May 29, 2006

Christ, I Have A Headache (The Strange Saga Of The Chinese Ribbon Mic Group Buy)

by Chris Randall

Okay, let me state for the record that Alctronics has joined the ranks of Prong, the South Dakota Police, and TVT Records on my Official Shit List. After the Fundable group collection closed (over $10,000 in just about 36 hours) and I got everyone mostly sorted with all the errors that came along with Fundable's good idea/bad execution methods, I set about actually ording the microphones. Now, it is important to note here that before I even brought up the subject of a group buy, I got a pro-forma invoice, including shipping to Portland.

So, with all the money collected, I dropped a line to our friend Henry at Alctronics and said, in a nutshell, "okay, I've got the cash. Let's rock this shit." Henry replied with this little missive:

First of all, we are very highly appreciated that you can put our microphone
into your market, also we would try our best to support you at any time,
just like our another big customer in USA, it it our hope you can sell our microphone
by your brand or other normal sells way, but we do not accept that you collect orders
use this international way, it will hurt greatly our another customer and our company,
hope you understand our situation.

Please delete the message immediately from the internet, if not, we have to
cosider to stop our microphone to you, sorry for it.

I assumed he was talking about the group buy blog posts, so I removed all of them, then wrote him back and said "okay, I've taken down the posts. Can I buy some mics now?" I'll admit I was getting a bit nervous at this point. A few minutes later, he comes back with:

Just like I mentioned
in my last email, we do not really accept that you collect the order by this
international way, since it will hurt our our customer's benefit, such as
Nady, Apex and Rode etc, we have to take care of our regular customer firstly.
We are very sorry if it cause you any inconvenience, but I sincerely hope you
can understand our situation. If you have interest in our other microphone,
surely I will try my best to support you at any time.

Now, obviously, that doesn't make any fucking sense, but if there's one thing I've learned in my 20 years in the music industry, it's that you roll with the punches and move on. So I immediately set about examining the options. I had a large quantity of money, and wanted to exchange it for a large quantity of microphones. That seems like a relatively easy process, but doing it over memorial day weekend, when I've suddenly become the most hated person in pro audio proved to be something of a challenge. My blood pressure, which is normally a very healthy set of numbers, spiked in to the "burst those little capillaries in your eyes" levels.

To make a long and stressful story considerably shorter, Avant Electronics, the company who's (much better) version of the HRM-14 started this whole ball rolling, very generously stepped up to the plate and offered to save my bacon by providing the Group Buy members with their much more expensive version of the mic for the same price. I can't begin to express my relief at this turn of events; if I had to refund everyone their orders, I would have been out the Fundable and Paypal fees (over a grand and a half) from my own pocket. This would have, in a word, sucked.

So, all's well that ends well. The Group Buy participants will now receive a much better version of the mic, in nice baked red instead of whack-ass bling bling gold, with a better shockmount and a five year warranty. This whole project has gone from something that was spinning completely out of control to something that actually worked out to be better than all the participants initially expected. So, a very special thank you to Ken, Sue, and Glen at Avant for putting up with my highly stressed communications and going way out of their way to help out a group of people that weren't even aware they had a problem.



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May.29.2006 @ 9:07 AM
great ! the gold really sucked..

our another highly big gratitude very much!


May.29.2006 @ 9:15 AM
What, you mean to say that Tommy Victor isn't the easiest guy to get along with? He's really a great guy- really! Ok, all kidding aside, much props for the work you did- you definitely rock. :)

Btw, i'm gonna spraypaint mine gold and lime green and put a little stick-on spinner wheel on the front of the thing. It's gonna be shiznit.


May.29.2006 @ 12:19 PM
jonas maurstad
I thank you from the cold north!
I really thought there would be a negative summary in the bottom, but you saved us! Red is also much better than the "pimp my ribbon" look of the old one. I dont have very high expectations for it, but at this cost I can still sell it with an advance.
Thanks again!

Greetings from Norway


May.29.2006 @ 12:35 PM
Fredrik Carno
thanks a million, chris...
You saved the day, with a little help from our friends...

Fredrik Carno


May.29.2006 @ 1:14 PM
Cheers Chris! You sure look after us, eh!

May.29.2006 @ 2:47 PM
Aenemone Carbuncler
thanks for all your time and work on this! and of course many thanks to Avant, very cool of them.
BTW: from what I can tell this looks like Avant's online store:
link []">link []

May.29.2006 @ 8:29 PM

Right on.

As bad as TVT? That's pretty bad.


May.29.2006 @ 8:48 PM
D' MacKinnon
Whew...thanks. The Avant one looks much better anyway.

May.30.2006 @ 11:29 AM
Nice save. Chinese companies are notoriously fickle that way. I've heard of big companies getting their production bumped even when they had a contract. The only explanation being, "But the other guy offered more!" Contracts are worthless there, only money talks. It's a cultural thing. Our Chinese production companies will substitute parts for cheaper ones without telling us, so we need to have our own people at the end of the line checking everything.

Nice mic. I'm sorry I didn't get in on this one. I think the guy who said, "I'll get in on the next order" didn't read the whole story carefully enough. :) I would guess that Chris' mic importing career is over.


May.30.2006 @ 11:56 AM
Chris Randall
To put it mildly. If I do something like this again, I'll deal with an American company. Avant has expressed interest in maybe doing some promotional things through AI, as this whole thing has generated quite a bit of buzz, so we'll see how that turns out.

Now, that said, I've discovered a Korean manufacturer that makes _really_ cheap "boutique" guitar pedals, and I'm so fucking tempted, I can't even tell you. However, if I was to attempt it, I would buy them all up front, _then_ do the group buy, to save the drama.

But then again, that would be basically the same as selling them, so...



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