Costliest Brainfart


I had one today.

While reorganizing my audio rack, with my TT still pretty on top, I decided I just had to level it just right.  And to make this happen, I decided I just had to place a block of wood under the spikes.  And since the block was fairly thick I just had to keep lifting the front higher and higher.  And higher.  

The table slid right off the back and came crashing down onto the floor.  Moerch UP4 arm, bent.  Karat 17d3 stylus, cocked to the side.  The table itself might be salvageable, but I was so disgusted with myself I didn’t bother looking.

A 2K+ brain fart.

Who needs vinyl anyway!

Please list your mishaps if for no other reason than to make me feel a bit better.  😉

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You might be able to make a claim on your homeowners insurance.

I was dusting my turntable once years ago.  I hear a “tink!”  Yanked the cantilever right off my MC cartridge in the blink of an eye.  The towel caught the stylus.  I have been much more careful when I dust ever since.

OP, wow, really sorry to hear your story. I have done a few things revealing my poor judgement. 

Maybe, look at this as an opportunity to rethink all the things you have learned and get a new turntable, 

Yep, things like that happen, maybe not all the time, but i know well the feeling of having just shot myself through the foot. It doen't feel good. It makes you think how you might have done it differently, that's for sure. I can't remember anything specific at the moment, but I've had more that my fair share, especially being a guy that couldn't afford to buy the great gear I may have wanted, and had to build it myself.

You can imaging the type of disasters that can happen when you're trying to do something you have no experience doing. It can get out of hand.



At a show with 200/300 people, I put 120VAC (hot wire) onto a common *audio* ground. Silenced both amplifiers and both speakers.

Took Altec VOTs and Marantz 1060 from my van for substitutes, but...

No homeowners insurance covers Brain-farts. If it did, we could not afford homeowners insurance. 

So sorry to hear this. I can fully, unfortunately, empathize. Whilst OCD can sometimes be a good thing, when it comes to adjusting and tweaking components this can be detrimental. In my constant neurotic quest to get every single component exactly level, on all vibration pads exactly even (including my 72 lb center speaker), I have had so many near misses. And it’s just plain not necessary. And I know this…Add in the fact that my rack is so far from easily accessible and every damn time I do something I have to turn into a contortionist-very hard at 54-but I can’t help myself sometimes…The worst thing that happened was I fried my DAC while changing IC’s. Not sure how or why this happened but I know I caused it somehow if for no other reason than I just can’t leave well enough alone…


I don’t do vinyl, but maybe the bright side is come back to or cross over to CD’s?


Whatever you end up doing, I feel you man and can so relate to that awful feeling. You’ll figure it out and move forward…that’s what we do, no choice. And as my wife constantly reminds me “it’s just stuff”. Stuff can be replaced and in some cases maybe even for the better and less expensive. That can happen

It wasn’t an audio gear brain fart but I once attempted to back out of my garage while forgetting to open the door. When I heard the sound of the crash and realized what I had done all I could think was what an idiot I was. To this day I still double check that the door is open every time I leave the house. 

I bough a new/used tube amp that uses EL84 tubes.  It sounded good.  Within a day I was eager to do some tube rolling.  I ordered some tubes to try.


Then  I remembered I had a sophia baby tube amp with the same tubes....oops, they weren't the same.  They were actually 6P1T...different pin out that provided a dead short.  

I figured it out when no music came out and I smelled the hot smell.  Turned it off but too late.

Openedit up and found the blown resistor.  Only cost $5 and had it back in service the next day but it was a bonehead move.


fbgbill - you win the cigar, my friend.

Now, if one of you could come by and steal a broken tt, that'd be covered.  But then insurance would probably replace with another broken table so maybe I'll just suck it up.

This mishap will rank up there with cross-threading and torquing down a spark plug in a Nissan Z car because, well, "It's a sports car."  I'd replaced many plugs and worked on cars quite a bit when I had that brainfart.  

I think I'll hear the table slide off the rack and see it crash onto the floor for quite some time.  But maybe not.  F it.  $hit happens.  Life's too short to dwell on things that cannot be changed.

Cheers all,



That’s a shame, and as you realize completely preventable.

I was photographing some equipment, some to show, some to sell.

3 Extension leaves in the dining room table, heavy stuff hither and thither.

Left End I picked up my fairly heavy McIntosh tube tuner/preamp, and, the heavier Cayin Amp was on the right end of the table.

Like a good lever/seesaw is supposed to do, it started to go down on the right, Cayin Amp sliding toward disaster. Still holding the Preamp, I move right, put the McIntosh Preamp on the table, but too far right at this point, and grabbed for the Cayin Amp.

Bang, Bang, they both crashed off the table. Luckily, the table was tilted, right end nearer the floor, so the drop height was reduced.

That Cayin can take a shot, corner of thick faceplate hit floor, zero damage, a big memorable dent in the wood floor, and one EL-34 tube flew out and shattered, that’s it.

Glass face of McIntosh preamp cracked, that’s it’s only mishap. I drew up a template (I’m an architect, have cad software), had the glass with two holes made locally, and painted the backside with black paint, looks like factory. Whew.

Idiototic, luckily limited damage. I switched the power tubes to KT88’s, prefer them.

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Then there are the stories of people trying to place heavy amps on lower shelves and thereby ruining their backs for life. It's dangerous out there.

Kingbr - one of the main reasons I messed around with the rack was to pull it out away from the wall more as I hated trying to manipulate all the cabling whenever I swapped preamps.  

I had listened to about five records with the Karat installed.  Probably not much more than 10 records total on the table (at least from me as I bought it used).

I’m not a vinyl only guy for sure.  98% of my listening is streaming, but I had a decent rig for when the urge to listen to a record hit, as I have several thousand LPs.  I’ll bring my old Thorens out for now.

elliott - some people act when in those situations while others just watch and grimace, it appears.

Worst audio brain fart was snapping the cantilever on my Supex 900 Super whilst cleaning it.

The most embarrassing incident happened when backing into a parking spot. Hooked the front bumper on a telephone pole and pulled it completely off with half a dozen coworkers watching.

Thought my future ex-wife wanted my stereo, so I sold it cheap so she wouldn't get her grubby mitts on it. Turned out she was a better person than I gave her credit for and never mentioned my rig. I still miss that gear. Definitely a brain fart. Fortunately, I grew up a lot over that, so I guess not a total loss. LOL

@secretguy -- "@kota1 Your level of empathy is underwhelming."


Darn it!  The message is deleted.  I'm always a "Day late and a Dollar short".

Just this weekend I decided to try out a new set of driver tubes i - and while pulling the old one out I slipped, somehow lost my balance while crouched over the rack, stumbled, and cracked a 1990s Western Electric 300B.  Literally the most expensive pair of tubes I own.


Thank you all for sharing your mishaps - makes me feel a little better knowing I am not alone in this.


@audiodwebe  I hope you can find a way to salvage your table with a new arm & cart!  So sorry this happened to you.

Two stories:



I was a freshman in college ('77). I had a dorm room facing a courtyard. It was just before spring break. People were shooting frisbee and hanging out on the courtyard. I decided to impress them with my vinyl collection. So, I had Pioneer sx737 receiver, a pioneer turntable and nice set of KLH speakers. I went to move one speaker over to a lower window facing the courtyard that opened towards the inside. While balancing the speaker in one hand and propping open the window, I dropped the speaker on the metal corner of the window and put a huge 2 inch gash on the side of the speaker. My heart went through the floor. I mowed many a lawn to earn those speakers. And I trashed one. 



Although this involves a guitar and not audio gear, I was trying to line up two hand made classical guitars side by side to compare neck profiles. Not being satisfied with the placement of one, I tried moving it by slightly grabbing the bass bout on the front and the back with one hand. As soon as I gripped it I heard a slight "click" sound. Again, my heart dropped. The pressure cracked the red cedar top at the rear bass side. A 5k guitar, cracked by a mishandling idiot. 


 Brain farts happen. I'm sorry for yours! 

Anyone can act in a stupid way , times to times...

I did myself too as anyone here...

And it is not all about damaging a mere object...

Making people feel bad is worst than loosing an amplifier...

Because the negative emotion caused on others stay forever recorded on the cosmic memory field...Believe it or not....

An audio component lost means nothing... Few bucks...Anyway few thousand bucks perhaps... 😊



Not an audio related brain fart but I did drive into my parking garage with my $5000 mountain bike still in the roof rack.  Needless to say it got binned.  It was not a good day.  That said, I had a great ride for my, unbeknownst to me, last ride and I eventually replaced it with a much nicer one.  Silver linings and all.

".....we're all bozos' on this bus."

Yup, guilty by DNA breaks 'n dents....mouth in motion when brain clutch shattered, wrong space with no time at all prior to the start, affairs pursued even assured of the death spiral ending...

...finished the first Real Pair of diy Walsh; still crude yes, but much improved over the cobbled smaller 1st go...enthused, enjoyed, warts 'n all....

Something To Listen To while moving on to the next iteration, another roughed pair to satisfy a curiosity about omnis 4 early demented notion, yesss...

Yes, the dark side of that moon had muddy secrets to be observed by the absurder...

Until, in a evening of enthusiasm, a crisp *pop* from R front.  No nononono...

Voice coil. Not just failed but fused into a band of stink.

Knew that heat is the enemy of the diy Walsh; lesson now seared into my mind.

Minimums: Kapton formers / vented / RMS rating far above my max. available / thermal fusing a desired 'enhancement'....

...and learn the meaning of Restraint.. 

With a preference to avoid the harder version....(no pun intended, but it's there..)


Seen too many 'performed by others', fortunately or no, not close enough to be a hero or victim...

- A fat arrow of oak, launched by a table saw, zings across 20 yards....misses the head of an employ by transiting just as close to the top curved glass front of an antique display case, finally stopped by the front wall of said shop...

...inches from the pay phone, closer yet to the co-owner on that phone....

All Steve could do is to drop the receiver, turn and stare at all in the shop staring at him....

Of course he exploded....the dent in the wall got painted blood red.



- Install crew leaves a much later day from the facility, crane truck loaded with the rather large illuminated sign to be installed that morning to an impatient client who had the right to be such....having been 'pushed back' time-wise far too long....

15~20 min. later, the call comes in....the unit was now in the middle of an interstate, forming an impromptu barrier to morning rush hour traffic....

Of course it was sideways, 90 deg. +/-....blocking 2.5ish of 4....


Lost track of how many bullets and shrapnel I've had the odd pleasure of not being in the way of, nor directly involved/responsible for.

I've my own...

Better over a drink or 3, or other 'adult enhancement(s)'.... ;)

Seen on a t-shirt in Manhattan, at the bar of a sidewalk tavern.

Tried to talk/barter the guy into giving it up, who just laughed....

"No, we had these printed after a clusterf*ck of outrageous proportions..."

(I listened to the spiel....the guy was right; and the legend on the shirt?












....and that, Dear Friends...

was an understatement....)


I would say that if you haven’t had one of theses experiences there’s definitely something wrong. It’s almost an ongoing right of passage for audiophiles. I’m with you!



Ok. I think you get a pass on driving into your garage with a bike on the roof.

I bought one and the first time I drove home with it on (no bike). I got to the garage and looked at it and thought, there is no possible way sooner or later I am not going to forget and drive in. It, was an absolute certainty. I thought of mounting a mirror above the garage door.


Eventually I did, drive in. But it was really slowly and damage was minimum… to my $5,000 bike. This was 25 years ago. I would have been really sad if I damaged it.

Don't bring your system to the peak of improvement. the higher you bring it, the heavier it will CRUSH!


I had my concerns about it but I suppose was arrogant enough to believe it wouldn't happen.  The roof rack came off after that.  I transported the new one in the back of my hatchback till I bought a tow hitch mounted carrier.  It's all a learning curve.  Thankfully I was able to replace the bike.  I'm not sure how much has changed in hi-end audio in the last 25 years (I'm a bit of a newbie) but I'm assuming its been a lot, certainly with digital front ends.  Bikes are the same way, the new fun suspension bike is night and day better. But, I sure did love the previous one.


Sorry that happened to you.  Chalk it up to hard lessons learned.  Hopefully you can fix it or replace it with something even better!

It's just stuff so it's not really that important.  It's not like anyone here knocked down a section of the Great Wall...

I knocked the cantilever off of a Clearaudio Concerto V2.  
After I heard a “pop” in the speakers, I looked at the cartridge with nothing protruding from it, and yelled like Walter Matthau in Grumpy Old Men when his precious “Green Hornet” fishing pole gets pulled into the ice hole.

Staying in the industry years after it was financially viable to do so may qualify as a brain fart?

Okay, here’s a story:

Back in "the day" I talked the Algiers Lounge into installing a disco system. We put a big boy system together powered by the new Pioneer Spec1 and Spec2. The day came, and lauching Disco Night at the Algieirs Lounge was a pretty big deal for the owners, and we were "almost" done with the system. Problem was we are a (very) small business and had a very busy retail floor that day.

Suddenly, a call came in from the owner to the effect of: "If you’re not here in 20 minutes, you can just forget the whole thing." So, I rudely abandoned the customers I had on the sales floor, stacked the appliance dolley full of (big boy) audio gear, and rushed it out to the parking lot where my delivery vehicle at the time, a ’67 vinyl-topped Camaro, set. Getting everything into the Camaro was the equivilant of putting 3 pounds of manure in the 2-pound bag, so it took some arranging and rearranging to get all the stuff in. Equipment on the ground, on top the car, in the car, etc. FINALLY got everything in, snapped the Camaro into reverse, and off we go.

There’s a little bit of a curvey road enroute to the Algiers Lounge, which is fun in the ’67 Camaro -- even on a workday. Then, it happened. I heard, and felt, a loud "thump.’ glanced up at the rear view mirror, and noticed a blue and white box tumbling end over end behind me. I guess I must have placed the Spec 2 on TOP of the car as a staging area for insertion in the Camaro, and forgot about it..

Panic was an understatement. What do I tell the owners? It then occured to me that "It was damaged in shipping" -- was a true statement. So, the first box to come out of the Camaro was the last one to go in -- the Spec 2. The box didn’t look like it had been used as a hockey puck. So, it wouldn’t be obvious to the owner’s that I neglectfully delivered a piece of damaged gear -- on purpose. The packing tape was split with a handy tool I had on hand -- a pocket knife, and out of the carton it came. Surprisingly, no shockingly, the amp looked okay. Then cam the real test. Does it work? The unit was plugged into an AC outlet, and the power switch activated. There’s a little amber light on the front panel of the Spec 2 that indicates that power is on, but is still in the protect mode. This was the longest 8 seconds of my life. Then, I heard the relay(s) close, and Bee Gees never sounded so good. The amp worked for years with no issues.

Years later, I did have a new model power amp on loan at home from a vendor . It decided to switch from being a high powered AC voltage generator to a high current DC generator on it’s own durring the warm up period while I was out of the room. Let’s just say I didn't love the smell of burning voice coils and plastic cones in the morning. It wouldn’t have been quite so impactful if I didn’t have 12 (yes, TWELVE!!) mid/woofers in my hand-built speakers.

But, my most recent, and costly brain fart was improperly placing a jack under the front end of one of my vintage cars. I had an optical illusion (delusion?) where I thought the jack was in the proper spot. While reaching skyward, the jack slipped, and did some rapid sheet metal modification to the front end of the car. Lucky for me, this happened moments before I was to insert jackstands under the chassis. This could have modified fingers, toes, and perhaps a thick skull. Bodywork is not my specialty, but I was motivated to conduct some on-the-job training that day. Looks pretty good, from 30’ away.

I'm 75, had a few real tragedies in my life

There are 2 things I try to remember

1. It's Just Stuff (as several have said)

2. This should be the biggest problem in my life.

Not audio related but:

My in-laws are constantly fighting, during a rather heated session he has to drive her to an appointment.  And yes he mashes on the gas and takes out the (unopened) garage door completely as well as doing enough damage to his car so that it is undriveable. 

Car goes to dealer to get fixed.  Call comes in the car is ready for pickup. Mother-in-law drives him to dealership to get it.  He is now following her home and with no warning she crushes on the brakes and he rear ends her.  Both cars are really screwed up.

But wait there's more:  He gets out of the car and proceeds to curse her out loudly. Her story is she didn't want to hit a squirrel! He is now enraged and the volume goes up and vitriol gets worse.  Neighborhood people are all calling the cops telling them there is an assault going on. 

Cops arrive and are about to mace him and cuff him when his wife steps in and says he's my husband.  Cops are incredulous  and want to arrest him anyway but she talks them out of it.

And now they have no vehicles. Must have been a fun night back at the ranch.

Too funny for real life.




My beloved KEF Ref 105.2s...

Two wall sockets next to each other, one always on, one switched so it can turn on/off the table lamp.

Plug the amps into the wrong outlet (switched). 

Turn off the lights. Oops, the music disappears. 

Double oops... turn the juice on right away. 

Pop. What is the sound of two woofer baskets bending? 

Woofs no longer made. Very rare... 

Thankfully just one of several systems so music is still in the air.  

Search, find and replace. Works perfectly. 

Now have several working spare woofs in inventory.. 

Oh, well... 

Yup, just stuff as George Carlin might say... 

Pulled an NYAL Minuet in A preamp out of storage where it was for over a decade and installed it in my system.  I remembered that it had some issue with one of its channels.  It was a Saturday morning and I turned it and the system and went to the kitchen to make coffee.  This preamp has a 45 second turn on delay for the circuit to settle in and it can output something like 30 volts(it could run a mile of interconnect cable).  I thought that I turned the balance control all the way to the right channel but in fact, turned the volume control all the way to the right (UP!) waiting for NPR radio to come on, and boy did it come on.  I nearly pi##ed myself moving as quick as I could to turn it down, but alas, it took out both mid/bass drivers in my speakers that have not been manufactured for a while.  It wasn't until later, after purchasing new speakers that I found out about  Bill LeGall and Millersound who was able to rewind the voicecoils and whatever else needed to be done.

   So if you do a "Stupid" as I did and need the impossible done, at least with speaker drivers, this(Millersound) is "The Place" to have them made right again.


I had just a day before received a pair of the new Stage Accompany Ribbon drivers

with very powerful Neodymium magnets. I opened the boxes and placed the new drivers on the floor. Face down so as to keep anything from getting into the ribbons. Plainars really.  So after cleaning up the packaging. I sat down to listen to some music. I live by myself and leaving the drivers on the floor was no issue.

After an hour or so, I looked down and said to myself " I had better put those new drivers somewhere more safe..heck I could damage them being on the floor myself". I pick up one of the drivers and place it on my work kitchen table..where I had a small project being done.  Small bolts siiting on the table. Not thinking I had a powerful magnet in my hand...just as I was about to take my hand off the driver...woooosh !!! In the blink of an eye  4-6 small bolts sucked up by the magnet go right through the ribbon...POOF !!!!  $450 gone, disappeared.  right..." I had better pick those driver up off the floor because I don't want to damage them... good job !!!!

I doubt homeowners will pay for a mishap, a coffee got spilled on a new computer 

and the agent jerk at Allstate literally laughed.

many of these workers are not exactly M.I.T grads .

My first system all used adcom gear and snell c2 speakers all bought used almost 60 years ago. I had the big adcom amp and crossed speaker wires so strands were crossing from + to - terminals no more sound from amp. Adcom was in NJ near me I called and for a box of donuts repaired the unit while I waited!!  

AH, my brother, I feel your pain. I have murdered a few styli in my day. 1 from dusting (Shure V15VxMR). 2 (Ortofon 2M Black and Soundsmith Zephyr MIMC *) from clumsily knocking the tonearm, sending it careening across the record and banging the cartridge into the record clamp.

The last 2 may have been influenced by consumption of whiskey...allegedly.

I also had a Cayin tube amp. I decided to change the tubes from  EL34 to KT88. After the switch I turned on the amp to wam up and realized that I forgot to change the tube switch setting on the back to KT88.  I reached behind the amp and flipped it up without turning the amp off. One of the tubes started smoking and popping. Turns out it blew out the bias meter and several resistors. I took it in for repair and it cost $600 to fix. The worst part is that it took 6 weeks to get it back.

I would say think of these unfortunate mishaps as educational. Education always comes at a cost. 

As gut wrenching as all the examples above are... they are still First World Problems. Let's take a moment to appreciate our position in Life...

Borrowed my friends DIY Class A amp.  Hooked up speakers.  Hooked up speakers in the basement, thinking I would switch back and forth.  Well, I left both sets on.  Only time I have had smoke coming out of equipment.  AND it wasn't even mine.  My friend just shrugged.

My wife hung a flower above our $525 Sony 19" TV.  Looked nice until she watered the plant.

I was comparing several amps, had them sitting of the floor. One was a big monster with a bare aluminum chassis, and another a big Bryston. Was playing something a bit loud through the Bryston when I shifted it just a bit - plastering both terminals against the aluminum chassis. Loud noises and sparks.

Waited half an hour and powered up the Bryston again - and it worked just fine.

It was the last time I tried arc welding with an amplifier, though.