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Re: Cranky Kim

At 09:50 AM 8/27/2003, Greg House wrote:
>--- Kim Flint <kflint@loopers-delight.com> wrote:
> > Just because something is beyond your budget doesn't mean it doesn't 
> > well. The Echoplex price might be more than you can afford, yet at that
> > price they sold every single one they were able to make. That makes it
> > really difficult to understand how the price was too high. It's an 
> > argument to say it was too low.
>Or to say that they didn't make enough.

Yes! I agree. That's why we went to a huge amount of effort to improve 
production. But that is not a simple thing. You don't just press a button 
and quadruple production capacity. You need to have the capital, 
infrastructure, people, get various design issues cleaned up, etc etc. At 
company with many products and many priorities this can take a lot of 
especially with something that is not in the main bread-and-butter end of 
the product line. Mostly, this is what has been happening and its a lot 
better now.

What I'm reacting to here are various statements about the Echoplex not 
selling well and efforts to find some cause for that. The basic assumption 
is wrong. The Echoplex sold awesomely! With practically no need for 
advertising or sales efforts, they sold out the entire production. That's 
pretty amazing, and that's why the product still exists. They get good 
sales without much overhead. There was never some warehouse full of 
echoplexes that nobody wanted. They didn't need to lower prices to get 
sales. If any of that had been true the echoplex would have been killed 
years ago along with so many other old Gibson products. That didn't 
Instead they often had long backorder lists and difficulty keeping the 
production up to fill them. Many more could have been sold at the same 
price had they been able to build them fast enough.

Now with the EDP+ the production is much better, so perhaps they will 
finally be able to supply the constant demand for the echoplex that 
even with no marketing effort at all. That doesn't mean they need to lower 
prices or add some feature, the next step would be to just start giving it 
more visibility with some advertising and sales efforts. Then more people 
know about it and are willing to buy one.

> > Which part of "it sold out" isn't clear? They made all the ones they 
> > capacity to make. They all got sold. 100% capacity used, 100% sold.
>Very efficient, but that really doesn't say anything about the market. If 
>I make
>10 widgets and I sell them all for $1000, that doesn't mean I couldn't 
>have sold
>10,000 widgets at $500 if I'd made them. It also doesn't mean that I 
>have sold 30 widgets at $1000 each, if I'd made that many.

It also doesn't say you *could* have made more than 10. Increasing 
production can be hard as I pointed out above. If 10 is all the capacity 
you had to make and you sold all of them, that's good. Too much demand is 
good problem to have. It's a hell of a lot better than Lexicon, who was 
left with a warehouse of jammans that they couldn't sell, and ultimately 
had to blow them out at a ridiculous price because the cost of the 
inventory was killing them.

>It only says I managed
>to find 10 people desperate enough for my widget to buy all I made at the 
>price I
>sold it at. It doesn't speak to the rest of the market.

Right! now you see it. The limit for the #of units of echoplexes sold has 
always been production capacity. Not price, not sales effort, not 
More people have wanted it than they could keep up with for most of the 
history of the product. They didn't ever reach a point where they needed 
do anything other than keep trying to make more.

> > I guess I'm baffled how you reach that conclusion. Look at the prices 
> > other gear. Mid-range synths and samplers cost much more than the 
> Echoplex.
> > High end gear in other categories costs WAY more.
> >
> > So here you have what many people consider a high-end looper in the
> > echoplex. The best there is in many people's eyes, and it costs $800.
> > Alright, fine, you have to get two for stereo, but that also gives you 
> some
> > nice multi-loop functions. That's $1600 for a high-end stereo looper. 
> Let's
> > compare to street prices of other top  gear:

[big list deleted]

> > You see? It sits right in there pretty well. None of that stuff is
> > affordable for you, yet it all sells well.
>I don't think that's a fair comparison. With the exception of the Les 
>Paul (a
>hand built craft item, not a mass produced piece of electronic gear), all 
>things perform more then one function.

Well, it just depends on how you look at it. Effects units, recording 
units, synths, samplers, loopers. That's what I see. The echoplex has a 
of functions and features. Far more than most other looping products. The 
manual is over 300 pages long, and all it does is describe the features! 
It's hard to imagine how more could be packed in there. If you look at the 
Echoplex and can see only one function, then by all means go get an Akai 
Headrush. It does the same one function and costs a lot less.

Anyway, to make you happy, replace Lexicon PCM-81 with PCM-91. Reverb 
$2000. Add in the TC-2290. delay only, $2000. Etc. I'm just illustrating 
typical pricing points for electronic music products. This is the range 
where you find the high end of whatever category. $800 for an echoplex is 
long way under that. $1600 for stereo is right in there.

>Do you think anyone would spend $1440 for
>a TC G-force if it only did delays?

People still spend $2000 for the 2290 delay. Admittedly that is a little 
hard to understand, yet that's why TC is still selling them.

But why pay $1440 for a TC G-Force if you can get a zoom or boss or 
digitech product with the same effects for over $1000 less? Or why pay 
$2000 for an Eventide Eclipse if you can get the TC for $1440? Or $5000 
an Orville? The answer is in the quality and functionality of the product. 
If you can't perceive the difference between a multi-effect from Eventide, 
TC, or Zoom, by all means buy the Zoom.

>Apparently TC didn't, since they make the
>D-2, which sells for about $350.

yet they sell the finalizer for $2400. You can get a delay anywhere. But 
the finalizer is real specific and fairly unique and good at what it does. 
Therefore, people will pay a lot for it.

>Likewise, with the exception of the Les Paul,
>they all employ current state of the art hardware technology, not stuff 
>15 years ago.

hahaha, no most of them don't use state of the art technology. They got 
fooled if you think so. Most companies in the music industry cannot afford 
to keep up with state of the art technology.

Buy things for what they do for you, not the date stamps on the IC's.

> > >  My
> > >observation from talking to people is that a lot of them really like 
> > >idea of
> > >an advanced looper until they hear the price. At that point they say 
> something
> > >like "I think I can probably be happy enough with my DL4" or something
> > >like that.
> >
> > if that is all the functions they need and they just want to dabble in
> > looping a bit, then they are right. They would be happy with the DL4 
> > that is what they should buy. Why should they start out with the 
> > product? As they learn more about looping they may start wanting a 
> > end product with more features. Then the price of an echoplex might be
> > worth it to them.
>I'm just saying that people would like a few more features then the DL4, 
>without having to pay several hundred more dollars for them. There 
>to be anything in that marketplace. Is it worth $600 to get a feedback 
>for your loop? One feature?

The only difference you see between a DL-4 and an Echoplex is the feedback 
control? Most people see way more than that, because there is way more 
that. That is why it is worth it to them to buy an Echoplex instead. If 
you can see in the Echoplex is feedback control, and that is not worth it 
to you, then get a Boomerang. It has a basic feedback control. Or a used 
JamMan. Or string together a bunch of cheap delay pedals and use a volume 
pedal and mixer to control feedback.

>I think there's a market for something with the
>looping capability of a DL4 or EchoPro with just another feature (feedback
>control) or so. If the Echo Pro had feedback, I'd have one already. As it 
>that makes it a tough decision, since the rest of it looks pretty good, 
>but it's
>lacking that one thing I really like.

So now what you've identified is a market opportunity for another looper. 
That makes a lot of sense really. Let's say Gibson wanted to meet this 
opportunity. They would do this the way all companies do it, by 
a new low-end product. This would probably be something like an Echoplex 
with all the features stripped out except for what's in a DL-4 and a few 
extras, like feedback. Call it Echoplex Jr., and use the reputation of the 
high-end Echoplex to give it credibility. They price it about the same as 
DL-4. That could easily happen. What they would never do is take the 
flagship product, widely recognized as a high-end looper with hundreds of 
features the DL-4 lacks, and simply price it the same as a DL-4 when there 
are plenty of customers willing to pay much more. That would be foolish.


Kim Flint                     | Looper's Delight
kflint@loopers-delight.com    | http://www.loopers-delight.com