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-   -   Country of Origin- How much does it mean to you? (https://www.gearslutz.com/board/so-much-gear-so-little-time/39002-country-origin-how-much-does-mean-you.html)

SynthaxUS 4th August 2005 10:37 PM

Country of Origin- How much does it mean to you?
 
Just out of curiousity, how important is the country of origin to you on a scale from 1 (not important) to 5 (very important)?

Would you be more inclined to purchase a US or German (just examples) product as opposed to a Chinese or Mexican (once again, just examples) product?

Looking forward to your insightful comments!

Tom Sailor

Ruudman 4th August 2005 11:40 PM

China counts over 1.3 billion people. They're the highest populated country
with the highest economical potential, at least in short terms.

They have or will have the skills to manufacture everything, at lower cost
than the western countries. Even high-end audio products in the future.

We're bound to live in our time's conjunctures, and at this moment
(and for some time to come) the pendulum swings towards east.


ruudman

Foldedpath 5th August 2005 12:23 AM

It's very important to me, but it has more to do with the exchange rates, at least when comparing European and USA gear. I'm in the USA and the dollar/Euro rate sucks. It could get worse in the near future, and that puts a sort of artificial premium on things. My next mic purchase will probably be a pair of SD's. I'd like to get into a pair of Schoeps, or Gefells, or DPA's before they go from extremely expensive to insanely expensive, over on this side of the pond.

The made-in-USA gear will have the usual gradual price increases over time, but there won't be any added exchange rate penalties for anyone living in the same country. So this stuff is still desirable, but not "gotta buy it now before the price goes up" valuable.

The Chinese gear should either stay about the same (relative to the US dollar) or get even cheaper over time, so that's not much of a factor. The problem with Chinese gear is that they still seem to be in the mode of "bang out a copy cheaper," instead of any real innovation. If a Chinese (or Mexican) company came out with something innovative and truly high quality, I'd go for it at a fair price, and not necessarily a rock-bottom price. But it's going to be hard to innovate in the current market, when everyone is so focused on vintage gear and copies of vintage gear. So for me the problem isn't so much that it's "from China" as that it's "from China and not all that interesting."

warhead 5th August 2005 12:31 AM

Tom, I used to hate buying things in China until I realized one day that you pretty much can't go to a home electronics shop and buy anything made in the USA (or rarely anywhere BUT China), you can't buy anything at Wal Mart that isn't made in China 99% of the time (I HATE Wal Mart, typing their name here makes me cringe) and even my 96 Chevy Blazer was made in Canada even though I fully expected that to at least be made here! A Chevy truck...come on!

I've given up. 99% of the parts (if not 100%) in this DELL laptop are probably Chinese as well. And you know what? The damn thing works fine.

The only thing is, when you find a piece of gear etc that isn't made in China, you have to understand that the folks making it probably made a real living wage and that's why it costs more.

War

SynthaxUS 5th August 2005 12:35 AM

Keep em coming!

Jim Williams 5th August 2005 12:37 AM

You first need to determine what part is important to you as a consumer.

1. Origin of the components used.

2. Origin of the assembly.

3. Origin of the owning company.

Take a Sony product for example. You may find parts from the far east, Europe or the states in there. Even the U.S. parts like a Crystal digital transciever is actually made in the far east. The product may be assembled in Malasia. Sony is a Japanese owned company.

When you see a Made in USA sticker, don't be suprised that only the assembly is domestic.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades

Ruudman 5th August 2005 12:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Foldedpath
So for me the problem isn't so much that it's "from China" as that it's "from China and not all that interesting."

And that is about to change, I tell you.
Both innovative and well spec'ed products will be shipped out that doors.
Why? Because of 1.3 billion people.

ruudman

MusicSh*tty 5th August 2005 12:57 AM

When I look around my home for something made in China that is bitchin' cool and/or of outstanding design and manufacture I do not find anything of Chinese origin.

In a nutshell, by and large, the sterotype is true: China is good at copying and/or mass producing cheap low-end merchandise. Over time (and this is obviously already happening) they will begin producing higher end goods yet still cheap (most likely IMO).

Now if it was as simple as that or about only that then I would be not so concerned. But it's not! Among other things politics and socio-economics are involved.

I come down on the side of puposely not purchasing Chinese goods if at all possible. I could list 100 reasons but I'll spare everyone save for a few.

#1 Typically their goods are of inferior quality
#2 I feel that Americans' thinking towards the consumption of these foreign goods is wrongheaded. Most believe that they are brilliant consumers by buying (and supposedly saving) cheap junk at Wal-Mart for instance.

I'm reluctantly using Wal-Mart as an example here (obviously it goes well beyond ChinaMart) but as a nation we have "saved so much money" by shopping at Wal-Mart that the Chinese have ended up with so many of our dollars that they've basically run out of places to park it. I'm serious.

What do they do with it? They buy our debt (bonds, T-bills & T-notes). They do this because America is the marketplace for their goods and if you are broke you can't buy their junk.

Now parallel to all of this is the general "stupification" of America that most liberal-minded types (which I'm not) think is solely effected by Republican politics or belief in God or whatever but in fact goes way beyond that. That's a whole other thread right there but IMO the bottom line is (and this is difficult for me to type): America is slipping.

In addition to this rampant stupificaton is the prevailing thought that being anything less than a lawyer or an Indian Chief is "a waste of time". This shared, widespread perspective has taken root so well that we have to look the other way when foreigners illegally cross our borders so that we can get our homes roofed or the like. The rest of our jobs (that aren't rooted to the ground like our homes) we outsourced "because it's cheaper".

Now while this is going on we are being told that the nature of our economy/work is being transformed from industrial/manufacturing to "a more service oriented" blah blah blah. Well, what comes to mind when you think of the Service Industry? Well I know it's not IT because those guys report that the pay has been going downhill since the corporations discovered India on the globe. I know it's not Customer Service Rep because wheter I call my ISP or credit card co. or phone co. the same guy named "Jack" answers who sounds a lot more like an old school mate of mine who had to repeat everything. He was from Dehli. It's not on the radio at Nashville's newest FM cuz their are no employees (all piped in). The only place I see Americans going to work in the "Service Industry" is at McDonald's.

The reality as I see it is that each year more and more Americans won't be able to afford not to shop at ChinaMart or buy Chinese goods.

The only way out is the simplest. Spend less. Save more. Buy American.

Yes I know that ain't gonna happen.

hooppie

Jules 5th August 2005 01:00 AM

If it sounds good who cares?

not me...

kats 5th August 2005 01:02 AM

We used to say the same thing about Japanese "copy cats" in the car industry in the '60's and '70's - IE Japanese junk.

The thought of the Japanese trying to compete in the luxury car class was a joke. Time certainly tells a different story.

Anyhow, fear not - in North America we're focusing on the hitech jobs - let the Chinese have their "low end" manafacturing - you know, the jobs we don't want heh

cultureofgreed 5th August 2005 01:03 AM

Thanks to globalization this question is moot. There may be a country of assembly, but one would be hard pressed to find a technology product where every single part is made in a particular country.

This sort of thing always gets me about "Free-Trade". If a company opens a factory outside its country of origin and then ships products to itself for selling in its country of origin, how is that trade? I thought trade was when two people exchanged something.

Foldedpath 5th August 2005 01:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ruudman
And that is about to change, I tell you.
Both innovative and well spec'ed products will be shipped out that doors.
Why? Because of 1.3 billion people.

ruudman

I'm sure that's true, but it won't happen overnight. Japan didn't go from the post WWII "made in Japan" cheap product stigma to Nikon cameras and Sony Trinitron TV's overnight either. That was a 20 year process, as they felt their way into the market and learned how to innovate instead of copy.

Cultural differences could also be a problem, in terms of original Chinese designs for the pro audio market. How many desirable Japanese mics and preamps are there? A few, sure... but they don't exactly dominate the scene, and they've had a loooong time to figure this out.

Ruudman 5th August 2005 01:19 AM

I agree that it will take some time.
Meanwhile, since money walks, the market will be flooded by
replicas and chinese factory's offensive "War of Price and Offer".

ruudman

T_R_S 5th August 2005 03:20 AM

Walk into Wal Mart .. most everything is made in China these days.
Losts of audio stuff is made in China it's pretty hard to avoid. Anything made in Europe or the US is going to have a high price tag. Back in the 80's I used to order fibre optic cables made in Canada 2-3 week delivery then in the 90's they started to make them in Mexico 2 - 3 month delivery. Now they are made in China 6-7 months to get them.
They are cheaper but now I have to wait.

SynthaxUS 5th August 2005 04:08 AM

Seems there is a disparaging acceptance to the fact that you all seemed forced into buying potentially cheaper products so far...that we are so inundated with these items that we just take it for what it is...the new way of tomorrow...

So let me ask the question another way...do you feel better when you buy products from countries that have had a history of making exceptional quality items such as the US, Germany, UK...etc...just to name a few?

Do you feel, even though they cost more that you are indeed getting a better product with better components and workmanship hence a better return on your investment?

Tom

max cooper 5th August 2005 04:19 AM

It's nice that the Chinese are enjoying capitalism. They seem to be having a good time, and they seem to be getting pretty good at it. My G5 is the first Apple Computer I've owned that wasn't made in Cupertino; that's fine by me, it seems to work fine and the build quality seems good.

I don't feel that it's as nice that some of the influx of capital into China is going towards the military build-up towards Taiwan.

I guess we can't all be Fred "Mr." Rogers.

Bob Ross 5th August 2005 01:55 PM

"It is not the consumer's responsibility
to insure the financial solvency
of domestic manufacturing industry
in the absence of competitive quality"


(actual lyrics to an original song my band used play in the 1980's. And I wonder why we never got famous...)

Ruudman 5th August 2005 02:11 PM

LOL!

Reading those lines is like eating elastic porridge.. heh

ruudman

dale116dot7 5th August 2005 02:38 PM

Not-so-hypothetical question:

GM has a plant in, say, Flint, MI. They move the plant to Mexico because labour is cheaper, and maybe the union is a bit cranky. But they now have thousands of people out of work, and now unable to afford to buy those GM-powered cars and trucks. It's not rocket science here.

As for country of origin, I usually prefer - when possible:
1. Canada (that's home)
2. USA or Japan
3. Japan or USA
4. Anywhere in the EU (mostly Germany, France, UK)
5. Mexico
6. Singapore/Malasia/Taiwan

Except for cars. Then it's Germany - until a North American car company makes a good quality car that'll do 80 miles to the gallon, and just feels right when you drive it.

audiomastermind 5th August 2005 02:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jules
If it sounds good who cares?

not me...




that's true, but it has to be made descent too !


brgds
philip

pan60 5th August 2005 03:46 PM

i am not sure i care were something is made as long as it has the quality i am looking for.
i do not care for wal-marts at all, but it seems in the area i live their are few options.
my biggest complaint with most china made items is the price.
compare a boutique made pre, to something by digi, or focusrite, or many others, and it seems a bit lopsided on cost.
if you can get a boutique pre for say 1500.00 to 2000.00, then a china made pre, based on the labor rates should be very cheap, not in the same or close to the same price.
i my be wrong but their seems to be a bit of overcharging going on.
i do not mention digi or focusrite for any reason other then they just came to mind.
as i do not own ether, i can not for sure say were they are made, i was told they were made in china.

7rojo7 5th August 2005 04:22 PM

There are groups of nations that have different basic QC standards and those companies within those countries with renegade superior standards to meet.
for me it kind of falls like this:
German, French, Swiss
Denmark, Holland, Finland
american
english
australian/canadian
japanese
in no particular order
I really like Sanken, Sony and AT mics
australian amps
danish stuff, swiss stuff, american stuff etc...

"the goods"


as we used to call it.

I've heard some well recorded modern stuff lately.

I have an american front end with an english converter section, pro tools HD3 Accel and a few surprises.

I don't currently own Sanken or Sony mics but I have 9 Brauners because I sold all my older mics to get these. Brauner is german, I have 6 E 604e s who knows where they're from but I use them every day for toms and gtr amp (12"cones).

It counts little the country and a lot the individual manufacturer.

twotracker 5th August 2005 04:34 PM

EU/UK or US/Canada
(I like Aussie & Japanese stuff too)
anything else these days is from a profit-over-quality company

The worst example recently was Mackie. The mixers in store displays were US made, but the one they gave you was Chinese, same price. If it was so much cheaper to build there where did those savings go?


So yes, very important for me, especially electronics.

robdarling 5th August 2005 04:40 PM

I have no problem with stuff manufactured anywhere. As long as you're on top of quality control and you don't start playing the "we save this much per unit, we can afford this many more failures/returns" kind of game that the big companies do, I don't see any reason not to manufacture wherever you want. Very honestly, I'm happy to see someone who works hard and is glad to have to the job, no matter where they are.

You might want to do a search over at George Massenburg's forum on Prosoundweb. He went through the same thing a while back when they were looking to make his new box in China.

Best,

Rob

C/G 5th August 2005 05:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by warhead
and even my 96 Chevy Blazer was made in Canada even though I fully expected that to at least be made here! A Chevy truck...come on!
War

Detroit or Windsor, what's the difference? heh I prefer to buy Canadian if I can, why not support your homies? If I can't do that I will gladly buy USA made or Euro made products before anything made elsewhere. I am talking big ticket items like drumsets, mic pres ect not cell phones or video games.

warhead 5th August 2005 06:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Colin Gaucher
Detroit or Windsor, what's the difference? heh I prefer to buy Canadian if I can, why not support your homies? If I can't do that I will gladly buy USA made or Euro made products before anything made elsewhere. I am talking big ticket items like drumsets, mic pres ect not cell phones or video games.

You guys are our homies for sure!

I've got 258,000 miles on my Blazer and counting. No oil leaks, transmission is original and shifts like new, hell the car even looks new still for the most part because I take care of my stuff and maintain it well. Nothing but synthetic oil since the day I bought it (in 99 with 30k miles on it). The original headlights (yes, they are factory bulbs after being on the road for 10 years), water pump, altenator and more still running fine.

So...buy Canadian!

War jkthtyrt

PS: And Fletcher talks about his measly 100k+ miles on a Jeep...my Blazer and I laugh at his low mileage while we smoothly shift towards the 300k mark. kfhkh

C/G 5th August 2005 09:39 PM

I remember an American touris from down south was up in my neck of the woods and saw the block heater cord hanging out of the front grill of my car and he asked if my car was electric wworried That was about 15 years long before any type of hybrid was on the road. About the only thing I will buy that is foreign before Canadian or USA made goods are German cars. I loved my VW untill it got totalled, the Porsche was cool too, but I am going to have to try a BMW next. I have a serious jones on for the new 3 series. They look like they have serious balls.

Reptil 6th August 2005 03:05 AM

there are a lot of chinese. But the industry to produce high quality equipment with low margins for errors is relatively new. And quality control is often not very strict. Volume is not quality. While it is acceptable now for a DVD or MP3 player to quit functioning after a few months, as the thing is incredibly cheap, it is not acceptable for equipment used in a professional environment. There are some microphone companies from china that are doing a great job. But these companies had to fight hard to reach this state of production. As China is a very big, but fragmented country, with no centrally controlled economic guidance, I doubt it very much that a lot of companies will be able to reach a level of manufacturing soon that has been reached in the northern americas Japan and northern europe in the past two decades. As China enters a new era with a demand for high quality products, things might change. Only then will the numbers start to count, and China will be a market for American, Europese, and just maybe also Japanese high quality stuff. For now they are perfectly happy with selling a lot of consumer products in high volumes. And making a lot of money with it. The consumer in the "developed" world has been trained to consume in case of doubt/anxiety/happyness, and will continue to do so. But that has hardly anything to do with the studio equipment market.
It is a waste of resources though to produce a lot of stuff that is not or hardly recyclable, and will have a lifespan of only a few months. As raw material to produce will get scarce in the coming decade, the stream of cheap DVD players, and computer components will dry up.

As for europe, we had a unique situation here, that companies making pro audio gear were supported financially by governments. Add to that the extremely high level of scientific education and craftmanship in analogue design just before the advent of the chip, and the result is amazing gear. Those companies are still here, a lot of them anyway. In the US there has been a profitable music industry, so that is why there is a lot of good gear companies there. In Japan, the level of manufacturing has been consitently high for the past two decades as well. More in synthesizers, and digital recorders than studio processors.

So I got some chinese mics, a lot of german ones. American computers, a lot of german and american outboard. German, japanese and american synths. Mixing console will be a german one from the late eightties. All of them are low maintenance quality machines, that will keep on working flawlessly for a lot of years to come.

As a daytime job I worked as an after sales manager in a company of a friend. Selling Cellphones, mp3 players dvd players. in short, consumer electronics.
It is completely normal to write off 40% off the stock of cheap DVD players inmediately for instance. why? At least 40% will stop functioning within the guarantee period of one year. And will have to be replaced with a new machine. The old broken ones end up in the garbage. spilling their toxic innards. Any attempt of getting a replacement from the supplier in China will be met by a complete silence. As soon as the product hits the stores it is obsolete anyway, because they only run one production line of the model. So it doesn't matter anyway.

As for Apple: It is turning into a Dell kinda company anyway, making high volume consumer electronics, we compared circuit boards of USA G4 and Chinese G5 and there is a noticable difference in build quality. Not that the G5 doesn't rock, it does, but to illustrate the point.
(damm mouse has 2 buttons now too)

do not mix the two. (consumer and pro) they are apples and pears. Being special and individualistic in approach pays in pro audio. Of course if the stuff from china is good enough and has support and is special, I'll use it. But I doubt if it will happen, before global economics take another turn.
sofar my flawed analasys. hope it is of any good to someone mezed

oh and my rating: as for the current situation: 5

Reptil 6th August 2005 03:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MusicSh*tty
Now while this is going on we are being told that the nature of our economy/work is being transformed from industrial/manufacturing to "a more service oriented" blah blah blah. Well, what comes to mind when you think of the Service Industry? Well I know it's not IT because those guys report that the pay has been going downhill since the corporations discovered India on the globe. I know it's not Customer Service Rep because wheter I call my ISP or credit card co. or phone co. the same guy named "Jack" answers who sounds a lot more like an old school mate of mine who had to repeat everything. He was from Dehli. It's not on the radio at Nashville's newest FM cuz their are no employees (all piped in). The only place I see Americans going to work in the "Service Industry" is at McDonald's.

The reality as I see it is that each year more and more Americans won't be able to afford not to shop at ChinaMart or buy Chinese goods.

The only way out is the simplest. Spend less. Save more. Buy American.

Yes I know that ain't gonna happen.

hooppie

I'm no expert but I read that the biggest growing industry in the US is the defence industry.

As for Wal Mart; I agree with you; and I think the 'developed" world as a whole has to change, less for consumer goods, more for durable stuff, that will last for years. It will be very difficult to change peoples habits, but inevitable, as that cheap **** will not be so cheap, when there is less raw material to produce it, and countries like China will have less cheap labour than now. (they will get richer and demand things, just like now is going on in India)
As for the line "economy will go down, profits will evaporate" This is BS, and scaremongering. Profits are now ending up somewhere else anyway, and the whole over-the-top consumer crap is messing with the world I'm living in.
It is going to happen. This is just a fase. Demand quality. Pay more if needed. It is an investment.
stike
sorry for rambling, just couldn't help myself...

robdarling 6th August 2005 04:13 AM

There is no logical connection between the fact that a lot of cheap equipment gets made in China (of course the cheapest stuff will get made where the cheapest labor is) and the actual ability to manufacture quality equipment and components. It is a very large country with a very large labor pool and lots of manufacturers. There are many niches and plenty of place to do quality work.