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sweetwater tour MIDI Processors
Old 22nd December 2010
  #31
Here for the gear
 

I find this thread pretty humorous. I can answer some of the core points made in the thread though.

Our owner chose to invest in the building to benefit the employee and the customer. We have state-of-the-art systems installed that help us give our customers the best service in the industry. I actually help other retailers out from time to time when they have a fire they need to tend to and on multiple occasions I've gotten the comment from their employees that they would buy from me if they didn't work at said company because of our efficiency and service.

When you think about it, our building and systems only cost us a fraction of what other retailers spend with multiple physical locations. We actually roll those savings into a dedicated service department and technical support staff with over 30 highly trained individuals, free lifetime phone technical support, a two-year warranty on almost every product we sell, and a warehouse so efficient that it never ceases to amaze me.

The culture here at Sweetwater is also such that your Sales Engineer is empowered to take care of you. You work with the same person over a long period of time so you have your "go to" guy if you have questions or issues. I'm dealing with another retailer right now that delivered the wrong appliance to my house. I've spoken to no less than 12 reps at the company over a two week period with no resolution in sight. I can't imagine doing business that way.

The pricing thing is definitely a myth as well. I would say 9 times out of 10 I'll match any price out there from a reputable dealer unless it's just unreasonable or there is some other extenuating circumstance behind it.

Why do we wear a tie to work in the music biz? Probably because we're business professionals and we want to make sure people understand that. I call and e-mail my customers back promptly and treat them with respect. I'm genuinely concerned when a customer has an issue. I don't give people the run around and most importantly I always do what's right for the customer. In my experience, you just don't see that a lot in the industry.

I think all of the sales staff here feels the same way I do about their job. If being good at what you do and passionate about your job make you a cult. I guess you'll have to sign me up because I can't see doing business any other way.

Ryan Sloan
Senior Sales Engineer
800 222 4700 x 1306
Welcome To RyanSloan.net! Call Me At 800 222 4700 ext. 1306 If You Have Any Questions!
Old 22nd December 2010
  #32
I've used them regularly, the same guy always deals with me. I've had a couple of issues with shipped things which they took care of, one of which was caused in the shipping not by them, but they still took care of it.
Old 22nd December 2010
  #33
BTW, I would just like to say that, if all you care about in life is what the lowest price is, then you have no foot to stand on when everything you buy ends up being made in China by people who know nothing about what they are making, and being sold to you buy people who know nothing about what they are selling, because that experience and knowledge would actually cost money. It's that Walmart mentality that's causing a lot of the problems we have today, pardon my borderline politics.

That doesn't mean you have to be extravagant, but the rock bottom price finding thing that the internet provides destroys any possibility of the companies making and selling the stuff to afford competent employees and actual cash reserves to back up their sells without giving you a hard time and extensive stock availability.
Old 22nd December 2010
  #34
Gear Maniac
 

I wasn't trying to dis SW (the Scientologist thing was a little hyperbole...). Yes I've used them in the past for some software and hardware upgrade on a Kurzweil K2000 that didn't go too well (service-wise and price-wise) and have been cold called a few times from their sales reps. I'm glad that they seem to be doing so well but I just don't see any big advantage to buying mail order IF you have access to good local professional dealers like you do say in Los Angeles and other big cities. Maybe it's just me but before I buy something that's over say $2k, which is a lot of money to me, I want to do serious research on it and maybe demo it. I don't need some sales rep telling me about it. I'm just saying that with the tools today (web, heck even Gearslutz!), you can find out a lot of information on your own if you have time and put in the effort. This universal access to information is a game changer that I think would take away from the traditional arguments in favor of such operations as SW and their pre-sale customer service. For years already I don't seek the expertise of a sales rep that might have his own agenda. I have bought stuff from RSPE, West LA music, (gulp) even Guitar Center Pro (a company that gets dragged through the mud a lot on GS for some reason) and recently Vintageking and I'm pretty happy with their level of customer service and particularly price as competition is fierce. The guy who lives in NYC and says he's getting the same prices as with Sweetwater might be shopping at the wrong places.
Didn't want to piss anyone off and these reflect only my opinions but there's something about SW flaunting their campus that sort of rubs me wrong way. It's like once you enter that campus you might not be able to find yourself out anymore. When you enter say the West LA Music here at Universal City I kinda like that the carpet is old and hasn't been cleaned in years, that the tables and chairs look like they're rejects from some bankrupt office sale as it sort of telegraphs to me that the priority is on the gear and not on state of the art, low water usage urinals. YMMV

Quote:
Originally Posted by reflexbc View Post
I'm sorry, I don't usually respond to people's posts in the negative, but WTF? You've got them as either Scientologist or polygamist just because they have a nice facility? That's GS nuttiness at it's worst. I am a long-time customer of Sweetwater (no, I don't work for them), and I can tell you, they're pretty damn good. They had the first really good online catalog that I had found, more pro than Musician's Friend or Zzounds, etc. Probably not as pro as Vintage King, certainly in terms of selection, but VK has things you can't get too many other places, such as AMS Neve 1073 modules, etc.
Most of the gear I've bought comes from Sweetwater. The main reason I do this is because of their customer service, which is kick-butt. They have a salesperson they assign to you (called a "sales engineer," I know, a little pretentious), and that's who you deal with, period. If I buy something online, I always get a call or email from Patrick, my guy at Sweetwater. I know some other places do this, but it's nice. He knows all about me, this helps a lot. Also, they support everything they sell, and they always get back to me and answer my questions. This can be really helpful, rather than dealing with manufacturers, who are sometimes difficult to get in touch with (I can call any time during business hours @ Sweetwater).
Anyway, I will end this rant, before someone thinks I'm advertising for them, but I just couldn't let this crazy dis of SW go without responding to it. (P.S. their prices are exactly the same as all the other web-based vendors out there, plus the big stores like GC (which you'd know if you bothered checking),they'd have to be, or they'd go out of business in this day and age where checking prices is as easy as getting on the 'net).
Old 22nd December 2010
  #35
Lives for gear
 
Ernest Buckley's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by twbrzkdm007 View Post
The guy who lives in NYC and says he's getting the same prices as with Sweetwater might be shopping at the wrong places.
I think you`re referring to me?

So are you saying I`m paying too high of a price with Sweetwater? If so, please let me know where you are purchasing gear for cheaper. I do a lot of homework before I purchase gear and I always go to Sweetwater to match the lowest price I find. They always match it. I`m not sure what the problem is. If I can get gear A for $1000 while Sweetwater is charging $1005, I`m not making a big deal over $5. If the difference is $25 or more for something over a grand, I will call my Sweetwater Sales Engineer and discuss.

Just from having lived in NYC my entire life, I can tell you that things are marked up substantially. If someone else lives in NYC disagrees, please speak up and let me know where I can get gear cheaper.
Old 22nd December 2010
  #36
Gear Head
 

As to prices: I used to live in NYC and shopped on 48th street; the prices there were the same as Sweetwater. As we all know, there's "list" price () - which nobody pays. Then each vendor gives a "discount," which I think is really just the jacked-up list price being brought down to normal (I never worked in music retail, so I don't really know if this is true). But check it out, every place on the 'net, definitely GC (of which GC Pro is just a division), is the same prices (just look on the 'net to verify this, I do it all the time). Vintage King prices are almost always identical to SW prices (check it). It pretty much has to be like this, or else the system would collapse (no one would be making any money, would go out of business). I think this is because of internet price wars, and there is a tacit agreement that no-one will seriously undercut everyone else, because it would destabilize the market (again, just my guess, but I'm pretty sure this is the way it works). If you have a local place giving you substantial discounts from this (I'm not talking about a couple of bucks), I don't see how they can sustain this, because they have to make a profit, too. I for one am suspicious of anyone offering me such a deep discount, because they have to pay the manufacturer/distributor for the gear, it costs a certain amount, so you wonder about the quality of the gear (is this really new?) Then, there's customer service. They have to pay those people, which costs money. In my experience, it's the big places that can afford to give you discounts, because they buy in bulk. For instance, I now live in Binghamton NY (), and we got a GC here a few years ago, but before then the local stores sucked. They had no selection, and their prices were actually higher. Just my .02
Old 22nd December 2010
  #37
Lives for gear
 
bobsandifer's Avatar
 

I have actually used sweetwater in the past for large purchases and they always took care of me. The price was killer and the service was great. However, they are a long way from me so getting a loaner can be done just not in the same day. I decided to stick with local purchases and most have been with Chic at Atlanta Pro Audio. The prices are ok but the service is absolutely amazing and my sessions are never interrupted due to a down piece of equipment. I make a living in music so the price isnt everything to me. IF I were recording friends for free then the 15$ savings on an mbox might be worth something to me.

If you build a relationship with a local vendor everything changes. I just wish there was no tax on musical equipment. 7% on 100k sucks.
Old 22nd December 2010
  #38
Lives for gear
 
loopy's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by reflexbc View Post
As to prices: I used to live in NYC and shopped on 48th street; the prices there were the same as Sweetwater. As we all know, there's "list" price () - which nobody pays. Then each vendor gives a "discount," which I think is really just the jacked-up list price being brought down to normal (I never worked in music retail, so I don't really know if this is true).
Ahh the good old days!
We used to start at Sam Ash, hit Manny's, then Alex Music and play them all against each other. Of course I was a teenager then struggling to get gigs and every dime counted.
That's back in the 70's and early 80's.
I'm in a much different situation these days and service, quality of gear and support is most important to me.
If I can get this from the local's I go there first but my experience has been miserable, at least for the chains whose names I will not mention.

One other thing regarding Sweetwater, they extend the warranty and I believe instruments with upgradeable firmware ship with the latest version.

BTW I agree with Dean Roddey about shopping for lowest price etc killing the USA's manufacturing industry.

I get ill when I see "Made In China" on a box of gear.
Ask my wife how our 2 year old "Made In Mexico" refrigerator had an intermittent compressor starting problem that not only cost us a lot thrown out food but that the company wouldn't do a freaking thing about even though it's a known problem.

When I purchased the replacement because changing the compressor would only buy time until it went again, I opened the door to every single unit int he appliance store till I found one made in America, Canada was the best I could do, but it beat China and Mexico by a mile/kilometer

The saleslady thought I was a nut.
Maybe I am, I dunno.
Old 22nd December 2010
  #39
Lives for gear
 
Halloween's Avatar
The building is fantastic, and I don't think it can be argued that in their field they are the best at what they do.

Much better than Musicians Friend and Guitar Center.

I use them quite often when the price is right and time permits.

I recommend using Dave Brow as your sales associate.
Old 23rd December 2010
  #40
Lives for gear
 

I've visited the Sweetwater facility twice. Not much of a showroom (their sales are primarily mail/net orders), but ask your sales associate for a tour of the studios and other rooms. Really classy facility.
Old 23rd December 2010
  #41
Lives for gear
 
loopy's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Real MC View Post
I've visited the Sweetwater facility twice. Not much of a showroom (their sales are primarily mail/net orders), but ask your sales associate for a tour of the studios and other rooms. Really classy facility.
Looks great in the pictures, but then again so did my cousin's Ford Pinto....Don't ask...
Hahaha!
Old 23rd December 2010
  #42
Gear Head
 

I'm a former employee and I'll say this: If ever company in America were run as ethically as Sweetwater, we probably wouldn't be in the economic situation we're currently weathering. I saw tons of situations where the management chose to take a financial hit in order to do right by the customer.

I was a customer prior to working there and I still buy most of my gear from them.

If only Ft. Wayne didn't turn into a sheet of ice for five months of the year...heh
Old 23rd December 2010
  #43
Lives for gear
 
BradLyons's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by maxpower View Post
If only Ft. Wayne didn't turn into a sheet of ice for five months of the year...heh
NO KIDDING!!! I left Sweetwater in August this year after 10-years, one of their Sr. Sales Engineers, and a list of clients that were as loyal as they get, IMHO. Today....I was driving home from my office (my office is at GC Pro in Atlanta but I live 35-miles north of the city) with my windows down as it was 62 DEGREES JUST A FEW DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!
Old 23rd December 2010
  #44
Lives for gear
 
nukmusic's Avatar
 

yep..its nice!

Russ Berger

RBDG - Projects - Sweetwater
Old 2nd January 2011
  #45
500 series nutjob
 
pan60's Avatar
 

now i am hungry!
Old 2nd January 2011
  #46
Lives for gear
 
BradLyons's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pan60 View Post
now i am hungry!
The wife and kids are out of town, so I'm left to fend for myself-----speaking of which there is a very good Chinese and Thai place just around the corner---WHAT DO YOU WANT? I'M ORDERING! heh
Old 2nd January 2011
  #47
Gear Addict
 
britdick's Avatar
 

whatever

They're a retailer. Period. All good...but "Sales ENGINEER"? That's ****ing ridiculous.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #48
500 series nutjob
 
pan60's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BradLyons View Post
The wife and kids are out of town, so I'm left to fend for myself-----speaking of which there is a very good Chinese and Thai place just around the corner---WHAT DO YOU WANT? I'M ORDERING! heh
LOL
my kids have moved out just the wife and dog here, i think i am going for a big bowl of bean and cornbread: )~
but next time i am down your way, get that check book outheh
pan
Old 2nd January 2011
  #49
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by RLsloan2 View Post
Sales Engineer
Sales Engineer thumbsup
Old 2nd January 2011
  #50
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by britdick View Post
They're a retailer. Period. All good...but "Sales ENGINEER"? That's ****ing ridiculous.
LOL, did they invent that?
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