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New Audio Formats for our AV Processors

Discussion in 'TAG McLaren Audio Owners' Forum' started by babaroga, Sep 25, 2004.

  1. babaroga

    babaroga
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    Hello All,

    After reading this interesting article on Toms Hardware Guide about forthcoming HD-DVD technology, they were talking about DolbyDigitalPlus and new lossless MLP technology.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/hardnews/20040924_134741.html

    Does anybody know whether IAG is going to offer us those packages and for which machines ?

    The reason I'm asking is that almost all of us bought them because they offered upgrade paths.

    Regards,
    Darko
     
  2. Dr Udo Zucker

    Dr Udo Zucker
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    Hi Darko, from recent experience with other formats, not just DVD-Audio and SACD, I would recommend to sit back and wait until one of these numerous devices, we always read about, have really made it into the market. For any form of "super"-DVD this will also need prerecordered movies.

    I also like to repeat, once again derived from bitter experience, that new formats will only make it into the market (and stay there) if they can offer clear advantages for the majority of potential adopters, with the caveat that better sound or video quality (beyond DVD-V) isn't something the majority of users would appreciate. Current DVD-V and CD quality clearly is clealry sufficient for the average display device and sound reproduction solution available in most homes.

    What might steer new solutions is higher storage ability (very important for PCs) and better copy protection.

    So in other words don't expect an answer from any hardware manufacturer, particularly not those who participate in the high-performance niche market, as they solely depend on OEM solutions and large scale manufacturers' support to implement any of these new solutions.

    Finally, home cinema as we know it, has matured with little new technology being added. This was quite different from 1995- 2002 (or so). This has given us hardware solutions which are not out-of-date, the day we bought them. As a result, upgrading (or the lack of it) isn't such issue anymore.
     
  3. Joelc

    Joelc
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    Udo:

    1. Very interesting comment you make in that "... home cinema as we know it, has matured with little new technology being added. This was quite different from 1995- 2002 (or so). This has given us hardware solutions which are not out-of-date, the day we bought them. As a result, upgrading (or the lack of it) isn't such issue anymore".

    Do you really believe that the state of home cinema is such that the lifecycle of a product is longer than it use to be? Further If this is the case then how does one explain the constant proliferation of new kit from manufacturers which consistently offer better performance for less cost... just look at the improvement in digital displays, pre/pros, etc? Is this because the territority conquered over the last 5 to 7 years has been substantial (i.e. DVDs introduced, DPL to DD/dts to DDeX dts-es, etc.)?

    As an aside, and somewhat related question, how much longer do you believe that the VSM 2048 will continue to offer "state-of-the-art" performance that will not be available in a £1,000 scaler?

    2. And as always... good to see you droppin in every now and again. Hope that things are going well for you in Portugal.

    Cheers,

    Joel
     
  4. mailaht

    mailaht
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    Even if the development of new formats would have slowed down for a while, that would only mean that it is time for news.

    As mentioned above, most of us bought the TAG stuff with the upgrade path in mind.

    I was mainly waiting for an HDMI module for the AV32/192R, as once I could transfer 8 channels of uncompressed digital audio from my HCPC (or new DVD player models) to my AV32R-DP, I would not worry that much about TAG/IAG firmware support for new formats. All relevant new formats will be supported by PC software (or new DVD players). So the digital processing can be done on the PC (or DVD player), leaving only the sensitive D/A conversion and room correction to the TAG. While obviously it would be nice to see up-to-date firmware, an HDMI module could keep the TAGs useful even without that.

    Well, unfortunately it looks as if even that was wishful thinking.
    IAG does not appear to be interested in keeping us as customers.

    Anybody interested in my DP?
    It will appear in the classifieds soon.
    Sniff!
     
  5. Joelc

    Joelc
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    Mailhat:

    Two points to make:

    1. I do not agree withyour position that
    The point missing is that one would still need the AV32R/AV192R to process the incoming digital stream. That said, support for new formats (or variants of DD, dts, etc.) and/or improved room correction would still need to be performed via the pre/pro.

    2. I do agree that IAG's support is not that of TMA. In my case I have been waiting for a software fix for my DAB card (as I live in Canada). The last e-mail I received form IAG is dated July 8, 2004. I hav eheard nothing in the two months that followed... needless to say I am not teriibly impressed... as I now have one card that is useless (DAB) and one card that requires me to buy a new display to get it to work (VSM 2048)... that makes either side of £6,000 of unused silicon... can not tell you how good I feel about that.. :censored: :(

    Just my $0.02

    Cheers,

    Joel
     
  6. Stevesky

    Stevesky
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    To be honest this is my fault as I said to Nick and co at IAG that I would look into it, and although I've started on it I haven't found sufficient hours in the day at the moment to pull it all apart. Hand on heart it will get done, I need to find a bit of time in my super busy schedule.

    As for surround formats PC platforms rarely lead in the decode world, mainly because to be a key decoder developer requires lots of $$$$$$ in licence fees, a thing that only the larger corporations can afford. An example of this is that I haven't seen extended formats like DTS96/24, or post processing Dolby PLIIx on a PC.

    It is getting harder for high end companies to stay in the AV game, the development costs are ever increasing as product complexity increases and high cost units are harder to justify as cheaper solutions using near enough the same core components come onto the market.

    The problem is that if a highend company doesn't embrace new core technolgies from Dolby, DTS etc. then will they be seen as a serious leader in the AV world? The formats may not appeal to the mass markets, but then again you are making a product that doesn't appeal to the mass market... it's for enthusiasts or people who can easily afford such technology and want one of the best.

    As for things slowing down in the AV world, on that I have to disagree! I'm developing a new gen AV processor at the moment and when you're thinking one year ahead there is quite alot of "must have" formats and features that have to go in, that are not in the DP or 192R. Luckily when the DP and 192R came out it was definately leading edge and it's taken time for other manufacturers to catch up... in the AV world you can't stand still for too long as other manufacturers will soon overtake and it's very hard to catch up again.

    A few more cents ...
     
  7. Joelc

    Joelc
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    Stevesky:

    -- For you I will be patient... I had thought that it was actually IAG who was working on this... how stupid of me. No hurry as my home theater is ripped apart pending a renivation.

    -- As far as the "next generation processor" is concerned:

    a) Can these features be built into the AV192R?
    b) What are these features?
    c) Where are you working these days?

    Good to hear from you.

    Cheers,

    Joel
     
  8. mailaht

    mailaht
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    Seems I did not make my point clear re the possible job-sharing between HCPC (or DVD player) and AV32/192R:

    If we could get HDMI modules for our TAG processors, we could leave the decoding of future audio formats (DTS++, DolbyDigitalPlus, etc.) to the PC or DVD player. Especially PCs are ideal for this, as they have ample processing power, will always be up-to-date and, well, do it cheaply while theoretically being able to deliver the same quality (in the digital domain). Actually, not only the decoding, but even the room correction could be done on the PC.

    Via HDMI we could then transmit the already decoded, uncompressed, but still digital multi-channel audio data to the TAG, who would do what it does so well: the sensitive D/A conversion.

    For audio, HDMI is the digital equivalent of the analogue multi-channel input. Only that HDMI (= digital multi-channel input) would actually allow us to use the strengths of the TAG. Obviously, you would not want to feed high-end equipment like the TAG with 'dirty' analogue audio from a PC.

    With an open standard sync-link (world clock, etc.) thrown into the HDMI equation, PC and AV32/192R could be a real Dream Team.

    Unfortunately, IAG does not even talk to us.

    Yours Depressed,

    Torsten
     
  9. mailaht

    mailaht
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    Steve,

    Did not see your reply before posting.

    So you would not believe in porting all the decoding and room correction SW to a convenient platform like the PC, build a sync-link for HDMI and a pre-amp that only does the D/A conversion? You do not see that as the future?

    And I thought I should propose that to you and John as a business idea :)

    Nosy,

    Torsten
     
  10. Stevesky

    Stevesky
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    PC's definately have the processing power nowadays and although the Intel instruction set is not ideal for audio processing, sheer brute force processing can counter balance this. Depending on operating system there can be realtime issues ensuring that your app can process the data in the required time when n'th other 3rd party apps are eating up CPU time but that's more a system config issue. There are also various clocking issues attached to a PC as the audio and video subsystems have independent clocks.

    The main issue I see with such a product is affording the licences to allow you to write the decoders in the first place, and making the plaform cost effective for the consumer. You can't really charge high markups for a PC platform so the money has to be in the software, but traditionally people are not keen in spending lots of money on software. If you have to buy the licences and code up the decoders then why not do it on a high powered DSP and avoid the realtime and reliability issues attached to Windows? You then also have a hardware centric product to sell, rather than just software or a PC in a posh box!
     
  11. mailaht

    mailaht
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    ok then ...

    But can I still have an HDMI module for my AV32R-DP?
    Please!

    T
     
  12. Stevesky

    Stevesky
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    Terribly sorry but we threw them all in the dustbin (with Grahams SACD aware DVD192R) when clearing out the building... we thought no one would want them! :D ;)
     
  13. Kenny Glasgow

    Kenny Glasgow
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  14. GrahamMG

    GrahamMG
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    Hi Steve.
    Yer, very funny....

    BTW, anyone ever seen an HDMI 2 interface for a PC graphics card........ Cant see that happening real soon....
     
  15. babaroga

    babaroga
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    Dr Udo, thanks for the reply, however, I think as some other people here that product turnover is pretty quick these days. Dolby Digital Plus will become a new standard, although Dolby Digital original and DTS will be here to stay for a number of years to come. For example, George Lucas is already talking about porting his Star Wars to new technologies like BlueRay and HD-DVD with better picture quality and many other things. I know that 5 years ago 9.4Gb was a lot of space, but nowadays is only “measly” amount. Also, through audiophiles will welcome new uncompressed format, no matter what you say that and how true it is that CD’s 16 bit 44.1 KHz sampling rate is good enough, and as somebody already mentioned, if a high end company wants to be ahead of competition it has to offer latest technology on the market, just as av32r was in it’s days.

    My original question was whether av32r 192Kbs still have enough processing power to cope with those new formats or we would have to go DP route and if our products will still be supported with new firmwares and software in years to come?

    Can some of IAG guys be kind enough to give us a hint on this so we can either look forward to new features or plan the retreat ;)

    Regards To All
    Darko

    Edit:
    I have now directed this question to IAG guys
     
  16. Joelc

    Joelc
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    Darko:

    Not to be a pain the "you know what" but I doubt that Dr. Zucker's crystal ball is that good since he no longer runs the company than manufactures/supports the TMA product line. Moreover, how can he answer that question without knowing what new standards/software will be required in the future.

    That said, how can he possible advise as to whether "our products will still be supported with new firmwares and software in years to come".

    Joel
     
  17. babaroga

    babaroga
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    Joel,

    I know that Dr Udo has left TagMc long time ago, That question is directed more to Stevski and IAG guys, but I admit I wasn't clear enough on that.

    regards
    Darko
     
  18. jbm007

    jbm007
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    3 months and not one announcement.
    Barry is running the helpdesk by himself.
    No USA support. Product needs to go to Europe for repair.
    IAG purschased a product line and a CUSTOMER BASE.
    Can it be that arrogant that it chooses not to keep them informed?
    Where do they think the new customers will come from?
    IAG are you listening?
    What does it take for some form of communication?
    I am not talking about the employees who try to help us abandoned TAG customers.
    I am talking about the meat heads in the corporate world, who can't make decisions because the their job might be on the line.
    I am talking about the China twins; who think all money should be made by manufacturing in China.

    At least we new what we got with UDO.
     
  19. Plump

    Plump
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    It is their way to do business, and they write no red numbers. They also (almost) never announce new products until they are ready to ship.
    We might like it or not, but I am pretty sure they do not consider old customers as primary targets.

    There is number of TAG and Audiolab units outside and when they need service it does not matter if from first or second hand.

    Udo was different but do not forget, also he was not always telling the real truth....

    Business, almost same **** as politics...
     
  20. GrahamMG

    GrahamMG
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    I wasn't going to enter this one but.......
    Whilst I wait for my morning cuppa......(I have the feeling this may be a long one so, sorry in advance)

    Currently I don't think anyone offers a new audio format that any AV32R/DP or AV192R owner either wants or frankly needs.
    The fact that the original design of the DP/192R was created to keep pace with developments has been proved over and over again.
    We already have a massive presence in the uncompressed audio arena (its called CD.....). "Lossless" is a word used very inaccurately these days.....

    People will argue all day that 44.1Khz 16bit is enough.

    New formats such as SACD have a foothold in the market but apart from a few inspired re-mixes that are way ahead of what is on the equivelent CD, the format is not a "must have" (and DVD-A is a dead duck).

    Any new DTS or DD format recently demo'ed would almost certianly run on the DP/192R if we had someone who could program the code (Steve excluded) and naturally customers who would pay the licence fee.......
    Customers at this end of the market expect rather more than they ever really need and always want the "latest greatest" as it is announced and roundly belittle any company that won't give it to them (marketing over substance).

    I know that the vast majority of customers out in the real world "only" have 5.1 due to size/wife/budget and are perfectly happy, 7.1 can bring something more to the living room experience (I still mantain that a carefully planned 5.1 setup gives just as much enjoyment). Rumours of 10.1 etc. are just plain daft in a living room.....

    Gains in audio perfromance at the level we find ourselves at (DP/192R) will be small and costly now, sensible people might actually call it a day and settle down and enjoy what they have (I do).

    I think Udo has a point on all this and I think I may have explained what he meant above in some small way, I'm not saying I agree with all his missive though.....

    Marketing will still suck many people into buying new "better" product, and in many cases (mass market) there was so much room for improvement we still see and hear positive results but does anything actually sound better (and more importantly is there a sufficent customer base to make money out of it) than what we currently own (be honest now) at a price that we would throw out what we have and start again?

    I have two great passions, cars and hi-fi, my wife knew that before we even dated so she knew what she was getting, she also knows that after 30 years together I've gone just about as far as I wish to with one of them as she also knows there is more room for improvement in the other (and it keeps me out of the house!).....

    Displays/HTPC look set to take over as my next "passion" and in this fast moving world much more is likely to develop, so, with the exception of the TAG VSM scaler, the DP/192R looks set to stay around for some time to come.

    If I had a crystal ball, I would say that in a little while we will all have the option of having a 4k x 2k res display device (such things already exist...) and HDTV (native or scaled to suit) and suitable storage medium to play them from (Blu-ray etc. or HCPC entertainment centres). At that point cars will be my only passion.

    As Clint once said "a man has to know his limitations". One chap I know has a fully loaded AV192R which set him back the thick end of £16k, plus a £5k DVD player, £10k's worth of amps and many many other toys including £8k's worth of remote control......When I suggested that he maybe invested in a £20k 3 chip projector to do it all justice he said "no way you must be mad to spend that"......He also said that he would sell his TAG gear and buy something better first.......When pressed on a possible budget and what he thought he would look at I got a casual "£30k plus speakers, who sells gear at that price?" :rolleyes:
    I would have thought that people with that sort of money got there by being financially astute, obviously not and frankly are "lambs to the marketing slaughter". "More money than sense" has never been more accurate.....

    Finally (for those still with me), IAG have probably realised that they can't easily improve on what they have purchased (except maybe in customer service...Barry excluded), so they can only try to make it cheaper to kill off the traditional opposition, you might expect them to be very quiet on that subject if they were about to flood the market with £300 AV192R's... :eek: People like Steve/John command very high salaries because they are at the top of the tree in this game and who know's, customers might snap up the scary ideas (read extreme cutting edge) that they have tucked away in their "small planet" brains, all it needs is a company with enough money to burn on development (sound familiar anyone?). Profit is quite a different matter regardless of how many "more money than sense" customers that say they would buy it.......

    Probably a whole dollar's worth there.

    Print this and file it in a drawer marked open in a year's time....I welcome comments now and in a year........
     
  21. Kenny Glasgow

    Kenny Glasgow
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    Graham

    Very well put! I agree with you that SACD and DVD-A have failed to capture the publics imagination. My paterner does not understand why we need anything better than CD as "they are superior to vinyl" (another debate for some another time - not me). When I go into detail a blank look comes over her.

    When we first met she knew of my love for music and to a lesser extent movies. She could not believe the money I had spent and that "there isn't any differnece in CD players". However upon hearing she changed her mind and now can appreciate the differnce my (sorry our) TAG gear makes. In fact she will now ask if there is a DTS track on a DVD....(brainwashed). ;)

    (I should also say that even though she wouldn't spend £5k on an amp she would on a holiday or a kitchen) :zonked:

    The only things I can see me doing in the near future is to upgrade my AV32 to DP status, get a large screen (probably LCD) and a decent universal player that can work digitally with my AV32. I'm happy with 5.1 and doubt I'd ever bother with 7.1 but you never know.
     
  22. GrahamMG

    GrahamMG
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    Hi Kenny.
    DP yep, grab it while you can.....

    LCD no no no, look at the latest DLP's at LCD money.......

    Wife's are very similar aren't they......
     
  23. Kenny Glasgow

    Kenny Glasgow
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    Graham

    Thanks' for the tip but I was thinking of 42" display rather than projector.

    How long will the AV32 upgrades be available for do you think?
     
  24. GrahamMG

    GrahamMG
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    42" LCD panels are not that great either yet.......certainly not as good as plasma and that isn't saying much......

    As for AV32R DP upgrades well that is anyone's guess, I suppose until boards run out......I have no idea if they plan to manufacture the existing range PCB's or not (China?). I seriously doubt much modding of owners existing boards will happen until they really have to......
     
  25. Kenny Glasgow

    Kenny Glasgow
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    Graham

    Yeah I agree with regards to the larger panels, most people acdept the trade-off vs. CRT picture quality for a larger slimmer display.

    We have a 17" widescreen Toshiba for the bedroom which does the job and fits in nicley. :thumbsup:

    The AV32 will be done when I get the £££
     
  26. jbm007

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    Graham

    I agree with most of what you say.
    Where I still have problems is with their inability to at least maintain the status quo.
    When I purchased the 192 with scaler; I purchased it with the upgrade approach and the ability to add the hdmi switcher when availble.
    I agree; at this point the AV192 is still the best available and will be for probably some time. But it appears there will be very little if any follow thru to upgrade this product in the future.
    You buy Meridian 800 series and you can still get upgrades. That was the same logic TAG had. I don't see IAG taking that approach. I feel while I have a VERY good product; in the fast moving electronic industry I will be left with no choice but to have to change to something else in the future. I am perfectly happy with the TAG kit. What I am not happy with; is spending 20K on a product that was marketed on the upgrade approach similar to Meridian only to realize the 3 months after I puchased it that path no longer exist. I put my order on hold and would not proceed until I received clear information that my product would be supported and that upgradability would not be an issue. Hence my prior post about being lied to by TAG. I don't want to here about specific new products. What I want to hear is "what future plans are being made to keep current TAG pruducts up to date" . That probably will never happen.
     
  27. Joelc

    Joelc
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    Here here...

    Joel
     
  28. Teejoo

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    Couldn't agree more!

    BTW, I don't think DD+ has anything to do with quality gain, so why would one need this on a HD DVD if they can use DD or DTS? It's more interesting for sat broadcating due to the fact it needs less bandwith.
     
  29. Kenny Glasgow

    Kenny Glasgow
    Well-known Member

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    JBM

    You are right in what you say and how you feel. I would be really p****d off too if I had spent that amount of money :mad:

    I also agree that one statement from IAG would solve a lot of these frustrations but it seems like that is not their way.

    Thankfully (?) their track record with Wharfedale and especially Quad suggests that they will be able to continue to support existing customers and release new products.

    Problem is if they treat loyal customers like you that have paid a small fortune for equipment that they now own the rights to, doesn't exactly inspire confidence and future brand loyalty.
     
  30. Plump

    Plump
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    :lesson:

    Term royal customer hardly exists in a world of consumer electronics, at least not anymore.

    As soon as one customer bought the product(s) he's evolved into existing customer and is no target anymore. Getting good service support should make him sattisfied.
    Aquisition of new customer is priority for all profit orientated companies.

    Thats how the things go. The world gets more and more sad day by day!

    :lesson:
     

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