Things I cannot get a good result (given the price) out of no matter how hard I try - Metal-based or ceramic cones, mdf or glass shelves, B&W 801, AES/EBU digital cables, solid-core interconnects or speaker cables, sub-woofers, power conditioners, cables by Monster and Audioquest. That is probably enough to get me into trouble - but I don't think they are "crappy" so much as they just do not work for me. I do hope this post does not elicit the "K" word again.
I guess this may turn out to be a very inflammatory thread. We will all list product, only to have lovers of that stuff become incensed. Nevertheless, it will probably fun as well. I agree that a lot of stuff is dependent on the situation, system, and personal taste. Here is my list: Pre/power amplifiers from Adcom, Audio Research, Carver(Lightstar/Sunfire excepted), Classe(I like some of their stuff), Coda, and Legacy(made by Coda). Speakers from Dynaudio(not their drivers or kits - maybe I just view their speakers as overpriced...), JMlabs, Kef, Legacy, Thiel, Wilson, and basically any speaker that uses Focal tweeters. Digital from Marantz, Rega(would like to hear the Planet 2000), and Sony. Cables from MIT, Monster, Nordost, Wireworld, but above all ANY cable that is really expensive. And some tweaks such as the Totem Beaks, Shakti Stones, a lot of things you put on a CD, clocks that plug into electrical outlets, power conditioners(not AC power regenerators), etc. But, probably THE biggest ripoff next to cables are audiophile furniture, especially those with 3/8" to 5/8" shelves for more than $400. Can't wait to read everyone's list.
I am dissapointed with: The power supply in Los Angeles, generic power cords supplied with the equipment, my wife tapping her nails or humming to a piece of music while I am attempting to evaluate a new piece of gear or change in my system (I am over her standing in front of one or the other speakers while also doing this), my ears and sometimes my brain.
Cardas interconnects. I've heard them badly beaten by products costing 1/10 th the amount.
Macintosh. I always thought it was really overated but I admit that not only do indavidual taste vary but also system matching plays a big part. I like the above bashed MIT Cables and Classe equipment. Although I have never heard Classe attacked MIT is under constant fire. It doesnt upset me as much as it confuses me.
Instead of crappy, maybe i should have stated, "not to your taste", but audio gear is just about personal tastes. We're talking about stuff, not people, so there's no reason to be sensitive. I don't understand why people like Paradigm speakers (too harsh for me), but i don't have a problem with it.
I never found the WATT/Puppy combo to be to my taste (haven't heard version 6 though). Probably because they are more designed for nearfield listening and I prefer a larger, more spacious sound, and maybe because I don't necessarily care that much about hearing everything on a recording and the shortcomings of upstream electronics vs. being moved by the music on the recording (sometimes too much detail can be a distraction). They just sounded too small, a beautiful and highly detailed but miniature version of an orchestra; I prefer the bigger sounds of Duntech/Dunlavy and Maggies.
B&W 801, Wilson speakers (for the money) Levinson Digitial and pre-amps, Audio Research, Wadia, and Meridian speakers. (sorry to those who love these, they just didn't work for me)
I think krell amps are very harsh and mechanical sounding. This is compared to pass labs, spectral, and hotrod mccormack amps. I can't stand VTL amps. I understand why some people would like them - the cool, neutral, detailed sound. To me they are icy cold and almost disturbing. Much prefer warmer tube amps. I didn't much care for the MIT 750 ref cables I tried, but that was likely a system matching thing. This thread is really a personal taste statement, and should be taken as such. Vote for me!
the most puzzling product for me is stereophile's speaker/product of the year: the avantgarde duo. i've tried, i really have, to appeciate 'em, listening to several setups at 2001 ces but....... the second place on my list belongs to the biggest of the pipedreams. they sound only ok and the image produced of a single acoustic guitar, e.g., makes the instrument appear 40 feet high.
Thanks for reminding me about VTL John_l. I am in complete agreement with you on that. I really have put forth an effort into liking both Audio Research and VTL power amps. But always found them cold, analytical, and crystalline. That is not to say those adjectives cannot be applied in a positive way(Electrocompaniet or new Musiscal Fidelity). Just that AR and VTL are to me the definition of the dark side of those descriptions(lots off ss amps are as well). I generally think many who buy them really prefer the sound of solid state, but like the cache of tubes. Pride of ownership. They do not have the sound that justifies a tube purchase to me. If I did like that sound, I would buy solid state equipment instead.
hey Trelja. VTL actually makes me feel 'chilled' when I listen to it, but I like the ARC stuff. I guess it's splitting hairs. ARC equipment is very accurate, but it does have a warmth to it. I find that using my arc phono stage with my arc amp, I get very 'alive' sound. There is clarity, but also a little extra thrown in. I am in complete agreement that some of the new 'more accurate' tube stuff is just way too sold state sounding for me. What's the point ? I own both tubes and solid state. I can tell you I would rather not have the cost of tubes but do indeed prefer their sound.
Oh, and to add to my 'not all that' list: Expensive CD playback systems. I just don't hear that much difference between a $2-3000 cd player and an $8000 transport/DAC. It's there, but it's probably the worst cost/performance ratio I've heard. I think problem is more the limitations of the format rather than anything that 'nth degree' equipment can do. This is compared to upgrading your speakers or amp.
Hello John_l. I should rethink what I have said about AR preamps. I actually had one. I liked it. I am OK with them. Still wouldn't buy one of the power amps. That's when I go solid state. Sunfire, Jeff Rowland, Musical Fidelity, and Electrocompaniet all are more to my liking. I guess the AR power amps do sound better when mated to their preamps. Can't blame them for that. They are designing their own synergy into the match. We are at fault if the components do not work together properly. It is our job to find pieces that match each other.
I find Cello to lack any kind of musicallity. Things that have offended me, any peice of equipment that uses self threading screws. Any recording that says AAD, youv'e gone analog through the first two chains, why go digital now. As for the rest of my list see Trelja's first post.
The Reference 3M DeCappo.Everytime i listen to it it makes me wonder what the deal is on it.
Wow, what a compliment Retroguy. Thank you. Nice to know we have parallel tastes in some areas. I would also be interested in hearing your list of equipment you're high on.
Trelja, the only point that I have contention with is the use of lin conditioners. You must take into consideration how well your A/C is regulated by your power company. I am a professional CET and as part of my daily grind, I repair units that have been damaged by insufficient regulation. If your line voltage is to be regulated at 117 VAC, any variance, up or down will degrade the performance of any electrical appliance. It dosen't matter if the appliance is a toaster or a pre-amp. Case in point, my own a/c varies by day, time of day and temperature. Between the hours of 9:00am and 5:00pm the A/C is pretty consistent, but around 5:30, A/C line voltage will drop by as much as 15%. The line conditioners will help combate these irregularities and prolong the life span of your equipment. You might want to reconsider these units, if not for the sonic values, strictly for the power oriented. I'll save my picks on good equipment for another thread. Enjoy!
Oops! two points, I really like AR when matched with big Maggies. thats all.
The PipeDreams are a awful; Truly the worst speaker over $500 I have ever heard (heard in 5 separate rooms)
Good points Retroguy. I recognize the validity of all you say. Just that the power treatment devices I have been around all seemed to take something away from the system. And we audiophiles certainly go out of our way to put that stuff in their. Hmmm. Another audio tradeoff: equipment protection(against surges, spikes, dips, etc.) vs. more pleasure(much of the time). I could make a pretty blue analogy here... That's why I did say that the power regenerators are high on my recommended list. Hopefully offering all the protection you list, without losing some of the magic.
Haven't heard anything that I thought was crappy, just different and didn't care for it. Maybe my hearing isn't as well tuned as some others. Not to change the topic of your thread, but I have heard some recordings that were terrible. I had an Al Stewart Year of the Cat that sound like it was a fifth generation recording on tape... and it was a cd! I did think that sounded crappy, tossed it.
I have to agree w/corn about the avantgardes, they were first made for discotecs-and then that Stereophile guy pairs them with a worthless 2a3 amp. what a joke it must be for folks who get their gear reviewed by him.
Most if not all products built around/for home theatre applications. Second on my list all overpriced equipments (too many to list). Third on my list are power supplies, conditioners, PS audio new outlet (introduced at the recent CES show), and etc...The one product I am most iritated of is Taralabs zero interconnects. Who in their right mind (no offense) would pay $12K a meter? This cost more than a 1 meter lenth gold chain. I don't believe musicians or any of those people that are involve the making of music intend music to be reproduced at our homes to be as complex the hifi industry leads us to believe. Hope I didn't offense anyone. This is just my opinion.
The michael green designs Justarack is my worst purchase. I don't know if it's on a high list but it's definitely on my lowest of lows list
cg70754-as a listed DUNLAVY DEALER you should have disclosed that when you trashed the Pipedreams anonymously. Perhaps that is why your criticism was so over the top- you said the Pipedreams were the "worst speaker over $500.00 I have ever heard ". Knowing your relationship to DUNLAVY (a fine loudspeaker) helps put that ridiculous trashing of a competing product into proper perspective.
Sorry, and don't mean to offend any one, really. But I listened to the pipedreams and could never buy them. The other is avantgarde, I wouldn't say they suck but with the price tag they have, they suck. I don't think there worth it. Now at maybe $2000 a pair I would buy them just cause they look neat, but I won't play them. Sorry, but thats my imho.
I have also tried to like Audio Research - I even sat through a seminar conducted with their people in conjunction with Apogee and I just don't get it. The sound is so sterile and uninvolving to my ears. I also don't get benefits from alot of tweaking that other audiophiles get, with the exception of damping material on first reflection points I just don't get the mileage out of things like cones, isolation products, egg cartons, tin foil, sanding CD's, etc...