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  1. #1
    If you can't run-walk. Bernd's Avatar
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    Dissapointing/Over-hyped

    [B]What is the most dissapointing/over-hyped piece of audio equipment you have owned/heard?
    [B]

    Three spring to mind for me.

    A NAIM5 cdp - shrill and bright and just horrible

    Nordost Cables - talk about hyped.

    Linn K9 - dreadful

    Peace

    Bernd
    "Let The Earth Bear Witness."

  2. #2
    Aging Smartass
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    I'm sure Bose will get lots of "honorable mention" in this thread, but for me, the most disappointing piece of gear I ever bought (and returned) was a cheap MXR dynamic range expander.

    MXR was attempting to cash in on the dbx "craze" in the late 70's, and, like many other companies at the time, made a pretty crummy expander for a lot less money than those from dbx. Initially, I thought it was a bit impressive, but the "pumping and breathing" ultimately drove me nuts, and when I told the Sales Manager of MXR that I was having difficulties with the unit (I didn't realize the unit itself was a piece of junk at the time) he advised me that, "Your system is much too good to be using something like our expander."

    A second for me would be the Pioneer PL-55X turntable. The cueing was so horribly designed, that there was no way to use it without the tonearm dragging across the record for a few grooves before it lifted, and the people at Pioneer told me it was "designed" in this manner!

    Of course there was also the Garrard Zero 100, numerous "click and pop" eliminators, and rubber bands to put on your CD's etc., etc., etc.

  3. #3
    If you can't run-walk. Bernd's Avatar
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    Man how could I have forgotten this gem:

    Monitor Audio GR20

    My ears are hurting just thinking about this speaker. It resided a very short time with me and was sold with a big loss just to get it out of here.
    Metal drive units and metal tweeter- talk about painful listening. Some magazines absolutly love them. Not this man.

    Peace

    Bernd
    "Let The Earth Bear Witness."

  4. #4
    test the blind blindly emorphien's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bernd
    Metal drive units and metal tweeter- talk about painful listening. Some magazines absolutly love them. Not this man.
    I've heard some that sound great, and some that sound absolutely dreadful. Seem to be a lot of variables.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bernd
    [B]What is the most dissapointing/over-hyped piece of audio equipment you have owned/heard?
    [B]

    Three spring to mind for me.

    A NAIM5 cdp - shrill and bright and just horrible

    Nordost Cables - talk about hyped.

    Linn K9 - dreadful

    Peace

    Bernd

    I have never heard the top line Nordost but the levels I have heard/owned impart so much of themselves that they make the music sound bland and colorless. Wasn't the K9 an AudioTechnica design and improved in house at Linn. I never liked the AT so I avoided the K9.
    JohnMichael
    Vinyl Rega Planar 2, Incognito rewire, Deepgroove subplatter, ceramic bearing, Michell Technoweight, Rega 24V motor, TTPSU, FunkFirm Achroplat platter, Michael Lim top and bottom braces, 2 Rega feet and one RDC cones. Grado Sonata, Moon 110 LP phono.
    Digital
    Sony SCD-XA5400ES SACD/cd SID mat, Marantz SA 8001
    Int. Amp Krell S-300i
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  6. #6
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    I own a Rotel RA 970BX int. amp that I always liked. One time it went for repair and they gave me a newer Rotel int. amp as a loaner. It was so bright and thin sounding that I did not listen to music until the 970 was back. I think it was the 971. The difference in sound was so great that I was afraid my 970 would come back sounding like the 971. The experience with the 971 has steered me away from Rotel ever since.
    JohnMichael
    Vinyl Rega Planar 2, Incognito rewire, Deepgroove subplatter, ceramic bearing, Michell Technoweight, Rega 24V motor, TTPSU, FunkFirm Achroplat platter, Michael Lim top and bottom braces, 2 Rega feet and one RDC cones. Grado Sonata, Moon 110 LP phono.
    Digital
    Sony SCD-XA5400ES SACD/cd SID mat, Marantz SA 8001
    Int. Amp Krell S-300i
    Speaker
    Monitor Audio RS6
    Cables
    AQ SPKR and AQ XLR and IC

  7. #7
    If you can't run-walk. Bernd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnMichael
    I have never heard the top line Nordost but the levels I have heard/owned impart so much of themselves that they make the music sound bland and colorless. Wasn't the K9 an AudioTechnica design and improved in house at Linn. I never liked the AT so I avoided the K9.
    Yes you are spot on Mr Michael. In my experience if you have a Nordost cable in your system it becomes a Nordost sounding rig.
    The K9 was indeed modified and still sounded bad.
    Early Rotels where nice sounding amps (I had one) and as you experienced Rotel tuned them for a brighter balance.

    Peace

    Bernd
    "Let The Earth Bear Witness."

  8. #8
    If you can't run-walk. Bernd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by emorphien
    I've heard some that sound great, and some that sound absolutely dreadful. Seem to be a lot of variables.
    I think that goes for all speakers. Sometimes even different models from the same maker.

    Bernd
    "Let The Earth Bear Witness."

  9. #9
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    Have to disagree with you about Nordost

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernd
    [B]What is the most dissapointing/over-hyped piece of audio equipment you have owned/heard?
    [B]

    Three spring to mind for me.

    A NAIM5 cdp - shrill and bright and just horrible

    Nordost Cables - talk about hyped.

    Linn K9 - dreadful

    Peace

    Bernd
    In my sadly all-too-limited stint with Valhalla, I can't say enough good things about it. Both the I/C's and the speaker wire were absolutely incredible and totally synergistic with my system. The only thing I hated was the price! I just could not justify their purchase, much as I coveted the wire.

    For me, it's Lowther-based speaker systems. I have two friends who swear by them. They are horn loaded and the bloody things take up most of the room. Both systems are among the most colored pieces of audio gear I have ever heard. From non-existent bass to cupped hands midrange to a shrill treble, whatever the "magic" is with these speakers is lost on me. When I listen, words like "distorted" and "fingernails on a chalkboard" and just plain "wrong" come to mind. But these two folks are part of a very exclusive club and all the members I've spoken to can't understand how I could miss the point. Yet I continue to do so. Listener magazine hyped these things pretty strongly and they have quite a cult following.

  10. #10
    test the blind blindly emorphien's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bernd
    I think that goes for all speakers. Sometimes even different models from the same maker.

    Bernd
    Quite true. It just sounded like you were blacklisting all metal drivers and tweeters.

  11. #11
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    It's funny you mentioned the GR20. I've heard the GR10 and can assure you your assessment holds true for the 20's baby brother. This was my first experience with Monitor in a very long time tho, so I can't say it was over hyped. I just didn't like it.

    For me, I was supremely dissappointed in the Dynaudio Evidence Temptation. This speaker just did nothing for me whatsoever. I found it cold, clinical, and about as involving as an insurance seminar. It was driven by big Krells (can't remember model) so I thought it might be the amps, but we switched amps to supposedly warmer Sunfire's and the results were the same. BTW, I'm not crazy about Krell either. I heard the same amps with ML Odyseys' and and wasn't impressed.

    Another, albeit considerably less expensive piece that was overhyped was the Odyssey Stratos amp. A darling of the internet, I really wanted to like this as it's not all that expensive ($1k). However, it was the epitome of solid state with sibilant, hard highs and a cool presentation. There was also an upper midrange hump that I didn't care for. It slams like a Mack truck tho!

    The Thiel 3.6 was another speaker that was just OK. I'd heard a lot about it and was expecting big things, but it was just kinda "there," if you know what I mean. I want to listen to Thiel's again however, as I heard the 3.6's right after a WP7/Wadia/ARC rig that simply blew my socks off. I have a feeling that it was the equivalent of driving a M3 after coming out of a Ford GT. IOW, it was an outrageously unfair comparison.

    The last is for a speaker that seems to one of the most polarizing made: Vandersteen. Here is a company that is 20 miles from my house and beloved by legions of die-hard fans and yet...it's one of the most laid-back, boring, uninvolving speakers I've ever laid ears on. Toe tappers they ain't.

  12. #12
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bernd
    What is the most dissapointing/over-hyped piece of audio equipment you have owned?
    I guess I'm lucky in that I have purchased only one product that I later regretted.

    The AR Integrated amp. Absolutely horrible resolution at low levels.

    Other components that I've heard (but never bought) were:

    1. Bose 901 - no real HF extension and hokey imaging.
    2. AR-LST - dull and lifeless. Limited resolution
    3. Older McIntosh gear such as the C-28 and 2105 - Inoffensive, but insipid.

    I would be quite happy, however, with the utter neutrality of Nordost Valhalla cabling.

    rw

  13. #13
    Forum Regular Florian's Avatar
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    My list would be this

    1. VMPS RM30M .....ZERO balance, no bass, horrible build quality and worse service! Bought it for 3K and sold it for 800 Bucks :-(

    2. Onkyo Integra 911 CD Player. The Servo died twice, and the sound was HIFI...ish
    Lots of music but not enough time for it all

  14. #14
    Forum Regular Florian's Avatar
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    Oh, i just saw that you incl what i heard also. Well that would incl the following

    Paradigm Atoms (had them for 3 month on a Sony 555ES)...ok for a 20$ speaker, but whats the big deal?!?

    Then we have the Krell speakers, which sound hard, unemotional and are nowhere near the right tonal balance.

    Bösendorf speakers which just plain and simply sucked....
    Lots of music but not enough time for it all

  15. #15
    Can a crooner get a gig? dean_martin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bernd
    [B]What is the most dissapointing/over-hyped piece of audio equipment you have owned/heard?
    [B]

    Three spring to mind for me.

    A NAIM5 cdp - shrill and bright and just horrible

    Nordost Cables - talk about hyped.

    Linn K9 - dreadful

    Peace

    Bernd
    Interesting topic, Bernd. I'm still a little puzzled with my less than spectacular experiences with some well-respected gear.

    A salesman sat me down between 2 giant Martin Logans driven by a Plinius integrated, the 9200 I think, and my head still hurts. The leading edges of notes were way too "hard".

    I heard a pair of Vandersteen 1Cs that were just too bland. The 2CEs were too big for my room so I didn't audition them. I guess I should have because many say that that's where the Vandys really come into their own.

    When I was looking to switch to tubes I auditioned a pair of Quicksilver monoblocks with a Rega Planet 2000 cdp and PSB speakers. This combo had a terrible glare. I'm not sure which component was the culprit.

    The newest middle of the line JM Labs with the cheap looking oddly shaped tweeter enclosure didn't sound real to me.

    The Revel Performa F30s (I think that's the model #) didn't sound to me like they were worth their asking price.

    I was not impressed with the Magnepan 1.6QRs. For such large speakers they portrayed a tiny area of sound. They were driven with AR gear. The same disc sounded better to me with NAD seperates and cdp driving a pair of Paradigm Monitor 3s. Maybe it was the music? Maybe it was my ears.

    Probably the most memorable auditioning experience was listening to a Jolida integrated with Jolida cdp and a pair of Nola Alon Li'l Rascals II and Nola sub. I wound up with the Jolida integrated.

  16. #16
    If you can't run-walk. Bernd's Avatar
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    Interesting responses and hopefully it will help anybody looking for future upgrades (pitfalls).
    A quick note on the Nordost Valhalla. Wihout a doubt a superb cable. But I felt it only performed it's best when the entire cable loom is Valhalla. And it still retains, to these ears anyway, the Nordost trade sound.
    Maybe we should also include pieces that have exceeded our expectations.
    Mine would be:

    Way out in front:

    "Isotek Titan" an outstanding mains product, and easy the biggest improvement for the outlay I have made.

    "Shelter 901" I expected a good cartridge but got a great one.

    "Michell Technoarm A" we're talking giant killer. It runs my SME V oh so close.

    "Art Audio Vinyl One" an outstanding Phono amp with bags of musical bliss.

    Peace

    Bernd
    Last edited by Bernd; 05-02-2006 at 02:34 AM.
    "Let The Earth Bear Witness."

  17. #17
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Nad C270

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernd
    [b]What is the most dissapointing/over-hyped piece of audio equipment you have owned/heard?
    Bernd
    I owned this amp for about 4-6 months driving Magneplanar MMGs. I "enjoyed" bloated bass and limited resolution and transparency. What an eye-opener when I substituted a pair of Monarchy SM70 Pros.

  18. #18
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    I was expecting...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernd
    [B]What is the most dissapointing/over-hyped piece of audio equipment you have owned/heard?
    [B]

    Three spring to mind for me.

    A NAIM5 cdp - shrill and bright and just horrible

    Nordost Cables - talk about hyped.

    Linn K9 - dreadful

    Peace

    Bernd
    ...big things from the $7500 Sonus Faber Cremonas at Harveyonline.com. What I got was major congestion and an ear-bleeding top end... didn't make any sense at all. In the same store (but different room/rig) the Concertos were MUCH better sounding.

    Don't know what it was, but something was very wrong with that rig.

  19. #19
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    I wish I had more oppotunity to listen to more exotic speakers, but here's what I've heard.

    Sonus Faber Concerto. Whatta boring sounding speakers. I first heard it with Rotel Pre/Pro. I was in a search of a pairf of BShelf speakers. For that and other reasons, I really wanted these speakers to sound good. It was extremely bland and lifeless. Then I asked my salesman to mate it with Musical Fidelity A3.2 Integrated and CDP. MF made these speakers sound slightly more refined, but I just couldnt pay attention anymore than 5 minutes. I tried them on another occasion but sounded much painful. I ended up spending alot more on B&Ws and couldn't have made a better choice.
    I didnt like the sound of B&W Nautlius 805s. When I listend to Signature 805 vs Nautty 805s side by side with Musical Fidelity A3.2s, I thought Nautties sounded very forceful and muffled.

    Paradigm Performance Series. I would prefer them over Concerto anyday. Very reasonable priced, but I think it is over-hyped, especially Atom. When I sold my Monitor 5s to my friend for $300, I just gave him CC-170 and Titans(which I upgraded from Atoms).

  20. #20
    I took a headstart... basite's Avatar
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    our yamaha rvx-1200 rds receiver, for a couple of reasons:
    1) sounds drop dead cold,
    2) we have to turn the volume 3/4 open to hear something at a decent volume while playing a record, for cd's it haves to more than halfway open to hear the cd properly, also, the speakers sound to withdrawn, when playing some cd's it's like the b&w's are ashamed and cripple away in the darkest corner (thats how they sound)
    Life is music!

    Mcintosh MA6400 Integrated
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    MIT AVt 2 IC's
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    I'm a happy 20 year old...

  21. #21
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    When I went to pick up my Martin Logans I had a chance to audition similar speaks with an all McIntosh rig. I was almost ready to call the deal off! It was a slow day for the boys so we started to play around a bit. Subbing in a Cary cdp for the Mac was like night and day. Ultimately, to these ears, the Mac cdp didn't do anything for me, especially at the asking price...
    So, I broke into the palace
    With a sponge and a rusty spanner
    She said : "Eh, I know you, and you cannot sing"
    I said : "That's nothing - you should hear me play piano"

  22. #22
    Tyler Acoustics Fan drseid's Avatar
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    It would have to be the Von Schweikert VR4SRs for me... 10-12K/pr, and completely flat sounding when I heard them on two different occasions on different super high-end electronics in different rooms. I am a huge VS fan and their VR-11s are my favorite speakers, period... but the SRs just are a poor example of performance and value to my ears.

    Electronics-wise in my own system, its all of the Outlaw Audio gear. The 950 pre/pro was horrible sounding when paired with my Tylers, and their M200 monoblocks were not much better. After hearing all of the hype, and experiencing truly superb customer service from Outlaw, I really wanted to like them both... but alas, they both were out of my system in a little over a month.

    ---Dave
    Integra DHC-40.2 Pre/Pro
    Coda 2 X 200 Watt Amp
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    2 Tyler Acoustics 2 Piece Linbrook Signature System
    1 Tyler Linbrook Signature Center Channel
    3 Tyler Taylo Reference Monitors
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    Toshiba HD-A1 HD DVD
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    Consonance Droplet CDP-5.0
    Sony 55NX-810 1080p 3D-LED HDTV

    Office:
    Opera Audio Consonance CD-120
    Jolida 1301A 2 X 30 Watt Int. Amp (Sovtek Tubes)
    Opera Audio Consonance Eric-1 Speakers

  23. #23
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    A couple of speakers immediately come to mind, spaced out about 20 years between listenings.

    Apogee Duetta - Hyped to no end by the audio press, and by the audiophile community at large back in the 80s. Also made appearances in interior design magazines and movies -- they were the audio jewelry of their day. Then when the store where my friend worked got them in their demo room, I gave listened to them multiple times, we tried multiple front end rigs and alignments, and in the end wondered what all the hype was all about. I found them uninvolving in every other demo I'd heard in other rooms with other front end rigs. They were fine with orchestral pieces, but throw amplified instrumentation and heavy percussion their way, and they just weren't up to the task. They have their merits and I can see their appeal for certain audiences, but in my listenings they did not measure up to the inordinate amount of hype that they received back in the mid-80s.

    Wilson Audio Sophia - Another company that gets plenty of mention today. Did an extended listening with a high end Theta pre/pro setup in an acoustically controlled room, and could not believe the amount of ringing and resonance that I was picking up with some of my demo sources. The midrange is otherwise refined for the most part, and these speakers have a very well balanced and extended low end, but at $12,000, they are not worth the money by any stretch. Very disappointing considering how much their speakers cost and how much positive press they get.

    Also the Sennheiser HD500 headphones -- just an abomination of a headphone design. Supposedly designed for rock music, electric jazz, and hip hop, but in the end all I get is a dark and dreary sound with boomy distorted bass at moderate volumes. Just leaves me scratching my head as to how a company with Sennheiser's stellar reputation would let something as ill-conceived as this get out the door.
    Wooch's Home Theater 2.0 (Pics)
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  24. #24
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Dynaudio anything - I have a few friends back in Atlanta who love them, but they're fan-boys who love the name more than anything...not that they're bad, just uncompetitive and over-rated, IMO.

  25. #25
    rockin' the mid-fi audio_dude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florian
    Oh, i just saw that you incl what i heard also. Well that would incl the following

    Paradigm Atoms (had them for 3 month on a Sony 555ES)...ok for a 20$ speaker, but whats the big deal?!?

    Whats the big deal?!?

    well for one, they are damn well near the best speaker in the $200 range...

    and the centerpiece of my young system!

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