Quoted from jimwe5t:
Now I’m disappointed, that you (f3honda4me) nor anyone else can give me actual proof that I can take to say to my wife and tell her, here is why we should spend $2k to $7k more than say Munsters (depending on model).
Ok, I will bite as I am overly irritated by this. As has been pointed out, if you do not notice the difference in quality between JJP and Stern when they are next to eachother then I will not be able to convince you otherwise.
That said: I have both Munsters LE and JJP POTC standing next to eachother. Munsters is one of the better built Stern of the last years, so in that area it really shines for a Stern. But take BM66 for example and the differences are huge. Lift the playfield of both and have a look under it. The service rails of JJP are so different from Stern. The lockbar mechanism is a point of discussion as I personally like the Stern clips better than the old sliding mechanism that JJP uses.
Now look at the screen. JJP is combining HD video with professional animations all over the place, Stern uses mostly videoclips and the animations on top of that are only scoring and info about the ball count.
Whatever anyone says, the playfields of Stern are softer. My Munsters has got a lot less plays than the POTC and the POTC still looks like new. Munsters dimples way more. I also have a Beatles Gold here with 250 plays and the playfield looks like an orange. But the Sterns do play well and the clear does not chip.
Furthermore, the JJP games consistently make use of full RGB leds throughout the plaffield. For me this enhances my experience playing the game very much. It also provides unique ways to present the game and to do effects on the playfield (like the "fire" in Hobbit. Stern playfields mostly flash a lot. The programming of all the effects with RGB is a lot more labour intensive than just turning a led on or off when needed.
The sound: the speakers that are being used at Stern are crap. Munster LE uses the Kenwoods, but even those are crap for a device which main function is entertainment. I always change out the speakers from my Sterns, never did so with any of the JJP's.
The games itself: JJP games are coded like no other (except for the Sterns that Keith Johnson programmed). Not everyone likes the deep games that JJP offers, but what everything is forgetting is that the JJP games can also be played more simple. WoZ: lock balls on right ramp and start multiball, Hobbit: Lock balls on right ramp and start multiball, POTC: lock balls in chest and start multiball. But if you have those games at home that would become boring quickly (for me that is). I am already bored with Munsters, as it has about the same complicated ruleset as the moving ship (Black Pearl) alone in POTC. I am exaggerating of course, but it feels like it. Again this is really dependant on the game, as BM66 and TWD offer much more game than say AS, Munsters, Bealtes etc. With Stern it is very dependant on who is coding it, with JJP every game up until now is great.
One little thing that always bothers me of every recent Stern is the location of the power button. They should put it where it belongs. Also the noise that the PSU fan makes even when just in idle is always making me asshamed of it when it turns on. Again something that I change out with a quality fan every Stern.
As has been pointed out, all these things are not about the fact if it will work reliably or not. I have had as much problems with my Stern machines (nodeboards and CPU boards mainly) as with my JJP, but the JJP ones were most of the time just things that had to be fine tuned, not repaired. If there is so much more on the playfield, more can go wrong. The way that Stern solves that problem is just by not putting as much on it
Long post but I wanted to put out my opinion as this point keeps getting raised. Here in Europe Stern is as expensive as JJP so in that light my opinion is that I get a much better experience with JJP than with Stern. Playing a JJP is going on a journey, playing a Stern is just playing a pinball machine.