What was your biggest audio disaster?

Stereophile's picture
It could have been a stupendously bad purchase or, perhaps, a cat running across the turntable while your first-pressing Parlophone Beatles LP was playing. What stands out as your biggest audio disaster?
What was your biggest audio disaster?
Here it is
86% (77 votes)
Never had one
14% (13 votes)
Total votes: 90
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tonye's picture

MP3 encoding.

D.A.B., Pacific Palisades, CA's picture

Placing my Alon IVs in direct morning sunlight, which slowly fried the woofer cones over five or six years. Because I was living in a small Ohio suburb at the time, there was no way to have them re-coned, so (with tears in my eyes) I placed them on the curb with the rest of my garbage.

Doug Bowker's picture

Let the needle hit the still spinning knurled edge of a record clamp; it snapped off the needle and sent an electrical short (or something) that then fried my phono preamp. Not a happy night. Gave me an excuse to use the trade-up policy on my Grado cartridge, though, so it came out good in the end.

Scott Thompson's picture

My biggest audio disaster was selling my Musical Fidelity A308 gear for Tri-Vista and KW gear. Not much of an upgrade in sound and very poor build on the KW and Tri-Vista stuff—nothing but trouble. Dealing with Musical Fidelity trying to get it fixed was another matter altogether. Never again will I own an MF piece of gear, suffice it to say.

Nathan's picture

Turning on my H. H. Scott without a speaker load connected to it. That's what frazzled my transformer.

KBK's picture

Leaving the house to walk the dog with the stereo still running and warming up. When I got back over half an hour later, I found that the AC power had been motorboating (rapidly turning on and off at about 0.5-0.3Hz) for nearly the entire time I was gone. Well, at that time, I had been running a one-of-a-kind MFA brand three-chassis all-octal tube preamp, the proto-Venusian. The power amplifier was about 300Wpc, and 100% rail-to-rail (+/- 90VDC capable), with no protection of any kind with a 20 amp slow-blow fuse. The topper, was that it was all running into a set of serious prototype speakers with now-extinct drivers, in quadruplicate, as it was a MTM design. Well, the preamp suffered a near untraceable DC shift from the abuse and the amplifier suffered blown output transistors (only partially) and some were shorted (!) and the irreplaceable woofers where basically welded. That's what I got for taking my dog for walk when the system was warming up.

RB's picture

Stacking my vinyl LPs on the floor (vertically, of course); the records are fine but my cats tore the shit out of the jacket sides!

Mike's picture

Converting to CD in the early '80s.

Andy Organ, UK's picture

Bought a DBX unit—a 222 I think. 666 would be appropriate.

M.'s picture

My biggest audio disaster was buying a NAD 522 CD player. It was unreliable and sounded awful.

Christian's picture

Stupendously bad purchase. I bought a subwoofer from an online retailer (name withheld to protect the guilty). Crapped out after six months; they recalled it and repaired it with counterfeit Chinese parts. I got it back and two days later it totally melted down. Bummer. Lesson learned.

Jimmy Olson's picture

Selling PSB B25s for a pair of NHT SuperOnes.

Jimmy's picture

A 1980s Toshiba cassette player. It "died" six months after purchase.

Nosmo King's picture

Well, not my fault, but. . . . I built a 100Wpc SS amp back in high school. It was a kit from Dick Smith Electronics out of Australia. Sounded damn good, still does. I had it cranking pretty well when my dad came in to turn it down. He did it with such force that it broke the stop and went to full. We were both nearly blown across the room, but the speakers survived—as did the amp.

James madore's picture

Here is the value of surge protectors and why you want a good one. I was at university a few years ago and there was a thunderstorm. I forgot to unplug my system. I came home and my A/V receiver was fried, the speakers were fried, and that awful smell of black smoke was in the air. The speakers were made where I live—Swan Speaker Systems of Prince Edward Island—and the drivers used in the MTM Taurus design were Audax. Audax had just been shut down and my $3000 speakers were broken for good. Also, the Morel MST 33 tweeter was out of production. Those speakers meant a lot to me!

Sherwood's picture

Buying a Sony CD player!

Dismord's picture

Unknown to me, a dealer, still operating in Melbourne, was substituting cheap valves in new Audio Research amps and selling the originals at a big profit. I had three instances of output valves dramatically exploding before I finally hit him with a solicitor's letter demanding my money back. Got my money back, but the thug is still out there performing the same trick.

r.  white's picture

Supposedly, one of the first all solid-state Acoustech amps, bought early '70s, kept eating its own output transistors. The service guy went through 10 transistors before giving up. We threw the amp out with the burned-out parts.

Tonko Papic - CHILE's picture

My two Quad ESL 63s that burned in a fire that completely destroyed my home in 1999. Also burned was a Yamaha amplifier, a Sony CD player, a Pioneer DVD, and many other things.

Paul S.'s picture

Mine was cutting a hole in the top chassis of a Dynaco FM3 to replace the filter cap. This was in pre-Internet days and I had a limited choice of NOS caps at my local electronics store. They had one that fit the specs electronically, but was physically too tall. So, in my youthful abandon, I took tin snips to the top chassis and cut a giant hole for the cap to poke out of. It worked, but it looked ugly. I still have it.

er's picture

I have two. A lightning strike that shorted out my always-on Jeff Rowland Capri preamp. Also, pushed-in Esotar tweeters, courtesy of my four-year-old.

xanthia01@gmail.com's picture

Never had one, and with the cost of the equipment I am buying, I had better not have one. So mine rates at sitting down for a long listening session (a well-earned one at that—I hadn't had a listen in over a week) and realizing that a valve had gone noisy. No replacement was at hand.

Ken's picture

My eight-pound dog dancing across my LP copy of Woodstock, which I received the first week it was released in 1970. The dog was barking at the mailman and I had left the LP on the window seat, so it was my fault.

Michael's picture

Buying a DAC that costs more than $300.

djl's picture

My daughter's new cat knocked my speaker off its speaker stand and it fell on top of my vintage Technics SL-Q3 turntable. Fortunately, the speaker was okay and only the dust cover was broken. The turntable was otherwise fine. Glad it wasn't my current set of speakers since they weigh about twice as much! The cat ran out of the room unscathed but scared and we still have her! She doesn't crawl around in my room much any more.

Chuckie Girmann, San Diego, CA's picture

Purchasing an amplifier from an incompetent manufacturer. Took some serious shop time to get the thing into a state that was even safe to use. Totally lame.

Eric Shook - Pittsboro, NC's picture

My now wife drove over a pair of Vandersteen 1Cs. I've since moved on to a pair of 2CE Sigs—and bachelorhood.

Chris R's picture

Not a big disaster, but when I started my PC library in 2001, I ripped about 220 CDs in MP3 format before I realized the benefit of FLAC. It only took a few months of casual ripping to catch up. Still, I would advise anybody who's into a computer library to rip in FLAC. It's the first link to a solid audio chain (besides the soundcard/interface).

L Solom's picture

Years ago, enticed by their ad "infinitely upgradable," I invested in the Citation 7 preamp/processer. So I upgraded to the Proceed AVP when the Cit was killed off (without the promised AC3 external decoder upgrade ever being released), to a Proceed AVP. And, when that was killed off, I upgraded to a Lexicon MC12, which has become somewhat of a dead end as well. You go Harman Kardon—you rock!

Tim Bishop's picture

I have had two, but overcame both. The first was experimenting with different tubes in my Golden Tube SE40 and blowing several resistors. I fixed that one. The next was when we moved into a new house, and all my stereo stuff was in the basement. My kids flooded the bathroom, and of course several LPs got wet. The covers were ruined but I salvaged the vinyl with new sleeves and jackets and a good record cleaning machine!

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