Boy, do I feel like an idiot now

Due to a bunch of changes in my house, a few months ago I had to completely disassemble my hifi, and packed it away. With the changes pretty much concluded, a few weeks ago I unpacked everything, and set it back up. But there were some changes. I temporarily switched to a pair of speakers that I had previously retired to my attic. And I got a new stand.

Since then I’ve been chasing a gremlin or two. The stand is enclosed, so it’s impossible to see connections. Everything is by feel. That’s caused a few problems, and I thought I had them fixed. But yesterday I noticed that the sound was real quiet on one speaker. When I bought those speakers they had a blown driver that had to be replaced, so I was bummed. My first assumption was that the other driver had now blown. And these are vintage speakers. When I bought the last driver it appeared to be the very last one available anywhere. This was potentially bad news.

So on my amp I swapped the RCA cables coming from the preamp. And the quite playback switched to the other speaker. OK, not the speaker. Awesome! And not the amp either. Also good.

I was playing tunes from Roon, so I was hoping it was my DAC - the cheapest thing to replace. So I swapped the RCA line out on the back of the DAC going to my preamp. Nothing changed. Oh no! That meant it was my preamp. :frowning:

My preamp is a vintage Aragon 24K with the hot triangular (vs. the lesser rectangular) outboard power supply. Replacing that quality component with a similar performing preamp would be a buck or ten. And it has no fuses, except in the outboard power supply. And when those blow, they blow all the way. So I guessed my only hope was that I had a bad connection, somewhere back where I could not see them.

I’ll keep it short and say that with the preamp in the new enclosed cabinet, cleaning and resetting all the connections on the back of the preamp was an awkward - and time consuming - ordeal. And the result? No change.

So I’m sitting there, quietly being bummed… thinking that I’d really like to find a place that could repair this excellent component when I saw it. Someone (not me, and my kids are all grown) had turned the balance knob! One rotation back to the middle, and BAM! Perfect balance again.

I DO feel like a chump now. These things happen some times. That’s why I use the avatar that I do. Right now, a chimp feels pretty darned appropriate. LOL

Well I guess all’s well that ends well. Figured I’d share. Someone may find it amusing. :slight_smile:


Kudos for ‘fessin’ up Steve - we’ve all done something similar!

Great story! I’m pretty sure we’ve all done at least as bad if not much worse…

Imagine if you’d realised only after you bought a new preamp!

Anyway, so who turned it !? :wink:

Thanks Vincent! Misery loves company. :slight_smile:

Steve, I’m guessing it’s my 25 year old son that walked in the other day and said, “You’ve moved everything Dad, How do I turn the stereo down now?:wink:

The number of times I’ve sat down in my listening room, fired up the network, DAC and preamp etc and pressed play only to encounter silence. Check inputs, check all aforementioned powered, check Roon is actually playing track … start getting frustrated… and then it dawns on me… Active speakers need to be plugged in to the mains to do anything. :confounded:

Anyone in this hobby for long has been there. Glad it was a simple fix. Encountering silence, or a problem can be mind bloggling. I used to get after my computer network when it crapped out, but figured out after time, if the internet worked when I shut off the computer, it should work now. Too many times investigating a problem I couldn’t fix it anyway - the internet service was down.

Cheers, Robert

Yeah, I guess so. But I did feel like this one was particularly stupid. LOL

We get so set in our thinking… the assumptions we operate under. In my case, the balance knob never crossed my mind, because I never touch it. And because no one touches the preamp, except its great big volume knob. It’s a BIG knob, and the only big knob. So no one accidentally turns anything else.

I guess that assumption was wrong. :neutral_face:

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