The Life and Death of Great Audio Products

Every once in a blue moon, the stars align and something in one of my systems goes kaput. These days, it seems to be centered mainly around the headphone setup.

Bad luck first struck with the Cavalli Liquid Carbon – hum when using balanced input to single-ended output (fixed, thankfully) and then a noisy single-ended output, no matter which input was used (deemed normal). I sold it and got my money back, so all was well in personal audio land. Or so I thought.

Then I had not one, but two Meridian Explorer 2’s give up the ghost. The second time the Explorer croaked was right at the beginning of a Head-Fi meet and as luck would have it, somebody was looking forward to listening to it besides me.


So I threw my hands up in the air after testing it on another laptop confirming the brickage and declared utter defeat. At this point I wasn’t looking for an exchange, only to have to turn around a few months later and do it all over again. Luckily the dealer I bought it from, TTVJ Audio, allowed me to return it for a full refund. Todd is one of the best in the business.

The most recent episode? Well, that belongs to the headphones themselves, my Audeze LCD-XC’s. I haven’t had them long enough to add the moniker ‘trusty’ to them, though they receive the most head time by a wide margin. I picked them up at the end of a long day, placed them over my ears, cued up “Since I’ve Been Loving You” to get some Led out, and could only hear music through the left earcup. Nothing on the right. Nada. Zilch.

Hoping that I somehow misconfigured my laptop’s sound system, I reached for my NAD VISO HP50’s, plugged them in, and played the track again. Music in stereo. Damn.

The good idea fairy floated another theory – hey, maybe the cables were broke. I swapped left for right and right for left at the headphone end and hit play again. Once more, music in mono, panned hard left.

To their credit, Audeze responded within an hour of my email to tech support and furnished me with an RMA number. Excellent customer service so far. I’ll revisit this topic once the XC’s return.


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