Quality Control

Many years ago when questioning our reservations at Chandigarh airport, the 10 of us were taken out, told to sit on the runway and surrounded by soldiers pointing rifles (Crimea War army surplus by the look of it). That’s what I call customer service, but maybe that’s another thread.

Never, but I did have a Lexus. Faultless. No one can touch the Japanese on quality or customer service, irrespective of price.

They must like it. I agree with aangen. It might be fun to visit but I sure wouldn’t work there.

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A matter of perspective. Ever been in a rendering plant?

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Or a leather tanning facility . . .

So, you watch an advertisement and take it for a real world. They want to illustrate dedication to what those people proudly build.

Do you also take movies for real?

Have you ever worked in Wetzlar Germany?

It’s a beautiful area, lots of woods and trees around. The food and drinks quality is second to none and it are some of the most friendly people I have been around. The villages and cities around have ancient history and equally historic buildings that are worthwhile visiting. That is real life in that area. Apart from the fact that they have real life issues like everybody else on this planet.

If you’d watch a Video about the semiconductor factories of Texas Instruments, AMD, Intel, NXP in Texas or elsewhere in North America, the environment will not look much different. Because contamination causes product failures With those kind of products. Unnecessary talking sneezing already causes contamination and the light must be equal anywhere in order to produce or work with precise optical equipment or micro electronics. Peet’s probably utilizes in your audio gear as well. It doesn’t mean that those facilities or the people working there are inhuman.

But contrary to what Leica stands for:
I just read long thread about US$ 6000 Direct Stream DAC not showing artwork on the display where it should. I own a Stellar again Cell DAC that does not show bit rates and file format in the display where it should. PS Audio claims not to be able or even bluntly admits it’s no worthwhile to fix It and a customer having the chance to return the product, returned it. That customer rightly expects a US$ 6000 product to function as advertised.

Thanks for the daily mean-spirited remarks. It would be unfortunate to miss out on this.
I like my PS Audio gear just fine.

How do you say “get a life” in German?

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Here’s a bit of history about the staff of Leica and its founder, Ernst Leitz.

Leica cameras were launched in 1925. Basically, Oskar Barnack, an engineer at Zeiss, had invented the first 35mm camera and Ernst Leitz poached him to manufacture it as the Leitz Camera.

The factory was built in his home town of Wetzlar. This was a very Jewish area. The big towns in the area are Frankfurt and Mainz, with a strong Jewish tradition going back over 1,000 years. Jewish persecution had started, but Ernst Leitz staffed the factory with Jewish apprentices. His support pre-dated Leica. This was at considerable personal risk, moreso as Nazi laws became more restrictive. This was at the same time as supplying the Nazi regime, and they were well known for supplying the postal service. During the war he managed to get dozens of Jews out of Germany. This was at huge risk - his daughter was imprisoned and interrogated by the Nazis for 3 months for helping one person to escape to Switzerland.

There is some personal interest. The Great Synagogue in Frankfurt was burnt down in Kristallnacht in November 1938. The rabbi fled and ended up in Glasgow, Scotland. He moved to London and his son became a rabbi, founding a synagogue and large community (some 6,000 members, including my family). When a new $10 million building was founded, he walked from Frankfurt to London from his father’s synagogue, the subject of a book and film.

Ernst Leitz’s life and exploits have been researched by a Californian Leica fanatic, Frank Dabba Smith, who also happens to be a rabbi in North London. He has degrees in both Rabbinics and Photography and his doctoral thesis was on the role of Ernst Leitz in the Nazi regime and the Holocaust. I’ve not met him, but I did buy a lens from him and sold it back to him a few years later. (I wish I hadn’t.)

So from my perspective, Ernst Leitz was an extraordinary man who also made cameras and it must be privilege to work for them.



Interesting background. Thanks.

I first learned photography using my grandfather’s Leica and a light meter. The depth in these black and white photographs will always amaze me.

Did your grandfather’s camera look a bit like this?

A 1935 Leica III with the Sixtus “L” lightmeter, in the original Wallace Heaton (Leica importer) case. It still works perfectly and is mint.

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Wow does that look familiar. This is remarkably similar. Very fun.

The Leica III was made in various models between 1933 and 1960, but I presume your grandfather’s was pre-war. This original version was the only one that was limited to 1/500 shutter speed, which may sound familiar. It would almost certainly have had the 5cm/f3.5 lens.

Unfortunately my memory is not that precise. But it sure looks familiar.

Well, I picked on Germany because it has a reputation for exemplary engineering. In my experience that is not so. If the reputation wasn’t there, I wouldn’t give it another thought. And I wouldn’t work in a lab like that no matter where it is. Why are there even humans there? Automate the damn thing and be done with it.

You can automate manufacture of the electronics, but the final assembly and calibration has to be done by hand. The focusing system remains fully mechanical. It takes about 8 hours start to finish.

The Devialet video shows the level of automation making the major components, but there is still human quality control and final assembly. That automation makes it quite cheap for what it includes. The Audio Note video shows how it is hand built from making individual components, hugely labour intensive and hence very costly.

Here a Leica M10 costs slightly less than a BHK preamp, but Trump has just added 25% tariff to German lenses, which has not pleased Leica or Zeiss, nor I doubt their partners Panasonic and Sony.

I have a life and lived it in many places in Europe as well as the US, where equally high tech and good quality products are manufactured by good people.

Generalist, politically colored and ultra negative quotes like Jedi’s are simply not OK:

And my response was indeed targeted at PS Audio. PS Audio is happy to take German customers good money, whose manager is adding to those negative comments and joking about a clean and tidy working environment while not being able to supply products in the same high end price range that do not always perform as advertised.

I am not saying either way is perfect but having a go at complete foreign industries seems rather politically to me on a forum that is supposed to be non political.

For many years virtually every truck and lorry in Africa was a Mercedes because they were so reliable and if necessary they could be fixed at the roadside.

There is a small place in my heart for this little Isuzu minibus. It was specially made in Japan, imported by the Chinese when China was still pretty much closed (1990), it took us across Tibet up some steep climbs, mostly at high altitude with little air (over 5,000m), all dirt roads in those days and through several rivers. It was indestructible. Had it broken down we would have been completely stuck. The only thing that had to be changed, almost daily, were the rubber door seals to keep out the dust.

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Steven, this is very informative thank you for posting it. And I agree that it would be a privilege to work for Leica especially with that background.

To add to it, it is a privilege to make a living by working in general for everybody. It’s sad that some industry abuses people’s and there should be something said about that. But in general, whether workin in a neat office with nice view, working on a sterile factory floor or a dirty environment like foundries or mines, or a farmer or forester, all are professions and skills that should be respected.

We can not do without. The Bauxite ore for the aluminum of the enclosure of our stereo equipment, the silicone for the chips and the chips them self come from production places that were mentioned here. And the people working there deserve respect for what they do.

Here’s another one you could eat off the floor, in the UK. Here they wear black, no lab coats. Basically hand-built cars.

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