I just had a very interesting experience that many might find informative, or at least amusing. I recently received a mailing from a mail order superstore that I have hardly ever done business with. I buy almost everything significant from local pro audio dealers because i get better prices and much better service. All I ever usually get mail order or from prosumer stores are things like cables, music stands, and other accessories. This particular company has been after my business for years (I won't mention any names to protect the innocent/guilty, and to avoid any potential lawsuits...) and the other day they sent me a post card with a special offer - namely that for the month of July they would give me their "employee accomodation" prices on anything I wanted to purchase from them. Ostensibly that meant the special discounts that their own staff would get if they were to buy these items themselves. While not identifying the specific company, I will say that this is one that we all know, and that they take many pages of advertising out every month in almost all of the music magazines published in the USA. Sounded like a great opportunity! So I called them up and got quotes on a number of things i was considering buying at some point, and the prices did seem pretty good. So I decided to do an experiment. I called my local pro audio dealer (who I will also leave anonymous so that I'm not accused of being a shill) and without telling him anything about the mail-order offer and/or prices, I asked him to give me some prices on the same items. I will stress again that the local dealer had no inkling he was in a competition for my business, so he had no special incentive to give me any more than my usual consideration in pricing. You may find the following examples interesting: Waves Platinum TDM Bundle Upgrade: List - $1200 Mail Order - $850 Local pro - $749 Antares Autotune TDM: List - $599 Mail Order - $449 Local pro - $389 Soundelux U99 mic: List - $2500 Mail Order - $1850 Local pro - $1669 Soundelux U195 mic: List - $1350 Mail Order - $865 Local Pro - $799 Beyer M160 mic: List - $699 Mail Order - $550 Local pro - $499 Summit TD100 DI: List - $495 Mail Order - $375 Local Pro - $359 Raxxcess IsoRAXX (14 space): List - $1299 Mail Order - $855 Local Pro - $699 I think the above data speaks for itself. But what makes it even more remarkable was that the mail order company was representing these prices as a "once in a lifetime" opportunity, whereas my local pro dealer was just giving me his regular pricing, and yet still blew the "employee accomodation" prices out of the water!!! Imagine how much more differential there would have been if I had NOT been getting the "employee" prices. The purpose of this thread, by the way, is to show the real value in establishing a "preferred customer" relationship with a real pro audio dealer. You get the best advice, tech support, loaners, and other service that way. Some of you may have found even better prices through your own contacts, but i gotta say, after this experiment, i would tend to be pretty loyal to my dealer.