Stuff You Tried To Love

I know we talk a lot about confirmation bias- we buy something and then convince ourselves we like it. Or something like that. But did you ever buy something you wanted to love and just couldn’t make it work? For me, Esoteric X-05 SACD/CD player. Bought from a local who was upgrading to the X-03. Big, beautiful piece of gear, but I couldn’t get used to the sound after 6 months of trying. Sold it to another local- I insisted he listen before he bought and I believe he sold it soon after as well. Totem Forest and Hawk. I loved the whole concept. Slim, easy to live with. Couldn’t get them to work in my room. The Model Ones were much better. I had a couple of other pieces, but this is long enough. BTW, these were bought used without audition.


I had a McIntosh MC2200 that I bought new. It was the biggest mistake I ever made as an audiophile and I dumped it for a Bryston that a friend still uses.

I had an Aurender N100 streamer, also purchased new from my favorite dealer. The thing was never really stable and support wasn’t helpful. I dumped it for a Bryston BDP-3 and have been happy ever since.

I’d probably still have both of those components if confirmation bias was as powerful as some suggest.

1st comes to mind is a SS McIntosh Preamp C28. It worked fine as a switcher/attenuator, many features I still want, HOWEVER, I did not like the sound of it’s MM Phono EQ.

I actually preferred the dinky optional phono built into my Audio Technica AT120 TT.

Now I use my Fidelity FRT-4 SUT into my beloved McIntosh mx110z Tube Tuner/Preamp’s MM Phono, sounds wonderful. If it was stolen or blew up, I wouldn’t even look about, just find another one, find some money (they have jumped up in price) send it to Audio Classics for check-up.

2nd, more recently: I needed a Phono EQ for my ’new to me’ office TT.

Temporarily I bought a $14 Pyle, compact, out of sight, got listening to vinyl up here for the first time. Better: tried ifi phono zen, preferred the pyle, sent ifi back. Tried Cambridge Alva Duo, preferred the Pyle, sent Cambridge away.

Finally, I bought my Little Luxman 10wpc tube integrated with both MM and MC within. Love/preferred it’s sound (compared Pyle via Line Level into Luxman). kept my Pyle as a loaner for others with problems, or still researching something they might buy.

I always say: anything to do with Phono: have return privilege’s!.

3. I tried a few SS Receivers to replace my beloved Tandberg TR80 in my garage/shop system (had to drive 2 sets of speakers). Nyet, Nyet, ... Finally I got a Yamaha CR-1020 SS Receiver (my 1st ever Yamaha). Great features/sound/looks, couldn’t be happier, except it is heavy, 42 lbs!

4th, I did a big search for a 'new to me' CD player, then realized I needed SACD as well. Asked/received help here, went thru about 9 recommended players (all used) until I tried the recommended Sony Vintage xa5400es, it sounds great.


Daedalus DA 1.1. Great speakers, beautiful build quality, but they were just too much for my small room.  Also, Bryston BCD-3. It's all about the journey, trying and finding what works for you. 

My Jazz albums / CD's. Especially "Kind of Blue" I've never been able to listen to the whole album because it puts me to sleep. I know one must be a jazz or female vocals guy in order to have an affirmed audiophile card but those genres just don't move me.