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China Mic Trip Pictures and Thoughts Condenser Microphones
Old 8th January 2010
  #811
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post
Way back in the early part of this thread I argued that loss of manufacturing jobs is not is causing high US unemployment
I did not read the whole thread, so I missed that. But that is not entirely accurate information. Manufacturing jobs are what is being lost. Everything in Wal-Mart is made in China. Your shoes, clothes, TV sets, mics, etc., are all made in China. Where are the steel plants? It's a plain fact that people in China work for a fraction of what a US worker demands, and companies have exploited that for years and years, and it's showing the results in the manufacturing sector big time.

Couple that with risky financial instruments and corruption, and the whole economy tanked. Not to mention huge spending on the war machine and aggressive foreign policy, but I digress.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post
but rather, the poor quality of public education does not turn out enough entrepreneurial thought-leaders and creators of high-value added products and services.
Again, I gotta disagree, respectfully. There are plenty of entrepreneurs in the US. Their workforce is in China. This assumption implies that the Chinese have better education, more entrepreneurs, and and thought leaders? Many smart people are graduating from high school and college as we speak. Public education is not all bad, private education is proven to be no better. Parenting is as important a contributor to education as is a school system.

Yes, there is are always going to be middle-to-low educated people in this country, and those are many of the folks that are out of work. Those are the folks who make things, spend money, and keep the economy humming along. They buy houses, cars, mics, open bank accounts, use electricity, buy gas, in general, consume. I agree that education is extremely important, but the pregnant fact is that the China Price is the elephant in the room.

China has hundreds of thousands of jobs (thousands upon thousands (!!) of factories, are investing billions in Afghanistan, not for killing, but to extract the resources it needs to sustain this high level of production. Contrast that with our policies. Why would people be making mics in China at all if they could make them competitively here? They work cheaper. A lot cheaper.

For you to say that huge swaths of the job market are gone due to low Chinese manufacturing costs is not the cause of job loss, but that Americans just aren't smart enough to keep up is a mystery to me, and ignores the facts.

Like many. I'm happy to have inexpensive products to purchase, but without jobs, who is buying them? I think what you do is fantastic, and you are held in high esteem because of your quality of work, education, personality, and ethic, but I'm just not all that excited about stuff being made in China.
Old 8th January 2010
  #812
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As we discussed some time ago, if Michael made his mics here, with American machinists (I'm one of them) and electronics techs, The price would be out of the range of the majority of recordists.
Old 8th January 2010
  #813
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Therein lies the problem. Americans have to be paid a decent wage, understandably. I'm not against his quest, and may buy a couple mics from him, I'm sure his quality control is top shelf. But to say that the 'China Price' is not the real problem with job loss, while at the same time employing Chinese workers instead of US workers to make your products, and show pictures of it, is a bit confusing.
Old 9th January 2010
  #814
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I'm really going to try and "headline" my response because we've raked this all over the coals early on in this thread which I encourage you to read. Here are the headline points:

1.) I wanted to make my new line of mics by using machinists in the Springfield, MA area.

2.) When I interviewed a number of them they laughed me out of their shops. The few remaining machine shops in this former manufacturing town ("Indian Motocycles") are very comfortable sucking off the tit of defense department contracts that have no relationship to the normal laws of supply and demand.

3.) I intend to source parts externally and do final assembly in the US (as I am already doing with my MJE-K47H capsule head) and this will provide labor opportunities for US workers (as it already is doing).

4.) The days when a high school or trade school-educated laborer can expect to make a middle class living in the US are basically over - with the exception of "location based" jobs held by plumbers, electricians and skilled carpenters etc - jobs that can't be outsourced because the services must be delivered locally.

Finally, I'll ask this question - why are people so resistant to the idea that they have to take personal responsibility and raise their skill levels to compete in a global economy by adding real value to the human experience rather than just expecting some job-manna to be delivered from Heaven?
Old 9th January 2010
  #815
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post

4.) The days when a high school or trade school-educated laborer can expect to make a middle class living in the US are basically over - with the exception of "location based" jobs held by plumbers, electricians and skilled carpenters etc - jobs that can't be outsourced because the services must be delivered locally.

Finally, I'll ask this question - why are people so resistant to the idea that they have to take personal responsibility and raise their skill levels to compete in a global economy by adding real value to the human experience rather than just expecting some job-manna to be delivered from Heaven?
That's basically correct. Tech schools are turning out CNC programmer/operators who alternate as geeks and monkeys. Old guys like me who do the manual side are not being replaced. Tech schools don't teach you how to take a worn-out, 30+ year old gear box and make it run like new, and most grads don't want to work that hard anyway.

One note about your first point, Michael; I have been in shops, including my current one, that have been burned badly by R&D jobs that went way over and were never paid for, so reluctance may be more than meets the eye...
Old 9th January 2010
  #816
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post
Finally, I'll ask this question - why are people so resistant to the idea that they have to take personal responsibility and raise their skill levels to compete in a global economy by adding real value to the human experience rather than just expecting some job-manna to be delivered from Heaven?
Not so fast. (Please don't read this as a personal attack on you, more a discussion of the economic system spawned by this thread. I am really just very interested in finding a solution to this mess. I wish you the success you've clearly earned, you are merely working within the parameters given you by the global economic/political system. I came in at the end of this long discussion, and I probably should've read the whole thing before posting. The headline "China Trip" and the photos got me thinking about all the jobs lost due to outsourcing, which you agree is happening, as evidenced by the 'few remaining machine shops' in the area. )

Since you asked....I'm glad to see your first choice was local labor. Your interviews with the machinists highlight the problems. A few questions for you: What is a skill worth? Once a machinist is out of work because the contracts disappeared due to outsourcing, what should he do? Go back to college and learn banking? How educated are the guys on Wall Street making million dollar bonuses? Doctorate in shiestering? Could these guys even check their windshield washer fluid? How could everyone be a CEO? Somebody has to work! It is not necessarily a simple linear relationship as you describe.

We are in big trouble if what you say is true, and highly skilled people with 'only' a high school education will never earn a middle class wage. That describes much of this country, the backbone of America. What to do with all these skilled people?

Poverty level for a family of five in the lower 48 is already almost $26,000 a year (that's $100 a day for all 260 work days a year), which would be hard to live comfortably on here, but is much more than Chinese laborers make, so it is a bit imbalanced in their favor. Sure, some skills can't be outsourced, but the labor jobs that CAN be outsourced used to keep people working and the economy rolling.

I am NOT one of those people that thinks jobs should fall from Heaven (like they are in China), and that people shouldn't take personal responsibility for their skill set, I'm for more thorough education and NOT lowering the standards so everyone gets an "A", so I agree with you.

However, all these people in China laboring away for cheap products are not highly educated, and are performing a job that needs to be done. I'd just rather see it being done here, as I'm sure you would. It's all economics at that point, not skills or education, isn't it?

For example, I needed (2) 100ft Cat5 cables to extend my Furman headphone system. I called Skycraft, the local resource, and they wanted $29 each. Online, I found them for $5 each from China. Including shipping, the total was under $20. And I could choose the color, so I could more easily hide the cables along the baseboard. Otherwise, both cables were identical. How long will Skycraft last? Repeat this a thousand times a day in a thousand situations.

The work being done over there could certainly be done just fine over here, but they'll work for $1 an hour in China (actually, many work for room and board, outside the view of the 'front factory' that they show to the Wal-Marts of the world). How can a skilled worker in America compete with that? THAT is what I'm talking about, and why I disagree that the problem is as simple as saying we are not smart enough or entrepreneurial enough anymore in America (although the education system is not the best) to compete. The labor still needs to be done, no getting around that.

I'm all for adding personal value to your work, which is why you are successful. My whole career is based on this concept as well.

Anyway, you do great work, keep it up!
Old 9th January 2010
  #817
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Maslow!
READ Maslow, can't lose.
Old 9th January 2010
  #818
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China's economic crash coming?
Contrarian Investor Predicts Economic Crash in China - NYTimes.com

A good summary of this debacle:
The China Price | Home
Old 9th January 2010
  #819
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Thanks for the links, your carefully considered and well-expressed contributions to this thread - and for the encouraging words.

If you're a Times reader you may have already seen the book review linked below, but I'll offer it again for folks who may have missed it.

WHEN CHINA RULES THE WORLD
The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order
By Martin Jacques

Early in this thread I argued for less defense spending and more education spending as a way of addressing the "China challenge". Nicholas Kristoff of the Times has a wonderful article about Costa Rica and how the people there are the world's happiest - by several different measures. Some excerpts...

"...Costa Rica is one of the very few countries to have abolished its army, and it’s also arguably the happiest nation on earth...What sets Costa Rica apart is its remarkable decision in 1949 to dissolve its armed forces and invest instead in education. Increased schooling created a more stable society, less prone to the conflicts that have raged elsewhere in Central America. Education also boosted the economy, enabling the country to become a major exporter of computer chips and improving English-language skills so as to attract American eco-tourists...I’m not antimilitary. But the evidence is strong that education is often a far better investment than artillery."
Old 9th January 2010
  #820
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post
Finally, I'll ask this question - why are people so resistant to the idea that they have to take personal responsibility and raise their skill levels to compete in a global economy by adding real value to the human experience rather than just expecting some job-manna to be delivered from Heaven?
Because, Michael, that it's not a matter of "raising skill level". A good machinist is a highly skilled craftsman. Why should he have to retrain for some totally different job that he may never reach the same level of accomplishment doing? Is a man who is a master at operating lathes and milling machines going to learn to design microphones overnight? Is he even going to be able to retrain to a drone level job designing websites?

That's what the problem is and there's no easy solution.

A great deal of the problem is also that inflation has so eroded our economy that money is worthless. When Nixon took us off the hard currency standard he opened the gates for his profiteering cronies in the Republican party to destroy the economy for their own benefit. In China workers can live on the lower wages they receive. Workers here cannot do that.

A "service economy", which is what we have been forcibly converted to, is unsustainable over the long run as there is no real value being produced; most jobs in the US are parasitic in nature as inflation makes it less and less possible for production to turn a profit. The result is slow collapse.

There is no easy solution.

A person in your position who wants to make a good product at a reasonable price MUST go to where inflation has not destroyed the wage expectations of the workforce.

40 years ago it was Japan. Now it's China. In another 30 or 40 years it will be Africa. After that we'll have nowhere else to go (Antarctica has no production potential), so my prediction is that the global economy will undergo profound collapse, there will be the possibility of a new dark age, and eventually everything will have to start over, but with seriously depleted natural resources. Whether or not mankind will be able to recover depends to a large degree on how much knowledge is lost in the crash - my predictions are not good.
Old 9th January 2010
  #821
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post
WHEN CHINA RULES THE WORLD
The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order
By Martin Jacques
[I quote:] "Its ruling Communist Party, having largely set aside its socialist ideology, has become a modern version of an imperial dynasty."

Which is pretty much what I was saying here.

[I quote:] "The United States often promotes democracy within nations. China insists on democracy among nations."

Tibet and Taiwan may disagree. Of course, the Chinese government claims that Tibet and Taiwan are part of China; but then, Hitler said the same to justify his invading his native Austria. Also, using the same "it was once ours" argument, England could claim rulership over the States, France over England, and Italy (the Roman empire) over France. Maybe we should all start learning Italian. Or Latin.
Old 9th January 2010
  #822
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It's becoming increasingly tiresome to read comments by Americans blaming everything on China. (I'm American too btw). Blame China but that doesn't solve any of American problems. Block everything made in China but that still won't solve anything.

Yep, it's always convenient to blame other countries for our own problems but the fact is our problems are exactly created by ourselves. All the rich American company owners wanting to increase their profit margins, etc. And you blame the Chinese for that? Blame lies closer to home.

The problem is America isn't keeping itself competitive. It likes to think that it's at the forefront of everything but conveniently forgets (or ignorant) that the rest of the world is just as smart and good at stuff that used to be the exclusive realm of the USA.

Cheap labor is the blame for the US economy? I don't think so. Cheap labor has been around for ages: Japan / Vietnam /Malaysia/indonesia /Central American / Mexico.... Cheap labor didn't start with China.

IF we as Americans want to turn things around, we gotta start with action and not blame.

Manufacturing is out of the question. There's no way the US can compete with the world in that area but it will have to settle for being a leader in product development---Look at the Finns and Nokia -- they make their phones in China, Malaysia, etc but they own 30% of the world's cellphone business and employ lots of Finns in their own country. Almost half of all Nokia's employees live/work in Finland. It's not about manufacturing. Manufacturing is only one stage of product development and there are many other stages in which to hire US personnel...


I don't think I'll go on.... It's tiring to discuss stuff like this when there are more pleasant stuff to talk about like Moogs and PT problems... heh

But for those who are complaining about China: China doesn't care about the US market -- they have over 1.x billion people in their own market and would do fine selling within their own country. The US has to get its act together and start creating industries of its own and let other countries do the manufacturing. There's enough money to go around. Unless the US wants to be a nation of blue-collars, than.. well... those of us who don't want that, can move abroad.
Old 9th January 2010
  #823
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
Because, Michael, that it's not a matter of "raising skill level". A good machinist is a highly skilled craftsman. Why should he have to retrain for some totally different job that he may never reach the same level of accomplishment doing? Is a man who is a master at operating lathes and milling machines going to learn to design microphones overnight? Is he even going to be able to retrain to a drone level job designing websites?

I don't believe he was talking about machists raising their skill level, but many current HS grads are challenged working at a gas station.

One of the ironic things about this is that when I was in tech school in the 80s, there were several guys in their fifties retraining because their middle-management jobs had disappeared. And now that junior college machine shop program is gone completely--not enough students.
Old 9th January 2010
  #824
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
40 years ago it was Japan. Now it's China. In another 30 or 40 years it will be Africa.
I'm pegging my hopes on India, the world's largest democracy.
Old 9th January 2010
  #825
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The MPCist View Post
It's becoming increasingly tiresome to read comments by Americans blaming everything on China.
I agree that would be tiresome, but that is not what we are saying. No one is blaming anybody but our own political/economic system here in America. It just so happens that the cheap labor is currently in China. That, too, may not be sustainable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The MPCist View Post
All the rich American company owners wanting to increase their profit margins, etc. And you blame the Chinese for that? Blame lies closer to home.
Exactly. But lose the blaming China part. Replace China with any other country, and the situation would be the same here. Corporate loopholes, tax breaks, and other incentives, coupled with the huge disparity between worker's wages and CEO pay, have slowly made the situation what it is. The 'get what's good for me, even if it is at someone else's expense' mentality in the corporate world is a problem, and it's obvious that our representatives (and I use the term loosely) are in the pocket of big corporations (lobbying is legal and actually affects decisions (!), 29.9% interest on credit is legal, etc.).

Sure, cheap labor has been around for decades, but the system of rewarding greed (and glorifying wealth at any cost) here in the US is at the heart of the economic meltdown, and it doesn't look like that part is changing any time soon.

And I completely agree with Michael that the aggressive offense (I mean defense) spending is off the charts, and is causing many problems at home and worldwide. California can't pay for public services (teachers, police, buses, etc.), but somehow we can find billions and billions of dollars for the war machine.

Given the current system, Michael is doing exactly what he has to do. He tried local labor first, then decided to outsource parts and construct at home. If the big companies did that, and our system fostered that, our skilled labor force at home would be busy working. So, no, I'm not blaming China at all.
Old 9th January 2010
  #826
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oh no, this thread has gone full circle...

i'm pretty sure this thread will reappear every couple weeks with someone saying the same thing that was already said, people just don't like to read through threads....(as michael is already having to reference things he has already said a couple times, while people argue the exact point as before)

i'll save you some suspense - this argument doesn't end, because people in the recording industry make up a very small population, and we were all to busy doing the gear/recording thing to earn a place in politics and foreign relations.

i'll some it up:

Mr. Smith: "China Good"
John Doe: "No, China Bad"
Old 9th January 2010
  #827
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Gazing into my crystal ball I see there is a multi-page discussion coming up about logos...
Old 9th January 2010
  #828
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post
Gazing into my crystal ball I see there is a multi-page discussion coming up about logos...
heh
Old 9th January 2010
  #829
JDM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
A great deal of the problem is also that inflation has so eroded our economy that money is worthless.
Ding ding!
Old 9th January 2010
  #830
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The race to the bottom helps no one.
Old 10th January 2010
  #831
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post
"...Costa Rica is one of the very few countries to have abolished its army, and it’s also arguably the happiest nation on earth...What sets Costa Rica apart is its remarkable decision in 1949 to dissolve its armed forces and invest instead in education. Increased schooling created a more stable society, less prone to the conflicts that have raged elsewhere in Central America. Education also boosted the economy, enabling the country to become a major exporter of computer chips and improving English-language skills so as to attract American eco-tourists...I’m not antimilitary. But the evidence is strong that education is often a far better investment than artillery."
I scarcely can believe I really need to point this out ... surely you realize, Michael ... Costa Rica is living off the largesse of the U.S., which has spent heavily ("in blood and treasure") to create a period of relatively stable world politics.

If Costa Rica develops enough natural wealth, eventually someone will come in and just take it over to exploit that wealth. Panama and Nicaragua? Isn't it obvious that one or both will at some point be ruled by a despotic regime with enough ambition to just annex their neighbor?

I agree, however, that it's a shame we (the U.S.) have been too shortsighted to invest our tax dollars well, starting with education.

JSL
Old 10th January 2010
  #832
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tapehiss View Post
oh no, this thread has gone full circle...
OK....since I haven't the time to read 84 pages of posts, when can I hear one of these mics? I apologize if this was discussed in post number 753.
Old 10th January 2010
  #833
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Well, I've said before in other threads where I may have been accused of conspiracy theory for mentioning that I know mr. Bill Clinton, but, I'll clue you all in on what has to happen as told to me by the very man in charge:
What Americans have to do is sell things to China, things made in America to Chinese citizens.
He has facilitated that much.
You wouldn't believe what is available if you make that happen as your goal.
Don't believe me? Contact the Whitehouse and ask for yourself. That's what he set up when he was in office, and since Hillary's crew has set about discrediting Obama and getting rid of the secret service, by once again, changing the physical and political reality around them, that will be the only opportunity soon, when she runs and everybody believes she will win, against Palin, it's a no brainer, evil on purpose, against classic stupid evil by accident, which is also evil.
Is it right?
Is it fair?
Do you have power to do anything about it?
Who knows.
Old 10th January 2010
  #834
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jslevin View Post
I scarcely can believe I really need to point this out ... surely you realize, Michael ... Costa Rica is living off the largesse of the U.S., which has spent heavily ("in blood and treasure") to create a period of relatively stable world politics.

If Costa Rica develops enough natural wealth, eventually someone will come in and just take it over to exploit that wealth. Panama and Nicaragua? Isn't it obvious that one or both will at some point be ruled by a despotic regime with enough ambition to just annex their neighbor?

I agree, however, that it's a shame we (the U.S.) have been too shortsighted to invest our tax dollars well, starting with education.

JSL
I agree 100% with this. They have nothing anyone wants to bother fighting them for.
Old 21st January 2010
  #835
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post
In early Spring I'll have a K47-type capsule head for the MK-012 body.
Michael - I don't believe you answered my question regarding this promising combo. [I know there has been a lot].

Have you a prototype - what do you think [or know] will be the difference between the 012 body and 603/604 bodies with K47 heads - warmer, fuller would be my guess, maybe less "transparent". But don't since I've only heard MK-012 bodies [mine have your mods] with Oktava Heads.

Looking forward to get one [or two]

Best,
Mads
Old 21st January 2010
  #836
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There will be essentially no difference in the sound of the MJE-K47H when used with a modifed MK-012 body or modified 603 body.
Old 22nd January 2010
  #837
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post
There will be essentially no difference in the sound of the MJE-K47H when used with a modifed MK-012 body or modified 603 body.
I see - will the SPL and noise figures also be the same..!?

::
Mads
Old 22nd January 2010
  #838
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The max SPL will be about the same but the A-weighted noise will be about 3-4dB lower. But it it actually sounds like a lower noise figure because the critical 2-4kHz band in my new SDC is significantly lower than the same band in the '012.
Old 22nd January 2010
  #839
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post
The max SPL will be about the same but the A-weighted noise will be about 3-4dB lower. But it it actually sounds like a lower noise figure because the critical 2-4kHz band in my new SDC is significantly lower than the same band in the '012.
Your Answer confused me Michael - will it be lower noise with the '012 body or the 603. I'm talking LDC not SDC.!?

Maybe you were too - but I didn't get it.

heh
Old 23rd January 2010
  #840
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oops, yeah that wasn't clear. The noise floor of my new SDC will be lower than the '012 in the way that I described above.
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