Amusing Hi-Fi Stories

Not really sure where to post this but it seems the right place to me. Moderators, please feel free to move to a more appropriate location if you wish.

Having read recently in these forums of a father catching his 15 year old son practicing DJ style ‘scratching’ with his LP12/Ittok/Trokia, I was surprised to read that the son is now 35. Had he been mine I may have been commemorating the 20 years since his passing!

That set me thinking of a couple of amusing Hi-Fi experiences I have had.

Firstly, in the summer of 1972, I was staying with my nan for a week while my mum & dad were away on holiday. Her 120 Guinea (she always stressed this, nothing as common as pounds for nan) state of the art Grundig Stereo Radiogram was her pride & joy & I felt privileged to be allowed to use it. She was a huge Elvis & Jim Reeves fan & as our musical tastes were rather different, she always went into another room when I was playing any of my albums.

I arrived home from my summer holidays job one evening, surprised to see the repair van from the electrical retailers outside nan’s house. On going inside the repair engineer was saying to my nan “well Mrs …………I’ve looked at everything & can’t find a thing wrong your radiogram”.

“I don’t understand it” replied nan, “it was making the most terrible noises last night. In fact, I am surprised my grandson didn’t say anything to me before he went to bed”.

A light-bulb went on in my head & I said, “was this what you heard nan?”. I then put on the Nice album, Five Bridges Suite, the bit where the late, lamented Keith Emerson sticks knives into his keyboard, holding many discordant notes at the same time. “That’s the noise” nan exclaimed, turning to me & saying “how didn’t you hear it?”. “I did nan, it’s supposed to be like that”.

Nan turned bright red & said to the engineer (who was struggling not to laugh) “I’m really sorry for calling you out unnecessarily, how much do I owe you?” He replied, “nothing Mrs…………, the boys at the shop will have the best laugh in a long time when I get back & tell them”.

As he left nan turned to me & said “how many more LP’s do you have like that?” ………….

Forty-seven years on, the joke was on me & my dealer. Last year I undertook a major update of my system, the first for 30 years. Part of this included a new Linn Krystal, replacing a very old Klyde, on my LP12 & the addition of a Rega Aria phono amp. The main change was replacing my old Naim amps with a new one.

Whilst being very pleased with the improved sound of the new amp v the old, the biggest improvement, to the surprise of both me & my dealer, was the boost in sound quality of the LP12, now clearly sounding the best source component of the whole system.

Cutting a long story short, I listened to the turntable for five months before noticing that the sound sounded somewhat mono. Two channels, but definitely mono. My dealer was surprised at this, having listened to the deck when he fitted the cartridge, but found a short in the arm wiring which resulted in the mono sound & its return to Linn for rewiring & service.2020-01-30T00:00:00Z

I’m pleased to say that my Linn is sounding even better now it’s not mono. I’m sure this stereo thing will catch on!

To be fair to my dealer, he claims he only listened to the deck for a couple of minutes to check that all was working OK & was not doing any analytical listening. I have no such excuses for five months of happy listening!

In future when anyone asks me what such & such component sounds like, I will hesitate to give an answer as, being unable to tell mono from stereo, I’m now not sure I’m the best person to give an opinion!


When I bought an SME 20 ex demo deck, the dealer said to me that it needs careful set up. He said he will install it with great care.
Some days after he delivered the deck to my home and made a precise set up during 2 hours.
The set up was so precise that I noticed the next day that the deck was standing on 3 feet only, not the 4!
Great dealer !


What were you worrying about? At least it played in stereo!


Many many years ago when I worked at TAG McLaren Audio I remember when a Russian customer returned a set of his McLaren F1 Speakers due to a rattling fault.

The service team took them apart to find a few surprises:
Toy cars, Lego and various other children paraphernalia.

His kids had been putting toys into the speaker ports over many months as a game.

Speakers were returned in factory standard condition and a plastic bag full of toys as an added bonus. I have a feeling this subject may get brought up at his kids wedding speech. :slight_smile:


Steve Harris
Software Director.


Lovely story…great memories. I had a crossover failure on the mid range for one of my speakers…not sure for how long?

One of my very best friends from uni, who passed away about 20 years ago now, sold TV’s and other appliances before moving to higher end hi fi. A sweet old woman came back with a VCR she had purchased, because it would not play in color. Yes – she did indeed still own a black and white TV.


I heard of a Ferrari car dealer in the 1980s who was asked to install some super hi-fi/ICE system in something like a 308GTB/GTS. The dealer’s response was no - on the basis you don’t buy a Ferrari to listen to music but the sound of the engine.


Reminds me of when I was going to buy my daughter her first car, and had lined up a Citroen 2CV (suited her image at the time). I asked the dealer if he’d be kind enough to fit a decent stereo as part of the deal, but he declined. He told me it was totally futile because she’d never hear it above the din.


I used to have Plinius SA-100Mk3 amp. When a friend who was totally not into high-end audio visited, he saw the amp sitting on the floor. Coincidentally the amp was sitting at a considerable distance away from the system at that time.

He asked,“What is that thing sitting on the floor? Looks like a premium microwave oven but I’ve never seen anything like it before”. I didn’t know how to respond to him. I actually forgot what I said to him as the incident happened more than 15 years ago.

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Should have told him it was a space heater!

IIRC, I think there were articles in HFN & RR many years ago about one of the journos building a dedicated listening room, which had 3 wiring looms - one ordinary main cabling, the other 2 being specialist stuff (e.g. may have been Kimber?) - may have been Ken Kessler?

Anyway, when auditioning some kit, a Naimite preferred the standard mains cabling over the others! ….nothing changes? :smiley:


Yes, I remember reading it.

Did it sound better or worse on four feet instead of three?

Better on 4 , because one feet was in the air .

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Can’t blame a source first granny…

Just remembered another…

A couple of years ago, SWMBO was hosting a meeting of the local parochial church council, with several elderly ladies gathered in our conservatory. When I popped my head round the door to see if anyone fancied more tea, I noticed a half-full cup resting on the volume control of my Muso.

I quickly plucked the cup off, and politely pointed out that it wasn’t a very good place for a mug of liquid. One of the ladies apologised profusely and told me she thought it was a hotplate to keep her tea warm.


Last few weeks ago, my brother told me that he poked my uncle’s heybrook’s tweeter when he was very young, too young to understand and before I was born. Then my uncle fixed the tweeter by using those water pipes and suck it out, my uncle thanked god that there is no damage to the tweeter and told my brother not to poke any tweeter. Few months later, my uncle accidentally damaged my other uncle’s Rega speakers by poking it.

Now, the heybrook is with me still working well. The model is a HB2R. But I do not know what happened to the rega, last seen was that it was given back to my other uncle, told by my another other uncle.

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Something similar happened to me when I first got my Naim NAC 52 pre-amp.

At the end of an evening’s listening I would be surprised to discover that the mono switch was lit up and that I had been listening for at least part of the evening in mono. Puzzled, I would switch the pre-amp back to stereo, only for the same thing to happen the next evening.

It took me a while to work out what was happening. The refrigerator in my flat had compressor switch that was so noisy that every time it switched off, I got a loud “fridge thump” through the speakers, which was especially loud when the amp was switched to the high-sensitivity moving-coil phono input. A byproduct of this unwanted electrical interference was that it would switch the pre-amp into mono mode.

It took me so long to find out what was happening because I didn’t notice I was listening in mono immediately after the fridge thump, which says a lot, I suppose, about how much I care about holographic 3D stereo imagery.


Reminds me of another story of how technology is lost on some people.

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I mentioned to a colleague at work a few years ago who was a profilic buyer of music with a huge album collection, that I had just bought some new speaker cable and perhaps he might like to try my old Audioquest cable in his system.

I asked him what terminals he had and the next day he came in and said I don’t know the wires just disappear into the back of the speaker.

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