I'm a Consumer Reports sort of guy. Is there a pla
Being a Consumer Reports sort of person, I was wondering if there is a place( magazine,internet, book, etc ) that reports unbiased info on repair history with regards to the most reliable amps,pre,etc.
In a word, No. There are many high quality producers of high quality audio electronics that have long histories of supporting their products. However, if you are choosing your products based upon "repair history" and not sound quality, Audiogon is the wrong place for you.
yes I agree with the group -I mean NO as well. All magaines are subjective. If the magaine says built well "like a Tank" it may sound like a tank and break down like a tank, therefore it is a useless word except to describe fit finish and tonnage. Or a stone instead of tank for Shadorne. If you want a tank then it's the right opinion. Other sources may concern themselves with the musicality and sonics and don't pay much mind to tankliness. In essence there is no statistic or survey based information with regard to repairs and failures nevermind more sophisticated objectivev measures. The measurements don't make a piece more enjoyable than another. Sterophile which owns this site does have a synopsis every year regarding the reviewers favorites and catagories them into classes. This can help if you are just trying to find out what is out there and favored by pros. Audio circle does keep owner opinions for just about anything audio but it's still a very subjective and rudimentry question that asks, how do you like that amp, speaker cartridge. et al. As a rule people try to justify stupid decisions but will vent on occasion. I for one like my stuff to be heavy. It makes sense that something expensive should be substantial. Too bad I can't toss it around like I used to. BTW the biggest cost of all the parts that make up a piece of equipment is the face fascia. So eye candy is evidently a critical matter for the success of anything audio.
If you want a reliable product that is reasonable in price and still sounds good I would look at Quad. Not fashionable or cutting edge but solid performance and reliable. Look at the 99 or 909 series. I have been a Consumers Reports reader for over 40 years, their approach is not applicable to audio, although in the early 60s they did do serious audio reviews. The British Mag. WHAT HIFI is the only thing remotely close, and it is fairly remote, but possibly worth a look.
No. Though you may find a back issue of Consumer Reports that would answer some questions for you. Contact them and ask them. I do agree with Thsalmon though, if you are searching for audio equipment based on repair history and not sonic qualities, then you would be better served asking folks at Consumer Reports than here at AudiogoN. Not that reliability is not an issue here, it certainly is, but it's only one priority here.
The word quality has two implications. One, which seems to be your line of pursuit, deals with the good, better, best of things. The other, which is the main thrust of the people you are asking, is the character, texture, flavor of things.
If you really care about sound reproduction then finding the "right" equipment for your tastes, music, room, etc. is by far the hardest task you'll face. My advice is to go find equipment that really rocks your world and then check into reliability later. Most brands are at least fairly reliable, and you may find that after really falling for a component that reliability might actually fall lower on your list of priorities.
In any event, I agree with a previous post that if you're starting your search with reliability ratings this probably isn't the best site (nor the best audience) to consult.
You would probably get your best answers here regarding equipment breakdowns and customer service, but unfortunately you would have to scrutinize the posts. You might find an angry owner complaining that his power amp is not operating correctly after a 3 foot fall from his rack. Another thing to consider is that there is no correlation between reliability and good sound.
If outstanding reliability is paramount in your quest, then take Shadorne's advice and look for who has a reasonably long track record and offers the best warranty. Sonics aside, Bryston is hard to beat for backing up their products. Can't ask for much more than two decades of warranty. I've not heard any Bryston products in my journey, however, so I can't comment on how they sound.
Another brand that pays a lot of attention to reliability and sound engineering is Music Reference. Their owner/designer Roger Modjeski sounds off frequently about the compromised reliability and poor design he sees in audio products.
I seriously doubt that Consumer Reports reviews any high end gear, although it's been a while since I've cared about those guys (my toaster works fine). Forums like these are generally a better source I suppose but often it's the fails that get noticed and that can skew the perception of what's reliable. I am amazed after decades of gear use and abuse that pretty much everything works so well…I've had reliability issues only a few times with any of the various hifi and pro gear things I've used, and when I've checked with other owners of the same items I find I'm often the only one with issues with a particular piece of gear. If crappy service is noticed by an owner it often gets some space around here big time, and that should help provide some direction toward better built gear.
I wouldn't trust Consumer Reports for a car review let alone high end equipment review. Car aficionados and a mechanic you trust would be my choice for a proper car review. That, and using the seat of your own pants.
The same can be said for high end audio. Forums like these go a long way to educate, along with some review sites out there. It shouldn't be that hard to sort it all out. Pick out any piece of gear you're interested in and research it until you're sure about it. There's really no short cuts here.
This reminds me of the time there was a story floating around among my teachers when I was a senior in high school, back in 1978 (god I’m old...).
As they told it Dr. Amar Bose (yes, that Bose) was seated on a flight next to the guy who had started Consumer Report magazine, which had already begun making a bit of a splash for itself in those days. The exchange between the two was said to go something like this: "Consumer Reports is a very helpful, informative publication that actually **serves a public need**." And came the reply: "No, it’s really just **entertainment**".
My teachers were marveling over the fact that the first remark was reportedly made by Dr. Bose (!) and that the latter one was made by the head of Consumer Reports...(!!)
I find McIntosh amps and preamps to be very reliable and very good sounding. The only problem I had with a McIntosh amp was that a couple of light bulbs burned out. The amp was over 20 years old and otherwise still played perfectly.
Bryston's 20 year warranty always stood out as the strongest statement in the industry. Back in the Dan D. days, I remember driving my Krell amp to their CT facility for repairs, as I lived not far. The reaction was undocumented policy, but basically their team at the time implied that their stuff would always be fixed at no charge. Surely, the new regime doesn't hold that attitude. FWIW, although I've heard plenty and owned some Audio Research gear, IME their service / upgrade policies are closer to price gouging than to "tops in their class". There have been plenty of posts here and elsewhere from folks less than pleased with A. R. after they've bought from them. Again, only opinion, but I'd never recommend their gear for purchase unless it was used/depreciated already and I had a service technician that I trust if repairs ever were needed. Cheers, Spencer
I like to tell the tale of my ProCo RAT guitar distortion stomp box. Bought it in maybe 1980 or something, sent it back in 1990 or so and it was returned repaired for free (warranty? HA…) with the pots and jacks replaced in a box full of candy. Next time I sent it in was around 2003 or so and it was returned in a box full of candy with a RAT t-shirt…also free of charge. ProCo fan for life? You bet!