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Feb. 2018
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The death of the specialist high street audio dealer?

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  • #31
    Ask them!

    Originally posted by ssfas View Post
    Alan, as the largest European audio show is around the corner, perhaps it is an opportunity to collect some survey data from random visiting audio consumers.

    Perhaps HUGsters could assist in compiling a questionnaire. There may even be a bright spark who could implement this on a touch-screen monitor.

    It could even be implemented online.
    May I emphatically suggest that is the absolute last, doomed, way to gather any meaningful research that one could dare to drive a business forward in a low risk, meaningful way likely to succeed.

    Questionnaire design, testing and implementation under controlled conditions is a highly specialised sub-set of the Marketing function. No matter how well intentioned amateur questionnaire setters go about the design, the result will be, unfortunately, what the public think you want to hear. I don't want to debate this, but thanks for the suggestion, made, I know, with the best of intentions.

    For this precise reason, in post #129 above, I asked for volunteers who could interact with us (and each other) over Skype - a sort of consumer panel or HUG Quorum - where, ideally, we can see them, they each other, and we can subsequently privately weight contributions after the discussion. I feel that it is likely that under those open-ended disussions, properly moderated to allow all opinions, marketing trends in high end audio will become clear. We may not like what is revealed, not may the retailer, but as noted in previous posts, there may be a certain inevitability in the trends in hardware consumption.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

    Comment


    • #32
      The home-consultant dealer (not a physical store)

      Originally posted by A.S. View Post
      That's a very reasonable explanation of a generalised on-line business model.

      Can I just ask, please, that as this is a manufacturer's forum, and that this manufacturer only manufactures loudspeakers, and quite heavy and large ones at that, that future comments concerning on-line retailing are specifically addressing selling "high end" loudspeakers, not shoes, cars or whatever.

      I think we all, as modern consumers, use and take advantage of on-line retailing generally, but here in this thread on HUG we are not chewing the subject over out of academic curiosity, we are discussing in in the context of loudspeaker marketing, sales and distribution. Nothing else here on HUG please.

      The issue seems to have been somewhat skirted around: how do you propose to substitute the dealer's role in bringing to market such products, large, heavy and expensive, as, say, SHL5+ or M40.2? The fact that plastic Bluetooth speakers can be sold in their millions on-line is irrelevant to this forum.
      What the dealer provides first and foremost is a demonstration venue. That is indeed a valuable service. As the price of a good goes up, I suppose one may fairly question whether an in-home 30 or 60 day trial is a reasonable substitute. But I would not rule it out out of hand. Other than the demonstration and some good advice, everything else is a question of logistics, and logistics can be managed. Trans-oceanic logistics are more expensive and complicated, perhaps, but the principle is not so different.

      A last point. The reference to "high street stores" may be a bit misleading. My dealer works out of his home, as I suspect do at least a few others. That's fine - it certainly makes for a very comfortable demonstration environment - but I'm not sure that it supports the idea of keeping old-style high street dealers alive.

      Comment


      • #33
        A nightmare

        Originally posted by EricW View Post
        What the dealer provides first and foremost is a demonstration venue. That is indeed a valuable service. As the price of a good goes up, I suppose one may fairly question whether an in-home 30 or 60 day trial is a reasonable substitute. But I would not rule it out out of hand. Other than the demonstration and some good advice, everything else is a question of logistics, and logistics can be managed...
        It's interesting how a consumer-looking-in view of what is, to the consumer just a 'simple matter of logistics' is to the manufacturer/retailer a complete nightmare.

        There is one crucial factor (among others) that must be pointed out, and that makes a simple matter of 'solvable logistics' unworkable in practice. It is actually and practically impossible - impossible -to expect a consumer to handle a veneered product with kid gloves such that should he chose to return it to the source, it can be, at worst, re-cartoned and sent out again in 100% perfect condition, as perfect as the day it was made fresh at the factory. The reality is that the consumer has a very high probability, through accident or unfamiliarity over the 30-60 days as suggested, of damaging the veneer somewhere on the cabinet. This may be something as simple as a finger nail brushing against the side panel, spikes/cups/pucks or BluTak on the underside of the cabinet or children damage. Returned to source, those speakers cannot be sold as new, and at best, they have to be heavily discounted, assuming even that a buyer for such a specialist product can be found who can tolerate the imperfections. Consumers are, understandably, very fussy indeed about their new pride and joy, and buying a damaged but much desired product has limited appeals among those who aspire to own, perhaps after saving for a considerable time.

        Who pays? Who takes the hit on the write-off or write-down? Should the manufacturer? Should the middleman? What impact will those loss making logistics journeys from maker to consumer and back again have on the manufacturer's bottom line, and ultimately, will it drive up retail prices to pay for the try-out service? That is absolutely inevitable. The only winner in that game is Fedex or equivalent.

        I still don't think that there is a proper respect among audiophiles for the vital importance of a physical retail outlet for products such as heavy loudspeakers. Replacing the physical high street presence looks so easy, just a simple matter of outsourcing logistics, but that's the trivial bit.
        Alan A. Shaw
        Designer, owner
        Harbeth Audio UK

        Comment


        • #34
          Lucky proximity

          Originally posted by A.S. View Post

          I still don't think that there is a proper respect among audiophiles for the vital importance of a physical retail outlet for products such as heavy loudspeakers. Replacing the physical high street presence looks so easy, just a simple matter of outsourcing logistics, but that's the trivial bit.
          I am lucky enough to live around an hours drive from a Harbeth dealer, I believe the next closest could be the best part of a days drive if not a couple of flight hours! If it were not for that dealer I would never have even considered Harbeth, at least not without a lot of consideration, Ironically I'm no doubt closer to a dealer than many living in the UK.

          Edit: I had a store demo of P3 and C7, borrowed the C7 for a week at home. I did not even attempt to listen to the 30 or SHL5 as they were out of my budget.
          Getting to know my C7ES3

          Comment


          • #35
            Pre-vetted stores?

            I imagine, erroneously perhaps, that many (most?) people who buy Harbeth speakers are unlike acroyear, but have come to Harbeth via verbal recommendation (direct or via the Internet) and reading up on the subject, including visiting HUG.

            Perhaps I'm generalising from an exceptional, utterly non-representative case only - mine - but that is how it was for me. I'd never heard the sound of Harbeth speakers before taking delivery of my secondhand C7s; but from what I had read, I knew I would be fine, that I was making the right choice.

            I would buy from a dealer, but only one I had full confidence in. Hifi Dave comes to mind - someone who always seems to speak sanely, economically, and wisely on this forum and others. But just walking into an unknown dealer would not be something I would ever do again. When I was first setting out on hi-fi buying, I did that, and as I look back now on that experience, I realise I was treated poorly, even contemptuously. I ended up with stuff I sold relatively soon thereafter.

            And so, here comes my naive suggestion: like Apple stores, why not have Harbeth endorsed (and thus reasonably regularly visited/vetted) dealers? You wouldn't need many; just enough to be within approx. a 2 hrs drive away of most people in UK. Their listening rooms would need to include one that resembled an average-sized sitting room, with windows, furniture, etc. And the signal-producing kit would need to be of a similar unremarkable averageness, at least in that particular room. Speaker comparators would need to be kept to a minimum (the aforementioned dealer I visited had perhaps 10, and kept changing them via a central switch that he controlled), but be of a quality that the dealer felt as happy selling/promoting as they did selling/promoting Harbeth. Harbeth would reward them appropriately for this service.

            My twopence. My apologies if this is what already exists. As I've said, I'm no longer keen on dealers.

            Comment


            • #36
              Restocking fee?

              Originally posted by A.S. View Post
              It's interesting how a consumer-looking-in view of what is, to the consumer just a 'simple matter of logistics' is to the manufacturer/retailer a complete nightmare.

              There is one crucial factor (among others) that must be pointed out, and that makes a simple matter of 'solvable logistics' unworkable in practice. It is actually and practically impossible - impossible -to expect a consumer to handle a veneered product with kid gloves such that should he chose to return it to the source, it can be, at worst, re-cartoned and sent out again in 100% perfect condition, as perfect as the day it was made fresh at the factory. The reality is that the consumer has a very high probability, through accident or unfamiliarity over the 30-60 days as suggested, of damaging the veneer somewhere on the cabinet. This may be something as simple as a finger nail brushing against the side panel, spikes/cups/pucks or BluTak on the underside of the cabinet or children damage. Returned to source, those speakers cannot be sold as new, and at best, they have to be heavily discounted, assuming even that a buyer for such a specialist product can be found who can tolerate the imperfections. Consumers are, understandably, very fussy indeed about their new pride and joy, and buying a damaged but much desired product has limited appeals among those who aspire to own, perhaps after saving for a considerable time.

              Who pays? Who takes the hit on the write-off or write-down? Should the manufacturer? Should the middleman? What impact will those loss making logistics journeys from maker to consumer and back again have on the manufacturer's bottom line, and ultimately, will it drive up retail prices to pay for the try-out service? That is absolutely inevitable. The only winner in that game is Fedex or equivalent.

              I still don't think that there is a proper respect among audiophiles for the vital importance of a physical retail outlet for products such as heavy loudspeakers. Replacing the physical high street presence looks so easy, just a simple matter of outsourcing logistics, but that's the trivial bit.
              I don't know the answer to this, but is the 15% "restocking fee" (passing the markdown for selling open box items on the the person returning the set) arrangement a suitable spreading of the costs of home auditions?

              For me a $500 potential cost is worth the ability to listen in home, avoiding a possible wasted day out, and allow for return without too much guilt. I dislike phoning around to check stock. Or traveling and being disappointed in the selection. I also dislike in-store auditions.

              Thanks!!

              Comment


              • #37
                Simple logistics?

                Originally posted by A.S. View Post
                It's interesting how a consumer-looking-in view of what is, to the consumer just a 'simple matter of logistics' is to the manufacturer/retailer a complete nightmare.
                To be precise, I said "it's a question of logistics", not that it's a "simple" matter of logistics. It may or may not be simple, but I didn't say that it was. When you add words like that, you colour and misrepresent what I've said, and make it sound like I'm being airily dismissive, when in fact that's not a word I used, nor would I. Logistics can be simple, or can be complex - it depends. You make good points as to why in the case of a "heavy" speaker with a fine wood veneer, it's not so simple. Fair point. But not necessarily insurmountable as an obstacle, if you wanted to look at a different model (which obviously you don't, and that's fine too). There is no perfect model, but to paint me as someone who is thoughtlessly dismissive of the "physical high street presence" is, with respect, quite unfair.

                Originally posted by A.S. View Post
                I still don't think that there is a proper respect among audiophiles for the vital importance of a physical retail outlet for products such as heavy loudspeakers. Replacing the physical high street presence looks so easy, just a simple matter of outsourcing logistics, but that's the trivial bit.
                Maybe so. But could you then be clearer about what exactly you see as being the "non-trivial" bit? Because I think that's an important question.

                {Moderator's comment: Had we used double quotes "..." we would have been quoting you directly. Single quotes were used to emphasise a commonly held view '....'. We all take for granted the role of transport in the delivery of our products.}

                Comment


                • #38
                  Where there's s a will there's a way

                  Originally posted by A.S. View Post
                  It's interesting how a consumer-looking-in view of what is, to the consumer just a 'simple matter of logistics' is to the manufacturer/retailer a complete nightmare.

                  There is one crucial factor (among others) that must be pointed out, and that makes a simple matter of 'solvable logistics' unworkable in practice. It is actually and practically impossible - impossible -to expect a consumer to handle a veneered product with kid gloves such that should he chose to return it to the source, it can be, at worst, re-cartoned and sent out again in 100% perfect condition, as perfect as the day it was made fresh at the factory. The reality is that the consumer has a very high probability, through accident or unfamiliarity over the 30-60 days as suggested, of damaging the veneer somewhere on the cabinet. This may be something as simple as a finger nail brushing against the side panel, spikes/cups/pucks or BluTak on the underside of the cabinet or children damage. Returned to source, those speakers cannot be sold as new, and at best, they have to be heavily discounted, assuming even that a buyer for such a specialist product can be found who can tolerate the imperfections. Consumers are, understandably, very fussy indeed about their new pride and joy, and buying a damaged but much desired product has limited appeals among those who aspire to own, perhaps after saving for a considerable time.

                  Who pays? Who takes the hit on the write-off or write-down? Should the manufacturer? Should the middleman? What impact will those loss making logistics journeys from maker to consumer and back again have on the manufacturer's bottom line, and ultimately, will it drive up retail prices to pay for the try-out service? That is absolutely inevitable. The only winner in that game is Fedex or equivalent.

                  I still don't think that there is a proper respect among audiophiles for the vital importance of a physical retail outlet for products such as heavy loudspeakers. Replacing the physical high street presence looks so easy, just a simple matter of outsourcing logistics, but that's the trivial bit.
                  Where there's a will, there's a way... as the saying goes.

                  The demo speakers could be better protected with a sort of semi-durable shrink wrap plastic covering the veneered panels just leaving the connection terminals and grille cover 'unprotected'. Alternatively consider building some demo speakers in a raw untreated plywood or something like that.

                  Consider Insurance cover against accidental damage. Or make trialists pay a fair premium for the home trial with all or the majority of the premium to be refunded if the speakers are returned in pristine condition. You may want to retain say 15 GBP for transport costs. That may ward off time wasters. Those genuinely looking for a speaker purchase via home trial would be no worse off than driving to their nearest dealer, and may prefer home trial to dealer demo. I think I would if initiated by the manufacturer.

                  Draw up a list of do's and don'ts to be agreed and signed by the trialist. E.g. no blu tak , no spikes, etc. If there is any damage, then costs then costs will be awarded as pre-agreement

                  I think 30 days is more than enough. 60 days is excessive. It would seem a cheap way to hire speakers for 60 days.

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Shrink wrapping?

                    Originally posted by Jeff_C View Post
                    Where there's a will, there's a way... as the saying goes.

                    The demo speakers could be better protected with a sort of semi-durable shrink wrap plastic covering the veneered panels just leaving the connection terminals and grille cover 'unprotected'. Alternatively consider building some demo speakers in a raw untreated plywood or something like that.

                    Consider Insurance cover against accidental damage. Or make trialists pay a fair premium for the home trial with all or the majority of the premium to be refunded if the speakers are returned in pristine condition. You may want to retain say 15 GBP for transport costs. That may ward off time wasters. Those genuinely looking for a speaker purchase via home trial would be no worse off than driving to their nearest dealer, and may prefer home trial to dealer demo. I think I would if initiated by the manufacturer.

                    Draw up a list of do's and don'ts to be agreed and signed by the trialist. E.g. no blu tak , no spikes, etc. If there is any damage, then costs then costs will be awarded as pre-agreement

                    I think 30 days is more than enough. 60 days is excessive. It would seem a cheap way to hire speakers for 60 days.
                    Nope, that really isn't going to work. Would you buy a pair of shoes, or even a car, with the comfort of a buy-back deal on the proviso that you had to wear or drive without removing the shrink wrap?

                    The veneer is both an important part of the package, emotionally, and the most physically vulnerable. It has to be seen, stroked, smelled and admired, and I can assure you that no matter how long the list of dos and donts, they will carry no 'contractual' weight. As I stated earlier, regardless of how careful the temporary user is or intends to be, in the real world, little accidents happen.

                    If one invests in a new car, showroom fresh, one expects perfection. As soon as the car has been run around for a month or two, life intervenes and that virginal freshness is lost. When tiny scratches accrue, inside and out, the value starts on a trajectory downhill, and it moves from the unambiguous starting position of being, truly 'factory fresh' to the used car lot, and moves it into a different category of buyer.
                    Alan A. Shaw
                    Designer, owner
                    Harbeth Audio UK

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      No will - no way

                      Originally posted by A.S. View Post
                      Nope, that really isn't going to work. Would you buy a pair of shoes, or even a car, with the comfort of a buy-back deal on the proviso that you had to wear or drive without removing the shrink wrap? .
                      Honest answer, shoes no - speakers yes. When I moved my most recent cherry veneer speakers into position I did it holding dusters between the finish and my hands. I do not want to touch the veneer for fear of getting grease marks on it which can be difficult to remove.

                      The veneer is both an important part of the package, emotionally, and the most physically vulnerable. It has to be seen, stroked, smelled and admired, and I can assure you that no matter how long the list of dos and donts, they will carry no 'contractual' weight. As I stated earlier, no matter how careful the temporary user is or intends to be, in the real world, little accidents happen..
                      The sort of shrink wrap I am thinking about (transparent , has to be cut off with scissors, allows 99% visual stimulus. I accept that you will not be able to touch or smell if that's your vice.

                      If one invests in a new car, showroom fresh, one expects perfection. As soon as the car has been run around for a month or two, life intervenes and that virginal freshness is lost. When tiny scratches accrue, inside and out, the value starts on a trajectory downhill, and it moves from the unambiguous starting position of being, truly 'factory fresh' to the used car lot.
                      I accept that these demo speakers will suffer depreciation. They will need to be sold at reduced cost every so often. That's what happens with car dealer demonstration cars isn't it. Surely the reduction would be covered by Harbeth's retention of the usual dealer margin. Another thing - how do your existing dealers manage their home trial speakers? Why does it work for them but it seems it cannot work for you?

                      From the outside looking in, it seems that your mind is already made up. Where there is no will you are unlikely to find a way.

                      By the way I would not advocate doing away with the dealer set-up. Manufacturer home trials could be run in conjunction with the normal dealer network.

                      I also like dodog's suggestion.

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Rental - can work

                        Originally posted by Jeff_C View Post
                        ...I accept that these demo speakers will suffer depreciation. They will need to be sold at reduced cost every so often. That's what happens with car dealer demonstration cars isn't it. Surely the reduction would be covered by Harbeth's retention of the usual dealer margin. Another thing - how do your existing dealers manage their home trial speakers? Why does it work for them but it seems it cannot work for you?

                        From the outside looking in, it seems that your mind is already made up. Where there is no will you are unlikely to find a way...
                        Nope, again, that's not going to work. I said, clearly, and repeat, taking your comment "(speakers) will need to be sold at reduced cost every so often..." the reality is that after just one journey from source to consumer and back again, neither legally nor practically can that pair of speakers be sold as factory fresh. They have become used goods and as I said, devalued. It's not the situation that a pair of speakers can go around and around masquerading as factory fresh and commanding a full price; one journey from source to consumer and that's the end of the line as far as presenting them as brand new.

                        What may be missed here is that the opportunity for the public to hear, play with and sample the speakers at the dealer's risk means that one demo pair, in the dealer's showroom, paid for and his financial asset, spawn many subsequent sales. Those sales are firm orders placed by the public who expect, and pay for, a factory fresh, cartons sealed and stapled pair of their own. This is a highly cost-efficient process, for the manufacturer, the dealer and the consumer. Any variation on this theme that bypasses the efficiency of generating sales off the back of just one set-aside demo pair will and must increase costs. And someone has to pay. Should it be me?

                        Rental, as a business model, is an entirely different business game, and we do rent sets of speakers (usually multi-channel packages) to (global) corporations and others for specialist projects. A view is taken in the rental business that what is returned at the end of the project will not have been treated with kid gloves, and that a proportion of the returns will have to be immediately written-off and physically scrapped. That is built into the rental costs, is accepted as standard practice and not a source of disagrement. Equipment rental can be, if one is lucky and the client a first-grade organisation with careful staff, low stress and profitable, but it entirely depends upon the human factor - how careful people can be with other people's property.

                        As for my mind being made up, no that's not at all true. What I see and you inevitably don't is the consequence of human nature.
                        Alan A. Shaw
                        Designer, owner
                        Harbeth Audio UK

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          Home demo?

                          I prefer the old brick and mortar stores, whit the added value that you can actually interact with a real person despite the solipsistic nature of the new digital age. I like to go to the hifi store, look at the speakers and listen to them there. Once I have a clearer idea I'd like to bring a demo pair to my home just to listen to them in my environment with my gear.

                          And this is usually the problem as, understandably, most of the time store owners are reluctant to loan you a couple of big expensive loudspeakers (for the same reasons highlighted above). That said I wouldn't buy an expensive speaker like a 40.2 before trying it at home so maybe this aspect could be improved. The demo pair could actually be a raw one as you have already tried the "real" product in store and the only purpose of the loan (a couple of days, not one month) would be to make sure that it sounds right in your listening environment.

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Working assets efficiently

                            Originally posted by carlob View Post
                            I prefer the old brick and mortar stores, whit the added value that you can actually interact with a real person despite the solipsistic nature of the new digital age. I like to go to the hifi store, look at the speakers and listen to them there. Once I have a clearer idea I'd like to bring a demo pair to my home just to listen to them in my environment with my gear.

                            And this is usually the problem as, understandably, most of the time store owners are reluctant to loan you a couple of big expensive loudspeakers (for the same reasons highlighted above). That said I wouldn't buy an expensive speaker like a 40.2 before trying it at home so maybe this aspect could be improved. The demo pair could actually be a raw one as you have already tried the "real" product in store and the only purpose of the loan (a couple of days, not one month) would be to make sure that it sounds right in your listening environment.
                            Noted. Again, we are down to the practicalities.

                            If the dealer somehow makes the speakers available for home demo, his financial asset from which he hopes to generate income is removed from his control. Audio dealers, who, believe it or not are not living high on the hog, simply do not have the financial or space resources to have one pair on demo in the shop and another pair around the back ready to loan-out. And even if they did, that loan-out pair would be sitting unused most of the time. Who pays for that inefficient use of a capital asset?

                            And I must in all honesty add, from discussions with retailers in all walks of live over the years, that the public, generally, can be astonishligly disrespectful and careless with other people's property on loan. I'm sorry if this is rather blunt, and of course it is not related to anyone of the sensibilities that would read HUG, but the story presented to justify a long engagement with a dealer leading to a home loan is not always as transparent and motiveless as one would wish.
                            Alan A. Shaw
                            Designer, owner
                            Harbeth Audio UK

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              Listen, I own an expensive sport car. Last year, when I decided to "upgrade" my bmw I went to the car dealer maybe twice, looked at the car, discussed the details and all the usual stuff.

                              The second time I was offered (I didn't even ask) to take a demo one for a couple of days just to try it and decide. I accepted and got the car for a weekend, after that I decided to buy.

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                My last say on the matter

                                Originally posted by A.S. View Post
                                Nope, again, that's not going to work. I said, clearly, and repeat, taking your comment "(speakers) will need to be sold at reduced cost every so often..." the reality is that after just one journey from source to consumer and back again, neither legally nor practically can that pair of speakers be sold as factory fresh. They have become used goods and as I said, devalued. It's not the situation that a pair of speakers can go around and around masquerading as factory fresh and commanding a full price; one journey from source to consumer and that's the end of the line as far as presenting them as brand new.
                                I understand that, but the demo pair could go out up to 24 times a year on trial, before any need to be sold at reduced cost. I am not suggesting that the trialist will be buying the demo pair. The demo pair goes on to the next trialist. Any purchaser after their trial gets a brand spanking new pair. More transport costs yes, but that's is how I envisage it would have to be. If the numbers do not add up, so be it.

                                What may be missed here is that the opportunity for the public to hear, play with and sample the speakers at the dealer's risk means that one demo pair, in the dealer's showroom, paid for and his financial asset, spawn many subsequent sales. Those sales are firm orders placed by the public who expect, and pay for, a factory fresh, cartons sealed and stapled pair of their own. This is a highly cost-efficient process, for the manufacturer, the dealer and the consumer. Any variation on this theme that bypasses the efficiency of generating sales off the back of just one set-aside demo pair will and must increase costs. And someone has to pay. Should it be me?.
                                So if this can work for the dealer, (one demo pair generating numerous sales) then why can it not work for Harbeth directly.

                                Rental, as a business model, is an entirely different business game, and we do rent sets of speakers (usually multi-channel packages) to (global) corporations and others for specialist projects. A view is taken in the rental business that what is returned at the end of the project will not have been treated with kid gloves, and that a proportion of the returns will have to be immediately written-off and physically scrapped. That is built into the rental costs, is accepted as standard practice and not a source of disagrement. Equipment rental can be, if one is lucky and the client a first-grade organisation with careful staff, low stress and profitable, but it entirely depends upon the human factor - how careful people can be with other people's property.
                                I have never heard of this but I get the gist of the arrangement. I also think that without the personal face to face contact of the dealer passing out and receiving back the demo model, there appears to be a greater risk of damage through lack of adequate care being taken with the speakers. But as ssfas has said you could hold credit card details and take reasonable costs to cover any damage. Insurance may be needed to cover any catastrophe.

                                As for my mind being made up, no that's not at all true. What I see and you inevitably don't is the consequence of human nature.
                                I'm glad to hear it, but I picked up vibes in your comments of a defeatist rather than someone trying to find a way to make something work. And I do hope you are under-estimating people and human nature. I want to make this my last say on the matter. I will leave it to others to pick up the mantle.

                                Comment

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