I will not go into specifics, but let's just say that much of my "electronics know-how" comes from hands-on experience. Luckily, i've learned from "most" of my mistakes, which is what most of my "experience" has been composed of : ) Sean
I run 220 and 120VAC gear and once I inadvertedly switched the power. The 220 VAC did not mind much, said it needed VIAGRA, but the 120 gear blew a fuse, to put it mildly and so did I.
Running a tape of Mario Lanza at 30ips, sounded like Spike Jones with the seven dwarfs as chorus.
I originally mentioned this in the "Regrets" thread some months ago.
My dumbest audio move was to trash my Dad's Sansui 1000X receiver which I had grown up listening to. One day I decided I needed to get rid of some of the "junk" around the house. Well a few weeks after the good ol' Sansui was out to pasture I had a bout of major regret.
Thankfully, Audiogon member Sherod read my post and responded with a most generous act.
He sent me for FREE a Sansui 1000X he'd won on Ebay not once, but TWICE! Now I have two Sansuis from which I can build a beautiful single working piece even better than the one I trashed.
So even in my stupidest hour, there was a good hearted and generous audiophile to help me rescue some fond memories of my youth and put a smile on my Dad's face again.
I've got a good one.
At the age of seventeen I'm at home my parents go on vacation to Florida. I decide to put a new sound system in my VW Beetle. I'm drilling parts in the basement. I reach up and un plug a cord from the closest socket. Finish my drilling and leave forgetting to insert the plug back into the socket.
Two weeks later my parents come home. I had unplugged the big deep freezer. My dad had just split a whole cow with his buddy and it was in the freezer. Man did that shit stink. Took me five hours of gagging and hurling to get that sucker clean.
My dad was so pissed. Gotta have those tunes
Speaking of Dads, when I was sixteen back in 1977 I bought my first integrated amp, a JVC 30 watter as I recall, and tried hooking it up to try it out after school on my dad's Pioneer Project 60's (anyone remember them?) Oh, er, I forgot to disconnect the wires to HIS receiver (a Webcor) and used one of his outputs from the tuner input into my JVC. I turned it on and fried the output section of his receiver. When he came home and I had to tell him I destroyed his Webcor, well, it was not pretty!
It was my pleasure, Gunbei.I took great satisfaction with this gift.I also appreciate your kind return gift of the Monster Cable Power strip. It is working very nicely in my bedroom home theatre set-up. As far as dumb things I've done,I'll let you all know later, because there are too many instances and I need to think and choose the dumbest.
I just installed a brand new Dynavector Ruby cartridge (23R) on my Alphason tonearm and I was ready to play the first album record using this new cartridge. I was holding the album jacket and could not find the opening in the jacket in order to remove the album. I rotated the jacket to take a closer look, when the album slid out and landed right on top of my new cartridge breaking the cantilever. Remember those album jackets' that had the slit on top, instead of the side where most are?? Upon, reflection, this was not funny, but is sure was dumb. Oh by the way, the album soom made it debut as a frisbie.
I'd been experimenting with homemade p/c's made by a friend of mine who swears by them. I put one on my Classe CDP-1, it worked well at first, then I went on a 2 week vacation. When I returned, the cd player kept shutting off. I would turn it on, it would play for 10 minutes or so, then shut off. I forgot about the p/c. I contacted Classe and they sent me an RA#. To make a long story short, they could find nothing wrong with it. They shipped it back, I've been using the stock cord ever since, no problems. I felt stupid for shipping the unit and waiting a month, when I should have tried to switch the p/c in the first place.
I once watched a friend of mine run the outputs of an Aragon 4004MII into the inputs on a Rotel pre-amp. Whenhe turned the amp an it fried the Rotel. I mean flames came out the top of the unit. Now, I know that your all just thinking that that was stupid. Now, for the funny part: he was a custom installer! To this day I always recheck everything he does when I help him out on a job.
I will report only the most recent idiotic thing: I listened to my Genesis 500's, which have their own bass amps driving the 3 woofers per speaker, for 3 weeks with the bass amps turned off. That's right, there was NO bass information coming from these speakers for 3 weeks, yet I didn't notice that the amps had been turned off (possibly by the house cleaner) and instead kept moving my listening chair, turning up the gain control on the back of each speaker, messing with different CDs, etc. Finally, last Sunday night, a light bulb went off and I looked at the back of the speakers again. DUH!!!
The funny thing is, there is a LOT of bass information that comes out of the midrange drivers. The speakers really didn't sound bad at all. An ARC VT-100 Mk III drives the top part of the speakers and really they sound pretty good as minimonitors. I guess I didn't need to spend all that extra $$$ to get full-range speakers after all. I was too ashamed to admit this to anyone, till I saw this thread today.
This spring, I tried to convince myself that I could listen to CD/SACD as my only source. That was a stupid waste of money and time. I actually knew better, since for years I had been analog only. But I had sold all my gear and albums a few years earlier, and thought that I would just go with the CD and new SACD format. I couldn't do it. So now I am re-building my LP collection, and enjoying it on my Teres 245 TT. Sold the CD/SACD player and all my CD's. This is really a follow up on the earlier stupid mistake of selling my LP collection in the first place.
I spent several weeks listening to my home theater DVDs in Dolby Pro-Logic . . . . I always just assumed that the default setting on my new Sony DVP9000ES was 5.1, but it turns out that the factory default is a downmixed PCM signal. What makes it REALLY stupid is that my receiver always indicated "Pro-Logic DVD," and I thought that it was really weird that the receiver would say that when it was playing a Dolby Digital 5.1 DVD . . . .
When I lived with a roomate about 20 years ago, he had a GAS Son of Amp, and some speakers that someone made. Well,
they just didn't have the midrange that my Fried speaker's had so I hooked them up too. Well, back then the revolutionary "Polk speaker wire" had just came out. so that's what I used. Needless to say, the one channel went
out. So, we ended up sending it to Gasworks and had it repaired and upgraded. So, they send it back, and what do I
do, but the same darn thing...Hooked up my speakers again! Bingo! It went out again. Well, Gasworks didn't want to keep
fixing it, so after a little discussion they found out I had used the Polk wire. "Very Bad Stuff", impedence fluctuated all over the place. So know the primary use for this revoltionary wire is to tie down loads to the dump!
Had to think about this one ... so many choices! Well here's some genuine stupidity for you:
Was troubleshooting an amp that I had built myself completely from scratch. Somehow I connected the output test leads back onto the meter that I was using to monitor the input. Powered on - went into total oscillation, & then kapow a cap exploded. I was so royally ticked at myself!
Turned out to not be so bad after I decided to gut the whole thing then redesign & rebuild it. The result was quite rewarding.
Grade nine electronics class; I was trying to take a mono turntable, install a stereo cartridge, and run stereo inputs to a tiny Radio shack amplifier. I wound up wiring AC power into the turntable cartridge. When the electronics teacher saw what I had done, he laughed so hard that he had a seizure and had to be taken to the hospital in an ambulance. Do I win???
A few years ago my mother did some laundry during her visit and since it's was warm day, she decided to hang the laundry outside. I wasn't home to help her so she made a cloth line using my Kimber interconnect cables. I didn't realized my cables were missing until a few weeks later seeing it tied to a post and a tree.
I was wondering why my shirts were brighter.
True to style, I have beheaded a number of cantilevers, a Sumiko BPS @ least 10 times-- at the end, I was offered reparation for free (by Mr v Den Hul, no less, taking pity on me). Fortunately I never killed my expensive Clearaudio.
Better still, I lived for 2 weeks w/out real bass below 83Hz (2nd amp was not operating), without catching on. Not only did I not realise that 8 woofers were not moving, I found the sound very clear -- but a bit thin -- all of a sudden. Even better, I was SWITCHING ON the amp, without checking if it had actually powered up!!! It couldn't, it wasn't plugged in the mains
I FIANLLY caught on that the lower register was lacking and was considering speaker placement yet again, when my wife called me one day, frantic, to tell me that the "black amp" wouldn't light up...
So much for these here "golden ears"... and to think that people regularly provide me with components for my "erudite evaluation". You bet :)! So now you know...
I used a blow dryer on the midrange of my old LFT-VIIIs and then spent $200 for a total of 1 meter of purled interconnects. Oh wait, I'm supposed to do those things....
How about buying bottled water on a rainy day? I'm sure that's the penultimate sign of a civilization hurtling towards self-destruction.
I haven't fried any equipment (yet). Does installing 16 speakers in a Ford Pinto count as dumb? -- had large midrange horns hanging from the ceiling and a set of 16 ohm boxed speakers in the back. Maybe the dumb thing there was slapping in a cassette tape of a 45 minute drum solo on a long road trip with my wife-to-be on our fourth date (I'm still hearing about that one). Hmmm. I too got rid of most of my LP's. That was dumb. I too fried myself, more than once, forgetting to let those darned capacitors discharge.
All in, I think the dumbest thing I did was waiting so long to get into this hobby. I took three years of electronics in high school and subscribed to audio magazines (Stereo Review and Audio -- talk about stupid!) for about 20 years before taking the plunge and setting my old JVC/AR combination aside. I really was convinced that most stuff sounded about the same and thought the folks who read Stereophile must be insane. $500 for a cable????? It wasn't until later that I actually just listened. I still wonder about those cable prices though.
I once bought a "Fons" turntable on closeout for $50. First I had endure all kinds of "Happy Days" related jokes from my audiophile friends. (Did it come with a leather jacket, Does it say "hey' when you turn it on, etc) Then once I turned it on I found the motor was shot and the speed was too slooooow.
The only redeeming value was the belt that came with fit the systemdek TT I owned at the time. This was a very expensive belt replacement.
I had a BGW power amp on the test bench. It had a fried output stage (I bought it that way) Well, I had it powered up and was poking aound with a meter probe and decided that there was a bit more to come out of the way. Not wanting to be surprised by the fully charged power supply caps, I thought they should be discharged. Hence, I dropped my screwdriver across the terminals--POP!--I never DID find the third piece of that screwdriver!
Well, its not really audio related, sorta i guess.
When i was in the military, i was troubleshooting a phone line at a commanders residence. I had my butt-set and was running down the terminal block with the aligator clips and had the set to my ear
POW, everything flashed white.
I recovered a few seconds later, with the taste of aluminum foil in my mouth, dazed and confused. I diddnt really know what happened and my head was spinning. Anyways, in a half daze, i grabbed my buttset and started down the terminal block again
POW, everything flashed white
I recovered several minuits later and staggered to my feet. Dunbar, who was on site troubleshooting with me walked in, diddnt seem to notice my disarrayed self, and said "IS this the block?" he pulled out his buttset and started running down the block. Before i could warn him, halfway through the block his arms spasmed, eyes rolled up in his head, knees buckled, and he collapsed in a heap. He regained conciousness a few minuits later
Turned out there is what is known as a CM8 circuit in the commanders houce. The control leads run over standard copper pair and terminate on a standard MX66 block. I cant remember the exact amount of juice running over these leads, but when you put the buttset up to it, the shock from one of the leads going up the buttset, into your mouth, out your ear, and back down the other clip.
The feeling resembles a seasoned boxer taking a blast at your head without gloves.
It was a total accident the first time. I just cant believe i hit it twice.... talk about stupid
Another one! Sold my turntable on Audiogon. Went through great lenght to find and pack the sucker (Thorens 166 mkII). It was a good sale, the table was tweaked, AQ Mat, Ortofon MC ctg, new feet etc...good for several hundreds. On the way to UPS, i was to put the box in the trunk/hatchback of my Mustang. I got the phone call, my wife went out to call me. I cut the conversation short (tele-marketeer) and went back into the car. Turned the key, placed in reverse and ran over something....!!! You can guess the rest!
I had a CD Player with volume control but wanted to integrate it with other sources so needed switching and volume control. Built a passive box with remote controlled switching via top quality relays and a motorised volume pot, bypassing the volume for the CD player. I didn't put any security code on the remote and the sun managed to trick the volume to go up to full, while switched to a radio station, while I was out for some hours. My speakers were totally blown into next week - wires poking through the cones, all caps blown on the crossover - only the cabinets were recoverable. It must have been incredibly loud. And I thought I was saving myself money by not buying a top preamp - quite the reverse.
I was in a hurry to put a new NYAL Moscode 300 Maxi into my system. All of this shuffling combined with living in hot Arizona worked up a sweat pretty quickly. As I was plugging in and turning on the Moscode a single drop of sweat rolled off my forehead and fell through the vent slots onto the board and POP, CRACKLE, SNAP. I dove to shut it off and it was too late! I took out one side of the amp!
Jothompson.....I had a similar experience years ago with a Mcintosh 225......I stepped out of the shower and stupidly walked into my bedroom to adjust the volume on the preamp before fully drying off a single drop of water off my hair fell onto the amp and poof!!! luckily it only fried a tube,unfortunatly it was original Mcintosh labled
I had unknowingly stumbled upon PERFECT synergy in my system... I enjoyed it at every opportunity, transfixed... friends would congratulate me, people would ask how I managed to get such amazing sound from such a simple looking system, even my wife began requesting music.... then I realized that I could probably get even better sound.... 2 sets of interconnects, and a tube swap later, the magic was gone............. I've been 'upgrading' ever since!!!