Help: My newly upgraded AA Capitole gives no sound

I recently got back my capitole CD player after a Signature Edition upgrade in AA factory France. It has a serious problem: NO SOUND. Everything else seems to be working perfectly: disc reading, display, control buttons, remote etc.

On three or four occasions I managed to get the sound whilst continuously interchanging the channels on the remote (SPDIF/COAX/T&T etc.) or through the buttons on the player itself but whenever the player is stopped (e.g to change disc or to shut down), the player refuses to produce any sound on resumption of play even though the disc is spinning and the display clearly indicating that it is playing (i.e. pressing play button).

When it does decide to play, it plays flawlessly with wonderful sound until the end of the disc. When it is playing (with sound coming out of the speakers) and REPEAT MODE pressed, it plays on and on for days until stopped. But as soon as stopped, the problem comes back.

Same problem when an external transport is used via digital input.

Checked the internal cables, they are all properly seated. The Circuit Board is in good condition and no visible signs of any damage.

Two-way communication with AA France is almost non-existent and terribly frustrating. Am stuck with a new upgraded player costing over $10,000.

Has anybody come across such problems with their Capitole or Prestige? Can you help in identifying possible causes? Could it be a software/chip problem incompatibility with the new transport (installed FOC by AA factory within the upgrade. The Chip version is 5.6.
Any help would be much appreciated.
Many thanks.

Either send it back to the guys who messed it up, or use it for a $10,000 door stop.
Am quite inclined to send it back to Audio Aero France. But having just spent some $1500 on the SE upgrade, spending another $500 or so on shipping and handling charges and, perhaps more, without any guarantee of it returning back problem free is a risk I'm not ready to take.
For info, my player was playing flawlessly before I sent it for the SE upgrade.
Not only my money is gone, but the player is no longer playing!
It is possible that the player was damaged in transit.

I would have a good local shop look at it or send it back to France.

I have found a great US repair facility that can service the Audio Aero products. Analogique in New York City.
Question: how did you make arrangements to have the player upgraded if 2-way communication with the manufacturer is almost non-existent?
Ah,the plot thickens!!!!!!
Neh, have pity on this guy. He sent in a perfectly good player AND for $10,000. That is ten thousand Dollars got back crap. The language barrier may have contributed. Those French (I am half French so I know) are VERY stuck up about the French language, and dislike anyone who is French-illiterate. So in trying halfhartedly to communicate, he may have dug his own grave.
My advice: find a native Frech speaker to plead you case to the company. It will do more for you than a whole flock of laywers
Sound advice as usual,Elizabeth.Pun intended!!
Good luck with that,I hope something positive happens somehow someway.Good one E,Bob
ANSWER: the answer popped into my head. The tracking servo is misadjusted. It is a simple thing you can have it looked at nearer where you live.. any competent tech should be able to re-adjust it.
The CD has a bit of information at the very beginning of the CD. (the track timing, and titles etc. It is ONLY READ ONCE when a CD is loaded. If the CD is repeated, the info is NOT reread. This info with the track timing etc is vital, and a disc will not play if this info cannot be read. From your original posting, when you said the disc will not start, but if it does, and you repeat it will play perfectly over and over until you try a different disc has the answer in the statement.
So that is the problem. My guess is the French dude doing the final checking of your player had a disc repeating and set the servo for the beginning, but did not check it after, and the servo is going back in only barely far enough to 'sometimes' catch the beginning info.
I wish you the best on getting your player fixed.
I am French... I could help you to communicate with Audio Aero if you like (I believe they're in Toulouse). Let me know...
There is a huge difference regarding communication and customer service at Audio Aero now and what it used to be in the past when I decided to send my player for the SE Upgrade (in July 2009). At that time the receptionist/administration incomings were handled by one Miss Sandrine who used to reply to my queries and mails within 2 days.
Since, there are two new figures there: One Miss Sophie Lucchini for incoming mails and someone named Guillaume Bouly - who supposedly supervises all technical related problems.
From my own experience within the past 6-7 months with Audio Aero, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, get e-mail replies or technical info from AA. I had to phone them several times to pass on the same info which I had previously sent by emails. Even on the phone, impossible to get in touch with the so called technicial coordinator - Mr Bouly. Please note that France has espoused a socialist philosophy wherein a lot of employees feel they have permanent employment. Hence no need for them to wast time in stupid things like customer service.

For your info, I had no intention to go for the SE upgrade: it was only when I contacted them at that time (July 2009) to buy the new cryo tubes for my player that they offered to upgrade my Capitole to Signature Edition against payment. I agreed and sent my player to them in August 2009 but due to delays originating from AA factory, and consequently the player having had to make a forced waiting transit in France before getting to me in Mauritius, I got my player only a few weeks ago.
I maintain that AA has serious communication and customer service issues. Having said that I think the GM (Jerome Andre)is a very nice guy (I spoke to him on the phone). He told me that he expects his staff to respond to customers within 24 hrs. I also understand that Mr Andre normally spends considerable time in a different geographic location than in the technical services premises. One thing is clear though, his staff definitely has not got the Boss' message regarding customer service!
Elizabeth, Hervel
Many thanks for your advice and the offer of help regarding assistance in french language. I am a native French speaker and my country (Mauritius) was a former French colony. My communications (emails & phone calls) to AA have been mainly in French.
The issue is elsewhere - "efficiency, efficacy, concern and respect" for the clients buying and putting faith in their highly priced products in return for legitimate expectation of an attribute called "customer service" when problem beckons.
I usually do not interfer in forums as the freedom of expression is a right to me. I am Jerome Andre and I manage Audio Aero. But in htis case, I need to restore the truth about this customer, as what he wrote are simply lies and I can't stand this.
Mr Lallchand sent us his player for an upgrade in July last year. We made him a very generous discount and he only paid 420 € for this upgrade instead of 900. We also proposed him an internal upgrade as the player was 7 years old but he refused. The player was ready to be shipped in August and perfectly working, but we only received his payment in October. And his check was not signed, so we couldn't cash it. We had to wait for another month to receive it. Mr Lallchand refused to pay for the back shipping. We had to ship it at our cost to one of his friend in Paris as asked by Mr Llachand. It was in december. Then, we recieved a complain from Mr Lallchand very end of February. We have no idea of how this player has been treated during almost 3 month. Apparently, it travelled in many plains (dixit Mr Lallchand) and this could be one of the reason of its problems.
To sum up : 1 : Audio Aero has always been very cooperative with this customer. 2 : we gave him a great deal on the upgrade. 3 : The player was perfectly working when it came out of the factory. 4 : Mr Lallchand is trying to get a new unit for free as it was his proposal this morning...
Audio Aero can not be responsible for travel damage. Mr Lallchand was supposed to send back his player to Audio Aero but he didn't. We cannot be accused for something we didn't do.
We will try to help Mr Lallchand as far as he send back the unit to us. This is the minimum we ask. Sincerely
I don't like to get involved in disputes but to me this appears to be due to a lack of proper communication or perhaps a lack of full disclosure.

Other than some outback comments by Tpreaves most of the people in the thread are genuinely trying to help the situation.

I have great respect for Audio Aero's players but my experience in trying to communicate with AA France has been a one-way-train in the past. Luckily for me, Globe Audio was still in business back then so all my dealings were through them and I was NEVER dissapointed. Jody and Ken have my full respect and admiration and I'm very sad they could not go on.

I hope this issue can be resolved satisfactorily so Audio Aero's reputation does not suffer. They make some trully great digital players.
I don't like to get involved in disputes but

Then why did you?
Take a guess
Mr Jerome Andre (GM, Audio Aero fr)
Audio Aero present and future owners

I find it disgusting that the GM of a company like Audio Aero comes up on this well respected forum to tell lies, distort the truth in an attempt to cover up shortcomings and problems of his own organisation and products.

I am currently going through all the e-mails I sent Audio Aero, bank statements and the rare replies I received from them relating to my Capitole. I intend to, shortly, post undeniable documentary evidence that, contrary to what Mr Jerome Andre is falsely imputing in his recent post:

(a) I paid 535 Eur for the normal SE Upgrade at Audio Aero factory in France (without additional analogue inputs) and not 420 Eur insinuated by Audio Aero. I have the receipt, and bank clearance evidencing all this; for information, the same upgrade costs $700 in the US, and a job done within a week, compared to 4 months taken in my case by AA factory.

(b) contrary to the false and malicious statements made by Mr Andre that I refused to pay shipping charges for the return courrier, I paid a sum of 35 Eur for return shipping (termed in French as Frais de Port) to a French destination and this is well stated in Audio Aero's own invoice bearing ref. no 09060003 dated 12.Jun.2009, which was duly settled by me through a France based bank cheque without any discussion or argument.

(c) as falsely imputed by Audio Aero, the SE upgrade was never ready in August 2009 but only on 14 Nov 09, and this is evidenced by Audio Aero's own e-mail message (signed by Mr Guillaume Bouly - chief techincal support of AA) to me. In fact they had originally agreed to complete the upgrade by 27 August 09, but they sent me apology e-mails for not being able to do so due to restricted man power and the festive season. In reply, I sent a strong letter of protest to Mr Jerome Andre on 20 Aug 09 complaining about the company's lack of consideration for customer service, and its inability to honour its own commitment to finish the job in Aug 09, i.e. the date when it was already arranged for shipment it back to my country through a traveling passenger. Due to delay on Audio Aero's part, the player missed the arranged courrier and was finally upgraded only several months later in Nov 09, and thus had to wait for 2 months in France for rearranging its desptach to Mauritius though another travelling passenger.

(d) Contrary to what Mr Andre is advancing, they never shipped the player to Paris. The destination was Ambilly France) - which is quite far away from Paris. From Ambilly (20 mins drive to Geeneva), the player was taken by car to Geneva airport and on to my country on an Air Mauritius direct flight (Geneva-Mauritius). There were no "traveled on several planes" as wrongly stated in the post.

(e) Again, contrary to what Mr Andre is saying that I have now asked for a new player, all that I requested was, since Audio Aero factory is unable to help me (their response is non-existent, despite them having undertaken to send me information on possible causes on the problems I was experiencing and instructions and guidance on how the problem could be solved locally through a technician), I am prepared to send my non-working freshly upgraded player to their distributor is UK and they arrange to send me one that works. And I would personally call at the said distributor to collect the working player after verification to avoid any future issues on the player.

(f) Mr Andre very conveniently omits to disclose another serious error on their part and which caused great delay in me lodging the complaint that the Capitole is not playing properly after the upgrade: they changed the transport shaft with a bigger and larger shaft but failed to send me the new puck that goes with the larger shaft. I was thus unable to play the Capitole for nearly a month (my post on Audiogon about the missing puck bears testimony) and despite repeated e-mails and phone calls to them, they only agreed to send me the puck very recently.

I think it is important for current and prospective owners of Audio Aero products to know the truth about the acts and doings of Audio Aero or its staff. To me, it just sums up in a few word: adding insult to injury. After injuring clients with their notoriously problematic products, they have guts to publicly deny the truth and post stories, lies and fabrications and attempt to put the blame on customers who have splashed out a small fortune on AA products.

I am therefore requesting Mr Jerome Andre to verify his information carefully and rectify his post with an unreserved apology failing which I will have to make public a whole bunch of documentary evidence showing to what extent the GM of Audio Aero has resorted to shameful maneouvres, lies and fabrications to cover up their own inefficiencies, product and communication issues etc.

I will get back shortly with a new post/thread if Mr Andre or Audio Aero does not rectify his post and insinuations.
Dr Jawa Lallchand
Kindly note that I posted my thread to get help responses on how I can solve my problematic player. With all due respect, I don't think your comments and posts, which do not add value to the problem I am currently facing, are warranted. Please be positive and helpful. Today, its me who's facing tough times with an Audio aero product, tomorrow it can be you or another fellow audiogoner.
Now AA is BUSTED!!!This is getting very interesting.Lall,I am sympathetic to your problem you are having with AA.My comments are in no way trying to marginalize your plight.Sometimes a little humor helps lessen the sting.I realize the concept of humor is percieved differently by every person.If I've hurt your feelings,I apologize,that was not my intent.I hope you can get this dilemma solved without having to resort to legal actions.
thanks a lot for your kind words. I appreciate. I do remember having bought some stuff from you in recent past and recall you as a nice and honest guy to deal with. All the best.
This is interesting and I am watching Audio Aeros response carefully. I have been very weary of buying items from overseas due to issues such as this. Having said that...I have owned the Kora 100SB Triodes and when one of the units ran amok, Kora was fantastic in their responses to me and getting the product taken care of. I also have a Graaf Modena and I have to say that Graaf has been very responsive when asked about the stereo to mono conversion kit.

What i am saying is that manufacturers should really be careful how they present themselves on these forums because we as the consumers are paying attention to every thing they write and how they respond the us the customers after we have dropped major coin for their product(s).

Now this does not absolve the buyer either, I guess it comes down to who has the paper trail to back up his/her story.
Good and objective post. I invite all those who would like some convincing before accepting my story, to send me a private mail through Audiogon. I would be more than happy to send scan copies of the bunch of documentary evidence I am holding.
For sake of ethics, however, I think it would be advisable to give Audio Aero a few days to respond and if they do rectify their post, then we need not go that far to add fuel to fire.
I take no sides in the above dispute. However, I think that if one wishes to purchase the more "exotic" gear from the smaller overseas manufacturers, it is better to purchase new through a well-established US dealer who will assist with service issues. I have passed up many a great deal on some wonderful stuff, as I didn't know how I could obtain service if something went wrong.

Personally, when I do purchase used, I stick to stuff with a strong US-based service network.
Just a quick word to say that I have sent a private e-mail to Mr Jerome Andre of Audio Aero informing him that I have replied to his post on Audiogon.
I hope he replies.

... i'm sure there's a few people looking forward to it.
Geez, sounds like a good reason to by Audio Research if your going to pay more than $300 for a CD Player. Of all the components I own, digital and transports specifically, is the one where first rate customer service and repairs are most important to me.
You are absolutely right IMHO. Of all components,Cd players and transports are most prone to problems hence warrant reliable, honest customer service.
I was willing to venture and buy a Canadian CD/SACD product:) I simply refuse to buy a foreign (or domestic) product that does not have an established, reliable support network in the US. Not sure if that is or isn't true for Audio Aero. I know their players have a very solid reputation for sound quality, but at least for me, if I don't feel I can have a repair issue handled easily, I just won't bother with it, too many good products made and supported here. The last thing I want to do is ship a heavy item to someplace in Europe or Asia for repair - why bother. If I buy a product here, I expect it to be supported here without going through great pains in shipping, exhange rates, customs etc... unless it is a truly unique product I must have.
I just e-mailed AA about a distributor in North America and they answered very quickly that they are trying to get one. Don
That would be great. It is obviously a great sounding product and well-built. They just need to work out the logistics for providing the support expected by US customers (and others around the world).
Donaudio, Pubul157
Am not surprised at AA's quick response to your query. A distributor in the US means sales AND income generation. Who does not want that? Try sending them a mail about my problem and what they have done to satisfy thus unhappy customer.

In my case, I sent my AA Capitole to them in July 2009. We are in March 2010 i.e. 9 mnths without being able to listen to it.
It came back to me from the factory in Feb 2010 as a non-working player but AA has yet to send me a correspondence about what could possibly has gone wrong or how to fix it despite repeated e-mails/calls from me.

A new distributor in the US may work for a short while, but what happens when that distributor decides to pack up leave. History is witness and even distributors have blamed AA's lack of customer service/response etc.. Read Audiogon threads and it could not be clearer.

What AA needs is a 180 degree paradigm shift in customer service in such a competitive environment:

(1) understanding customer needs
(2) responding/solving their problems expeditiously
(3) be accessible and always respond positively to their queries/solicitude
(4) error is human, so admit you faults but at the same time undertake to improve the service
(5) never come up in public to cover your faults with lies and stories, and refrain from putting the blame on your customers who form the very basis of your company and livinghood.

ABC of any marketing course... Need I say more?
I suspect 98% of AA buyers in the US visit Audiogon daily. I'm sticking with my Meitner for now. Of course, a U.S. presence is no guarantee in itself, with Audible Illusions which had a first-rate preamplfier and a great price, but simply never managed to handle repair and turnaround well, at least that was true years ago, they may have improved that side of the business - they would have had to or I don't think they would have stayed in business. Say what you will, if you have a problem with Audio Research, Conrad Johnson, Pass Labs, VAC - you get the drift, you will be taken care of if you have a problem. Support is just as important (more so?) than the out-of-the box performance. Nothing more frustrating than a 50lb anchor where your audio equipment use to be.
Very well summed up. Straight to the point.
Lall, sorry to hear about the problems you’ve had. I know that when I read about problems with a product that I own it makes me cringe a bit. To me there’s nothing worse than the thought of having a $5,000 + audio anchor, other than I guess actually having one. I suspect that a great many AA owners do read Audiogon on a regular basis. I know one of the things that pointed me in the direction of AA when I first bought my Prima before moving up to the Capitole was the good press on Audiogon.

Considering the press that AA has been getting more recently and AA’s response on this thread, I doubt that any of AA’s products will be on my short list anytime in the near future.
I appreciate your support. I really love the sound of the Capitole and IMHO it has the sonic virtues to be the reference front end of any audiophile system. It's a real pity that some people has not considered it important to devote time understanding customer expectation. Will keep updating as things progress.
...And consequently, watch the resale prices on those things drop like a rock...which is already the case, based on current ads
And, by the way, I don't think this has much to do with the general reliabity of AA, which I think has been quite good in general. It's simply that if something does go wrong, you must have reliable resources to address the issues. I agree, the player sounds very, very good and I hope AA takes the steps to aqddress the fact, or perception, that there is an issue with support. A SOTA product needs SOTA support.
I am with you guys on the warranty issue. I almost purchased a pre-owned XBrand CD Player some years ago that had just been sent to the factory for a checkup and was still under warranty. I called XBrand to confirm this and they did...but no warranty transfer (on a $25,000.00 unit that they had just checked)...guess what no-sell.
All this to say that support is VERY VERY important as is how you stand behind your product from a warranty standpoint.

I LOVE Pass Labs stance... They have a set warranty period but then go on to say, if something does go wrong after the warranty call us anyway... Now THAT'S service!!!

At least I remember my former Aleph 1.2 manual saying that.
It does not get better than Pass or ARC for service - might explain their success, besides the fact that ther stuff don't sound too bad:)
Still no response from Audio Aero France?

I hate to say it but more owners are starting to dump their AA players on audiogon for lower and lower prices, despite the great sound.

AA France please take a good look at this situation! People are moving to Ayon players in North America due to a lack of support from AA. This case does not favor your image.
Check Audiofreakgeeks post. These guys are supposed great
with digital.
Still no response from AA. Will wait up to this weekend, if nothing, I'll post the documents.
It appears from their post that AA wants you to send them back the unit. What else are you expecting?
Lall - I was hoping for a follow-up. Did AA take care of your problem?
Sorry I was away for some time.
Not yet, my problem remains the same and am not able to listen to music. Am waiting for a travelling passenger to take the player with him when he next goes to France in June. I cannot afford the $700 or so quoted by my courrier companies.
For info, other than their above post in this forum, no response at all from AA to my problem.
Has Audio Aero left the U.S. market?
I can't say that, but am in Mauritius, a tiny little french speaking island in the middle of the Indian Ocean, some 13 hrs flight time from Paris.
If I were if the US, or had repair facility near my place, I would have long forgotten that AA fr ever existed.