@Audeze won't get $2000 from me

Tales of poor customer service.

Disclaimer

This is a post from a disgruntled customer. Take it with a grain of (bath) salt. Opinions expressed are mine and mine only.

Overview

If you are an aficionado of music and technology, like I am, you have probably spent some time on Head-Fi scouting for the best pair of headphones available in the market. After reading review after review for months on their forum and Steve Guttenberg of The Audiophiliac claimed that they were "the best-sounding full-size headphone on the plant", it was decided that Audeze LCD-2 should be on top of my list.   

Recently been bit by the audiophile bug, I decided to save up all the money I could to build my audio rig starting with purchasing a pair of premium headphones - the famed Audeze LCD-2.

Below is a story of my experiences with Audeze who has a Pied Piper like following.

Incident 1

I purchased my first pair of Audeze LCD-2 audiophile headphones from the fantastic folks at SoundEarphones (Adam & Jake) around Thanksgiving of 2012 after waiting for months for the right moment to spring for an expensive pair of headphones.

A few days later, I was in possession of the famed headphones. I plugged them in, and they sounded WONDERFUL. Controlled bass. Perfect tonality. I was in love with Audeze... or so I thought.

Only after two days of use here is what happened:

NOV 29, 2012  |  10:26AM EST

Hey Adam,

Got some bad news for you. I got my headphones in Tuesday, and used them for two days, and today the left headphone driver is completely dead. I checked the headphone amp with another pair of headphones, worked fine. I also swapped the right mini-XLR cable to the left to see if the cable was faulty. It isn't.

How do we fix this? Disappointed that a $1000 pair of headphones can't even last a week.

Best,
Shubs

Meanwhile I thought it would be smart to reach out to the customer service team at Audeze to see if they would replace my headphones since the Rosewood variety wasn't in stock at SoundEarphones.

Being spoiled by the Customer Service at SoundEarphones, I requested that they overnight a pair of new headphones because they stopped working within days of use rather than their company policy of repairing the headphones and returning them.

Was I asking for too much?

While Audeze did offer to replace them with a new pair later, I was done dealing with them and decided to work directly with Adam @ SoundEarphones, who was apologetic and offered to mitigate the solution ASAP. After nearly 2 week wait I was reunited with a new pair of headphones. Sent overnight with a shipping label to return the broken pair.

I was naive to think that dark days were behind me...

Incident 2

Sometime in December, while casually listening to music I heard a loud snap. I immediately took my headphones off to inspect what happened. I noticed that the wooden ring on the left driver had snapped.

I decided to be done with it and realize that is how I'd be using them. In a moment of hope, I reached out to SoundEarphones and they suggested that I contact Audeze directly. I couldn't be bothered to reach out to Audeze Support again and deal with their team.

In the meantime, I had shared my experience via Instagram with a columnist + audio evangelist who was kind enough to personally pass the message along to the CEO of Audeze, Alex Rosson.

After numerous tries my friend from Instagram apologized saying "sorry man... I tried! Not sure what else I can do". This was in February.

I finally took to Twitter in the middle of March and tried to reach out to the CEO of Audeze, Jason Stoddard of Schitt Audio (FYI - They make great products at fantastic value. I own the Lyr and Bifrost.), and other audiophiles sharing my experience with them.

Within hours I was contacted by, Tasvee, a member of their support team. She apologized for the poor service I had gotten and promised to remedy it by sending me an overnight return label and promised that they would replace the wooden rings for me and have the headphones back to me as quickly as possible.

After my conversation with Tasvee, I felt comforted that she was on it and that it would be resolved. Finally, Audeze will fix my headphones! So I packed all the stuff and shipped it away.

A week later, I get my headphones back...

You know how bad things in happen in threes?

Incident 3

When I shipped my headphones out, I thought it would be smart to send them everything that came with it. Headphones, Cables, Wood Care Kit, Charts etc.

As soon as I shipped it out, I let Tasvee know that they were on the way and coyly asked if they would upgrade the LCD-2 and send me the LCD-3 (the big brother) instead. A couple of days later, I was told that they would be shipping out a brand new pair of LCD-2. I was ecstatic with the gesture, while they weren't LCD-3's I wasn't going to complain.

On March 14th, I saw that the boxed arrive so I took it to work the next day as soon as I opened it up I realized the hard case was an old tattered one. They had repaired the cracked wooden rings on my headphone and sent them back. While I was expecting a brand new pair, I was still okay with having them back.

But that's all they sent back. No cables, wood care kit or charts associated with the my headphones. How was I supposed to use them without cables?

I reached out to Tasvee again and she said that the shipping team couldn't track the stuff I had sent so they would mail me the rest of the stuff.

Conclusion

I'm not the type of person that will write a post about my experiences and write negative opinions about a brand. I do give them credit for trying but is it wrong to expect a different level of service from a company that sells $1000+ premium headphones to the audiophile market?

As someone who is a youngling-audiophile and brand loyal customer, I don't see myself spending another dollar on Audeze products (let alone buying the $2000 LCD-3) despite them sounding great!   

Now, let me ask you...

  • Am I being unreasonable by writing this blog post?
  • How would you have dealt with it?
  • What would be a reasonable response from Audeze?
  • How would you want Audeze to fix this situation?

Please feel free to share this with fellow audiophiles and enthusiasts.