Heads up!........ifi Phono 2

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by sailfish, Dec 1, 2016.

  1. MondoFanM

    MondoFanM Member from ATX

    Location:
    Austin
    Anyone heard of other products failing? I’ve been using the ifi itube2 since January. A couple of times i heard weird feedback static, but it really increased and went crazy today. Thought it was going to kill my speakers. Turning the volume lower and off on my Peachtree didnt help. I switched cables and it was still present. I’ve taken it out if the system and everything is good.
     
  2. Sir Talbot Buxomly

    Sir Talbot Buxomly Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Neither could I. Reading the comments on that video, I suddenly thought I had a major hearing issue on the horizon...
     
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  3. Classicrock

    Classicrock Forum Resident

    Location:
    South West, UK.
    Yes.
     
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  4. pathguy

    pathguy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Liverpool, NY
    So, after some repeated A/B listening between the iphono2 and EAR 834P, I find that (to my ears, anyway), the overall soundstage is fuller, with a richer, more expressive tone using the EAR. The bottom end definitely has more presence. This is particularly noticeable in quieter or more acoustic music (rather than louder rock or shoegaze stuff). Still, there isn't much to find fault with at all in the iphono2: it more than holds its own.
     
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  5. phantomtides

    phantomtides Well-Known Member

    Location:
    06457
    MY FEELINGS

    (and a few words about iFi Audio)

    Here is a tale about my feelings. And, incidentally, about the iFi iPhono2.

    I bought an iFi iPhono2 second-hand in December. It was in near-perfect condition. I had read a lot of very nice reviews of this unit. I felt excited.

    It stopped working a few weeks later — like one morning, just ... nothing. I felt deflated.

    I checked iFi’s published warranty. My unit still met all of the terms. I felt optimistic.

    The original purchaser sent me a copy of his sales slip to verify that it was within the stated warranty period. I felt grateful.

    I could not find a customer service phone number for iFi. I wondered what kind of company doesn’t have a phone number. Sometimes it’s the kind that doesn’t want to hear from customers. I felt apprehensive.

    I filled out the iFi service form online. A tech responded with a few suggestions that did not, alas, resuscitate the unit. I asked how to go about securing service for a product under warranty. The tech told me that the warranty does not apply to a second purchaser. I felt confused.

    I pointed out that the warranty states no such condition, establishes no such limitation, contains no such words. It just says that it applies one year from the date of purchase, and that my unit met that condition. I felt empowered.

    I knew they would check for themselves and agree. How could they not? It was in plain English. I felt reassured.

    I was told that the policy of AMR, iFi’s parent company, is that warranties do not apply to second purchasers. I felt puzzled.

    Twice I wrote to ask if I had missed something. Twice I asked if the company was applying additional warranty conditions beyond those stated in the warranty. Twice I received no reply to those questions. I felt ignored. Twice.

    The tech offered that a new board would cost $126. I protested politely, and was told that the cost could be reduced to $99 for a “warranty transfer” and “handling charge.” That seemed like an awful lot of “handling” for a board that weighs about six ounces, but I am not in the warranty transfer business, or the handling business, so I can’t claim to know for sure. I felt frustrated.

    I told the tech I though this was unfair. If they insisted on the charge, I said, I would describe the situation online. He told me the company takes that kind of thing very seriously. I felt like I cared deeply.

    Then I realized that AMR is a multi-million-dollar company that’s apparently willing to gamble bad publicity against $99 — or was it $126? — and not just any $99 or $126, but $99 or $126 that would pay for a repair that the warranty stated it would cover.

    Sorry, my error: I just wrote that I felt like I cared deeply, but I was not in touch with my feelings when I wrote that. In fact, I felt like I did not care.

    All of this was taking a lot of time. I told the tech that I thought it was not right, but I decided to cut my losses and pay the $99. (I am principled but I am not an idiot.) I asked for an invoice, which I did not receive. I felt ignored. Again.

    Instead, the tech explained the policy to me once more, very carefully, so I could understand why they would not want to extend a warranty to a product that met all stated warranty conditions. The tech did not address the question of whether the warranty actually contains language that correlates with what the company wants. I felt mumbo-jumboed.

    I am no Pulitzer winner, but I understand the language and ways it can be used to make a plain fact appear to be less plain. I felt patronized.

    Again I asked for an invoice. I received it. I paid it. I felt angry. I also felt a little poorer.

    At that point I was told that the US facility is in Virginia, which — o lucky day! — borders my own state. I’d be back in business in a jiffy! I felt relieved.

    I was told that the staff in Virginia were preparing for an audio show, and I would have to accept a delay. I said that was not acceptable to me. I felt impatient.

    The tale above is a condensed version of an online conversation that took 17 days. It was not for lack of timely responses on my part. I felt exasperated.

    Finally, the tech said they would dispatch the board from the UK, where iFi is located. It arrived nine days later. O happy day! I felt anticipation as I waited for the mail carrier.

    I installed the new board myself. It involved turning 11 hex screws. It takes about four minutes, including locating the hex wrenches. I felt proud of my DIY skills.

    The replacement board did not work. I know because in the meantime I bought a different phono stage. It arrived two days after the replacement. For reasons of my own sanity, I waited to notify iFi until the replacement phono stage arrived to be sure I wasn’t being more of an idiot than I am capable of being. I assumed the replacement would solve the problem. I felt like a great vacuum had descended over my turntable. (Not the kind of vacuum made by VPI or Audiodesk.) I felt dumb.

    I notified iFi. I was asked to ship everything to Virginia. I felt like I had freedom, which is just another word for nothing left to lose.

    They turned it around in a couple of days and returned it to me. They confirmed that the old board was probably the result of “the chip” going bad, and that the replacement board had “low output.” I felt vindicated, sort of. Mostly I just felt like I had lost this game.

    I received the unit promptly. It worked properly. Total cost: $99, plus $8 shipping charges. Total time from initiating the ticket to receiving the functioning replacement: 40 days. What I felt mostly was a bad taste in my mouth. I don’t think it was the PB&J I had for lunch.

    I sold the iPhono2. I realize this story is not the worst thing that ever happened to anybody, but it was enormously frustrating nonetheless.

    I felt like I wouldn’t do business with iFi again. Now there’s something I felt like I could control.
     
  6. dirtymac

    dirtymac Forum Resident

    Location:
    Exile, MN
    After reading your tale, I felt empathetic.
     
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  7. 808_state

    808_state Currently on flame with rock and roll

    This tale or some version of it needs to go on Amazon. Otherwise this heinous kerfuffle of customer disservice will go largely unnoticed. People need to know exactly how inept they really are.
     
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  8. wallabeing

    wallabeing Well-Known Member

    Location:
    United States
    That reads like a really excellent children's book about feelings
     
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  9. Gibsonian

    Gibsonian Forum Resident

    Location:
    Iowa, USA
    I thought we decided that the I phono 2 was a piece of junk and we were done with this thing? I don't know if there is a worse audio company on this planet at the moment.
     
  10. MondoFanM

    MondoFanM Member from ATX

    Location:
    Austin
    I opened a ticket for my Tube2 issue yesterday. I was impressed at the speed of the response and the ease at opening the ticket. We'll see how it goes.
     
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  11. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    It doesn't matter. Every once in a while, somebody different reads the thread and still opts to buy one.

    The promise of getting amazing sound for (comparatively) little is too much to ignore. And there's also an element of "this can't happen to me!" in there, also.
     
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  12. Classicrock

    Classicrock Forum Resident

    Location:
    South West, UK.
    AMR (iphono) sound like a company that should be avoided. I wonder how they treat customers of their full size multi thousand pound product range?
     
  13. Classicrock

    Classicrock Forum Resident

    Location:
    South West, UK.
    I would bet there are many products that offer similar sound for about the same money all beit without the unnecessary degree of user adjustability.
     
  14. phantomtides

    phantomtides Well-Known Member

    Location:
    06457
    Mission achieved. I feel satisfied. (And thanks.)
     
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  15. phantomtides

    phantomtides Well-Known Member

    Location:
    06457
    Haha, thanks. I actually lifted the idea from a short passage in "Clarence Goes Out West & Meets a Purple Horse," a really sweet book I used to read to my kids when they were toddlers. At some point on his train ride to the dude ranch, Clarence realizes he's forgotten his pillow, and he feels anxious — or something like that. Clarence meets an old horse named Smoky, who's about to be sold by the ranch. Spoiler alert — don't read further if you don't want to know how the story ends!!!!!!!!!! Okay, fair warning: Clarence manages to buy Smoky and rides him back home and everything is right with the world. I think I liked the book more than my kids did, lol.
     
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  16. phantomtides

    phantomtides Well-Known Member

    Location:
    06457
    Seriously... over a stupid $99, they could have realized that they intended to support only the original purchaser (a perfectly defensible idea IN THEORY, of course), and said, "Oh, sure, we'll take care of that" — and then changed the warranty. I don't understand what kind of corporate culture doesn't get this. Oh, well, I warned them I'd post my experience if they forced me to pay, and obviously somebody made a decision that it was worth the risk.
     
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  17. HankM

    HankM Forum Resident

    Location:
    Upstate NY
    This thread saved me from even opening mine. Received it and sent it back immediately and gave my money to Lehmann Audio.
     
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  18. 808_state

    808_state Currently on flame with rock and roll

    The kind of culture with a parent company that tells them "we don't make money off of repairs". You would need an internal contact to get reasonable and respectful treatment. Many if not most companies will claim ignorance until enough people complain.
     
  19. phantomtides

    phantomtides Well-Known Member

    Location:
    06457
    Writing gymnastics aside, I tried hard to stick to the facts and let others make judgments. I admit upfront that I don't know what their corporate culture is like. I only know what actually happened. And now you do too!
     
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  20. Squiggsy68

    Squiggsy68 Forum Resident

    In the interests of providing some balance, and not wishing to belittle the difficulties that others have had, I've had one of these since October 2016 and not had any problems from it at all - and a much improved sound to my ears over my previous stage (Heed Questar - now in my second system).

    But I will certainly be mindful of what others have described should anything go wrong. However in the meantime I'm a happy owner and have been for 18 months now.
     
  21. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    Hope for your sake it won't soon start acting up. It happens suddenly and without warning.
     
  22. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    Sorry about your all too common experience.

    There was a hilarious exchange I had in another thread with a fanboy member who refused to acknowledge these experiences meant anything because *his* unit was still working. Being unable to defend that awesome logic, he resorted to insults. LOL! It'd be interesting to see him defend the company's unethical actions this time.

    Again, sorry for this unsurprising tale of woe. It's just best to steer clear of this sadly clueless company. They obviously don't put enough time in R&D to avoid these situations and don't value their customers enough to not nickle and dime them when something goes wrong. Infuriating.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2018
  23. phantomtides

    phantomtides Well-Known Member

    Location:
    06457
    Squig: I don't see that your experience provides balance. I have no doubt that most of the units work properly. But "most" is a pretty poor standard.

    Rather, the problem is twofold: The failure rate seems high from people's descriptions, and, much more important, in my case the company did not stand behind its product OR fulfill its promise as stated in its warranty. It took nearly six weeks to resolve a very simple problem, an extra insult to a customer who dealt with them in good faith and tries at all times to remain polite and understanding.

    I think I am very tolerant of errors — they're a part of life, after all — and I would have ZERO problem with them if the product failed and they honored the warranty as stated in a timely manner.

    In any case, this certainly isn't a personal disagreement with you. I hope yours continues to function well.
     
  24. Gibsonian

    Gibsonian Forum Resident

    Location:
    Iowa, USA
    What's amazing to me is the failure rate seen on such a simple device. How many other phono stages go belly up so early and so often? And without an effective corrective action?

    Only one I've ever heard of.
     
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  25. Mainaman

    Mainaman Active Member

    Location:
    London
    Yes,it's amazing,considering that it is just a solid state phono preamp.
     
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