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The high cost of a recent DAC repair has made me examine and re-evaluate several issues regarding equipment purchases – specifically, a warranty’s length, the cost of repairs when it expires, and knowing where a manufacturer will be in policy and practice if a fundamental function fails early on, but past the warranty period. In my situation, had I not pushed for adjustment, I would have been looking at a repair cost equal to 25% of my original investment for a failure that occurred within two years of ownership – with the manufacturer’s warranty only being one year. But, even more disconcerting was the 60-Day warranty on the repair’s labor and part – the main circuit board. I was confounded by that – and quite concerned. What was my potential risk for another early failure? Nor did I want to find myself once again dependent on the manufacturer’s appointed repair shop, which I found irresponsive, difficult and condescending in their responses. A manufacturer certainly has the right to determine the length of their warranty and the parameters of their responsibility beyond it. That’s not the concern here. The issue is separating out the appreciation for a component’s audio qualities when first auditioning and the potential shortcomings and liabilities that might prove problematic and disconcerting in one’s period of ownership. Much of my concern, to which I never gave full consideration, is that I missed some important issues in my evaluation of the product, or felt them to be unimportant at the time of purchase. Issues that I thought would never come up or be problematic - but in my case certainly did. For me it was a natural pull to focus on the sound qualities as well as the specs and features of the component – all pertinent to the initial discovery and evaluation of a new product. There is certainly no shortage of reviews and promotional material on those aspects. But, I for the most part ignored the post purchase concerns. I’ve heard little or no conversations in the exhibition rooms of shows; have not seen printed articles or critiques addressing the possible issues or potential problems that one might face in the ownership of a particular DAC. That is, the length of warranty, the quality of service and support, the limitations in repair due to design. If a basic feature fails, can it be isolated and fixed, or will it require a whole new circuit board and the subsequent cost? And, doesn’t one need to consider whether the manufacturer is foreign based, and if so will the unit go back to the designer and his team for evaluation and repair or a designated third party? At the heart of all of this is: where is the manufacturer standing in terms of his long-term commitment to his product? What are his practices and policy should any primary feature fail far earlier than it should regardless of warranty? When I initially shopped for my DAC, I did not fully consider or compare warranties. Why does one company offer only a year while others are giving two, three and beyond? What does the length of time a manufacturer is willing to stand behind his product say about that product? Is it the marketing rationale that most problems and failures will occur during the first year? Or, is it that it is only financially feasible for the manufacturer to carry it for a year, because after that, the potential for problems and cost would be too great a liability? In my recent research, one highly touted and respected DAC manufacturer and designer informed me that to date he has never charged for repairs if it was purchased from an authorized dealership. And, that he intended to continue to do so as long as it continued to be feasible. These questions are obviously appropriate for every component. But, I believe they are particularly pertinent in regards to digital components. They are distinct within themselves: their designs, their circuit boards, their complexity, their tasks. A different species of animal, if you will. And so are the potential problems, which might occur. I am not advocating unlimited warranty and responsibility. What I am advancing is that one needs to step back from the initial attraction and allure: to broaden their conversations and questions at fests, with dealerships and manufactures – in the auditioning process - to go a little further and flesh out questions and concerns related to ownership; to be aware of the liabilities and expenses that might occur; and to know where the manufacturer will stand in such matters. While the initial romance with a component can be sweet and compelling, subsequent repair issues, costs, the way in which customer care is given or not given, etc., can be disappointing and bitter. I’ve learned a lesson. Next time I will not speak only to the quality of sound, the attributes, and features with the manufacturer or dealership ... but address my “down the line” concerns. I will be clearer about what I am walking into... Let me not consider this component in the light that nothing will ever go wrong or be problematic – but it is to my best interest – to think it most likely will. We don’t have – as far as I know – any resources or reviews for evaluating the short and/or long-term performance of a component, the quality of customer care, the manufacturer’s commitment towards his product; nor the frequency and cost of repairs. We don’t have a consumer’s report. For that we have only each other and our community upon which to rely. And what happens when the honeymoon is over? And thus, I hope my post is read and accepted in that light – of not taking a manufacturer or their product to task, which I have no interest in doing here – but to draw some insight out of it, which might be beneficial, and bring up some additional thoughts and conversations the next time we’re evaluating and in the market for a (digital) component. And, perhaps, appropriate as some of us walk into the RMAF.
Hi, Short Question: Is there any guidelines/ideas on how to split the money spent in components to get maximum audio quality on a system at a given price. My own system example: 10 % Desktop PC 03 % PCI to USB CARD 01 % USB Cable 33 % DAC (Stereo) 03 % XLR Cables 50 % Active Monitors (Stereo) $5K-$30K Price Range I did a few searches on the topic and came empty handed, but please post a link if any or your toughts/example. Long Explanation: The idea is to have a guideline in to how much to spend in a Component versus an other in a given system. There will be too many variable behind those %, probably hundreds of disccusions about components etc. Please, I'm trying to stay away from particular discussions, brands and models, I know it's hard :-) I assume that everyone will pick their favourite component brand influenced by they priority's e.g. Connectivity, Design, Power etc. Don't quote me on the %, I'm guessing base on my limited experience/reading (I suppose most will do the same) (the leading 0 on the % number is just to keep the alignment) It will change with the whole system price, so price range should be a factor. But may be wider than $5K-$20K. Also avancement on technology of a component will tend to reduce it's % vs the rest. This should be the case of DAC vs Speaker If you change the system design itself just list the components as a chain, e.g. Active Monitor may change for Amplifier>Cables>Speakers How I think to use the guideline: For example I'm upgrading all cables. Currently my DAC is the best component, which is likely stay in the system longer. So I would take the value of the DAC $6500 and apply the % in reverse to get the whole system value Target System ($) = Component ($) / Component (%) $6500 / 33% = $19,696 33% will be 0.33 in this case or 100 / 33 That is not my current system value, but the one I would build if I keep the DAC in place and upgrade all the other components. Now, How much should I spend on my next XLR Cables to match the DAC value? Component ($) = Target System ($) x Component (%) XLR Cables $ = $19,696 x 3% XLR Cables $ = $590 Remember it's just a guideline, to somehow "relate" our audiophile daydreaming with the pocket :-) Regards, Yogui. Chris, If the site have some kind of user form everyone could place their current system components, that may also be an indication and work as a reference with profiles etc. head-fi does it and I found it usefull.
Any suggestions of a good parametric equalizer DSP component for foobar for free? Looking for one that allows adding as many bands as I want, with different EQ curves options (high pass, low pass, high shelf, low shelf, peak), Q setting, etc. Thanks.