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Subject: FAQ: rec.audio.* Mail Order 7/07 (part 10 of 13)
This article was archived around: 15 Jan 2009 06:01:57 GMT
17.0 Mail Order
Mail order is appealing. The general hope is that by using mail
order, you avoid pushy sales people, you pay fixed, discounted
prices, and you have written catalog descriptions to help you
select your purchase. In practice, most mail order today is
"phone order", in that the company completes the deal with a
phone call. Many of the "mail order" companies don't even have
price lists or catalogs. They are just retailers that are
willing to sell over the phone and ship the merchandise to
you. In some cases, retail store sales are better deals than
mail order. Don't expect the lowest price from the first place
you call. Also, don't expect excellent service from everyone,
and especially not from the company with the lowest price.
It pays to be careful. Some have reported that previously
believed reputable dealers will disappear with their money,
never to be seen or heard again. Use a credit card that has
17.1 Who sells brand XXX equipment mail-order?
Consult the rec.audio.marketplace mail-order survey published by
nau@SSESCO.com (William R. Nau) or contact William Nau directly.
This survey is also available via FTP in the pub/rec.audio
directory of SSESCO.com. If you have any mail order
experiences to share, please send them directly to William Nau.
17.2 Is the stuff sold by DAK really awesome? Damark?
DAK is out of business. It is believed that DAK went out of
business because they invested too heavily in 80286 PCs as
the price and demand dropped. Dave Platt joked that the closing
of DAK resulted in the great superlative shortage of 1995,
because DAK used many wild claims in their advertisements.
Regarding Damark, their products seem to be as described, but
not necessarily bargains. In addition, there have been a
number of consumer complaints against Damark for charging
for products not ordered.
Doug Purl reports that DAK was named after and owned by Drew
A. Kaplan and that Damark is named after and owned by Drew And
MARy Kaplan, so these two companies may share more than style.
Richard Bollar did some research and came up with a different
origin for the name Damark: "The firm's moniker is a
combination of the first names of the founders, David Russ and
Mark Cohn, who had both worked at COMB, a discount mail-order
house. They became vendors to COMB, but when that company
refused to pick up some of their merchandise, they started
their own catalog business. At first they continued to sell to
their former employer, but when it forced them to decide
whether to be suppliers or competitors, Cohn and Russ decided:
they started DAMARK in 1986."
Whichever is true, be cautious when buying any product without
an audition. Ignore any wild claims or comparisons to products
costing many times more. There are many examples of excellent,
expensive products that are worth every penny, but don't sound
great. Someone could honestly claim that their product sounds
better than products costing ten times as much, yet they could
still be selling an inferior product with poor sound.
17.3 Is the stuff sold by Cambridge Sound Works really awesome? What
about the other brands of tiny satelites and subwoofers?
Many experienced listeners report that the systems sold by
Cambridge Sound Works which consist of two small satelites and
one medium sized subwoofer are a poor value if your goal is
best sound quality for the money. However, the convenience of
tiny satelites is important to some people.
Perhaps someday, someone will develop a great tiny satelite
plus subwoofer system, but all examples so far seem to suffer
from lumpy frequency response and poor reconstruction of the
stereo image. The same complaint applies to similar systems
from other makers. Some believe that it is essential to have
all of the left channel sound coming from the exact same
location for best stereo image and smooth frequency response.
This premise implies that tiny satelite plus subwoofer systems
will always be inferior.
Cambridge Sound Works also sells more conventional tower and
bookshelf systems. These, like many other speakers on the
market, are worth a listen.
However, the authors of this FAQ strongly recommend that you
ignore all recommendations and make your decision based on
your own personal listening tests.
17.4 What should I watch out for when buying mail order?
Many of the cautions mentioned in warranties (20.1) apply.
Look for a store which has been around a long time. Look for
friends which have dealt with the store and been satisfied.
Look for a store which does not lie or stretch the truth.
17.5 What is gray market?
See warranties (20.1), below.
17.6 Are there any good mail-order sources for recordings?
Alas, Noteworthy is out of business as of November 1996.
BMG and Columbia also sell CDs mail-order, but have a smaller
list of offerings and higher prices. However, BMG and Columbia
have interesting deals to entice new customers. Read the fine
print before you sign to be sure that they are right for you.
BMG and Columbia both have promotional offerings to "members"
which allow you to buy two or three discs for the price
of one. These can be very good deals, if you want what they
have. Look at their advertisements in common magazines and
Sunday newspapers for a better idea of what they carry. They
list much of their line in their ad. Don't expect much more.
For more information on BMG and Columbia, see section 10.13,
10.14, 10.15, and 10.16 of this FAQ.
Tower Records has a mail order department which also sells CDs.
Tower is a large retail chain. Many have bought from their
retail outlets happily. They do not have a catalog of their own,
but will sell you a Schwann or similar catalog and offer to get
virtually any disc out of those catalogs. Contact:
Tower Records Mail Order Department
New York City, NY 10012 USA
800-648-4844 or 800-522-5445
Another source is Music New Hampshire; 800-234-8458. They sell
many $3.79 post-paid sampler CDs and also many independent label
single-artist discs. Most single artist discs are $15.00 each.
Shipping is $3 for 1-3 discs and $5 for 4-up. Their stuff is
mostly obscure artists. They have Rock, Jazz, Classical, Folk,
Country, and Children's offerings. Affiliated with CD Review.
Music New Hampshire - Wayne Green Inc
70 Route 202N
Peterborough NH 03458-1107 USA
If you like the idea of buying CDs by Modem, consider
The Compact Disc Connection
1016 East El Camino #322
Sunnyvale CA 94087 USA
Modem 212-532-4045 New York City NY
312-477-3518 Chicago IL
408-730-9015 Sunnyvale CA
617-639-0238 Boston MA
They have a collection of over 120,000 CD titles. People have
said that their service is excellent. Prices are fairly good.
Shipping is $3.50 for orders under $100.00 and free for larger
orders. They do not stock anything, but deliver from the
warehouses of their suppliers. This means that some items may
be back ordered or completely discontinued while remaining in
their on-line data base. They advertise 94.2% of orders in
1992 shipped, though not necessarily immediately. You can also
get their catalog from ftp.cdconnection.com
There have been a couple of music (cd/lp) mail-order lists
compiled on the net - one older list can be found via anonymous
ftp to ftp.uwp.edu in the file: /pub/music/misc.mailorder.rmm
Someone is revising this file and it should be updated or found
in a new file name there in the future.
Another list contains vendors that specialize in progressive
rock, electronic and experimental music, is maintained by
Malcolm Humes and posted sporadically to alt.music.progressive,
rec.music.misc, & rec.music.info. This also can be ftp'd from
ft.uwp.edu, in the file: /pub/music/misc/mailorder.progressive
Federal Music and Video markets "Discount Coupon Books"
featuring two-for-one CDs and Tape deals. They require payment
with the order, which many consider risky. One company that
distributes these coupon books for Federal Music is Reed Music.
The price from Federal or Reed Music with the two-for-one deal
is comparable to the price from Noteworthy. So far, no net
user has yet related any positive or negative experience with
Reed Music or Federal Music and Video. Federal Music and Video
has been in business since 1985, so is probably legit. However,
in that they require payment in advance it is probably safer
to avoid them completely and use a discounter like Noteworthy.
Occasionally, a new dealer will pop up offering free CDs
and/or a great coupon book. They may be a dealer for Federal.
Save your money.
There is a list of mail-order music companies on the web:
Most seem to be specialized smaller dealers.
When considering mail purchases of CDs, consider shipping costs.
It is common for people to charge between $1 and $3 per disk for
"shipping and handling". This makes mail order less attractive,
but may be equally balanced by a lack of sales tax.
Get archive "mailorder.txt" from "/pub/cd" on "jammin.nosc.mil"
for a complete list of mail order music sellers.
The information contained here is collectively copyrighted by the
authors. The right to reproduce this is hereby given, provided it is
copied intact, with the text of sections 1 through 8, inclusive.
However, the authors explicitly prohibit selling this document, any
of its parts, or any document which contains parts of this document.
Bob Neidorff; Texas Instruments | Internet: firstname.lastname@example.org
50 Phillippe Cote St. | Voice : (US) 603-222-8541
Manchester, NH 03101 USA
Note: Texas Instruments has openings for Analog and Mixed
Signal Design Engineers in Manchester, New Hampshire. If
interested, please send resume in confidence to address above.