2 Follies To Avoid With Your Home Audio System

bad audio systemI enjoy listening to either Stitcher for podcasts, or Pandora for music while doing chores around the house. I’m all about productivity hacks and the idea of getting two things done in the same amount of time needed for one, well I’m all about.

Just the other day, I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts on entrepreneurship, and a particular saying stood out: “learn from other people’s mistakes”. This isn’t some new and revolutionary concept, but it got me thinking about a fun concept for this week’s blog post.

I’m going to share 2 mistakes people have made while installing or planning out their home audio systems. And, to raise the stakes… these are all instances that I’ve witnessed myself.

Now stop reading, go make some popcorn, and I’ll meet you back here in about 5 minutes.

  1. Purchasing “High-End” Speakers From Strangers In Parking Lots: The very first day my good friend moved up to the Bay Area, he got hustled for a half a bottle of whiskey and $100 right after withdrawing some cash out of the ATM. Maybe this says a little bit about the area, but it says a whole bunch about his common sense. Apparently some guys in an SUV full of “high-end” sound systems approached him in the parking lot with some half-cocked story about a delivery gone bad and an error at the factory. If it sounds too good to be true… it is! Anyway, fast forward a few weeks to when I’m helping him setup the sound system in his new studio, we get everything wired then power up the system and crank the volume – rip. One of the speakers literally rips the second the beat drops. Fast forward 5 more minutes, we’re online looking up the manufacturer warranty information and the first thing that pops up in the search results is a YouTube video: “White Van Speaker Scam”. Apparently this is a pretty widespread scam and lots of people fall for it every year! After watching a few more videos the social proof is overwhelming and the reality sets in that these speakers are as good as a pile of trash. Being the audio junkie that I am – I want to see inside. We pull a hammer and start prying apart the speaker box to take a peak inside. What do we find? Sandbags! There are sandbags stapled to the inside of the speaker boxes so to give them some extra weight and pose as a true version of the advertised ‘German-made’ quality! Moral of the story: you’re not going to find high-end audio equipment being pawned out of white vans in the far corner of the local Walmart parking lot.
  2. Allowing Rats To Have A Picnic In Your Attic: Just last month I was helping a friend troubleshoot some issues she was having with her home system. She has a really great setup in the den with the woofers installed inside the wall alongside the TV and the tweeters in the ceiling right above the couch. The issue was that the audio coming out one tweeter was very garbled and distorted. I checked all the standard things that I won’t bore you with, after all if you wanted to know how to troubleshoot your home audio issues I think you’d probably be on Ask.com. Anyway, I get to the checking the lines themselves and since they’re ceiling-mounted I find myself up in the attic filled with cobwebs, and you guessed it – a dead rat. So I get pretty freaked out by dead animals, regardless of their size, so I flew out of that attic like a bat out of hell. I had never heard of this, but after chatting with a tech from the local rodent removal company I discovered that those hairy little monsters love chewing on wires because it helps to sharpen their teeth. That same tech came over within an hour to remove the corpse and set a few traps to create more corpses, I ventured back up into the attic to replace the severed speaker wire, and hurried back home to take a shower. During the drive home I kept thinking of the irony in the saying, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”.