Audio Aero Capitole MK II: Performance & Problems

Capitole MKII users, kindly update on the sonic virtues but also on any repeated technical problems. No forum postings since a week! Have these problems stopped? I understand that some units needed a software update; have these been recalled? Does the performance justify the high price? Please contribute.
The software is user replaceble.Just a chip and not for all pieces.The performance is outstanding.Make sure you buy from authorized US dealers only, otherwise you will pay for the chip(if needed) and have NO warrantee and will be on your own for repairs.Not worth the gamble for a hi price piece such as this.Globe Audio Marketing(the official distributor for Audio Aero)will stand behind you and in most cases just replace the piece should a problem occur during the warrantee period.
Performance : magnificient player, best ive ever owned and heard on demo. Needs its 'short' break in period and then it really pins you to the floor with its realism and musicality.

Problems : i would be lying if my player didnt have any problems. It did. The best way to avoid these is to get the latest software installed, which as sattothestars said is user replaceable and will solve all the small quirks people have been reporting. All Mk II on sale now should have the latest soft upgrade which came out last month, so you dont need to worry about that anymore. My guess is Audio Aero was under pressure to get out the player and rushed the software a little bit. But it is now solved.

Glad to know that you are now concentrating on music, not on problems any more. Mine has gone back to France for the software upgrade. How long is the burning period?
Lall : gone back to France ? Im surprised your dealer couldnt do the software upgrade himself. What kind of problems did you have with it ?

Ive clocked in around 150 hours on mine and its still getting better. I think im close to its peak performance, but still not quite there. Manufacturer told me it should be fully broken in at the 200 hour mark. That currently matches my observations.

Brand new player and they sent it back to France? Wow so much for Globe Audio standing behind the player and doing an exchange.

Audio Aero had to have known of the software glicthes durning testing yet still chose to release the player?
Does it make you wonder what else they may have over looked because they felt pressure to get the player on the market?

How many Mk II's are in the country? I would guess under 100. Should the distributor not have contacted the dealers and had them get in touch with buyers so they could be told of the chip "upgrade" instead of the buyers having to ask then being told about it?

This player is on my short list of wanting to buy, but all of this makes me want to wait. For $8800.00 I guess I just expect a little better.
If the player had been bought through an Authorized dealer,there is no way Globe Audio would not stand behind their product.If it went back to France it is because it was bought out of the country or from a non authorized dealer,which goes back to my original post.So buying a used one or demo piece which are advertised here,or do not originate from the distributor(Globe Audio), is a big gamble.
Well, gamble or not, I bought mine through a dealer in Italy last month (willing to take a risk for such a good price!) and knock on wood, I have not had any of the problems listed in these threads. It appears I have the new chip because my readout says "Read CD". I've had mine burning in around the clock for the past 16 days and the most noticable difference started at 280 hours into it. Now it is sounding so open and warm. I'm in awe! At first I was skeptical that it would improve as much as it has. At this point, I can't be more thrilled!
A customer of mine is indeed selling his used Audio Aero cdp here (if anybody wants to take a big gamble, as satothestars calls it, but if you would follow that logic, one should never buy second hand, since buying used is always a risk. But it all depends on the price, doent' it?)
Anyway, I do not want to write about the risks of second hand buying.
I was extremely inclined myself to buy an Audio Aero cdp, but after I have read that this player is experiencing so many problems, I have decided to go for the new Lindemann D-680 instead. The German audio magazine Stereo gave it a full 100% for the first time and it is their reference player now and my customer told me also that he feels the Audio Aero and Lindemann are in the same league. Now the Lindemann does also SACD, whic is very nice if you ask me and the chassis is machined out of a full block of aluminium. I have checked the German discussion groups, nobody is experiencing any problems with the Lindemann.
If Audio Aero will be able to get their problems under control, I will definitely audition their player against the Lindemann in my system and keep the better player.
I will post my findings here.
I just got mine and so far so good, one hour and NO glitches at all- now to burn it in! ~Tim
In reference to Lall's post, I agree (with sattothestarts) that if Globe Audio had been involved with this problem, they would have resolved this issue without sending the player to France.

I can NOT say enough good things about Globe. Jody and Matt have been outstanding in resolving the issues with my Capitole MK I and now the MK II. The problems of player availability and in proper working condition lies solely with Audio Aero, by their own admission (I have email from AA to prove it).

I originally blamed Globe Audio when my dealer was involved simply because I didn't get a straight story. This ultimately turned out to be a problem with the dealer, not with Globe. Once I started direct conversations with Matt and Jody, I got truthful answers and sincere apologies. I am so impressed with the level of customer service that I have received from Globe that I will no longer go through the dealer. BTW, they were never an authorized AA dealer, just trying to become one.

On the other hand, the player is still plagued by problems. We all hope that this next batch of players, scheduled to arrive next week, will be trouble free. Globe has agreed to replace my MK II to resolve the problems I’ve encountered. And, they’ve allowed me to retain the old player until the new one arrives. Try getting that level of service from most other distributors! When the manufacturer produces the product to perform like their North American distributor, we’ll all be writing about listening to music rather than the problems. I suspect that we’re not far from that point. I can only recommend being patient a while longer. IMHO, this player is worth the wait. Analogue and musical!!!

BTW, I’m not on Globe Audio’s payroll nor am I a dealer.
I've only had mine about 12 hours and its sounds tremendous to say the least. Very non-digital and very inviting. Can't wait to see what happens over the next 200-300 hours.

I have the new chip, but my player will not read CD-R or CD-RW. Anyone else experiencing this? I've been asked by my dealer to contact Globe Marketing directly about the problem.

Would be interested in knowing if anyone else is having success or failure on CD-R's. Thanks
I'm from Mauritius, which is closer to France than the US. There are no AA dealers in my country; the unit was purchased in France and I did not want to risk it having problems and only then act. I talked to Mr Combelles of Audio Aero who understood my apprehension and was very kind to offer me a straight swap. Maybe my French did the trick!
Ive managed to read CDRs fine on my player. Have you tried different brands of CDRs ?

I know however that you will have less problems with CDRs that have been burned at 1x or 2x.

GerryN.If your player does not play CDRs than you DO NOT have the new chip.
Mine DOES play CD/R's how ever it wouldn't read one of my Shefield disk's last evening, it is in very good condition(the disk) but no luck. I'll try again tonight. ~Tim
IT is very simple to find out if you have the new chip or not.Remove the cover with an allen key.You will see a chip with an orange dot.If it has just the dot with no writing(it should say p2(in hand written ink) which is the new chip)) than you have the old chip.
Sattothestars: Thanks for your input. I thought I had the new chip since my player says: "READING CD". I guess maybe I don't. However, I have not had any other problems, other than its inability to read the CD-R's.
I have the new chip, but burned a CD-R at 1X and it will not play in the Capitole. According to Globe Marketing, it's because my CD burner (Marantz DR 6050) is not recording to the exact Red Book standard.
Did you physicaly check you had the P2 chip?I have received players that did and some that did not.The only way to know is to remove the cover and look.It is located inside toward the face of the cd player.It is a tight squeeze as the transport mechanism is only about half an inch away form the circuit board.
I have also received my Capitole MK2 and have tried 4 different kinds of cdr's and it played ALL of them! In fact it even played the ones I made with the cheapest CDR blanks you can buy. I bought 100 blanks from CDW computers and the blanks look just like the Sony playstation cd game disks, they are solid BLACK on the laser side!!!!

The one time (out of 100) that the player failed to read all the cd tracks, I had to open and close the cd door so that it would reinitiallize the reading of the TOC and then it was fine and has been ever since.
Sattothestars: I haven't checked the chip yet, but more and more I feel I may not have the latest software. I will do this when I can stop listening. She's breaking in...
Geryn.There is one cd I have used that will tell you wether or not you have the NEW chip.It is the accoustic version of Sting(latest cd).If when the tracks switch and you hear a slight dropout between tracks,you have the old chip.If not,it is the new one.This will let you know without removing the cover.
Sattotthestars: Your post is interesting...Are you referring to the Sting album "All this time", the live album?

I own it and will try it. Why would this CD tell me whether or not I have the new or old chip? Thanks. Please tell me more...thanks
i think the 50 milli-second gap between tracks problem has been fixed with the new chip. When you played a CD where there was no blanks between tracks, the old chip used to put one automatically. From what i understand, this is now gone.....which is a good thing if its true on all discs, and not only sting :)
I have the same problem with the other live albums .. between tracks there is a 1ms audio drop..other then that my CAP is A-1
The only real way to find wether or not you have the new chips is to remove the cover.It is correct,that there are a# of cds that have that casue the Capitole to have this 50 mm dropoff.If it is P chip it is NOT the new chip.Take 5 minutes to find out.
Sattothestars; It clearly states in the owners manual for the Audio Areo Capitole MK11, in bold type, REMOVING THE COVER OF THE UNIT WILL VOID THE WARRANTY. I just thought you all should know this.
Has anyone with the "verified" new chip tried to use the previous track function? When I use this button, it only returns to the beginning of the current track. I believe the old chip honored the previous track function as indicated. A little help please...........

I haven't opened my unit (note warning) so I cannot verify the new chip but my unit is only a couple of weeks old so I assume that it is the latest chip, but not certain.

The previous track button works like all others I have experienced while in "play mode". One push goes to the beginning of the track and two successive pushes goes to the previous track. This is pretty normal behavior for all CD and DVD players that I've ecountered.

While in "stop mode" the next/previous buttons sequence the track up/down with each push.
Thank you Rap!

MY God we are talking about removing 6 screws.Unlike the MKI there are no wires attached to the cover.I am a dealer,and just about anyone with a scrwdriver can remove the cover.As for replacing the chip(if needed)that is another story.
I think the concern isn't so much one's ability to remove the cover, but like Rap says, the concern is voiding a warranty. That may even be worse than having the old chip IMHO.

Also, Sattothestars provided a great indicator about whether or not you have the correct chip...I think if you're getting data cutoff in between tracks on a live album, you more than likely need to discuss getting your dealer to update the software.
Well I am basing it off the fact that you have 2 chaoices.Obviously calling GAM is thw way to go.If they feel you are somewhat competent they will let you change the chip(if needed)yourself or you can send it back to them and be without a cd player for weeks.
I received my brand new unit two days ago. It was manufactured in July (I understand that pre July units may have contained the old software) and has the new chip (confirmed by Mr Combelles in person).
Initially, the unit could not read any discs but that was because I did not place the "puck" on the disc. It was my fault but the manual makes no mention of the necessity of locking the disc with the puck! Sattothestars: many thanks for your advice.

Else, the player is playing flawlessly: no tracking problems, no cutoffs between tracks, no skipping, and all buttons on the remote are working perfectly. However, if the sliding drawer is opened whilst in play, the unit stops playing immediately. Also, the (new?) manual explicitly mentions that the drawer should remain closed. But someone stated earlier that leaving the drawer open may yield improved sonics. Could it be that the new chip requires the lid to remain closed?
You can NOT play a mk II player with the drawer open, just something they have changed. I was at first very confused about this when I recieved mine as well.
Listener: I have the new chip and my remote has no problem with reverting to the previous track.

I have realised the importance of proper isolation to obtain good performance. Shifting it from the bare rack to the floor (which is carpeted by a very thick material) improves the sound by an unbelievable amount. Suddenly, the speakers disappear, the sound is much livelier, rich and full of emotion. This is an amazing piece of equipment! And it has only about 50 hrs on it!
Thanks for the responses on the previous track issue.

Unfortunately, my player does NOT honor the previous track function. But, I'm afraid to send it back for replacement or repair because, much like Lall's experience, this particular unit sounds outstanding and it hasn't even broken in yet. The first MK II that I had didn't sound much better than the MK I, in some respects not as good. But this player is much improved from the MK I.

I still can't believe the lack of consistency in Audio Aero's quality control ........ disturbing! The guys at Globe are gonna be sick of hearing from me.
Just been told from my dealer that there is a new P3 chip for the Audio Aero MkII. Don't know what it does yet, but will keep you posted.

How do you guys access the digital input(s)? I know how to switch from cd playing to say coax digital input and the display changes and tells me what input it is using but I still get no sound- I am not sure if I am missing something the instruction book is pretty vague when it describes this process. I can adjust volume I can switch the inputs but I still get no results- I am quite confused! Any insight would be super, thanks. ~Tim
Tim, regarding the digital, you need to provide the AA Capitole with a digital source such as another transport..etc. I use satellite music, feed it to the coax and the Cap resamples it to 24/192 and outputs it via the analog outs (XLR/RCA)

Its a great feature !.. this allowed me to get rid of my DAC as basically that is what this is. The only thing I do not like is the loud clicking I hear if I change satellite chns. When the Cap looses sync of the digital input.. it clicks a loud relay..


How long does to take to break-in, particularly the top-end?
Is everyone running it direct?
Matt- Thanks for your insight, though my problem is that I am trying to use the capitole as a DAC/pre for my DVD source and I feed it a co-ax digital input and I switch it to co-ax input on the capitole I get nothing. I was wondering if I was missing something?? I have heard the mechanical relay clicks, I just get no sound. Thanks in advance for any further help.

Gladstone- I am going to say your damn close to being broken in after 14 days of playing 24 hours a day- it starts getting good at around 7 days but it takes a while to get the last little bit. I am running direct and plan to in the future as well.
Just to understand, you are not sending a 5.1 movie or dts cd disk or multi chn to the CAP via the coax correct ?..also, see if your DVD player is set to PCM output, and also has the ability to output 96khz..if so, enable those.

When Selecting the co-ax in, keep in mind the output is via the analog outs of the CAP...

hope that helps..

Badwisdom, I'm really curious about the P3 software as I seem to be experiencing different behavior with the transport than others are reporting. Perhaps the different functionality with the previous track selection is an indication of the P3 software???????

Tim, I believe the source of your problem is probably as Matt has described. The Capitole is not (yet anyway) capable of decoding 5.1 sources and requires the input device to deliver a PCM signal.
That is funny my old Accuphase DC-330 would accept a coax input from my DVD player and produce two channel sound- keep in mind the dc-330 was strictly a two channel product as well. I checked the back of the DVD player and above the coax and toslink output it says Bitstream/PCM, any thoughts on that? I have two dvd players a cheaper Toshiba and a 9000es and neither work(both worked on the accuphase). This is really quite unusual.
make sure(and this is not intended to sound like Im talking down to you, but make sure you have slected the correct coax input in the front.. does it say "coax 24/192' and does it click if you stop the DVD player??

Other then that... Make sure the DVD internally, and I am talking the user menus, is set to PCM. and als not to worry, the CAP does accept 96khz output also..

next step.. tech mine works great !
the P3 software and latest EPROM has many features, only two of which i am aware of at this time :

- possibility of choosing between a bar volume display, or a numeric volume display
- Init CD phase no longer exists, the player initialises instantly

Thats all i know for now

Mzn50- Thank you for all your help- I don't have speakers this weekend but new ones will be here Monday I will try then. I just don't understand why it wasn't working, I didn't have a lot of time to play with it though, perhaps a little more time and patience and it will all come together.
Tim, You probably know this, but just in case it was overlooked, the 9000es will not output SACD audio signals from the digital out optical or coaxial connectors. Good luck and enjoy the Cap.MkII!
I tried my Micromega Stage 6 CD player as transport and the Capitole as DAC (using RCA digital cable) and no problem at all. Once you select the coaxial input (either with remote or the button in the CDP) everything else should be automatic and the DAC should play.

I suspect that your player has some problem that should be understood and sorted out by your dealer. At the same time they should upgrade your chip. This is the safest option. Guessing and playing around too much with the buttons may cause harm to the player.