So in the early '90s I bought a Meade ETX-125 that was optically excellent. In '99 I bought a LX-50, 10 inch Meade with pinched optics. I haven't been able to fix it, and finally in the early 2000s I purchased a LXD-55 AR6. The first OTA had one of the separators in the optical path, back it went, the next OTA wasn't diffraction limited, back it went, and finally, on the third try, they sent me one that was nice. I haven't bought a Meade since. I switched to Celestron in the mid-2000s, and all of the Celestron OTAs in my equipment list are good to excellent optically. I had to send the first C-14 back because it had a thumbprint on the top outside of the primary.
I've only heard bad things about Meade since they went bankrupt and were bought by a Chinese company that makes department store scopes.
O i c.. that makes sense. I know they used to be made in the good ol' US of A until some time in the 2000s. That's kind of disappointing as a consumer how a company name with a good reputation ends up becoming something totally different than what it started out as. Think of how it would be if Coca-Cola went bankrupt and was bought out by a Chinese soda company, and that familiar taste of cola-classic turned into a bitter tasting carbonated water. Shouldn't they change the name of it to something else?
My impression of Meade has been neutral lately, neither love nor hate. 5 years ago, after I got my first real scope [Meade ETX-125], it was much love! Even now, I still love this little scope. It's very well made, and the finer details are really nice. For example, the decal on the side of the OTA is painted onto the tube. On my LX90, the decals are stickers that are starting to peel off already, and I haven't even owned this thing a full year. A lot of times it's the smaller things about equipment that stand out the most.
I think what changed my mind the most was when I got the LightBridge. It arrived very sloppy. The primary mirror cover was off and just rattling around inside the tube. There was a dent on the primary mirror tube. It wasn't packaged well at all and was rather dirty. If it wasn't such a large package, I probably would've returned it.
Edit: Check out the pictures in this thread on the LightBridge. It's very similar to how I received mine.
Edited by rkelley8493, 20 August 2019 - 10:41 AM.