The one component that you wish you had not bought
Most of us have a component that we spent good money on and then wished that we had not bought. In my case, it was a Musical Fidelity X-Can V3....which I mistakenly acquired after reading a rave review by Sam Telling....( yes, I know...that was pretty stupid!).
What is the one component that you acquired that quickly went back on A'gon?
Mark Levinson No. 38S preamp, after reading a rave review from John Atkinson. Worst preamp I ever heard. I know, system synergy, personal tastes, yada-yada. My wife, who normally ignores my toys, even commented that her car radio sounded better. Ha!
The gent I sold it to loved it! Just goes to show you why they make so many flavors.
Cardas quadlink cables. When I replaced them with entry level Purist I couldn't believe hearing such an improvement in clarity dynamics and balance. Also, entry level old Nakamichi cassette deck. Quickly replaced it with 682ZX. And Parasound belt drive cd player that had CEC transport. Immediately replaced it with CEC with the same transport but different converter. What a difference.
Some massive KR Audio amp, I forget the model number, but it weighed like a 100 lbs and was wide and very deep in terms of dimensions and almost impossible to move. Plus it used very expensive KR Audio tubes, their 300B variant the 842vhd and of course one burned out very quickly. Sold it as soon as I could. Sounded fine when it was running but nothing special to my ears.
Placette Audio Passive. I am a passive enthusiast, and had been on the lookout for an exceptional passive line stage with the convenience of a remote control. After reading all of the reviews, it seemed that my long sought-after goal had been realized. Unfortunately, that was not the case - even a $500 Audio Synthesis Passion far outperformed the Placette.
The Bryston 4BST amplifier. I would hear a 60hz hum all the time. When turning on the unit the clipping lights are suppose to turn red for a few seconds then go to green. My one channel would stay red after a minute or so it would flicker awhile and then turn to green. I shipped it back to Bryston and they said the solder being used had too much lead in it. Got it back with the same problem. How good is a twenty year warranty when they can't repair their product.
Very top 7.1 CAMBRIDGE AVR and its matched top Blu-Ray player for my AV movies requirements ...
I had a discrete AV system distinct and fully separate to my high-end 2-channel system. It sounded fine WHEN IT WORKED ... But Unfortunately it revealed itself to be a POS Chi-fi quality build rig that crapped out: (A) the AVR suddenly failed twice withwhile under warranty, the first was a catastrophic sudden fail with a full motherboard replacement. The second was a sudden HDMI failure a year later three months prior to warranty expiry. I sold it pronto after the 2nd crap-out fix. and (B) the matched Blu-Ray player failed suddenly and catastrophically three months out after warranty expiry. The costs estimate to fix it exceeded the FMV of the unit so that was just scrapped . (C) the stand-alone Martin Logan 7.1 Fresco and Vignette speakers and Dynamo sub were simply mothballed back into their boxes and stored away.
THE FIX TO THAT REGRETTABLE SYSTEM PURCHASE
- Quality build NuForce AV-18 separate standalone AV 7.1 pre-amp / processor for movies and surround sound. - quality build separate 3-channel Audio Refinement power amp - Matched quality build separate 2-channel Audio Refinement power amp - new standalone ARCAM FMJ Blu-Ray player for surround sound and movies - AV preamp/proc feeds the direct pass-through feature in my 2 channel REGA OSIRIS integrated amp . This is the eventual "disposable" upgrade sometime later as CODECS change. - Separate REGA ISIS valve cdp/ DAC strictly for 2 channel audio - all REGA speakers (various models ) for either 2-channel or 7.1 as required by toggling across the inputs on the integrated amp. - upgrade to a quality build Vandersteen subwoofer for movies only.
TAKEAWAY (1) Well worth it to scrap the CAMBRIDGE ...(these was their expensive very top end units ) -- re-set to standalone separates was lots more money for sure but a whole quantum step up in performance ...and the Improvements are not subtle. -- All separate unit pieces now work flawlessly and each is built like a tank -- I condensed the mancave into one system instead of two
(2) Chi-fi POS AV electronics failure reared its ugly head .... Pure crap build with a lock to ultimately fail so these type of quick-fix purchases never to be repeated again....full stop. Big regrets on that one ..... I ignored the time-honoured axiom that You get what you pay for ...
(3) The audio forums including AGON are teeming with Chi-Fi AVR failure complaints.., again full stop.
McIntosh MVP-871, bought as a demo unit at Magnolia A/V. It never worked right despite two trips to their repair facility. McIntosh had refused to offer any warranty as it was too long out of production. I see McIntosh universal players for sale often for substantial discounts to MSRP. When I inquire why, I usually find that they have been repaired/refurbished by McIntosh. Don't get me wrong, I like McIntosh but they don't seem to have perfected their players to the same degree as many of their otherwise fine products.
My Meridian surround sound system, with processor, separate amp, and dsp speakers. I could never get it to sound nearly as good as my 2 channel system. I got better results with a Marantz receiver and non-Meridian speakers, at 10% of the cost. I will never go down the high end home theater rabbit hole again. Depreciation with HT components is much worse than quality 2 channel components.
Re the Crown IC150. I never owned one, fortunately for me, but it was notorious back in the 70s for great measurements and lousy sound. It was also unreliable, IIRC. Similarly, Julian Hirsch was notorious among audio cognoscenti for worthless BS reviews; his opinions were based pretty much only on measured specs, obtained in the "Hirsch Lab". Do you recall the Phase Linear amplifiers, with .0000000001% THD? Got down that low by the NFB method.
Oh no, not the Crown IC-150! I doubled down. I bought it and the D-150 companion amp. Ugh, ugh, ugh! Hard as nails. I did not like the Phase Linear 700B much either but the 400 had hidden potential if modified. I also didn't get all the fuss about the B&K ST-140. Cartridges? How about the early Decca Golds. The cantilever was so short the cartridge bottomed out in a light breeze.
A pair of Von Schweikert VR-33 speakers. I got sucked in by the hype in their full page ad saying their 3,700.00 speaker sounds like a 15,000.00 speaker. I purchased them second hand from a person who had them less than a year. After getting them hooked up, I had to ask myself "where is the bass"? I moved those 103 pound monsters all over the living room for almost a year. I disliked the sound so much that I stopped listening to my main rig.
Finally I sold them for a 1500.00 loss and bought a new pair of Golden Ear Triton Ones. That was a little over a year ago and I still smile every time I listen to the new speakers. I even asked for help on the Von Schweikert Audio Circle and all the fanboys crucified me. Never again and good riddance.
There are several! Mesa Boogie Power Amp. Super high gain and very gritty sound for tubes . Cheap painted on finish. Anything Mark Levinson except 37 Transport. All other ML sounds small and sterile to me. Wilson Watt/Puppys. Too bright and no bass at all. Eggleston Andras ditto. Any silver interconnect - all sound tizzy, even the expensive ones. Analysis Plus Crystal Oval IC - veiled and murky sounding to me. I don't care what lab results say-my ears say differently. Had hundreds of components as a dealer, most are good but these are the clunkers for me.
Fritz Carbon 7 monitors. This will really stir it up, Bob Marley style, but the stock version is just not very good. I'm prepared for crusifixtion but the stock version at moderate or high volumes is strident, hard, unpalatable to even a marginally savvy acoustically sensitive ear. This is not what quality audio is supposed to sound like, of course in MY opinion. In read all the reviews, swallowed the talk, really looked forward to their arrival, and even Mrs. Boss said, 'you bought them why?' Average cabinet construction, simple little silicone caulk glued in X-over, basic speaker cable terminals, all in all a very unimpressive package. Sonically they lasted about a week. The good news? Good drivers; Scanspeak. Had a pro speaker designer construct some decent crossovers, added some damping and they now sound good. But the stock product? Fuggetaboutit!
The early non-async versions of the Wavelength Brick USB DAC and the Wavelength Cosecant USB DAC. Unfortunately it took me 2 Wavelength DACs to figure out Gordon Rankin made some inferior DACs and making them tube based probably hurt them more than it improved the sound.
In the 40+ years I've been serious about listening to music, there have been many component I have bought and haven't kept. Mostly because I live in a rural area and most of the component were bought without listening....This is from the last 10-15 years. What I have regretted buying...Cambridge 640 CD Player....Musical Fidelity A3.2, Linn Klyde cartridge. Lehmann BlackBox, Spendor Ls3-5, Best buys have been...Denon DL301, Naim 150x combo CD5X Flatcap, Whest Phono, Neat Elite, Hercules\Mose, Ittok rewire, What I regret selling...Rogers LS3/5A, Supex 900.
Interesting to see the Wadia WT 2000 on this list. I saw one more than 20 years ago and always wanted it. There were a couple on Audiogon a year ago but I just couldn't pull the trigger on something almost three decades old. I feel better already.
I had some high cost speakers in my days , Dynaudio, B&W,J.M. Reynard,and Paradigm all very good to a degree. "But" per cost to performance all over priced . Do to money and fixed income not to mention rising cost . I just purchase a pair of JBL LC310-1 speakers from a Antique shop in almost in perfect condition for 50 bucks cash .These speakers are least 20 years old . Then ran to Mangola, Best Buy turned in my Sony small 3 way speakers received credit . The young girl at the refund counter was in love with the manager . Not paying attention that the speakers were bought 6 months ago . Took credit and purchase the New Rotel RA-12 intergrated amp , hook it up to the JBL speakers . "Wow sounded just as good but of course different then those high cost brand names . Total cost 775 bucks for the speakers and amp. "But" I do have good quality Wire World speaker cables and Chord interconnects and a Nad CD payer .The Rotel is a quality unit for $$$. Very nice Dac too, a very clean and clear sound and power full sounding for 60 watts . Only complaint the functions buttoms on the unit and remote are tiny , need Superman eyes to see them .Just goes to say shop around for a grand you can put together a nice system .
A brand new $4,000 turntable ( I won't mention the company's name because they make good turntables). It's just that I had forgotten all the problems with vinyl, pops, clicks surface noise, having to clean the records, set up etc. Give me a good quality DAC anytime. Although the kids (those under 30) seem to be fascinated with the turntable and are always asking me to play some records GEEeeeeez.
The KR 842 tube based amplifier. Stuck with it to this day. No support from KR when the transformer blew,so I'm got stuck with a worthless amp. I keep in the attic as a reminder to never buy anything from them again! Average sound at best and garbage build quality.
I almost bought a Nu-Vista 3D CD from a recycler this week. Couldn't believe it was at a recycler, (but I digress). Listened to it briefly and thought it sounded OK, maybe even better than OK. Anyway, during my second demo it started to skip slightly. I was done with it at that point. Strangely, I did buy an immaculate Pioneer Elite PD-65 there which I'm using with a Benchmark DAC 1. Great combo!
A pair of B&W 685 speakers. The always receive rave reviews and I even listened them in two sessions before buying, but made a mistake of carrying with me my prefered music which is mainly jazz trios (bass, piano, drums). These are devil angel speakers. Great bass and highs, slightly forward. It can raise your hairs on some pieces while other will sound totally disgusting with wrong timbre of acoustic instruments. The mids are coloured and vocals and speech sound honky. They made me not like to listen to haf of my music collection. Coloured speakers...
Focal Micro Utopia Be. But for a very different reason. Because it was like a stake through the heart when I was forced to sell them several years ago. I hope to get them back someday before I shuffle off this mortal coil.