I've not had much luck with cheaper mandolins in the past so I decided to spend a bit more this time. I always fancied an F-style mandolin and have read good reviews about the Loar brand. When I received this I could play it straight from the box. It came fully set up and with D'Addario strings which I've always considered the better option. The design is as pretty as it looks in the picture, despite having to remove the usual bits of fluff and sawdust that seem to come with every new instrument these days and it's very well put together. The most striking feature is the sound, it's gorgeous. This is an absolute delight to play.
I bought this Mando in March of 2012. So i am playing it already for a while now. The most important first: yes it sounds good and the manufacturing quality is not perfect but it's okay. The binding is not 100 % perfect and there are some rough parts beyond the fretboard and in the snail. But really no big deal. As usual for such instruments the bridge is not fixed and you first have to find the correct place for it. You can measure that out from the mensur (is it really mensur in english?). Mesure distance from nut to 12th fret. Same distance from 12th fret to body should be the right place for the bridge. At the time i bought my Loary the price was something like EUR 150,-- beyond the price now. Looks like some more people have noticed in the meantime that The Loar offers good instruments at a reasonable price. When i bought it i could not find any reviews about it and could not test it because no music shop near me had it. So i jumped in the cold water and ordered it. I did not regret till today.