How reliable has your audio system been? Use the "comments" box to tell us what went wrong.

Stereophile's picture
High-end audio is notorious for being a fussy pursuit. But has the perception matched your reality?
How reliable has your audio system been? Use the "comments" box to tell us what went wrong.
Very reliable---no problems
57% (109 votes)
Pretty reliable---some problems
35% (67 votes)
Not so good---lots o' problems
7% (13 votes)
A complete disaster!
1% (1 vote)
Total votes: 190
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Comments
Dr.  Lars Bo Henriksen's picture
Mr Juha Viljanen's picture

My current system: -Speakers: Magneplanar MG 10 -Subwoofer: Velodyne F-1000 -Amplifier: Copland CSA-14 -CD-player: Copland CDA-8 -Analog: Rega Planar 3 + AQ MC5 -Cables: Siltech interconnectors, Dunlavy speaker cable -Rack: Target TT5 No problems within 2 years I have owned the components! -Juha Viljanen

John Crossett at JC3RD@AOL.COM's picture

For the most part my system has been pretty reliable. When I had a tube power amp, I had some tubes flame out on me (no, not literally). I have also had a tweeter blow on one of my speakers once for a reason I still don't understand. But on the whole, my system has worked whenever I need a music fix, which is pretty darn often.

T's picture

Most probems are because of my girlfriend, and some because of her cat.

Al Marcy's picture

If you want something done right...DIY

Gary's picture

I've owned 2 Yamaha receivers over 15 years and both have performed flawlessly. i.e. the "Honda" of the Audie world!

Poogie's picture

I'm amazed at how unreliable high-end gear is. My $1500 CD player had to go back to the factory twice, the second time because it was DOA after the first stab at repairs. It now works, but is very finicky about the CDs I feed it. My power amp had to go back for a new power transformer, but is working fine now. I'm keeping my fingers crossed! The mid-fi stuff I have in my home theater may not sound as good, but it works, day in and day out.

Peter Mar's picture

Bite the bullet. Let's have a survey of the brand and model names of products and their reliability. We all know that some brands are less reliable than others.

KJ's picture

Most equipment seems to bee very reliable. That is unless you do something foolish, like high tech tweakery way beyond your own knowledge. I am speaking of some pretty expensive, though entertaining, experience.

Nils L.  Corneliusen's picture

My new Electrocompaniet 4.5 preamp started making a nasty hiss in the speakers after the first warmup. I immediately got it replaced and have had no further problems with it.

willis greenstreet's picture

Buy name brands and pick a good dealer who will help you when the inevitable happens.

Chuck Music's picture

In 11 years, only one blown woofer and a broke button on the cassette. The system is all pioneer.

Michael Labombarda's picture

My Linn electronics have been in the shop only once in 10 years. I'd say the product is highly reliable in my book.

Eddie P's picture

I was caught up in the continuous "upgrade" mentality for a long time -- brought on most of the time by my "high end" equipment breaking down. I switched to McIntosh equipment about 4 years ago and have had hassle-free, stress-free, uninterrupted pleasure since...

Lyman GL DeLiguori, Sr.'s picture

The combination of Conrad Johnson, Audio Research, and Snell has been wonderful.

Louie's picture

After years and years of having various different rigs, I have finally experienced a definable hardware problem. Seems my CD player has developed broken analog connector problems. This was caused totally by a pair of super-tight-fitting so-called high-end interconnects (God uses these). Outside of this, most any component I have ever had died of audio natural causes: prolonged use and wear.

Arnie Halboot's picture

Consistent or reliable?! From the standpoint of hitting the switch(es) and hearing music, aside from a tube here and a fuse there, I have been real fortunate. Getting consistent results every listening session is another thing. I feel like it's a gamble each and every time . . . power issues, warmup time, etc. Someday something has to be developed that brings consistency to the table . . .

Michael Johnston's picture

I've had some really serious problems, and the more "audiophile" the product, the bigger the headaches. I now typically only look at fairly well-established companies, and I look to buy either very well-built or very cheap products (the latter because if they break, I'm not out a fortune). I would say my reliability problems with high-end audio have seriously compromised my enjoyment of recorded music.

Nathan Losman's picture

My audio system has been relatively problem-free, and of the problems I have had, I have nothing but praise for the service I received. I have needed only two repairs: once to a preamp that had a bad RCA jack, and once to an amp with a bad on/off switch. Both units are made by Bryston, and their service was astounding. In the case of the preamp, I called Bryston on a Monday morning and shipped it later the same day. The unit was repaired, shipped back to me, and was back in my system by Thursday of the same week. And while the unit was in the shop, other work I had neither requested nor could have contemplated was performed. All in all, my preamp literally came back better than new. As far as my amp was concerned, my on/off switch became temperamental, and I shipped it off on a Friday---it was back in my house the following Wednesday. I have never experienced such rapid quality repairs---the only conclusion I can come to is that Bryston is the Maytag of high-end audio.

Frank Holderfield's picture

I have been quite fortunate not to have experienced any problems,especially since all my equipment has been purchased via mail order. I have a Rega Planar 3 turntable, Rotel CD player (RCD955AX), Audio Alchemy(V1.1), Conrad-Johnson(PV10A), McCormack(DNA-0.5 Deluxe Edition),Nakamichi(RX-505),Panamax(1000), and a pair of Vandersteen 2ce's. I am in an unfortunate situation as there aren't any high end dealers in my area, so I had to carefully select all of my audio equipment through the internet and the recommeded components issues.

Richard H.  Araujo's picture

Good equipment should be good in all ways, and that includes build quality and longevity, warranty program, and the look of the piece. I've seen many amps at my local dealer that looked and sounded great but were built like crap. It didn't surprise me much when I asked about the warranties of these bits and was disappointed. A good way to avoid these pieces is to simply do your homework. I did, and it led me to my Rotel integrated, which has served me without a hitch for a few years now and, given Rotel's record, will likely serve me for quite a few years to come, maybe even until my death. That's a good piece of gear: one that you might want to replace or upgrade sometime down the line, but not one that you would necessarily have to upgrade or replace.

G.  Strausser's picture

Sumo digital front end, Klyne preamp, VTL power amp, Cambridge SoundWorks Ambiance speakers, Kimber-Kabled throughout. Haven't had so much as a glitch in over 5 years!

Norm Morton's picture

Every once in a while I get a hum or my preamp will lose its memory

Rob Cornelson's picture

I find high-end audio to be a very unique and seductive pursuit. It's difficult getting others to appreciate the quality at high end prices. The cost hasn't really bothered me much because most of the hobbys I've had have always had a low, mid, and high end. It's nice to see the "Titanics" in electronics. And what people think they're worth is another hoot! The addictive part of high end is the tweaking. When you find inexpensive ways to subtly or dramatically improve the sound of your stereo versus having it sound perfect from the start, I guess you could say it's pretty fussy. Another fussy area would be in convincing women that speakers are not: A. plant stands B. to be hidden in the corners C. supposed to hug the tv like a giant boombox Cable costs make it fussy. Ultimately, it's a hobby. The more you put into it, the more you get out of it.

Christian Wachtel's picture

Mission Cyrus 2 Amp.+ PSX power supply: Nice music but regular technical problems (connections an switches) - sucks!

Gregg Fedchak's picture

Some tubes crapped out sooner than they should have. Koss ESP950 electrostatics have made quite a squeal from time to time, but that was expected. Overall, this has been a satistfying hobby. So far.

B.  Moser's picture

I've never had a problem that I didn't cause myself.

Ronald D.  Taylor's picture

Tubes are not as dependable as solid state, but boy do they sound better. Getting reliable service on tube equipment is dependent on your dealer.

Mark A.'s picture

Our home audio system consists of: a Rega Planar 3 (w/RB-300 arm and Benz Micro Silver) and an Accuphase DP-55 for the front end, Melos SHA-Gold preamp, McCormack DNA-1 Dlx (to the SL3 panels) and a McCormack DNA 0.5 Dlx (into the woofers), Martin-Logan SL3s, and a Velodyne F-1800R Mk.II. The cabling is all MIT. We've had no reliability problems at all with the system and are just enjoying the music.

Barry M.  Gold's picture

I have had a Nakamichi Dragon for the last 10+ years and have had to take it in only ONCE for any maintenance. That alone is worth the money for the deck.

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