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Author Topic: Neumann/Sennheiser Stopped Selling Capsules And Other Parts  (Read 5953 times)

klaus

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Re: Neumann/Sennheiser Stopped Selling Capsules And Other Parts
« Reply #30 on: January 14, 2022, 01:58:20 PM »

...as long as "whoever wants one" does not also then copy a Ford, GM or Chrysler automobile - even if just in its outline.
That's when the lawyers are activated.
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Klaus Heyne
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soapfoot

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Re: Neumann/Sennheiser Stopped Selling Capsules And Other Parts
« Reply #31 on: January 14, 2022, 02:55:37 PM »

Many of those crate motors go in kit car replicas of the Shelby Cobra--a car that Ford no longer makes and appears to have no interest in making (kind of like Neumann and the U47, or KM84!)

More on-topic: If Neumann have no interest in fulfilling the robust demand for legacy products like the KM84, I'm not sure I understand declining money from potential customers who will do the best they can to fill that demand on their own--with or without Neumann's capsules (particularly as the new policy also makes service of genuine Neumanns more-burdensome for any commercial studio's technical staff).

I have respect for everyone who believes that declining to sell product is good business. I just don't happen to agree.

I recognize that commercial studios with in-house technical staff probably represent the minority of Neumann's business now, but I've personally replaced the capsule on one of our U87s, and the total turnaround--from ordering and receiving the part to doing the swap--was much faster than the turnaround that would've accompanied shipping to an authorized repair facility.

It seems as though compromising this facet of professional use is seen as collateral damage for the sake of maybe slightly discouraging the copying of mics that Neumann isn't even interested in making any longer.

This is disappointing, but is probably in line with broader industry trends of "protectionism at the expense of professional user" (ever tried to get a service manual or even schematic for a pro-market audio product made after the year 2000? What about replacing an IC in a Distressor... the part numbers are sanded off!)

With the "right to repair" movement gaining strength and even having some legislative victories, I expect that Neumann will ultimately prove to be lagging on this issue.
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klaus

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Re: Neumann/Sennheiser Stopped Selling Capsules And Other Parts
« Reply #32 on: January 14, 2022, 05:36:57 PM »

If you can corroborate that Neumann will not sell you a capsule for a mic you own, and for which you can provide a serial number, please let me know and I will investigate what I can do about this.
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Klaus Heyne
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soapfoot

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Re: Neumann/Sennheiser Stopped Selling Capsules And Other Parts
« Reply #33 on: January 14, 2022, 08:42:00 PM »

If you can corroborate that Neumann will not sell you a capsule for a mic you own, and for which you can provide a serial number, please let me know and I will investigate what I can do about this.

I see, I may have spoken out of turn if they are still providing repair parts to individual customers. The original post of this thread says:

Quote
I called Sennheiser in Connecticut this morning to get pricing and availability on a new Neumann K49 capsule. I gave the part
number and was told that Neumann will no longer be selling any capsules, or any parts, for that matter.
All microphones must be sent back to Connecticut for repair.

I think I must have forgotten that you replied with the info that they will still sell to individuals provided they share the serial number of the mic they wish to repair.
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gtoledo3

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Re: Neumann/Sennheiser Stopped Selling Capsules And Other Parts
« Reply #34 on: January 15, 2022, 01:01:09 AM »

I doubt that Neumann is appreciably losing sales because of this, but I did recently choose not to buy Neumann, and instead bought (multiple of) a competitor’s product, specifically because this irritates me. I realize that’s probably weird!

My view is, I am the client. If I don’t want to be bothered to get up to look at a serial number, I shouldn’t have to if I know the part I want to buy. Further, I think if I have bought products and I want some other part for - for whatever reason - it’s just, shut up and sell me the part! It’s just the courtesy I expect for spending thousands upon thousands of dollars on a company’s products.

These kinds of added aggravations are, on a fundamental level, in precise opposition to what I seek get to out of the art of music and recording to begin with.

I dislike when industry leaders make moves like this that are overall injurious to the profession and art. (I can’t help but think of a major manufacturer who refuses to publish frequency response for their mics….Oh, now I’m remembering two). When Neumann does this with the parts supply, it just gives other companies an excuse to.

I think it’s out of sync with older ideas about service and professionalism. The parts service I describe expecting isn’t a daydream, I’m just describing the service I’ve had in the past from many companies *as well as Neumann*. And you still do get that kind of parts service from many of the long running companies.
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klaus

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Re: Neumann/Sennheiser Stopped Selling Capsules And Other Parts
« Reply #35 on: January 15, 2022, 01:42:55 PM »

Quote
... just the courtesy I expect for spending thousands upon thousands of dollars on a company’s products.
But what if one day you won't be able to spend your money on an excellent product from that company anymore, because the company went out of business, as a consequence of unscrupulous business practices by a competitor who sold an inferior product camouflaging as the real thing?

How is that preferable to reining in these abuses before it's too late?

Put simply: I'd rather go through a few hoops buying an essential part that will revive the signature sound of my excellent product than not being able to ever buy that part again because the company folded.
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Klaus Heyne
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gtoledo3

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Re: Neumann/Sennheiser Stopped Selling Capsules And Other Parts
« Reply #36 on: January 15, 2022, 04:31:34 PM »

I agree with, and am sympathetic to the concerns.

The most constructive thing I can do would just be to describe purchasing scenarios I find myself in.

If I am in control of purchasing a number of mics that will ultimately be used for tv/streaming/podcast type production, I have to consider all of the real world factors involved. There are obviously many concerns to weigh.

One issue, is that in the situation where maintenance on a mic has to occur, if the product is limited to having to be sent through the mail for service, you start getting into issues with the insurance, shipping, keeping track of the gear, etc. In some cases you simply can’t insure the full value of the gear, and if you can, it amounts to quite a bit of money. Neumann is very competent, and their service is an upside in some ways, but it just doesn’t suit every situation.

Then you have turnaround time to consider. You also have to consider what the staff/crew of a company or production actually would want to or be able to easily deal with. Funny enough, Neumann’s current status quo with this is kind of a pain for people who aren’t very technical, while also kind of objective/offensive to productions that DO have competent techs on hand.

As much as I think that Neumann has a lot of great options sonically, the real world factors increasingly lead Neumann to miss out on a lot of mic sales that would be my call to make. I’m sure that most people do not care about extra hoops to jump through or whatever, but anytime I can head off a potential time drain/aggravation/lost item/potential of shipping damage/needless employee hrs, before any of it happens…well, that’s going to likely be the way I go.

When I knew you could go onto B&H and a handful of other websites, and that you could order parts to have on hand, it is much more reasonable to make the decision to purchase Neumann.
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ilcaccillo

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Re: Neumann/Sennheiser Stopped Selling Capsules And Other Parts
« Reply #37 on: January 19, 2022, 06:54:33 PM »

Did you purchase and have you received the capsule?

No I didn't order it in the end, because a simple cleaning fixed the K49 capsule we had.
But I could have ordered if I wanted, the distributor was just waiting for my decision whether to order.

Description was "T3-053291 - K49 microphone capsule"
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David Satz

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Re: Neumann/Sennheiser Stopped Selling Capsules And Other Parts
« Reply #38 on: January 21, 2022, 12:20:01 AM »

If I understand Neumann's decades-long position on this--they sell complete capsule heads (Kapselkopf = "KK"), which are modular and field-replaceable by a typical recording engineer using reasonable care. Studios and broadcast organizations that use dozens of Neumann microphones could reasonably keep a few of each type of capsule head on hand, so that a session need not be interrupted for long in the event of a failure. Other leading manufacturers have long done this as well for at least some of their professionally-oriented products. And as far as I'm aware there's been no change in Neumann's policy about selling capsule heads to any customer who wants to buy one (someone please tell me if I'm wrong about that).

The actual capsule (Kapsel = "K"), however, isn't field-replaceable in any manufacturer's professional condenser microphones that I know of. In Neumann's small-diaphragm microphones the capsule isn't replaceable even on a repair bench--not even by Neumann themselves! If you send Neumann a KM 84 or 184 for repair and the capsule proves to be defective, a new complete capsule head is the only remedy that they offer. Such is the level of modularity that they've designed into that class of product for a variety of reasons. With Neumann's large-diaphragm microphones the capsule itself can be replaced, saving you considerable expense. But to do so requires a repair environment, plus skills and knowledge that a typical recording engineer can't be assumed to have. Most recording engineers I know don't use soldering irons regularly or skillfully if at all.

So you may well have a "right to repair" a product that you buy--but if you lack the skills, knowledge and equipment and you botch the job, you can't hold the manufacturer responsible. Sometimes reasonable care means not doing it yourself, even though you wish you could. I'm not a lawyer, but I believe that manufacturers are within their rights to be cautious about who they sell certain repair parts to, when they know from hard experience that those parts can't be installed properly by many customers. Some would even say that they have a duty to avoid implying that "just anyone" can install those parts properly.

I can also understand very well their being cautious when they know that some of those parts aren't being used for repairs at all, but as key, value-enhancing components in competing products. Since Neumann is by choice a manufacturer and seller of condenser microphones, not a commodity parts manufacturer, as I see it they have a right to choose not to be in that business.
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soapfoot

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Re: Neumann/Sennheiser Stopped Selling Capsules And Other Parts
« Reply #39 on: January 21, 2022, 11:30:40 AM »

Under current law they do have that right, and it's probably reasonable that they retain it (even if I don't like it or agree with the reasoning).

It's also reasonable, in my view, that customers retain the right to assess for themselves whether they're capable of carrying out a repair (on a product they own, using replacement parts they buy). Many people would botch their first brake job, too--but we can all go to AutoZone, buy pads and rotors, and give it a go.

I find the view that companies are "protecting us from ourselves" to be needlessly paternalistic, particularly when there's no risk of bodily injury. Manufacturers of smart phones and automobiles are increasingly adopting that view, and I don't see it as an improvement for the end user. The ability to carry out small repairs with proper instructions isn't exceedingly rare.

Replacing the capsule in a U87 requires a couple of solder connections, a clean space, and a lot of care. I succeeded on my first try and have done it multiple times since. Much easier, in my view, than replacing brake pads and rotors!
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Jim Williams

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Re: Neumann/Sennheiser Stopped Selling Capsules And Other Parts
« Reply #40 on: January 21, 2022, 11:47:54 AM »

It's a private company. They can make the rules they want. If a customer doesn't like that they can buy a competing product.
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Kai

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Re: Neumann/Sennheiser Stopped Selling Capsules And Other Parts
« Reply #41 on: January 21, 2022, 12:54:15 PM »

It's a private company. They can make the rules they want. If a customer doesn't like that they can buy a competing product.
For EU the legal situation has changed since March 01. 2021:

Manufactures must provide spare parts at least during a period of 7 to 10 years from sales to a qualified repair shop.

Since Neumann uses the same capsules in current models, this period will not end up soon.

Basically this rule is for various domestic electric and electronic devices, but there is no reason why it shouldn’t be applicable for other electronics.
The wind has changed in Germany, in our new government the ecological party participates.
Sustainability and repairability becomes mandatory.
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soapfoot

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Re: Neumann/Sennheiser Stopped Selling Capsules And Other Parts
« Reply #42 on: January 21, 2022, 04:00:22 PM »

We're lagging this policy in the States, but only slightly. On July 9, 2021 a presidential executive order was signed instructing the Federal Trade Commission to enact policies that require manufacturers to offer parts to individuals and independent repair shops.

At this stage, I understand that these policies do not yet have the force of law, but at least some political will appears to be there.

As you said, the initiative is more about reducing e-waste (and the environmental impacts thereof) than consumer protection--at least ostensibly. But the growing movement of people interested in the consumer protection side have not been shy with their advocacy, either.

While it's unlikely that many U87s end up in the landfill, Neumann is a manufacturer of electronics and will certainly be held to the same standards as other manufacturers of electronics if/when these policies develop into binding regulations.
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uwe ret

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Re: Neumann/Sennheiser Stopped Selling Capsules And Other Parts
« Reply #43 on: January 21, 2022, 04:57:05 PM »

How do you define spare parts?
For Neumann that may mean for end users the complete head assembly. Arguably, in the interest of assuring to meet the manufacturer's specifications, the capsule is considered an integral part of the microphone head. As such it should not be available separately to unqualified buyers.

So, where do you draw the line defining 'parts'? The diaphragms are 'parts' of the capsule, as are the back plates, screws, spacers etc. Shall the manufacturer be obliged to stock and supply them as spare parts for repair?
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klaus

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Re: Neumann/Sennheiser Stopped Selling Capsules And Other Parts
« Reply #44 on: January 21, 2022, 08:02:22 PM »

Just to remind everyone:

Neumann stopped selling capsules without proof of microphone ownership because a competitor company wanted to use these capsules for a new microphone line to be launched and that was unrelated to the Neumann brand.

This was not about preventing the sale of 'spare' parts to repair existing Neumann mics.
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Klaus Heyne
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