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Bit of a beef with ALO  

post #1 of 211
Thread Starter 
I went back and forth about posting this and even discussed it with a fellow Head-Fi'er who felt I should.

What set me off was purchasing their iMod Female Mini Dock for the 5+ gen iMod. This is a physically tiny piece of hardware yet I was given no choice but to pay $15 for shipping. This to me is a bit exorbitant. I have no problems paying a company handling fees but having to pay more than $10 (this would be $4.60 via Priority Mail) for handling on such a tiny piece doesn't sit right with me. I do realize that ALO is a small operation but I think they need to revisit their shipping calculations.

My other issue is what I found when repairing one of their iPod docking connectors for a fellow Head-Fi'er. The problem with this particular piece was a broken solid silver wire that I ended up replacing. To do so I had to take apart and desolder both at the 1/8" plug end and at the dock end. The workmanship that I found left a lot to be desired. The soldering was very sloppy and at the plug end one of the wires was bent at a rather acute angle. Of course sloppy soldering doesn't necessarily affect the ultimate performance of a product but I was pretty surprised considering the premium ALO charges. Perhaps what I saw was an exception and most of their product is professionally assembled. But looking at some of their own pics posted on their site, I find myself not impressed with their craftsmanship. With the kind of prices ALO charges, I expect quality work through and through.

I realize that ALO has a good reputation here and I am not trying to derail business. My purpose here is to inform people of a couple of specific experiences. Again, I understand the sloppy workmanship I discovered could be an exception. I certainly hope it is. But in regards to ALO's shipping calculations, I would hope they would revisit them. And if any of you were wondering, yes, it is verified that they shipped my mini dock via USPS Priority Mail.
post #2 of 211
This surprises me as well. Must be an exception, regarding ALO's reputation.
I've seen this shipping charges on other companies also and i think it's a bit exaggerated. I wish Ken were able to fix this. Maybe in the future.
I would love to see a picture, but i don't think it's ellegant ...
post #3 of 211
curious... whats the $$$ value of the interconnect cable? Did the shipping cost include insurance for the full $$ amount?

Hand soldering tends to vary greatly. I've seen examples that were neat and tidy, and others that were chunky and not too pretty. Not making excuses for them, I'm merely saying that other IC makers kind of suffer the same thing.

IMHO the bigger concern, is what caused the cable to fail in the first place.
post #4 of 211
You have no idea what ALO's expenses are when it comes to shipping and it's not as if it is some crazy amount like $85 for the Stello or something. $15 is rather high for something that weighs so little but that could also include insurance, delivery confirmation or something else you're not aware of.

Ken is a stand up guy and I have owned a variety of cables from him and I know Ray Samuels has some of his cables too. So you found a doc that was perhaps defective and the solder wasn't pretty enough... big deal. No product is 100% perfect flawless 100% of the time.

I think it shows very poor community spirit to post a thread like this when you should have just expressed your concerns to Ken.
post #5 of 211
Wow, what a quick rush to Ken's defense...for my $150 (or whatever it is for a 6 inch long cable), id expect a 100% perfect cable, 100% of the time, especially if its handmade! Is the "community" saying that ALO is the only way to go and we should all abide and accept whatever he makes?

We can also make assumptions like it isn't likely it costs Ken $10 to put the cable in a padded envelope and drop it off at the post office...delivery confirmation is under a dollar last time I checked.
post #6 of 211
I think it's important that we keep an open dialogue on things like this. The post was respectful, but dubious. Ken is active on these forums, and his business is thriving because of word of mouth from head-fi.

We all know he's a great guy, and the vast majority of us are satisfied with his products. Every complaint against a sponsor gets a real knee jerk reaction here, when more often than not the sponsor answers the questions himself, and answers them well.

Point is, Wakeride, you don't know what the shipping cost is any more than warrior. Ken does, and he could come enlighten us if he so chooses. He's doing just fine - there's no need to protect his excellent reputation around here.
post #7 of 211
headfiers can buy cables from anyone they want... no one is obligated to anything. All I'm saying is that Ken should have been given the opportunity to take care of the problem... he probably would have picked up shipping both ways and had the doc back within a week or just shipped a new one.

I understand threads that ask other headfiers about certain issues with gear... looking for answers, others w/ the same problems, etc. but threads like this just seem like they are looking to do damage based on one bad experience that the manufacture did not even have a chance to address… regardless of how “polite” the complaint is.
post #8 of 211
Quote:
Originally Posted by wakeride74 View Post
So you found a doc that was perhaps defective and the solder wasn't pretty enough... big deal. No product is 100% perfect flawless 100% of the time.
A further attack on your argument (yes, I feel "frisky" right now):

Are you saying that those who do get a bad cable should just suck it up and go, "Oh well, I mean, its ALO, they are the greatest cable making company on the face of the planet, its bound to happen to somebody! I'll just buy another!"

His cable "worked", but it had shoddy workmanship...therefore any (not every) person who buys from ALO may be getting a working product, but not all $150 worth of it. Its just that not everyone actually checks under the hood. Thats why this pertains to the entire community.
post #9 of 211
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kramer5150 View Post
curious... whats the $$$ value of the interconnect cable? Did the shipping cost include insurance for the full $$ amount?
There's no IC cable - just a dock for the 5+ gen iMod with a 1/8" jack. Costs $85 (which I have issues with as well but is not part of this discussion.) According to the Paypal shipping notification he did insure it. Total would be $6.65. That is everything I can tell by the Paypal USPS shipping notice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kramer5150 View Post
Hand soldering tends to vary greatly. I've seen examples that were neat and tidy, and others that were chunky and not too pretty. Not making excuses for them, I'm merely saying that other IC makers kind of suffer the same thing.
I just expect hand soldering done by a professional to be neat. I've taken apart Headphile and Stefan AudioArt cables and the work on them have been pristine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kramer5150 View Post
IMHO the real concern, is what caused the cable to fail in the first place.
I didn't comment further about the break because I can't speak to the history of use.
post #10 of 211
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wakeride74 View Post
headfiers can buy cables from anyone they want... no one is obligated to anything. All I'm saying is that Ken should have been given the opportunity to take care of the problem... he probably would have picked up shipping both ways and had the doc back within a week or just shipped a new one.

I understand threads that ask other headfiers about certain issues with gear... looking for answers, others w/ the same problems, etc. but threads like this just seem like they are looking to do damage based on one bad experience that the manufacture did not even have a chance to address… regardless of how “polite” the complaint is.
If you reread my original post, I was not calling out the issue that the dock was broken. I was only commenting on the workmanship I found.

Sherwood put it best. This is only meant to be an open dialog so we can all stay informed. I would most certainly welcome Ken's responses and if he has a perfectly reasonable explanation then even better. I whole heartedly applaud our sponsors but that doesn't mean they are above constructive criticism.
post #11 of 211
I'm with wakeride on this one 100%. Considering that Ken is only making the iMod female dock so that people can use their new 5G iMods with his older cables or others that they already have, and considering that he can hardly make enough money on such an item to make that effort worthwhile, griping about $15 for shipping seems really petty. You can say it is small or whatever you want, but if you don't want to pay the shipping then build your own or figure something else out. I actually tried to convince Ken to make this product available because of those of us who have other mini cables that would be nice to use with the 5G iMod. Faulting his price and shipping charges will just make him want to stop making it available. You made a choice to buy it, so complaining about the cost seems silly.

If Ken were made aware of the broken silver wire -- something that happens quite easily and that he warns about on his own site -- I bet he would have repaired the dock at his own cost for shipping, etc. Ken's work for me hasn't had any issues thus far, and the nature of these small docks and such means to me that it would be hard to be "pristine" or "100% perfect." Again, if it functions -- apart from the break, which say you don't know how that happened -- then an extra amount of solder or some such would not mean shoddy workmanship to me.

You are certainly entitled to inform people about any issue you want to, but these two "failings" seem to be overblown and certainly could have been handled in a different way than just posting in the Member's Lounge for maximum impact. I can tell you are concerned not to hurt Ken's business unnecessarily, but maybe you should have followed that instinct to a different course of action.
post #12 of 211
Quote:
Originally Posted by Voltron View Post
I'm with wakeride on this one 100%. Considering that Ken is only making the iMod female dock so that people can use their new 5G iMods with his older cables or others that they already have, and considering that he can hardly make enough money on such an item to make that effort worthwhile, griping about $15 for shipping seems really petty. You can say it is small or whatever you want, but if you don't want to pay the shipping then build your own or figure something else out. I actually tried to convince Ken to make this product available because of those of us who have other mini cables that would be nice to use with the 5G iMod. Faulting his price and shipping charges will just make him want to stop making it available. You made a choice to buy it, so complaining about the cost seems silly.
Spoken like a true ALO fanboy. God I could rip this apart. I'll just start by saying $85 for an ADAPTER , yeah, hardly worthwhile to make at all . It definately shouldn't fall under normal requirements for quality, seeing as its only an adapter, an "afterthought". I'll leave the rest for the "community" to pick apart. Damn right I'd gripe about $15 dollar shipping, especially if the part cost for the unit is less than $15...

Im sure Ken at ALO makes a lot of great products, but honestly, stop treating him like he is a messiah and can do no wrong.
post #13 of 211
Quote:
Originally Posted by Voltron View Post
I'm with wakeride on this one 100%. Considering that Ken is only making the iMod female dock so that people can use their new 5G iMods with his older cables or others that they already have, and considering that he can hardly make enough money on such an item to make that effort worthwhile, griping about $15 for shipping seems really petty. You can say it is small or whatever you want, but if you don't want to pay the shipping then build your own or figure something else out. I actually tried to convince Ken to make this product available because of those of us who have other mini cables that would be nice to use with the 5G iMod. Faulting his price and shipping charges will just make him want to stop making it available. You made a choice to buy it, so complaining about the cost seems silly.

If Ken were made aware of the broken silver wire -- something that happens quite easily and that he warns about on his own site -- I bet he would have repaired the dock at his own cost for shipping, etc. Ken's work for me hasn't had any issues thus far, and the nature of these small docks and such means to me that it would be hard to be "pristine" or "100% perfect." Again, if it functions -- apart from the break, which say you don't know how that happened -- then an extra amount of solder or some such would not mean shoddy workmanship to me.

You are certainly entitled to inform people about any issue you want to, but these two "failings" seem to be overblown and certainly could have been handled in a different way than just posting in the Member's Lounge for maximum impact. I can tell you are concerned not to hurt Ken's business unnecessarily, but maybe you should have followed that instinct to a different course of action.
I stand by my point, Voltron. As far as I know, the female dock retails for $85. There's plenty of margin in that, as there should be. We as consumers are absolutely free to buy from him or not. With that freedom comes the freedom to express our opinions here.

I hardly believe that you would be so critical of the OP's comments if he were praising the company. It's unreasonable to expect all praise to be writ large and all disagreements to be handled privately. None of us here want to hurt Ken's business in any way, but odds are that if this cable broke, another will as well. If that happens, it might be beneficial for the purchaser of that cable to have some precedent established here on head-fi as to how to handle it.
We all appreciate ken's efforts in bringing these products to market, but we show that appreciation by buying them. He has nothing to fear in defending his product in an open forum, and the OP has no reason to tiptoe around disagreements for a product he paid top dollar for. This is a win/win if Ken handles it as well as he handles everything else.
post #14 of 211
Quote:
Originally Posted by colonelkernel8 View Post
Spoken like a true ALO fanboy. God I could rip this apart. I'll just start by saying $85 for an ADAPTER, yeah, hardly worthwhile to make at all. It definately shouldn't fall under normal requirements for quality, seeing as its only an adapter, an "afterthought". I'll leave the rest for the "community" to pick apart.
It's a dedicated adaptor with internal black gate caps and a premium, which I have no idea what it means, female mini-out, like it says on the website.

I don't think this thread would exactly cause any damage to his reputation, especially if he replies to it to address to the problem. Maybe talk about shipping prices.
post #15 of 211
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Voltron View Post
I'm with wakeride on this one 100%. Considering that Ken is only making the iMod female dock so that people can use their new 5G iMods with his older cables or others that they already have, and considering that he can hardly make enough money on such an item to make that effort worthwhile, griping about $15 for shipping seems really petty. You can say it is small or whatever you want, but if you don't want to pay the shipping then build your own or figure something else out. I actually tried to convince Ken to make this product available because of those of us who have other mini cables that would be nice to use with the 5G iMod. Faulting his price and shipping charges will just make him want to stop making it available. You made a choice to buy it, so complaining about the cost seems silly.

If Ken were made aware of the broken silver wire -- something that happens quite easily and that he warns about on his own site -- I bet he would have repaired the dock at his own cost for shipping, etc. Ken's work for me hasn't had any issues thus far, and the nature of these small docks and such means to me that it would be hard to be "pristine" or "100% perfect." Again, if it functions -- apart from the break, which say you don't know how that happened -- then an extra amount of solder or some such would not mean shoddy workmanship to me.

You are certainly entitled to inform people about any issue you want to, but these two "failings" seem to be overblown and certainly could have been handled in a different way than just posting in the Member's Lounge for maximum impact. I can tell you are concerned not to hurt Ken's business unnecessarily, but maybe you should have followed that instinct to a different course of action.
I kind of expected this reaction from some because I know how well regarded Ken is around here.

The only thing I will respond as to your post is in regards to the broken silver wire. Please do not try to turn this into me knocking against Ken's customer service. Reread my original post. I said nothing about ALO fixing or not fixing the dock. The point was the workmanship I found.

As to your other points, I tried to take care in not overblowing (hmm... don't think that's a word ) my statement. But that will come down to a matter of perspective and usually lends to a fruitless argument.
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