Updates: Magnepan, Berkeley Audio, AudiAV


This is definitely a hobby that would be well-served by a magically replenishing pot of gold. Either that, or access to piles and piles of cash. Sadly, I have neither. Which is vexing.

I am currently still waiting on my Magnepan 3.7 order. According to DB Schenker, they’re in Baltimore right now, which means my dealer should have them tomorrow. Unfortunately, they’re not shipping directly to me, but my dealer. Tom Unger, the owner of The Gifted Listener in Centreville, VA, has very graciously offered to bring them up to my house and help me set them up. So, barring mishap, I should have my brand-spankin’ new speaks Tues or Wed evening.


That’s the good news. I wish I could say all was well with my other two orders, however. AudiAV still hasn’t shipped me the platforms for the Zirconia rack I ordered back in June. I have the supports, but no posts and no platforms, and no idea when the missing pieces will arrive. Yikes.

In other news, Berkeley Audio seems to have all necessary parts on hand to finish the build of their first-run of their new Alpha USB converter. But … yeah. Well, it turns out that those parts aren’t exactly the same as what was shipped to them as samples. Problem? Not necessarily, but they’re now testing the crap out of them to see if they’re up to the same level of quality that Berkeley has been demanding. If they are, well and good — shipments should start flowing out “any day now”. If not, we could be looking at another 2-3 month delay — though that’s just a wild guess. Double yikes.

Be On Time (a rant)

All these delays have got me remembering how I spent last year — sitting on my hands. I ordered speakers from Merlin and components from Joule-Electra back in May of 2010. I was told at ordering time that the everything would take no more than 90 days to deliver. Needless to say, that didn’t happen, the 90 day window came … and went.

I eventually took delivery of the components — 180 days after order. The speakers took an additional 60 days on top of that (240 days!). Sure, yes, I was told along they way that there were delays. Problems sourcing materials. That quality control needed to take precedence. An artist could not be rushed. I was told to be patient. That my patience would be rewarded. That is, I was told these things when I could actually get someone on the phone. No one actually bothered to reach out to me. At any point. And yes, everything eventually showed up.


Seriously? 6 months to deliver on a tube amp? 8 months to deliver speakers? And as far as I can tell, this kind of wait is actually short for some companies. Which is fine, but I’m not talking about wait lists. I’m talking about blown delivery windows. When you’re told that a given item would ship by some date and that date isn’t even remotely close to the actual delivery date. Companies that know that they have logistics issues but still take your money up front and just pull a date out of their asses and act surprised and contrite when that date goes down like the Hindenburg.

“Nuts to that,” says I.

Look, I understand how certain things can get away from you, but come on. Get real.

So, my question: is there a point at which logistical incompetence ought to result in a financial penalty? I think the answer is a resounding “yes”. If you fuck up, fine, tell me — but then recompense me for my time. Simple. Not only will I be less pissed off having my money tied up in an order that may or may not ever arrive, but I might actually be pleased at how up front you’re being. Hell, I might even order from you again. Maybe.

On the other hand, if you can’t deliver — and you know you can’t deliver — stop playing games with us consumers. Don’t take my freakin’ order! Better still? Put a hold on all new product orders! Set up a queue and take my money only when you know you’re going to deliver and when.

Fuck that up completely? Then you owe me money.

All these new product delays just have me annoyed. Is it obvious?

Magnepan isn’t doing too bad. I ordered back in April and I knew going in that I wouldn’t see product before August. In fact, no one even gave me a date until I was 60 days in to my order. And then, that date was a “some time in August”. Magnepan didn’t know, and wouldn’t know, for some time. They didn’t dick around. They didn’t lie to me. And, bless Tom Unger’s heart, they didn’t require me to pay in total up front. Still. 4 months is a long lead time.

As for Berkeley, I have no idea what to say here. This feels a lot like the song and dance I got from Merlin. I mean, hell, they were talking about their Alpha USB as if it were a finished product last summer. They didn’t let us order until March, sure, but here we are, rapidly gunning for what could very easily be a 6 month delivery window. After swearing up and down that it would be “some time this month” every month since the month after they took the order. Let’s just say that I’m getting a little tired of hearing it. This fucking thing had better be God’s Gift.

And now, AudiAV is playing games. The entire rack should have been here back in June. I have pieces of it, but now they’re not answering the phone nor are they returning calls. Seriously? Sheesh.

Yes, this is the peril with seeking out small, local businesses. Larger companies have more resources and those resources can help insulate them from supply issues. They can also afford to pay someone to manage their logistics. But any company can be guilty of being poorly organized. And quite frankly, I prefer to patronize small business. Don’t you?

But I am sick to death of all the obfuscations. All the hand waving. For crying out loud, don’t apologize to me. Deliver.

About Scot Hull 1062 Articles
Scot started all this back in 2009. He is currently the Publisher here at PTA, the Publisher at The Occasional Magazine, and the Executive Producer at The Occasional Podcast. There are way too many words about him over on the Contributors page.


  1. Thanks!
    It’s good to know that they still maintain a reasonably large window for others in the room to enjoy.
    BTW, I went back and read some of your earlier posts and noticed that you had auditioned the Revel Ultima Salon 2s. A friend of mine has these, and they are the first speakers in along time to impress me with their genuine hi-fidelity performance. In his system, they have a naturalness and ease that sounds more like music than hi-fi. The only problem for me, is that they are just too far out of my price range.You seemed to have put a lot of time and due diligence into researching your new reference speakers before you made your decision to go with the Maggies -something I appreciate. I realize that you have only had the Maggies for a day, but would you be willing to share any thoughts on how the 3.7s might fare as a possible alternative to something like the Revels? Is it even reasonable to think this way?

    • I think the Magnepan 3.7 boxes way above its weight class. Obviously. I bought them.

      But that said, they’re Maggies and suffer all the issues that Maggies suffer from. Are they the bassiest speakers around? No. Are they as fast as an ESL? No. But they do so many other things right that it’s almost hard to compare these speakers to more traditional speakers, like the Revels or the KEF 207/2 or the Joseph Audio Pearl 2. I really liked all three speakers. The first two came very strongly & personally recommended by John Atkinson of Stereophile, so I had to hear them. I did. I loved them. Are they perfect, though? Not at all. I think that multi-driver speakers are very hard to make and generally speaking here (take this with a grain of salt, YMMV, &c &c), but the more drivers you have on a speaker, the farther back you’re going to need to sit before all those drivers knit together into a coherent whole. This just isn’t a problem for single driver speakers — and to a lesser extent, panels.

      Okay, all of that said, I do think that if they were the same price, I’d probably have bought any of those other three speakers. I liked them all a lot (well, I liked the Revels least of the bunch, but whatever). But they’re not $5k. Not even close. Each one is over $20k (MSRP) and the Pearls are $28k. So, yeah, if I could get any of them for $5k, I’d be on them like white on rice. But as another thought-experiment, I don’t think that’d be true if they were “only” $15k. These Maggies really are great. I wish they had more deep bass. That’s really my only complaint. That’s it. Speed and whatnot, well, I’m just not missing it. They’re more than “good enough”.

  2. Thanks for sharing with all of us your journey along this path —it’s been fun and very educational!
    If wouldn’t mind, I’d like to inquire about the imaging / set-up. HP in his TAS review commented that he preferred the speakers with the ribbon tweeters on the inside (close to each other) as opposed to the outside position (near the side walls) –and that with the ribbons on the inside, the image and layering became much more focused. My question is whether or not you also prefer this setup, and does having the ribbons on the inside cause the “sweet spot” to be greatly reduced. In other words, does HP’s preferred setup here, result in the speakers behaving like a very beamy electrostatic speaker with that “head-in-a-vice” small sweet spot or are the Maggies still able to create a large sound-field that anyone in the room can enjoy when they are placed thus?


    • I prefer the tweeters on the inside, but then, I have a narrow room (14′), so perhaps that’s just me. In my room, I have to sit pretty far back to get a similar imaging effect when the tweeters on the outside. And no, in my tweeter-in position, there’s no beaming. The sweet spot is still a spot, but the imaging is still quite good over a very large range, which is very different from my experience with Martin Logan, for example.

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