Why Build Quality Matters

There are reports from time to time here about people opening up products to find either shoddy workmanship, cheap parts or little at all inside to warrant the price paid. Companies recently mentioned in this regard are Synergistic Research, QOL and Nordost. They are not the only ones that have been noted over the years.

What are we to make of all this? Some people say they don't care as long as the product delivers what they expected. Point well made. But in many cases these products no not deliver what was expected. In any case, it makes one wonder about makers who charge full price but don't deliver high quality workmanship and parts. Not to mention the "little-inside makers". I have been shocked by high-priced cables that were poorly made (bad soldering, cheap terminations and "hobby-quality" dialectric) and a very high-priced component that contained very cheap parts. In both of these cases the products themselves did not "deliver" either and were sold off.

What do you think about all this?
I try to buy products that sound excellent and have a good reputation for reliability and service. No new, flavor-of-the-month digital products either. After that, I don't agonize about what's in the box or the brand of capacitor used.

You make a good point. One that may be shared by most. But this is not just a matter of the brand of capacitor. We are talking about virtual hobby parts sometimes being used in expensive components. I had a very expensive $10,000 + component belly-up on me just outside warranty provisions. The company has one of the best reputations in high end audio and the product was very favorably reviewed all over Audioland. When I looked inside I came to the conclusion that it was not the brand of resistor or capacitor that caused the problem. It was likely the hobby grade resistors and capacitors that caused the problem. So much for reputation and reviews.

Many problems are covered up by reviewers -- not to mention manufacturers. This was not an isolated incident. I had another highly reputed product from another highly reputed company blow up on me -- twice. You might say I ran out of luck -- again. But in both cases the same problems were shared by many other buyers. I found this out after doing some research. The problems had been covered up for obvious reasons.

On another occasion I was curious about the build quality of a $1,000 + cable. Upon removing the plug I was very surprised to find shoddy soldering and dialectric that even a hobbyist would balk at using.

These are the kinds of things that many buyers are not aware of -- even when there is a break-down. These are the kinds of things that can easily contribute to break-down or under-performance. I believe more people would care if they only knew how they are being hoodwinked.
Great build quality doesn't have to have a jewel like finish or vault like build quality. It just needs to be made as well as possible with the parts necessary to do the job.

Srajan at 6moons pointed this out with his latest review of the Job 225 power amp. It's built in Switzerland but doesn't "look" like it is. It's a version of the circuit design that Goldman uses. It's sold only on Amazon, only in the USA, and there's no way to contact the maker.

I came across this amp before the review and thought "ehhh" just by judging the looks. Srajan gives it his highest recommendation and rates it right up there as an equal with Nelson Pass' latest designs and Bakoon. Yet I still look at it and go "ehhh". My loss.

All the best,
Build quality matters, because you can pass it down to your kids or even grandsons.

As for the JOB 225, it looks like a solid brick. :)
Build quality is absolutely critical and essential. Any product that is to be manufactured is engineered with the notion in mind that those ideas, when translated to a finished manufactured product are done so such that the product function optimally. Most products require careful attention to build qualty is to function for an extended period of time.
I can't even believe we are debating this.
If you mean on the other hand the appearance of a product as industrial art that is understandable. If I see a scuff on something I don't condenm the piece as being a piece of Sh$$ I think there is much to much emphasis on cosmetics than there ought to be.
Those are to completely different things. It is rare whena cosmetic defects actually interferes in some meaningful way with function. It does happen but looks are not the same as build quality.
I don't see a debate here, yet. We all agree that build quality matters. It's just that I feel it doesn't have to have a jewel like finish or one inch casing. Maybe I could have elaborated better than to just say with the "parts necessary" and state "the best parts necessary". Necessary being the within the design concept as the inventor see fit. He/she may very well have very high standards.

If well made, it will stand the test of time, literally.

All the best,
I think we're talking build quality and cosmetics. Many times they go hand in hand but it isn't absolutely necessary. A quality built item CAN be ugly while a piece of junk can be attractive.
I remember reading the thread that mentioned Synergistic cables build quality. I'm not a big fan of their cables overall, but I have tried them in my system several times on loan from The Cable Company. To me they looked like they were very well made. Of course, I could be wrong since I couldn't see inside the cable to judge its build quality.

That said, I have a couple of ideas regarding this. First, the dealer may have re-terminated the cables themselves. I've seen this before and its fairly common. Its very tempting for a dealer that has some very long runs that they can't get rid of for some reason, to cut them into sizes that will sell. Second, most of the bigger cable companies have very good warranties. I know my Audioquest cables are guaranteed for life. There's a very good chance that if the cables were sent back to Synergistic, they would have been repaired under warranty.

I'm not saying that its definitely the case here. Its just something to consider. Like others have stated, they could very well be poorly made.
Sabai - if you feel that way, I would go with a brand like Naim, who is able to service their products virtually forever. Almost. Or Bryston. I can't think of any others offhand, but I'm sure there are. Or if you're really going to agonize over the stuff, just buy a decent mid-fi system with a Yamaha integrated and some Belden cables and throw it out when it breaks. I've said it a hundred times before, but there are just too many people who see this hobby as a source of constant grief and, with all due respect (whatever that means) I think they should just be involved in something else. IMO.

This so-called hobby is not a source of constant grief for me, thankfully. I have had a few startling problems in the past but I now have a system that is bomb-proof.