Ever Have One Of Those Evenings?

Tonight, I went downstairs, turned on the system, and it sounded like crap. Within an hour I had:

>Discovered that one of my Thiel 2.2's has either a dead woofer (most likely), or a crossover or internal wiring problem. Testing to diagnose will commence tomorrow, tonight I'm too P.O.'ed.

>Additionally discovered that the tweeter on the other side is distorting badly, and will need the dome/voice-coil assembly replaced (again).

>Confirmed that my most costly set of interconnects has a bad jack connection (these are Harmonic Technology Magic Link Ones, which naturally feature a plug design that cannot easily be opened up for inspection or repairs without destroying the heat-shrink sleeve).

>Faced the distinct possibility that my futzing around behind the preamp trying to ascertain the culprit in the latter problem - without first turning down the volume - may well have been the cause of least one of the first two problems.

>Realized that now, not only can't I listen to my system the regular way, but since the OEM (non-standard) headphone amp output jack I got from Musical Fidelity's distributor to replace the faulty original in my X-Cans quickly developed the same exact problem as the old one (no right channel with either set of 'phones), I cannot even listen with my headphones for the time being, except through my CD-R recorder's wimpy monitoring jack.

Looks like I'm on a steady diet of cable movies and NPR for a while. (Way to go, Trent Lott: at least you'll be out-of-sight, out-of-mind by this time next week, you plastic-haired cretin - your plight is the one redeeming feature of my evening!)
Small comfort, but from my experience, HT will repair your interconnect very quickly and probably at no cost.,

>plastic-haired cretin


So sorry to hear of the problems and I hope it all gets resolved soon.

I can relate -- you may have seen my "fried Levinson" post before Thanksgiving, yet I have been too busy and too tired to even pick it up and pack it for shipment.

In the mean time, I am "listening" to little powered monitors which grate on me like nails on a chalkboard.

But hey -- lets look on the bright side -- you will enjoy your system even more when it is fixed! Why not upgrade?!?

Good luck.
When it rains it pours. Sorry to hear of your plight. As you know you can count on Thiel to help alleviate your problems. Good luck.
Holy cow Zaikes! Reminds me of the time I fused ALL the output transistors in my Dynaco Stereo 120 as well as a coupla woofers while running 2 pairs of A-25's in parallel. But wow, it sounded great just before it caught on fire. Live and learn.
Take it easy Zaikes, after doing this for 30 yrs I've had similar experiences. One, for example is after comming home from a business trip I found that my wife had destroyed two midrange and one tweeter in my Von Schweikert's by overdriving them with an underpowered tube amp. Talk about pissed! Hang in there, take it one step at a time and all will work out.
Zaikesman, sorry to hear that you have more problems than just crappy outlets!

Seriously, I hope you get it straightened out quickly. Let me know when you are back up and running and when I can start pestering you again.

I love the "plastic-haired-cretin" line!
Hey Lotts My hero, NOTT!
Regarding your statement about the right honorable gentleman from the great state of Mississippi - apparently out of great tragedy comes great insight. Life's funny that way.
Yeah, but it don't exactly take tons of insight to figure out which way the wind blows with certain people! But hey, the bigger the mouth, the better the shoe fits. Not even Gore's gloating and Daschle's head-scratching are going to take the deliciousness out of watching this death-spiral go down (but I should be careful what I wish for - Alfred E. will probably actually come out ahead for having the guy who lost his party the Senate last time take a hike...)
Man oh man. I've had a bass radiator on a pair of Thiels come unglued and fried one of their coaxial drivers (unrelated, both replaced); had a muting switch on an amp go so that it made the speakers sound like they were being torn in half whenever you turned if off; had a tubed preamp become posessed so that it would accumulate and discharge electrical charges in strange patterns, make some awful sounds, blow the fuses in my amp, and actually cause the lights in my appartment to flicker and pulse (honest); later discovered (much later, and after much fretting) the the poltergeist may have been summoned by a bad wire in an interconnect, not the preamp. And I considered this a bad year, but all in one EVENING. As I said, man oh man. I feel your pain.

Do have to agree with Cwlondon, though, in that every time one of my disfunctional little family would throw a temper tantrum, get yanked, scolded and sent home to its parents for an attitude readjustment, it was an extra special treat to rediscover the sound of real music (after a diet of the little squeek box on the TV) upon their return. It's a relatively cheap way to keep the upgrade demons satiated. (That said, even if it does feel good when you stop, it doesn't make hitting your head against the wall a good idea, either).
Zaikes, hang in there! I went for 8 months without my primary system which was in storage when my house was being built. I finally got everything together, hooked it up and my power amp started billowing smoke. One of the wires in the preamp came loose and I was sending the amp 24 volts DC! I'm still waiting to get everything repaired but yanked out a couple of capacitors (per manufacturer's directions) on the amp and have a loaner preamp. Just look forward to the time it all comes back together. Pure bliss! Good luck.
Gosh, looks like I have it easy. Why is it I suspect that Bose Wave and JVC rack system owners don't actually have these episodes - wasn't this dee-lux stuff supposed to be sturdier?...
The Bose and JVC owners have approximately the warranty period to look forward to before one of the machine's critical components--possibly the on-off switch--dies and requires a fix that costs more than half the price of a new unit.

On the other hand when a sulky teenager bangs the vacuum cleaner into the bottom of a rosewood Meadowlark Shearwater Hotrod and chips the veneer, it's gonna cost more to fix than a complete replacement of the JVC mini-system... :-(

Sorry to hear about your woes, Zaikesman, I'd be pretty grouchy if it was me. Best wishes !
Well, Zaikes of course we all feel for you. My preamp went back to ARC two times this year. I have a pair of 3.6s and thought these things are built to last. What's happening with the voice-coils assy. that you need to replace them again.

Anyway, we all have a "things to do when I have time list?"
From what I understand, NPR can damage your hearing. It is known to have lots of glare, grain, hash, along with oodles of veiling. The perspective will put you to the far left.

The immediacy and macro-dynamics of the presentation can lead to immediate protest (doesn't matter what the cause) or to even threaten to leave one's own country (only during an election year).

The micro-dynamics are soap bubbles.

The transparency is obvious to anyone who does not listen on a regular basis.

It's overall sonic signature is overly warm (and fuzzy) and may be considered by some to be bloomy and even bloated at times with a tremendous lack of detail.

In it's place, might I suggest a good dose of Lipitor and warm cocoa curling up with a nice book by the fire?

How about Bill Bennett's 'Book of Virtues'?


p.s. sorry to hear about your system woes.
It could be worse. I once read a post from a fella with a nice pair of sound labs (or at least they used to be). He was short on speaker wire so he was in the process of splicing two extension cords together to use as speaker wire. The mother in law noticed one of the unplugged cords and plugged it into the wall socket. It was wired directly to the speaker inputs. Ouch!!!!!
This is one reason I have 3 systems in my house, this way at least one works.
Boy do I feel your pain! Reminds me of the time I was installing a Black Diamond Racing shelf and cones 'neath my LP12. I was all set to go. I turn on the preamp. Then I turn on the power amp and am greeted with a pop as loud as a shotgun and a plume of smoke coming from my recently upgraded power amp. Actually, it was about this time last year.

As it turned out, it wasn't as I expensive as I thought and only took a week instead of the month I thought it would.

As for the plastic haired cretin, I'm afraid bad politicians are notoriously difficult to get rid of. We won't name names so as to keep the discussion civil.
I've certainly had component, wire, and other misc problems but nothing that would approach your present litany of woes. It finally dawned on me that the main reason I maintain a "second" system is so that I can cannibalize it for components or wires when a part of my big rig goes down.

I agree, "plastic haired cretin" is a creative observation-- and great!

Hang in there Zman, you'll get it together again, and it'll be better! Craig.
Hey Zaikesman ... perhaps if you short out and fry your power amp then the supreme court will overrule the 2000 election results and award the presidency to the party with the most votes. Go on .. it's worth a try.
Hey, but you still have your health!!

Unless you've electrocuted yourself by the time I post this...

Y'know, when I posted this I didn't expect so many similar tales in response. Guess I must have been high on something.

Stenho: Now let's hear your (completely objective, natch) review of Limbaugh & co.! :-) Actually, I'm mostly referring to the music programming, as there are no tolerable commercial stations around here, but will gladly admit to ATC and the rest...

Sean T.: I'm afraid I could blow up my house and we'd still only have a 35% voting rate in this country, so we get the Supreme Court we deserve (and W. and daddy get the court they paid for)...
I'm very liberal myself, but I guess I'm sort of surprised with how many other 'Goners are Democrats. Maybe just those of us who can afford *true* audiophile systems are Republicans.
Hey, I'm always surprised by how many of us seem to be basically Libertarians or anarchists, to read some of the comments, but I get more disgusted with the Dems than I do the GOP's, because my expectations were once higher for them. Until the system isn't ruled by money and based on the (sadly correct) assumption of the populace's ignorance, manipulability, and disinterest, none of that will really matter very much. Never happen though...

Maybe that's part of why we all share a love of listening to music. :-)
Thedautch - where do you think all the money for those tax cuts go?
Fortunately, I have never had one of "those" evenings. Although if you were just a casual listener, rather than an enthusiastic one, the system might just sound fine for a few more years.... Which predicament is worse?

I have never belonged to any politcal party.
Look at the bright side, no one got hurt, right? I acquired a German Sheppard last year, he was chasing my other dog all over the house, terrorizing the mutt. I lay on the floor laughing and enjoying the show, until he knocked one of my speakers over. Guess where it landed? Yep, my balls ached for days.
Baal the Audio god requires more sacrifice from your wallet. What profiteth a man if he loses his sound but keeps his wallet. Oh ye of little faith!
Sounds like Z has a pain in the ass to deal with and Jeff had a pain in the... Oh, never mind : )

I've only ever had a few "bad" things happen to me and luckily, nothing was damaged. This does not include the tweeters and mids that i've blown due to "over enthusiastic jamming", as i can't count those as mistakes since it was my fault.

The incident that sticks out in my mind the most was when one of my favorite preamps developed a problem. At random points, it would literally let out some type of low frequency "belch" that was VERY loud to say the least. The first time it did it, i had it hooked up in my HT system ( temporary fill in ). The preamp was connected to an amp that does about 1500 wpc at clipping and this was feeding four 12's and two 8's. Needless to say, the potential for "rumble" is pretty phenomenal with this system.

One morning at about 6 AM, I was laying in bed sound asleep and i heard a loud "CRACK" and them something shook the hell out of the house. It sounded like a car had literally crashed into the living room, which is right next to the master bedroom. Needless to say, it scared the hell out of me and i pretty much stood straight up in bed. My girlfriend, who was in the shower at the time, came flying out in a towel to see what happened. She said that it was so loud and startling that she jumped while in the shower and almost lost her footing. The "funny" thing is that we had no idea what had caused the noise, as neither of us was in that specific room. In plain English, it was hard to know exactly where the noise was coming from because it was SO loud and the entire house shook. After inspecting my various audio systems and scratching our heads, she went back to the shower and i went back to bed.

A couple of weeks later, she and i were sitting and watching a movie with the sound being fed through the defective preamp. I can't remember the movie, but i remember that it was a sci-fi / space oriented movie. Just as some type of eruption or explosion took place, the preamp let loose with another "belch". YOW !!! That was either the "best" special effect that we had ever experienced or my system was about to blow up : )

Once again, it scared the hell out of us. At least this time we knew it was something in the stereo. Through a process of elimination, i was able to figure out what was causing the problem and pulled the preamp from the system. Luckily, nothing was damaged while this was taking place. Back to the manufacturer it went and the problem was solved.

On another occasion, i hooked a CD player with no volume control directly to an amp. I did this by mistake via a "cd direct" switch on a preamp that i had at the time. The CD direct bypassed EVERYTHING in the preamp, including the volume control. Bare in mind i did this at 1 in the morning with my girlfriend sleeping in the next room. I popped in a disc and as soon as it started, i had full power pumping from an amp rated for 200+ wpc into a pair of speakers that were rated at 96 dB's efficiency. It was REAL loud for about two seconds. That is, until i could hit the power switch. My girlfriend never said anything to me about it as she had to know it was a mistake, but i bet it "startled her" to say the least. I know it did that to me : ) I was expecting to see her come barreling out of the bedroom with a hatchet in hand, if ya know what i mean.....

Once again though, no damage to anything, which surprised me. I was expecting to find tweeter diaphragms plastered to the wall. I guess i'm just lucky. That, or stupid : ) Sean
Or deaf. :-)
What was that Z ? I can't hear you over the ringing in my ears : ) Sean
One spot of good news - I think I found a good entire spare tweeter that I didn't even remember I had socked away. I'll have to break out the solder gun and run it up the flagpole to see if it salutes. Oh, and I'm actually plugging in my electric guitars around the house now, instead of just plinking away unamplified. :-)

Hey, want to hear about something even funnier than audiogremlins? The night my system went down, my girlfriend whom I live with went to stay at her parents' house, so she could be there to help them when the ice-storm was supposed to hit the next morning. She naturally took my van instead of her Miata. When she was coming back the next day, she got a flat tire on the road. When I went outside to get her car to come help her, it had a flat tire just sitting there in the driveway. I don't even want to ask fate how many more shoes could be waiting to drop right about now.
Zaikesman, you could plug those guitar amps into cryo'd outlets!

Ever plugged into a Mesa Boogie guitar amp? What a sound for electric guitar! Nothing I have ever used like it! But I know you would need too much convincing......forget I brought it up. Good luck with the tweeter, and don't get the damn thing too hot(use some heat sinks) or shoes will start falling from the sky!
thedautch & Zaikesman -

I couldn't help but chime in here on the political comments re: Dems and Reps. yesterday I attended a teleconference broadcast from Washington on the "Patriot" act (yes the quotes are intentional) and the right to privacy and access to information. Until recently I subscribed to the belief that there wasn't a dimes worth of difference between the two. But, after hearing what Adolph Ashcroft and Chicken Little Bush have in store for Americans and for the Constitution: Be afraid. Be very afraid....
Maxgain - Although I'm partial to my vintage amps (guitar-wise, that is), lately I have been seriously thinking about beginning to audition some of the plethora of 'boutique' amplifiers available today, just to see if there's anything out there that could give me tone I like, yet be more flexible, dependable, and quiet. Don't even know where to begin with all the choices seemingly out there now. Though there have been some players whose sound I've liked who've used Boogie amps, that's never been my type of sound for me. But I'm sure as a company and product they are a prime inspiration for many of the present wave of 'hand-built' custom-ish jobs (though I wouldn't be surprised if trends in high end audio over the years have also played a part).

Slipknot1 - Caught a couple of academic law symposia on C-Span recently about that very subject, and not only couldn't I agree more, the plot has already been well underway for over a year now, but you're right, the ripple implications for the wider population won't be fully realized until after our present blinding fervor has waned. BTW, I noted today with satisfaction that W. has officially given Strom, Jr. the evil eye, so that limb he's out on is bending ever so tellingly. Now Daschle can try to 'splain why he gave his predecessor/successor an officially-stamped and personally-delivered pass on Monday, only to begin trying to pedal furiously in the backwards direction ever since. With as sharp and bold a political instinct as this on display in the Dem's de facto national political voice and leader, I'm afraid their loyal opposition won't have too much to worry about next time the curtains are drawn two years from now (at least not on the Senate Dem's account, anyway).
I am by profession a librarian and an IT person. I run the township network where I live as well as manage the library. The thought that the Feeble Bureau of Investigation can come into my site and confiscate servers, routers and paper records scares the bejesus out of me. The library is supposed to be a safe place, where one can come, ask any question, read any book and not be judged. During the teleconference I attended on Wed., a partner from the law firm of Ropes & Grey pointed out that many records produced by the Feds and available under the Freedom of Information act are no longer available; and the water reservoir data made available by the USGS is now being destroyed so as not to fall into the hands of "potential terrorists" US Govt Documents Depository Libraries are not recieving nearly as much any more as they once did. What's next? Soon we start recieving orders to destroy books on structural engineering, Flight manuals, Chemistry, Biology etc.? As an aside, Ashcroft has managed to roll the 1st ammendment violation known as CIPA into the patriot act as well. The district courts struck this law down as unconstitutional, but under the Patriot Act, it becomes fair game.
Slipknot--I know. I work in the Hall of the States, right near the Capitol, and sometimes I wish I didn't have my ear so close to the ground in this town. The things I hear are truly, truly frightening.
What do you guys hear about Hollings and the RIAA and their legislative agenda for software, hardware, and the internet? Couldn't Ashcroft and the feds ultimately use some of those provisions as further tools to monitor everybody's lives?
Zaikesman--short answer: yes! Long answer: far more than any of us can ever fully understand.
Um, getting back to my speaker...

I removed the silent woofer, and it checks out fine for continuity, registering 4 ohms (I haven't tried applying a music signal to it). The woofer's leads going back to the crossover also sound the buzzer on the meter. At the time I disconnected the speaker from the system, the mid and tweeter were working, and the woofer was doing nothing, even when the volume was turned up. It sounded to me like the mid and maybe the tweeter were showing some distortion at lower volumes than I would expect, but I chalked this up in my mind to the woofer's not functioning properly, thinking its voice-coil was fried and that this might have been affecting the overall circuit - not actually the case. When I disconnected the woofer, the solder joints on its leads were solid. Now I've got to wonder about the crossover. Any ideas before I call Thiel?

As if that weren't discouraging enough, it turns out the spare tweeter I found for the other speaker fails the continuity check. Ha! Guess that's why I hadn't remembered it in the first place. :-(

LATE UPDATE: Reinstalled the woofer, hooked up the speaker, played music, and I got some woofing, although it didn't seem to me like full-on woofing. I turned up the volume to see if I still perceived excess distortion, and I did - for a few seconds, then no more woofing again. Heard it cut right out. Bizzare - what in the crossover (if that's what it is) could be behaving like this? Something tells me this speaker is going to be taking a Kentucky trip...
Well, this about seals it - the impedance of the affected speaker measures over 25 ohm (with all the drivers installed), the other one about 4 ohms as intended. BTW, I've learned my lesson about digressing too much on a thread I've posted where I might eventually want some more advice - I seem to have effectively driven everybody away! Oh well, if I'm lucky, maybe I'll be listening to my speakers again by the time "Ol' Massa" Lott gets kicked either downstairs or out in early January...
sorry to hear about the fried crossover. Hope you get it fixed soon. Being without music is no fun at all. Heck .. you might have to watch TV over Xmas ... how's that for torture !
Tell me about it - if my girlfriend's in the house, the cable is on. I don't mind if it's a good old movie, TV Land, a science documentary, or even the news, but usually it's The Style Channel, Trading Spaces, MTV, Oprah, or Dr. Phil. I tell you, it's enough to make me seriously consider quitting paying for all this crap - if it weren't for the sports and TCM, and an occasional "Behind The Music". I can't decide what's more of a wasteland, cable TV or rock radio. As for Xmas however, I'll be at the beach and won't have to worry. :-)

Anyway, I'm mulling over taking a road trip with the speaker in the van to Lexington - it's not *too* far away (I'm in suburban DC), I'll spend less on gas than I will on shipping (as long as I take the sleeping bag and crash in the back, but the cost balance probably tips if I wind up wanting a bed and a shower), won't have to worry about the shipping gremlins or gorillas, and I'll get to go through the mountains and eat roadside BBQ. Problem is, I'd have to do it twice if Thiel can't prearrange to service the speaker the day I'm there. Then again, that would be twice as many opportunities (and excuses) to look for old records at country fleas'n'thrifts! Now, where are my overalls...
I've come to the conclusion that daytime television is an industry conspiracy to force the masses to go out to work. If mortgage, car and health payments aren't enough, then daytime telly will surely drive you out the door and seeking gainful employment.
Spoken like one who knows... :-)
I am very lucky to have never been unemployed. I did once have to take a month off sick ... that's when I found out the true horrors of daytime TV.
Sherry at Thiel has said that it probably is possible for me to schedule a repair appointment in advance, then bring the speaker to the factory myself on the morning of the appointed day and be able to take it away repaired at day's end. Concurrent with that she offered a factory tour. The bad news is that if the tech determines that the crossover was damaged due to an input signal overload (very likely), then there's no warranty coverage.
Zaikesman, aren't your Thiels recommended for use with amps up to 250 watts into 8 ohms. Did you pump over 500 watts into their lower than 4 Ohm load?