Your most disappointing purchase or audition?

I've had a few.

bought a Naim Nait 3. Loved it in the store. Returned it within a week- way forward at home

Brought home some CJ preamp to audition perhaps 22 years ago. Noisy as anything and a turn off transient destroyed a tweeter (though years later i bought a CJ 17LS2 which I thought was the finest preamp I ever heard in my home)

Auditioned a VPI table (HW19) in a store- the store just could not get the belt to stay on. Bought a Rega instead. This was in perhaps 1990.

Fortunately, I never really experienced buyers remorse say 6 months or more after settling on a piece of gear.

Finally, there have been too many speakers that got stellar write ups which I just didn't care for.
I bought a Yamaha sound processor once that I loved at first then fell out of love with as I started to detect various noise artifacts being introduced that were not there otherwise.

I've been very nuts and bolts about what I buy ever since and have never had any major disappointments.
Two pieces come to immediately to mind. First is the Rega Mira 3 integrated amp. It was not at all what I expected; a smooth, warmish amp. What it was for me was a tinny, no-bodied amp. Really surprised me.
Second, and a bigger disappointment was a pair of the Sequerra Met 7.7 Mk V speakers. I swear I've heard plastic computer speakers sound better than these things.
FWIW, both of these pieces were highly reviewed by Sam Tellig. I'm not saying that means a lot as I have used several products he recommended and loved them. Am currently using an integrated amp recommended by ST.
My biggest disappointments were: B&W 802s3, Naim Nait 5i, Magnepan 1.7, PAD interconnects (don't remember the model, price was about $1000-1500), PS Audio PCA-2, Musical Fidelity A3.5, Pass X2.5, Clements RT-7
Oppo 95 Replaced Theta Miles.
Rogue Sphinx integrated. Had crackling coming from the left channel and right channel would cut out completely when changing inputs. Sent it back to Rogue for repair. Rogue never contacted me to give me status of the repair. Never returned my messages..(four). The fifth time I call they give it a "clean bill of health". Sold it while it was at Rogue. Rogue ships it to the buyer and he had EXACTLY THE SAME ISSUES. Disappointed with the integrated, the company, everything.
great question/thread

Had an NAD 375 BEE, loved its sound paired with PSB then Dynaudio speakers, but fell into upgrade bug and reading about NAD being "mid-fi".

So, sold it here for a Musical Fidelity A5. Wow, did my my speakers shut down. Terrible, closed in, dead.

Sold it for my current Krell 400xi, and loving the sound.

...but, still have the upgrade bug. Crap.
Mark Levinson No. 38S preamp and Inspire KT-88 amplifier.
Musical Fidelity A5. Just didn't seem to have any intestinal fortitude, if you get my gist. Sold it for a loss nearly immediately.
Ohm speakers. They sounded shut in. They weren't omnidirectional since the rear of the speaker was closed off and sound could only radiate from the front. Plus, the speaker cabinets looked like they were from a high school wood shop project. The finish on them had runs and drips. They were returned after a phone call to explain my major disappointment. They did return my money.
Rowland 301s- didnt last a week.
Sonus Faber Aida's. In my room, they were not as good as the Sonus Faber Stradivaris I replaced them with.
Musical Fidelity A120 Awful would be an understatement.
Tried it on all my speakers and they all went into flapping fits.
Yet they have no problem with any other amp I have tried including a $150 mini chinese valve amp.
Several years back I drove 100 miles to hear the Aerial 7Ts. I went expecting to buy. Very disappointing. I auditioned Magnepan 3.7Rs the same day. They ran circles around the 7Ts.
Interesting the amount of disappointment with Musical Fidelity products in this thread
A 1 meter Mogami XLR cable I bought from Guitar Center...I've used Mogami instrument and mic cables for years with success, and have a Neglex from my Akito tonearm that sounds great, but this run from my preamp to amp (XLR input on the amp but not balanced) sounded harsh and unnaceptable...not worthy of a break-in period...tawdry, untoward, blasphemous, insulting, off-putting, and surprising. Replaced it with an AQ Diamondback and all is well. The end.
I was about to purchase great record collection and traveled 800mi. In the middle of my flight when I was changing planes I heard a voicemail left after agreed price that owner either doesn't want to sell the records or simply will try to bump up the price.
I still went to his home and wanted to REALLY check that out.
When I was walking away he asked me if I can stretch for $3k more...
Tpair, you said, "Oppo 95 Replaced Theta Miles."

I'm not sure what you meant by that. Did the Oppo replace the Theta as the worst purchase, or did you have to replace the Theta, your worst purchase, with the Oppo?

And a general comment, some of the more boutique components need a break in time and do sound off for the first while. My NAD C326Bee needed a break in, at first it sounded somewhat bright with a less-than-perfect background. Some time on it changed that.
Green Mountain Audio Chroma speakers...just a bad experience during the sale and more so after receiving them with a damaged driver which I replaced. I sold them as fast as I could.
Oh yeah, and another......Coincident Super/Total Eclipse something or other speakers. Sounded DREADFUL in my room. No other component I've ever heard left me asking myself, "What the hell is all the hype about?" Couldn't sell them quickly enough.
Interesting the amount of disappointment with Musical Fidelity products in this thread

Yeah, while they weren't the worst components I've owned, I had a set of the X series integrated amp, DAC, CDP as well as an upgraded external power supply for either the DAC or cdp (can't remember which). Anyway, they were just totally underwhelming. Come to think of it, they were also Sam Tellig recommended.
"08-01-14: Bigasscab
Interesting the amount of disappointment with Musical Fidelity products in this thread"

Once they started making everything overseas, that's when it all went bad for them. The change in the overall sound of their products was so big, you would swear that someone else was designing the products.
So what was the purpose of purchasing MF Chinese amps after all?
Another MF - my kW SACD PLayer. I can understand 'bust' but a manufacturer who says its fixed, sends it back and its the same? They couldnt check it before it went back? MF is so off my list.
Demoed Vandersteen Quatro wood's with Sim Audio/Moon electronics, at a b&m. Presentation was odd w/ very large unnatural images and the tone was completely off and not real sounding at all... Not as bad as sone listed here but the sound as a whole was fake and unnatural. Quit disappointing from what I was expecting to hear.
Musical Fidelity NuVista M3 integrated... gaudy appearance and low fi sound quality. Simaudio W-6 monoblocks.
Purchased a Rogue 66 preamp. The absolutely worse sounding preamp I had ever owned. It was a early unit. Dull sounding and way too laid back for my taste.
During my sophomore year in HS, I purchased a 40wpc integrated amp, the Kenwood KA-305 for full list price,$200. That was a lot of paper route money in 1979!

It sounded quite good with my dual tt and polk 5 speakers. I had it all through high school and at the end of my sophomore year at college, I sold it for $100 and bought the latest 100wpc Kenwood KA-7x (list price $400).

With tremendous anticipation, I hooked up the new model and it absolutely sucked. It had way more features and likely used op amps vs the old discreet model. It was lifeless, had no dynamics, and didn't drive the 4 Ohm Polks worth a crap. I learned the hard way that specs were meaningless and you had to listen to determine if a component sounded better or worse. Two years later, I got a closeout deal on a Denon PMA-737 60wpc integrated (paid $200 for a $300 unit) and it just mopped the floor with the 100wpc $300 Kenwood.
Magico S3. It was in a dedicated room with McIntosh gear. It was OK, but not worth the money or the hype. No passion to the sound.
I have said it before in other threads, but since this thread asks the question, I would have to say the Pass Labs X 250.5. I used it in single ended mode, which I was told later was not optimum, although I never read that in all of my pre-purchase research. I bought it and auditioned it with 5 different speakers in my system, and in each case, the sound was thin and electronic. It was a really shocking disappointment.
say the Pass Labs X 250.5. I used it in single ended mode, which I was told later was not optimum, although I never read that in all of my pre-purchase research. I bought it and auditioned it with 5 different speakers in my system, and in each case, the sound was thin and electronic. It was a really shocking disappointment.

Here are some units listed which are absolutely the opposite from sound quality what is written in their "reviews".
The golden rule is, EVERY unit gets a positive review, be it awful sounding or good sounding. The vocabulary will be the same (and is identical). Blind buy is really dangerous, the majority is really down at the docks....

When I did own Pass units I was sitting in a Demo listening to the latest Pass amps, at that time it was the "X" series and it was exactly as described. Ultra boring for me, so unbelievable dead that I could not believe that the same guy made the outstanding Aleph amps. Anyway, left side was a Pass Fan and he asked me what I think about those super-duper-reviewed amps, I lied and said "amazing". He loved me from one second to the next, smiled and told me his impressions about the "super soundstage", the "holographic detail" and so on and that they are M-U-C-H better than the model before (which I also knew very well). When I listened his explanations I really was interested to know what he did smoke that made him speaking about abilities which were simply not present. I mean, I was right beside him.

You see, there is a Fangroup for everything out there.
Other than reliability/service issues (decomposing surrounds on Zingali speakers and horrible Audible Illusions repair service come to mind) I don't hink that I've ever bought anything that I later really regretted (and I have bought a lot over the years). However, I've definitely heard some clunkers on demo:

I remember hearing the original Martin-Logan Sequel at IIRC Innovative Audio in Brooklyn Heights about a million years ago. That was some really bad integration of a dynamic woofer and a panel. It might have been one of the first pairs manufactured and the underdamped woofers were just a mess. I believe that later examples of that model were much better sounding (there was also a Sequel II at some point that addressed the issue). I also heard a demo of the big B&O room corrected speakers in their Beverly Hills showroom +/- ten years ago that was so bad that I'm still left wondering if one or both of the speakers was defective.
Cary SLP05. Spent big dollars (for me) to purchase it used ($4k) and I never could get it to sound up to its reputation even after rolling tubes. In fairness, the unit's performance may have been a simple case of poor system synergy in my setup.

Also, Cary 303/300, no better than a boat anchor imo. No benefit of the doubt here though.
One man's meat is another man's poison.
I learned a lesson from my experience with the Pass X 250.5. I bought it mainly because of all the positive professional and user reviews that I read. Since then, if I am unable to listen to a speaker or component before buying it, which is almost always, I rely more on Audiogon members whose tastes are close to mine in the components they own, and the type of sound they describe as their preference. It has worked out better for me.
Earlier in this thread for instance, one member said that he really disliked the Coincident Total Eclipse. I never owned them, but I really like them. I respect his opinion and preference, but realize that we have different priorities in sound reproduction. There are other members who like many of the same things that I do, so I put more weight on their recommendations.
Another vote for MF.

Back in the day, HiFi Heretic magazine listed the Music Fidelity B1 integrated amp as one of the 10 best buys in Audio along with the B&K ST140, Spica TC50s and I forget what else. Was lucky enough to find a B1 with an owners manual so I snapped it up. Wanted to run from the room every time it was on. Mated up to ProAc Studio 1's which I believe were also on the 10 best list too.
My most disappointing purchase was a Threshold S-200 way back when I first discovered this whole high end biz. I purchased it based on the performance of the SA-1's which were quite a different beast. It wasn't a bad sounding amp it just looked better than the NAD I liked as much during the audition period but was assured by the salesman that the Threshold was definitely better and twice the price. In any case I kept it for a few years before realizing that I just wasn't involved with the music. Sold it overseas to some guy in Norway for what I paid, he loved it.

I hear you Marty on the early ML Sequels, horrible integration of the drivers. I couldn't imagine who would purchase those speakers until I saw a guy lay down the green at my local dealer. I wasn't too fond of the CLS either for that matter but at least no integration issues. ML has come a long way since those early days.
Very interesting thread.
Definitely the pair of Infinity Renaissance 90's I bought from A'gon member
Lschwartz. He described them as being in excellent condition, so after
some discussion I went ahead and had them crated and shipped to
Australia. On arrival I found 'textor' repairs covering up dings, and one grill
(which is integral to the design of the R90 like Avalon) had a damaged peg
and damaged/discoloured cloth. The damaged peg meant the grill hung
away from the speaker ruining the imaging. I then contacted LSchwartz
who suggested I buy a replacement grill from his friend who was selling a
"NOS" example on Ebay (probably the original grill). I tried twice to buy the
grill from this guy who twice cancelled my 'buy now' option. The seller then
stuffed me around for weeks just to give me false hope. In the end I sold
the speakers at a heavy loss. Lschwartz sold me a lemon, lied about the
description in his ad & completely denied any damage to the grill. He
should be avoided at all costs!
I feel for you, but I think your post would have been more appropriate in the "disputes" forum. This is supposed to be about specific components, not deals gone bad.
Thanks for your f'back Roxy, however this occurred several years ago & therefore would not be appropriate for that forum, but I take your point.
wow!, welcome back to audiogon Melbguy1, good to see you ole chap, I hope things are better for you now, if you like, you may e-mail me through audiogon and catch up on things, cheers.
Muse 175 monoblocks. A short while after getting them, I noticed a problem--a kind of distortion triggered by a few passages on certain CDs. The problem followed the monoblock when I moved it from one speaker to the other. Sent it back to Muse, and it came back not fixed. Finally sold them on to a store, disclosing the history. Muse seem to have gone under not long thereafter.

Thiel 3.6. First five seconds of music and a tweeter goes up in smoke. Apparently used a "bad" batch of glue in its construction. After many phone calls, got it fixed. But I soon let it go--just too cold and analytical, and early digital DGG recordings sounded dreadful on it.

Threshold pre-amp; forget the model, but expensive, late model (shortly before the company closed; hmmm, is there a pattern here?). Remote volume control stopped working weeks after purchase.
I take your point as well...those incidents are frustrating and can stay with you for a long while. It has happened to me as well.
Two amplifiers.

VAC PA 100/100 and Sonic Frontiers Power 2. Couldn't get rid of them fast enough.


Wilson Sophias. I really wanted to like these and they did some things well. But the midrange was too smooth and unnatural sounding. Moved them out pretty quickly.

Coincident Super Eclipse and Aerial 7B. Just too boring and mid-fi sounding. Not terrible, just so-so. Sold both of them again in less than a week.

Philips SACD 1000. Lasted slightly over a year, terrible parts quality, everyone failed in the field. Everyone. Philips is on my do not touch lost, not even for a light bulb.
The SACD 1000 was likely the single most unreliable piece of hi fi in the last 25 years. 100% eventual failure rate and no available repair. I have a Mitsubishi TV in my basement, bought in 86, that just won't die.
That would have to be the Krell KAV-300i. Was a long-time Stereophile subscriber and read a "Firmly Recommended" review in Stereophile in 1996. Going from all the rave reviews that Stereophile gave to Krell products, I decided to go out and buy one to see what the hype was all about.

Auditioned it in the store and found it to be cold, sterile and completely lacking any musical qualities but it did have the famous Krell "bass slam" and I was assured that given a good break-in that the cold, sterile attributes would vanish.

Couldn't make it past a week! Was then using an AMC 3030i 30WPC integrated tube amp and it smoked it hands down in every musical attribute except for the bass slam but who needs that when the 1st watt and all that come after it are cold, sterile garbage??

The second biggest disappointment was the original Martin-Logan Aries speakers. Again read a rave review in Stereophile and went out and the initial audition was pretty good, much better than my Fried Beta's/The Fried subwoofer combo at the time. Got 'em home and the soundstage was unlike anything I had heard up to that point but it slowly was revealed that the speakers had no top end to speak of! The Fried Beta's with their cone tweeter had more top end and that was considered on the dull/soft side at the time. There was also the panel/woofer discontinuity
blending as well that became more and more apparent on further listening. Took them back and auditioned a pair of the then new Alon 1's and have been an Alon/Nola fan ever since.

The third one was a pair of Q-audio interconnects. Was using the first series of AQ DBS interconnects at the time which was the Jaguar, Panther and Cheetah and was informed by the designer of the Q-audio IC's that DBS was nothing more than a gimmick and snake oil. Ordered a pair of the Q IC's for a direct comparison to the AQ IC's with the designers knowledge and with it came the stipulation that they could not be returned for any reason what so ever!

I bought them anyway and put them in the system against the low rung Jaguar and they lasted about an hour. I even disconnected the DBS on the Jaguar IC's and still the Q-audio IC's were bland and rolled off at the frequency extremes especially in the bass. Didn't even bother with comparing them to the Panther and Cheetah. Could have been a system impedance mismatch causing the Q-audio IC attributes but the AQ IC's sounded full range and musical and once DBS was restored on the Jaguars, the game was over.

DBS is snake oil?? Better not say that in front of Richard Vandersteen...
08-05-14: Audiolabyrinth
wow!, welcome back to audiogon Melbguy1, good to see you ole chap, I hope things are better for you now, if you like, you may e-mail me through audiogon and catch up on things, cheers.
Cheers AL, thanks for your welcome back. Yes it's been a while. I have been discovering to my dismay how other forums are run as oligopolies, whilst correspondingly allowing various forms of neurosis and personality disorders to flourish. By comparison, coming back to Audiogon has been a breath of fresh air. Yeah i'll buzz you via the AG system soon to catch up on things.
08-05-14: Roxy54
I take your point as well...those incidents are frustrating and can stay with you for a long while. It has happened to me as well.
Thanks for your f'back Roxy. It's good to know in a sense you're not alone and that this kind of thing has happened to others.
TT Weights Gem turntable!