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Rather than focus on a few minor disappointments I’d rather just say that most everything I have ever bought has been worth it for the most part. I may have scratched my head once or twice over certain pricier ICs but not so bad so no big deal. I do tend to research my purchases carefully and thoroughly though so that surely helps.
Also I own no Bose though some of their Bluetooth speakers seem fairly competitive at their price points. Otherwise not so much and most common Bose products these days is not worth the money versus the competition IMHO.
I have been really fortunate in my audio purchases, not a single one I regret.
Having been in the retail end of the high-end audio business a long time ago, there were items that had high margins, like speakers (usually 50% profit margins for the dealer) and certain accessories, like cables, which had even greater margins.
Since I discovered Audiogon, I've purchased about half of my equipment from sellers on the site, finding good values on current models, great sellers who have accurately described the items they sell, so when I "flip" something, I don't take a bath on the ownership.
One poster said no one here ever admits to owning Bose.
I own a pair of Bose noise cancelling ear buds, which I use on airplanes. And they are EXCELLENT for what they are designed to do.
Are they high fidelity? I have no clue, but they do cancel out a ton of airplane engine droning, and makes flying more enjoyable. Not only not overpriced for what they do (costs less than a decent interconnect), they actually work as well.
On on the other hand, is there any Bose equipment in my home setup? Uh, no.
The most trouble-prone piece I ever owned was a Thorens TD-125 Mk.2 turntable. The electronics were evidently malfunctioning, causing intermittent "motorboating". I took it to the warranty service center many times, the problem never being found or solved. The table would never exhibit the motorboating at the center, of course. I was very young, and ending up getting rid of it. Now, I would demand the whole electronic circuit board be replaced. Why that wasn’t just done to solve the problem I have no idea.
Back when had some vintage gear, I had Pioneer HPM100’s and JBL4312’s. I walked on my lips to get them and found I had a sensitivity to a resonance in their midrange area. Both found happy homes, but I wanted to like them!
I was also lucky enough to have owned (second hand) two Rotel disc players that quickly developed laser problems. When I called the Rotel distributor they basically said I asked for it by buying preowned. I took it like a man, but was somewhat surprised by the conversation. Overall my preowned purchases have been great, thankfully.
dbtom2: to start it has no handling of jitter. Whatever jitter comes in, comes out. The thing is buggy.... Very little bass. Only sounds good with vocal and simple stuff. Everything else sounds... wrong. It handles hi-res very badly too (ironically)
Also, noise floor is ridiculously high, -90/100db? My $300 pro audio dac noise floor is almost -130db...
I ended up selling it for around $3000, and I felt really bad for the buyer.
I do own a Bose Acoustimass III Series passive subwoofer that i bought for ~$10 and that i just adore...It sits hidden up behind and driven by a Fujitzu 55" Plasmavision in my wood paneled bedroom, where it feeds 2 mismatched Klipsch center channel speakers (SC: 5, aimed left and KV - 1, aimed down), also hidden and paid about the same price...
They yield a quite surprisingly pleasant and unobjectionable result. Haha
When trying out an Ayre Codex, was able to try out some very expensive cables (greater than $1K price range) between the Codex and our amplifier. On a single-blinded test ( spouse was changing the cable ) I was not able to tell the difference between them and ordinary cables. So we certainly did not purchase them. but very happy with our Ayre Codex purchase.
I've pretty much been disappointed with ALL my purchases for one reason or another, believe it or not. Simply because, either the hype was so great about a given component and it didn't live up to it, or I just couldn't afford to get the good stuff and satisfy my very picky ear. Now as I get older, I make enough to get the "good stuff", AND I seem to make better choices about my gear, and not make all the dopey mistakes that I did when I was younger.
Oh geez, my turkey has to be a Benjamin Miracord turntable circa 1971. it spent more time in the repair shop than on my shelf playing records.
Next, could be the Jaecklin Floats headphones. Everyone raved about them, but they were bright and difficult to listen to. Headband looked like a electric shock therapy device.
I wasn't going to participate but I must strongly disagree with starboard, the Yggdrasil beats anything I have demoed in my home, including, Resolution Audio, Chord, dcs. To answer the original post, I hated a pair of Merlin VSMs I bought in 2001 fortunately traded with a guy for some Reynaud Offrandes that I loved, he preferred the Merlins, maybe Merlin guys wont like Shiit gear and vice versa?
My very first set of speakers, inexpensive Infinity towers (circa 1985) was unbearably bright--I wasted time & money trying to tame it. But from this came a key audio realization: know the sound you favor and build around it. I learned I favor deep, rich bass, expansive mid-bass, and pure midrange, and dislike bright, "revealing" highs. Now I know...
My biggest mistake was selling my Klipsch active SP-1 Speakers (free). And then I bought a new pair of Klipsch RP-280F. For €1000,- $1140. The sound is better. Especially in the bass departement. My girlfriend hates the bigger look of the new speakers compared to the old ones. And for that amount of money i could easily have something better 2nd hand. A good friend payed $570 - €500 for a pair of Neat Acousitc Elite SE. No ear fatigue, great PRAT, WAF friendly, good treble. Damn i should have kept that money in my pocket for something like that at least.
Also another good friend didn't hear too much difference between my old and new speakers :(
Unlike a lot of you I have wasted a great deal of money on very poor audio equipment over the years. The worst was an absolutely divine-sounding tube amp by a company called "Melos" that (in my opinion) richly, richly deserves to be where it is today...out of business.
I bought the amp new in the early '90s and it was the second most expensive component I had ever bought at the time, at $2,400. I owned it for several years during which time it was serviced three times, the longest period of downtime lasting a number of months. Along the way, it functioned for a grand total, cumulatively, of less than 20 hours.
Shipping back to the manufacturer (second repair attempt) had to be done by truck rate because it was such a large, heavy box, and after great expense and a very long wait, the amp worked for six hours before blowing up again.
I finally got so frustrated with it that I boxed it up, put it in the closet, and forgot about it. Life is too short to suffer such frustration...it's bad for your health.
Finally I traded it in to Holm Audio in Chicagoland, a dealer which is still in business as far as I know. I was brutally honest with them about my problems with it, but they were unconcerned with my stories, stating that they had an expert technician who could fix anything and make anything work. They gave me trade-in value of $750 for it, making my cost of ownership for the amp $82.50 per hour of use!
Months later, I was in Holm Audio again, and the owner, whose name I think was Mike, heard I was there and came downstairs just to tell me in astonishment what horrible experiences they'd had with the amp. Apparently they had sold it several times and it had come back to them each time. I just shrugged and reminded him that I hadn't hidden anything from them--I'd told them all about it. The salesman reminded the owner that this was true.
I used the trade-in money to buy a pair of Tannoy Mercury floorstanders, which, conveniently, cost $750 at the time. They were wonderful speakers (very tube-friendly, which is why Holm carried them--it's a tube-oriented audio store) and served me very well for more than 15 years with many different amps. They never gave me a moment of trouble and, since I worked at home for much of that time, I put thousands and thousands of hours on them over the years.
So maybe I did get my $2,400 worth in the end...by a very roundabout means. :-)
P.S. My tube amp now is a beautiful Dynaco Stereo 70 replica (i.e., entirely built of new parts, not a restoration) called the ST-70, built by Bob Latino of tubes4hifi-dot-com. They're sold as kits or fully assembled...mine cost $1,150 and Bob built it for me in a weekend. I can't speak highly enough of the amp or of Bob's helpfulness and customer service, which is absolutely top class. The only problem with the amp is finding speakers for it, as most speakers need more power these days.
1- Classe: 350 wpc x2 amp. 2- Classe 150 wpc x 6/ 300 wpc x3 amp. 3,4- Their matching preamps. I am not saying they were bad, by any means, but they are way over designed, grossly expensive to repair, and do not sound overall better than my Audire equipmet. Luckily they were inherited.
For the same or less money, you can do better, and I have owned B&W speakers since 1976, upgrading as deals arise. Since B&W owns Classe, one might think they could do better. Of course my B&Ws were originally overpriced, too, at $3000 in 1998, with 6" woofers.
5- Magnapan MG III ("III", I think).
6- Phase Linear preamps.Lived with 'em; didn't own.
Me X wife. She was full IM distortion!
Here tubes were always out of bias!
Her capacitors were of the wrong values!
I put her in Audiogon for sale!
All inquires wanted money guarantee! Before giving there PAYPAL#
Lesson learned. Always do your home work before adding
new gear. Lest you get-it in the REAR!!
In early 1983 I bought my first cd player, a Fisher that my home furnishing friend from down the street was all excited about. I brought it home, hooked it up, and slipped in my very first purchesed cd. What I got was a loude harsh static noise, and green light flooding out from the place that I had just inserted my cd.I took it back to the store, and they wanted to send it off some place to get it repaired. They were also quite unhappy with me when I stated that after only having the unit for less than an hour, I should unreasonably demand a full refund....I got my money back and then bought a Sony.
in my opinion, most very expensive audio stuff are highly overpriced. Cables are the most flagrant of all. The manufacturers play on a psychological level towards very high end customers who can afford it, and on the fact that it is a passion and that with passion you can spend a lot irrationally and without really counting your expenses.
And often the passionate customer thinks all needs to be hyper priced to be very good. It is difficult to reason with passion. I have heard system sounding 10 times better while costing ten times less than other hyped systems.
One other thing is that audio reviews get everyone confused, and are not much help in the end. Everything they review tends to be good or very good. Never seen a review say "this is crap". They go about their little literature, using repetitive audio terms, with some humor, comparisons have no real common base and industry approved way of rating, and they all end up by "recommended" or "highly recommended".
If one is to make up a good system, he better be able to assess for himself and/or hear it first. Hearing and tasting sound is another education, and you can get very high without hyper stuff.
I agree with you about the "passion" thing. I think of an expensive cable like a $5 cup of coffee: a momentary gratification, an impulse for novelty, an affordable expenditure relative to electronics, and a usually wasted surplus that would be more wisely banked for a more meaningful upgrade. How much do we spend at Starbucks in a year? It adds up.
I’ve been selling piece parts to high end audio OEMs for awhile. I rarely encounter an electronics or speaker designer who cares much about expensive cables. What does this say? Possibly that expensive cable-swapping is mostly a pastime of the non-technical consumer who disguises an urge to tinker as pseudo-science. Of course people are free to spend money to express themselves anyway they like.