Top Ten "Reasons I Don't Like This Component"


Many of us have had the short term experience of demoing or acquiring a piece of gear that, when we installed it in our systems, we soon realized that it wasn’t going to work.

An example I recently cited was after home demoing a CJ 17LS preamp years ago. I couldn’t stand the banging sound of the volume relays while adjusting. The unit sounded fine enough musically but this particular feature was intolerable.

What other features or quirks of components have you had similar experiences with over the short term? I’m not talking about chronic upgraditis, which most of us are afllicted with, just short term experiences that make us say, "this does not work for me."

No need to list ten reasons, just one or two. I'll keep a tab on them and summarize later.
stevecham
After sound quality, the first make/break for me is ergonomics and fit/finish. That speaks volumes about how much the manufacturer thought about the end-user impression and experience. Manufacturers who place form over function don’t stand a chance with me. 
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I had a good quality Class D amp for 14 months, I figured out it was musically non-involving to me because I was listening a lot less. However, the amp had high resolution and a wide but not deep soundstage. I just sounded artificial after a while.
@tuberist, how did -you- start to sound artificial?
Stepped volume controls are a non starter for me.  I always find a point where one step is too quiet and the next one too loud.  

Multi function controls suck as well.

Any tube amp that bias cannot be easily checked and adjusted.

Any tube amp that takes out resistors instead of fuses when a tube goes bad.

Any of those features and shortcomings disqualify the product from my consideration.
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Not good enough, that's the only reason.
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I love Thiel but having binding posts on the bottom of the speaker with legacy models is a major hassle when connecting cables.
Never had this problem everything i get is always an upgrade have been lucky so far.
Unipivot tonearms, flopping around like a fish-out-of-water.
Viridian

Not wanting to argue about the Naim speaker plugss but I have seen arrangements like this and they are correct and do not cross if the unit is placed beteeen the speakers.  The left side on the back corresponds to the right side looking at  the front of the unit and the speakers.   This is how I read your description anyway.
In loudspeakers, it is those which provide a "looking down on the soundstage" perspective, and/or which put a vocalists mouth at waist height. I like to look up at the stage, and I want a vocalists mouth at least 5' off the floor. Point source loudspeakers often produce the former, line sources the latter. 
I don't particularly like the way my amplifier and CD remotes rattle if you shake them. The buttons are steel bearings and the casings are also steel. Only four bearings on the amp unit (power, vol up, vol down, mute) but there's 24 bearings on the CD unit and it can make some noise if you shake it. 

viridian,

"...a quirk that dates back to their professional heritage."

I found a picture of Naim (Supernait, or something like that) on the Internet and it really looks that speaker cables would cross. However, I am curious why is that linked to the professional heritage. Is there any benefit to it?


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viridian,

Thanks, it makes sense now. I completely forgot that it might have been "power amps professional heritage" and not the button-infested faceplate integrateds.

Viridian
As usual I  am wrong again.  That is a strange speaker plug orientation.  I understand your explanation, but like you I would find it mildly annoying whenever I looked at it!
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heh Sleepwalker....I should proof read more closely.....It not I sounded artificial....
LOL.....Larry
@pops: I totally agree on legacy Thiels. I had a pair of CS6s that I sold recently, keeping the 2.4s. Those bottom mounted binding posts were not only a PITA to get to while precariously tilting the cabinet if no one was around to assist, but, unless one had the spikes installed and adjusted fairly high, there was never enough clearance for my banana terminated speaker cables to make the 90 degree turn from vertical to horizontal. I’m happy Jim or someone at the company finally saw the light and mounted them appropriately on the back panels for later models.
Power amps with bright meters!

I do not want the distraction of useless information, or lights, when listening in the dark.
It seems that Naim decided to keep the tradition for the sake of keeping the tradition. Their marketing department may be endorsing it to keep the story going.

generally speaking....

1 speakers whose binding posts are separated too far apart. von S 4JR were 20 inches or so really stretching the bi wires i had at the time. or forcing the use of jumpers or shotgun wiring.


2 preamps whose on/off switches used toggle switches similar to knife switches that were thin and extend from the face plate inordinately far. they were prone to breaking off in shipping. and, did.


3  getting upscale ubber sensitive audio gear and realizing you have a ground loop issue from your CATV rig and having to chase that down.


4 sub woofers whose controls are all on their rear panel and have no remote controls.


5  thinking a new ??? will fix the issue you have but then finding out it was merrely a synergy issue with miss matched components.


6 being told a prospective amp is fresh out of the box and that it will ease up after break in, but finding out that is the way it sounds once broken in after all!



7  eg., above but with speakers.


8  eg., same as above with anything else.


9 hearing that soft swoosh as the preamp volume is controlled up  or down with the remote. Although it stops once you are at the what ever volume, but it does tend to annoy at times.


10 owning mannually biased mono amps…. and suffering from bias checking anxiety. 


11 Buying a new pre/pro or receiver whose operation manual is more than 150 pages. actually if its more than 30 or 40 will be enough to lite the irritation fires. 


lastly, components whose IEC inlets are all over the place, right hand side, left hand side, and or in the middle making for dressing power cords a real mess.


Being at a level where the average component is a couple thou, guess I just have a hard tine imagining people throwing that kind of money around without due consideration. Not my style. This whole subject is like from Mars to me. I would have to be nuts to spend that kind of money so frivolously. Never happened. Not even once. 
expensive tube preamps that the company could have properly engineered and afforded to install balanced connections along with rcas. thinking conrad johnson for example. no rational business would eschew over 1/2 of the potential market over this issue. don’t even start that it’s for better sound as many audio companies have great sound and both types of connectors. 
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1) Overbuilt HEA products. Throwing big transformers into a chassis with sensitive audio signal carrying parts makes zero sense. Then lol the designers decided they had to shield their parts from the field effects, creating further sonic problems. If you have to create a shield that means you have field problems in your design.

2) Complicated crossovers. If you have to make complicated crossovers that means you have poorly designed your cabinets and drivers.

3) Dampening your room kills part of the music you are trying to hear. Tune your room don’t kill your music.

4) Conditioning your AC. Adding parts to your AC chain doesn’t magically clean up your AC, it dampens your audio signal.

5) Banana plugs. Adding mass means lowering signal response. So simple yet so many don’t get the basics.

6) Products with multiple inputs. Build two of the same product, one with multiple inputs and the same one with only one input. Be prepared to fall out of your seat.

7) Why do you have equipment racks directly in front of you in the middle of the sound stage?

8) Only a volume control, really? If you only have "A" volume control, you have almost no control over your recorded music. No two recordings are the same, nor rooms, nor ears nor.....

9) Speaker grill cothes. Anything between you and the drivers is something between you and the music.

and 10) Breakin time. It’s all a big joke manufacturers telling you that your product is going to breakin before your demo time is up. Audio parts never stop breaking in. Most barely get started till after a year of constant play.

My list is a little different from "quirks" more of a reality check on obvious issues that this hobby has created and continues to take the shallow way out instead of diving into the deep end and learning how to swim.

Michael Green

I "hate" graphic equalizers.Using a sound processor is the way to go.So much more they can accomplish.No slides, just a few pots for setup, quick and easy with results.However with the right speaker systems in place I dont use it anymore.At one stage I was running 3 pairs of large stereo speakers on ML+MR with 26 drivers in total.After a few tweeks and removing one pair, replacing them with jbl control 1 pro's i am down to  14 drivers, all different size.They all compliment each other filling the audio spectrum...no gaps.I had to do this when i reworked the home, took the carpets out and ended up with a hollow echo.All sorted and sit back after a hard day in the electronics workshop with a few frosties streaming the DMX digital audio channels from our sat provider, hardly watch tv anymore .Regards 44ct357 CT SA.
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Viridian, did you ever consider turning your amp upside down?  Put it on some nice isolation feet and voila.
Any component over 60 lbs (exceptions of speakers and equipment stand)