The biggest mistake in my audio life was to NOT buy piles and piles of NOS tubes back in the 1970s!! (a garage packed solid with Telefunken, Mullard, Western Electric RCA, etc audio tubes.. would have been very nice.)
Then the next biggest mistake (around 1986?) to trade in a Hafler Dh110 I had built myself from a kit, to buy a POS Sony Digital Preamp. The very first digital preamp with all sorts of fancy adjustable doodads. Well, after the 'new' wore off, I stopped listening to music.
Eventually i realized it was the Sony preamp. I had just loved listening to the Hafler setup .So I sold that POS Sony and bought a nice Counterpoint preamp. Which was also a lovely sounding preamp. (too bad it kept breaking down!!)
Recently the only mistake (though it cost me nothing, as i was able to return it to the dealer) was accepting the accolades over a particular DAC that was raved about in the magazines. i bought it along with an amp. preamp, and speakers. Well the DAC disappointed me, as my OLD DAC, sounded just as good. i tried every which way to find if some error i was making.. finally i returned it.
My error was to actually believe the hype about a product i did not audition. (all the other stuff i got to audition.)
Although I didn't overspend on this item, I was thoroughly disappointed with the Oppo BDP-83. I know it gets/got great reviews, but the midrange sounded very "thin" to me, and after a couple of weeks, I sold it. This was a used machine, not a new one, so I doubt it needed any breaking-in.
I purchased a pair of Musical Fidelity 550Ks for half price after they were discontinued -- $2500.00 for the pair -- thinking it was an inexpensive (relatively speaking) way to get a pair of high-end, high-power monoblocks (I never bought into the "supercharger" thing and never used them that way). Big mistake. They have the most brittle, gritty high-end I've ever experienced in an amplifier, and they now sit in a corner of my listening room collecting dust. I don't even feel I can sell them, in good faith, for anything other than a P.A. or similar application. So there they sit.
I'm lucky. I'm of the opinion that I haven't overspent for anything, and that every component and every speaker that has come through my system has been worth the price paid if for no other reason than the learning experience it offered.
In 1997 I paid full boat for a Bose Wave Radio with a cd attached on top. I hated it from the first second, and I never felt better about it. Ever.
I think that the question that you are asking is quite confusing. I only purchase used gear and when I am looking for something specific that is either made in small quantities, or is in demand, I am happy to overspend on it. Even by paying over market, I get what I want.
That is quite different than buying a disappointing product. In a real sense, no matter what you pay for a disappointing product it is too much.
I bought a pair of DakiOm MR273(s)and placed them between my Rowland Preamp and Amps. It produced a dreadful low-end buzz that I thought might blow up the system. Tried it with Rotel gear and it dimished system performance significantly. I tried to return them but the owner/manufacturer refused and was incredibly rude and dogmatic. As far as I'm concerned if I would have paid even a single penny, it would have been too much for such a pathetic product.
Synergistic Tesla Apex loom and AC wire. Average wire for 3x the price it should retail for. Bought into the hype.
MOst of my CD collection.
I felt the exact same way about the 2 channel analog output of the stock BDP-83. For movies though the 7.1 analog outputs were great for my HT system.
Now back to the topic at hand.
Ive been thinking about this as Ive spent a bit of money on various things audio and the one item that Ive overspent way too much money on was a Phase Linear 700B. Yes you read right a Flame/Fuzz Linear 700B.
I originally saw a listing on another forum where a very good condition PL 700B was listed for $350 shipped. I had read the good and the bad about the amp but liked the look of it from looking at various sites on the net so I jumped in and bought it. To my dismay when it arrived it had a bent chassis in the rear, the front face was very discolored due to it being in a smokers home. I didnt complain because I didnt do the proper due diligence when buying.
At the time this PL 700B was supposed to be my reference amp of my 2 channel rig but I couldnt find a repair shop that was easy for me to get to and didnt have hours that worked with my schedule at the time. Or a repair place would need it to be shipped an dI didnt want to risk more damage.
I did find a pro audio shop and for another $350 they would bring my PL 700B up to spec. I think they just cleaned it up, took it apart and put it together. So now Im $700 into it. A week or so later Im listening and I find there is a hum coming from my speakers that isnt a ground loop. Since I didnt want to pay those guys in the pro audio shop because they took a lot of time on the amp and didnt do much I found another place to fix the 700B. It turned out there were issue with the old capacitors and other areas that the pro audio shop missed. So for another $375 everything would be fixed. New speaker binding posts, new/larger caps put in, new rca jacks etc etc. I dont know what I was thinking but one thing I do remember was since the beast was so big and difficult to ship and I would be selling at a large loss so I decided to have the thing repaired again. Now the repair took some time to complete so I picked up a Sumo Nine Amp on the cheap and found I really liked the Class A sound.
I get the Phase Linear 700B back and take out the Sumo Nine and listen to it for some time. It was too difficult for me to A/B and I find I now really didnt like the sound of the Phase Linear 700B. I check various sites to see what a refurbished 700B is going for and the loss would be too great for me. I already shelled out $1075. So now the PL 700B is the subwoofer amp for my HT set-up and it does a fine job. I made sure the PL 700B is in site so I can be reminded of my bad judgment and overspending. Man this was therapeutic. Thanks
A VonSchweikert Visiun centerchannel speaker, even at half of RR$. It is just another expensive speaker that is so adjustable one could make it sound horrible.
After a month or 2 of fooling with that, I reinstalled the Eminent Technology LFT-12 (the all-mag-planar version) and have been thrilled ever since.
I spent $1.5k on a used pair of interconnects from a highly regarded manufacturer, only to find an interconnect I liked better at less than 1/3 the price.
With cables, there are probably a lot of stories like that.
If it sounds wonderful and you like it its worth it.
Have the SR 2M Precision Reference IC that retails for 3.2K that I can't move @ $1300.00 OBO. Paid 1.6K for it and thought I did go @ that price. Cable is worthless.
It was the products I didn't over spend on that were a disappointment .
Maybe I'm just EZ to plz but I can't ever recall buying any product I didn't like because each UPS or FedEx arrival rekindles the anticipation of a 'lil boy at Xmas time.
Kimber select. Poorly made for the price and there are a lot better stuff out there for the price at least in my system ymmv....
Next was anything Cary my cinema 11a was broken from day 1, my cinema 5 broke smoked and got burnt with big repair costs. My 303/300 cd went in for repair many times.
Other than that I have had a lot of equipnment and the rest has been good to great.
Totally agree with Tmsorosk.
Buying my used ML20.6's. After a year they died, sent them to the Service Bench who keeped them for 14 months and sent them back to me (they said they where fixed), after 5 hours of play they died again. Since i live in Alaska the shipping is VERY expensive so the whole thing cost me about $10K+, then if you add the ML380 I had to go with the 20.6's, it just makes me cry, I still weep sometimes.
But you never know what might happen. It was a GREAT system while it lasted.
audiophile CDs with poor musical contents ...
a couple of eight gauge inductors from North Creek Music.
Well, my Bel Canto ref1000 mkII amps are my biggest splurge, even used. I might have gotten close or similar performance for less perhaps, but I was deterined to not cut corners iwth my latest amp purchase and I cannot really find any fault with the BCs, so I feel like I got what I was looking for.
The choice of almost everything else in my system was somewhat value oriented.
Maybe I splurged a bit on the OHM 5s at the time but I was also looking for my last pair of speakers for a while when I bought them and that has worked out as well. Plus I did get a very good deal on them.
I wonder if anyone who dropped some really big bucks on a particular item here will fess up?
I bought a new ARC VS-115 that had to be replaced by the factory. After 500-600 hrs of break in I still didn't like the sound of the second unit and sold it at a $1600 loss.
Yes, the original Stealth i/cs. I paid for a 1 meter what a good amp would cost. After a few years I A/B ed them with i/cs that cost a fraction - how about 1/10th!! and sounded better! I sold them soon. I was dunb. Worst purchase ever, in terms of bang for buck.
You can say I over spent on all my gear!
Was it worth it? YES!
Would I do it again? YES!!
Will I overspend to upgrade again some day? YES!!!
Technically this would qualify as an overspend since I paid a lot more than retail. It was Dec, 1990 and I had been looking for a pair of 3-way towers that I knew I could live with for at least the next decade and hopefully much longer for $2000 or less. A year and a half earlier I'd auditioned a pair of Magnat MSP-120's in a hometown hifi store and knew right away they were for me the speakers to beat...NO box colorations, extended at both ends, dynamic etc. and a real sweatheart of a match for a Luxman receiver at the same store - just gorgeous synergy. But, I decided to take some time and keep looking hi and low to see if I could come across anything that could beat them, figuring I could always come back to them. Never did find anything close - despite that they were only $1000 a pair - even at twice the price and after traveling to all the stores in 3 states. And that finally sold me. The only problem I didn't see coming at the time was that Magnats were made in West Germany - and in Jan. of 1990 the Berlin wall had only just come down and its subsequent bureaucratic nightmare was then ramping up. I went into my local hifi dealer and inquired about the 120's and was promptly informed that there would be no more new Magnat stock and only his demo units remained. Ok, no real problem. I wanted them. Then was told that the price had been marked up by $400. "Ok, I get it" I thought. "I know when I'm being conned". But the fact of the matter was that I knew deep down that if I'd had the extra money in my bank account at the time, I'd have bought them anyway. A) they were what I knew I wanted and B) I still didn't know of anything that could beat them for my purposes. In disgust I left the store determined to go out and shoot some pool with my buddies and literally drink the whole episode off my mind. Just wasn't in the cards after all, I guessed. After a few beers I bought a 5-dollar raffle ticket for a brand-new $500 cue stick in the bar I was in. To my shock, I won it - and promptly turned around and sold it that night for $400. I took the money back to the hifi store the next day and guardedly asked if the price of the speakers had gone up. I was told it hadn't. I took them home and have been thoroughly enjoying them ever since...despite that the manufacturer's warranty had been declared null and void by the factory. Out of self-defense really. It legally bound them to return all repaired items to their owners at Magnat's expense. But, when the wall came down, the systems all began to unravel and overseas shipping into and out of a not-yet-officially-re-unified Germany quickly became astronomical...well more than what most items were worth. A single screw by itself would have cost more than $50 to ship one way. A 160lb pair of speakers would have been way too much and no doubt the company might've gone bankrupt returning everybody's repaired items (they were a large company at the time). To this day they have remained withdrawn from the North American market...but, as it was, I got the next-to-last pair left in the country and, as a matter of fact, have had the last 23 years to be pretty thankful for it.
I overspent on buying a loft just to have a good listening room, but then again this is NYC.
For me it was the Musical Fidelity M6 500i, an outstanding IA. . . in the store, but in my system it was terrible sounding. I was unable to single out the reason it performed so poorly in my system, but I did get rid of it.
Those MFSL/DCC compact discs from the late 80's to early 90's.
Power cables and interconnects. I do hear a difference but do feel they cost way too much money for what you get.
Vinyl costs are also getting out of hand I think.
A pair of Usher BE-10 but the dealer, graciously, returned my money after 3 days.
One of the worst loudspeakers ever built. Rivaled the B&W 800 series for unlistenability.
Speakers first and utmost, that always kills my budget. Amp/preamp would be a second, and then everything else.
I've been told I should buy cables first, then select my gear. I've been doing it all wrong > roflmbo
A pair of Vapor Audio Cirrus!
I spent $250 on a USB cable which sounds no different than my $2 Blue Jeans cable.
lol...didn't see the last line, "disappointed with" > oops
Disappointed with would be...Dectet, within 1 hour I had boxed back up and ready to send back.
Probably my entire system. I am certain I could get 90% of the performance for much less but whats the fun in that...its all about spending ridiculous amounts to wring out that last few percentage points of improvement.
If I can ask, what was the name of the dealer?
A used Adcom GFA 5500 amp.