This thread is about finally getting your Moby Dick, the brass ring, the Holy Grail, etc., and being let down! This thread is in no way meant to bash gear that people may already have and love. Think of it as wine-tasting and being permitted to disagree about bouquets, finishes, and that sort of thing. I'll go first: 1) Luxman R-117 receiver. Oh man, did I want one of these! I had heard so much about it--160 WPC, Darth Vadar looks, etc. I put a couple WTB ads out and promptly got one with original box and remote. It was in very good condition and everything seemed in order functionally, but . . . it sounded kind of thin to me, especially at low to moderate listening levels. Yes, it could go loud, but something was missing. A soul, perhaps? I paired with different, very respectable speakers (Yorx, J.C. Penny, My Little Kitty--just kidding) and it never really made any of them sing. A few years into ownership it refused to turn on (if it could talk, it would have sounded like the robot on Lost in Space when it got upset: "Mayday! Mayday! Danger, Will Robinson!"). Turns out the solder joints on the relays had gone bad, and after lots of unpleasant soldering and many curses, I finally got it working again. 2) Martin Logan Preface speakers. I stumbled onto a demo pair in a Magnolia. They sounded great in the store and best of all, could handle something like 250 watts (this was during my Quest for Deafness phase). Well, the Martin Logan Prefaces are quite lovely, with metal grilles clasped via invisible magnets, and are shaped like truncated pyramids. They really didn't fit in our house. Anywhere. And no matter what I did I couldn't get them to sound like they had in the store (not the first person this has happened to, I'm sure). If I could get really far away from them, like perched at the top of the stairs, they started sounding good, but my ass got tired. Just before the CL buyer showed up, I was wiping the dust off them and noticed a tiny wheel looking back at me from inside the rear port. I hunkered down for a closer look and yes, there were about twenty Hot Wheels (we call them Hot Weasels) inside the speaker, piled on top of the crossover. My son had been busy. And I thought he only liked climbing the Martin Logans! Speakers were opened, Hot Wheels were removed (I'm 98% sure I got all of them), and Martin Logan Prefaces were sold to a very grateful young Bostonian at a price I will not mention. 3) Marantz 2230 receiver. I grew up around one of these--my friend's dad had one in his den and we cranked it all the time. Now before you get all hot and bothered on me, this is a sad tale of bad luck, not a bad receiver. The 2230 is an outstanding receiver, and my friend (who inherited the 2230 when his dad moved on to a new black behemoth of a Yamaha with red lights) has had absolutely no issues with his, ever. After years of searching for one on Ebay, I finally spotted one for what I thought was reasonable green, $100 USD, and I pulled the trigger. Boy, did I pull the trigger. The outside was clean, very clean, but when I opened up the case . . . it looked like a cross between an animal pelt and an amplifier, and it smelled like one, too. I never could get rid of the smell. It sort of worked for about ten minutes, then died, never to work again, ever, despite my perpetual thrusting of Digi-Key parts into its nether regions with a zest usually reserved for chopping wood. Feeling very much like Wyle E. Coyote when the Roadrunner watches an anvil drop on his head, I sold the faceplate and some of the knobs but kept the rest, thinking "Some day we'll meet again, 2230." About a year ago I found a very clean-looking 2230 which turned out to be very clean inside, too. The seller had a foam-packing machine and the 2230 was delivered in a comfort it had probably never known since shipping out of Tokyo in its original styrofoam cocoon. I didn't get a chance to listen to it until very late that night, so headphones it was, with lowly FM as a source. Well, I'd never heard Time of My Life sound so good, and from the FM tuner section of a 40 year old receiver! Delicious audio goodness, finally! Convinced the 2230 curse was over, I hunted down a reproduction case, happily paying a man in Missouri to craft an absolutely gorgeous walnut piece for me. The man took such pride in his work that he had had a bunch of custom fleece slipcovers sewn to ship each of his cases in (with a pants-load of standard packing material, of course--not just the slipcover). The 2230 was now Good to Go. Showroom beautiful and audibly sound. No, turns out the devil dog Marantz was not Good to Go. It was not even Open to the Idea of Go. Within a month of getting its fancy new cabinet, it began dropping one of its channels. No worries! Just needs some DeOxit in the pots, right? At worst, touch up some solder joints, yes? Ah, no. The issue became progressively worse despite repeated and increasingly desperate applications of what has to be one of the most expensive spray substances in the world, leading me to believe a re-cap was in order, and I duly paid for an all-parts-included 2230 rebuild kit. I capped and recapped and recapped some more. I did a board at a time then tested the receiver each time afterwards to make sure I didn't screw something up. Amazingly, I didn't screw anything up and amazingly, the weak channel persisted no matter how many caps I continued to replace. Convinced the problem must be in one of the more obscure boards (I had already done the power supply, the R and L power output boards, the main caps), I now probed the darkest, deepest recesses of the 2230, clutching my Stahl soldering iron like a sword. When I say darkest, deepest recesses, I mean the tone and phono boards, and may I say working on boards at 1 am is not a good idea? Because if you put that big blue capacitor at the edge of the board in backwards, and do the same thing with a bunch of transistors, you will be treated to the sight of a tiny carbon resistor on the power supply board going up in smoke. Fast forward to right now, 10 p.m. on this day. AK member Catrafter, a Marantz specialist, has rebuilt the phono board for me. Perfectly. With a printed performance report. This man is the real deal and a gentleman to boot. I am not going to install the phono board tonight, as it is too late (see preceding paragraph), and while I'm not sure I will ever fix this most recent 2230, I can say that it has been a journey of epic proportions and epic ineptitude. Ok, YOUR hi-fi sad story! Tell me all. I will listen, I will dry your tears (from a distance, don't worry--I actually do not get out much and when I do I don't get very far), and I will understand your pain.