Unfortunately, that company's reputation has been posted about for years and his reputation precedes him. I'm sorry you did not learn of it beforehand.
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Don't feel bad my friend, I waited 6 years to get some satisfaction from this Kyle Takenaga of RAM.
If you wish to read about how I got his attention and finally SOME but not total satisfaction of the open issues he he left unresolved with my Custom System we designed, you will read all about two of his customers BAD experiences with RAM Customer Service. Mine and one other, and the other guy is a Bishop in a Tennessee church!!
Just Google; Warning about Kyle of Reference Audio Mods.
And read all about my adventure with Reference Audio Mods (RAM) where I expose his egotism, unbelievable incompetence and poor workmanship.
Always Google your Audio Modder to find out how they handle their customers issues with their work before handing over your hard earned money.
Add me to the list. I sent Kyle a DK Design hybrid integrated in December gave him a 50 percent deposit in January and as of April 10, have neither a completed unit or date of completion. I paid him through paypal so have filed a complaint through them. At this point all i want is a refund of what I paid him. I need a working amp for my ampless system and am working securing an amp since i can only assume this will be a total loss. Unfortunately he fixed some botched work by a former associate several years back very satisfactorily and very promptly. I didnt research current issues and this is on me that i didnt. I live in Ft LAuderdale, FL so im assuming my options are limited. He has refused to respond to my emails since 3/27 after i was forced to do the due diligence i should have done going into this. What goes around comes around and how this guy can stay in business after all the bad press ive seen is nobodys fault but those of us who didnt research and sent him gear and/or gave him money. AGain, Ill settle for what i paid him. I am moving on with a very negative lesson learned. Of course all of us should probably file a class action suit against Kyle and Reference Audio mods.
i sent him stax headphone amp on presidents day 2012 for a voltage change of the japanese 100 volt to us voltage. finally got it back last week unchanged. he said that "the transformer was wired in an unorthodox way' I told him to take it to stax us repair- accutech which is in gardena ca, 1 hour from him. no word on why he didn't do it.
i don't think he has the faintest idea of what he is doing and he should be driven out of business untill he stops his internet marketing and subcontracts the actual work to competant people,P.S. If you go on head fi DON'T USE CAPS
Yikes! I'm shocked and disappointed to hear these developments.
I sent a dac/preamp to Kyle in late 2010 and he modded the power supply, replaced the clock, replaced the op amps, added an analog output buffer. The price was fair, the work took less than three weeks, and when the unit came back, it sounded great. I did notice that the quality of the soldering left something to be desired, but since I was happy with the sound quality, I didn't complain.
That is quite a different experience from the things reported here. I'm not doubting that these stories are accurate. It's just strange. I wonder what happened to him.
Now I'm thankful that I didn't get burned. I'm sorry for those who weren't so lucky. It's a shame.
Many of you wonder have asked "what has happened to this guy and this business"? The answer is simple, as I go back to 2004 and know him to be doing exactly what you see here. I won't go into it but anyone can read all about my saga on Head-fi. You can find the link above.
I am a retired jeweler and inquired often and advised him regarding his poor soldering techniques, namely the excessive use of solder, Superglueing components/circuit boards in place instead of the use of stand-offs and his over all sloppy/disorganized wiring techniques. The lack of testing/measuring equipment, save his fathers Fluke MM.
With his obsession for "best parts for best sound", the exclusive use of pure silver wire/pure cotton tubing and even peeling the plastic from capacitors makes a person ask...Kyle just how DOES huge globs of lead solder improve the sound of your work??? When the rest of the electronic world strives to use the most minimal use of solder, wiring harnesses, heat shrink tubing and stress relief hold downs for components!!!
His answer was always the same, "Too many returns from dislodged components and wires breaking during shipping". Really comes down to having no formal basic electronics education from the start. Problems in his personal life has always interrupted his focus and sending out work unfinished or procrastinating all together. Moving forward to better paying opportunities.
So you can see that all of this is just now coming to light and more surfacing every day. My personal saga goes back to 2004, nothing new going on here!!
Since the web site is gone I assume the business is closed. I got to know Kyle in the mid-2000s. During that timeframe I always found him trustworthy and competent. I recommended his mod services to several forum acquaintances, all of whom seemed satisfied. He subsequently went through a difficult time in an honest attempt to make good with a number of customers who had been damaged by shoddy work done by his ex-partner under the separate RAM East "brand."
Anyway, having myself modified a few CDPs I know that Kyle's approach of working on so many different types of expensive and complicated digital gear is risky. It looks like undercapitalization took him under in the face of a few failed projects. He certainly isn't the first and won't be the last high-end audio builder/manufacturer to fail, and failure unfortunately messes up customers.
Kyle has a very long history of taking on projects beyound his skill level to "Experiment" and ultimately became part of a long list of "Failed Projects" and those customers communications and gear were absolutely ignored and or abandoned for years at a time. I was one of those victims going back to 2004, there were others before me and many since.
I know of no other high-end audio parts modder that charged the kind of prices he has in his 10 year involvement. It was almost 5 years later that Kyle attempted to resolve Ram East problems while ignoring the far greater problems of his own as with my commissioned system. Until, that is that I went public here on the web to expose him, which started this rash of complaints from his frustrated victims.
Yes, I see that Kyle has closed up shop, however has not attempted to provide a resolve to anyone's "Failed Projects" here on Audiogon or anywhere else. So it would be great to see a willingness to clean up your "OLD" business and answer these poor victims requests here on Audiogon where you have advertised for many years.
It would serve you well to use this forum to "Make Good/Become Accountable" on the many "Failed Promises" to your customers work and STOP hiding from the problems that only "YOU" created. I know you feel badly and need to come forward and resolve/refund/return and mostly communicate with these people. As tough as it may become, ultimately you will feel better about your damaged reputation and failed business.
I wish you Good Luck Kyle!!
Kyle did two different mods of my Marantz Sa 11 several years ago.. Both were well done and made a huge difference. He was a little slow on finishing and returning product, however. I had the sense that he was probably trying to do too much with too many different products. But I always felt that he was honest and competent. He answered all my questions. I hope he is not being attached unfairly.
To all those that have had successful transaction with RAM, congratulations. However, there are many why received nothing at all or some that received far less than what they bargained for.
Why don't we ask that question to all those waiting for their gear and/or money to be returned? This thread concerns those less unfortunate.
I remember seeing the website a couple of years back--more like 5 or so and glad I never got involved. However, checking online it would appear that this guy is starting up again. I found a twitter page with a face book link.. I did not pursue any further. If there is perhaps someone here who uses those communication methods you may want to give people a heads up?
I sent them my Philips SACD player to be modded after reading glowing reviews online and even in Stereophile. The whole power supply he modded burned out less than a year later. Kyle told me he couldn't fix it; there was nothing he could do; it wasn't his fault, and he wasn't refunding my money nor replacing my now useless SACD player. Worst experience I've ever had in decades of having hi fi as a hobby!