What Audio Gear Ended Up Being Better Than You Initially Thought?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by luckybaer, Nov 21, 2018.

  1. luckybaer

    luckybaer Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Missouri
    Have you purchased a piece of gear with relatively low expectations or not expecting much, only to have it impress you?

    I purchased Bose SoundSport bluetooth headphones because I often got tangled up with wired headphones while working out, and the idea of not being tethered to my iPhone while at work was appealing.

    I wasn't expecting much from them in the way of sound quality, but I was pleasantly surprised. I thought they would have bloated, fart cannon bass, but they had adequate, inoffensive bass. The mids and the highs were acceptable, too. The battery life met the marketing fluff's numbers, and the case that also serves as a battery/charger is awesome.

    On the downside, they don't isolate much, so I've got to crank the volume on my iPhone to over 50% while I'm at the gym. Also, after wearing them for about 45 minutes, my ears start to feel irritated by the rubber ear inserts. Other than that, I really don't have any complaints. Oh, and if someone calls me while I'm wearing them, a simple push of the button seamlessly moves me from music to phone call. Ergonomics are top notch, IMO.

    As far as audiophile-ish stuff, I've never purchased something with low expectations. That would be crazy to drop serious $$ on something I didn't think I would like! I've also been lucky - I've been happy with all my purchases.
     
    ThorensSme likes this.
  2. csgreene

    csgreene Forum Resident

    Location:
    Idaho, USA
    Pretty much everything I've owned over the past 50 years. Some people would tell me this thing or that thing was crap. Not to me it wasn't. :)
     
    Bruno Primas likes this.
  3. PhxJohn

    PhxJohn Forum Resident

    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    The GE VR 1000 cartridge. I expected to be disappointed after having tried a GE VR-22. The GE surprised me with the dynamics, channel separation, and a touch more realism. My favorite cartridge until I can afford a London.
     
  4. LivLif

    LivLif New Member

    Location:
    Washington DC
    Snell Type E IIIs. Fell in love with them!
     
    jupiterboy, Shiver and Wasabi like this.
  5. Bathory

    Bathory 30 yr Single Malt, not just for breakfast anymore

    Location:
    usa
    Energy RC-70’s. Speakers.

    Most amazing speakers I’ve ever heard, owned.
    Smooth, detailed, relaxing, ZERO FATIGUE. with me for life. '
     
    rodentdog and PhxJohn like this.
  6. PhxJohn

    PhxJohn Forum Resident

    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    That is how I feel about my AR 3a's. :-plnktn-:
     
  7. searing75

    searing75 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Western NY
    Old Shure M75
     
    H8SLKC likes this.
  8. Bathory

    Bathory 30 yr Single Malt, not just for breakfast anymore

    Location:
    usa

    Acoustic research???

    IN LOVE?!!,!
     
    PhxJohn likes this.
  9. Claude Benshaul

    Claude Benshaul Forum Resident

    The AT LP-120USB that I bought to replace an RP1 and the SONOS PLAY:1 speakers I installed in the bedroom. Both did exactly what they were designed to do and while I gave away the LP120 I'm still enjoying the SONOS a lot.
     
  10. Cyclone Ranger

    Cyclone Ranger New old stock

    Location:
    Best Coast USA
    Monster Cable, back in the ‘80s. Had previously been connecting up my speakers with very skinny ‘lamp wire’.

    Expected to hear only a small difference, if any, instead it was more like a medium-sized to large one, and very well worth it.

    Though I do think we’ve gone a little crazy with ultra-high-end interconnects and cables nowadays. :sigh:
    .
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2018
    Fishoutofwater and bever70 like this.
  11. missan

    missan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Stockholm
    As I am a cheapskate I bought a Technics 1200II very cheap. I didn´t like it at all, except the drive system which is really excellent. It took a lot of work to make the TT really good. Now I´m really, really pleased with it, it works and sounds wonderful.
     
  12. Sterling1

    Sterling1 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    My Sony PS-4750 Manual Turntable, which I purchased 44 years ago, is still delivering everything there is in the groove to get. I recently purchased a Technics SL-1210 GR, thinking it would perform better. So far, the only thing the Technics does better is adapt to proper cartridge alignment with greater ease.
     
    luckybaer likes this.
  13. Grey Alien

    Grey Alien Well-Known Member

    I've been using K44 headphones, for I think almost 20 years now.

    I know you all would scoff at such "low end" cans but I've been down the upgrade road ended up back at the K44s.

    I'm so used to them now anything else sounds off to me. Blast metal CD's through them most of the time.
     
  14. johnny q

    johnny q Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bergen County, NJ
    For my wife's 10 year anniversary her company gave her a Panasonic home theater in a box system. And.....it sounds damn fine!
     
    Manimal likes this.
  15. Wasabi

    Wasabi Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Lutz, FL
    Man, I heard the E IIIs and some other Snells back in the early 90s and thought they sounded awesome. Just a two way with a rear tweeter too. I had (still have) Polk Audio SDA CRS+ speakers at the time and almost replaced them with the E IIIs.
     
  16. Netnomad

    Netnomad Well-Known Member

    My Audiolab M-One intergrated amp. Sounds really good and so versatile with Bluetooth and USB connections and the onboard DAC is excellent so now use my Marantz CD 52 SE as a transport only.
     
  17. Melvin

    Melvin Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Chromecast Audio .. I use it for streaming Pandora and TuneIn mainly but even with my own library of flac files it sounds better than expected using the optical connection.
     
    Dave_L likes this.
  18. LivLif

    LivLif New Member

    Location:
    Washington DC
    So sad! Ended up having to send them back to the seller. One of the rear tweeters wasn’t working. Would of just ordered another as you can still get parts for them but I paid a premium for them and the seller wouldn’t give me any discount because of the broken tweeter. So bummed. Now I’m back to the search for a type k, j or e.
     
  19. Loop 7

    Loop 7 Active Member

    A Marantz AVR I bought used ($175) while a power amp went in for repair.

    Can't believe how clean the highs are.
     
  20. Gie663

    Gie663 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Flanders (Belgium)
    The Sonos play:3 speaker. I didn’t have much expectations about it since it only provides some music in the kitchen, but this little speaker fills the space quite elegantly.
     
    DPC likes this.
  21. Fishoutofwater

    Fishoutofwater Forum Resident

    My DSP. Before installing it believed those forum members that said i would hear a fall in sound quality. Glad to say they were wrong.
     
  22. allied333

    allied333 TUBE AMPLIFIER REBUILDER - inquire

    Location:
    Fenton, MI
    Allied 333 tube receiver with audio coupling capacitor upgrades. This simple amp had outperformed all other vintage & upgraded amps so far.
     
  23. Shiver

    Shiver Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    Rega DAC (non R). Bought only to run Chromecast through (no optical input in main DAC at the time) but surprised how fundamentally good it sounded when tried as part of the main system. Great value 2nd hand.
     
  24. Echoes Myron

    Echoes Myron Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Not sure if it fits the question but here goes.

    Loved the KEF LS50 right out of the box but after a few months the midrange opened up to the most glorious sound. These speakers far exceeded my (very high) expectations.
     
    Wasabi and luckybaer like this.
  25. ayrehead

    ayrehead It was like that when I found it...

    Location:
    Germantown, Tn
    For me it was the Quad 12L2 loudspeaker. That along with the 11L2. Still two of the best small speakers I've ever heard.
     

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