I am starting this to it's own new thread as I feel the world should know how RAM treated my transaction so other may be be warned!!!
Several years ago, I waited three years for Kyle of Reference Audio Mods to complete the personally hand selected components for my "World Class, West Coast Showroom System". $28,000 later I have one of the MOST BEAUTIFUL BOAT ANCHOR SYSTEMS he ever made. I traveled over 35 times taking 3 1/2 hours in each road trip to his parent's house to check progress and observed him working at his mother's kitchen table, only to find that half of our appointments were not kept as he hadn't made it home from the night before, that's what we began and how he treated my business!!
Here is a list of unresolved issues from day one:
1. Custom Marantz 8260 universal Multi-channel CD/DVD transport W/Cocobola Chassis that was reduced to and from the 1st day didn't play anything more than a few select Cd's in redbook 2 ch., within the first year stopped playing altogether. Marantz refused to service the dreaded TOC error as Klyle's work negated the warrentee which he also refused to honor. Instead he handed me a transport from another Marantz 8260 telling me I could fix it myself!!!
2. Silver Rock TVC preamp in a Custom Cocobola Chassis that despite my repeated requests STILL only has ONE input. Too difficult for you Kyle? I only paid excess of $5000 for this little GEM!
3. Custom made Carver ZR-1600 D Class Amp that he smoked right in front of my eyes and dispute a world wide power advertisement campaign between he and his last Carver client he quickly discontinued as unreliable but refused to take back. Oh yes, he matched this 600 watt pro audio amp with his 98db efficient 60 watt $10,600 bent wood horn speakers that blew the tweeters in the first 2 months of use. A short in the way he wired up the output RCA's caused the problem with the AMP and the speaker failure in one swift act! To his credit was repaired yet I still couldn't stand the high frequency hiss that remained and could be heard over the music, I never was able to use and I replaced. Later I found two HUGE Oil In Paper capacitors (a $300 charge for these) that were NOT even hooked up & super glued inside, his excuse was that he tried to cure the lack luster bass response (which didn't work out and said he left in place for me to try again later). Nice eh?? This piece O' Crap cost me $4,500!!! Oh, did I mention the 30 LB. $1500 custom transformer? Later I learned that this amp was sold for $1000 and returned from another dissatisfied customer who didn't like the sound either and threatened to sue. Thanks for the memories!! !!
4. Kyle delivered his custom $5,500 power filter system that amounted to a series of coils, capacitors and a huge transformer that sat loosely on two pieces of 2x6 boards he found behind his father's garage. His promises to install in a covered hard wood box for my protection left unfinished and proved to be a fire hazard and with open wiring had to be removed so my dogs didn't electrocute themselves. Kyle are these products UL approved???
5. AS a 30 yr veteran jeweler I watched Kyle work with limited tools, a cheap Weller solder iron and his fathers Fluke Multimeter. What no scope or any other testing gear? I observed and heard his excuse for absolutely the worst soldering techniques where he feels that globs of solder, like super glue was excessively used as he had past problems in shipping returns as his work was such a mess. Real "CRAPS MAN SHIP" here folks, I personally bought him a MetCal solder station which did help but his sloppy workmanship remains a genuine problem. I can't trust him to fix and can't sell for parts.
His response to all of these issues was "Jim if you want MORE sound, you'll have to pay for it"??
At the time Kyle came highly recommended and I gave him a few thousand dollars per month to work with. I pleaded him to use a much higher ended Marantz player and a completely different AMP choice. But, he guaranteed his work as the end result could be obtained with "less expensive" components and his magic (is this what is refereed to as SNAKE OIL?) his extremely poor choices COST me BIG $$$$. There was a great deal of inside press from another RAM Carver modded customer who spewed misconceptions all over the web as being the next great coming as a "World Class Amp". Press that didn't go unrewarded by Kyle, I might add. Carver gifted this person another AMP for Kyle to mod, both free of charge. After Kyle smoked my AMP he quickly retired further design/development as he claimed this AMP to be "unreliable" and offered to start over with his NEWEST AMP provided I was willing to pay, but..no refund for Jim. A real self defeating debacle that I have been way to quiet about for way too long.
No, I didn't have piles of cash around and took me years to finally pay off all my credit cards from these two beautiful boat anchors. It wasn't until I withheld payments that I realized that he wasn't going to make good on this sale. There is still an outstanding balance of $1400.00.
This project started and elevated as many of these do as I wanted a high end CD player and finally a complete Audio Consulting/RAM system. Pride of ownership was also elevated as I was promised this was to be a " RAM West Coast Show System" provided I was willing to entertain his clients in my home. I desired the best system I could possible buy and I foolishly gave him the latitude to do develop one for me. What a fool will do at these moments. As my long term interest as an IT person was to have a reference system to compare and develop computer audio, we discussed partnership of audio designs. At the time I was intrigued/enamored with his own wood chassis, a VERY high ended Marantz shown at the RMAF show and that player won many shootouts. Kyle's father being a lutherie and had made the woodworking all possible. The design was one of my choosing, the horrific CD/AMP component choices were Kyles and Kyles alone. That became the biggest the problem as he proceeded as he does with many to choose products he desires to develop mods for and gives the first guy a little discount...no discounts for Jim. To my dismay he unloaded a great deal of expensive Audio Consulting products that he used/demoed personally. The AMP was a complete disaster as it was a HUGE mismatch, had lack luster bass and a high pitched hiss that was never corrected. In short, I was sold on the Audio Consulting design and philosophy of materials and their effect on sound. But, I was delivered an unfinished and incomplete components and left holding the bag for close to $28000.00.
So the mods and component choice was all Kyles along with the implementation he left unfinished and defective. The wood choice and design was all mine and his father created them for his son's needs. He was a very kind and devoted father. Kyle made some very poor and VERY, VERY expensive choices that remain useable today. He refuses to fix, I don't trust him and I can't sell them for parts.
I feel the world should be warned and aware of what kind of businessman he truly is....