Catastrophic Accident! What To Do!?


This actually happened during the holidays.  I'm having a hard time dealing with it.  I've owned my Music Reference RM9 amp for over 15 years.  While replacing a fuse, something I've done easily over 2 dz. times thru the yrs, The amp tipped over.  Long story short, the way the unit fell damaged/smashed most of the tubes (12 in total!).  Man, seriously, I practically feel like I've lost a member of my family!  I've been in contact with Roger Modjeski at Ram Labs and they've been 100% supportive even though I'm not the original owner.  But the dilemma is substantial, the amp can be repaired no doubt, but to transport it from S. Fl. to Ca., plus tube replacement, plus possible other repairs.  Not sure it makes dollas & sense.  The fact is I'm not the youngster I was when I 1st acquired the gear, plus being retired the money ain't what it used to be.  This accident has seriously got me considering whether I should continue with the hobby.  The gear, 1000's of records and CD's somehow, suddenly feels like a bit much.  I've been into the gear for 35+ yrs. but I've been a music-lover my entire life, I'll never stop listening....but maybe it's time to downsize?  Ram Labs has offered help in testing, and/or repairing, and even offered the alternative of selling the unit for parts.  Tremendous support!  I think I'd be able to sell it but I just can't bring myself to go down that road, not yet.  So into the 'spares' closet she goes, and since I don't have another amp, it's headphone time!  

Here's hoping y'all have a safe and incident-free New Year!
0bc55729 1a8b 4aff ad18 1d351418b455chazro
Not to minimize your grief (probably due to self-flagellation as well as the cost of repair/replacement of tubes), but we’ve all had stupid incidents at one point or another. I was moving one of my mono blocks about 2 feet in the room, and cracked one of the big tubes- since they are matched, that meant new big tube complement on one side- and of course, you can’t have new tubes on one side and old ones on the other (well, you can, but I didn’t want that).
So, aside from expense (I’m gettin’ old too, and don’t make the money I used to, so I’m more penurious) and trouble (shipping is a pain but), give it a little thought, but unless there’s something else you really want to do, get it repaired. Think of it as a complete tube replace, plus a go-over. (I don’t know when you last had that done). I suspect you’ll feel better once that’s in process. And don’t kick yourself. (which I think may be part of why you are out of sorts). Not that I’m good at field psychology. Just been there. We worry about all kinds of stuff. Hum? Cartridge wear? You’ll be good for a while after this!
PS: the question of when to bail out of all of this is an interesting one when we are aging. I have avoided it, thinking, hell, I'd be really unhappy if I didn't have a good system, all these records, etc. It's like when the kids say, 'you gotta hand over your car keys, you too old to drive.' Facing mortality isn't fun, but I don't think you're there yet. Keep rockin' :)
FWIW I am on a program to downsize my system to components I can pick up and handle without extreme exertion. I am not planning to reduce the quality of reproduction, just the weight and size of the components. Sold my 80 lbs stereo amp and now own two 35 lbs each mono blocks.
You know, if it will work with your speakers, you can pick up a Nuforce STA200 amp for $499 at Audio Advisors.  I have had one for about a year now and its seems fine on my 85 db 6 ohm speakers.  I believe they have a try it and if you don't like it return policy.  Heck, I easily spent twice that on EL34's for my tube amp.  Just spent half that on 12ax7s for my preamp.  They say it has a higher than normal gain, so I purchased a Schitt Sys passive for $49 to put between he preamp and amp to reduce the gain, but have it set to zero as high gain has not been a problem at all.  Just an idea to get you by.  
I would recommend that you send it in to at least get an estimate for repair.  If I understand your post correctly, if the repair costs too much for you, then they will purchase for parts.  That sounds like a win-win situation, under the circumstances of course.  As for your future,  I retired a while back and decided it was time to get out of power tubes (signal level tubes are still OK, they have longer life and are cheaper!).  I did this more so from the cost of more frequent replacement due to the system being on more, but also because of my lower tolerance for the “ritual” maintenance.  Downsizing is not a bad thing, completely giving up on this hobby, though, could be a bad thing after all these years of happiness!
It would be worth a call to your insurance agent to see if your homeowners coverage covers your loss.
I, too, think you should send it in for an estimate.
You might get lucky. And, it would be better than relegating it to a closet.
Bob
Good call on the insurance there @big_greg. 
You guys must have a lower homeowners deductible than most.  But if your coverage does pick up some of it, you also have to make sure it doesn't raise future premiums, just like auto insurance.  No free rides.
Why not see if someone in S. Florida can do the repairs? Minus shipping costs it's unlikely the repair would be terribly expensive. And besides all the tubes being smashed how damaged is the amp itself?
I just sent my Ayre amp back to Ayre.   I went through the same questions.....   I decided to continue with the music.  You'll get over the expense and effort.  Go for it!
Remove the broken tubes. Remove the bottom cover and check for loose parts. If none found replace bottom cover. Buy replacement tubes. No need to send it to RAM in CA! Other than the glass tubes these amps are inherently rugged. Just don't drop it from the roof of a multi-story building!
Tom Tutay Transition Audio Design is located in Fort Walton Beach FL. He is a highly recommended tube guy. 
Chazro: The only option you've raised that seems illogical to me is ditching your entire music collection and forgoing listening (which presumably gives you a bit of pleasure) because you damaged the amplifier. Personally, I'd not pursue the homeowner's insurance since repair and shipping are unlikely to exceed your deductible and - as already noted - you'll almost certainly have premiums raised because you filed a claim.
+1 roberjerman. Open her up and look for damage. Buy new tubes. See if she works and if she don’t then you have a decision to make. 
Unfortunately not covered by homeowners insurance as personal property is only covered for “named perils” such as fire, lightening, wind etc - dropping is not a named peril. Sorry for the bad news.
38 year State Farm agent
best of muck!
Dave
Dave, it is if the has a Ho 5 policy subject to his deductible.
Spend a few $$ on a spare amp.  Something simple while you ponder your next step.  

Yeah but State Farm covers squirrels throwing pinecones at a guys car?

I'm sorry for your loss, but please explain why you've replaced fuses dozens of times over the years?
Dave is right, accidents handling personal possessions is not something covered by any insurance. Even with a rider. Not loss or theft. Tubes don’t cost all that much and most homeowners or renters insurance have at least )1000 deductibles.  I’ve had a 10000 Basis turntable on a wall mount break and crash down on a VAC tube amp. The TT was toast but aside from a dented transformer the amp was just fine. A vacuum out and replace tubes and back to business. If you want assurance, take to a somewhat local Repair shop, which is something most dealers aren’t qualified to do. Some of these other statements are foolish, maybe the most, buy a 500 dollar amp. Best of luck. Don’t deal with anything in life based on emotion. Please use your head. Sacrifice elsewhere.
Both you and Dave are incorrect.  A HO 5 policy is an open peril/ all risk policy which covers contents at replacement cost for anything other than the exclusions on the policy. A HO 3 policy is a named peril policy and would not cover this exposure. 

@gregf1 
Problem is, very few people have a HO 5. 95%+ will have a HO 3 with named perils on contents. 
I also wonder why so many fuse replacements? I thought MR gear was reliable and did not blow fuses regularly? 
Yea man, look for obvious damage and just change the tubes. I bet it’s ok. 
I’ve owned many amps over the years and have never had to replace a fuse. You would be better off getting another amp and putting that one into your spares closet!
I understand the emotion of the OP, but when calms down, I would suggest:
1) Go solid state-no tubes to break, bias, etc.
2) If Physical Media is getting to be to much, move it to a server
3) Investigate Streaming Services-with Quobuz, now there will be at least two High Rez services to choose from.
  Remember that you got into this hobby because you love Music and love hearing it reproduced faithfully.  There are lots of ways to do this on a retiree income and with less stress.
  And yes, we have all made stupid, expensive mistakes.  No one does this on purpose—they are called accidents for a reason.  Don’t be so hard on yourself 
roberjerman1
Remove the broken tubes. Remove the bottom cover and check for loose parts. If none found replace bottom cover. Buy replacement tubes. No need to send it to RAM in CA! Other than the glass tubes these amps are inherently rugged. Just don't drop it from the roof of a multi-story building!

This, how much for just the tubes.

It could be the over 2 dozen fuse replacements of which chazro was speaking have been in all his pieces, not just the RM-9.
dobnbavs "I’ve had a 10000 Basis turntable on a wall mount break and crash down on a VAC tube amp. The TT was toast but aside from a dented transformer the amp was just fine." and "Some of these other statements are foolish, maybe the most, buy a 500 dollar amp." (my recommendation to get him through in the interim).

Lets see, you put a $10K turntable on an inadequate wall mount, and destroyed it?  OP should take your advice why? 

Don't take insurance advice from an Audio forum, although the information "may be" correct, contact your agent for advice and support. 

Accidents happen and don't beat yourself up about it, it happens to everyone.  I agree that you should take a moderated approach and have a local tech make an initial assessment.   Good luck


Hi Chazro

Sorry to hear about your accident. Everyone here cringed at reading this news I'm sure. The RM9 is a classic and many of us here have owned and enjoyed Roger's work. I had my RM9 for about 5 years and have setup a few systems using the RM9.

I think the headphones will be fun, if having them on your head doesn't bother you. At the same time there is nothing like an in-room system setup the way you like it.

"The gear, 1000's of records and CD's somehow, suddenly feels like a bit much. I've been into the gear for 35+ yrs. but I've been a music-lover my entire life, I'll never stop listening....but maybe it's time to downsize?"

There are many listeners asking themselves this very question in today's world. Downsize & simplify. There's never been a better time to do this and many great products to do this with, and fortunately not expensive.

my best to you

Michael

1st off, thx to everyone for yr thoughtful responses.  Believe it or not, I actually feel a little better, so thx!  I've got an old set of tubes that I'm going to give a shot.  Maybe I'll luck out and the amp will work properly, at which point I'll simply go for new tubes.  I'll post an update.  Apparently, I wasn't clear (not that it matters), but even If I decided to stop with the hobby (the gear), I'd never stop listening.  The gear is the hobby, the music is the passion!

Lastly, I was asked about the frequent fuse changes.  I have zero knowledge about this but I HAVE read quite a bit about the RM9 over the years and apparently this 'fuse changing' isn't/wasn't unusual at all!  If I understand it correctly, the problem was addressed in the MK II version of the RM9 by a re-positioning of the fuse holder, allowing for much easier access.  I never thought of it as a big deal....until now!  
I agree with highway 61.  There has got to have been issues with your amp for years if you have had to replace so many fuses.  This would have indicated problems after the second one went out.  There has got to be a short somewhere that has caused this.

I think it is time to replace it.  Perhaps buy a digital amp.  I found the Parasound Halo integrated amp to be incredible.  They cost about $2,500 and reproduce a lot of detail.  Maybe take out a home equity loan and pay it off in a year or two.  This might be your chance to upgrade into something much better.

I am not sure why people are in love with tube amplifiers.  They must sound warmer.  I also cannot understand why people want to listen to vinyl either.  CD's are able to sample a lot more information which in turn produces a lot more detail.  I think it sounds much crisper in the highs.  However, everyone enjoys sound differently.
@larry,
Leave  the OP alone. He doesn't have the funds to go to a new amp.

Let's wish him well and hope just replacing the tubes will resurrect his amp. If it doesn't, I bet Roger will be able to help him.
Bob
Chazro, 

Repositioning the fuse holder may have corrected problems with accessibility, but I doubt that would correct the issue of the fuse actually blowing.

it’s still not clear if the many fuse replacements are with this amp, or with all of your gear combined.

If it’s mostly the amp, then that indicates a problem.

Possibly the replacement is of the wrong rating (amperage; if you’re just replacing what was in there, then there’s a chance that the previous owner used a undersized fuse and you are repeating his mistake), or the wrong type (it may require a slow blow).

If most of the replacements were on that amp, and the correct replacements were used, then the amp has a problem and should be reviewed by someone that’s competent and preferably knowledgeable about that particular amp. In that case I’d say that it probably should be shipped back Ram Labs.

PS: Don’t beat yourself up too badly, learn the lesson and move on. Happiness is a choice, how do you want to spend the time you have left?

Best,
Bruce.
I second  Tom Tutay Transition Audio Design iFort Walton Beach FL.  He redesigned/rebuilt a Precision Fidelity C8 preamp for me in 2002.  PM me for his tel no.
If you have had to regularly replace fuses then no matter what else send it back to its maker, he needs to see it.
Slow down a minute.

put the old set of tubes in it and turn it on. if it functions then use what you have til your ready willing and able to buy whatever tubes you want.


and set the damn thing on a table and towel before fiddling with it.

it’s a minor setback in the grand scheme.live and deal with it.i do feel your pain-
party on garth...
Always sorry to hear about an audio tragedy. We've all been there.

IMHO the RM-9 is well worth fixing & keeping. I built a big bad 2-channel system around one in the late '80s. Loved that sound.

I still have two RM-9s in storage. I had Roger convert each to triode-switchable (w/a pentode-triode switch installed adjacent to each output tube). Hearing this amp in all triode mode is still one of my greatest audio experiences.

I'm sure "better" tube amps are out now (including those made by Music Reference). But I would happily go back to the RM-9 if I had a big living room system again.

And for what it's worth, I never changed a fuse on either RM-9. Kind of surprised to read about that...
Maybe I e missed something in all the replies but if you only damaged the tubes why do you need to send it anywhere. Just pull the broken tubes out and replace. Vacuum out any glass you can and be done. That's of course if no internal damage that I didn't see is also an issue. Other the  the cost to buy new tubes. At least you will know you are good for a couple years after. Why are you also replacing fuses? Did they blow Nd is that a regular occurrence or do you change get them for fresh ones ( imo that's not  necessary unless they are decades old) 
Is it possible that any part of the accident damage could be covered by insurance? 
@ganach,
Good idea.
Tom Tutay is highly regarded.
B
Remember that you don't have to do everything yourself.  Wherever you live, chances are good there is someone nearby who will help with routine chores for $20 an hour.  Moving the amps?  Packing the amp and taking it to the UPS store?  Just copy his driver's license and let him do the stuff you don't want to do.
Please clarify. Did it "only" tip / roll over on the tubes and smash all 12 or did it actually fall off a table and really sustain some damage beyond broken tubes? If you just smashed all tubes then you should be able to find a local guitar amp repair guy in S FL to restore it. I am assuming you broke some of the tube sockets and they also need to be replaced or there is something more involved than just removing the broken tubes and replacing them.

(Sorry if you already answered some of this. I am too busy listening to music on my tube amps to read it all. ;-) But I do feel for you.)
The last place I would trust to pack something is UPS.
Hopefully, you have the original boxes, but if not, double box and use lots of packing foam/peanuts/bubble wrap.
Bob
I have an HO5+ property insurance policy with a $2,500 deductible.  I also have insured all my equipment (including non-destructable items such as power outlets and Stillpoints) under scheduled property, with no deductible for $137,000 (both audio rooms and two video rooms as well as unused audio equipment like Mac MC30s, Fisher 400&500 receiver,etc).  The scheduled property allows any cause for the demise of the equipment to be covered but I would only use it for loss by fire, earthquake or theft.  Otherwise, I feel I would be risking the policy, getting higher premiums for just ordinary repairs or accidents.
"Good call on the insurance there @big_greg. "

Actually, no it isn't. Making claims like that will raise your premium and deductible amounts considerably. You will end up paying more for insurance cost increases than you will on repairing the amp. Once you are rated (labeled a risk) by your insurance company, that goes into a database and future coverage with other companies will cost you more. Sometimes it will make new coverage hard to find. Mother Nature, and insurance companies, don't mess with them.
Hey all! Just wanted to give the last update on my situation. The amp’s working! Long story short, I finally got around to cleaning/detailing the amp before installing a new set of NOS tubes. All the while thinking that doing so was pretty much an exercise in futility. I mean, no way the amp’s gonna work, right? And of course, I had no way of knowing without doing a complete install. She fired right up and has been singin’ like an angel ever since! Not bad considering I was seriously contemplating leaving the hobby completely behind, I was truly rocked by the accident! Tellyawhat, commendations to Roger Modjeski for designing and building a superb product, the RM9. The unit fell 2 ft., landing upside down on a marble windowsill, directly on the tubes. The tubes that weren’t immediately smashed all had bent pins, so all TWELVE tubes were ruined. I mean, it was as if I had basically hit the amp with a sledgehammer! I thought she was a goner but, yr not gonna believe this, she actually sounds BETTER than before, BRAVO! The goal now is to get the amp out to Ram Labs for a ’tune-up’, I have no doubts that the unit will out-live me!;)
Ha I was pretty sure that would be the case those amps are known to be bulletproof! Awesome outcome and thanks for the update and most of all happy listening!