How important is manufacture support and service in your buying?


I was just watching a video if The Audiophiliac, speaking to a Dealer, about vendor service and support.  How some companies will do all they can to help a customer and those vendors (manufacturers) are the sort he wants to sell products of.  
So.. Does it matter to you, if a company has a long an good history of supporting customers? And the previous products they sold? Or is it all about the latest and greatest, and the fact it is cutting edge great, no matter what in five years...?   
For myself, I buy mostly long time brand name products. Even cables, I buy Kimber and Cardas...
I did buy a Kuzma turntable used... Kind of a small new manufacturer... Yeah I took the chance. But usually it is the big guys.  
Recently I have become enamored of the Denafrip DACs.. One dealer in the World, Singapore.. After watching the video, I have to say.. What about in five years? Ten years? Make me think a bit longer about is it really worth it, the risk that is?
How about you? Any qualms about the builders of your equipment?
elizabeth
My preference has always been to give my money to manufacturers whom I perceive as having established solid track records with respect to support, responsiveness, and generally being conscientious when it comes to dealing with customers and potential customers. And that seem likely to be in business for many years to come.

And IMO there are enough such manufacturers producing high quality equipment that I see no point in dealing with others whose reputations in those respects are mixed or worse.

That is a major reason why manufacturers such as Herron, Daedalus, VAC, Bryston, and Pass are or have been represented in my system.

Best regards,
-- Al

Great question.  My dad owned a TV repair shop (Brooklyn) and could fix any kind of anything that needed repair.  Back then (60's - 80's) it was near impossible to get parts from manufacturers as the audio business was in transition to the Far East.  So, you had to have access to a technician who could fix things, parts notwithstanding, and/ or like my dad would drag his middle son to the city dump and salvage for parts.  

So, importance to me, assuming that the component does what it is supposed to do and sounds good ... 1) built like a tank and does not need repair ... 2) manufacturer can fix it and stockpiles enough parts to last 20 years ... 3) doesn't cost a small fortune because if it breaks down and can not be serviced, I have to be ok junking it.

My one rant:  SONY should be ashamed for not standing behind its original SACD players and stocking replacement lasers.  


Rich  
A DAC is probably the last piece of gear I'd worry about in 5 or 10 years as I'm fairly certain products in that timeframe will outperform whatever I buy today by quite a bit and I'll be upgrading by then.  With respect to all other gear I must say the service access and reputation plays a fairly good size role but in the end it's still part of the collective equation.  Very few categorical criteria apply to me in the realm of audio.
Support is important, service not so much. I am more concerned about whether a local tech could service any of my components should the need arise. I bought most of my stuff brand new and most of my gear is now out of warranty. The cost of shipping is getting too high to ship anything relatively heavy or large back to the manufacturer. A manufacturer that would provide schematics or advice is a big plus in my book, though.. Not sure how easily manufacturers give up schematics, though. Also, once when I needed them, the manufacturer was out of business and I was out of luck.

When I was shopping for dacs recently, I admit I was scared away from Denafrips because I wasn’t sure if I could get the support if needed. I did end up with a lesser known dac, the Mojo Mystique v3, but I got to meet the manufacturer personally at his home and got to observe one of his components under the hood. Robust power supplies and other parts, and direct signal paths which are easy for a dummy like me to follow, made it easy for me to take a chance on the dac. He also gave a 45 day demo and return period, which helped instill confidence. Anyways, I ended up keeping it and feel if something did go wrong, my local tech could easily work on it, and my personal interaction made me feel that the manufacturer would cooperate if any questions need to be answered.
I did buy a streamer in which post sales support has not been great, but it really transformed my digital front end. The manufacturer is basically a one person shop. Would I buy from the same manufacturer again? I don't know. In hindsight, I might have tried some other brands with good dealer support.
I’ve always bought gear based on rep, reviews, and a local dealer to help sort any problems that could arise. Doing that paid off a couple of times having had a couple of pieces fail, break down, or act funny.

I took a chance on the Kinki EX-M1. The cost was a huge factor relative to the the performance. It’s still going strong. One would think that in order to keep sales going and knowing that the customers would disappear in a flash, care would be taken in manufacture. So far, so good.

Alvin (exporter of vinshineaudio.com) was quick to respond when I thought I had a problem. Thankfully, it turned out to be me. On another occasion, I had the urge to swap out the IC op amps for discrete op amps and asked his opinion. He said the sound was designed around what it already had but went to the trouble of sending me a photo of the insides, with arrows showing the op amps and whether they were single or dual, with the ask that I get back to him if I went ahead and did it to report on the sound.

Thankfully, I didn’t need to as I got what I was after fiddling with the AC noise on my lines. Nowadays, one has to weigh the pros of the low costs of high end buy in with the cons of not being able to return something, should the need arise. If Alvin had to add in returns, warranty repairs, and two way shipping, then his business model and pricing wouldn’t work. The $2200 EX-M1 could easily be a $5000 EX-M1 if all mentioned were part of the equation.

Yes, it’s a crap shoot, but it was one I was willing to take. God forbid, if anything does break down, a quick email will get me pointed in the right direction with advice, maybe a new circuit board for cost, and all I would need is to find a competent tech on my end to figure it out. I’ve done it before with post warranty work and it’s not that hard to do.

All the best,
Nonoise
Many years ago I bought wonderful speakers from new, relatively unknown company Hyperion Sound Design, Inc.  I hoped that company would last, since they had great product. I was wrong.  Company, unable to create dealership network, bankrupted.   These speakers have "exotic" drivers that are impossible to replace.  Next time I will buy only from well established company that has track record.
manufacturer stability and support track record is very important to me. I stay away from small, boutique brands or start ups.
tuberist -
I see you have the same speakers as me. There were very few made, so it’s a small world indeed. One of the reasons I bought them is because I am within easy driving distance of Von Schweikert, so I guess service is somewhat important to me. At least for the speakers, I would prefer the manufacturer to work on them and not my local tech. The only issue I anticipate is if the custom midrange drivers need to be replaced. The other two drivers are readily available, so no issue there. The thing about some of the stuff that we buy is that parts do become unavailable or hard to attain, even if buying from a reputable, stable manufacturer. Yeah, it's somewhat of a crapshoot, but you can improve your odds by getting to know the manufacturer better and reading about owner experiences before buying.
Depends on how much proprietary technology is involved. For everything but turntables and tonearms, I agree with @almarg ; or, I would if I weren’t building it myself. Tonearms should not need service, but you do want to know that it’s well made. Belt drive TT, the only ones I like, are easily serviced or improved with standard parts.

That said, there is at least one big electronics manufacturer that will never get my business again. Once bitten.
I never pay attention to service. Great if it exists, but I do not count on it once I bring an item home. I consider anything I buy a potential "total loss". That approach saved me many arguments over the warranty rights and similar. In the end, my time and nerves are worth more than a new item I would need to buy.

By the way, Kuzma has been around for, at least, 35 years. It is becoming not-so-new company. Small maybe, but with lots of respect and satisfied customers, I heard.
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One of the reasons I am a big McIntosh fan is the fact that they have been in business for about 70 years.  Their products can be serviced, refreshed, bought and sold easily and hold Their value over time.

I spent time as a business academic years ago and research has shown that the best predictor of a firm being in business next year is how many years they have been in business.

Now I like their audio “signature” if you will, and opinions differ on that.

I also became enamored of the Maggie sound about 15 years ago and for similar  reasons am quite happy with my 3.6 and I’ll most likely buy a pair of their LRS speakers once I sell my big house and move into our smaller downsized home.

My thoughts n items like DACs are that technology is changing so quickly, that a better, cheaper one will be available in the near future.

I do not see many of the boutique high end brands surviving in 5-10 years, so that must be taken into consideration if you are thinking’s no of spending big dollars on a relatively new (particularly foreign) brand.

elizabeth,

This does not have much to do with the original title of your thread although it touches it. Maybe you have read it before but, if you have not, check it out. It is refreshing to read how someone who obviously knows his job sees things we babble about here daily.


As a spoiler:

"Direct Drive vs belt driven?

DD brings smaller pulses on platter and electronic speed correction always corrects platter rotation.

Belt drive has another problem. Motor pulses are filtered via the belt and if there is not enough power and a heavy platter, there could be a delay in speed correction, especially with DC motors. But again - how matters are executed in practise matters more than just theorectical aspects."

https://www.monoandstereo.com/2011/12/exclusive-interview-with-franc-kuzma.html

I find support as if not more important than performance....the more expensive the product the more important the support.  I have VPI, Ayre, and Vandersteen.   I have reached out to all of them at one time with quick answers and care.
I have reached out to Magnepan and Parasound a few times, friendly and informative.  Called Harmon Kardon about ten years ago, for parts on a Citation 12.  Calls are routed to the Philippine Islands, all parts were in stock. 
Dealers face the same issues as retail customers.  SOME manufacturers are terrific about service and support in the high-end audio game, some are not.

Regardless, it is the dealer on the front line who usually takes the heat.  We also tried to work with manufacturers on both these items, and we got as much push-back as retail customers do from some of them.

Buy what you LIKE, but be sure you have a dealer you can discuss these issues with.  We always liked to give customers "personal/store" warranties on items given their cost, but many times we ate the bills and had no answers for customers who were not supported any better than we were.

You pays your money and you takes your chances--this is for BOTH sides of the equation, unfortunately.  While I am not in any way a user or supporter of social media, these days one false move on the part of a manufacturer can do quite a bit of harm to the company. 

Some care about that, some do not.  Your dealer is your best first contact for issues, so if you buy online, you have little recourse other than to depend upon the character of the seller.

Unfortunately, anecdotal reports aside, there is very little "character" around these days.  (As an aside, I always want to either play Tom McCabe's hilarious routine for spam callers, or ask them if their mothers and fathers know they are working as professional criminals.)

As for longevity, nothing is guaranteed (Sears?), so behave accordingly.

Most of all, enjoy the MUSIC!

Cheers,

Richard
I mostly buy from well established companies with a great track record and service. I'm done with start-ups and small companies that are vulnerable to closing their doors. I also mainly buy equipment made in the USA because of repair issues and, well...I'm a patriot.
My equipment is from Wilson Audio, Pass Labs, VPI, Placette, Zesto, Oppo,Gallo, SVS, Signal Cable, Wireworld. Other stuff that I own, but was made outside the US is Bryston, Virtual Dynamics, Project, REL, DSPeaker, Lyra.
My current equipment is made by Zu and Ancient Audio and Takatsuki. All are small companies with great customer service. No piece of equipment is bullet-proof. I have had good experiences with customer support from all three companies. To me, this is critical.

That is why it is good to either know a good repair tech (like me) or learn how to do some repairs yourself.



Many years ago I bought wonderful speakers from new, relatively unknown company Hyperion Sound Design, Inc. I hoped that company would last, since they had great product. I was wrong. Company, unable to create dealership network, bankrupted.  These speakers have "exotic" drivers that are impossible to replace. Next time I will buy only from well established company that has track record.

@kijanki My previous speakers were from Hyperion Sound Design as well! I was using the hps-738 and there was a suspected issue with the voice coil. Strangely enough, even though the company had gone bust, I was very surprised when they actually got back to me and also shipped a new pair of mid woofers for replacement last year. I never got about replacing the woofers as the voice coil issue (suspected oxidation) was solved by flexing the woofers slightly. Lovely sound.. mids were lush and rich, but could do with more sparkle in the top end.


Back to the original topic. Living in Singapore myself, I'd personally say it's pretty safe to make purchases from the dealers here. If anything, the main reason is purely because the audio community here is so small that everybody knows everybody. There's nowhere to hide and any inkling of 'malpractice' will easily be picked up on and brought to light on the local forums (e.g. xtremeplace). Easy to get help from forumers there as well as no one likes shady support from dealers.

That said, the only things I've purchased new from dealers here are my Kinki dac/amp, SotM server and Spatial Audio spks. These are purchases that I know will remain with me for a long time, so the support would be more important. Otherwise for tweaks and cables, I mostly buy on the used markets. Don't really require support for those. I've also bought direct before from a company that made great cables that I thought would last, but atlas, it just disappeared from one day. Anyone knows what happened to Cabledyne?
Thank you benlzy, good to know.
@benlzy

I wish I knew just what happened to Cabledyne as I feel their entry line speaker cables were the bargain of the century. Everyone’s touting this make or that, but for the low buy in cost, they were fantastic. Just the right combination of whatever it is that makes for a great cable.

Their stock seemed to run down and, poof!, they were gone.

By the way, they were a silver stranded, 12GA, high purity silver in a porous, almost air like dielectric, sleeved in Teflon (?) with gold plated BFA bananas. There was a copper woven sheath the full length of the cable and I believe the silver cable were also cryo'd. If you can find someone who can follow that formula, you'll have the makings for a great cable.

All the best,
Nonoise
Bottom line..........yes.
Support and service are important to me. I’ve had great experiences with Bryston, Pass, Bricasti and Magnepan. Ok service from Simaudio and Adcom but lackluster service from CAL, which of course is long gone.