I bought Avalon Eclipses 6+ years ago, after lusting for them for more than a year. I did not, however, try them at home first. Never could get satisfactory results and finally gave up after 3 years and sold them.
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Several years back I bought Vandersteen 2CEs. I then spent five years trying every piece of electronics, interconnects and speaker cables with them. No matter what I tried, I found them to be dull and uninvolving. Two of my friends went through the same experience at the same time although they gave up much sooner. At that time, I had been in the hobby for thirty years so I should have known better. What a waste of time and money!
Probably the most enigmatic speaker for me was the Magneplanars many years back. Could never quite get them set-up right in the room and never did match up a subwoofer to blend properly with it's bass deficiencies. What I learned from that is don't buy a speaker if, going in, you know there are some things you're going to have to fix.
NHT 3.3's. I don't care how well they image, how deep the base(very one notey), or how loud they can play. On a short audition at a dealer I thought this was THE SPEAKER. After a few months I couldn't take the harshness of the treble.The one thing that I have come to relize that is most impotant in any piece of audio gear is musicaliy. The NHT's couldn't play music.
I disagree with the implications suggested but not stated by HifiHarv and Sean. I do not believe that just because a component receives a less-than-flattering review is a reason to discard it. I have seen horrible reviews of great products and as of late it appears that there are no longer any truely negative reviews, so mediocore reviews are considered "negative". Further, I no longer trust the reviewers, maybe it is just me or maybe its the fact that they make no sense and are normall big suck-ups for the reviewed products. Sorry guys, I like reviews and read them but you need to know where the reviewer is coming from.
Elgordo: Your problem with the Vandy 2Ce Sig's was unfortunate. I have owned them, and currently own a pair of Vandy 3A Signatures, and have thoroughly enjoyed all of my Vandy's. I noted in the current issue of Sterophile (April) that the Vandersteen 2Ce Signature is rated as "Class B", and chosen as the one of the Joint Component "Selection of the Year".
Sdcampbell, I guess you didnt read Hifiharv's comment or Sean's kudos. ;). Seemed like an obvious point to me. In order to be disappointed, one would have to have some expectations, like being set up by a good review. (I think the Vandy's are fine speakers, but not to my taste, as I could tell from the reviews Ive read as well as my own ears.)
Could you be disappointed in a product that has been reviewed infavorably or reviewed and not listed among the recommended components?
My vote goes to Audioquest Ruby interconnects. I would like to sell my pair, but cant in good conscience. I cant believe that any of the wires is wires crowd would think they sound the same or as good as Radio Shack cables.
I didn't need long term to be diappointed with the Polk RTA 12c. In the mid 80's when I was getting into Audio, being caught up in names and SIZE, I bought these when I set out the buy the 10b's. I was only buying Polk's as my cousin had Polk's and said his were awesome, that's a good reason, right! Anyway, they had a sale and I bought the 12's, they were no better in performance than my cheap Technics I was replacing.