Been there and done that. One thing I've learned - the criticisms (unless extreme or bigoted) are worth more than the praises.
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I agree. It's a shame that reviews like Stereophile's Recommended Componenents have so much weight as to what is good or bad. I bought an outstanding product 7 years ago, a DPS design set of speakers from Quadrature. The interest in their line has almost died, and their value on the used market is almost nothing. If Stereophile had given it a good review, then they would have made mucho dinero. But since they didn't, you don't hear about this fine product. And regardless of whether it's good or bad, their value is based on one powerful source. So you better be on their good side if you want to make it in this world.
I've been fortunate that I don't think it's happened to me except for a very few times. Twice was with cables. They just didn't work for me--they might have been snake oil, or perhaps it was just system synergy. Once was with new cables, which I returned for a full refund. The other was with used cables, which I resold for 90% of what I paid for them. The new user was very happy with them. Once was with a used amp. It had a great name, but sounded very poor. As a result I haven't even attempted to sell it, because I can't feel comfortable selling something that sounds that bad. Instead I use it as an amp that runs in wall speakers for multi-room sound around the house (it sounds really good for that purpose--but a bit overkill).
I think Audioreview is another tool to help in our researching, I am glad it exists, but you have keep an open mind while doing using it. Generally, the more user reviews the better. There are some, I am not excluding myself, that give rave reviews but never really compared the product to anything. There are others that I believe are just out to trash a certain brand.
I've had a couple of purchases that didn't work out, but the most egregious, meaning I spent WAY too much money with WAY too little satisfaction, was the $13,000 Goldmund amp I bought a few years ago, in the hopes it would be "the last amp" I would ever need. It was a Mimesis 29, bought new for retail price from my dealer, that just did not work w/my Genesis 500 speakers. But I didn't realize that until I had to send it back to Switzerland the second time for repairs and Goldmund would not respect their 3 year warranty OR pay for the return shipping (which was $500 on its own). Goldmund said my speakers were the problem. I guess I have to agree that the amp didn't match well w/the speakers, but it should not have started emitting smoke. anyway, I repaired the Goldmund, got it home, and sold it (for less than half price) to someone who did not own Genesis speakers. I trust it is working for that person. But I feel that Goldmund is overpriced and overrated and will not drive anything and everything, and most importantly has absolutely NO regard for their customers! Even those who have paid $13,000 for one piece of equipment. I sure wish I had known about Audiogon way back when I bought that amp. I could make that $13,000 go extremely far now.
Oh God no, avguygeorge and others, I have made plenty of them
and yes, more than I care to admit. Whats hard is thinking of which is the worse. I do think it might be as benefical though, especially to some of the newbies, and I guess really to some of us older timers, that we admit our boners.
Always easy to talk about the good deals, but I have to admit there have been one or two amp mods( I seem to fall for mods) I fell for that I wish I hadn't.
On the same note, but in a far better light, just got off the phone for the 1st time
with Stan Warren(I think I am going to have him mod my DV 09
Elite for me, any thoughts on that?)what a class individual. Everything I am reading about him must be true.
And as far as reviews go, I think we all know WE let them carry too much weight in what WE buy, or at least look at. Yes, part of it is the only 2 real dealers in this area can only carry maybe 1/100 of the gear available out there, so I have to depend some on others, and since they do it for a living we(or just I) think they should be right. How many times have I considered something or look to see if something is on the Stereophile or used to the TAS recommended list. And in the case of TAS, who among us could sort out what they really thought about a product? And I loved the mag, but damn it could be confusing until you learned to trust your own ears.
And yes, how many good products are out there that died in infancy because they couldn't get anywhere withe the mags? That must be an incredible pile of equipment
I don't trust AR as a source as to whether a product is good or not. I posted a review that was initially accepted but a few days later it was taken off. There was another review which was also taken off. Both our reviews were 3 stars on the product, but since this is presently one of the hot items in the Audio community... (product has 37 reviews all 5 stars)
It is not in any way difficult for me to admit I bought a piece of crap. BUT.................it is hard to say what brand because I don't like putting down a specific product just because it didn't work in my system. I have to admit that 95% of my purchases ended in satisfaction. However, there is a Turntable I purchased that was absolutely horrible in my system, and fortunately I was able to sell it to someone who was familiar with the product and wanted it. I would love to be brutally honest about products I don't like and have never heard. IMO, there are some esoteric high-end components out there that sell well and really suck, but it isn't my aim to tear a product down. It is enough for me to know what I know and avoid said product at all costs.
But as far as buying products that are total crap and admitting it? Well, I do that without reservation to the one person my opinion matters the most to..............ME!
I have had the opportunity to purchase many, "last that I will ever need", components that were eventually, sometimes rather quickly, replaced. I have made the mistake of taking reviews too seriously and affecting my purchase decisions. I have found that for the most part a good retailer who is passionate about the hobby and carries multiple lines can be helpful.
My best example is a pair of speakers that I purchased from a great audio retailer that has since gone out of business in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The speakers, Scientific Fidelity Tesla's, had received a horrible review from Stereophile that made them close to impossible to sell. The retailer took one pair as a demo before the review came our and wound up unable to sell them because of the horrible review. I listened to them and liked them. They threw a great soundstage and were easy on my ears. I purchased them for less than he paid for them as a demo pair and kept them for 3 years. That is a record in my system.
That is my one good story. I do not have the time or the memory space to discuss the purchases that I wound up selling for half of what I paid within 6 months.
My first three or four years of purchases in this hobby was all through a trusted dealer. I paid a LOT more for most of my equipment then I had would have on the used market but it got me where I wanted to be a lot easier and quicker.
Im sure if you figured out all the extra money I paid and all the time and gas driving to countless dealers to audition different brands it would have paid for a lot of mistakes but Im happy with the route I took.
Jvia, excellent thread! Yes, I think the more expensive a component, the bigger your suggestibility. I think, this gets even worse, if you can get something expensive at a much cheaper price. I remember being offered two FM-Accoustics amps for the price of one and after taking them home, I tried really hard to like them, but after much inner struggle, my ears and reason prevailed.