Is the Mephisto II reliable?

I heard this unit at a dealer and was impressed by the sound but the fact that it has a tracking control bugs me. Is this thing finicky about tracking? Do you have to adjust it a lot?
I have had the mephisto II for over a year (the transport and separate dac) and have had nothing but pleasure from it. There have been no mechanical issues. The tracking is really only for bad 'ie scratched' discs and then will help read ones that are otherwise unplayable. I use it very little though not all my discs are in perfect shape. Any questions feel free to drop me a note.

To answer your question, yes - it is reliable. I too found the tracking control annoying, simply because I had not seen that feature on any other CD player.

I don't know why they added it but I can honestly say that while I owned the Mephisto II, I never used the tracking knob. I never had any problem playing a CD. The unit worked flawlessly.

A friend of mine has a Mephisto as well and has never had a tracking issue either.

The things to look out for are:

1) Slower tracking times - sometimes the CD will not requster as fast you may be used to.

2) High pitched noise which is audible in SOME systems. Most preamps filter out the noise (mine didn't). There is a fix for that issue but requires a new board. You must have the board removed & sent back to France. Then Pierre will send you a new replacement board.

3) Check the suspension bolts When buying a used Mephisto, be sure the previous owner did not over extend or loosen the suspension bolts too much. They can be a pain in the rear to get realligned.

4) The bubble level sometimes does not work right.

-- All the above items can easily be fixed & most likely for free. Pierre provides the very best customer service.

Well, there is an aftermarket RS232 (DB9 Male to DB9 Female) cord available to replace the stock RS232 cable which comes with the unit. You will need to contact Pierre and discuss the availablity with him. I believe the price is about 100 bucks. The new cord is shorter (20 inches).
How does it sound??
Well here is what Pierre said to me today in an email: "Regarding the power cord, its shortness is a key point, sorry. No doubt that performances improve as we can measure easily the difference. For example, lower noise floor and even smaller residual distorsion on small signals. This is obviously good for sound results but I shall not describe them because as a good father I can only say pretty things about my babies. I simply think this is not up to me. Hope you understand."

I hope this helps you.
Bwhite, beautiful coincidence! Identical reply on chords from R. Gemein (Symphonic Line) regarding the reference cd. Short length AND large gauge were intimated... I'm currently changing the two chords leading from P/S to cdp.
I would concurr with Brian's much more accurate answer. Pierre Lurne has been extremely helpful and provides great customer support. I have just recieved the new power cord and will put up a post in the next while once I have heard how it sounds. A question I keep forgetting to answer m. lurne and perhaps brian can answer is what do you do as far as cleaning the lens. I try to make sure it never gets any dust on if but have you ever cleaned yours? (hope this isn't hijacking this post). Again the unit is very reliable in my experience. Gary
I have had the Mephisto II CD Transport for more than two years, and I have never had any problems with it. I only used the Tracking feature once. The Tracking regulator allows you to adjust "from the outside" the E-F Balance between two photo-diodes in the unit, which for a three-laser pickup is responsible for tracking. Through break-in and ageing of the circuits, problems can arise in such a design through the drift of the pre-set value. The E-F balance is no longer correct, and the result is that the laser can no longer follow the pits of the CD. With the Mephisto II you can simply turn the Tracking regulator to find a new balance, rather than have to send the unit back to the factory for repair. A positive side-effect is that you can get the unit to read badly damaged CDs through an alteration of the E - F balance. As far as cleaning the lens, use a few well-directed bursts of compressed air: never wipe the lens with a clothe as it will leave scratches. The bubble level does not read out correctly on my unit, as the CDR 1 is not parallel to the chassis top: it would have made more sense to have installed the bubble level on the CDR-1 unit itself (as it was done on Pierre Lurne's belt-driven prototype drive-unit on which he studied optical and mechanical aspects of CD tracking). Simply place a portable bubble level on the CDR 1 platform and adjust for level based on its readings. I am glad to here that AM is offering a replacement RS232 cable, as the original stock cable did not provide fully adequate protection from noise, nor was inductivity from cable length adequately compensated for with MKP condensors in the unit. With the old cable and power unit, current rise-time was slowed-down and thus the dynamics were braked. Also, while it naturally improves the sound to have an external mains unit, I wish that AM had taken more care with their current filter and rectification. Notwithstanding, it is a reliable power unit, probably because it is so simple, and readily improvable through aftermarket power cables and AC regenerators.
Thanks to all that responded. You have allayed my fears. Thanks for the technical explanation, Slawney. Now it makes sense why they put the tracking control on the unit.