Important Qualities Other than Sound

As audiophiles we are suppose to hold sound quality as the ultimate goal. While superior sound is extremely important, I also value reliabilty, low maintenance, reasonable physical size, how the equipment looks, costs, build quality, dealer support and the manufacturer's general reputation. At different times I have consciously chosen what I thought to be a lesser sounding piece of equipment due to one of the above factors. When you are evaluating a piece of equipment, how do YOU balance these other factors against overall sound quality?
Yo are right! The best "sum of parts", craftsmenship, and great customer service, wont guarantee good sound! my determing factor was PRICE! But i think, i will (would) still choose the BEST sounding (what i would believe would be better sounding) "piece" i could afford. Regardless of built quality. However, if you are spending "beaucoup" money? You should expect ALL of the above. Including the sound! Rgards!
Hi Onhwy61; --like your name. You've really nailed most of the important "other stuff", but one I would add is component features, eg when I found out that Levinson's M37 CD transport had a permanent program track memory for 1,000s of CDs, in addition to excellent music quality, reputation, manufacturer support, etc. etc., I KNEW I had to have one. Also, in a second system, I really needed (wanted?) remote control and tubes in a pre-amp-- the Sonic Frontiers Line 1 filled the bill perfectly. But you're right it's definitely a balancing act and a mental exercise to weigh all the things you mention-- along with cost to make livable decisions. Still on features, Levinson's 360S DAC has 6 (I think) different inputs, and I use three of them (CD Recorder, 2nd CD player, and 1st CD player)-- so, on this basis alone, it aced out some other good DACs. In addition to superb sound quality, this feature, and many of the factors you mention above went into my final decision. I have found that I WILL give up some perceived sound quality for some of the things you mention. Also, I would never buy a pre-amp that did not have some kind of balance control-- it's not important to many, but it is to me, and as you know many manufacturers pre-amps no longer have balance controls. You may get a big argument on this topic from vinyl junkies, as they seem even more masochistic than the average CD junkie-- but even VJs are usually constrained by cost, if nothing else. Interesting thread. Cheers. Craig.
My little quirk is that I cannot stand Maggies, visually, regardless of how they sound. They are just too imposing an object(s) to have sitting in the soundstage. Maggiphobic?
I agree on the aesthetics front. I like the virgo speaker very much for that reason. It has excellent sound, but also it's one of the few high end speakers that you could place in a nice living room, or in front of your view windows. You can also pick it up and move it around the room very easily. In terms of functionality, I have found that some products grow on you, and some tend to tick you off. That's a big reason that I'm into the audiogon used/trial model rather than the listen at dealer for 10 minutes deal. I decide to keep things on the basis of what I tend to use. For example I will set up two cd players next to each other, and trade them back and fourth every couple of days. I find that I just starting using one over the other more. Interestingly, it is not always the more expensive product that you gravitate towards. Odd factors: How cat proof are your speakers? Vandersteens are fairly cat proof if you can live with the hair. How child-safe are your components ? My open-air tube amps had to be put away whenever my inquisitive and throwsome nephew came to visit. I guess your could potentially fry a housecat with them too.
I am a total sucker for nice looking piece of equipment. Give me piece from Pathos or one of those super cool lacquered Merlin speakers. Why the hell is so much gear black? I like the color, but it is sooooo boring for equipment. I am going to buy a planar 3 and will scrounge for couch change in order to get a coloured one.
i think heat ouput into my unvented soundroom is really important. i use cool amps for summer and warm ones for winter. another pair is reserved for simultaneous listening and marshmellow roasting.