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Behringer Pedals


getz out

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what ultimately frustrates me with these conversations is how very few people actually understand the manufacturing process. (incidentally, that is also what frustrates me the most about BP product reviews.)

 

it's quite simple (from a very libertarian perspective): if the product is more expensive than its value to you, don't buy it. it's the same reason i don't shop at wal-mart. i vote with my dollars.

 

but don't act like you somehow deserve the tone, even if it's too expensive for you, and that you are somehow cosmically justified in buying a cheap, plastic copy of it. your dollars justify parasites as quickly and easily as they justify producers.

 

if the circuits are in the public domain (as most of these are), your only fear should be whether you can get the right tone or not. but if they're not, you're enabling illegal activity and dubious business practice.

 

robb.

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Robb, I'm not sure if this supports or contradicts what you are saying (I think it supports it), but this conversation shouldn't be about price, right? The appropriateness of this type of derivative manufacture (whether an homage or piracy) is independent of the consumer, in my opinion.

 

This is a difficult topic because it's all a matter of where you draw the line. Is Tech21 not hurting the sales of the preamps that it emulates in their products just because they don't do it exactly? I mean, it may not be reverse engineering in the strictest sense, but modeling and knockoffs do not garner the same type of response.

 

I still think that if Behringer put these out in a different case, no one would be saying a word. In some ways, I think it's a good thing. I think it shows just what consumers consider when they purchase. It ain't always the quality...it's usually branding.

"For instance" is not proof.

 

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I understand your pain in people not understanding the manufacturing process robb. I happen to understand it quite well... with an M.S. in Technology and a job as a program manager in the IT side of the Manufacturing Supply Chain for a very large computer company.

 

That being said....

 

I don't know the mark-up of that Boss is using on their pedals, but I'm certain that it is high. If Behringer can come in and market a close-enough product then it shows that they have managed the supply chain (from components manufacturers to the assembly line to the market place) in such a way that they can offer a similar product for far less money. The quality of the components is probably not as high, but that is a factor that all of us make as musicians. Boss needs a reason to chop some of it's prices by 30% anyway.

 

Companies like EH may or may not suffer. The Big Muff (for example) schematics are readily available on the Internet and are not extremely complex. With a little luck I'll be building my own soon enough as it is something I've recently become interested in doing.

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Originally posted by Mudcat:

As I stated in the thread on the guitar forum, I suspect Uli's attornies have confirmed Behringer's legal standing to manufacture and market these products.

 

I just wonder if Uli had any correspondence with EH, Boss & Tech 21 prior to introducing these things. :confused:

It's hard to write a reply through the tears of laughter, but I'll do my best...

 

I wonder if Uli's attorneys confirmed the legal standing to produce bass cabs & combos, bass amps, power amps, mixers, with Hartke, Ashdown, QSC, and Mackie respectively? The various lawsuits and angry competitors and their employees suggests otherwise...

 

Alex

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I think that what they are doing is on the fringe of legality. What I did not mention in my previous post was the cost of R&D and how it factors in to a companies survival. Behringer doesn't seem to have those R&D costs and that can also allow them to flood the market with cheaper prices.
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Originally posted by C. Alexander Claber:

I wonder if Uli's attorneys confirmed the legal standing to produce bass cabs & combos, bass amps, power amps, mixers, with Hartke, Ashdown, QSC, and Mackie respectively? The various lawsuits and angry competitors and their employees suggests otherwise...

 

Alex

Alex, can you point me to a resource or resources that you've found that documents angry competitors and the lawsuits beyond the two mentioned on this thread?

"For instance" is not proof.

 

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Originally posted by robb.:

but don't act like you somehow deserve the tone, even if it's too expensive for you, and that you are somehow cosmically justified in buying a cheap, plastic copy of it. your dollars justify parasites as quickly and easily as they justify producers.

This is the same reason people pirate software and music. At the more extreme, this is why people boost cars and rob houses.

 

Theft is theft.

 

In the past, I have had plenty of clients that proceded to do things that were clearly illegal because the outcome was still profitable. Instead of R&D costs, a company like Behringer has litigation costs. With the right combination of actuaries, lawyers, and accountants, litigation costs can be a lot cheaper than R&D.

 

Ask Ford Motors about the Pinto. ;)

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I'll weigh my 4 cents and pose a related quandry. Last summer, Ashdown released a head for $299(MAG 300 I think?), made in China. While not what I would categorize as a "real" Ashdown that I wanted, I checked it out. It was ok but not what I was looking for. Next to it was the Behringer amp, for $239. Looked exactly like the Ashdown (meter and all) except that it wasn't blue and didn't say Ashdown. While I wasn't interested in buying either, my thought was more along the lines of "Why pay an extra $60 for a Behringer with a different name" than "Why pay more for the Ashdown when I can get the same from Behringer for less"? They more than likely are made in the same factory. Sure, Ashdown wants a piece of the low-budget market, but with no actual product differentiation, and not being the "best" bargain, how much are they getting? Is it worth it? (obvious rhetorical answer of yes, but I still don't like it :mad: )

"Am I enough of a freak to be worth paying to see?"- Separated Out (Marillion)

NEW band Old band

 

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Dan,

 

I agree. As long as their is not infringement, I think we all agree that copying something that is public domain and branding it is fine.

 

Reverse engineering is another matter.

 

The other matter that 0-9 brought up is a good point, too.

 

Do sales of Tech21 NYC's Bass Driver DI, which emulates Fender's Bassman and Ampeg's SVT, hurt sales of the products they emulate?

 

Maybe, but in my opinion it doesn't matter. Tech21 went through research to find a way to emulate those sounds without just copying a design lead-for-lead. That's innovation.

 

Stealing from innovators will eventually dry up innovation.

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Originally posted by zeronyne:

Originally posted by C. Alexander Claber:

I wonder if Uli's attorneys confirmed the legal standing to produce bass cabs & combos, bass amps, power amps, mixers, with Hartke, Ashdown, QSC, and Mackie respectively? The various lawsuits and angry competitors and their employees suggests otherwise...

 

Alex

Alex, can you point me to a resource or resources that you've found that documents angry competitors and the lawsuits beyond the two mentioned on this thread?
Alex,

Same question. I am familiar with the Aphex lawsuit that Behringer lost and the out-of-court settlement with Mackie.

 

Are there other lawsuits that Behringer has lost/settled with regard to patent or trademark infringement? I understand why competitors that Behringer copies would be irate with them, however I only know of the two competitors above who actually took them to court over their (photocopied :D ) designs.

 

Are there any others that have gone to court?

 

Mudcat

Mudcat's music on Soundclick

 

"Work hard. Rock hard. Eat hard. Sleep hard. Grow big. Wear glasses if you need 'em."-The Webb Wilder Credo-

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Lots of things are settled without press.

 

Actually, most things are settled without press, especially corporate on corporate litigation.

 

These are not class action lawsuits where press is the best thing going for plantiffs. I can guarantee there were extensive discussions between Aphex/Mackie and Behringer before any suit was brought to court. Corporate on corporate litigation's last resort is to file in court.

 

Larger companies (Mackie/Aphex) have the resources to bring suit, so it's a valid threat when presented to Behringer.

 

However, smaller companies may not have the resources to mount what is a costly legal battle that may or may not pan-out. That's a risky proposition for a small company. Winning a suit would enable the company in most cases to recoup all the costs of litigation plus damages and potentially punitive damages. However, if they lose, they are likely on the hook for their own legal costs plus court fees and maybe even defense costs of Behringer.

 

Think of it this way:

 

You have a life's savings. It's $1,000. You keep it in a safe. Someone gets into the safe and steals $150. Now, you can live on $850, but that's not right that someone stole your money. You want it back. You know who took it. So you tell the person to give it back. They say they didn't take it.

 

So, you bring them to court. The lawyer costs $50. You need to prove that Person X stole your money.

 

Scenario A - you prove it. You get $150 back (damages) plus $50 (legal fees). Great. You back at par.

 

Scenario B - you prove it. You get $150 back (damages) plus $50 (legal fees) plus punitive damages of $50. SWEET. You're actually up $50 from start.

 

Scenario C - you don't prove it in the court of law. You don't get anything back. You're out $150 of damages plus $50 of legal fees. Worse yet, you have to cover defense fees of $50 as well, plus court fees of $25. Instead of having $850 left, you're actually down to $725. Not so good.

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Originally posted by getz76:

Instead of having $850 left, you're actually down to $725. Not so good.

I don't know, how many Behringer effects will that buy me? :D

 

Seriously, I agree that if these same effects were in different cases, there'd likely be a lot less public clamor.

 

Peace,

 

wraub

 

I'm a lot more like I am now than I was when I got here.

 

 

 

 

 

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Originally posted by getz76:

..Larger companies (Mackie/Aphex) have the resources to bring suit, so it's a valid threat when presented to Behringer.

 

However, smaller companies may not have the resources to mount what is a costly legal battle that may or may not pan-out. That's a risky proposition for a small company. Winning a suit would enable the company in most cases to recoup all the costs of litigation plus damages and potentially punitive damages. However, if they lose, they are likely on the hook for their own legal costs plus court fees and maybe even defense costs of Behringer...

I agree with this premise except that, in the case of these new Behringer products, Behringer is actively publicizing the original competitor's product their knock-offs are based on.

 

Example: I would consider Tech 21 to be a relatively small company who might have the concerns mentioned above. Behringer is marketing amplifiers and analog modelers directly copied from Tech 21 designs. If Tech 21 has anything resembling a legal basis to keep their designs from being marketed by Behringer, I would have to assume they would go after them legally. This assumption is strictly based on Behringer's public acknowledgement of pinching the designs from Tech 21. It's right there on their website.

 

Am I missing something?

Mudcat's music on Soundclick

 

"Work hard. Rock hard. Eat hard. Sleep hard. Grow big. Wear glasses if you need 'em."-The Webb Wilder Credo-

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" but don't act like you somehow deserve the tone, even if it's too expensive for you, and that you are somehow cosmically justified in buying a cheap, plastic copy of it. your dollars justify parasites as quickly and easily as they justify producers."
The only tone I "deserve" is the one I achieved by developing my musical skills, through practice and learning.

 

When I buy stuff, I do not "deserve" anything, even good value for my money.

 

As for "justification" , I thought that it has been established long ago that the market had nothing to do with moral values... If Behringer broke any law by copying other people's products, then I hope they will pay for that. I don't like thieves more than you do (and believe it or not, I, myself, do not steal, even music from the Internet - maybe a little time here and there from my employer to discuss with you, but that will be over in a minute...). But if that company found a legal way to produce cheap copies of already existing products, then I have no problem at all with buying their stuff, and I should not complain if this is only a cheap copy and sound like it (even though I deserve the best...). If parasitism is a legal way of doing business, then it should not be judged from a moral point of view. For all I know, it could be deemed as "excellence in management" (I am sorry if my lack of command of the english language prevents me to convey here some sense of irony...)

 

When I will buy my very expensive E-H P.O.G., I will do it without knowing how the manufacturer treats its employees. But my guess is that if they are making some profit over this, somebody probably got exploited somewhere, for value does not come solely from money; somebody has to work to produce it. In any case, I will neither justify or endorse their moral values. I will simply buy a product, and if enough people do the same, it will validate their business model. Validation here, is not about ethics, moral or politics. It is not justifcation. Only business... Voting and buying are two different things. And considering all the things we buy and sell in a single day, that is probably a good thing.

 

When I buy that thing (the POG), the vendor will not consider if I worked hard enough to earn my money, or if I got it from selling tobacco ( and let's assume that he is married to that woman we see on the anti-smoking ad who is dying from a lung cancer she got from second-hand smoke). The vendor does not care what part of that money I got from being in front of my computer, discussing with you, instead of working.

 

As for the tone, it's all in the hands ;-)

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Originally posted by bassric:

But if that company found a legal way to produce cheap copies of already existing products, then I have no problem at all with buying their stuff...

we can agree to agree on this. i had hoped that i had already established the "if it's legal, your only concern is if the copy is a good enough copy" caveat well enough. i guess i hadn't. most of my arguments apply only to the designs that are not in the public domain or are otherwise protected. for the old circuits (or bass designs), your choice is your choice.

 

only when the products are illegal (or marginally legal) does your choice enter the realm of moral debate.

 

robb.

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I think that I didn't address your "if a copy is a good enough copy" point because I haven't been very happy with the Boss/Digitech/Ibanez/etc... effects anyway.

 

As to the legality of some of their new designs... they are probably questionable and I doubt that I'll be trying them out for.

 

For the older, really super kick-booty analog effects, there are good copies and bad copies. Would I buy a cheap knock off Big Muff... only if I was expecting to GET a Cheap-0 Muff with components not built to last and if I buy a boutique Muff or compressor clone that I'll expect to get something built to last me a long, long time. I understand that I get what I pay for.

 

Please also understand that I own a Peavey Fury (US) bass, Firenza (US)g#$%^r, bass head, bass cabinet, and Vintage Classic 50 (with kick-booty funkalicious phase built-in) all-tube g#$%^r amp.

 

I understand that I get what I pay for with Peavey gear... good American crafstmanship.

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I've bought a bit of Behringer gear for school over the past few years. This talk of lawsuits and design stealing is all new to me. I think this sort of business practise is evil.

Damn, now the cheap bastard in me will have to bite the bullet and pay more for gear. (Even though technically speaking it's not my money.)

 

On the topic of research and design costs, surely Boss have covered the cost of the majority of stomp boxes that have been around for 25 years...

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Originally posted by ClarkW:

I guess I can see what the fuss is about, but I don't agree with it.

 

I buy generic prescription drugs.

 

I buy generic over-the-counter drugs.

 

Completely different. You are getting the same thing, just a different package. It would be like them using the same circuit, but cheapening the construction to sell it for less.

 

Behringer is a f$head company with zero place in the world.

 

Let's put this into perspective. You want a Ferrari, so you make a similar body out of sheetmetal, get some tires called Goodmonth (named after how long they'll last), make seats out of cardboard and spraypaint them with a leather texture, then put a little 0.8 liter 4cyl in it and market it as a sports car under the name Refarri. Idiots.

No matter how good something is, there will always be someone blasting away on a forum somewhere about how much they hate it.
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Originally posted by NUTT:

I understand that I get what I pay for with Peavey gear... good American crafstmanship.

sometimes.

 

Originally posted by NUTT:

I don't know the mark-up of that Boss is using on their pedals, but I'm certain that it is high. If Behringer can come in and market a close-enough product then it shows that they have managed the supply chain (from components manufacturers to the assembly line to the market place) in such a way that they can offer a similar product for far less money. The quality of the components is probably not as high, but that is a factor that all of us make as musicians. Boss needs a reason to chop some of it's prices by 30% anyway.

in the world of truly high-volume large business, supply chain management is crucial. it's even relatively important in the music industry (only a $5 billion industry). however, i have to comment that in such a small industry, engineering investments occupy a much larger part of the ROI (return-on-investment, for the non-corporates) pie chart. labor is also a much larger part. this industry operates differently than what is the focus of business school.

 

so it's easy to play armchair cheapskate consumer or armchair MI executive, but the reality is different. sure it'd be good for BOSS to be able to decrease their prices (and i'm sure behringer will force them to find a way), but it's not necessarily a reasonable assumption that they can reduce the price.

 

it may be that they're not making money hand over fist on a tuner pedal that required a great deal of engineering to fit such accurate performance in such a small space, when many people are just as willing to buy that korg rackmount chromatic tuner with the LED note indication (regardless of how much less accurate it is) or that sabine handheld for $60. but since there is a market hole, the people who really need a tuner pedal are willing to fork out for one. and since those people are few, a lot of margin has to be built into the price to ensure ROI. otherwise BOSS has lost money and is less able to offer new product in the future.

 

causality.

 

robb.

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Originally posted by Fred the bass player:

This is not to say that I'm in any sense a legal or moral expert, but I wanted to share my thoughts and reactions to what everyone's said here. Feel free to disagree with this.

 

The "legal" end of this is still in dispute primarily because a lot of countries are reluctant to spend the years it takes in court battling over patent/copyright infringements. For instance, a VA superior court ruled last year it was OK for a VA-based cellphone company to market clones using Blackberry technology, which is protected by Canadian patents. The Canadian government stepped in and took this to a US court of appeals, which overthrew the VA decision and sent it back to the VA superior court for hearing further arguments. The Canadian government had to step in because their company couldn't keep up with the cost of the litigation, which was approaching the million-dollar mark.

 

Now imagine Roland-Boss going to Europe to take on Behringer. Yes, the Japanese courts could rule in favor of R-B, but the Europeans wouldn't enforce that. So now they have to truck out to Europe. Maybe they can afford it, maybe they can't, but the point is someone has to spend a lot of money to get their rights enforced. It's not as simple as something being "legal" if the other party refuses to see it that way.

 

So that leaves us with "moral". Yes, I bought a Behringer mixer at GC last year, but GC bought a few hundred thousand dollars worth of Behringer products last year. Shame on me for spending $50 on a mixer, but I didn't break any laws, it was a moral decision. But who invented the mixer, and was Behringer's design a direct ripoff or a variation of the Mackie's? Is Mackie suing Behringer or GC or both? And, most important, is Mackie's design propietary or a redesign of someone else's circuitry?

 

And speaking of software, Microsoft sells its products overseas based on what it determines the market can support in terms of pricing. If I buy a legal copy of MS Office from a dealer who bought his in Hong Kong for $20 and sold it to me for $60, am I breaking the law because Office sells for $300-600 in the US? Think carefully before you answer that, because as long as the software is a legally-made Microsoft product, where it's sold is a trade issue, not a consumer issue.

 

Now let's get hot here. A US student can buy discounted software from most manufacturers and retail/online outlets merely by showing a student ID card or providing that ID number on the purchase order. So if I enroll at Miskatonic University part-time and take a course in Ritual Sacrifice, it "legally" entitles me to buy MS Office to type my papers up with. Is is "moral"? Probably not.

 

So there's "legal" and "moral" to consider.

I'm still up in the air over all of it.

:wave:

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I was very forutnate to have grown up when there were nearly no copies of anything. Most everything I own is the real deal. If anything, one bought a Fender or Montgomery Wards. No other steps on the road to a real Fender. The best part is that only the true musicians made the investment.

 

Posers and hacks were weeded out early in the game. Anyone showing up at an audition with an off-brand instrument was usually asked about the instruments replacement timeline or they didn't have the gall to show up with one. Most often, no one did show up with one. Bass players showed up with Fenders, Gibsons, Rics, Alembics, whatever.

 

Even my high school (ages 15 to 18 in the US) bands had nothing but Fender, Gibson, Hammond, Moog, Marshall, Zildjan, Shure, etc. Everything was "holy grail" gear. At the time it was simply the gear. It was not an "extra" cost.

 

Those that are willing to buy ripoffs should list the company they work at so we can all buy their ripoff competitors. Now imagine all of your customers buying like yourself. It amazes me how hypocritical musicians can be when it comes to their morals.

 

Go ahead and rip me a new one. It doesn't matter. I won't change. Behringer (and other) equipment simply isn't allowed in my bands. I put my money where my mouth is and supply the player with the real deal.

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Originally posted by Prague:

Those that are willing to buy ripoffs should list the company they work at so we can all buy their ripoff competitors. Now imagine all of your customers buying like yourself. It amazes me how hypocritical musicians can be when it comes to their morals.

 

Go ahead and rip me a new one. It doesn't matter. I won't change. Behringer (and other) equipment simply isn't allowed in my bands. I put my money where my mouth is and supply the player with the real deal.

How's the weather in fantasy land? Have you not read the previous posts? We are discussing the relativity of it all. Where do you draw the line? What do you do for a Hammond B3 sound in your band? What about the leslie?

 

By the way, I'm a contractor for Lockheed Martin, who never paid a cent to the Wright Brothers, and the Federal Government who blatantly ripped off the Magna Carta for their charter document.

 

I won't change.
Noted.

"For instance" is not proof.

 

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How is this any different than all those Strat copies out there? Until something that is trademarked or copyrighted is actually infringed upon, then it's all fair game right? Does Boss hold a trademark on certain colors or shapes for pedals? Or sounds, even?

 

Fender trademarked their headstock shape so no one else can copy it too closely. But there are still clones where the average consumer wouldn't know the difference. There will always be knockoffs in the world, and it's always the buyer's choice anyway.

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Originally posted by LizzyD:

How is this any different than all those Strat copies out there?

what, like besides how the strat has been around for 50 years and has long since passed into the public domain, if it were design-protected at all?

 

if BOSS has protected their IP (again, the stuff they pioneered themselves), no one has a legal right to use it. if they didn't protect their designs with trademarks or design patents on products that had open IP, then they have very little to do but find a way to compete with cheaper alternatives.

 

the argument remains very simple in my mind.

 

Originally posted by zeronyne:

By the way, I'm a contractor for Lockheed Martin, who never paid a cent to the Wright Brothers, and the Federal Government who blatantly ripped off the Magna Carta for their charter document.

well, i'm almost positive, that Lockheed doesn't employ any technology of the Wright Brothers, nor would it matter if they did, because that IP would have long since entered the public domain. likewise with the magna carta, which predates John Locke -- widely credited for the philosophical foundation of the united states -- by almost a century, let alone the actual declaration of independence or the constitution of 1789.

 

this shouldn't be a pissing match over who got there first. someone else, in all likelihood, has already gotten there. in electric guitars, it sure wasn't hartley peavey. but he did get the idea to use a CNC machine to build guitar bodies first. now everyone uses that technique, and there is no problem. because he came up with that idea decades ago, and any IP remaining from it is now in the public domain. but you better believe that if someone rips off our feedback ferret circuits, there will be as much hell to pay as can be mustered.

 

the argument remains very simple in my mind. you all can do whatever you want, and you can decide whether it fits your morals or not. that's none of my business. but don't expect me to appreciate your dilemma and approve of inconsistency simply because it's expedient.

 

robb.

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