I am curious how people perceive the build quality of BS players. I have four players and three of them have needed service and one is not performing up to spec. To sum it up:
1. The Pulse Flex (first version) stopped playing sound after two years of operation. The headphone jack was the problem. Has been sent to Denmark for repair. Once returned it played music but the touch panel resonated: too disturbing and should have been noticed at the repair station. It got replaced with a refurbished Pulse Flex, but this one was even worse. The bass driver touched it's housing (maybe not centered correctly): shame this had been shipped as refurbished. In the end I received a new Flex 2i. This one worked (since it was new), but the 2i sounds less lively as the original Flex.... It's not an improvement.
2. My Node 2 stopped playing, solid red LED. I opened it and two capacitors in the power supply were visually defective. Cheap no-brand Chinese ones, so do not expect these players to last very long. After three/four years "always on" these caps become very unreliable, affecting sound quality and even operation in the end. I replaced the caps with Japanese quality caps. This Node 2 will last way longer now.
3. The Node 2 has become very sticky, due to the rubber coating disintegrating. This after only three years operation. This coating is applied on ALL 2 and 2i series players so expect sticky devices after three/four years of ownership. This cannot be fixed, your player will look nastier every time you try to clean it. My Pulse 2 players also start to developing stickiness.
4. One of my two Pulse 2 players started tripping the protection in the amp section. After only 18 months of operations. It's sent to Denmark today for service. Could be capacitor related as well. Or a badly installed heatsink...
5. The other Pulse 2 works fine so far but cannot be used in "amp standby mode" for low idle power consumption. When the player enters this mode it makes a hiss/resonating coil sound. Sitting in the same room (when it's quiet) is impossible for longer periods, so this mode is not usable.
Al together, you may understand this is rather disappointing. What are other experiences with and opinions on the build quality of the BS players?
My assumption would be the designers, especially the audio engineers, did a great job, except for the rubber coating: NEVER use this again! The supply chain managers however selected the production facility and components on price, resulting in very poorly build players.
My suggestion would be to move production out of China and to an area in the world where quality is the default (and labour conditions are transparent). And only source respected and proven components. Bluesound is higher end gear and should be build and sourced this way. That's why I and others are prepared to pay a premium.
My Question to the Bluesound board of directors, what are your plans for the future? How will you solve all these sticky players out there? And will players I (might) buy next be better build? If not, what are your brand managers making as your promise? Damage control is definitely needed. I'm very disappointed in Bluesound devices quality overall considering how they are positioned and priced.
I look forward to hear views from other owners and the Bluesound board.
Edited 09:55 CET for typos.
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