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Just ordered a part from Welborne but have not received any retuen e-mails...this is going on 3 weeks now and no response.I know some else who's having the same experience..anyone else having a communication problem ?
I bought a pair of used, factory-assembled, DRD 300B monoblocks a while back. With my 97dB speakers, there was a noticeable hum problem. Not loud, but audible from my listening position 14 ft away. After trying to track down the cause on my own, I finally sent them in to Ron for the professional touch. He asked that I include my TJ mesh plate 300B's to make sure they weren't the cause.
After a week or two, i got an email from Ron saying they found the problem, which was a loose ground and everything was fixed. The cost was $125 plus shipping. Seems like a lot of money, but I now possess amps that are factory warrantied, so it was worth it for me.
The only problem was that when i got my amps back, the TJ 300B's were missing. I sent Ron an email about this and he apologized promising to replace them with a new set of TJ's. He explained that since they were a small shop, he had to order tubes in blocks and that it might take a while. A month later a brand new set of TJ's arrived at my house.
All in all, it was probably 6-8 weeks to have a working pair of DRD's.
BUT , I considered this to still be a good deal because 1) I prefer to only support small, innovative, audio manufacturers Art Audio, Welborne, Cain & Cain, DiyHiFi Supply, Hammer Dynamics, etc. 2) the performance of the DRD's is so far beyond other 300B amps (to me) that the minor wait is small price to pay.
I've met Ron a couple of times at Audio shows and hung out in his room for hours. He is a great guy who is truly passionate about audio and making the best product possible at the lowest price possible. And the performance of his amps are equal to others twice their price.
So, it is sad to hear he's having serious problems fulfilling orders in a timely fashion. I hope he can get past the hiccups of this last year and get back to smooth sailing. I know at least one of those heavy snow storms this winter in Colorado set him back for months due to being snowed in for a few weeks.
As a customer currently waiting, I'm grateful that you took the time to post.
It's the unhappy who are most likely to post, so, though that's all part of it, I am appreciative to those who take the time to say something positive, even though their not trying to get an issue resolved.
It's so easy to pass judgment, and forget that it is self-defeating to kick the few who work so hard to provide excellent products at a bargain. These same people then complain at high prices and lack of variety. A little understanding helps all around.
But judge if you like--it's easy and free!
I hope Ron can dig out of his blizzard backlog soon. Thanks again for the perspective.
I have no doubt people have had the problems they've posted, but it is also for readers to know there are far more extremely happy customers of Welborne Labs than unhappy. Ron has years and years of great service under his belt and only the last one as an aberration. Even then, it's hard to tell how many people have had bad experiences versus good.
From what I can tell due to these threads, it seems that there are 10-15 people who have had extremely frustrating transactions. Delays and mis-packing happen, but Ron's lack of communication seems to the biggest problem and thing that is exacerbating the displeasure.
Hopefully, he can bring someone in to simply handle correspondence and phone service.
This way consumers can make an informed decision.
When they place an order from the postings they have a chance of getting what they ordered late. Then have a chance they will have other problems.
I learned my lesson cheap, but with great aggravation. I was rebuilding a preamp and ordered parts. Paid 100 but then within a week, I received 75% of the order and was told they were on back order, I asked for other values of components that might be in stock, I was ignored and about 4 weeks later I received my back ordered parts.
Needless to say I now had to delay and re-order the parts from someone else.
This was all before I bought my SET amps, well as you can guess when it came to parting with over a $1000 of my hard earned cash, I went with a competitor. I was considering a Welborn but because of all the issues I went elseware.
These threads always concern me, for public perception takes on a life of its own.
I'm waiting for a DRD 300B myself and, though I love speedy gratification and personal attention as much as the next person, I'm content to wait and be understanding.
Yes, I agree that delays and silence suck, but I also know how hard it is to provide a quality, boutique product at a low price. Welborne's amps have received accolades from both customers and reviewers, and the price is more than fair.
Sure, he could improve speed and communication by hiring more people and maintaining an expensive inventory of parts, but that's not his niche.
Other people are already doing that--if you want a great amp/kit fast, anyone here can suggest a number of alternatives, but they're going to cost you more. I researched thoroughly before I bought, and I couldn't find a better product and better service, at a lower price.
So, I'm not happy to wait but content--I plan to be enjoying my amp long after I've forgotten the delay. If I can do my part by defending a good business, I'm glad to do so.
Of course everyone is entitled to their opinion, and complaining is cheap too. ;^)
I placed and order for some Cardas wires (tonearm) and just received it yesterday (waited for 14 days)
Canada Customs typically hold on to your packages for up to 21+ days, so 14 days for my wires are nothing (very good!)
You shall seriously consider calling them, or email them.
P.S. I have no affiliation with Welborne labs but been purchasing parts and what-not from Ron over the past 8 yrs, absolutely wonderful experience so far.
Every order I have placed has been filled promptly and accurately.
I think it is safe to assume that unforeseen circumstances have arisen to cause this lack of communication (perhaps Vista).
Ron is one of the good guys that make our hobby possible.
If the current delay is hampering your schedule, order the parts from another dealer. I am sure Ron will make it right with you. And please give him another chance to earn your business in the future.
I had similar issues a couple of years ago (first and last time
I ordered from WL) when I ordered a few Jensen caps and some other
stuff. It was not a backorder issue, parts were alledgedly in stock.
It just took quite awhile, and clear communication proved a
challenge. I've heard similar scuttlebutt from other fellas
which indicates we are not alone in this.
His website shows his being closed for a week until 3/12/07 to catch up on all pending orders. I have ordered over five times from Ron with no problems ever. If you had bothered to scroll down this page a few page down buttons worth you would have read of the latest blood letting at Ron's expense. Please tell us all what this one part is that you ordered from him? Do I agree with Ron or any company billing any CC before an item ships? Of course not but he is not the only biz doing it to be fair. The business degree side of my brain says this is not being done universally, but it does happen. With small cottage businesses like Welborne that too are at the mercy of their own suppliers. In all fairness is Welborne the only company doing this? He is famous for taking an extra week or two to ship items. The longest I waited was an extra 3 weeks for a pair of DRD amps. That was not a huge deal to me. If it is to you then being that we live in a capitalist society simply order your parts from someone else. This holds true if Ron does not understand that he has a problem with his (not so) prompt order filling and his shipping times.
I think Ron has reached the point where he must pay for a full time warm body to ship items for him if that is even the problem. I hope Ron jumps in and gives us his side of the story shortly. I have placed orders from many other companies and have had waits FAR longer than the one 3 week wait from Welborne to be sure and to be fair. John
I hate this. Have spent weeks surfing and reading this and other forums to get an honest take on Welborne. His amps (Terraplanes) really seem to be at the top of my list. Finally have the money in hand, and by an amazing coincidence the site announces a 15% off sale. I'm gold baby and ready to order - then all these disturbing posts!
I get the sense that Welborne is as I have read several times a "good guy". And he certainly responded quickly to me last week via e-mail (within the hour even). And I don't want to miss the 15% break that expires at the end of this week. But these ripples in an otherwise clear lake are troubling. Please advise. And then advise again.
I live in Israel and I waited for 2 month to receive my DRD 300B amps. This is a fair time to wait.
I remember that I too was a little angry when I didn't receive a reply from him for every Email I have sent him regarding my order, but in the end I received the amps AND they sound great.
Ron just responded to my latest and last pre-order question in a very timely manner. I'm good to go and I think a bit of a wait and spotty contact over the time frame I expect this to take are acceptable in context. I just want these right. I'm not a DIY'er and still think this is the best route.
I waited 3 months for my 45 Star Chiefs due to the silver transformers and Ron always replied to my emails , maybe not same day, but he did reply. I was getting frustrated as I'd just sold my DRD 45s, however the wait was worth it. I would have waited 6 months to get them if I knew what joy was to come.
Definately buy the Terraplanes. You'll fall in love with them. An unbelievable bargain and one of the best amps around IMO. In fact I'm tempted to buy in his sale the kit Star Chief to experiment on and practice my soldering skills.
Don't forget to post your impressions when they do arrive.
OK, I'm in! Just placed my order. Thanks for the honest pros and cons discussions. Would hate to think how scary a purchase like this might be if not for forums like this. I will post my thoughts and experiences as they occur.
I have received my Star Chief kit and a while ago you commented that you wished you had not sold your DRD45s. After I complete my Kit, I will be in the same situation. Keep the DRD45s or sell them.
So, tell me why you wished you would have kept them.
Hope your Star Chief are coming along nicely.
You will be impressed at the difference compared to the DRD45.
To answer your question, I would have kept them to experiment on. By that I mean they would have given me the option of trying out different 'flavours' on the DRD to gauge what effect changes make and whether to implement them in the Star Chief. I would hate to change something in the Star Chief and have it all go wrong with my beginer soldering skills. I don't even know how to discharge a capacitor yet!
I have a friend who has changed to battery bias and claims it has had the greatest improvement. Also some resistors can be changed to Bulk Metal Foils and perhaps change caps to Vcaps.
So, for the price you would get for your DRD45s it makes sense to keep them IMO.
Not so smart after all am I!!!
Since, I'm building my Star Chiefs, I have no problem modding and unmodding my amps. So, I'll probably just convert my DRD45s to cash. My house is overflowing with stereo gear anyway! : -)
Welborne does respond to orders and pre-order questions. I've ordered and put together a pair of DRD45s. I didn't post about that first experience here because it seems that Welborne has some staunch defenders and I wondered if the problems were uncharacteristic and it seems that one is a "bad" person for saying something about the poor service.
After the second go around, I don't feel like they were uncharacteristic problems. The order that per his website should take 1 - 3 weeks was about 8 weeks. I was shorted parts. One was easy to find out but the second one wasn't because he lists large separate parts and bags of parts on the inventory. On the first shortage, I was missing a large part so it was easy to see. On the second, I was missing parts from the bag so I didn't find out until I didn't have the parts to install. The instructions are quite detailed and nice in areas and then totally fall apart in others with INCORRECT diagrams and wiring instructions. I don't mean unclear, I do mean wrong. I'm guessing that there have been parts changes over time and he hasn't kept up the instructions. When I had a problem at the end of the build, I called repeatedly and left messages. A week and half or so later, he finally got around to sending an e-mail to see if I was still having a problem. He didn't offer any recommendations as to a possible solution even though I had left descriptions of the problem. Luckily, I was able to get help from someone else. I'm not a first time kit builder but sometimes you just get stuck and need a word or two in the right direction. Don't depend on Welborne for that word or two. There are other kit makers out there who have good kits and who will provide assistance.
I can certainly vouch for Welbourne's prompt responses to basic and succinct pre-order questions -- particularly when it must look to Ron like there's a large and profitable order very likely to come his way should he spend a couple of minutes answering a short and simple e-mail or two. For what it's worth, here's my experience:
When the DRD series of amplifiers first came to market, I was *very* interested in them. (So interested, in fact, that on several separate occasions around that time, I had my "shopping basket" loaded up and was ready to hit the "send" button. I was really that close.) I e-mailed with Ron a number of times in connection with some basic (but critical) questions like speaker and pre-amp matching, room size considerations, etc. (This was my first foray into the land of the S.E.T.) He was normally prompt and courteous in replying -- although often curt. That is, not always as forthcoming, explicit, or verbose as I would have liked. (And I suppose that I'm willing to take most of the blame for those feelings; I was at a point -- like we all were at one time -- where I needed some hand-holding. I just happened not to get it. That said, I did understand that Welbourne was trying to run a business consisting of more than a single customer! So, I didn't take *any* offense. For all Ron knew, I was just hanging around wasting his time. At the end of the day, though, he was was wrong about me and lost a customer as a result.)
You see, the more we corresponded (and I didn't overdo it -- three times, maybe?), the more his interest level obviously declined -- to the point of almost no interest at all. Maybe that was to be expected. Like I said, he didn't know me, and I couldn't "prove" my own level of interest with anything but an order. But, that said, there *was* potentially a multi-thousand-dollar order coming his way, and I guess I was hoping for a little bit more in the way of enthusiasm from someone who, by all accounts, is very enthusiastic about what he does. I actually started to have doubts about his operation's interest (let alone timely ability) to execute my order. In the end, he simply made me feel like whether or not I became a customer didn't matter a whole lot to him; so, I *didn't* become a customer -- at least not of his. And it came down to nothing more than the fact that I couldn't get comfortable with his level of interest in me and my satisfaction with his products.
So, I decided to start talking to Jeff Korneff, who insisted on giving me his home number and who had all the time in the world for me as we sat around shooting the breeze about everything from 45s and the relative merits of different circuit designs to muscle cars and problems with the fairer sex. He *proved* his dedication to his craft and his deep concern that I be happy with what I was about to order. (Several times he tried to talk me *out* of a 45-based power amplifier. Thank God he failed!) His ethics were beyond reproach, and I realized that this was the "comfort level" that I was after. So, he got my order -- plain and simple. Did it take a long time to get my amplifier built? Hell yeah! Several months at least. *But*, that was part of our understanding going into the transaction. He was very forthcoming about just how long it would take. None of this "one to three weeks" turning into "one to three months" business. I paid him half up front and half right before delivery. And when he built my 76-based preamp, he suggested the same payment scheme. I went ahead and paid for the whole thing in advance, as I recall, such was my confidence in him.
Now, this post is not meant to be some Welbourne-bashing, Korneff-praising propaganda piece. (I don't even think that Jeff is in business any longer, so I'm not attempting to steer anyone away from Welbourne and to Korneff. Besides, in the end, their businesses are/were *very* different in large part.) What this post *is* meant to be is some advice to (particularly new) folks to make sure that they have a good, comfortable feeling going into a transaction with an "amateur" audio business. (And, believe me, I use the word "amateur" with a tremendous amount of respect -- as in, the type of person who is in this out of pure love as opposed to love of profit. Furthermore, I believe that Ron Welbourne fits the definition of "amateur" in all of the best, purest ways.)
Just understand what you're getting into, so that you don't end up disappointed. And if it feels wrong, don't pull the trigger; walk away. Otherwise, you're practically guaranteed to wind up disappointed -- particularly when your credit card has been charged, you've already received your monthly bill, no products have shown up at your front door, and the interest level on the other end appears to have evaporated. (Incidentally, my view -- and this is true across the board, in all forms of mail order, not just in specialty audio -- is that charging a credit card before items are packed and ready to ship is ***highly*** unethical. That would be a deal-breaker for me no matter how badly I wanted whatever it was that was being prematurely charged.)
Sorry to be so long-winded. But, whether or not it should, one's buying experience *can* color one's satisfaction with a product going forward. No one should spend lots of hard-earned money on something, only to have massive and frustrating problems in purchasing, shipping, building, customer support, etc. -- and then sit there when it's all resolved and feel like it just wasn't worth it in the end.
So, a couple (too many) words from someone who steered way clear of the potential Welbourne pitfalls -- although I understand that many, many people have had awesome experiences dealing with his company.
I bought my 45 DRD tube rectified mono blocks on a sale from him. I think at most it was 3 weeks from the initial ordering date until their arrival as in delivered to my door. The build quality and fit and finish is quite good. The output transformers are made by ElectraPrint and the quality shames some higher end amps. Of course it is your money and your decision alone as to which company you buy your next amp from. I own both his 45 and 300b DRD amps. Again good luck on your final decision. I hope whatever the outcome of these threads are is a kick in the a$$ to Ron that improves his customer service. I just felt like people were piling on with multiple threads saying the same thing with the same people *barking* at him is all in different forums at AA. John
Dude, I know I am not the sharpest tool in the shed, but I am not quite sure what your point is; that load of piss-weak excuses, shoddy rationalism, and harsh delivery is confusing me.
Hell, emails should be responded to; how obvious was this statement on the website and did it relate to email communication; why is the long wait acceptable; he is not in business to be fair - but should he not do business fairly / provide a service that meets common expectations; *is* it obvious to most that his delivery times are not great and therefore to be expected; is the current cr*p service usual or unususal - have people been advised in advance of ordering; if someone is dealing unfairly / offering poor service, should it not be discussed?...
And your point was what? Please tell me what parts, kits, or assembled amps did you *yourself* actually order from him? If you have never bought anything from him then you have no first hand meaningful information to contribute to this thread, right? John
Interesting that most of your post related to personal opinion and did not comply with your own criteria for "first hand meaningful information". The information you included in your post that meets said criteria could be squeezed into a single sentence.
By your criteria, or lack of adherence to such, you opened the wide for me enter the thread and offer some of my own opinion. That said, you hardly have any authority to tell me whether I can contribute or not...
The way you responded to the original poster's genuine question, politely asked, which did not make any accusations, really sh*t me. If it was apparent to me that you were using some smoke-and-mirrors to make some dubious, perhaps contradictory points (opinion), then sure, I can say so.
So, I may not got da' language down dude, but that don't mean I'm not able to contribute. Word.
"Interesting that most of your post related to personal opinion and did not comply with your own criteria for "first hand meaningful information". The information you included in your post that meets said criteria could be squeezed into a single sentence."
I have posted to the fact that I have purchased at least five times to include amps and other higher end items from him. Is that concise and relative enough to count as my having first hand knowledge for you?
"By your criteria, or lack of adherence to such, you opened the wide for me enter the thread and offer some of my own opinion. That said, you hardly have any authority to tell me whether I can contribute or not..."
Well if you have not bought anything first hand than your contribution to this thread is rather meaningless. I did point out in a email to Ron a few days ago that he has a problem. Whether or not he chooses to reply to this forum is completely up to him.
"The way you responded to the original poster's genuine question, politely asked, which did not make any accusations, really sh*t me. If it was apparent to me that you were using some smoke-and-mirrors to make some dubious, perhaps contradictory points (opinion), then sure, I can say so."
I asked him to tell us what part he ordered? If it was a kit or what? Had he gone to the Welborne site he would have read that until the 12th they were closed and filling their back orders. Further had he scrolled down this active AA page he could have read and added to that on-going thread. Whatever.
"So, I may not got da' language down dude, but that don't mean I'm not able to contribute. Word."
So my statement stands that unless you have first hand knowledge ordering from Welborne you should not be posting anything negative about his company. I for one can state that on multiple occasions before and after my ordering around $3K in items from Ron I have sent and received prompt replies from him. Can you write the same thing Dude? BTW if you registered here people would take your posts more seriously Dude. Word. Again I am not defending him. It is not new news that Ron is known to be a little slow filling orders. I hope Ron finds time to jump in and let the folks know what is going on AND he tells people what he doing to rectify the situation. The 3 week wait on my pair of 45 DRD amps was well worth it since they sound great to my ears. John
You take my point only insofar as you can refute it; you seem to have either missed or disregarded the intent - perhaps I should be more succinct in my discourse (oops, my persona slipped for a moment).
> > > I have posted to the fact that I have purchased at least five times to include amps and other higher end items from him. Is that concise and relative enough to count as my having first hand knowledge for you? < < <
Remember, you defined the criteria (without authority to do so, but we can let that slide). Your post provided only a little first hand experience, then offered a great wad of 'opinion', which could have been offered irrespective of said first-hand experience. So, is your criteria designed to limit posts to 1) just providing first hand experience [your post failed this], or 2) only allowing those with first hand experience to offer 'opinion' that one would not necessarily need the first hand experience to provide [flawed intent and suggests arbitrary control]?
> > > Well if you have not bought anything first hand than your contribution to this thread is rather meaningless. I did point out in a email to Ron a few days ago that he has a problem. Whether or not he chooses to reply to this forum is completely up to him. < < <
My point was that most of your post offered up opinion that 'most anyone could provide, irrespective of whether they had first hand experience or not. You moved away from simple sharing of experience eg. I bought x and had y service, to providing opinion on whether or not various experiences / business activities / poster behaviours were appropriate etc. By doing so, you invited others to share their opinions also. Pretty simple, really.
> > > I asked him to tell us what part he ordered? If it was a kit or what? Had he gone to the Welborne site he would have read that until the 12th they were closed and filling their back orders. Further had he scrolled down this active AA page he could have read and added to that on-going thread. Whatever. < < <
You are very selective on what you choose to address. I am guessing by the "whatever" added at the end, you have little means of backing out of this one. Simple, you seemed disproportionately aggressive in response to a genuine request. Just cop it, there is not weakness in doing so; it demonstrates strength actually.
> > > So my statement stands that unless you have first hand knowledge ordering from Welborne you should not be posting anything negative about his company < < <
Wrong; that argument is flawed in many ways. 'Oh, unless I experience it directly, I should ignore it.' Please. Various people have provided the data (sort of); I can analyse it. You did when you offered up the type of opinion that did not directly relate to your experiences. Also, re-read my initial response – it was a not so harsh opinion and made suggestions, ‘shoulds’ etc. – nothing directly attacking Ron or his business.
> > > I for one can state that on multiple occasions before and after my ordering around $3K in items from Ron I have sent and received prompt replies from him. Can you write the same thing Dude? < < <
As discussed above, irrelevant to what I posted.
> > > BTW if you registered here people would take your posts more seriously Dude. < < <
You are grasping. My argument stands on its merits, not my history. You seem to have taken my posts *very* seriously, considering the time you have spent...
> > > Again I am not defending him. < < <
No, you are just trying to gag some posters and make excuses.
> > > It is not new news that Ron is known to be a little slow filling orders. I hope Ron finds time to jump in and let the folks know what is going on AND he tells people what he doing to rectify the situation. The 3 week wait on my pair of 45 DRD amps was well worth it since they sound great to my ears. < < <
All discussed earlier, in this thread and others.
Now, I could go back and deconstruct each of your "load of piss-weak excuses, shoddy rationalism" and I have answered your points / questions, can I go hang wi' my peeps now dude?
Dude you can have the last word. You have not purchased anything from him obviously or you would have answered my question. So once again real slowly for you now, "You have nothing meaningful to add to this thread." Why not register here, or do you just like posting anonymously? John
and despite expecting others to accept your point-by-point explanations, you (again) use condescension to ignore and disregard the views of others. You can make your demands, set your criteria, yawn, and say it slowly all you wish, but your smoke-and-mirrors little to me. I feel I had something to add, so I did. An arrogant one sentence response from you is not enough to have me thinking differently. Sorry.
I strongly disagree with the suggestion about faxing or calling or reading notes posted on Welbrone's web site.
Welborne does NOT answer their phone. Phonming them is a cmpletely pointless endeavor. They rarely respond to faxes. The various indications on their web site about delivery times are not at all accurate.
Welborne may be at the mercy of tis suppliers, but if the busienss were run at all competently then Welborne would purchase sufficient sotck of a part ot last a while. For example, every time I need an envelope in my office, I do not go out an buy just one, but rather a I buy a big box which will last me a while.
I was told that one of the parts I ordered is unavailalble 8 months after my credit card was billed.
I've ordered IC's from him twice before and I received an e-mail telling me it was backordered ,which was fine.I can live with a wait as long as someone tells me the reason.
All I've been asking is when he plans on shipping.
Now if the item is not in stock or the order can 't be shipped until some future time then just let me know...that's all I ask ,which is not unreasonable.
As far as collecting on the item before shipment I don't have a problem with that ,since I trust Welborne as one of the good guys in the business.I know I'm not spending thousands which changes the mental scenario I might go through if I didn't hear from him in 2 weeks and just dropped some bucks.
Also, when you get a response that tells you to e-mail w/a reference # to check on your order and you don't hear from the co. that defeats the purpose of the e-mail,which in turn defeats the purpose of trying to create customer satisfaction.
I have have been very happy with the treatment I receive from Michael Percy Audio. Percy doesn't carry transformers and chassis but he stocks a good selection of passive parts and ships quickly.
Also triode electronics in chicago has been a good place to deal with. To be fair to Ron Welborne it seems he has been experiencing some lag time due to many orders and not enough time to process them.
I have spoken with him on the phone and he seems like a nice guy.
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