HIFI BRAND RELIABILITY

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by Numpty112233, Mar 10, 2019.

  1. Numpty112233

    Numpty112233
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2018
    Messages:
    78
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location:
    UK
    Ratings:
    +18
    Last night I was researching a shortlist for my next stereo amp purchase. I also want it to be my last amp purchase - the one that will not have me thinking “What if I had got better?”

    At 50 odd I am investing some of my retirement fund into it and so I want it to last my lifetime. This is not, in my experience, an unreasonable wish as, last night I was listening to my hifi purchased three decades ago - Pioneer A400, Arcam Alpha+, Systemdek IIX and Castle Chester floor standers. It is all still perfectly working after 30 years (as does my 12 year old Cyrus system, my two rather old Denon Mini systems and my much more recent Cambridge CX and Audiolab M-ONE systems.)

    I like the sound of my 18 month old and so far impeccably behaved Cambridge CX / Monitor Audio Silver 8 combo and so onto the shortlist goes their top tier Edge and 851 to power the MA Gold 300 speakers I already have. Lyngdorf have their Groupie Fanbase on here so it will also be auditioned along with maybe one or two others brands.

    Internet forum opinion that I have read suggest Cambridge reputation is big sound quality for buck but with reliability issues and not built to last - someone even claimed to personally know they use the cheapest Caps they can - and poor customer service, which also contradict my own personal experience, albeit I have only contacted for technical questions and not problems. I have found them entirely professional. Lyngdorf, being a small company (?) may not have the same size R&D or QC budget as bigger companies and therefore I wonder if their products are reliable enough for my hard earned and whether they will still be in business should a problem occur.

    So here is the question - which hifi brands generally have a good reputation - and which a bad one re reliability and customer service in the UK and what could be considered “life expectancy”? Which types of product (e.g. streamer / cd / amp etc. are likely to fail first?
     
  2. Sam Vimes

    Sam Vimes
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2005
    Messages:
    51
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    11
    Location:
    Richmond
    Ratings:
    +7
    It largely depends on who you ask. One bloke buys an item, it fails and he thinks that brand is terrible. Another buys the same item, it works flawlessly for years and he thinks they are brilliant.

    Brands that really deserve a poor reputation tend not to last very long, though they may survive an individual item or two that was a bit of a pup if they were big enough to start with.
     
  3. spinaltap

    spinaltap
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2004
    Messages:
    2,751
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    Birmingham
    Ratings:
    +1,292
    My recent experience has taught me that surface mounted boards/components in modern audio equipment is problematic: if one component dies, the whole board dies. No problem if your audio device is current, but several years on the boards (or individual components on those boards) may no longer be available - which renders your audio device as scrap.
     
  4. Numpty112233

    Numpty112233
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2018
    Messages:
    78
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location:
    UK
    Ratings:
    +18
    Sam Vimes - from a consumer point of view with the very limited experience of one example I agree with you, however I was hoping someone in the trade (whether retail or repair) would chip in as that experience is multiplied enough for statistical accuracy.

    I do not know this industry, however I owned a kitchen business and supplied large quantities of appliances. In my comprehensive experience Neff were fit and forget - hardly ever went wrong and on the very rare occasion they did their service team were efficient at resolution. Quite the opposite were Hotpoint. I could write a book on them but let’s just stick with what’s already public. It took them something like 3 years of heel dragging to carry out their legal obligation to carry out safety repairs to self combusting tumble driers and I correctly guessed the brand of fridge freezer that tragically set Grenfell alight was Hotpoint.
    There are still some folk out there happy with Hotpoint but I am wanting a Neff standard of amplifier.
     
  5. dannnielll

    dannnielll
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2017
    Messages:
    1,926
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    ireland
    Ratings:
    +807
    I get where the you are coming from , and I suspect the greater reliability comes from the very high volume manufacturers, rather than the bijou manufacturers of special kit. I also expect the highest reliability comes from their mid range model. Not the lowest, where compromises have been made on components,and not the most expensive,where the production runs are limited ,and the glitches are not ironed out.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • List
  6. Timmy C

    Timmy C
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2003
    Messages:
    5,588
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +559
    I bought a Neff American style fridge freezer a few years ago. I love it but there was a fault with the original door. It's now sorted but it was a nightmare to get them to admit the fault when they realised it was a new door required and not just the cheap door trays. They went as far as trying to tell me the deep door trays are only meant for very light weight items and things such as milk cartoons were supposed to be placed on the main fridge shelves and not in the doors. I've never heard a company come out with so much nonsense to try and avoid taking any responsibility!

    Have you considered Bryston amps? They aren't cheap but come with a 20 year warranty.
     
  7. Numpty112233

    Numpty112233
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2018
    Messages:
    78
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location:
    UK
    Ratings:
    +18
    Lol Timmy C - that was some open goal I left myself there pmsl. I’m out that game 9 years ago but in my experience of shifting thousands of products BSH group (Neff) were far better than any other manufacturers I dealt with, which was most. When my customers had a warranty issue they came to me to go to the manufacturer. Putting aside your fr/fr was probably actually a Samsung in Neff clothing your experience was not one I recognise from Neff. For the record I have no axe to grind or affiliation with them except that I had a direct trade account, as I also did their competitors. Just goes to show personal experiences can vary and can confirm you were told nonsense - I have said fr/fr and have kept milk in the door for 12 years now. Think it may have gone off ;-)


    Will look at Bryston, but from what you say they are probably expensive to cover their warranty costs lol, or is that the cynic in me ;-)
     
  8. Derek S-H

    Derek S-H
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2005
    Messages:
    3,479
    Products Owned:
    2
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    164
    Location:
    Brighton
    Ratings:
    +2,312
    This is actually quite a refreshing Thread as most people post about being dissatisfied and asking advice about their next upgrade!

    Bryston gear is very expensive. But a 20 year warranty means, in effect, they'll work out far cheaper long term than having to replace something every five years due to failure.

    Another way of seeing it is that they have confidence and belief in the quality of their products and are willing to stake their reputation on it, because it would be very costly for them to keep honouring endless warranty claims free of charge.

    They also pick up very good reviews for their performance, being essentially neutral-sounding, and should fit well with your MA Golds.

    And I see your point about the R&D and QC budgets of bigger companies, but that is offset somewhat by mass production - no matter how careful and stringent you are, there's always the possibility of a rogue item slipping through and ending up in your home. Also, they spend far more money on advertising and promotion, whilst a smaller company tends to get by more on word of mouth reputation.

    If you can find an agreeable dealer, it might be worth demoing an amp from Bryston and one from Lyngdorf, just to see which one you prefer the sound of. Because, ultimately, that's the number one priority of any Hi-Fi component (in my opinion).

    Good luck!:)
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • List
  9. Numpty112233

    Numpty112233
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2018
    Messages:
    78
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location:
    UK
    Ratings:
    +18
    Those Bryston amps certainly look well engineered, however, even on a good day, £6k is a smidge more than I can sell my body for and the local stockist is... er... not local, not by a looong shot. So 2nd hand maybe but auditioning would be on a holiday.
    Keeping a budget preferably south of £5k (the Cambridge Edge A or Lyngdorf 3400 is really more than I had wanted to go - but I would if they really were That Good) any other thoughts for the perfect bride to my Monitor Audio Gold 300s
     
  10. Numpty112233

    Numpty112233
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2018
    Messages:
    78
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location:
    UK
    Ratings:
    +18
    I’ve just tried researching standard lengths of warranty with Cambridge and Lyngdorf to see how they compare with the Bryston 20 year suggested above.


    I couldn’t find any reference whatsoever for Lyngdorf on their website or manual. Maybe I missed it but it certainly wasn’t headline in the sales spiel so clear inference is they are not too proud of it.


    Cambridge I checked for both my existing CX and shortlist Edge. Richer Sounds make no mention however if purchased direct then Cambridge give 2 years. In Canada it’s 3 years. For the Edge A Richer Sounds want an additional £450 to extend to 6 years, however Cambridge will extend to 5 years for free if product is registered. Which shows some faith in their top tier product, but still a long way from the 3 decades and still going fine I’m getting from my trusty old and comparatively cheap Pioneer A400.


    It seems in this industry a number of brands don’t shout about their warranty period.


    Does anyone know what standard length of warranty Yamaha give for their AS amps?

    Arcam? Musical Fidelity? Roksan? Audiolab? Nad? Cyrus? etc
     
  11. Cornish Dave

    Cornish Dave
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2017
    Messages:
    416
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Northumberland
    Ratings:
    +96
    My AS1100 purchased from Peter Tyson here in the UK has a five year warranty. Not sure if that applies to all dealers or just Peter Tyson though.
     
  12. Numpty112233

    Numpty112233
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2018
    Messages:
    78
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location:
    UK
    Ratings:
    +18
  13. Numpty112233

    Numpty112233
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2018
    Messages:
    78
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location:
    UK
    Ratings:
    +18
    Lol just read the Richer Sounds 6 year extended warranty @10% of purchase price. Don't use it and get your money back - too good to be true? The link above suggests the customer should be getting this for free....
     
  14. Timmy C

    Timmy C
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2003
    Messages:
    5,588
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +559
    That's related to the old Sales of Goods act. It was replaced a few years ago with the consumer rights act so things maybe a little different now although I've never looked into it in any detail.

    I think Arcam still offer 5 years on their FMJ gear as long as you register the product when you buy it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2019
  15. Numpty112233

    Numpty112233
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2018
    Messages:
    78
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location:
    UK
    Ratings:
    +18
    According to linked article the newer Consumer Rights Act adds to the warranty protection (e.g 30 day full refund) rather than takes away. Would be worth finding out properly though
     
  16. devilsaudio

    devilsaudio
    Novice Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2019
    Messages:
    12
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    4
    Location:
    Luxembourg
    Ratings:
    +2
    So far I have had over eight years out of some budget Teufel kit, not a high end brand but very well made speakers. Speakers, wifi music streamers all still fine, sadly though the transformer unit went on the hifi and became noisy at the end of last year. Prior to that I know family who have owned Denon for many years without any problems.
     
  17. BarKohba

    BarKohba
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2019
    Messages:
    51
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    11
    Location:
    Bucharest
    Ratings:
    +8
    Whats your budgrt? You can never go wrong with yamaha (amp/receiver and speakers)
     
  18. dazed&confused

    dazed&confused
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2005
    Messages:
    819
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    46
    Location:
    Kettering, Northants
    Ratings:
    +119
    I had a Yamaha AV receiver which broke down, and a Yamaha universal disk player which broke down twice.
     
  19. dannnielll

    dannnielll
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2017
    Messages:
    1,926
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    ireland
    Ratings:
    +807
    We can all provide tales of long lived equipment,but whether it is useful or valuable is less certain. I have a Nikko 5055 reciever dating from 1974, still going strong, a Marantz SR66 AVR from 1980s as good as ever and was in daily use up to a month ago, a Yamaha RXV440,recent re purchased second hand,in perfect condition .. probably 2004, a Harmon Kardon AVR 340 again probably 2004, a Sony home cinema with dvd drive used daily since 2006 ,never missed a beat.
    I have 2 Panasonic's DVD recorders, one very early model still working and its replacement with HDMI failed and dumped, , a panasonic internet active speaker repaired under warranty, Also a very early mid 1990s Panasonic home cinema, ..now going temperamental.
    3 Sony LCD TVs all working, some from 2005. 4 LG TVs , none of which has given a moments concerns andaone LG cheap home cinema unit which died
    So what does that say?. Panasonic is unreliable? LG highly reliable?. It actually says nothing...
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
    • List
  20. Numpty112233

    Numpty112233
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2018
    Messages:
    78
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location:
    UK
    Ratings:
    +18
    @dannnielll as per my post #4 I agree with you. Would be good to get someone in retail or repairs with multiple experience to be refreshingly honest and open as I have been about my experience with kitchen appliances. Possibly too much to ask (unless someone has recently left the industry)…


    As a general rule with kitchen appliances I found that those who sold more reliable products also provided better after sales care. My experience in that field also bore out your comment #5 that these brands and products were middle / upper middle market. Stuff built purely to compete on price generally didn’t last or provide good customer service but equally exotic brands with silly expensive products weren’t particularly reliable and because of small volume there wasn’t the service infrastructure or part availability one would hope for.


    @spinaltap makes a valid point re boards. I wonder if some manufacturers are better at keeping old stock or have reduced failure rate.
     
  21. Numpty112233

    Numpty112233
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2018
    Messages:
    78
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location:
    UK
    Ratings:
    +18
    In many other fields manufacturer warranty periods are usually clearly specified in sales literature. This seems to be rare with hi-fi. Using the aforementioned Richersounds example (#13) standard warranty period is not listed on their website sales product specifications I’ve looked at, however clearly advertised is extended warranty to 6 years for an additional 10%.

    Is anyone out there familiar with the Consumer Rights Act able to shed light on the accuracy of the link (#12)? What do paid for extended warranties offer over and above free consumer law in England or Scotland?
     
  22. lmccauley

    lmccauley
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2000
    Messages:
    3,631
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Newcastle
    Ratings:
    +397
    In my experience with a Nexus 6X bought from Google, I was initially told that I would have to pay for it to be repaired, because it was out of warranty. I had to politely remind them of my consumer rights under the law before they changed their mind and offered to repair it for free. I guess that having an extended warranty would have meant a smoother experience, but the outcome was the same for me.
     
  23. BarKohba

    BarKohba
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2019
    Messages:
    51
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    11
    Location:
    Bucharest
    Ratings:
    +8
    I don't doubt that. There are many factors for which your or anyone else's product might break down. However brand reliability is a (global) average thing. Generally, from my reasearch japanese tech is very solid, and yamaha in particular. I suggested it because my grandparents till have a Yamaha hi-fi from 1972, which includes speakers, turntable and tuner with casette player. It works like a charm. Nothing was ever changed besides the turntable needle, not even the cables.

    That's nearly HALF A DECADE of 2 speakers, a turntable and a tuner+casette deck with no issues.
     
  24. captainarchive

    captainarchive
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2006
    Messages:
    13,341
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Location:
    Derby
    Ratings:
    +4,046
    Is reliability an issue with more expensive kit? I've never had any kit which was unreliable, but then again the most I've ever spent was 900 quid on a Rotel Amp back in the 90's and 1200 more recently on an AV amp.

    I'm a little disturbed by this thread. Like the OP I'm in my 50s and looking to upgrade and hoping this will be the last time. I have a healthy budget. I'm torn between a one box solution - Arcam AVR850 or hi-fi kit partnered with an AV Reciever. The thought of spending several thousand pounds on a single piece of kit where there might be reliability issues just adds another unwelcome element to the whole process.
     
  25. AxilianDDraig

    AxilianDDraig
    Novice Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2019
    Messages:
    6
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    4
    Location:
    Wales
    Ratings:
    +2
    I've usually found japanese tech < year 2000 to be fairly solid , post 2000 not so much. My experience with US tech has persuaded me to never buy it as it seems only the early high end stuff seem build to last. With regards british tect I've had 5 Audiolab 8000a from the mid 80's and only one have had an issue and that was easily fixed. My experience with Arcam has also been good from A&R Cambridge A60 to to my current A28 and P35.
    CD wise I still have a Pioneer PDS703 still going strong as is both my early Phillips CD player (I think they both used the CDM4 mechanism. ONe thing I would say though is avoid pure class A amplifiers (Music Fidelity comes to mind) - totally unreliable in my experience
     
  26. spinaltap

    spinaltap
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2004
    Messages:
    2,751
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    Birmingham
    Ratings:
    +1,292
    Yes, my Meridian G95 developed an unresolved ‘fault’. Originally, it cost £4,500. Meridian wouldn’t even look at it, even to identify what the problem was. There was, at the time, no third-party repair agent for Meridian kit in the UK. It was scrap.

    Then, by a chance discussion with a fellow owner, they suggested the G95 might have a software glitch. It was subsequently bought back to life with a fresh firmware upload via PC.
     
  27. hifilowfi

    hifilowfi
    Novice Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2012
    Messages:
    16
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Ratings:
    +3
    Several years ago I replaced an ageing Technics amp and Marantz CD player with new kit. I went for a new Accuphase amp and Marantz SACD player and am delighted with them both. They're built like tanks, are very heavy and both came with 5 year warranty. I would also suggest looking at Luxman amps, they're a thing of beauty, sound incredible and are built to last.
     
  28. t bone

    t bone
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Messages:
    922
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Ratings:
    +264
    ATI amps have a good reputation and a offer a 7 year warranty i also run MA speakers and they really go well together.
     
  29. devilsaudio

    devilsaudio
    Novice Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2019
    Messages:
    12
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    4
    Location:
    Luxembourg
    Ratings:
    +2
    I have a paid of old Richard Allan speakers, 25 years and still going strong. They seem to still exist but I am not sure if they make anything new these days.
     
  30. Julian Stevens

    Julian Stevens
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2011
    Messages:
    2,186
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Ratings:
    +364
    @Numpty112233 ~ I see what you mean about the difficulty of finding any info about the warranty of Lyngdorf kit. There's no mention of it in their product manuals. I have an SDA-2175 which has performed flawlessly for about 15 years but the RP-1 that I eventually managed to get out of them for home evaluation was a bag of malfunctions and they showed no interest in sending me another. They have no repair or servicing facilities in the UK either. Any units requiring attention have to be returned (via the UK distributor) to Denmark.

    Perversely, my Bryston 4B-SST (now superseded by a pair of 7B's) had a faulty power switch, but that only had to go back to Luton (PMC). They fitted a new switch and the unit was returned to me very quickly. No problems at all with my 7B's or any other of my Bryston components.

    A Marantz PM6005 I bought via my local Richer Sounds went down on one channel soon after purchase. I don't know if they fixed it or simply replaced the entire unit, but I was back in business within a fortnight. Marantz's warranty is 3 years.

    I have a Rotel RA-930AX that started playing up after many untroubled years of service but, because it's more than 7 years old, Rotel weren't interested in even looking at it. Fortunately, the fault was just the balance control and I was able to get it fixed locally for not much money. The repair shop told me that because most of the amp's components are pretty bog standard, i.e. not proprietary, it would have been easy to replace any of them too. I noticed on their shelves an old A&R Cambridge A60 from the late seventies (I used to have one) so even very old kit can usually be repaired.

    So much low cost kit is so good these days that I wouldn't bother spending mega-bucks on hi-fi ever again. What I've got is arguably too big and too powerful for my room. It's great when I want to rock the rafters but, with advancing age, those occasions are becoming increasingly rare. You can build and enjoy a great system for amazingly little money.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • List

Share This Page

Loading...
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice