Using headphone sound as a reference, Tidal I have heard reminded me of Audeze. Magico more like Sennheiser. Very different.
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I've heard the Magico S5's with Boulder, Soulution, Audia Flight Strumento, Dartzeel and Vitus Reference and Signature Series. The best sound I heard was with Vitus Signature Series amps & previous model Vitus SCD-010 front end. The sound was very smooth, pure, liquid/tube-like, analogue sounding and involving. In a word, musical. Hence why i'm going for Vitus Sig series gear. Having heard a wide range of amps with the S5's, I can easily see why many people would walk away unimpressed, whist others really like them. It's a bit like the philosopher's stone.
Most disappointing audio purchase,
TW AC Raven turntable , However shame on me for not taking that long drive to listen for myself , instead I relied on personal phone conversations with owners including reading through lengthy online owner testimonials.
For $17,000.00 the two motor TW could not even hold a steady speed durning play back and I understand from a former owner of the TW Back Night , a $40,000.00 flagship table, can not hold a constant speed during playback either,..
After 10 months with replacement of a "new and improved " motor controller including returning the motors for a full check up the table never
did improve to my liking and I might add my expectations for this new front end were not over the top and unreasonable .
Direct comparisons to other tables by switching arm and cartridge from the TW Raven proved there was nothing wrong with the Graham Phantom arm and Dynavector XV1 cartridge.
Maybe These new designers should understand past successful tables and motors first and not try to reinvent them.
Howdy Audiolabyrinth, thank you kindly for your comments. Per your comparison. Amps & preamps are quite diff from cars. Cars rarely are tested after they've been produced: big production numbers with limited testing results in some lemons. Amps and preamps typically are thoroughly tested after they've been produced: small production numbers with testing should weed out the few lemons. Furthermore, to protect consumers, most states have automobile lemon laws. For audio components, consumers rely on the whims of manufacturers.
My Atmasphere amps and preamp were purchased new direct from the factory. The preamp with its reversed diodes, overheating resistors, and other issues was a lemon. Calling my Atmasphere monoblocks lemons is being kind. The matched amps were so different internally they appeared made by diff people in different years. In a scary fashion, each amp emitted profuse amounts of smoke. The smoking cure (not the cause as someone implied) was to replace, under the factory's direction, resistors in the amps with those of a different value. On-going problems were numerous. It's possible one amp was a prototype which would explain the vast differences in the matched amps.
As mentioned previously, during my ownership of these products, including the warranty period, the factory did little to rectify problems. Even the unmatched matched amps were deemed suitable, as I recall as appearance had no bearing on functionality.
Tubes108 is fabricating this whole thing. No product can work with diodes reversed and would never had made it out of the shop as it would not have even powered up properly! Anyone who knows electronics knows that. What he is suggesting is that we don't test our gear nor do we play it; anyone who knows electronics knows that such things would be foolhardy and would put a company out of business in a short time. We have been at it since 1976...
You will notice that over time his story has changed...
In an attempt to be proactive I emailed him about this issue a three days ago (having finally sorted out that it is possible through the audiogon feedback mechanism even when his moniker is not email enabled) to see if I could get to the bottom of this and have got no response other than this public attack. I'm not that hard to contact, I have one of the oldest email addresses in the world, and the phone number is 651-690-2246.
Here is the text of my email to Tubes108:
Apparently, the answer is 'no'; IME if someone is unresponsive like this its because they don't have the guts to talk to me face to face; if these events had really happened that would have been no problem.
The question about dates has been asked and ignored. Apparently it is irrelevant but it ISN'T irrelevant to resurrect the dead dog with much of the same information that has been previously stated. It seems enough has been said concerning this matter short of the two parties privately getting together and discussing it, both willing of course.
Maybe tubes108 did not expect to be crucified for his original comment in that no other responses seem to have garnered the same level of questioning.
I don't know. Just wondering.
Like I said, even God has some unhappy customers. One case should not be such a big deal. Nobody is perfect, and obviously Atmasphere seems to have a good rep. these days for both unique products and good customer service. As pointed out, its hard for a company to survive otherwise.
Roxy I agree however there gets to a point when it becomes an excercise in futility for the reader trying to determine all the FACTS, we'll never know. The truth lays in conviction. It seems both parties are being truthful. It is the reason I asked about dates from the very beginning to lend perspective on why there are such contrasting views. Ralph doesn't recall ANY of it I'm sure and he certainly brings up some interesting facts about what would happen to an electronic component if a diode is installed backwards. What does seems quite certain is that the details are fuzzy, some things don't add up at all. The persistence of memory becomes less so as the years pass and if this was decades ago it would come as little surprise. Who remembers exactly what they had for lunch 2 weeks ago? Poor analogy to a terrible purchase experience of a pair of expensive audio components for sure but unless one is blessed with a photographic memory, facts concerning ALL the details will be forgotten or altered. So may it rest, there is nowhere to go from here.
As I've previously said, Ralph has established a tremendous amount of credibility and good will over the years.
So, I believe in the STRONGEST possible terms that the almost 40 years he has run Atma Sphere needs to account for a lot of trust and good will going back to him as well. In other words, it's never a question as to whether he gets the benefit of the doubt.
In no way does it imply the product or Ralph will not be without flaw, or that no problems have ever gone out the door. The only people who don't make mistakes are the people who don't do any thing. Just that it seems logical, reasonable, and clear such a series of events would leave some sort of easily produced paper trail to jog the memory of the other party.
For what it's worth, I mean no ill feelings toward Tubes108...
I agree, and as Ralph has pointed out, he tried to take it offline directly to Tubes108 without success. I also understand that if I was in his position, I would also want to protect my good reputation as long as allegations were still being made on the thread. I just find it so interesting that even though Tubes108 has presented his case in a seemingly sober and dispassionate way, he doesn't want to talk about dates.
As he said earlier in the thread, he just answered the OP's question, and wasn't looking for all of this controversy that has followed, but of course when a trusted and well known brand is involved, it makes members more curious.
I understand your sentiment, Mapman, but it's the right of a person and/or company to defend themselves.
Knowing how people react to their sacred cows getting kicked, the subject matter of this thread is inherently contentious. I know how this will come across, but here goes... If you can't stomach it, instead of trying to serve as a moderator, you might want to grit your teeth and move on to another discussion. As for me, I feel this site was a lot more interesting and informative back when we used to engage in real (sometimes hot) discourse, which is why I'll defend Charles to the hilt. Though I don't feel he said anything particularly confrontational, I rail against attempts of censorship or bullying.
Certain brands like B&W, Krell, and Wilson can get bashed all day long, and people view such as "keeping it real." On the other side, one thing I've surely learned here over the years is that any negative against other brands will be seen as attack on the owner themselves. Believe me, while I don't mind getting my hands dirty, I have a few on my list of deeply disappointing purchases / auditions that I've not submitted here because I know the blowback that would come, and it might go more towards hurting people's feelings and damaging relationships.
So, in-line with the topic, Tubes108 had every right to list Atma Sphere. Given the post went beyond sonics to call into question the validity of a build and competency of his entity, Ralph has the right to defend himself against what he believes represent untrue statements. To squelch things in the interest of maintaining a certain level of decorum would cause potential damage to Ralph and Atma Sphere. Certainly someone considering a purchase might encounter this thread during their research and contemplation, and because Ralph decided to "just ignore it" or take it offline, decide to move on. I'm not sure how people view Atma Sphere or this industry in general, but these are not fat cats. A sale is hard fought, highly valued, critical to the survival of the company, and difficult to come by.
While I have always respected your opinions and normally agree with you, in this instance, I say, NO, let things play out. So far, we've not crossed a line.
By the way, in no way do I portray myself as an arbiter or moderator, either. I defer to the Audiogon staff, and thus far, like the best officials in a tight football game, they've (in my view, wisely) let the players play.
Per Atmasphere components. Posting in a public forum personal correspondence demonstrates Ralph's lack of integrity. Regardless, the time to be proactive was when I owned the gear, not now after the fact. I've previously addressed satisfactorily things Ralph presents in his 9/4 post and that his followers posted on 9/5 including what happened during the warranty period and why talking to him after the fact would not happen, though funny how things disappear.
Products as poorly made and as problematic as the Atmasphere amps and preamp I owned are solid reasons to mention them in a thread about your most disappointing purchase. Ralph insists I'm lying and have ulterior motives. I've endeavored but failed to understand what ulterior motives I might have, see my previous post, with the most logical being I was a sleeper agent for another company. I challenge someone to come up with ulterior motives that make more sense than the facts Ive described. On the other hand, Ralph has motive to sweep my experiences under the table.
Per the reversed diodes in the preamp. It is possible that was not the reason the 2 Caddock resistors severely overheated and their resultant color change. The reversed diode fault was what Ralph mentioned when the overheating resistors issue was in for repair at Atmasphere. As an aside making a global statement that no product can work if it has a diode reversed is an unusual theory.
09-06-14: Tubes108I disagree, he only posted what he wrote to you.
Products as poorly made and as problematic as the Atmasphere amps and preamp I owned are solid reasons to mention them in a thread about your most disappointing purchase.I agree, but that ship has sailed. At this point I believe a lot of people wish you guys would take it offline. I don't think either one of you can change anyone's mind by posting more of the same.
Tubes105 also brings up that the most logical reason for any ulterior motives behind his posts are that he is a sleeper agent for another company. Yet he has posted no evidence in his defense of that possibility, so motive is still a gray area. Maybe his story is true, maybe he does have an ax to grind, or maybe he just has something to gain financially.
Sounds like we had better call Mulder and Scully in on this case. ;^)
Knowing how people react to their sacred cows getting kicked, the subject matter of this thread is inherently contentious. I know how this will come across, but here goes... If you can't stomach it, instead of trying to serve as a moderator, you might want to grit your teeth and move on to another discussion. As for me, I feel this site was a lot more interesting and informative back when we used to engage in real (sometimes hot) discourse, which is why I'll defend Charles to the hilt. Though I don't feel he said anything particularly confrontational, I rail against attempts of censorship or bullying.+1.
Founding fathers of the US Constitution are GENIUSES. When moderators censor posts base on their personal values, it limits freedom of speech and expression. Great example is IRS, they targeted and want to silence political adversaries that doesn't share their believes which should be alarming to all citizens.
Very tired of the Atma-sphere issue here so I will contribute to the theme of this thread.
Major disappointments for me? Thiel 3.6 and 2.3 speakers!!! These were way too analytical to me. Replacing these with Talon Khorus and Talon Peregrine were major improvements across the board. Sadly the pricing game with Talons gave the company a bad reputation. But these speakers are awesome nevertheless for both music and HT systems.
Another was the Audio Research PH3. Way overrated. The PH2 that I had been using for 10 years was vastly more smooth and tonally coherent than the bright and severely colored PH3.
Oh and finally, the Audioquest Diamond ICs. Wow, what a horribly dimensionally flat cable this was! I admit to using the highly tonally colored NBS Statement ICs at the time, but at least these provided the spatial features within the music.
Tubes108, what about the challenge of, what year did you own the Atmasphere equipment?, when did the problems occur?, I care less about the details, just want to shake some memorys up for everyone, maybe somebody may say, oh yea, Now I remember!, fat chance on that happening here!, It appears all of this is really, FUTILE!
I'm still waiting for you to address the ulterior motive you brought up, that you are tied to a competitor of Atmasphere. You brought it up, it certainly would seem to qualify as a solid ulterior motive. How do we know that you have no financial interests?
Yes, your story could be true, it could have happened, no one is perfect. However, we do not know who you are or what your motives may be, maybe the story is fabricated. Maybe you are simply a hobbyist, maybe you aren't. And so the wheel turns...
Ok one more time .I actually forgot the MOST disappointing product I owned of all time: and the envelope please ..da daaaaaaaaaa . the Audio Research Classic 150 amplifiers.
Having owned the ARC VT130 amp driving Magnepan 3.3's, this combination was absolute heaven. Major wrong decision to trade the VT130 + cash for the CL150s as these stupid amps always shut down with the Maggies and that magical decay and harmonic richness was dramatically reduced. And these crappy things got major hyped up by the reviewers. Dumping these and going with a lowly Counterpoint NPS 400 at half the cost and far more significant performance was great. I still use this amp as a backup and it works very well with the SoundLabs A1 speakers.
I wanted to add, I talked to Ralph of Atmasphere on the phone over the last couple of days, not about this issue of tubes108, However, we talked about some other issues, and considering his thoughts on the matters we talked about, I believe Ralph is innocent here!, he also through this thread did his best as far as I can read to remedy the matter to satiesfy the customer beyound what most others would care to do!cheers.
Low expectations, amazing results: McIntosh MC275. Sounded so-so in the store. Sounded amazing at home.
Highest expectations, failed hopes: McIntosh C2500 sounded great in store, very so-so when brought home even after 100 hours.
Amazing audition, blew my socks off: Audio Research Reference tube pre, Anthem solid state monoblocks, Rockport Avior speakers. Couldn't bring home because of a $100K+ price