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Did HeadRoom discontinue the Desktop Ultra DAC?


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no worries, Postjack International will soon be doing enough innovation to satisfy the whole market.

Pardon me for saying so, but there's something about an amp named the 'Pussywillow 3000' that doesn't exactly make me want to click the 'Buy It Now' button. :)

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It appears that Headroom has followed the ways of corporate America. Tyll sells a part of Headroom a couple of years ago to get some cash to keep his employees' food on the table,

then a couple years later, he gets demoted from chief cook and bottle washer to head waiter, then last year, wrote a series of rants of why he wasn't exploring opportunities with Headroom anymore, until the final demise. If you write to [email protected], this is what you get: Hi!

I'm no longer with HeadRoom and am starting some new ventures. Please

contact me at [email protected]

--

Cheers,

Tyll Hertsens

I ordered a pair of Harbeth's from them on Monday and I was told today that my credit card was denied. I called the bank and they said "no transaction requests were made from Headroom" so maybe they're are stalling for time and drop shipping from another distributor.

Also, on the note of them not innovating anything new, I heard from a very unreliable source, they are seeking equipment from China, so they are taking the road to un-prosperity.

They were where it all started. It's a sad state of affairs, sort of like NAFTA. Shooting oneself in the foot.

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The billing issue with those Harbeths might be a simple mistake, or it could be the sign of something much worse. It does raise some uncomfortable questions. Dishonesty is never a good sign. In the wake of the Hindenberg Rotenberg disaster, headphone cognoscenti are especially wary of lies about billing and shipping. HeadRoom under Herstens direction had the best customer service in the industry, period. There is an entire spectrum between the HR of yore and SinglePointOfFailure but I would hate to see the former end up like the latter.

I wonder about repairs and upgrades to HeadRoom equipment. In my early days over at That Other Place, I used to regularly read about HR owners sending in their gear and almost invariably reporting back with happy results. The Sloth had his own division of HeadRoom for a while. Equipment servicing is a more delicate matter than sales. In my jaded opinion, it is even more important for maintaining customer loytalty. If HeadRoom's reputation sinks too much (and I don't think it has thus far) it will impact the resale value of HR products.

No matter how far the company falls, Headroom will never be the giant steaming clusterfuck that was Mikhail's creation. HeadRoom products are unlikely to catch on fire or shock the shit out of someone. Still, it is sad to see how the company has changed for the worse. I have an HRBD and DPS, and I've entertained the idea of getting an HRMH for a long while now. I have unrealistic fantasies of upgrading to a HR-BUD and HR-UDAC (or finding a HR Balanced Max for "cheap.") All of the above shows up on the used market with some frequency, but it's a lot less fun to buy used equipment when one is unsure about the possibility of getting it serviced.

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It's a bit perplexing reading about all the negativity over Headroom. I understand Tyll isn't there any more, but how about giving them a chance before jumping to conclusions? Mentioning SinglePower in the same sentence is simply insulting. Headroom didn't take his money and then not send anything. No charge was made; a far cry from what Mikhail was doing.

As for them not being innovators, do you think the economy could be playing a certain role in this? Is it wise to be spending money on developing new products if sales are destined to be dismal?

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Deepak,

I don't blame the economy, really, for the situation that Headroom is faced with. The primary investor decided to take the company in a different direction which was in direct conflict with the way that Tyll liked to do business and run the company. Is it a wrong direction, heck I don't know, but it's decidedly different from how things were run up until about 2-1/2 years ago. So the resentment/distrust/dislike that some might be feeling might be related to that, if I had to offer my opinion. Headroom used to be a home-grown, mostly family run business with a specific interest in both catering to the highest of the highend headphone listener but also, designing and manufacturing their own gear. Now I'll give you that Tyll may already have been starting down a road away from the in-house stuff but I can tell you for damn sure that he wasn't going to pull a Meier and farm the whole works out to overseas cheap labor and manufacturing. Headroom also now appears more intent on being a headphone specific Amazon, a game that I think they'll find almost impossible. I don't wish Headroom any ill will but I also won't pay a premium to shop there anymore.

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Deepak,

I don't blame the economy, really, for the situation that Headroom is faced with. The primary investor decided to take the company in a different direction which was in direct conflict with the way that Tyll liked to do business and run the company. Is it a wrong direction, heck I don't know, but it's decidedly different from how things were run up until about 2-1/2 years ago. So the resentment/distrust/dislike that some might be feeling might be related to that, if I had to offer my opinion. Headroom used to be a home-grown, mostly family run business with a specific interest in both catering to the highest of the highend headphone listener but also, designing and manufacturing their own gear. Now I'll give you that Tyll may already have been starting down a road away from the in-house stuff but I can tell you for damn sure that he wasn't going to pull a Meier and farm the whole works out to overseas cheap labor and manufacturing. Headroom also now appears more intent on being a headphone specific Amazon, a game that I think they'll find almost impossible. I don't wish Headroom any ill will but I also won't pay a premium to shop there anymore.

Thanks Nate I do appreciate the additional information and value your opinion highly on the matter. I still feel they are owed some time to see if they do come out with new amps or DACs.

FWIW to my knowledge I've never bought anything from Headroom or owned Headroom equipment. I only remember they were up there with Headamp in the recommendations they used to receive around here.

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Headroom was one of the pioneers of the online audio world. Tyll had visions (from the heart) of bringing back audio to what it was in the '60's.

Unfortunately, anytime you bring other companies into the mix, their contracts usually stipulate that, after a certain amount of time, they get a more than fair share of the stock.

This happens all too often, and usually turns out less than desirable.

This is what happened to Snapple. They were a great company, making a uniquely great product. But Quaker Oats decided to change the formula and it doesn't taste like the Snapple of old (unfortunately).

The bean counters decided that more high fructose corn syrup rather that natural ingredients was the way to go, hence the degrading of the recipe but saving them loads of money. This is truly a short term gratification that hurts employees in the long run.

In the Snapple case, all of the top Snapple people were paid handsomely and offered nice jobs that were short term. I don't think this was the case with Tyll, unfortunately. He was living out his true passion, and wanted to keep all of his people making a decent living in Bozeman. Unfortunately, the number one way to save a company money, is to cut payroll and benefits.

Tyll only had one real designer who was a visionary, and without him, Headroom is just another Needle Doctor. Eventually, Tyll, who we know can be a little strong headed, but played a great game of chess for the long haul. But like Vegas, it takes a large bankroll to be able to make it through rough times, so that when times become better, the dream can become reality.

I'm afraid that Headroom has fallen into the trap that most companies have fallen into, and employees and it's loyal patrons are the one's who will feel the pain.

If a company like Circuit City can go under, anyone can. They took employees that specialized in one genre, and had them walking around with clipboards, making minimum wage, selling everything from Monster cable to washing machines.

America has shot itself in it's own foot by vending out everything to Asia. 150 lb. manhole covers that kept thousands of people employed in Pittsburgh, now, are living on Welfare, towns are ghost towns, and big heavy pieces of metal are coming from China and India, and yet, due to union pay, that is more economical than keeping PA employed. Concessions could have been made, and we could still have thriving steel towns surviving in the US.

Jan Meier went the vended route, and Craig from Eddie Current just designs and has his amps vended out.

We owe China a lot of money and it's not going to get better. If Headroom designs new products and has them made in China, or even has them made and designed in China, then they are no longer Headroom, the epitome of American made, American designed innovations.

Did you hear that Harley Davidson is going to be making some or all of their bikes in India. So much for the whole, "I'm only buying American" which is the foundation of most Harley riders.

It must be 30 years, because that's the cycle (no pun intended) and whoever is older than 45 should remember the whole Harley Davidson/AMF debacle. Driving down the road with a screwdriver in each hand (1 phillips and 1 flathead), tightening the bolts as you drove. We are in trouble, and I don't see anyway out. I'm glad I'm not my chilren's age, because it is going to be even worse for them. [/end of rant]

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The Harley Davidson company is the subject of many "Management Case Studies" at business schools. Between the quality program they started, and the marketing they achieved, they showed that it was possible to do what some of the audio high end wants to do: differentiate themselves as quality, made in America merchandise, that people are willing to pay a premium for. And not just because it's American, but because it's GOOD, and has a certain true status associated with it.

Looking at the high end audio market, and even then the subset niche of high end headphones, it's certainly understandable why Headroom of old couldn't continue the way it did. It would have been great if the market had the continued demand that Harley's engender; at least enough to keep them afloat. Aaron, I had read that the manufacturing in India would be primarily for overseas demand. So I'm not so perturbed over that if true. But it DOES seem to smear the legend a little bit.....

I look forward to what Tyll comes up with next. If I can, I'll support him with my money (of course, if I WANT what he sells :)). And I agree with Nate: I wish no ill-will to Headroom as they are now, but won't rush to give them my business.

The importer of Harbeth is my favorite local dealer, Fidelis A/V in NH. Might be worth cancelling your Headroom order and contacting them directly....Walter Swanbon is the owner....another passionate audio person!

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Deepak,

I don't blame the economy, really, for the situation that Headroom is faced with. The primary investor decided to take the company in a different direction which was in direct conflict with the way that Tyll liked to do business and run the company. Is it a wrong direction, heck I don't know, but it's decidedly different from how things were run up until about 2-1/2 years ago. So the resentment/distrust/dislike that some might be feeling might be related to that, if I had to offer my opinion. Headroom used to be a home-grown, mostly family run business with a specific interest in both catering to the highest of the highend headphone listener but also, designing and manufacturing their own gear. Now I'll give you that Tyll may already have been starting down a road away from the in-house stuff but I can tell you for damn sure that he wasn't going to pull a Meier and farm the whole works out to overseas cheap labor and manufacturing. Headroom also now appears more intent on being a headphone specific Amazon, a game that I think they'll find almost impossible. I don't wish Headroom any ill will but I also won't pay a premium to shop there anymore.

Thanks very much for the explanation. Interesting, and sad. I still own one of the original Littles and bought tons more HR gear over the years. The Little was my gateway drug, and ran like a top. It was undoubtedly entry-level, but it sounded good, looked different, and was built like a tank. Loved the products and the vibe. In recent years there seemed be a sense that HR was no longer aiming at the bleeding edge but I guess I liked the house sound, and the customer service was top-notch.

I bought a set of phones from HR a few months ago, and it did not go well -- customer service I'd describe as "testy," product mis-addressed and mis-invoiced, with the result that it got kicked around at Customs for several weeks. No big deal, but not like the old days. Maybe their new focus as HeadphoneMall will pan out, but I've noticed that several of the HR-branded products that have been trailered on HF and elsewhere never materialized, and perhaps they never will. I miss the sometimes lunatic enthusiasm, distinctive products, terrific customer service and all-round generosity of the original outfit. That was clearly in hindsight largely down to Tyll and the original crew, and I would not now go out of my way to shop there either. A shame.

I'm a longtime Harbeth P3 owner, and the ESRs are the best ever iterations, IMO. Salt licorice for the soul.

best,

k

Edited by kirkwall
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The importer of Harbeth is my favorite local dealer, Fidelis A/V in NH. Might be worth cancelling your Headroom order and contacting them directly....Walter Swanbon is the owner....another passionate audio person!

Wish I would have gotten this info a little earlier. They are already on their way to me in a very cold truck from Montana.

Thanks, though. Not sure if he carries all of the Harbeth line. His site points towards some of the higher price units.

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All the more reason for us to support the real enthusiast sites that build honest equipment right here in the U.S.A. HeadAmp now leads that pack IMO, and it's very worth the few extra dollars to keep that business in business. I'd hate to see the day when such a product is no longer available.

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Thanks for the kind words guys. 'Preciate it.

I am going to be doing something else. It will be for, and by, the hobby ... directly.

I think we should measure every important headphone ever made. For starters.

Along about January I'll need a lot of your help ... err ... geek play. Hope to see you then.

wave.gif

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There is a company in the same boat as Headamp, that this site does not like very much, but the fact that it follows the same American business model is a fact that cannot be disputed.

I'd say RSA follows the US auto makers business model, unreliable, badly designed, unsafe for the end user, iffy warranty and overpriced.

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The Sloth had his own division of HeadRoom for a while

Hah, that's sweet, but not really accurate. I just played around with some prototype and historical stuff and wrote about it. They suspended the UDAC because of some problems with the USB implementation that they couldn't nail down. Beyond that, I don't know what's going on with HR any more.

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Talking factually, how are RSA products unreliable, badly designed, unsafe for the end user, and have a iffy warranty?

Ray and I haven't talked for months, so I am not asking these questions as any kind of friend of his. I've owned multiple products of his over the years, as well as many manufacturers and have not ran into any issues. Not liking someone is one thing, but making these statements is showing things other than dislike.

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