Reliability statistics for head units?


New member
Username: Redknight

Atlanta, GA USA

Post Number: 5
Registered: Nov-04
Hi folks,

I see a lot of people who don't like Sony HUs here, but they're always citing personal examples.

Does anyone know where we can find reliability statistics? Where large numbers of various HUs have been compared. I personally would be interested in HUs in the $200 range.

Please - I am not asking for your personal experience with one kind of unit or another. Nor a statement that "lots of people have trouble with X". :-) I am asking if anybody knows where large numbers have had stats compiled side by side.

Thanks! :-) - Mike, Atlanta

Gold Member
Username: Glasswolf

NorthWest, Michigan USA

Post Number: 5699
Registered: Dec-03
not on paper, no, but I worked at a shop that sold Sony, and out return/failure rate was so high, and parts were so difficult to get even as an authorized repair center, waiting over 6 months for some parts, that we dropped the entire company.
Jonathan could cite similar experiences, having owned a shop himself. Same with at least 3 others on this forum with professional experience as employees, installers, or owners.

They have a very high infant mortality rate with amplifiers, and short life spans for head units.
Their speakers can get fairly loud, but SQ is horrible.
That, comes not only from shop/bench experience, but IASCA Pro circuit experience.

take it for whatever it's worth.
"statistics" on paper will always be skewed by various factors.. other products sold, number sold, return policies, size of retail chains, location, even climate and owner use.
As Mark Twain once said, "There are three kinds of lies.. little lies, damned lies, and statistics."

New member
Username: Redknight

Atlanta, GA USA

Post Number: 6
Registered: Nov-04
Glass, thanks for the info. Experience at a shop is a good second to having actual compiled statistics. The only "near stats" I've seen on this board were also from somebody who worked at a shop (a luxury customizer IIRC), but he said they loved Sony. Of course, high end is different from low end, and $200 is low end.

I know the Twain quote well. But of course, statistics that are done well, tell you everything you need to know. (If I may be so bold - as a scientist I ask you not to propagate the misperception that all numbers are manhandled. Some sure are, but the good ones aren't, and the good ones are what we all want and need.)

A problem in this case is that stores don't want to release stats (so as not to p.o. manufacturers), and service centers likewise aren't in the business of po'ing folks - just making repairs.

But maybe there's some sort of consumer feedback site out there somewhere, or others like you can chip in with their insights from working with lots of brands in high numbers.

A couple questions, if I may,

1) How long ago did your shop drop Sony? (and stop having the ability to see if they improved)

2) What, then, do you recommend? And please state the price range(s) that are applicable for whatever sort of HUs you handled.

All in all, pay no mind if I play devil's advocate. This topic comes up time and again; if we can get some good numbers/experience stated here, or better yet, find a link to some excellent compiled stats, it'll do the room good, chips fall where they may.

Anyone else pitching in - please try to address the low end with whatever experience you have.

thanks folks! - Mike, Atlanta

Gold Member
Username: Glasswolf

NorthWest, Michigan USA

Post Number: 5716
Registered: Dec-03
customer feedback, yes.
*thinks* I think it is?
has all owner feedback, but bear in mind, you'll get a ton of people who are pretty clueless as well as a few who know what they're doing, so keep that in mind as you read the reviews. I see everything from audiophiles there, to people who burned down their house and complained that the amplifiers should have been "coffee proof" or something. heh
as for stats, the problems are plenty with this. stores that sell Sony won't badmouth them. You always have personal preferences and allegiances. returns don't always reflect quality issues, etc.
its justvery hard to collect accurate data to base any good information on, but I can tell you sony has a very high failure rate, and generally within the first year of ownership. The current products are all this way.. they don't have a high end anymore to speak of. the ES line is dead. This Xplod crap is just that. crap.

to answer your questions,
we drpped sony quite a while ago, but I still deal with their stuff when its brought to me by people who buy elsewhere, which is increasingly common with the booming popularity of ebay, and online retailers selling far below what a brick and mortar shop can do for prices.

for recommendations, I'll offer brands to consider. prices vary based on features and models, but all of them offer units from around $200 on up to as high as you can manage.
Clarion (pro audio line is best)
Alpine (anything)
Pioneer (Premier line if available)
Eclipse (absolutely anything ever made by them)
Rockford Fosgate (made by Denon)

One thing to keep in mind is that it's very difficult to find objective data sometimes.
Fierce loyalty to some products will always remain for people. Even I have my favorites, most of which are well outside the average Joe's price bracket, but I adore the stuff all the same.
You also run into folks who have a bad experience, and it turns them off the an entire company in one shot. I've seen people get a lemon from a normally outstanding company, or get a product and not know how to properly use it.. and from then on, they won't touch anything like it again.

just so many factors to take into account.

New member
Username: Redknight

Atlanta, GA USA

Post Number: 7
Registered: Nov-04
Many thanks for the posting, Glass!

That review site is ok but, like you say, subject to its own problems. I suppose another big underlying problem is simply that lines change so much over time. If they didn't (or there were far fewer models), it would be easier to collect stats. But with so may choices and things changing all the time anyway... *shrug*

Ah well, I had to ask - nothing ventured, nothing gained. I'm looking over your recommended brands :-)

Thanks again!

Gold Member
Username: Glasswolf

NorthWest, Michigan USA

Post Number: 5841
Registered: Dec-03
oh and
that's the other one.
I remembered after I posted that one and was looking for some other data for someone.

yeah I used audioreview to read up on my home gear before buying, and while most owners loved the KEF and Martin Logan speakers, very few people really own them due to the cost, so it's a slim pool for pickins on opinions, whereas if I wanted some crappy boss amp or pyramid sub, I could find half a million reviews by people who bought the item 3 days ago and are still under the new toy glamour and rave about how aweson the stuff is.
that's the problem.. its all still opinion, with no qualifier control to base their experience on.
at least Jon, myself, and a few others here have experience in teh field professionally and in event circuits, which is about as pro as it'll get short of reading car audio mags for initial reviews..
they rarely do 100,000 mile road tests on gear though, so to speak.. not like C&D or R&T with cars.
« Previous Thread Next Thread »

Main Forums

Today's Posts

Forum Help

Follow Us