Core Audio Server Ryan Mintz


Has anyone had any experience with Core Audio (Ryan Mintz)?

Or, has anyone had any good experiences, with either product quality, or customer service?

I purchased a server from him over a year ago.
For the limited amount of time I have been able to listen to it,
it has displayed no real sound quality difference compared to a stock Mac mini.

After hundreds of emails, shipping the server and/or power supply back and forth, and exchanging it for several different units, none of them will run for an hour without crashing...

Ryan has only made absurd claims, saying the warranty was void.

Is this an isolated case?

Frustrated consumer
snuffaluffagus
Do a search here on Core Audio and you'll find similar stories.

All the best,
Nonoise
Ripped me for $500.00 saying I tampered/opened a demo dac and messed it up. He would not refund my 30 day demo $$$. Made me sign a disclaimer that I would not write bad about him and Ben Mojo Audio. After signing it they said FU.

The dac sucked.

So you are another that he has ripped.
Look here: http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?icomp&1358211310&openfrom&1&4#1
About 2 year ago, I tried a linear power supply and a prototype DAC from Ryan and his Core Audio partner at the time, Ben from Mojo. Neither product met my expectations or that of other audiophile friends who heard them. I was able to get a refund but not before being accused verbally of having opened up the units (thereby voiding the right of full money-back return).

Neither I nor my friends ever opened the units.

I sympathized with Glory's problems with Core Audio because he had recommended me to use Core's products, so to see him treated so badly left a very bad taste in my mouth.

That said, Ryan Mintz was always very helpful to me in terms of phone support and email support.

I only wished his products matched in practice his claims.

Moreover, I find perplexing the fact that months and months later, Core Audio only has 1 positive feedback comment on Audiogon. That makes me wonder how they are treating others.

Glory has hundreds of positive comments and not a single negative one. That should speak volumes.

What else do we have to go by on this site?
Robert,

If you want to post a bad review about my products you are welcome to, but do so with the whole story and sign your name. Otherwise there's no way for us to course correct.

I sold no servers over a year ago. The server is a new product and you will see that our servers are only offered with our ATX linear power supplies. We do not offer them with a standard linear power supply.

We had a customer who received a mac mini system and had a friend of his open the power supply up to look at it when the mac mini was shutting down. He modified and spliced in some wires and changed things around resulting in a computer that no longer worked. I know this because I spoke to the tech directly on the phone. I had them send the unit back and I repaired it. I repaired the power supply several times at my cost, but the damage done to the mac mini initially by their mod was what was causing the failure rate.

So finally we just offered to build a basic server. This is not a product we offer. It was to be an alternative for him to the Mac Mini. He had an issue with fan noise so swapped out a fan. Then he sent the entire system to Mojo Audio to take apart. Beyond that we know nothing else.

Understand that opening and modifying our products or sending our products to competitors to open is voiding the warranty. I have made zero claims to him since that first email I sent over a year ago letting him know that by having his friend open the unit that he would be voiding the warranty. He understood and continued to send units back to us.

We have hundreds of customers now who love their mac mini systems and music servers as well as all of our other products. The only customers who have had issues with us are the ones who are dishonest about the fact that they opened our systems and broke something. Try and break a system and bring it back to Fry's, see if they'll take it or repair it this many times at their cost.

If anyone has any questions or concerns about our products they are welcome to call us. As per his response you will see that we never ignored him or refused to work with him.

Courage,
Ryan Mintz
Core Audio Technology
818 971 9209
A phobia about consumers opening Core gear and tampering. Very sick little puppy. 3 of use broke open your units and tampered? Ding Ding!!

Finally what you have sown you are now reaping.

Ryan has only made absurd claims, saying the warranty was void.

What was the reason the warranty was void. Tampering??
Its very simple to do search on "Core Audio". I just did and I am thankful I never dealt with this company. If all these people's story (e.g. unit fried etc) are even half true then ......Brrrrrr.

Also, one can read Audio reviews here on Audiogon. In section "Digital" there are long threads on two popular servers (both good but different)
Mr. Mintz:

If you have, as you claim, 'hundreds' of customers who love their Mac Mini systems you've prepared, why do you have only . . . one feedback here?

As the owner of a brand new Mac Mini, I'd like to know.
Make believe world that's where. Hundreds would be over 200 as a base. So you see right here we have a visionary guy dreaming about things that are not.
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Before I bought equipment from Ryan, I negotiated the terms of future purchases. The power supply arrived, and rattled like a bucket of bolts. Also, the product was large and unnatractive, and did not look anything like what was pictured on the website.

I called for help, and was told that he was out of town, and could not service the unit for 2 weeks. However, he was willing to offer me steps to attempt to troubleshoot and fix the unit.

First, I had to cut up my own wall wart supply, since he told me the DC cables he uses ($18) were inferior. Then, he had me purchase a capacitor and try several methods of grounding the PC. (All of which I later confirmed by several sources to be total non-sense. The PICO PSU in between his supply and the PC would make it so any grounding scheme inside the PC would be sufficient.) Then I was instructed how to tell if the rattling was a loose screw (or as I tried to tell him all along) something more serious.

Since he was unreachable, I opened the chassis so I could tighten whatever had come loose. Turns out, it was EVERYTHING! He later informed me that his grand plan was to have cheap labor mass produce servers for him, and it is obvious that this was the case. Literally EVERY nut and bolt had rattled loose during shiping, and there were no lock washers or loc-tite in use.

Evidentally, I made him feel threatened by opening his case. When I tried to have him honor future purchases at the agreed upon price, he told me that the deal had changed, and that was business (this is 2 weeks after the deal was agreed upon).

At some point, the power supply burned up, and I had it repaired, at my expense. He told me that was my fault. At that point, I returned the unit to him, hoping he would be decent and provide me a refund, but as I was afraid, he did not.

If you ever have the opportunity to do business with Core Audio Technology: Do Not! Rude, arrogant, dishonest and scared do not even come close to describing the man that runs that company.
Core,

Snow asked you a question. Can you please answer it?
Hi, Benjamin from Mojo Audio.

Hopefully I can clarify some of this.

Let me start by saying, "there are three sides to every story."

I was a founding partner in Core Audio Technology with Ryan Mintz. According to our partnership agreement I was in charge of R&D and manufacturing and Ryan was in charge of sales, marketing, and customer service.

Though there were months of set-up prior to the first power supply being sold, we were only manufacturing and selling products for less than six months before I gave Ryan my half controlling interest in Core Audio in exchange for half the inventory.

A large part of the reason I gave Ryan full control of Core Audio had to do with customer service issues such as the one Glory described.

During the time Ryan and I were business partners we manufactured roughly three dozen power supplies total. I ended up keeping roughly a dozen of those power supplies that I ended up rebranding with Mojo Audio face plates and selling with a full Mojo Audio warranty.

Not one of the customers I sold a rebranded Core Audio power supply to wanted to return it and not one of those power supplies has had any technical problems to date that I know of.

One of the few customers I ever spoke with while I was a partner in Core Audio was Glory - as I stated, Ryan was in charge of customer service.

The only reason I ended up speaking to Glory was that Ryan wanted to withhold a significant portion of the money he paid us due to damages to the products that were returned. Later I will describe these damages.

Glory may have forgotten to mention that I acted as a sort of "go between" with Ryan and Glory and talked Ryan into refunding roughly 1/3 of what he originally intended on keeping and that Glory agreed to the $500 as a reasonable compromise.

The components Glory returned were in the worsts condition and packed the worst of any that I have ever seen in the nearly 10 years that I've been professionally selling electronics.

They were wrapped in bubble wrap that was so dirty you could hit it with your hand and a cloud of dust would rise off of it and you could shake it and a pile of dirt would literally fall out of it.

One of the chassis was so badly scratched that it had to be replaced. A second was scratched enough that we had to resell it with a substantial discount. For those two items alone most companies would not have allowed the products to be returned.

As for the DAC, it is quite possible that a Core Audio employee used the wrong silicone, may have forgotten to fully screw in all the mounting bolts, and could have made other errors in assembly. Considering the indisputable condition of the two chassis, it was not far off for us to believe that Glory had tampered with the DAC.

In any event, the $500 Glory was charged for damages to the products he returned was more than reasonable even without considering the DAC.

I was no longer a partner in Core Audio as of early July, 2011. Any customer complaints or fraud alerts since then could have nothing to do with me or Mojo Audio.

I have had several Core Audio customers approach me during 2012 who had problems with Ryan and products he sold long after I was involved with the company. These people claim Ryan didn't honor his warrantees and Ryan claims he did and that these people tampered with his products..."three sides to every story" and all that.

All I can state with certainty is the poor condition and poor function of the products when they arrived.

I've done my best to help these disgruntled Core Audio customers to the point where I have repaired some of the products. I've been asked to resell them for these customers with a warranty from Mojo Audio. Some time in the near future you should expect to see these used Core Audio products for sale on Audiogon.

Just like anyone else with a computer can do, I've done searches on Ryan and Core Audio Technology and I've found several negative posting on forums and fraud alerts that all happened long after I was associated with the company in any way.

One thing you can be certain of is that you won't find any fraud alerts or disgruntled customer postings for Mojo Audio. If a customer has any problems we simply return their full payment minus shipping. Period.

Since we have never had a customer request to return any power supply or DAC for a refund, and since we have never had any of them burn out in use, and since I can count on one hand with fingers left over the number of our cable products that are returned each year, giving a full refund to the few customers that want one is a minor cost of doing business.

I had a brief lapse in judgement that made me a business partner of Ryan's for a few months roughly two years ago. During my time as a partner in Core Audio I was barely involved with customer service and barely spoke to any customers with the exception of Glory.

I hope that in making this posting my name and Mojo Audio would no longer be linked to Ryan or Core Audio.

~ Benjamin
Hi, Benjamin from Mojo Audio.

Hopefully I can clarify some of this.

Let me start by saying, "there are three sides to every story."

I was a founding partner in Core Audio Technology with Ryan Mintz. According to our partnership agreement I was in charge of R&D and manufacturing and Ryan was in charge of sales, marketing, and customer service.

Though there were months of set-up prior to the first power supply being sold, we were only manufacturing and selling products for less than six months before I gave Ryan my half controlling interest in Core Audio in exchange for half the inventory.

A large part of the reason I gave Ryan full control of Core Audio had to do with customer service issues such as the one Glory described.

During the time Ryan and I were business partners we manufactured roughly three dozen power supplies total. I ended up keeping roughly a dozen of those power supplies that I ended up rebranding with Mojo Audio face plates and selling with a full Mojo Audio warranty.

Not one of the customers I sold a rebranded Core Audio power supply to wanted to return it and not one of those power supplies has had any technical problems to date that I know of.

One of the few customers I ever spoke with while I was a partner in Core Audio was Glory - as I stated, Ryan was in charge of customer service.

The only reason I ended up speaking to Glory was that Ryan wanted to withhold a significant portion of the money he paid us due to damages to the products that were returned. Later I will describe these damages.

Glory may have forgotten to mention that I acted as a sort of "go between" with Ryan and Glory and talked Ryan into refunding roughly 1/3 of what he originally intended on keeping and that Glory agreed to the $500 as a reasonable compromise.

The components Glory returned were in the worsts condition and packed the worst of any that I have ever seen in the nearly 10 years that I've been professionally selling electronics.

They were wrapped in bubble wrap that was so dirty you could hit it with your hand and a cloud of dust would rise off of it and you could shake it and a pile of dirt would literally fall out of it.

One of the chassis was so badly scratched that it had to be replaced. A second was scratched enough that we had to resell it with a substantial discount. For those two items alone most companies would not have allowed the products to be returned.

As for the DAC, it is quite possible that a Core Audio employee used the wrong silicone, may have forgotten to fully screw in all the mounting bolts, and could have made other errors in assembly. Considering the indisputable condition of the two chassis, it was not far off for us to believe that Glory had tampered with the DAC.

In any event, the $500 Glory was charged for damages to the products he returned was more than reasonable even without considering the DAC.

I was no longer a partner in Core Audio as of early July, 2011. Any customer complaints or fraud alerts since then could have nothing to do with me or Mojo Audio.

I have had several Core Audio customers approach me during 2012 who had problems with Ryan and products he sold long after I was involved with the company. These people claim Ryan didn't honor his warrantees and Ryan claims he did and that these people tampered with his products..."three sides to every story" and all that.

All I can state with certainty is the poor condition and poor function of the products when they arrived.

I've done my best to help these disgruntled Core Audio customers to the point where I have repaired some of the products. I've been asked to resell them for these customers with a warranty from Mojo Audio. Some time in the near future you should expect to see these used Core Audio products for sale on Audiogon.

Just like anyone else with a computer can do, I've done searches on Ryan and Core Audio Technology and I've found several negative posting on forums and fraud alerts that all happened long after I was associated with the company in any way.

One thing you can be certain of is that you won't find any fraud alerts or disgruntled customer postings for Mojo Audio. If a customer has any problems we simply return their full payment minus shipping. Period.

Since we have never had a customer request to return any power supply or DAC for a refund, and since we have never had any of them burn out in use, and since I can count on one hand with fingers left over the number of our cable products that are returned each year, giving a full refund to the few customers that want one is a minor cost of doing business.

I had a brief lapse in judgement that made me a business partner of Ryan's for a few months roughly two years ago. During my time as a partner in Core Audio I was barely involved with customer service and barely spoke to any customers with the exception of Glory.

I hope that in making this posting my name and Mojo Audio would no longer be linked to Ryan or Core Audio.

~ Benjamin
Hello Benjamin.

If you were responsible for R&D of CORE Audio power supplies then I must inform you that one of these (sold by CORE, I believe) to fellow audiophile and it "burnt" within first few days and was returned ...but no refund was issued.

I think you bear partial responsibility for poor design...

I wish you the best in audio but perhaps MOJO Audio should stay away from power supplies design and manufacturing...

Musica Pristina Virtuoso server I bought a few months ago (also with external power supplies, I believed designed by highly respected Spectron Audio) did not give me a SINGLE problem - not in software not in hardware. NONE !!!

I feel rather upset that months ago, I was considering purchase of the server from you and Ryan and have corresponded with him and just by luck I escaped all these horrors that others describe here.

There are too many companies coming from who knows where without any roots, any reputation and they SELL !!!!
Hi Dob,

I only did the R&D for Core Audio Technology up until the spring of 2011.

Any power supply you purchased that has Core Audio on the faceplate after the spring of 2011 was not one that was shipped from my shop built to my specifications.

By the summer of 2011 Ryan and I had decided to split up the company but had not agreed on the terms of the partnership dissolution. I had nothing to do with the operation of Core Audio in any way by the summer of 2011.

I was no longer involved in any way with Core by the fall of 2011 when our partnership was legally dissolved.

Certainly if you had one of the PSUs I manufactured for Core Audio and later rebranded as Mojo Audio I could understand you linking me to the design and/or manufacture. If it doesn't say "Mojo Audio" on the face plate it likely didn't come from my shop.

When did you buy this PSU and from whom?

It certainly wasn't me - if you had you would have gotten a new one shipped out to you priority without delay.

Then again, I don't know of any Mojo Audio PSU that has ever burned out.

Does anybody have one?

Has ANYONE ever asked me, Benjamin Zwickel, owner of Mojo Audio, for a refund on ANY product and have been refused anything but 100% of the full price paid minus shipping?

I didn't think so...

I have a PILE of early Core Audio PSUs that are loosely based in my designs that were made by Ryan from the fall of 2011 well into the middle of 2012. They come from dissatisfied customers who claim Ryan never honored his warranties. These customers tell me they got PSU after PSU from Ryan that either didn't work or burned out after a short while.

Like wise men all know: "there are three sides to every story."

I can't speak for anything that went on between Ryan and these customers but what a bunch of @#$% these PSUs they sent me are.

Unless you purchased the PSU from me and/or it says "Mojo Audio" on it you can not associate that product with me or my company. There is no telling WHAT was done by Ryan to anything I built and he later sold.

~Benjamin Zwickel
Owner, Mojo Audio
Ben,
It was purchased from Core Audio in 2012. I do associate you with this PSU because of your own words that it was your R&D...

To be honest, I have not heard anything negative associated with Mojo Audio
Dob,
You can have something R&D by Einstein but if a monkey put it together it'd be monkey poo.

Sorry for the gross analogy, but you get my point. :-p
Dob.
Just because Ben did the original R&D does not mean he can be held accountable with what the Manufacture screwed up in assembly after he left and any changes to his original design that were made that he had no over sight. You said it yourself, "To be honest, I have not heard anything negative associated with Mojo Audio".

For Peters sake, the guy made a mistake in a partnership, rectified it and has moved on.