A U D I O... P A P E R


OUR FIRST REVIEW EXPERIENCE
APRIL 2002
by Steve Deckert
 

We get approached frequently by reviewers for major magazines wanting to review our amplifiers.  I guess that's a good thing, it means the word is getting out!  However, when they call or e-mail, my response is always the same... "which model do you want and what card do you want to put it on?"  That usually kills it.

It is difficult for many people to understand why our products are not reviewed in ALL the major magazines like Stereophile, HI-Fi World, etc.  Of course they haven't spent enough time browsing this web site to realize that our products are not mass produced and only sold factory direct to the customer.  

DECWARE's 1ST REVIEW EXPERIENCE - many should find this interesting:

The year was 1997, the SE84A was the current model and I had sold around 25 amps, most of the amps were sold to newbies who were attracted by the low price of $499. Back then I hadn't sold enough amps to realize how good they actually were.  It was early in the game, audiophiles simply ignored it because of the low price.


In comes STEREOPHILE...  I got a phone call one evening from Tom Gillett.  (That's Sam Tellig backwards).  He writes a column called Sam's space and at the time was focusing on SET amps and the like.

He asked me if he could review the amplifier and feeling a little flattered by his interest, I agreed to send him one.  It was a huge risk on my part, because if he wrote a bad review on it ... well you get the idea.

I asked him why he was interested in our amp and how it was that they could review it considering we had no dealers.  (Stereophile only reviews products represented by companies who have established themselves with a fair amount of dealers).  He dodged the question by saying his readers would love it if an amp for $499 actually sounded like something and continued that he was anxious to hear it.

I told him that personally I was not that interested in having the amp reviewed, although it would be nice.  What I was interested in is hearing his personal opinion of it.  I knew he had many pairs of speakers in his home that may work with it and lots of other high dollar gear to compare it to.  I let him know up front that I didn't feel the exposure to his 50,000 subscribers was that important to our success since our web site had many times that many people viewing it already.  arrogant, but none the less true.  

I sent him the amp. About a week later he got it and let me know he would be listening to it soon.  On the night that he did listen to it, he called me twice, about 3 hours apart and was very tickled with it.  I asked him how it compared to the other amps he had laying around and he said it had that SET magic, not quite the balls of the 300B amps but it sounded better than the Cary integrated he was playing with at the time.   He said he had a pair of modified Klipsch KLF20's that he wanted to try it.  After hearing those speaker with it he called me the second time MORE than excited about the sound.

He said he was definitely going to review the amp in Sam's space and congratulated me. Of course at this point I had a pretty high opinion of him, and he DID seem like a really nice guy.

Then the months started ticking by...  after around 90 days I called him to see if he was done with the amp yet, and he said something about having to go to Turkey for a few weeks and would contact me upon his return.

A couple more months went by and still no amp, or communications.  I began trying to contact him to get some idea when I would have the amp back and when I finally did get a hold of him the strangest thing happened-  he answered the phone and it was like talking to a different person.  He was short on the phone, acted almost as if we had never spoke before and said he would return the amp soon and got off the phone.

A couple more months went by and the amp showed up on my door with the shipping costs C.O.D. CASH ONLY.  Considering I did not even secure the amp with his credit card, nor even ask for it, I found this a little annoying.

Interestingly enough, another month passes and a company that I understand advertises in the magazine came out with an almost clone for the same price of $499.

The amp was the K2000 made by ASUSA.  You can read about it here in a review by Richard George of TNT magazine:

http://www.tnt-audio.com/ampli/k2003_e.html

Richard also reviewed the SE84B a short time later after becoming a customer of ours.  I had no idea he was a reviewer because he just bought one and didn't say anything.

That review can be found here:

http://www.tnt-audio.com/ampli/zentriode_e.html


On the lighter side, there are many less politically motivated publications out there that have reviewed out amplifiers.  Some include:

But to me it's the raw un-edited customer reviews on places like AudioReview.com that give that I get the most insight from.

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Copyright 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004  2005 2006 2007 2008 by Steve Deckert