are messing up bad if you are telling people they can't play their own music. This is a huge 'screw you' to potential customers plain and simple. Moving on.

Aren't they still telling people "screw you" when they only have one source type?

If you spent a lot of time and money to display at one of those events, wouldn't it be in your best interest to do what it takes to attract customers? The guy who listens to vinyl cant evaluate equipment if he can't play what he is familiar with.

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Don't ever comment negatively on someones musical selection. Telling someone the system sounds bad because their music is poorly recorded is just about the worst thing you can do. I often bring poorly recorded music because it actually does a great job of showing a systems versatility. If a great system sounds great on great music... GREAT! If a great system sounds great on poorly recorded music... EVEN BETTER!!! If a great system sounds like garbage on poorly recorded music... NOT GREAT! This means I will not enjoy about 40% of my music if I buy your wares (this is bad in case you haven't figured it out) And no I will not stop listening to my poorly recorded music.

So you're saying that people don't always listen to audiophile approved music?

You like to crank that popular stuff and "rock out with your .... ..."?

I will add some:
1. The show lasts until Sunday late afternoon. Some people can't make the show until Sunday (people who live local to a show). If you pack up early, you are denying them the pleasure of enjoying your equipment.

2. Is it possible to have too much equipment? I notice with Salk speakers that had a dozen pairs of speakers in their room (over exaggerating). A few is ok to compare a couple of lines but when there is wall to wall speakers it overcomplicates things in my book. Get a second or third room if you got that much stuff.

Letitroll98

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Re: An open letter to RMAF Vendors
« Reply #22 on: 15 Oct 2014, 10:14 am »
RDavidson, don't be deterred. Audio shows are fun. For folks like Pez and Tyson, it's kind of a workday, so maybe that's the POV of Pez's commentary.

I agree with a lot of what Pez said. Never been to RMAF, but at CAF once there was a vinyl only room where the vendor was literally telling everybody what to hear, carney-barker style- "See if you can hear Neil (Young) in the room..."- and do you know what, I still would have left even if his (fullrange driver) system hadn't sounded like crap. Like Pez says, the system should speak for itself.

Another vendor at CAF started giving me the high pressure sales routine, wanting to know what I had and pushing his gear. I lied about what I have just to get him to back off, but leaving the room was the only thing that really worked.


Ha!  I know exactly which two vendors you're referring to.  Had the same experience, and walked out on both. 

tonyptony

Re: An open letter to RMAF Vendors
« Reply #23 on: 15 Oct 2014, 11:47 am »
I brought a USB stick with DSF files so I could hear my own DSD selections in rooms that had DSD playback. I was surprised at how many of these rooms either didn't have the ability to or wouldn't accept a USB stick as input for music. Kind of made this part of the show a let down.

dminches

Re: An open letter to RMAF Vendors
« Reply #24 on: 15 Oct 2014, 12:55 pm »
I agree with most of the comments here but I think it is unrealistic to think that each room should have the ability to play any music in any format that people show up with.  I would expect every room to have the ability to play CDs.  The popularity of vinyl with the audio show crowd would suggest to vendors that they have a turntable setup too.  And it doesn't have to be a $100k TT.  Beyond that, people are expecting too much from these people.

If they don't let you play your own music then they should expect people to be disinterested in their products.

dB Cooper

Re: An open letter to RMAF Vendors
« Reply #25 on: 15 Oct 2014, 01:05 pm »
All they need is an Oppo deck or equivalent and they can play literally anything other than vinyl. Majority of rooms at CAF seemed to be computer based so should be able to play anything on a CD or flash drive (I bring both). Transporting and setting up a TT is a major PITA so that is a judgment call. But if all you have is a music server with tried-and-true/overplayed stuff, you're selling yourself and your potential customers short. I listen to some road-less-travelled music that I guarantee is not on anybody's server box.

dminches

Re: An open letter to RMAF Vendors
« Reply #26 on: 15 Oct 2014, 01:41 pm »
All they need is an Oppo deck or equivalent and they can play literally anything other than vinyl. Majority of rooms at CAF seemed to be computer based so should be able to play anything on a CD or flash drive (I bring both). Transporting and setting up a TT is a major PITA so that is a judgment call. But if all you have is a music server with tried-and-true/overplayed stuff, you're selling yourself and your potential customers short. I listen to some road-less-travelled music that I guarantee is not on anybody's server box.

Understood, but not every vendor uses Oppo equipment.  And not every CD player can play DSD or a flash drive.  But, they can play CDs.  We, as customers, need to be flexible too.

jtwrace

Re: An open letter to RMAF Vendors
« Reply #27 on: 15 Oct 2014, 01:55 pm »
...OR to put it a different way.  Build speakers that are designed to work *with* the room instead of against it.
Ding ding ding!!!!

CIAudio

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Re: An open letter to RMAF Vendors
« Reply #28 on: 15 Oct 2014, 02:08 pm »
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A 50hz wavelength is 22' long whether it's coming out of a 15" woofer or a 6" one.  It's imbalanced speakers that overload rooms once room gain is added in, size shouldn't have anything to do with it.

and wavelength of 20hz is 56'... put a 10 octave speaker in a small room and it will overload... the room causes this not the speaker.

ted_b

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Re: An open letter to RMAF Vendors
« Reply #29 on: 15 Oct 2014, 02:18 pm »
RDavidson,
Don;t take this thread as the typical experience at audio shows, but instead as the wish list or demand list from some of its more experienced attendees.  A good number of rooms and manufacturers are ok and need only honest feedback.  The REAL benefits of attending an audio show are: meeting fellow audiophiles you've chatted with online, meeting new audiophiles, meeting friends you've come to make via this crazy hobby, meeting manufacturers and dealers that are truly passionate about audio and music....and finally, having the ability to touch and feel the product quality.  If you hear something that sounds good you have a huge bonus.

That being said, as an audio show veteran I agree with most of the comments here, especially the ones about the ill-prepared room hosts. 
*  C'mon!  Your dealer network is either so small or now defunct that this is your only real chance to show off your gear to the waiting public!  How are you ill-prepared??  I realize setup may have been a mess due to hotel f-ups, but it's now Saturday and you still don;t know whats going on in your room?  Yes, it's your fourth audio show this year, but this is the biz you decided on, these are your selling opportunities, and you are essentially selling direct so make some money and give people a good product!
*  How the hell did you decide to bring speakers that are way too big for the room?  If so, make them static displays....cut your losses.
*  How the hell did you decide to bring speakers (amps, DACs, etc) that have never been played, and need 300 more hours of break-in (unless it's the world premier, and even then, they should have had some mileage on them back home).
*  Ask folks to take their discussions out to the hallway...or just have static displays.  This "ask" includes your own employees/partners.

Finally, if you find a room that you really like, ask the hosts if they are having an after-party.  It's those moments where you really get to hear some good audio, make some great contacts (and usually get to drink their beer, etc).

AlexG

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Re: An open letter to RMAF Vendors
« Reply #30 on: 15 Oct 2014, 02:24 pm »
Pez,

"ALELUYA BROTHER" Very well put!

A short one...a local guy (Audiophile) showed up in our room at one point, seats in the sweet spot (no one else in the room at the time), looks at me with a serious face and said - what are you waiting for "put some music" - I responded... I am waiting for you to hand me a CD...he gets up fast in front of me - I thought he was going to punch me, and he said "very good point and I never thought about it" - he gave me a "high five". I put a CD on and told him - don't walk in this room next year if you don't bring some of your own music  :lol: :lol:

Alex

DaveC113

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Re: An open letter to RMAF Vendors
« Reply #31 on: 15 Oct 2014, 03:25 pm »

*  How the hell did you decide to bring speakers (amps, DACs, etc) that have never been played, and need 300 more hours of break-in (unless it's the world premier, and even then, they should have had some mileage on them back home).


I think this is understandable in some cases... If you have made press releases saying xxx show is going to be the world debut of this new thing and a supplier does not deliver the parts on time then it's a decision between going against the press release or bringing gear than needs more break-in. Personally, I would choose to go against the press-release and say "It's not ready yet", but I can also understand making the decision to bring it if it's performing somewhat close to a fully broke-in component, but then you're making excuses which is never a good thing. I can see this being a tough spot to be in, or put yourself in rather.

In any case, I am sitting here waiting on parts that were supposed to be delivered weeks ago, I do understand that not everything can be controlled by one person or business, and the saying $hit happens is true, not only that... $hit happens ALL THE TIME.  :green:

RDavidson, I agree with the other comments, there's a bad apple in every group and unfortunately it's no different in audio shows. I got a bad attitude in 2 rooms out of all the ones I visited and the good outweighs the bad 20:1... if you like audio it's worth going.

I'd also say it's been my experience that huge speakers with a lot of surface area/displacement + small rooms are going to overload, the speaker could be perfectly designed and it's still going to happen. The best of the best huge speakers and associated gear in the smallest display room will give you that overloaded sound no matter what IME. Last year's Alexandria XLF system with the Thor's Hammer subs would not have sounded nearly as good in a small hotel room, and some vendors can't get suites, I've heard you can wait years for a good larger room so it's not like there's tons of options in every case. One possible solution is to bring smaller speakers but if the new speaker you built might be too big for a small room then the choice is to just not show it at all, and I'm not sure that's a great solution either. Also, I don't know room rates exactly but the smallest room is a few grand so we're not talking cheap rent for a large room either.

Vapor Audio

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Re: An open letter to RMAF Vendors
« Reply #32 on: 15 Oct 2014, 03:46 pm »
RDavidson, I agree with the other comments, there's a bad apple in every group and unfortunately it's no different in audio shows. I got a bad attitude in 2 rooms out of all the ones I visited and the good outweighs the bad 20:1... if you like audio it's worth going.

Agree, most at the show are friendly people.  However, elitism and ego are rampant in this luxury market microcosm.  Even I am on the receiving end from time to time.  You the consumer have all the power by choosing where to spend your money.  Remember the companies who treat you that way and don't support them. 

Quote
I'd also say it's been my experience that huge speakers with a lot of surface area/displacement + small rooms are going to overload, the speaker could be perfectly designed and it's still going to happen. The best of the best huge speakers and associated gear in the smallest display room will give you that overloaded sound no matter what IME. Last year's Alexandria XLF system with the Thor's Hammer subs would not have sounded nearly as good in a small hotel room

I understand the thinking and based on the product most companies put it, that thesis is supported.  It's just not the case however, size of the speaker or drivers used is not what overloads rooms.  Imbalance combined with room gain is what does.  What creates the problem is manufacturers ignoring room acoustics and not giving the consumer any way to deal with higher amplitude room gain profiles found in smaller rooms.  I could go on but don't want to tangent, only point is there are plenty of ways to make large speakers work just fine in small rooms ... but because of the extra effort and cost of large crossover components needed to do it correctly, most often it simply isn't done. 

Big Red Machine

Re: An open letter to RMAF Vendors
« Reply #33 on: 15 Oct 2014, 04:18 pm »
I had a little snobbery from the amplifier company I am considering, but I didn't write off the whole company because of one person and their attitude.  I look past that when I can when the products have a great reputation.


jtwrace

Re: An open letter to RMAF Vendors
« Reply #34 on: 15 Oct 2014, 04:20 pm »
I had a little snobbery from the amplifier company I am considering, but I didn't write off the whole company because of one person and their attitude.  I look past that when I can when the products have a great reputation.
Give them a call...I think you will get a different kind of interaction.  I have at least. 

Hugh

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Re: An open letter to RMAF Vendors
« Reply #35 on: 15 Oct 2014, 04:22 pm »
BRM,

I hope it was not us. :)

Thanks for stopping by Pete.

Hugh
I had a little snobbery from the amplifier company I am considering, but I didn't write off the whole company because of one person and their attitude.  I look past that when I can when the products have a great reputation.

jtwrace

Re: An open letter to RMAF Vendors
« Reply #36 on: 15 Oct 2014, 04:27 pm »
BRM,

I hope it was not us. :)

Thanks for stopping by Pete.

Hugh
Heck no!  You and Tim are always very kind.   :thumb:

Hugh

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Re: An open letter to RMAF Vendors
« Reply #37 on: 15 Oct 2014, 04:31 pm »
Thank you so much J.

Sometime, I looked like I was absent-minded so if that's the case, please overlook my old age. :)
Heck no!  You and Tim are always very kind.   :thumb:

roscoeiii

Re: An open letter to RMAF Vendors
« Reply #38 on: 15 Oct 2014, 04:44 pm »
To all of this, I would add the recommendation that exhibitors play a variety of types of music in a room if they are not filling specific requests. Frustrating to sit through a few songs that sound so similar and don't reveal much new about the speaker compared to the track before it.

I mentioned to Jude and a number of the CanJam exhibitors my advice that exhibitors load up their sources with a huge amount and array of music. And this goes for speaker exhibitors too of course. Sometimes the selection was so limited I couldn't find what I'd assumed to be staples, like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd or Radiohead.

Shows have always been great experiences for me (in no small part due to meeting ACers in person), but yes they have their downsides, which have been covered nicely in this thread.

Big Red Machine

Re: An open letter to RMAF Vendors
« Reply #39 on: 15 Oct 2014, 05:08 pm »
BRM,

I hope it was not us. :)

Thanks for stopping by Pete.

Hugh

Hell no.  You're always a treat!!