Less Expensive Gear That Replaced Pricier Kit

Wntrmute2

Not So Mediocre Member
So the thread about running gear you are not happy with got me thinking about a pet peeve of mine. The supposed "fact" that anything more expensive must sound or be better. Along the same lines, I was talking to @jmathers the other day about this, that things like shelving always seem to produce effects that correspond to the appearance of said piece of equipment. A dark piece of granite adds weight to the sound, a clear glass shelf sounds top-endy, a wood shelf adds an organic sound. Similarly, the more expensive piece of equipment ALWAYS sounds better. Those thousand dollar power cords always bump out the $750 ones.
What I'm interested here is what less expensive stuff bumped the spendier stuff out or what things have you tried that bucked what was "supposed" to be gospel? Not really looking for value based decisions, I'm more interested in what upset the apple cart so to speak.
 

S0und Dragon

Moderator and Circus Hand.
Staff member
Wow! That is impressive. Do you ever regret that decision? What is the price point on both of those?
To be fair, the Onkyo Monitors were 139,00 yen in 1986 or $1300 at todays exchange so not accounting inflation. It was not a cheap speaker in its day. No regrets really, I would have kept the Harbeths for when I wanted that magical British Mid range. However, I cashed them out instead.
 

Olson_jr

Active Member
I could comment but it would just make this thread go digital. :rolleyes:

BTW, give Louis and Clark a belly rub for me, I miss my buds.
 
Wireworld Space Port. It bested a $1700 conditioner by a huge margin and retails at $699.
Norma Audio IPA-140B. It cured my obsession with high powered SET and its some of the best solid state I've heard to date.
Rosso Fiorentino Elba 2. I'm not alone on this one. It pretty much made every other brand I carry obsolete in one fell swoop.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I replaced my Berkeley Audio Design Alpha DAC (I think it was around $5k new in late/mid 2000s) with a $400 Topping D70. The Alpha is a very nice DAC and used its not much more now than the Topping, but I prefer the sound of the Topping and it has a USB input, whereas I used the Alpha with a USB-AES converter that cost as much as the D70.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
Also I'm currently running the phono stage in my Luxman L-507u instead of my external phono stages, which are a Primare R32 and Juicy Music Tercell II. It's not that its better but its so good that I don't feel I need the external stage in my currently-cramped space. All have been run with the same SUT. The L-507 wasn't a cheap integrated but its the first time that I've ever been happy with a built-in phono stage in anything.
 

prime minister

Site Owner
Staff member
I'm at a loss. Other than buying used, I don't recall having any cheaper gear that has outperformed the more expensive stuff. Sure technology advances can make a difference. I would expect a decade or two of advancement to lead to better gear. My Sony 808ES, for instance, was comparably priced, corrected for inflation, etc. to my Exposure 3010S2, but the Exposure was dramatically better sounding with 2 decades of Development. Everything I have in the house now aligns with the price paid for it. Nothing would make me happier then replacing expensive gear with cheaper stuff, but it really doesn't happen very often.

Of course, preferences make a difference too. That being said, even with something I'm unhappy with, like my Rega Rp-10, I can't imagine I would try to convince myself that the Kenwood sounded better. I just like the Kenwood more. If it worked....
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I'm at a loss. Other than buying used, I don't recall having any cheaper gear that has outperformed the more expensive stuff. Sure technology advances can make a difference. I would expect a decade or two of advancement to lead to better gear. My Sony 808ES, for instance, was comparably priced, corrected for inflation, etc. to my Exposure 3010S2, but the Exposure was dramatically better sounding with 2 decades of Development. Everything I have in the house now aligns with the price paid for it. Nothing would make me happier then replacing expensive gear with cheaper stuff, but it really doesn't happen very often.

Of course, preferences make a difference too. That being said, even with something I'm unhappy with, like my Rega Rp-10, I can't imagine I would try to convince myself that the Kenwood sounded better. I just like the Kenwood more. If it worked....
I recently had to stage an intervention with a friend who’s more a music fanatic than an audiophile. He has an Exposure integrated that I helped him pick out many years ago, and he wrote me recently, about to discard it in favor of a $1200 Sansui 9090 - because he’d been reading the internet. His bottleneck is his speakers, he’s never heard what his amp can do. Happily I headed off that detour.
 

prime minister

Site Owner
Staff member
One problem with discussions like this is, "Compared to what?".

Is it just two items of the same vintage? And old one vs a new one? All electronics have gotten better or cheaper. Do we make the comparison between legitimate manufacturers, who do real engineering, or include those who steal design and engineering from others. Do we include companies that offer real warranties and service, or include those who just sell through eBay, and you take your own chances if it fails or burns your house down. For that matter, do we include kits in this comparison too? Hard to compare apples to apples.
 

fiddlefye

Senior Member
One problem with discussions like this is, "Compared to what?".

Is it just two items of the same vintage? And old one vs a new one? All electronics have gotten better or cheaper. Do we make the comparison between legitimate manufacturers, who do real engineering, or include those who steal design and engineering from others. Do we include companies that offer real warranties and service, or include those who just sell through eBay, and you take your own chances if it fails or burns your house down. For that matter, do we include kits in this comparison too? Hard to compare apples to apples.
Absolutely. Unless you're talking about "new" gear even getting into discussing what is more or less expensive is a walk into the unknown. In terms of used gear do we talk about what something cost us and compare on that basis, or do we go with the original list prices and adjust for inflation where necessary? Even the price of apples is hard to compare these days!
 

Shelby1420

Super Moderator
Staff member
Have had many of these situations but the most recent would have to be the Kenwood KD 990 being outdone in this house by the Pioneer PL 570. Great thing was that I had both here at the same time so could go back and forth to make my decision! Had very high expectations re the Kenny from things I read, however, just not my cup of tea!!
 

prime minister

Site Owner
Staff member
Have had many of these situations but the most recent would have to be the Kenwood KD 990 being outdone in this house by the Pioneer PL 570. Great thing was that I had both here at the same time so could go back and forth to make my decision! Had very high expectations re the Kenny from things I read, however, just not my cup of tea!!
You had a mismatch of some kind there. All things being equal, the Kenny will thump the Pioneer. I've been inside both of them, and there is no comparison.
 

Shelby1420

Super Moderator
Staff member
You had a mismatch of some kind there. All things being equal, the Kenny will thump the Pioneer. I've been inside both of them, and there is no comparison.
Lol!! Yup, read this and figured I would experience the same.... sold the Kenny for a small profit and am tickled pink with the Pioneer!!! I’ve run across this several times with audio gear or tubes supposed to be much better than that one, just not to my ears!! Kenny was nice but just found I kept wanting to put the Pioneer back in, could not be more comfortable with that decision. In fact, truth be told, am loving every time I turn on the system, holy shit it sounds great!!! Best I’ve had in the house, hands down!!
 

prime minister

Site Owner
Staff member
Lol!! Yup, read this and figured I would experience the same.... sold the Kenny for a small profit and am tickled pink with the Pioneer!!! I’ve run across this several times with audio gear or tubes supposed to be much better than that one, just not to my ears!! Kenny was nice but just found I kept wanting to put the Pioneer back in, could not be more comfortable with that decision. In fact, truth be told, am loving every time I turn on the system, holy shit it sounds great!!! Best I’ve had in the house, hands down!!
Its not like I know I don't know the Pl-570. I know it very well. My old technician friend John had one, and we must have done a couple of dozen comparisons between it and other tables of the era. And yes, it was serviced and set up well. Lets just say it wasn't an overwhelming winner.....

Having heard your systems in the past, if you really think it's the best table you have had, then I know what to get you for your birthday:

72c6db97658832cd1eddf3b1b7380093.jpg
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
Its not like I know I don't know the Pl-570. I know it very well. My old technician friend John had one, and we must have done a couple of dozen comparisons between it and other tables of the era. And yes, it was serviced and set up well. Lets just say it wasn't an overwhelming winner.....

Having heard your systems in the past, if you really think it's the best table you have had, then I know what to get you for your birthday:

View attachment 36012
Nah, that just says "great for watching TV", nothing about turntables there, I say it's likely incompatible.
 
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