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Thread: People returning their Caimans

  1. #1
    Join Date: May 2010

    Location: Vancouver, Canada

    Posts: 2,166
    I'm Alex.

    Default People returning their Caimans

    I've started hearing about some people who, after purchasing the Caiman, ended up shrugging their shoulders and going 'meh' and returning the DAC (sic!)

    Then I read some testimonials, and true indeed, there are such creatures out there, roaming the wilderness. This is totally baffling to me. I mean, of all people, I was the one who was the most skeptical and the most cynical that a 200 GBP DAC could really make a noticeable improvement in my multi-thousand dollars audio chain. And even after I've received the Caiman, I was non-impressed. Then, after some decent burn-in time, I've suddenly changed my tune.

    But to return this magic component to the manufacturer? It's like returning a BMW and claiming that, hey, my Hyundai or my KIA is as good and as smooth performing in every possible way as this high end BMW! (believe it or not, there are such people who cannot distinguish between the high quality product and a cheap ass one)

    There are only three possible explanations as to why would someone return The Caiman:

    1. They haven't allowed it to burn-in properly (right out of the box this DAC is pretty underwhelming, to say the least)
    2. They have allowed it a proper burn-in time, but they are listening to it on a shitty audio chain
    3. They are overall clueless, as in not being able to taste the difference between a good home cooked meal and some McCrap sandwich

    Have I missed anything?
    Don't you just hate it when you cannot detect where the post ends and a signature line begins?

    Alex.

  2. #2
    Join Date: May 2008

    Location: Lancaster(-ish), UK

    Posts: 16,962
    I'm ChrisB.

    Default

    Have I missed anything?
    Yes,

    4. Some people are more able to believe what they read, or what they are told, more readily than what their own experience tells them.


    P.S. I don't know this for sure with respect to the Caiman, but it's a situation that happens all to often.

  3. #3
    Join Date: Feb 2010

    Location: Moved to frozen north, beyond Inverness

    Posts: 1,733
    I'm Dave.

    Default

    Alex
    Quote Originally Posted by magiccarpetride View Post
    I've started hearing about some people who, after purchasing the Caiman, ended up shrugging their shoulders and going 'meh' and returning the DAC (sic!)

    ...

    Have I missed anything?
    One possibility might be that quality control isn't perfect, so there are significant differences between units. [I'm emphatically not saying this is the case though.] I feel sure that Stan would fix that for anyone who experienced a problem like that.

    I was definitely not certain about mine in the first week or so, before it seemed to improve. I didn't expect that to happen, and I was sceptical. I find it very odd that these things burn in. Is it heat that does it? What changes? Maybe Stan's design takes into account how components change with time, so that he designs the circuits, then chooses components which will converge on to the ideal values over time. Perhaps other manufacturers design circuits then use components which have the correct nominal values, which then diverge from the ideal over time. It's very strange.
    Dave

  4. #4
    Join Date: Feb 2010

    Location: Moved to frozen north, beyond Inverness

    Posts: 1,733
    I'm Dave.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by The Grand Wazoo View Post
    Yes,

    4. Some people are more able to believe what they read, or what they are told, more readily than what their own experience tells them.


    P.S. I don't know this for sure with respect to the Caiman, but it's a situation that happens all to often.
    Another couple of possibilities are:

    5. that the perceived quality depends on the type of music a user wants to play.

    6. the quality of the recordings being played is inferior to the equipment being used, so the faults are blamed on the kit, not on the recordings. [not sure if you had that one already ...]
    Dave

  5. #5
    Join Date: May 2010

    Location: Vancouver, Canada

    Posts: 2,166
    I'm Alex.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dave2010 View Post
    Another couple of possibilities are:

    5. that the perceived quality depends on the type of music a user wants to play.

    6. the quality of the recordings being played is inferior to the equipment being used, so the faults are blamed on the kit, not on the recordings. [not sure if you had that one already ...]
    True, that's a good one. Yesterday I tried to play Alex Cuba's "Aqua Del Pozo" CD (http://www.cduniverse.com/productinfo.asp?pid=7994990), but had to switch to listening to something else. Reason? Loudness war! The Caiman doesn't seem to suffer loudness wars gladly. Even though Alex Cuba's music is very, very good, due to the criminal amounts of compression/limiting that the mindless promoters/marketeers insisted on smothering over the master tapes, that music is now not listenable. Sad to say, it is irreparably damaged. While before having the Caiman I could somehow sail through this CD, now with the Caiman in the audio chain this super loud, super dynamics-less CD just grates my ears to no end. Was forced to push the virtual "Eject" button on my remote.

    If that CD and the ones similar to it were the only ones I was using to evaluate the Caiman, then yes, I'd too consider returning the DAC.
    Don't you just hate it when you cannot detect where the post ends and a signature line begins?

    Alex.

  6. #6
    Join Date: Feb 2008

    Location: http://www.homehifi.co.uk

    Posts: 6,282

    Default

    I have has less than ten Caimans returned for a refund. The latest one is from a guy who found a little scratch on the top cover after he used a magnifier o find it. Mind you, I suspected he was a dodgy buyer in the first place.
    From the others, a couple of them bought/got on loan another DAC to compare against the Caiman and decided to send back the Caiman. A few sent their back because it did not do Dolby Prologic decoding. Two people could not hear a difference between their Sonos and the Caiman, and two had a sound compression issue. The latter can happen if the input sensitivity of the amp is 1Vrms or less. The Caiman puts out 2Vrms as per CDP spec.

    Taking into account that I sold close to 1000 pieces of the Caiman I wouldn't consider 10 returned items as a problem. But saying that, I wouldn't be surprised if some people claimed to have returned a Caiman, when they never owned one in the first place. This happened to me when I started off with the TC-7510. I used to read all sorts of stories on that Canadian forum of ill repute where people made all sorts of wild claims about me and the TC-7510, even though I had never sold a DAC to them in the first place.

  7. #7
    Join Date: Mar 2009

    Location: Worcester

    Posts: 6,829
    I'm Hamish.

    Default

    Have you ever called people up on it, and defend your self? I guess it's not really worth the trouble ... But I can imagine that would be pretty funny! I find it very odd that people get opiniated about something they have no experience of almost just for the sake of it...
    Hamish

  8. #8
    Join Date: Feb 2008

    Location: http://www.homehifi.co.uk

    Posts: 6,282

    Default

    Since the days of the TC-7510 I have always offered customers the option of returning their purchase if they didn't get the bangs for bucks that they are looking for . It appears to have been such a good offer, a lot of other DAC sellers around the world ended up adopting a similar policy. But since most of them can only be bought from China and return postage is astronomical (sometimes as much as the cost of the DAC or even more), their customers tend to re-sell their DACs on forums or eBay, audiogon etc.

  9. #9
    Join Date: May 2008

    Location: A Strangely Isolated Place in Suffolk with far away trains passing by...

    Posts: 14,559
    I'm David.

    Default

    Lets be honest, this is a highly subjective industry (sadly) and a properly measuring, uncompressed and good sounding unit will always initially sound "worse" than a highly characterful, possibly distorted and coloured "impressive" item....
    Tear down these walls; Cut the ties that held me
    Crying out at the top of my voice; Tell me now if you can hear me

  10. #10
    Join Date: Feb 2010

    Location: London

    Posts: 59
    I'm George.

    Default

    7. The Caiman (or any piece kit) may be just a matter of personal preference.

    Audio and music is very personal and works more on an emotional level than on an intellectual / measurable way for many (though not all) audiophiles. Since we are on a subjectivist forum most of us are probably more in the former than the latter category.
    George

    Unless otherwise stated My system, My room, My ears, My opinions. Measurements & double blind tests? If you're that interested you do them.
    Kit: Modified Marantz CD7, Eddie Vaughn Carina, Lowther/Graves Audio Speakers, REL Subwoofer Tweaks: (Mapleshade Rack, Mapleshade IC, Kimber Kables, HGA PC, BPT block, Symposium Rollerblocks, Shun Mooks, QRT, Brilliant Pebbles)

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