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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricks & Effects » » Deluxe Linking Rings by Michael Ammar & TCC (7 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Leo H
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On Feb 26, 2021, videoman wrote:
Well obviously he wasn’t hands on every step of the way.
Sounds like he basically just licensed the use of his name to the project.


Yes--from his e-mail message it seems he was disconnected from the project to a certain extent. I feel misled about this, but money lost is an educational investment. TCC products are hit or miss. Buyer beware.
Magic Mark
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I received the following from Michael Ammar and he asked me to share it with the group. I am posting his comments in their entirety:

Quote:
From Michael Ammar:

After being delayed for several days by the weather, my Linking Rings from TCC finally arrived yesterday afternoon - and I opened the box with great apprehension. I say ‘with great apprehension’ because Mark sent a link Thursday to the conversation about the Rings, and frankly, I was a bit scared. It sounded like a disaster was waiting for me inside that box.

But what I saw was not a disaster. I saw a beautiful leather bag, and what I took from the bag was a beautiful set of Linking Rings. I hoped for a great, beautiful, functional set of Rings that could easily have sold for twice the price - and that’s what I received. Now… was it exactly what I had hoped for? Well, no. Not exactly. So let’s look at the difference between what I expected and what I got…

To begin, the ends at the opening of the key Ring are sealed with a plug, which I haven’t seen before. It doesn’t affect the functionality in any way, and of course, the gap will never be seen by anyone, so it doesn’t break my heart. But… it wasn’t what I expected, so there’s that.

Regarding the size of the Rings, I was hoping for 11.5 inches. These turn out to be 11 inches. Is that a disaster? Not really, BUT in the Kickstarter campaign they were listed as 12 inch Rings. Naturally, if I expected 12 inch Rings but I got 11 inch Rings, I would be disappointed, the same as you. But frankly, I believe the discrepancy in the Kickstarter ad was a cultural issue - for them, English is a foreign language, and they use centimeters, not inches. I just don’t believe there was any intent to deceive, because this is a professional company - why would they set themselves up for problems?

As for the sound of the Rings, I am a huge fan of the quality TCC strives for, so even though I’ve never heard other Rings sound like a bell, in my dreams, these Rings were going to produce music. As it turns out, they simply sound like metal Rings striking together. Which is more of a blow to my idealistic hopes than it is a complaint about TCC’s manufacturing.

The other issue discussed here concerned the edited video teaching my routine, which I haven’t seen yet. But I did see the raw footage, and what I saw was a good, effective teaching of the routine I perform - which is all that was promised.

For years Louis Falanga, owner of L&L, and I discussed producing a project on the Rings similar to what we did with the Cups and Balls. But we decided against that, because when it comes to the Linking Rings, people typically wanted to learn a specific routine, so more information than that wasn’t necessary. So our goal here was to effectively and efficiently teach my routine, just like anyone else who has taught their routine has done before. The one difference we brought to the table was the ability to distinguish exactly which Ring was which at all times during the explanation, which, hopefully, was helpful.

As far as the quality of the final image is concerned, it’s possible there was a functional loss in quality in getting the footage to China. We filmed in 4 K, but that made the file so large TCC wasn’t able to download it through any of the methods we tried to send it. In the end, we had to save it in 1080 resolution in order to get the footage to them. On our end the image still looked great, but it’s possible that in the process some of the quality was lost. That’s my guess.

There is no question… expectations would have been managed better if I had been able to handle the exact set of Rings others would receive before the Kickstarted ad was made public. The details should have been accurate, and in all future advertising, they will be. That’s a no-brainer. All ads tend to romanticize their product, but when it comes to measurements, again… why would anyone intentionally set themselves up for complaints? At the same time, the diameter of the Rings doesn’t affect the quality of the magic itself, or there would be 15, 20 and 30 inch Rings on the market. So the main issues comes down to what people expected.

In a perfect world, I would’ve flown to China 5 months ago to personally oversee production. Actually, in a NORMAL world I would’ve done that. I’ve returned to China every year since 2013, but Covid made 2020 the exception. I believe TCC is a fantastic company. From what I’ve seen, they always try to produce the highest possible quality at the most affordable price, and I believe they’ve done that here.

As far as what advice I’d give to those who are disappointed, well… my personal policy is if someone isn’t happy with a purchase, I give their money back. I don’t know what TCC’s policy is, but I bet they feel the same way. A no questions asked return policy is how we’d all like to be treated, isn’t it?

Otherwise, please forgive the length of this message… this was more than the average person would want to know about all this, but I think guys on the Magic Café are more interested in the details than most others. So if any questions remain, I welcome the chance to provide answers!



Mark
Leo H
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Thanks for posting this Mark! Mike didn't mention the large gap in the key that's too wide and not adjustable. Will TCC produce a better key for those who backed this project?
Magic Mark
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Leo, I guess Michael read your post because he emailed me last night and asked me to post this:

Quote:
From Michael Ammar:

Hey guys, about the big gap in the Key Ring… that gap is the exact size of the gap in the Rings I used before TCC came along. I’ve always like a big gap in the Key Ring because it makes so many of the moves I use easier to do without looking at my hands. My rationale is that if I can conceal that gap and it makes it easier to do the links and unlinks, then why not make it a functionally big gap? I did try to close the gap on the Rings I got, and it’s very hard to do - more difficult than any other Rings I own. I don’t think the metal is any different - I think the walls are just thicker, even though the Rings are hollow.

If you own TCC’s Cups and Balls, you know they are the heaviest Cups on the market. That’s because the Cups are cut from a bar, not spun from a disk of metal, and the walls are a bit thicker than others. Those Cups, and I now suspect these Rings, were designed to last 100 years - or more! These are the only props I own that will outlast me, my children and my grandchildren.

For those that want to close the gap a bit, it can be done. I’ve just never seen Rings this sturdy, so… like I said, it’s hard to do. In retrospect, we should probably have made the gap a bit smaller, because I think it’s always easier to pull the gap wider than it is to push it together. But if you watch the video of my performance and explanation, you can tell that’s the same big gap that I use.

As a side note, last night, in Moultrie, GA of all places, I gave my first live performance since last February in Blackpool. Of course I used these Linking Rings and the reactions felt SO good. Frankly, everything went great but in a show featuring cards, Coin in Bottle, Ropes, Cups and Balls and Bill to Lemon, it was the Rings that really gave the show texture. I suspect most of you guys have done the Rings before, but if you haven’t, you should give them a try. It’s truly one of magic’s greatest classics for a reason!



I should mention: Michael hadn't used his Magic Café account since 2006. He tried to log in but had forgotten the password. When he tried to reset the password he didn't get the email. The reason for that (which I learned from Dave Scribner) is that AOL blocks the Magic Café. Michael's email address is an AOL address. And, since January 24, the Magic Café has been closed to new registrations, so Michael can't create a new account either.

Mark
leosx1
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I really like my set, also the looks of it, I think I got more than my moneys worth, also they ring nicely if you handle them with the appropriate subtle touch.
Magic Mark
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I don't think people should be worried about the sound/ring of the rings. Even the hollow Owen rings don't "ring like bells" as some seem to think.

In my experience, SOLID rings have a better ring tone. The only hollow rings that have a nice sustained ring are the aluminum ones by ProLine. These videos compare the ring of ProLine hollow aluminum rings to Owen Magic Supreme hollow stainless steel rings:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3Rlh9R3X18

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFEnHQpPeok

I strongly suspect that these TCC rings have a ring tone that is pretty similar to the Owen rings.

Mark
Leo H
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The main problem with this set is the key ring. The extra wide gap isn't adjustable. A substantial amount of the ring was removed to make the gap. Does anyone know if TCC has responded to this issue?
yin_howe
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Thank you @Magic Mark for posting Mr. Ammar's comments.

Could it be that people are disappointed because they were expecting Proline or Owen's quality rings (of which 1-2 single rings would have cost the same as the entire TCC set! @_@). Compared to my elcheapo and very thin set, The tcc ones are waaaaay better.
"Talent without passion is talent wasted.."
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Leo H
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Quote:
On Mar 1, 2021, yin_howe wrote:
Thank you @Magic Mark for posting Mr. Ammar's comments.

Could it be that people are disappointed because they were expecting Proline or Owen's quality rings (of which 1-2 single rings would have cost the same as the entire TCC set! @_@). Compared to my elcheapo and very thin set, The tcc ones are waaaaay better.


Sure, you could say that. The Kickstarter video presented the rings as something comparable to Owen or Proline at a fraction of the cost. The rings I saw in the video don't appear to be what I received. My main concern is the key ring with the unusually large gap and how TCC plans to address that.
Xcath1
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Maybe they will offer a ring with a smaller gap at a reduced cost to purchasers. I doubt it will be free as I’m not sure the advertisement was a misrepresentation.
Xcath1
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I also find the rings of satisfactory quality but wish the gap was smaller.
Carnac
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I'm another "unsatisfied customer",which is a real bummer because I'm not a picky guy. I sold my 12" Clark Fonda rings to get this set. I didn't need an 11" set as I have 4 10" sets already. This would be replacing my only 12" set. The large gap was good for me, I usually cut a piece of the key ring to make it bigger. (even my Orb Eternals) But I totally understand that it is too big for many and not "adjustable". The tone? Forget about a "ring', definitely more of a "clunk", which kind of sucks but not a deal breaker. The finish on the gap, while not visible to the audience, looks/feels unfinished for sure. I would have used a "bullet nose" type of plug. The welds are not visible, which is great, but again, the finish is mediocre. I do like the thickness of the rings. That was a hit.
Oh yeah, I ordered 5 rings, as offered, because my routine also uses just 5 rings. Guess what? I received NO bag! Was that mentioned in KickStarter? No it was not!
What really kills me is that Linking Rings are not hard to produce. Maybe 50 years ago they were. But not with today's machinery. Think about it. There are no fancy wood cuts, no intricate paint job, no complicated gimmick, and no new idea. Good Lord, they are just oversized bracelets. Not difficult. (Yes, I checked with two sources) Are these oversized bracelets better than some? Yes. Are they more expensive than many? Yes. Were they advertised with better expectations? For sure. Will anybody buy these at what will be the retail price when they are available to purchase? I can't imagine.
videoman
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Quote:
On Mar 1, 2021, Magic Mark wrote:
I don't think people should be worried about the sound/ring of the rings. Even the hollow Owen rings don't "ring like bells" as some seem to think.

In my experience, SOLID rings have a better ring tone. The only hollow rings that have a nice sustained ring are the aluminum ones by ProLine. These videos compare the ring of ProLine hollow aluminum rings to Owen Magic Supreme hollow stainless steel rings:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3Rlh9R3X18

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFEnHQpPeok

I strongly suspect that these TCC rings have a ring tone that is pretty similar to the Owen rings.

Mark


Interesting that someone would have compared the sounds of the rings, but what isn’t on YouTube these days?

But I can confirm that my Proline 12” rings do ring like they do in that video.

I personally also like the Proline magnetic key ring. I use it only once briefly during the chain display in Pop Haydn's routine. Just never liked having to hold the chain with 2 hands. I find it to be an added convincer for those that “think” they know.

I’m curious if you put the TCC key ring in a bar clamp and tightened it up, if the ring would kink before the gap reached your preferred size?
Carnac
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IMPORTANT UPDATE: I am happy to say that very shortly after my last post TCC reached out to me to say that I should have received a bag with my 5 ring purchase. That is very good customer service and I really appreciate it. Also, I wanted to say in that last post that I was Very Happy with the instructional video. I remember, many years ago, when I purchased my first set of linking rings. As far as directions are concerned, I received a poorly copied half sheet of "directions" consisting of 4 paragraphs and 3 terrible illustrations of a bunch of circles intersecting. It's amazing that I stuck with magic and didn't pick up a guitar! I loved the fact that I got a full video with performance and explanation from one of the top teachers in our field. It was well shot and wonderfully explained. The idea of marking the rings so I could follow along was terrific and Michael's teaching is always a joy to watch.
MrFinix
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Hi Mark, thanks for sharing Michaels thoughts with us!
Futureal
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I like Ammar but that statement is a load of garbage.

China has some of the fastest internet in the world, of course they could download a 4K video file.

And THE MAJORITY OF THE WORLD uses centimetres. That doesn’t mean they can’t still measure things in inches and know how long 12 inches is! What an absurd statement, that’s almost comical.

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videoman
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What difference does 1080 vs 4K make in an instructional video?
It’s certainly high enough resolution to enable one to learn handlings and routines.
Besides, wasn’t the main complaint in regards to the audio quality?

As far as the rings not being the size advertised, at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter to the consumer whether it was an intent to deceive or an honest mistake. For those that wanted or needed 12” rings, those people should be able to get a refund.
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