Lounge Audio

I feel I should warn folks who have bought a Lounge Audio product or are thinking about buying one.

I own a Lounge Audio LCR MkIII Silver Ed. and Copla. I originally bought both units new about 5 years ago.

Around 2 yrs ago I sent the LCR MkIII in to be upgraded to the Silver Ed. and have a Mono switch installed.

I got it back in good time except the Mono switch was installed but not wired. I decided not to send it back in this instance as I could live without the mono switch and I could probably repair it myself sometime.

Not long after, one of the channels in the Copla went out. I called Robert and he said that it's more than likely an LED that went out and that he's since been using better/more reliable LED's in the unit. He said to send the unit in and he would get to it as soon as he could. I decided to send both units in so he could fix that mono switch in the LCR MkIII as well.

He did warn me that it may be some time before he got to it because he was swamped with orders. Apparently, the Copla received a minor positive review in Stereophile Magazine in Feb. just before I sent it in. To be fair, he doesn't charge for repairs for the life of the unit/s. That's a nice gesture but I think I would rather pay for the repair and get it done in a reasonable amount of time rather than have wait for months to get it done for free.

I'm coming up on five months now and haven't seen my units. I called him a couple months back and he basically said he would get to them soon and he didn't say he was having supply issues like some companies were having during the pandemic period. I'm not sure what his definition of 'soon' is but it's not the same as mine is all I can say.

He also said that because of the amount of interest in Lounge Audio since the review, he hasn't been answering emails because most people were just "fishing".

I sent him some texts but haven't received any replies. I also emailed him again because that's the only Contact info provided by the Lounge Audio website. I don't know if he's not answering his calls/texts or his number is not good anymore.

I've been using a MoFi Studio phono pre in what I thought would be a temporary situation. I've since pretty much given up and bought a Sutherland Insight last week.

Thanks in advance for reading my rant.

Perhaps some folks will think I'm being unreasonable but I can't recommend Lounge Audio in good conscience to anyone who wants to buy one of their products and then may have to send it in for repairs.
IMO no one should have to wait this long.

A common problem with small, "mom and pop" manufacturing operations. They are constantly coming and going, especially going when a recession hits.

Always use a CC or regular PayPal so you have total buyer protection.

I don't think that you're whining. You're not being treated well, and you have a right to warn others. You're doing everyone a favor.


I started a thread entitled, "How long is too long" a few weeks ago.  I didn't mention the name of the company at first but members insisted. 

I wanted to start a formal thread warning folks who own Lounge Audio gear and need repair/s to expect what I consider a long wait.  

I posted over on the Steve Hoffman Forums as well.  The owner is a member there.  Seeing that I can't get him to respond to emails or phone, maybe he'll respond on the forum he frequents.  


You should send this thread to Lounge Audio. That might get them off their butts and fix the preamp in a more reasonable amount time!

Good Luck!

I posted on the Steve Hoffman Forums where Robert Morin the owner of Lounge Audio is a valued member and have a bad feeling I’m about to take a beating there.

Someone brought up the possibility that something may have happened to him. His last post was June 3. I replied that God Forbid something bad is going on but that I should have had my gear back long before June 3rd.

Another poster pointed out that I only had 17 posts up 'til that thread.  What that has to do with my situation I don't know. 

It appears that many (not all) on the Hoffman site think I'm being unreasonable and that I should show more patience and understanding.  

I can't believe I'm having to defend myself.  

I give up.  

I may get my gear and maybe not.  I now have another phono pre plus a back up.

If I get the Lounge Audio gear back,  I'll make sure it works, box it back up and maybe someone on the Hoffman forum will buy it.   


youre not being unreasonable. regardless of delays, he took your money and ahs your property, and youre entitled to clear, open and timely responses to any and all communications. 

At some point in time it becomes unreasonable, each person has to decide that for themselves. I'd likely be in contact with local (to lounge) authorities if there's any chance something has happened to the fella.

I'm with you all the way. I got treated poorly a couple years back by some audio company I will not mention again since I already wrote a discussion about it and I don't regret it one bit. The best thing to do when things get completely out of hand is warning others. I feel for you.


Thanks cey, I appreciate it.  I was getting the feeling I was in the wrong here especially over at the Hoffman Forum.

When originally created the "How Long Is too Long" thread I was basically putting out feelers for others who have dealt with audio companies both big and small felt before I revealed the company.  

I have since emailed Lounge Audio with no response and they have no listed number.  Maybe something personal or health wise is going on and hope the man is alright.  If that was the case I would hope a family member would put something on the Lounge website or Facebook page to notify past and future customers that due to personal reasons he won't be able to take any new orders, upgrade or fix gear for whatever amount of time they think is necessary.

I appreciate all the support I'm getting here not to mention the great audio advice I've gotten in the past.  

A lot of times I don't post or start a thread because I can just do a search and find my answer without having to create a new thread.  There's that much knowledge and depth on this forum. 

How far away is the place from you? Get in the car & go get it.  Let someone else fix it.

You are certainly not being unreasonable. You deserve a timely response and a truth one. I think most people would consider this valuable information in making buying decisions. Thanks for posting 

You accepted his response to you, and shipped your unit, after he said "as soon as he could" for the tirn around time.  The result was: he did not provide you with a more specific time frame for the repairs AND you had only your imagination, to guess when your gear would be returned.

IF you had gently challenged his wishy-washy response right away, you could have accomplished a few things.  By "challenging" I mean saying something like, "Robert, I hear you saying you are busy, and it must be great to get all of this positive feedback on your hard work.  As a valued customer, before I send my unit back to you, can we look at the calendar and agree, more specifically, on when I will be able to enjoy it again?"

With his response, you could have either said "yes," "no," or negotiated a compromise that you thought was fair.  When you accepted his vague time frame, you gave your consent to his assigning a lower priority to your repair than you imagined, at that time.

So, today, things have continued to go south, in this matter, and who knows if, when, or in what condition your unit will be returned!  If it was me, I would weigh the cost and inconvenience of physically going to get the unit and then paying for its repair, with the anticipated sonic benefits of "everything working."  Won't you feel better, after this mess is finally resolved, one way or another?  Make it happen, and move on.

Moral of the story: when you accept "wishy-washy" from someone, in many cases it can become an uphill battle, if not an impossible task, to turn this communication into an exchange with clear, mutually agreed-on terms between two adults with sincere intentions.

It happens to all of us; "live and learn."

I like Fertguy’s suggestion. Assuming you’re on the same continent, plan a trip to the area, do some sight seeing and stop in to collect your equipment. Yes, some cost and time involved but perhaps well worth it to retrieve expensive audio equipment that can be easily repaired by others. 

You must have his address since you sent your gear to him to repair. Just write him a letter and ask for some clarification about when you might expect your equipment back, or ask him to send it back as-is if his time-frame isn't within x days/weeks.months (you pick what 'x' is). Send it registered mail, return receipt. Be sure to provide him with every piece of contact information you can for yourself.

Good luck,

Anyone in LA who could do a 'drive-by' to suss the situation?

(No weapons, now....just an eyeball 'look-see'....) ;)

Five months is way too long, no matter if you are a small business or a large business. And them ignoring your attempts to get more information is unacceptable!

All the best.


I agree Jim.  Some folks over at the Hoffman site where Robert of Lounge Audio is a member are concerned that maybe something is amiss in his personal life whether it be health or something else.  I hope that's not the case but I believe they shouldn't be taking new orders on the website if there's such a problem.   

My conversations with him were that yes, he's a one man operation but was getting a bit of help from family members so if there's some problem it should be posted by a family member if not himself on his website or Facebook page to let past and future customers know what to expect.

Definitely too long and I think you’re not unreasonable at all. 

I ordered a phono pre through the website back in May (when it said “ships in 1 week” and haven’t heard since. 

Robert has always been great to deal with and I love his phono amps. For the $$, you just can't beat them...ask Ron @ New Record Day !

I was always happy with the sound of my Lounge gear and look forward to getting back soon.

Well, a good poster on the Hoffman site who's a little closer to Robert of Lounge Audio was able to get a hold of him and just as I suspected, he was just overwhelmed with orders after the Stereophile review.  He was informed that he has one more repair to do before he gets to mine.  He wasn't answering emails, texts or calls.  He apparently is truly a one-man operation and has no one to help him in doing the menial things such as answering emails or calls.  I don't know if this is by choice because he can't afford to pay someone, didn't have the time to find someone or simply choses not to get help.  

So, I should be getting my gear sometime soon but then again, I was told two months ago when he was still answering calls that he would get to it "soon". 

Although, I don't consider this resolved until I actually get my gear back, I feel much better about the whole thing now that I know the owner is not dead or something terrible like that.  Then I would feel terrible.  

Thanks to all who bothered to comment especially those that supported my position or those that gave me pause to think rationally. 

When I purchased from him many years ago, his wife was assisting him. Sounds like she's no longer with him.

I'm glad to hear that at least you've gotten a status report.

This is no way to run a business.

Post removed 

Robert has chimed in over at the Hoffman site and still some posters are forcing me to defend my actions. 

I'm glad he took the time to post.  I just wish he would take the time to go through and answer his emails and this wouldn't have been necessary in the first place. 


Post removed 

Did you get the LPS (linear power supply) with the Insight? Ron Sutherland sold me one himself and guided me through the pretty easy install. Great guy, and by the way that is a one man show who uses a local facility to make his stuff, so he can provide great service. When you have that long of.a track record, it means a lot. I think the Insight has been around for over 10 years although the LPS was made available around 3 years ago or so,

I looked at several phono stages by small outfits.   I'm glad I ended up buying a Sutherland ....  Their entry level KC Vibe sounds great , I am trading up to a 20/20 in the near future .   


No on the LPS but that could be a future upgrade.  Can you use the LPS with any of the other Sutherland's?


The Sutherland is really my first phono pre that I wouldn’t consider "budget". It’s not over-priced but I had the Lounge LCR MkIII plus Copla and the MoFi Studio not to mention the built in tube phone pre in my Rogue Model 99 Magnum.

All sub $1000. There are some good sounding pre’s out there but there for less than a grand but the Sutherland was a pretty big step up imo.

Btw,  thanks for chiming in on at the Hoffman site.  Like all forums there's some good folks over there and some not so good.  


I know you didn’t want to call him out on the length of repair , but honestly he should have had it back in a few weeks. If his number of repairs prohibit him from prompt turn around and impede production that would give me serious pause to buy a Lounge product.

Just even how mouthy he was on a public forum, where you would try to be a good ambassador for your own brand, was a total turn off. I would never buy from him based his attitude and how he treats existing customers.

Enjoy your Sutherland ! I’m enjoying the hell out of mine. A good friend who does clean outs just left me several hundred 45 RPMs from the 70s 80s, and early nineties. Every one i pulled out looks great so far. Someone who really loved music owned these and i will be a good custodian of them. They couldn’t have gone to a better person than me !

I haven’t even scratched the surface but it is gonna be good times spinning those with my lady. We are 55 so those will bring back some good memories.

Unfortunately this is a common problem when a small “mom and pop” operation receives accolades from the likes of Stereophile. And of course, these guys aren’t shoring up their manpower in anticipation of a tidal wave of orders. The same thing happened to Decware, Border Patrol, and Zu Audio to name just a few. Decware had to push their lead times out beyond a year shortly after receiving a gushing review from Steve Guttenberg. 


I can’t really say as I haven’t personally had much private correspondence with them. I believe I did send Decware a question about their ZTPRE preamp about a year ago and didn’t receive a response. Unanswered emails or very late replies are quite commonplace throughout the industry in general IME. I’m not saying this deems your situation acceptable, merely stating that it’s not uncommon. One time I sent an email to VPI and received a response three months later. Lol. Those instances were also prior to Covid ruining the notion of customer satisfaction in most industries.

Fortunately, there are always good alternatives to nearly any brand/product within a given budget. No one brand holds prerogative over value. The forum darlings that are often espoused as value leaders or “giant slayers” (Schiit, Lounge, Tekton etc) typically end up performing at a level commensurate with their price IME. Very rarely do I come across a product that performs well beyond expectation based on price, and the ones that actually do, often fail to gain the same traction as the aforementioned. Take for example, the Parasound ZPhono XRM. It actually performs just as well as the JC3 Jr and does so with lower noise and greater versatility. IME it is a true slayer, yet, we don’t encounter YT and Stereophile reviewers gushing over it, probably because it’s not from a cottage brand and/or is deemed an “entry-level” product. Meanwhile, Lounge and Schiit offer what is essentially one model of phono preamp, so how can it not be a killer one when there’s little to no room for upgrading within their catalogue?

Suffice to say, I would be very surprised if your Sutherland isn’t proving to be a worthwhile upgrade over the Lounge preamps. Not to say the latter are bad, it’s just that they’re not the reference-grade, “high-end” products some would lead us to believe.

@nicktheknife  - The Sutherland for me was my first (and only) external phono stage from my integrated, a Plinius model that has an adjustable MM to MC switch, but that's it for adjustability.That phono section is supposedly pretty good. My long trusted dealer (for 30+ years) recommended Sutherland as all they make is phono stages and he told me I would be very happy either with the Insight or the 20/20 which is 50% more. I was lucky to find a used Insight in perfect condition for under $900. My dealer sells some very high end lines in addition to some that are reasonable in my mind. I am pretty conservative and don't change gear very often (my previous speakers I had for 25 years I bought from the dealer off demo, and my amp is 18 years and going from him traded in to him, and my cartridge for about 12 years - also from him with a same model replacement when the stylus literally wore off after 9 years). He understood me getting the used Insight, and to him it is such a small amount of money, he didn't seem to care. The LPS was such a new option, he wasn't even aware of it.

The LPS is being offered as an option from the factory or as an upgrade. It is actually just a board, which helped keep the price down (it was $350). Ron Sutherland said he would perform the upgrade service for free if I shipped it to him, or he would guide me through the board swap, which is easy if you are at all handy (which I am minimally - I can change a light switch if I can figure out which breaker it is on). If you bought your Insight from a dealer, I would ask them to do the upgrade, if not, you can give Ron a call.

I don't think you can use the LPS board from the Insight as an upgrade for any of his other phono stages - I believe it is standard with some of his higher end ones, and I know on the 20/20 it it an option and is a whole external box (which means more wires) and a higher price (I think it is $450, but it may actually be 2 boards as that model has 2 separate channels in it).

The Insight ​​​​​It is an extremely quiet phono stage with about 6 different load and gain settings and works well with my van den Hul MC One Special cartridge that has an output of .65uV according to the specs or .75uV as shown on AJ van den Hul's signed hand written cartridge specs (which I trust more), so medium output. If I had a really low output MC, I might look at the newer ones that you don't set, of which Sutherland makes a couple of those. I think the Insight is an excellent phono stage for the money. Good luck, and sorry to hear about Lounge. I try to stay away from the "hot" items. Lots of times those companies don't care about their customers because they are so busy filling orders.

Not all mom and pop ops are the same; some have a robust operation that works pretty well. My personal exp comes from ownership of the Hagerman Cornet 3. Not only is Jim H available and visible on various forum sites, he answers questions in a very timely matter. I would buy from Hagerman again.

IMO, any private cottage operation is a direct reflection of the owner and their personal way of conducting business. Sounds like the subject of op’s product is in need of help.

I bought one and the sound is phenomenal and a great value. This is a one man operation producing a quality piece of electronics. Everyone that buys these is at least partially motivated by how much money they are saving. Well that savings is going to be due to a singular focus on creating the phonos at the expense of short lead time and email communication. With a one man operation you can't shift around tasks to different inputs or handle any task in parallel. It's all one long queue and every phone call or email will present a decision to delay production by x minutes, which can aggregate over time to longer delays. I'm not saying there isn't room for improvement in lead time or communication, but the very issue at hand of lead time and communication are tied directly to the savings on the unit cost. When quick turnaround and customer service is a priority? You'll pay more and I think most folks would direct you to companies with more than one employee. There's a reason so many small firms focus on higher ticket items, fewer orders is often advantageous for a smaller business. The sweet spot of low cost and high performance is great for a customer but not necessarily a sweet spot in terms of business operations. I waited five monthes or whatever for my phono so I had time to think about this stuff. But trying to rally the internet around this issue seems a little? I'm looking for a polite word for it but oh well. Basically I think if you approached the problem from looking at from the other persons point of view you might have learned some interesting dynamics about how businesses work. Understanding is the companion of patience or whatever. Apologies for the novel length response, I just really dig my lcr. 

I finally received my units.  It was over six months since I shipped to getting them back.  

The owner, Robert Morin finally contacted me and kept me informed.  I always thought he was a good guy and I like both the LCR  MkIII and the Copla.  

I wasn't just dissatisfied with the long wait,  I was under the impression it wouldn't  take over half a year to get my units back.  I was more miffed at the fact that I wasn't able to get him to answer my requests for some info on when I could expect my pieces back.  I had a unit go to Italy and back in less than a month and it wasn't under warranty.  

When you have to wait that long for a repair, the company should give you fair warning that it may take much longer than normal due to the current workload.  Robert did warn me that it would take a little longer than normal.  I sent the LCR MkIII in for the Silver upgrade and it was back in less than two weeks. What was I to expect when he said it may take a little longer than normal?  A month?  Six weeks?  Maybe.  Not over six months.  And, not without an explanation  on what is taking so long.  

In the end, it turned out well.  I bought another phono pre in the meantime and had a MoFi Studio phono pre to use when I first shipped the Lounge units out.  

If any of the Lounge units need to go in for repair again which I hope won't be necessary, I will know exactly what to expect.  And, hopefully others will too.