In 1998, I got a phone call from someone asking me if I had any loudspeakers that were capable of producing 145dB? I said yes, the Community M4. He asked me to make an estimate and call him back. I called him back and this time I remembered to ask him what he was using it for. He said he was a research assistant at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) and they were trying to create lesions in monkeys ears. He said they would strap a monkey in a chair between 2 speakers.

I immediately informed him, that I was not interested in helping him in any way further.  I contacted Christine Howze, vice president at Community Loudspeakers. I told her about it and she gave me complete backing in my decision. She also told me that legally, she could not refuse to sell to any dealer based upon usage. She did write to the university president and told him Community did not want their loudspeakers used in this manner.

I also called "In Defense Of Animals" and PETA. Both organizations were quite helpful and immediately organized demonstrations at the campus and in the media. I had all the local tv stations show up on my front porch that afternoon (which scared the sh*t out of me).

A couple of weeks later, I was at Audio Images in SF picking up some gear and I noticed some large Community cartons on their loading dock. I put 2 + 2 together and never bought from them again. I also protested to the owner that what they were doing wasn't right.

I looked up what kind of business I had done with Audio Images. It was $42,000 plus. Their sale to UCSF was well under $10,000. Shortly afterwards, just out of the blue,  I became a dealer for Crown which I had been getting through Audio Images.

I think the PETA  & IDA campaigns were successful in shutting down UCSF experiments.  A couple of weeks later, a lady from PETA called and relayed a message from Sir Paul McCartney "he's a right-on dude".

One day a rep named Rocky brought me a new gooseneck microphone from a new company called Earthworks he was representing. He said it was the best podium microphone out there.  He left it with me and I tried it out at a few churches and loved it. I told Rocky I didn't want to take advantage of his generosity by keeping the microphone for so long, so I told him I'd buy it. He sent an invoice, I sent a check, done. Done like dozens of times with dozens of reps and dozens of products. That's how new gear gets accepted. A rep will come by and say have at it. It's real common. Sometimes you hand the product back in pieces and say sorry this doesn't work. It's also how a contractor builds up their demo stock. The rep hauls around a new product, it gets sold off and the rep orders another one. Someone like myself demo's the product and gets an opening order for the new company. If the Community rep back in 1989 didn't drop off a pair of speakers and say try and destroy them, I never would have sold Community's (and yes I bought them, sold them and now they are in a museum). It's the same with amplifiers. You can't just take someone's word for it, "Ya, it's a great amp" you have to hook it up and drive the snot out it.

A microphone is slightly different. You plug it in and go "Test One- Two" and you're done. It either works or it doesn't and sounds good or not. No big deal. So, I have become an Earthworks dealer and I have my Earthworks microphone that I demo for churches. I have one church that calls me up and says their new Earthworks mic makes noise. I go down there and the mic is fine, no noise. They call again a few weeks later and say the mic makes noise. I tell them to send it back to Earthworks, it has a 15 year warranty. It turns out they made a diode change. A few years later I'm demo'ing my Earthworks mic at another church and I hear a small hum. I unplug the mic and the hum goes away. Next day I contact Earthworks and ask for an Return Authorization. They say it will cost $293.00! I say what? It has a 15 year warranty. Earthworks says we don't use reps anymore and since I had bought it through the rep "This is quite a different status from being a new unit with attendant warranty coverage."

Now, I had already known Earthworks had dropped their reps. Rocky The Rep had told me about how he been brought into a design project for Apple where they were insisting on ceiling microphones. He had told them the only way it would work is if Earthworks would specifically design the microphone for them. Everyone said ok and while the project goes forward, Earthworks drops all reps. Earthworks designs a ceiling microphone and Apple buys a whole bunch of them.  Earthworks adds ceiling microphones to it's product line. Rocky doesn't get any credit for it, doesn't get any commission on the Apple sale and they didn't even call the microphone "R1" or something like that which many companies do.

So here we have a company that doesn't stand by their reps and now doesn't stand by their dealer. Do you want to guess how many Earthworks microphones I'm going to sell in the future?