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Klontz - Mastering Insert Switcher - Review 500 Series Dynamics
Old 1 week ago
  #1
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MattGray's Avatar
 

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Klontz - Mastering Insert Switcher - Review

I don't usually do these sort of posts, but I feel as a longterm member of this board that I must make this review public. Because I don't want people to waste their hard earned dollars on this product like I did.

After ordering a custom insert switcher from Klontz Audio for the studio B mix room, I was very disappointed with the build quality and after finding several issues with the unit, asked for a refund which I was refused immediately. Only then was I informed that there was no refund for a 'custom' build to order unit but I was told if there were any issues I would get 2 years warranty and repair providing I pay for shipping both ways.

After testing the unit I found there was a grounding noise issue. After mentioning this to Simon Sukmono from Klontz he refused to believe my findings and asked me to prove it through a video which I provided along with audio samples. I also tried some suggestions he mentioned which were all to no avail. I questioned why I should have to pay for shipping back to him if the unit was faulty from the moment I received it and asked him if he would consider paying my local tech to pay for his time to troubleshoot the issue and provide a report of his findings. At first he refused but eventually gave in as he was getting some bad publicity from this issue as it was made public on the Mastering Engineers Worldwide FB forum.

Some of you would've seen what ensued on that post. The bottom line, he agreed to pay for my tech's time if he found a fault with the unit (see attached). Now my tech has 40+ years experience, he has serviced my studio for going on 20 years. He has done a very thorough report on his findings (see attached PDF) with this unit and you guessed it there were many faults with this unit which was resolved with replacing several components and tidying up the poor build quality along the way. This report was sent to Klontz Audio and rejected immediately and has since said he doesn't trust my tech's report and won't honour the agreement to pay him for his time or the repair work even though I have a bag of the faulty components which I offered to post out to Klontz so they could test them for themselves. I've had no response from Klontz now for a few months.

Let me say at this point, I'm beginning to think that Klontz is a very dodgy operator and not only doesn't honour his word but also makes rushed, inferior products and tries to get out of refunding, servicing or paying for the mistakes he and his tech have made.

Sorry for the rant but I had quite a number of PM's asking about the follow up from my tech's report and Simon Sukmono's response to that report. Well now you know. I strongly advise against dealing with this guy or buying any Klontz Audio products in general. In my 20+ years of buying pro-audio gear, I've never come across such a dodgy operator as this. Buyer beware!
Attached Thumbnails
Klontz - Mastering Insert Switcher - Review-simons-post.jpg  
Attached Files
Old 1 week ago
  #2
Here for the gear
 

Edited: I originally thought this was in reference to a different entity. Disregard my comments.
Old 1 week ago
  #3
Gear Maniac
 

My Klontz Sontec clone has had no issues, and runs clean. YMMV.

Simon did take a while to build it, and I had to get paypal to follow up to make sure it was being finished.
Old 1 week ago
  #4
Here for the gear
 

My Sontec Clone MES 435D (with Discrete OPAmps) is also without technical defects and sounds fantastic.
Not a nice thing that happened to you but maybe you should just let it be good after your Facebook posts Matt.
Old 1 week ago
  #5
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Hermetech Mastering's Avatar
 

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Thanks for the heads up Matt. Will steer clear.
Old 1 week ago
  #6
Here for the gear
That sucks you had such a bad experience.

I ordered a Sontec 435 EQ and an Insert Switcher from Simon/Klontz and it arrived just recently.

I was beyond happy with his service and quality. They both sound amazing!!

He did make my units 220v when it was spec’d for 120v. But he made good on it by paying me for my tech to switch it.

His communication was great and fast and I am very happy with his products. I have no hesitation having him build another product for me.
Old 1 week ago
  #7
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Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 

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Matt,

Thanks for the heads up. No one should have to go through all of that just to get something to work correctly. Glad you got it straitened out sorry you had to use your own tech to "fix" the problems. Hope fully you now have a good unit you can trust.

Last edited by Thomas W. Bethe; 1 week ago at 02:21 PM..
Old 1 week ago
  #8
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I’ve watched your story develop on the FB group and now see this here. It’s such a bummer to hear bout your situation.
Old 1 week ago
  #9
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teebaum's Avatar
I'm sad to say I understand your experience.

i bought a klontz bax once and there were some things not ok - the frequencies weren't right, unity gain was shifted by 5.5 dB and the gainranges weren't correct.
Soundwise it was really good and mechanically it was quite ok.
i contacted him and it was finally the question if i would send the device back to him at my expense, wait a long time again and then also can't be sure if everything is right (a person who makes so many slips of the pen...) - or if i simply accept it.
you can't sell such a device anymore, so i donated it to my assistant.

a second experience was a well-known german mastering technician, who offered me his klontz "sontec-clone". he had the eq already reworked at a very renowned and respected german boutique manufacturer, because also this device had some heavy flaws, among others wrong gainranges.
the device arrived defective, which didn't surprise me because of the mechanical deficiencies.
maybe it would have been possible to fix it with a certain effort, but i had no longer any appetite for such an unreliable device and sent it back (also because my first experience was already not positive).
the return transport seems to have done "a good job", the postal service has "repaired" it again.

we mastering engineers should reliably deliver files, which then go into production. we are also a kind of final check.
with devices that have such massive deficiencies and mechanical inadequacies, i don't want to stand for the result. it can quickly cost me my reputation.
so i don't find these products "mastering grade", rather a pure lottery.

Last edited by teebaum; 1 week ago at 05:26 PM..
Old 1 week ago
  #10
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Ben F's Avatar
 

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Lessons learned- getting what are essentially Group DIY builds made with cheap parts and labor may be unreliable.

Probably time to move on now.
Old 1 week ago
  #11
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MattGray's Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben F View Post
Lessons learned- getting what are essentially Group DIY builds made with cheap parts and labor may be unreliable.

Probably time to move on now.
That's the thing, I had moved on but then Simon decided it would be nice to attempt to discredit me and my tech Warren yesterday by saying that the report he did wasn't credible and also calling into question our integrity/honesty. All this after I paid for the repairs, I just couldn't believe it and it made me want to expose Klontz Audio further.

Klontz - Mastering Insert Switcher - Review-screen-shot-2018-12-06-10.29.03-am.jpg
Attached Thumbnails
Klontz - Mastering Insert Switcher - Review-screen-shot-2018-12-06-10.29.03-am.jpg  
Old 1 week ago
  #12
Here for the gear
 

Response to Matt

My friend just inform me about this thread, so I think it’s time for me to response.
First, english is not my first language, so I apologize if I pick the wrong word, I hope you can get the point.

This this the whole story,
Once upon a time, I meet Matt at MEW forum. Someone need user experience/review about Klontz Eq before get one. But this guy Matt always discourage others about klontz EQ, although he never own one. He talk as if he’s a tech expert. But I know he’s not . He always talk that to get left right channel matched, you need to use expensive rotary switch, but everyone with little electronic knowledge will know that matched Left Right is depend on the what resistor tolerance use, not the switches it self. 1% modern metal film resistor will do that. It’s look that he doesn’t like to be flagged, discussion end.

Surprisingly, not very long time he mail me to build insert switcher for him. That’s really surprise, after what we have been through. He give me the spec, what switches he want to use, what color, etc... He paid $1250 +shipping to AU for an insert switcher build (8 stereo insert, two M/S processor, 1 paralleled mix, monitor level offset knob, standard generic rotary switch).

He got the unit arrived safely. I got mail from him that say like “hey the switch feel cheap, it doesn’t feel like the one on my EQ (elma)” , and ask to get refund. But he said that that it’s sound good and clean too. Unfortunately, for this kind of “custom build”, there’s no return/refund policy. What customer get is 2 years full warranty, the warranty policy can be read clearly on my facebook (link). So customer should read and agree before make order.

A few month later, I’ve got mail from him. He said that there’s weird noise when M/S button engaged. I ask him to make short vid about the noise problem. He sent me the vid show the unit setup on his nice studio and the weird noise on the screen when he push the M/S button.

I said to him that’s not the proper way diagnose the problem. When outboard attached to the M/S circuit, they became one/ integrated. It’s like someone connect the outboard to AUX the mixing console then said that, “hey the mixing console is noisy”. We need to do loop test to find out where’s the noise came from. I tell him to send the unit to get the unit check as a warranty policy service, but unfortunately he refused and choose to make his own policy, he demand some money from me. There’s a long unproductive debate at the mastering forum, and was deleted by admin.

Finally we agree he unit check by technician on me, but at the same time he put paypal dispute (item not as describe claim) and make my fund got held, what a nice agreement. But dispute was reject by papal.

Another his friend (M**k F****)mail me with a sketch/design and want me to build insert switcher for him, after the unit finish and ship to his door, he refused to received the packaged and put paypal dispute for “Item not received”, he win and got full refund include shipping cost. What a nice day.

I received the mail from the technician, I’m very surprises with what the report said. It’s just doesn’t make sense. Instead of addressing the problem, he did ridiculous think, like, “hey you don’t need to use heat glue on some place, but it’s ok”, “ hey the PSU boar only got one but attach”, etc. It’s sounds that someone was order him to spot those kind of thing. Everything has reason, the unit will be ship long way , brutally transport to other country, I did what neccesary to make it arrive safely.

And technically opinion non senses, “The capacitor on the PSU was fault, that’s make the Burr Brown DRV134 chip (balanced line driver) make stange noise”.

Firstly, I put good quality, much higher voltage rate capacitor at the PSU, almost 3 times higher, so cap fault would be almost impossible, unless connected in reverse.

Secondly, The unit full of DRV134 chips anywhere, so why only when MS engaged? If it was power supply fault then the noise will always be there. That’s what I called “not technically make sense”
So I reject his tech report, I suggest him to ship the unit back to check, that’s final. It’s look that he refused.

Matt said that his tech have 40 years experience and work for him for years. But unfortunately, for this kind of situation what we need is a “neutral technician”, I know better my design, I will work faster to fix out the problem (if they exist)

This is my last response for this issue. No discussion any further from me. All mail was saved, so I'm NOT make up the story. I let people judge this situation. I can upload our mail conversation screenshoot if I need too.

He threatening me to spread the negative thing on the net, if I don’t let him to have the money, and he did! but I’m sorry I cannot fulfill his demand, it’s mostly not about the money, but because it's not the right way to do.


Best,
Simon Klontz
Attached Thumbnails
Klontz - Mastering Insert Switcher - Review-dscn4500.jpg   Klontz - Mastering Insert Switcher - Review-dscn4476.jpg  

Last edited by Simon Klontz; 1 week ago at 02:12 PM..
Old 1 week ago
  #13
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by teebaum View Post
I'm sad to say I understand your experience.

i bought a klontz bax once and there were some things not ok - the frequencies weren't right, unity gain was shifted by 5.5 dB and the gainranges weren't correct.
Soundwise it was really good and mechanically it was quite ok.
i contacted him and it was finally the question if i would send the device back to him at my expense, wait a long time again and then also can't be sure if everything is right (a person who makes so many slips of the pen...) - or if i simply accept it.
you can't sell such a device anymore, so i donated it to my assistant.

a second experience was a well-known german mastering technician, who offered me his klontz "sontec-clone". he had the eq already reworked at a very renowned and respected german boutique manufacturer, because also this device had some heavy flaws, among others wrong gainranges.
the device arrived defective, which didn't surprise me because of the mechanical deficiencies.
maybe it would have been possible to fix it with a certain effort, but i had no longer any appetite for such an unreliable device and sent it back (also because my first experience was already not positive).
the return transport seems to have done "a good job", the postal service has "repaired" it again.

we mastering engineers should reliably deliver files, which then go into production. we are also a kind of final check.
with devices that have such massive deficiencies and mechanical inadequacies, i don't want to stand for the result. it can quickly cost me my reputation.
so i don't find these products "mastering grade", rather a pure lottery.
Hi Dan, did you ever contact me about that? I don't think I ever hear from you. Baxandall is a tone control, not a precision equalizer, but unity gain was shifted by 5.5 dB is not normal at all, you should contact me.

About the freq, please read about turnover freq concept.

ABOUT BAXANDALL

I built gear just to get the job done, no fancy thing. $1000 Klontz BAXX is discrete baxandall, it use QUAD EIGHT AM10 discrete opamp run at highest voltage supply.

best,
Simon Klontz

Last edited by Simon Klontz; 1 week ago at 02:14 PM..
Old 1 week ago
  #14
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MattGray's Avatar
 

Verified Member
I'm going to keep this brief but there's a lot of lies and misinformation in Simon's response here and he's left out all the most relevant bits in our previous communications all in an effort to discredit me and my tech.

This post was not about trying to get reimbursed, it's been months since I paid for these repairs. This post was merely to warn others of my experience with this product, the poor service I received and the way Simon Sukmono treats his clients if there are issues with his workmanship/product. None of this is made up, I don't have time to make up lies or to pay my tech to make up fake reports.
Old 1 week ago
  #15
Gear Guru
 
Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattGray View Post
I'm going to keep this brief but there's a lot of lies and misinformation in Simon's response here and he's left out all the most relevant bits in our previous communications all in an effort to discredit me and my tech.

This post was not about trying to get reimbursed, it's been months since I paid for these repairs. This post was merely to warn others of my experience with this product, the poor service I received and the way Simon Sukmono treats his clients if there are issues with his workmanship/product. None of this is made up, I don't have time to make up lies or to pay my tech to make up fake reports.
I hope you get this resolved in your favor.

I had someone build me a simple monitor switch panel. He did an outstanding job on it. When I opened it up I was surprised to see some perfboard used for some of the sections and it was all hand wired point to point. It worked and sounded perfect and I had no complaints. The outside of the switcher was beautifully done the inside looked a little DIY/Homemade but the proof was in the way it worked. I guess in this case everything looks better than it works. FWIW
Old 1 week ago
  #16
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teebaum's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon Klontz View Post
Hi Dan, did you ever contact me about that? I don't think I ever hear from you. Baxandall is a tone control, not a precision equalizer, but unity gain was shifted by 5.5 dB is not normal at all, you should contact me.

About the freq, please read about turnover freq concept.

ABOUT BAXANDALL

I built gear just to get the job done, no fancy thing. $1000 Klontz BAXX is discrete baxandall, it use QUAD EIGHT AM10 discrete opamp run at highest voltage supply.

best,
Simon Klontz
I bought the baxx (customized) from you in may 2015.
the baxandial eq's frequencies are not so clear to define (like all shelfs) is out of question, with high and low pass it looks a bit different (customized frequencies).
the same for unity gain.

i was in contact with you, because i don't know your email anymore, i can't find the correspondence at the moment, but on one device for about $1000.- again the postage costs for switzerland - indonesia - switzerland were too much for me, especially since i was a little shocked about the many small mistakes in one device - i just didn't trust anymore that it would have been ok after a revision round - especially since i heard in the meantime also from other people that they got devices, which were faulty.

i've never made these things public, because i don't really want to harm a boutique manufacturer, since these messages have been piling up in my environment and now the mail from matt was coming, i think i should slowly stop protecting simon and start protecting potential buyers.

i don't accuse simon of malice either, but his work is - i'm sorry to say - sloppy and flawed, a final check doesn't seem to happen.

but instead of having an understanding he chooses the tactic "attack is better than defense" - humility would be better...

Last edited by teebaum; 1 week ago at 06:15 PM..
Old 1 week ago
  #17
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by teebaum View Post
I bought the baxx (customized) from you in may 2015.
the baxandial eq's frequencies are not so clear to define (like all shelfs) is out of question, with high and low pass it looks a bit different (customized frequencies).
the same for unity gain.

i was in contact with you, because i don't know your email anymore, i can't find the correspondence at the moment, but on one device for about $1000.- again the postage costs for switzerland - indonesia - switzerland were too much for me, especially since i was a little shocked about the many small mistakes in one device - i just didn't trust anymore that it would have been ok after a revision round - especially since i heard in the meantime also from other people that they got devices, which were faulty.

i've never made these things public, because i don't really want to harm a boutique manufacturer, since these messages have been piling up in my environment and now the mail from matt was coming, i think i should slowly stop protecting simon and start protecting potential buyers.

i don't accuse simon of malice either, but his work is - i'm sorry to say - sloppy and flawed, a final check doesn't seem to happen.

but instead of having an understanding he chooses the tactic "attack is better than defense" - humility would be better...
Dan,

I think my mail is everywhere, and you can always found me on fb, I think we're long friend on fb. How could I know your problem if you're not telling me?

I don't know what do you mean about "attack is better than defense"? I WON'T write this response if my friend doesn't sent the link here to me. I never attack anyone, what for? can you show your accusation?

Every unit was tested before shipping, but sometimes something happened during transporting around the world. Packaging were much improve lately to minimize the transport risk. I shipped many unit around the world, yes sometimes there's problem, but I do my best to help and solve the issues. But everything must be make sense.

I always try to keep the unit price as low as possible, I know in electronic thing, sometimes might happen during operation, so it will help to minimize the fixing cost for small/medium studio, especially in this music industry situation.

Yours is the first BAXX build, I still offering to fixing your unit, even it's been 3 years now. You have my contact now [email protected] dot com.

again, sorry if I choose the wrong words. My english is not very good.

best,
Simon Klontz
Attached Thumbnails
Klontz - Mastering Insert Switcher - Review-baxx.jpg  
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