Reliability of HiFi gear: rant ahoy

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podknocker

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Yes my Teac separates lasted 15 years before I sold them.

My belief is that a lot of products today (last 5-10 years) aren’t made to last. I’ve had an expensive frying pan warp, replaced under warranty only to warp again, a very cheap Tesco pan lasted over ten years until I abused it. I have had kitchen items with plastic that becomes sticky after a few years and I had to throw them away. I’ve already mentioned I went through three Apple watches, and two Withings watches, made using glue rather than properly put together unlike real watches. Globalisation increasing competition, making it harder to survive, with an emphasis on social media influencers and magazine reviews perhaps? I could be totally wrong.
I think profit margins are lower these days and there's an increase in 'pile them high, sell them cheap' mentality and where the pride of manufacturing and owning a reliable product, simply isn't there now. This mindset and attitude contributes to the 'throw away' society and people expect their goods to have shorter lifespans and be replaced much quicker.

I bought my first smartphone in January and I hope it and the battery inside it last 2 or 3 years minimum. I rarely use it, but surely this stuff is more than capable of sitting there not going wrong. These devices have been around for ages and they ought to be reliable. The problem is the 2 year contract and this has the effect of suggesting to people that if you renew your contract, you should get a new phone also. This momentum in the phone market is creating piles of used phones.

Some people get a new car every 2 or 3 years and it's shocking. Any car made in the last 25 years, should last for 25 years, if maintained properly. The acres of used cars out there, is enormous. This land could be used for housing. We are gradually eating away at the planet's resources and then dumping most of it onto land we need. Crackers.
 
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I don’t doubt that an amp will fail if not properly ventilated. Mine sat on a nice cupboard, exposed on all sides and the top. And it never played loud, in fact it was rarely used because I loathe the Arcam sound!

Surely capacitors would not be damaged by demanding speakers at moderate voumes.
My brother had issues with Arcam caps (integrated AV receiver and a power amp), and my dad, who had a Solo Movie. His was in the open, hardly ever turned up, and just used with KEF Q150s. Arcam we’re using caps that weren’t suited to the temperature inside their products.
 

matthewpianist

Well-known member
I think profit margins are lower these days and there's an increase in 'pile them high, sell them cheap' mentality and where the pride of manufacturing and owning a reliable product, simply isn't there now. This mindset and attitude contributes to the 'throw away' society and people expect their goods to have shorter lifespans and be replaced much quicker.

I bought my first smartphone in January and I hope it and the battery inside it last 2 or 3 years minimum. I rarely use it, but surely this stuff is more than capable of sitting there not going wrong. These devices have been around for ages and they ought to be reliable. The problem is the 2 year contract and this has the effect of suggesting to people that if you renew your contract, you should get a new phone also. This momentum in the phone market is creating piles of used phones.

Some people get a new car every 2 or 3 years and it's shocking. Any car made in the last 25 years, should last for 25 years, if maintained properly. The acres of used cars out there, is enormous. This land could be used for housing. We are gradually eating away at the planet's resources and then dumping most of it onto land we need. Crackers.

Smartphones are a huge issue. I'm coming up to the renewal point on my current contract and I have a Sony Xperia 10 iii which I got at the beginning of it. It's a good, solid phone and when I compare it with my work iPhone 13 or my partner's iPhone 14 I don't feel like I'm missing anything (for my own needs). I am, for the first time, considering going to SIM-only and keeping the Sony - I have confidence in the brand, and there's plenty of repairers out there. The piles of used phones you refer to are very worrying as at scale they are environmentally damaging.
 

podknocker

Well-known member
I bought an Oppo phone, half price at £199 and I love it. I hope it lasts forever, but the battery life might prevent that. If modern phones had replaceable batteries, this huge used phone mountain would be a lot smaller I'm sure.

I reckon the components and build quality of my phone, would allow the thing to work for 20 years, providing a 5G signal is still around. It's like buying a new car, with a full tank of petrol, because you ran out of petrol. It's absurd.
 
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Noddy

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Mar 16, 2023
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Smartphones are a huge issue. I'm coming up to the renewal point on my current contract and I have a Sony Xperia 10 iii which I got at the beginning of it. It's a good, solid phone and when I compare it with my work iPhone 13 or my partner's iPhone 14 I don't feel like I'm missing anything (for my own needs). I am, for the first time, considering going to SIM-only and keeping the Sony - I have confidence in the brand, and there's plenty of repairers out there. The piles of used phones you refer to are very worrying as at scale they are environmentally damaging.

I agree. Just keep your phone and get it unlocked. When my iPhone 7 was stolen, I wanted an iPhone with an OLED screen and saw a brand new warranty replacement iPhone X for £400. When a phone is no longer made, Apple will after a year or two dispose of warranty replacement stock. Why pay £1,000? Of course you will get sneering looks from iPhone 14 owners, hay ho. I rarely buy the latest tech.
 

Horowitz

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I am far from impressed by the reliability of hifi gear:

Arcam Solo Movie, bought new six years ago, not used much, I recently discovered that the analogue inputs have obvious hissing and the headphone output does not work. £1,000 down the drain after six years. Mind you, it always sat on top of a nice Ercol media cabinet, so clearly it had a hard life. That said, I always hated it, horrible user interface, muddy sound (warm and rich according to WHF).
I am far from impressed by the reliability of most manufactured products these days!! However you seem to have been amazingly unlucky with your Arcam Solo Movie - presumably the 5.1 from c. 2017? Having been a long-time Arcam amp fan, I bought one as a 'no-brainer' purchase about 6 years ago when I found an unused showroom demonstrator for around £650.
With regard to your 'muddy' sound, I should add that I knew Arcam amps always seem to play better with brighter speakers - don't know if yours fit that category? My Monitor Audio RS Silver 6's have always sounded superb with it. Can't really comment on the headphone output as I use a dedicated headphone amp for that, though I do agree that the UI on the amp itself is a big let-down! I hate the retro green LED look, but have no issue whatsoever using the Arcam iPhone app instead (I can't really see sharply enough across the lounge to faff with the onboard display anyway). OK, the unit looks ugly (though bizarrely my wife disagrees!) but sounds hugely powerful and controlled, even at low volumes and, as I say, superb for me.
Are you/did you use yours in 5.1 mode, as I've never bothered with that - I immediately changed it to 2.1 stereo for purely audio purposes and, with my MA speakers, it continues to stagger audiophile friends who were previously super-scathing about a) one-box systems, and b) AV amps in general. Given that the Solo Movie includes a very decent blue-ray/cd deck and most of the streaming smarts most folk would ever need, I still see it as a fabulous bargain at 'my' price. And - so far, anyway - very reliable!
 
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hifi

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Feb 8, 2023
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I agree. Just keep your phone and get it unlocked. When my iPhone 7 was stolen, I wanted an iPhone with an OLED screen and saw a brand new warranty replacement iPhone X for £400. When a phone is no longer made, Apple will after a year or two dispose of warranty replacement stock. Why pay £1,000? Of course you will get sneering looks from iPhone 14 owners, hay ho. I rarely buy the latest tech.
I
 

Hugh Jarse

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Jan 22, 2022
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Great phone, hugely under-rated, as are all Sony Xperias. I'd keep it as well if I was you. SIM only deals are bonkers these days. Lebara are £5 a month for 5GB data with unlimited calls and texts, EU included. Cheap as chips!
...just take my advice and avoid Lycamobile like the plague 👍
 

Noddy

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Mar 16, 2023
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I am far from impressed by the reliability of most manufactured products these days!! However you seem to have been amazingly unlucky with your Arcam Solo Movie - presumably the 5.1 from c. 2017? Having been a long-time Arcam amp fan, I bought one as a 'no-brainer' purchase about 6 years ago when I found an unused showroom demonstrator for around £650.
With regard to your 'muddy' sound, I should add that I knew Arcam amps always seem to play better with brighter speakers - don't know if yours fit that category? My Monitor Audio RS Silver 6's have always sounded superb with it. Can't really comment on the headphone output as I use a dedicated headphone amp for that, though I do agree that the UI on the amp itself is a big let-down! I hate the retro green LED look, but have no issue whatsoever using the Arcam iPhone app instead (I can't really see sharply enough across the lounge to faff with the onboard display anyway). OK, the unit looks ugly (though bizarrely my wife disagrees!) but sounds hugely powerful and controlled, even at low volumes and, as I say, superb for me.
Are you/did you use yours in 5.1 mode, as I've never bothered with that - I immediately changed it to 2.1 stereo for purely audio purposes and, with my MA speakers, it continues to stagger audiophile friends who were previously super-scathing about a) one-box systems, and b) AV amps in general. Given that the Solo Movie includes a very decent blue-ray/cd deck and most of the streaming smarts most folk would ever need, I still see it as a fabulous bargain at 'my' price. And - so far, anyway - very reliable!
Yes I used it in 2.1mode. I used it with PMC twenty.21 speakers which are bright. To be honest I think the muddiness was mostly if not entirely the speakers, which had a bloated bass. With Kef LS50 Meta there was a slight bassiness compared to an AudioLab 6000a. There was no soundstage with either speakers. Unfortunately it was partially kapput, so I can’t say how much was due to the design. Many problems were solved by using a Wiim Mini as the streaming source instead of their dreadful wifi bodge. And yes it had a decent CD drive and tuner. But the UI was damned awful, and I found it very ugly, and slightly cheap looking. The plastic volume dial was cheap and nasty, the buttons were so so. I really do not recommend it and I should have bought an integrated amp. It was hardly used too, and yet it failed. I think the issue was heat generation.
 

Hugh Jarse

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I used it with PMC twenty.21 speakers which are bright. To be honest I think the muddiness was mostly if not entirely the speakers, which had a bloated bass.
Maybe it was the amp Noddy (or even the PMC interaction with the room 🤔)

I say that because, when driven by a Cyrus amp, the twenty.21 bass is the opposite of bloated.
 

Noddy

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Mar 16, 2023
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Maybe it was the amp Noddy (or even the PMC interaction with the room 🤔)

I say that because, when driven by a Cyrus amp, the twenty.21 bass is the opposite of bloated.
There are measurements of those speakers here:


The FR is all over the place. Very poor for the price. Very poor for half the price.

Quite how a properly functioning amp can bloat the bass is beyond me. My Kef LS50 Metas are fine with AudioLab 6000a and Arcam Solo Movie amps.
 

Hugh Jarse

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There are measurements of those speakers here:


The FR is all over the place. Very poor for the price. Very poor for half the price.

Quite how a properly functioning amp can bloat the bass is beyond me. My Kef LS50 Metas are fine with AudioLab 6000a and Arcam Solo Movie amps.
Yes, I remember seeing that ASR review describing the PMC as a 'failure in design' 🙂
He likes his measurements 👍

I've been reading hifi mags for over 50 years.
Mostly don't trust the reviews - so often they contradict each other.
I've never seen such universal praise for the sound of anything than I did for the twenty.21...maybe the mistake they all made was not to measure them 🤔.
(I bought mine before reading reviews).

The worst thing I saw in any review was WHF saying that they weren't so good at lower listening level (what speaker doesn't sound better at higher levels?)

Obviously can't doubt your 'bloated' verdict, but I'd be amazed if you (or anyone else) had the same verdict listening to mine 👍
 

Noddy

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Mar 16, 2023
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Yes, I remember seeing that ASR review describing the PMC as a 'failure in design' 🙂
He likes his measurements 👍

I've been reading hifi mags for over 50 years.
Mostly don't trust the reviews - so often they contradict each other.
I've never seen such universal praise for the sound of anything than I did for the twenty.21...maybe the mistake they all made was not to measure them 🤔.
(I bought mine before reading reviews).

The worst thing I saw in any review was WHF saying that they weren't so good at lower listening level (what speaker doesn't sound better at higher levels?)

Obviously can't doubt your 'bloated' verdict, but I'd be amazed if you (or anyone else) had the same verdict listening to mine 👍
I too bought mine before that review appeared. Mine were sensitive to placement, about 8" from the rear wall was perfect.

Our perception does change with volume, we become more sensitive to some parts of the audio spectrum than others as we in increase the volume.

In addition, if a speaker has a bloated treble say, as we turn the volume down, the treble will be okay, but the bass and mid will disappear.

Also, if we have large dips or bumps, that will distort the sound. Joni Mitchell’s voice always sounded weird with the PMCs, not so with Kefs. Metal sounded off with the PMCs, not so with the Kefs. That is why I prefer a level FR.

I find that folk, jazz and classical seem to be better recorded, quite often rock is mushy, which I assume is the mixing. For one thing, when mixing sound in 1970, they probably had mediocre speakers with a bumpy FR.
 

Oxfordian

Well-known member
Smartphones are a huge issue. I'm coming up to the renewal point on my current contract and I have a Sony Xperia 10 iii which I got at the beginning of it. It's a good, solid phone and when I compare it with my work iPhone 13 or my partner's iPhone 14 I don't feel like I'm missing anything (for my own needs). I am, for the first time, considering going to SIM-only and keeping the Sony - I have confidence in the brand, and there's plenty of repairers out there. The piles of used phones you refer to are very worrying as at scale they are environmentally damaging.
Back in January 2020 I bought my I phone, (IP11) my first phone with no contract, going sim only has been brilliant I pay only £22 per month then have Disney+ on top, when I joined I got 6 months of Disney free plus 6 months of Apple Music free, I am now 3+ years into this phone and it is absolutely fine.

My son has an LG phone, he kept it when the contract ran out and it is now 5 years old, he runs it on a sim only contract and gets a deal on Spotify which he uses a lot, he is considering changing it this year as it is struggling.

The Samsung that my wife uses is now 4 years old, the screen shows some icon burn and it is getting very slow so that is likely to be upgraded at some point this year.

I had an Xperia a few years ago and it was a great phone, It was built like a tank and just worked, I used it on my Mountain bike for timing and recording rides on the cycling apps it never let me down, wish I had kept it tbh.

More than happy to be on sim only, I don't feel that I am missing out by not being on a contract.
 

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