Dynaudio Contour 2 after selling my Thiel CS7s. Didn't have enough impact on dynamics and the woofers would easily hit their stops when I played Who Live At Leeds. I then returned to CS6.
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I have "splurged" but seldom ever bought merely on an impulse.
No real horror stories to tell, luckily.
I paid almost $4K for my current amplifiers. There were other similar amps out there for less than half that cost, but I splurged on the Bel Cantos because they had some clear technical advantages to help justify the extra cost.
I was nervous at the time, but no regrets since.
Its not the bad component that does the most damage. The real money is spent on trying to get the bad component to sound good. For me, it was a pair of B&W 802 Matrix S3's. I think they were about $4500. When it was all done, I probably spent over $20,000 trying to get those things to sound right. In the end I did, and the fix was only another $4500. Turns out, the problem was the binding posts. I noticed that the 802's sounded best when I didn't use the binding posts on the back of the cabinet. I used the binding posts on the back of my ProAc 2.5's instead.
I sold my beloved Mirage M3's back in the late 90's. I purchased a pair of EPOS ES22's $2500. Then I had to replace the midranges...$650.00. Then I bought 2 more! @ $1500. I was not happy, and after blowing 5k on these 4 speakers I bought a pair of Dynaudio Contour 3.0's and have had them ever since.
I was on an upgrade path recently that, when I got to the end, had a slight problem with one of my speakers so just decided to buy the new just released model. I am typing next to the old ones with no clue what to do with them but love my new ones! And it only took a few days to get them so it really was a fun experience.
I let a well-known modifier (not Modwright) do a tube amp for me and it was a total bust. First it came back with a hum and I had to ship it back. Then it just came back and sounded like shit. I wouldn't call it a huge mistake, but a mistake nonetheless. Then I bought a mint Esoteric X-05, which I suffered through for 6 months waiting for it to break in. Still sounded flat and non-involving at best. Now I don't buy without audition and I'm very happy with my system.
I'll bet you wish you'd simply upgraded to the next generation M3si's. I bought some M5si's in 1996 and still listen to them every day. The M1/3/5/7si series (esp. 1/3/5) got pretty much everything right. Even my M5si's make meaningful bass down to 26 Hz, with transparent, honest midrange, smooth airy highs, and a radiating pattern that fills the room the way live performers do.
Thanks for your posts. Would love to hear from those former MBL, Magico, Raidho, AvantGarde, TAD owners as well!
The only other megabuck speaker I've ever sold beside the Vanderteens was a pair of Marten Coltranes, but not because there was anything wrong with them. In fact they were superb. I was just in the mood for a change, so I sold them.
I used to own the Esoteric X-03 cdp and fell in love with the sound and more the technology. I promptly sold my X-03 and upgraded to the Esoteric P-03/D-05 separate transport and Dac combo. Let's just say the improvement in sound was not worth the tons of money I spent though the P-03/D-05 was great eye candy and a boost to my audiophile ego.
The only one I bought and regretted was not a component, but an interconnect, the Nordost Valhalla. I guess I just cannot appreciate the Nordost sound, always a shade too bright to my ears. Plus the Valhalla, while not a bad cable by any means, just didn't have the dynamics that you'd expect for that price, at least in my system. Had a nice carrying case, though.