I was heartbroken after I received my Sybian Personal Monoblocks. My girlfriend loved it so much I never saw it, or her again.
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I liked the Elcasset. thought it would really take off. It didn't. Even after a second try... then it was called a DAT. Well, they looked alike.
Preceeding that foible was the off shore invasion of the "Quadraphonic" receiver and eight track player which played 4ch 8 track tapes. A lovely affair. Just no software. I sold mine as soon as I returned to the States.
But the biggest 'white elephant' was the very first auto reverseing casset deck. Akai made one. I think I bought the only one they made cause I never saw another.
the player would FLIP the entire casset over physically and then start playing again... But you had to put a short piece of 'sensing' tape onto the casset, so the machine would know it was at the end of the tape. Dumb machine.
Dumber me for getting it. It just seemed like a good idea at the time.
A few years ago my wife and I were considering relocating and downsize from a house to a condo in the city and stupid me, I should have waited before trading in a great pair of Thiel CS7s for Dynaudio Contour 3.0s. I liked the Dyns for about a year and then I realized how much the accuracy of the Thiels was under my skin, so eventually I traded those Contour 3.0s for a pair of CS6s, which I still have and have been happy with ever since. But I am now very careful about retiring or trading components that sound great. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
The Lirpa Steam-powered TT was the biggest, most expensive piece of audio gear I almost had. You see, I made a deal for one of these & actually had it delivered in two 45' trailers while I had a 40' x 28' outbuilding constructed at the back of my property to house all the equipment. Right after the framework was up on the foundation, a hurricane came through & the trailers were both overturned & smashed by a double trunk 60' gum ball tree. Yep, each trunk nailed ea. trailer. I had to hire a 50 ton crane to pick everything up & have them hauled away on an oversize flatbed. By the time I was done paying all the bills I wound up living in a van down by the river.
I'm now very, very happy with my Tivoli radio.
peoples memories are short. the cd was made to displace the audio cassette, not the lp. vinyl was in sharp declined long before cd arrived.....the marketplace was a 70/30 split cassette vd vinyl. spending a fortune on a cd player is just as crazy as spending a fortune on a cassette player was in the eighties. thw soon-to-be extinct sacd is next in line for a fade out.
Jeff, thanks for the compliment. I sold off most of the stuff in virtual system, but hope to one day build another system in that messy room.
I've never tried the Stealth Varig but have read a lot of good things about it. I'd like to hear how it compares to the AZ MC2 when you've come to a conclusion.
In an antithetic example to this thread, the MC2 was a great surprise in my system. For $160 used I think this is a super cable. Just after Y2K, I compared it with four other digital cables over the course of two years and the MC2 and Virtual Dynamics Nite were the clear favorites to my ears.
As for the LP > cassette > CD transition, I can say that I was not disappointed in CD redbook reproduction when it was introduced because I never owned a good analogue playback system. Ignorance is bliss!
Now if I can just control my urge to interject audio irreverence every time I see an Audiogon thread begging to be made fun of, we might get some serious work done hear. Hah!
Yeah, um, I'm going to have to go ahead and disagree with you there Jaybo. When originally presented, the CD was specifically aimed at replacing the LP as a read only source. The ads were 'perfect sound forever', aimed at the percieved LP's weakness'. The sound was 'perfect', no snaps, crackles or pops, and 'forever' hinting at the wear of vinyl. Upon release the cd was a read only format, how could it replace a read/write format like the audio cassette? The CD-R didn't come along until many years later. The CD-R is what replaced the analog cassette, not the CD.
The fact that CD's competed/replaced analog cassette decks in cars only gave the CD an additional leg up on the LP, mobility.
as someone who was in the music business at the time, i can tell you that the cassette player/recorder and the blank audio cassette industry was booming. the sales of lps in some major national accounts was less than 10% of their total prerecorded business. the prerecorded audio cassette had to go, because it was too cheap...there were too many defectives (which the labels had to eat), and was the 'pirating' format of choice. the lp was dying as a format long before cd arrived. 1975 marked the beginning of the end. thousands of lp catalogue titles where cut-out and dumped for pennies on the dollar(more than ever before). that trend continued up until the lp was nothing more than a one stop boutique item for audiophiles. the compact disc cost less to make than a cassette, and as you know, pretty much killed the blank tape industry as well as the cassette deck/recorder business. at the time, recording disc to disc wasn't an option, and the computer was something as big as a room..not a laptop...geez i'm old. still in the business today, and most of our vinyl pressings are less than 1000 units globally.
1) Beta - Superior quality poor Sony marketing/licensing
2) Nakamichi ZXL1000 Tape recorder/player... amazing for a tabe but it was still just tape.... I agree about all Dragons that were sold as stated earlier...
3) Sony ES Dat Recorder/player - Loved it for making mixes... Copy protection killed another good medium
4) Pioneer 704 Laserdisc - Flawed Yes! but nothing looked better at the time (especially those rough first 3 years of DVD looked/sounded like crap compared to laserdisc)... Laserdisc rot... that sucks!
5) Toshiba HD-DVD - I hate how SONY has killed and dragged all the high end audio/video formats out because of worrying about their copy protection schemes..... so I'm voting with my pocket book for the other standard.. uggh, on the plus side I don't care if it becomes a paperweight just like my laserdisc player did, because the output is so insanely good on 103" screen that you have to be an early adopter.. what I'm not doing is buying content, just renting so save that bath$$$
I agree with Vegasears that this could become a sensitive thread..so the following is purely personal:
A few years ago at the FSI Montreal there was a 5.1 Linn set up consisting of probably $50,000 of gear to play Dark Side of the Moon SACD 5.1.....bad is an understatement...was it Linn, was it DSOM in 5.1 that lost me based on my 2ch reference, dunno but I came out immensely disappointed.
Magnepan 3.6s playing Pink Floyd (narrowly avoided)
Musical Fidelity's "tube buffer" (I fell for this one)
And, luckily it wasn't mine, but a local dealer has a McIntosh amp (don't know which one) connected to a dcs DAC and some expensive Focal speakers. This was one of the worst systems I've ever heard.
Most expensive audio disappointment?
Finding out you can never be satisfied with the system you put together, regardless how good great or outstanding it actually may be.
In other words the audio treadmill of incessantly buying and trying this and that, then reselling this or that, never comes to a complete stop for you, it just slows down now and then... and you will never get off it.
Now that right there is about as expensive an experience as you may or may not, find.
Koss ESP 950 electrostatic headphones. Before giving up on them they were returned three times to Factory for repair under lifetime warranty.
Headroom More Static line-level cross-feed processor with outboard power supply. Expensive device with compromised SQ despite use of excellent OP627 op amps. The unit was vastly improved with lite modifications to the stock power supply. However in factory form it was an illustration that placing an additional device in the signal path is usually a bad idea. Also a good lesson that Stereophile Class A rankings can be fishy.
Mid-90s Magnepan 3.X speakers. Good entry-level offer at a time when I was getting acquainted with high end audio, but otherwise just passing through thanks.
Regarding Koss ESP/950 electrostatic headphones. They finally figured out what the design defect was. I'm on my second pair. The first just plain wore out after a few years and Koss replaced it with a refurbished unit under their "no questions asked" lifetime warranty. An excellent sounding headphone and a bargain if you can get a good discount price.