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Almost anything made by Blue Circle Rocks! I own a BC26 and it is a serious piece of equipment. I have heard the BC8 monoblocks and they are even better - so much so that I will probably wind up with a pair in the not too distant future. Don't know where you live, so I cannot help with dealer info; you might try e-mailing Gilbert Yeung (Blue Circle President/ Owner/Resident Genius), he would certainly know where to get them.
I haven't heard the BC8 but I own the BC2 monos. They're great, and can be had for very little money on the used market ($2k-$3k). If I could, I would demo the BC2 against the BC8, just in case the BC2 is good enough for you. Also, just to mention, Gilbert has an upgrade option from BC2 to about 80% of the BC8 performance. That may be another way to go - get a used pair of BC2 and then upgrade later on when you feel like it. Good luck.
My BC22 blew up when it was about 4 months old. It was sent back to the factory and they actually charged me to repair the amp which was obviously under warranty at that time. This is quite a poor policy in my opinion for a small, high end company to exhibit. I feel the repair should have been free under the conditions of the warranty. The amplifer was not abused, mishandled, or exposed to anything that would have resulted in one channel going biserk.
Apparently, up to 70% of the BC22 amplifers in the field today have undergone serious repairs of some sort within the first year of ownership. This seems to be a QC problem that BC should have dealt with in the proper fasion from the begining. This statistic I heard from a local Blue Circle dealer.
Thorty40: Sounds like a big breakdown in communications. I guess I have no reason not to believe you, but why did you pay it?? Did they really know it was four months old? I am surprised Gilbert did not just send you a new amp. I have had many dealings with Blue Circle and Gilbert directly, and they have always bent over backwards to satisfy. They have even returned Emails on weekends including Saturday evenings. Gilbert once personally mailed me a few lightbulbs when I mentioned only in passing that one of my bulbs was out that lights the Blue Circle.
I have also never heard of any relability problems with any of their gear of the magnitude you describe. Gilbert personally inspects every amp that goes out the door and I believe they also get some burn-in period. I can't imagine how you could make quality control better? Care to tell us who this dealer is? Maybe he sold you a used amp or an amp that had been fooled with, told you it was new, and made up a big story to cover it up.
Sugarbrie, when I was told their was a cost involved in regards to repair to the BC22, I told the dealer he could shove it. He then paid for the repair himself, so really I actually did not pay for the repair personally. I should have wrote their was a charge, not he charged me, sorry for the mix up.
Do you remember the test bench performance results in the Stereophile issue with the BC21/22 combo? They said the BC22 tested like a 15 year old SS amp, shutting down every twenty seconds during the test or so from overheating. I had a problem with mine when I used it on my speakers, it was unable to drive them and felt like it would melt, even at very low volumes. I then used an 8 year old Simaudio amp (4050, I think?) and it drove the speakers with ease.
I personally know more people that had the same problems with the BC22 and surprisingly mechanical difficulties with the BC21 as well. I had no problems with the BC21, I really liked that preamp and had considered getting a BC3 Galatea at some point.
I have to agree with Sugarbrie - Gilbert's customer service is second to none. Thorty40: I would be willing to bet that your dealer sold you a pooched amp in the first place. I know literally dozens of Blue Circle customers; all happy campers - mainly because of Gilbert's commitment to both his product and customers. In addition, I drove a pair of Aerial 5 (85 db sens.) speakers for two years with a BC22, never turned the amp off. It never got more than a bit warm.
The fact that the amp experienced mechanical failure does not bother me nearly as much as a manufacturer charging to repair an item that clearly was under warranty. The amp was sealed, brand new at the time of purchasing and the dealer was reputable and honest. This is in no way an attempt to bash anything or anyone, its just something that happened plain and simple.
I believe you completely; it is the dealers behavior that seems strange. How do you know Blue Circle tried to charge? It is just the dealers word for it. Was he really a Blue Circle dealer? He may have still been picking them up from somewhere else (another dealer selling out of his area) and not from BC directly, so him trying to return it as a warranty repair would make bells go off.
The BC22 and BC21 were dropped shipped directly from Blue Circle to me at the time of purchase. Its not only me that had this problem, I know of others who had simliar problems. I actually saw the e-mail from BC with the charges and the charges were made payable to BC, not the dealer.
Its not the efficency of the speaker, its the load thats the problem. Read the test bench report in Stereophile, its clearly shown in their report.
Thorty40: Well I guess it could be anything?? Still sounds to me like the customer service problem is with that dealer. He does not stock it; he just orders it and has it shipped to you. Then he does not want to deal with any problems. In the end you did not get charged for anything. It really could have been "DROPPED" shipped by UPS or whoever. I don't have a BC dealer near me, so I have always dealt directly with BC. They have always treated me like I was the most important customer they have.
In the end Sterophile liked the BC21 and BC22. That is what confuses reviewers. I agree the specs. of Gilbert's gear may not always test out well against the "established norm", but no one denies that it sounds great. This may in fact raise a question of whether the "established norm" is best. If Gibert has come up with a formula that is superior to what has passed as a good design in the past, we should maybe recognize his genius. All great minds are usually met with skepticism when they challenge the status quo.
Sugarbrie, I'm just saying what I know, the dealer is well respected by everyone and I have dealt with them for years, manufacturers also have great respect for this dealer.
The test is done for reliability and there is alot of great sounding gear that tests great. The BC22 tested very bad, not just against the standard norm. How could it possibly be the dealers fault for the amp blowing up, as well as others that were bought from other dealers and direct? Both of my packages arrived in perfect shape, no dents or holes with no sign of water damage, ect.....
Stereophile and their reviewers bear little weight in regards to my own decisions concerning audio purchases. However, the bench test measurements are sometimes interesting to read and are less biased for obvious reasons. My purchases usually are based upon the various input of other "audiophiles" and my own judgment concluded by time spent personally with a given piece of gear.
I agree with you 100%. That Audio Refinement Complete integrated bench tested out poorly in someone elses review. It is sort of confirmed by the fact that YBA won't publish a 4 ohm rating (and a number of other stats) for the Complete, but they do publish all those stats for every other amp they make. But anyway, the Complete sure does sound pretty good for what it costs.
I can remember some reviews in HiFi Choice where one one component they'll said something like, "it sounds very good, but we can't explain why,". Then on another they will say: "It tested out very well, but we don't like how it sounds".
I think if you saw the email with the repair charges, and Blue Circle billed Blue Circle for the repair, that is called no charge. So how can you say they charge for their warranty work? I have had gear repaired made by Conrad Johnson, B&W, Onkyo, Dual, and Panasonic. All the warranty work was free or they gave me a new one. It all worked fine afterwards for years. Yes, it is unpleasant and unfortunate when something breaks, but it happens to everything. (I have never owned a car they did not need repaired.)
Found it folks!!! I searched Audio Asylum and a few early BC22 owners were having a problem with a noisy transformer (Hum). The poster Gary Lester sais Blue Circle mailed him a new power cord with a filter on it that solved the hum and improved the sound. The new BC22 do not have this problem. It shows Blue Circle stands behind their products.
The link is:
Bowbow, that is called a charge when BC bills the dealer for repair bill made payable to BC.
Invoice from Blue Circle:
Total cost of BC22 repairs - $280 - amount due in full.
Dealer: sends payment out to BC in the amount of $280 for repair done to a 4 month old BC22.
Originally, BC wanted the repairs to be paid for from consumer, this is not acceptable as the unit was being used normally, was not exposed to any condition which would constitute damage AND unit was only 4 months old at that time.
As someone who knows Gilbert pretty well, I am reluctant to wade into this one, but something feels a little fishy here. Maybe not but I know the smell of fish. I live in New England. I hear a good deal of allegedly factual crap being slung towards Innerkip. But no mention of who the dealer is so no one, including Gilbert if he cared to, could check out your story. And here's a dealer selling Blue Circle amps he's also claiming have a 70% failure rate? This should be an easy tale to verify or dismiss. Name your source, my friend, or keep your crap to yourself.
To reiterate, I too had the same problems as thorty40.
I too know the smell of fish very well and something is amiss here.
The name bobneill is the same name as the person at AA with many treads about Blue Circle equipment, now it seems that you are are very friendly with the owner of Blue Circle.
Also did I not see your name with Sound stage, or some other reviews about Blue Circle.
I own Mark Levinson gear, along with several other brands but I do not know one person at any of those companies, so why is it that there are some in this tread that seem to know the owner of Blue Circle so well, it just does not sit right.
So what happen to all the Blue Circle dealers at Audiogon?
I second Bobs' take on this. If you insist on slagging a good manufacturer's reputation then pony up with ALL the facts, not just a partial story.
I have alot of experience with most of the BlueCircle product from the BC21/22 right up to the full AG series. Aside from an occasional noisy tube (hardly BC's fault !) I've had NO problems at all. Gilbert has always been prompt to answer any questions I may have had, and has exhibited a very generous attitude towards his customers.
A 70% failure rate ?? I highly doubt it.
BigCop. I also have experience with Krell, Levinson, and many other manufacturers gear.
The fact of the matter is that BlueCircle is a very small operation, not a mind sucking entity owned by an even larger organism. Therefore, when a customer gets in touch with someone at BlueCircle, you have a very large chance of getting Gilbert directly.
He takes pride in his components, and doesn't like the thought of product failure. This can be said for many small audio manufacturers. The difference is that you can still get a personal touch, not just a technician who doesn't care if you have a ground loop problem or not.
The other thing you don't realize is that many of BlueCircles' customers are within a 2 hour drive of his facility. Therefore, it only stands to reason that some customers may have actually *met* Gilbert.
FACT.... Bob Neill writes for EnjoyTheMusic.com not Soundstage.com
...don't you understand? I'm not pretending I don't know him. I said I KNOW HIM PRETTY WELL. I got to know him through his equipment, which is how many reviewers get to know designers. I liked his stuff, I looked him up, found out he was a mighty cool guy with, as I expected, ears of gold.
I stuck my nose in here partly on principle but mainly because someone I know and admire was getting smeared. If Chris Thornton wants to come out and tell us the whole story, I'll go back into the bleechers and watch the show, like everyone else. I'm not calling him a liar, I'm calling him out. His whole story may be true. Who knows? We haven't heard it yet. And I sure would like to know who that "local" dealer in Indiana is who's selling BC gear by drop shipment while telling folks that it has a 70% failure rate, wouldn't you? Didn't know BC had a dealer in Indiana. 'Tis a puzzlement.
The web is a place, as you all know, where innuendo rules. I don't like that. When I see it affecting someone and something I know about, I come out of the stands.
What same problems? Poor service from Blue Circle? How? When? Why? Either provide the details so Tweety can get some useful, VERIFIABLE information from the thread he started, or can the slag! Your first post said you didn't want to talk about it - so why post at all???
I know Gilbert too. Does that make me suspect as well? Or do I maybe have a better perspective from which to speak than you. My Blue Circle dealer closed up shop to move to another country, and Gilbert has been kind enough to deal direct with me. He has also had occasion to visit my home to deal with some set up issues. Would the boys at Madrigal Labs do that?
If you have a specific and verifiable beef, then state it! Otherwise stop spreading vague misinformation. And if your beef has something to do with Hello Simply Music, I suggest you remember that dealers and manufacturers are two separate entities.
I am willing to bet BigCop and Thirty40 are the same person. BigCop just registered the other day, and has only posted to this thread. It's also because BigCop seems to appear at the right moment to defend Thirty40.
I also heard from Gilbert's associate Al Whyley at Blue Circle today. They are aware of this thread, and know who Thirty40 is, as well as others associated with him.