Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Why We Don't Make Stuff

The Presonus MP20 Preamplifier Conundrum

Oct 20 11:21 AM
I have a pair of MP20 preamps that need repair. Since Presonus no longer provides support for those products, is it possible to obtain a service manual, schematic, or any technical information for these pres that would making servicing them possible?
 
October 21, 2014 11:50 AM
Technical Support PreSonus Audio Electronics
 
Hi Thomas,
 
Thank you for contacting Presonus Technical Support.
 
Your MP20 device falls under the category of End of Service (EOS) support. This means that Presonus no longer has parts, manuals, schematics or suggestions on repair facilities for this product available to the public.
 
We are sorry for any inconveince this may cause, but please let me know if there is any more questions you have about currently shipping products and ways to replace this device.
 
Thank you,
Adam Brandon
Technical Support Agent
Presonus Audio Electronics
18011 Grand Bay Court
Baton Rouge, LA  70809
 
October 21, 2014 12:58 PM          
Thomas Day  
 
You should check your own website before hitting the boilerplate response button. That or actually go to the trouble to ensure a statement like "Presonus no longer has parts, manuals, schematics or suggestions on repair facilities for this product available to the public" is true by eliminating the page that disproves the statement: http://www.presonus.com/support/downloads/MP20. Obviously, anyone who has ever been in a manufacturing environment would never say or believe a company would destroy schematics or service information. In a digital world, none of that stuff takes useful space and provides valuable history. This statement should be, at a minimum, be reworded to something mildly credible.
 
In the past, I have been reasonably supportive of Presonus products when students, friends and customers ask about low priced recording products. I've heard a lot of horror stories from people and students who have purchased Presonus and experienced premature product failure and poor customer support. Until now, I had only experienced Presonus' service tech hostility when trying to obtain schematics and service information for products still serviced by the company. Clearly, Presonus is not particularly interested in promoting word-of-mouth customer relationships and I will now be among the many who do not take the company and its products seriously. I regret ending up in that crowd, since I was once a fan of many Presonus products.
 
October 21, 2014 10:20 PM
Gary - PreSonus Audio Electronics
 
Thomas,
 
This was not a boiler plate response. Being that the MP20 was first manufactured in 1998 and was discontinued in 2008, it is understandable that we may no longer service such a unit. It was one of the first groups of devices we ever manufactured.
 
The main reasons that units are shifted into being discontinued are due to lack of any further available part for service, outdated and incomparable technologies with modern supported technologies/computers/hardware, a replacement or new generation of a product has been released and or due to a combination of any of these the overall manufacturing lifespan of the product is complete. It has been PreSonus' policy since the beginning that we have not released schematics publicly. We actually are currently reevaluating said policy, but our current stance is not one that PreSonus takes, but many companies. So much so that companies such as Apple actually bought a company this year due to them publicly reverse engineering all their products and showing users how to service and repair them. We at no time ever stated that we have destroyed said requested schematics. As the schematics, technology and designs are the intellectual property of PreSonus. It is up to us how we handle such things.
 
Again, I want to reiterate that we are currently taking a look at options that will allow us to release some schematics to customers.
 
We do not at anytime release currently manufactured product schematics to anyone aside from our qualified Service Departments. We take our products seriously and want to insure that they are repaired to spec, so that we someone like yourself experiences one out in the field it properly represents the product and you are not possibly experiencing someones attempt to repair one of our devices, which may or may not be up to par.
 
Gary Hasenbeck
Technical Support Lead
Dealer RA Support Supervisor
PreSonus Audio Electronics
October 22, 2014 09:52 AM
Thomas Day  
 
Gary,
 
You're right, I misread the statement "This means that Presonus no longer has parts, manuals, schematics or suggestions on repair facilities for this product available to the public." I assumed Presonus had gone from the previous customer hostile "proprietary" attitude to claiming the non-existence of such material. You might notice some inconsistency in Adam's statement, since I found the manuals on your own website.
 
There are better companies than Apple to use as a model for customer service, but I can see the internal justification. Apple, however, has done a fairly good job over the years of providing the service manuals their internal techs use on the internet. Otherwise, Apple has done a terrific job of making enemies out of friends and haters out of loyal customers for 30 years. Pro audio is the wrong business to be playing their game, though. One good reason vintage studio equipment holds value is because it is serviceable. While Presonus has pretended to have a stranglehold on good technicians, companies like Epiphone have gone the route of creating products designed for the DIY market. Unrepairable, but otherwise useable, equipment puts a stain on a company's image that results in downgrading future products. There is no reason Presonus should feel compelled to continue servicing old products, but withholding that information from owners appears to be more an act of spite or disregard than any pretense at preventing "reverse engineering."
 
To people with product repair history, a corporate terror of reverse engineering usually indicates a more likely fear of being discovered as a company with a history of reverse engineering (Behringer, for example). If Presonus is honestly worried about a competitor reissuing the MP20 that might be an indication that the product has a larger market than assumed when it was cut from production. It should be obvious that a statement like "we take our products seriously and want to insure that they are repaired to spec" is inconsistent with preventing service from any source once Presonus has decided to cut itself loose from the responsibility of providing service.
 
I appreciate the time you took to reformulate a response to me. I would encourage Presonus execs to reconsider this policy since I believe it has a greater affect on customer perception than a cursory and uninformed perspective might indicate. A high cost of moving manufacturing overseas is that engineering and management lose massive quantities of irreplaceable skill. When a company falls into the pit of deluding itself into believing it is possible to be an "ideas and marketing business," the handwriting is on the wall. Four decades of American manufacturing and engineering skills have been lost in dozens of industries from this fallacy.

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