Just wondering about home audio speaker wire - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 60 Old 09-25-2012, 12:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Maybe it doesn't matter, and I've done a bunch of car stuff in the 90's, and I don't have much money, but I just got Polk Monitor70 Series 2 mains. I'm thrilled to death with them. As most of you know, they are maybe crap or barely mediocre compared to everything else out there. I have an old Yamaha RX-V592 (75x2 to the front), and I just want to get decent speaker wire. I'm familiar with Monster Cable (which Best Buy has just down the road from where I live) but it is only maybe 16 gauge (it doen't say). It looks way to small. The awesome TV guy who sold me a tv said that that wire is adequate unless I'm pushing over 270 watts! I wan't to believe him, and I kind of do, but it just seems wrong. I have old flat wire my dad gave me with his KLH 6's. 75 x 2 into those Polks. I need to know what speaker wire to get before I go crazy. I will get a newer, bigger amp later ($849.00 Marantz). Now I'm gonna brag- the sound fields on this now vintage amp can make a CD sound like you're in a high school gym listening to it live! I know there is better stuff, but I love my amp, but maybe because I can't really afford anything better. Does the wire really matter for my situation?
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post #2 of 60 Old 09-25-2012, 12:38 AM
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If you aren't running inside walls, you can just get 12 gauge zip-cord locally from Lowes/Home Depot for about a buck a foot. You can connect the bare ends to the receiver/speaker or pick up some banana plugs. MonoPrice or Parts Express are good places to purchase what you need on-line.

Here is a thread about making speaker cables. A lot of good info here on where to buy the stuff to build your own professional-looking cables on a budget. I posted links and a picture of the 10 gauge cables I made. Since that picture, I covered the cable with Gray TechFlex.

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1399493/speaker-cables-what-to-do-what-to-buy.



The top wire is 12 gauge CL2 with TechFlex heat shrunk to wires.

The bottom wire is 10 gauge CL2 with TechFlex tucked under cable pants.

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post #3 of 60 Old 09-25-2012, 04:58 AM
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http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10239&cs_id=1023901&p_id=2747&seq=1&format=2

All you will ever need!

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post #4 of 60 Old 09-25-2012, 04:58 AM
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I used to use that regular wire sold as "speaker wire". I now use unterminated Monster XPHP which is about 14 gauge. I get a more clear sound and improved bass as well, not as bloated as before.

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post #5 of 60 Old 09-25-2012, 06:07 AM
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Get the Monoprice Speaker wire. I have used various brands of wire in a few different HT setups for both myself and my friends, and it is the best I have used while still being one of the least expensive. I usually use the 14 Gauge stuff. For in wall use, use the CL2 rated wire to meet fire code.

Dont know how much you need, but this is what I usually buy: Monoprice 14 ga CL2 wire.

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post #6 of 60 Old 09-25-2012, 06:09 AM
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Unless you are running it a long distance, 16 guage is good enough.

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post #7 of 60 Old 09-25-2012, 03:25 PM
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The whole oxy free vs not, US vs others is "one of those" arguments...similar to does an external amp sound better or is my AVR good enough types of things. There are people on both sides of the argument. That said, after alot of reading Ive decided I prefer US made oxy free speaker wire, and recommend Blue Jean cable. I personally use the Belden 12g.
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post #8 of 60 Old 09-25-2012, 03:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jcoop73a5 View Post

16 gauge (it doen't say). It looks way to small. The awesome TV guy who sold me a tv said that that wire is adequate unless I'm pushing over 270 watts!
16ga will take a lot more than that, depending on the speaker impedance and wire length. Use this to find out what you need:
http://www.bcae1.com/images/swfs/speakerwireselectorassistant.swf

And don't throw away money on Monster, or any other cable costing more than a dollar a foot. Here's why:
http://www.roger-russell.com/wire/wire.htm

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post #9 of 60 Old 09-27-2012, 01:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

And don't throw away money on Monster, or any other cable costing more than a dollar a foot. Here's why:
http://www.roger-russell.com/wire/wire.htm

The Monster XPHP 14 gauge wire is about $ 0.70 a foot. That is about double of what you can get from Monoprice for 12 gauge. The XPHP DOES have Monster's patented 1.21 Gigawatt Flux Capacitor Tube at the core of each conductor spin. It does appear to have a high strand count though but that really doesn't matter unless you have to work with really thick cables.

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post #10 of 60 Old 09-27-2012, 02:18 AM
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+1 to Monoprice wire. At their prices, might as well get the 12ga.

Cable "experts" fall squarely into one of two camps: 1. the Pseudo-Scientist who can't accept that there are only a few electrical properties of cables, and feel that there must be something mystical we don't understand about wire. These people usually like exotic speaker wires of all kinds and shapes, but usually expensive. 2. the Scientist who believes that there are only a few electrical properties of cables, we can measure them all, and it mostly gets down to one property: resistance, which is related to the size of the wire. They also generally accept that the benefits of exotic wire cannot be heard, and that fact can be proven with ABX testing. These people like large cheap wires, that take non-exotic forms.

Interesting that hardly anyone is in both camps, people are very polarized about their cable ideas.

You can be happy in either camp, it's just a question of what you think "truth" is.

By the way, this wire subject has, literally, been beat to death here and on other forums. Try searching a bit, you'll find more than you're likely to get in this thread because we're all tired of re-hashing it all over again.

Now, don't even start with the power cord thing....!!!!

A footnote: I know of someone who has a very highly respected reputation in the industry, who has on occasion used electric lawnmower extension cord for speaker cable. It was available at the local hardware store, cheaper than bulk wire, and 12ga.
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post #11 of 60 Old 09-27-2012, 06:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jevans64 View Post

Monster's patented 1.21 Gigawatt Flux Capacitor
The guy on the left holds prior art, dating to 1985:
back-future-6.jpg]

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post #12 of 60 Old 09-27-2012, 07:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alec88 View Post

I used to use that regular wire sold as "speaker wire". I now use unterminated Monster XPHP which is about 14 gauge. I get a more clear sound and improved bass as well, not as bloated as before.
Ha, ha! That's funny!

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post #13 of 60 Old 09-27-2012, 08:29 AM
 
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I go the simple route; oxygen free, 12AWG CL2 wire and fer-get-about-it.

For me, the difference in price between 16AWG and 12AWG is not worth the time to do the worry regarding is it or isn't it and/or will it, or will it not and then do the math to get an answer, all the while finding out you need, at minimum, by building code, CL2 to go into the wall or your homeowner insurance will be voided in case of a fire. My attitude is; CL2 12AWG and be there and if not on a diet and of legal age, with a designated driver, go have pizza and beer.

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post #14 of 60 Old 09-27-2012, 09:14 AM
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Ha, ha! That's funny!
When Placebo Effect has been known to cure incurable diseases it's not a far stretch for people to hear it as well. Or, as George Costanza so eloquently put it:

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post #15 of 60 Old 09-28-2012, 08:43 AM
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I have it on good authority that gas dielectric transmission line is the best possible speaker cable. You can change the gas dielectric for different audible properties. Helium gives a lighter more open high end, Toluene presents a heavier bass, and Hydrogen an very punchy mid-range, especially at high volumes (and arc-over). It doesn't matter that the copper used isn't oxygen free, you're going to pump out all the oxygen anyway. It's sold as "air dielectric", but nobody in their right mind would actually use plain old air.

Here's the product: http://www.eriinc.com/Catalog/Transmission-Line/Semi-Flexible-Coaxial-Cable/HJ8.aspx











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post #16 of 60 Old 09-28-2012, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by flyng_fool View Post

Ha, ha! That's funny!

What's funny?

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post #17 of 60 Old 09-28-2012, 05:54 PM
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That you think you hear a difference.

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post #18 of 60 Old 09-28-2012, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by flyng_fool View Post

That you think you hear a difference.

I'm sure I can hear a difference. like I'm sure I can hear a difference between 256kbps digital audio files and CD audio. And there have been double-blind tests done over the years where people couldn't tell the difference between compressed audio and CD sound. If I didn't like what I heard I would've simply used the 12 AWG zip cord for my entire system.

But for the sake of argument could you explain why I shouldn't hear a difference? I've read a few speaker cable articles that explain things like resistance, capacitance, skin effect, etc. Any professional tests that analyze sound from a certain distance. Graphs?

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post #19 of 60 Old 09-28-2012, 09:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Alec88 View Post


But for the sake of argument could you explain why I shouldn't hear a difference?
http://www.roger-russell.com/wire/wire.htm
http://www.verber.com/mark/ce/cables.html
http://consumerist.com/2008/03/do-coat-hangers-sound-as-good-monster-cables.html
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYTlN6wjcvQ
http://www.ethanwiner.com/articles.html

And that's just for starters.

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post #20 of 60 Old 09-28-2012, 10:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Alec88 View Post

I'm sure I can hear a difference. like I'm sure I can hear a difference between 256kbps digital audio files and CD audio. And there have been double-blind tests done over the years where people couldn't tell the difference between compressed audio and CD sound.
Very different issues. The mp3 process changes the actual audio waveform to a degree that increases with decreasing bit rates, so there are cases when even high-rate mp3 files can be audibly different from the original CD. There are so many variables in the mp3 codec process that are available to the person ripping the file that to say "people couldn't tell the difference between compressed audio and CD sound" is huge generalization, and not a valid statement 100% of the time. The results of many of the tests you refer to exhibit a typical bell-curve statistical distribution. In addition, there's conditioning. Once you've heard what a bad mp3 sounds like, and it bothers you, you can't ever not hear it and become more sensitized to the effect.
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If I didn't like what I heard I would've simply used the 12 AWG zip cord for my entire system.
But for the sake of argument could you explain why I shouldn't hear a difference? I've read a few speaker cable articles that explain things like resistance, capacitance, skin effect, etc. Any professional tests that analyze sound from a certain distance. Graphs?

(heavy sigh) Welcome to the longest running debate in the history of recorded sound. There are no scientific reasons that generic 12 ga zip cord would sound any different from an exotic 12ga cable. But there are dozens of psychological reasons why the might, and the key point is, they are valid reasons too. Perception is a combination of stimulus, sensory mechanisms, and psychological influence (such as expectation, though that's only one). You can't have perception without all three unless you deliberately blind yourself to one or two of them, such as in a double-blind test (which no exotic cable manufacturer would agree to submit too...wonder why).

You also have to make sure you're comparing apples and apples, or in this case, 12ga wire and 12ga wire. If the basic size and composition is the same, there will be no difference. Some exotics, for example, are deliberately under sized, or made in a way that increases an electrical property that results in modification of the waveform delivered to the speakers. You can have wire that results in audible changes, but those of use analytical folk consider them just bad wire, while the less analytical consider them valid sonic modifiers. I'm sure the afore-posted links go into deep detail. I'm thinking of the widely spaced conductors in the coat-hanger type wire somebody is offering as exotic speaker wire. Thinner than 12ga, so the resistance is higher, and spacing conductors raises inductance. That's not what we usually want from wire, but somebody might like what it does for a certain speaker. You may also like your red-tinted sunglasses, but they aren't letting you see true color. That doesn't mean you don't like them, though.

But assuming no deliberate silliness, 12ga wire, expensive or cheap, will sound the same.
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post #21 of 60 Old 09-29-2012, 12:52 AM
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Ah, the same links posted over and over on just about every AV forum there is. Especially the Roger Russell link. And the same insults and ridicule torwards anyone that says anything good about cables that aren't from a very low priced brand as well. They assume that the masses of people who use these products must all be stupid or just hearing things and need to be educated. They'll bash a product without even having used it, I suspect just like here. Bill, here's some news for you: Engineers will have differing opinions. I'm sure Mr. Russell is an experienced Mac engineer, but he's not the only experienced engineer in the world. Cable companies have their own engineers that are probably just as experienced and I'm sure that they're not all involved in some grand conspiracy to sell you something that doesn't do what it's designed for. BTW, Mcintosh now sells their own high end uber cables. So does Luxman. Yeah, they're now involved in the conspiracy to sell everyone the same kind of snake oil cables. eek.gif

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post #22 of 60 Old 09-29-2012, 01:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

The guy on the left holds prior art, dating to 1985:
back-future-6.jpg]

Why should a little thing like prior art stop a company like Monster? biggrin.gif

What worked for Apple ( patent grants on prior art ) could work for Monster too. smile.gif

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post #23 of 60 Old 09-29-2012, 01:45 AM
 
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They are ridiculing them because snake oil should be ridiculed, thats why. Every legitimate double blind test that has ever been conducted on the subject, not some of the tests, not most of the test, but every single test has come up with the same result. No audible difference, thats why! Why would McIntosh come out with their own uber expensive cable? Simple, its called profit margin. Cables have become the highest marhin Koolaide produt in the AV industry. Companies can build these cables relativly cheap per lin ft and yet sell them for hundreds of dollars per foot. Super high margin products that require very little capital investment or R&D to develop. Same thing applies to the Koolaide Power Conditioners and cable elevators crowds. Cant really blame the companies selling the Koolaide though, afterall that is capitalism. If they can find enough fools to buy into their Shunyata, monster, Nordst, ect Koolaide they make huge money on a product that is a lot of pretty looking visual housing fluff with no sonic difference from a basic adequate gauge generic copper cable. LOL
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post #24 of 60 Old 09-29-2012, 02:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alec88 View Post

Ah, the same links posted over and over on just about every AV forum there is. Especially the Roger Russell link. And the same insults and ridicule torwards anyone that says anything good about cables that aren't from a very low priced brand as well. They assume that the masses of people who use these products must all be stupid or just hearing things and need to be educated. They'll bash a product without even having used it, I suspect just like here. Bill, here's some news for you: Engineers will have differing opinions. I'm sure Mr. Russell is an experienced Mac engineer, but he's not the only experienced engineer in the world. Cable companies have their own engineers that are probably just as experienced and I'm sure that they're not all involved in some grand conspiracy to sell you something that doesn't do what it's designed for. BTW, Mcintosh now sells their own high end uber cables. So does Luxman. Yeah, they're now involved in the conspiracy to sell everyone the same kind of snake oil cables. eek.gif


So we should ignore respected industry professionals like Bill Fitzmaurice, Roger Russell, and Ethan Winer, who have zero financial interest in exotic cables, and instead believe the engineers who work for those exotic cable companies?

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post #25 of 60 Old 09-29-2012, 02:33 AM
 
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So we should ignore respected industry professionals like Bill Fitzmaurice, Roger Russell, and Ethan Winer, who have zero financial interest in exotic cables, and instead believe the engineers who work for those exotic cable companies?

Thats the key to the individuals you mentioned, zero financial interest! One of the very basic marketing spin techniques used by loads of AV companies is complimentary product brand association. Marketing Spin 101! You market your high priced product with other high priced complimentary products to give your product the "perception" of superior quality. This is exactly why if you go to any high end audio show you will see just about every speaker maker there running their speakers with nosebleed priced cables and electronics. It has nothing to do with actually producing audibly different sound, it has to do with complimentary product association, marketing and shaping buyer perception. Its why you hear guys for example on the Dynaudio thread here claim their $7k amp and Shunyata cable supposedly gmade their Dynaudio speaker morph into a whole new animal. Nonsense! This claim is nothing more than classic placebo effect and complimentary product association & price perception. And it is done by both the marketeer to sell his Koolaide and the Koolaide slurper to convince himself that his Koolaide somehow tastes different when in fact it doesnt. I played around with them with a few posts prodding them about different power requirements for the Confidence level speakers. And I got exactly what I expected from all but one responder. Ohhhhhh, you need the big power to make them sing, to open them up, blah, blah, blah. Ohhhhh they really need that 7k amp to sing....... All pure nonsense, but it was fun listening to them wax poetic in their claims about hearing these amazing cable and amp differences which of course are totally contradicted by all legit blind tests. Good comedy indeed. biggrin.gif
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post #26 of 60 Old 09-29-2012, 05:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alec88 View Post

I used to use that regular wire sold as "speaker wire". I now use unterminated Monster XPHP which is about 14 gauge. I get a more clear sound and improved bass as well, not as bloated as before.

If your brain wants you to hear some difference, you will smile.gif

Please stop selling snake oil.

Sooner or later this thread will be locked.
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post #27 of 60 Old 09-29-2012, 06:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Alec88 View Post

Ah, the same links posted over and over on just about every AV forum there is. Especially the Roger Russell link. And the same insults and ridicule torwards anyone that says anything good about cables that aren't from a very low priced brand as well. They assume that the masses of people who use these products must all be stupid or just hearing things and need to be educated. They'll bash a product without even having used it, I suspect just like here. Bill, here's some news for you: Engineers will have differing opinions. I'm sure Mr. Russell is an experienced Mac engineer, but he's not the only experienced engineer in the world. Cable companies have their own engineers that are probably just as experienced and I'm sure that they're not all involved in some grand conspiracy to sell you something that doesn't do what it's designed for. BTW, Mcintosh now sells their own high end uber cables. So does Luxman. Yeah, they're now involved in the conspiracy to sell everyone the same kind of snake oil cables. eek.gif

It is not that engineers in those companies are involved in a conspiracy. They sure know that the cables they are making are like "snake oil". It is the marketing people who make the claims and make sure they make the profit. Like Bose, it is all in marketing. They can sell a piece of junk to ignorant people for several 1000 bucks.

If you have the money and want to buy some fancy brand just for the looks or bragging rights, it is ok. But dont waste money thinking that you are going to hear some difference and then come here and make your "snake oil" claims.

I see the mods already walking towards this thread with a key to lock this down smile.gif
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post #28 of 60 Old 09-29-2012, 06:45 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Mupi View Post

It is not that engineers in those companies are involved in a conspiracy. They sure know that the cables they are making are like "snake oil". It is the marketing people who make the claims and make sure they make the profit. Like Bose, it is all in marketing. They can sell a piece of junk to ignorant people for several 1000 bucks.

People of conscience don't work for companies selling the snake oil they're responsible for creating. With all due respect, what you describe in your above is a conspiracy that comprises of administration, sales, manufacturing and the engineers working in R&D.

FWIW, I have a three hundred dollar headphone cable and it's da bomb. Can't rightly say it makes a sonic difference but it's sure better looking then the stock cable provided by Sennheiser and I can't say that it was worth three hundred bucks but I can say it looks a lot better than stock. In the end, there's nothing wrong with buying cool looking headphone cables just like there's nothing wrong with dressing up one's engine, putting uber good looking rims on their car, landscaping ones home, buying a Rolex or putting up X-Mas decorations on the outside of the home.

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post #29 of 60 Old 09-29-2012, 07:06 AM
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I'm thinking about getting AudioQuest Type 4 speaker cables. The dealer offered me a good deal. I got a bunch of audio stuff from him before so he told me I could try them out and if I liked them I could keep them at discount price. smile.gif

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post #30 of 60 Old 09-29-2012, 07:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeeMan458 View Post

People of conscience don't work for companies selling the snake oil they're responsible for creating. With all due respect, what you describe in your above is a conspiracy that comprises of administration, sales, manufacturing and the engineers working in R&D.

Marketing is created based on the premise of selling "snake oil". Their job is to make money for the company no matter how bad the product is. People working in R&D dont have to sell anything. They just make recommendations based on their finding. It is up to the sales/marketing people to use those recommendations to make profit or not. The job of an Engineer working for such a company is to make the product as per specs. It is not his or her fault if they are sold as "snake oil". Engineers don't set the price of the products they make.

For example, in my line of work, I do not recommend certain software or features of a software if I dont like how they perform. But the sales guys dont care. They make false claims about the software or any particular features just to sell them or get more work. They get paid based on their commission. They cant pay their bills if they go by their conscience. Where as I am not going against my conscience. I always call a "spade" a "space" and I can still pay my bills smile.gif
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