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Thread: UK dealers in the 1980's...

  1. #101
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    You have just illustrated my whole point about the 80s dealerships: They are painted by some as "brainwashing" punters. The "also-rans" I mentioned were somehow cruelly overlooked because dealers bullshitted and conned people into buying supposedly inferior product. How could they? People listened before buying in the vast majority of cases. As you rightly say, they also shopped around. Of course dealers can influence by reporting their own findings over sound, reliability etc.,they can also choose what to stock and what to recommend, but people ultimately made their own choices.

    To answer your question of who would buy products with misaligned casework and poor finish, the answer is "not enough people to ultimately make those products successful". Yet it's often the people who made said products who construct their own version of history where it was the magazines and the dealers who robbed them of success by lying and hoodwinking the buyer: Nothing to do with their own shortcomings. That's not to say some of these products didn't sound good. Rather they were often not the finished article in much the same way the businesses making them were also somewhat "hair shirt".

    some of the products and companies I mentioned were interesting, innovative and quirky. They just didn't have the full package needed to succeed. It's that lack of recognition I'm driving at.
    In the afternoon of my life

  2. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oddjob View Post
    As for your last point, do you have evidence to support it being the norm.
    no evidence, but 7 years in the trade.

    Some manufacturers were amazing to deal with ART Loudspeakers, Marantz being 2

    Others were only interested in the size of your order

    One distributor (who incidentally worked from his house) asked us after representing his brand for about 9 months said he'd heard we didn't have a shop, but worked from home (we had 2 shops) we had to provide proof, using photos, this chap had only ever dealt with us by phone, why didn't he visit one of or stores. But no we had to prove it with photos.

    On the whole the industry is in a mess, full of political back biting, but in my experience it's the Manufacturers and Dealers who are the dodgy ones, not the dealers

    We had one shop and we sold speakers by a well known British company who make loudspeakers for mostly home use, let's call them the Monitor Company Professional. They brought out a new range, we had no visit from the Rep, but they were advertised in the press, we had a customer who wanted to put in an order, the Monitor Company refused, we weren't a dealer for the new range, we could have the order if we bought 2 other pairs in the same range to use as dem stock. They offered to supply them via another dealer, we had an account, we had spent thousands over the years but we were supposed to share our margin with another dealer. When we opened a second store most of our suppliers agreed to provide stock to both stores, but the Monitor Company said we'd need a whole new range of dem stock, we told them to shove it we had 30k worth of their product at our Scottish store already, and that's trade price, not retail. All they were interested in was not a working relationship, only interested in the bottom line.

    Lots of stories like that, removing your account because they have decided to go with another guy (mainly because he put in a large dem order) in my experience the greediest have been the manufacturers, it's as if they feel they are owed something because of reputation or following a glowing review. It's dealers who sell things, not the magazines.

    Another was a well known cable manufacturer, I say manufacturer when in reality they only buy wire off the reel. I say wire but it might be better if I used the word Kord. Again they were only interested in cash, doing similar stuff to the monitor company above, and all their 'promotional' emails refered to customers as punters, they were only interested in the bottom line.

    Yes selling direct is the best model because manufacturers really are the good guys.
    Last edited by The Professor; 30th March 2016 at 08:44.

  3. #103
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    I was actually answering the post before yours, but your post got in first Great insights though. With examples like that I wonder how the world would be a better place if we only had "manufacturers" and customers.

    Of course, as you so rightly say, selecting a cable off a reel and passing it on at a rip off margin isn't exactly manufacturing.
    Last edited by Oddjob; 30th March 2016 at 18:15.
    In the afternoon of my life

  4. #104

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    Quote Originally Posted by DSJR View Post
    I am now unable to address this in the manufacturers room allocated to me, but feel strongly about this subject to the point I must comment as I have experience on both sides of the argument here.


    For many years, I worked in the sister shop to one of Linn and Naim's biggest UK dealers (now out of business - a story in itself but distracting to the point...). The basic vibe for years in the early 80's was that these two manufacturers were the best there was, Rega, NAD and Creek was sold to cost conscious wannabes, Cyrus mainly because the sales director got an annual skiing holiday out of it and Quad and Rogers were stocked for the oldies...


    Up until 1985, when the unthinkable happened (Linn introduced their own amp which was poles apart from the favoured Salisbury made product), I was occasionally witness to the way other manufacturers were treated at the hands of said sales director. One vivid memory was of 'Myst' audio amplifiers, which were beautifully made Hitachi MOS-FET designs I seem to remember. These sounded rather better (with hindsight) to the lower caste Naim amps which were harsher of tone and flatter of perspective, but no, this latter sound was the preferred sound and said sales director wouldn't hear otherwise, so off went 'Mr Myst' and his lady wife, probably feeling rather deflated.


    Another time I personally witnessed was with Peter Comeau of Heybrook, who my colleague and I had got to know well as customers of his, since the late 70's at another store. He was introducing revised replacements of established models (I forget the year but I think it was after the Myst visit), which I think were the HB150 and HB100 or 200 - sorry, I cannot remember. The poor man was left standing on his own for three quarters of an hour while the rest of us were running around like headless chickens, all but being ignored by the same sales director and we were pretty well powerless to do much other than (hopefully) offer him another coffee.


    Looking back, I cringe with embarrassment and always tried to ensure that visitors and customers in for a dem were treated better. I do understand better now I think, how we were back then and how awful so many of us young arrogant shits were to trade visitors with alternative gear. Sadly, I think it still goes on, in the southern UK, probably in the dealer chains, where profit, 'dealer contracts' and commission rule, but these dealers are suffering and it's getting tougher for them.


    Sadly, Myst has long gone and I don't quite know what happened to Heybrook, other than tat Stuart Mee went into his other love which was wine-making/selling I believe and PC eventually sold up and found his way to China where he designs IAG speakers (Wharfedale and others) with great success I believe.


    This whole 80's UK dealer 'thing' does leave a nasty taste for those who remember it and it's this kind of blinkered narrow-mindedness (for whatever reason) that caused the demise of a number of good small makers, who just couldn't get headway. Some others, like Manticore and early era Epos, sort-of adapted their designs to fit in under the 'terrible twosome' and did well out of it for a while I think, but it must have been a struggle..


    In 1985, Linn and Naim started their long and for a while imo, acrimonious divorce. Naim got better, Linn got worse and worse for a while, changing the innards of their amps with almost every batch it seemed until they got their act together in the mid 90's. It 'broke the spell' though, thankfully, and did begin the slow process of letting others in to the old cabal of dealers...


    Sorry all, I wanted to get that off me chest as I cannot any longer post it where I wanted to. The loan scheme I'm attempting to administer does help to get round the 'dealer attitude' and knowing the cost of the parts inside, the selling price really isn't overly high when overheads are taken into account (and I'm an overhead as I make a lot of it all).


    I promise not to shill or spam the products I help to make as the 'rooms' allocated to the brand are locked now. Maybe they can still be discussed in general terms?
    It wasn't just the 80's where the clique type arrangements prevailed,started in the early 70's,I was told I had cloth ears by a certain mr brady because after having a naim combo and a lecson combo on home dem/loan preferred the lecson gear(along with all my friends who heard them both)that was around 75 when linn and naim were becoming the only products to own according to all the hi-fi press and a band of dealers up and down the country,it's a pity most of those dealers wore blinkers in respect to other good gear out there,which I feel lead to a number of firms going to the wall as you say(lecson went bump because of singhania,the owner though,he was a complete knob head)

  5. #105
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    I cannot help but feel the magazines did more to kill things off - in the late 70s and most of the 80s it was all the same recommendations and nothing on the planet was as good as they recommended (according to them) .. Guildford Hifi in the 70s was wonderful and was still good in the 80s when taken over by Unilet (but still had the wonderful Bob Eubanks running it). My second favourite shop was a second hand dealer (Paul) in Northampton ... he opened up a shop dealing virtually only in second hand gear so it was wonderful to see such a a load of diversity on sale. Woman troubles meant he shut up shop unfortunately .. The remaining hifi store in Northampton (excluding the B&O shop) was taken over a year or two back by Orton's that has a fair selection of hifi but doesn't take stuff part exchange and doesn't do second hand gear .... If I ever win Euromillions I will open a hifi store (and record store) to twiddle me thumbs in ...
    A good earwash may be the cheapest and best upgrade to your system.

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