Tuesday, July 27, 2010

How to install a stereo receiver

Welcome to another "How-to (and how not-to)" episode of TSG. In today's episode, I purchase a 100-watt stereo receiver of My Very Own, and actually get it configured just so.

What you'll need:
  • A nice, shiny new piece of audio gear (in My case, a Yamaha RX-397)
  • A 19" equipment rack (built here) with a rack shelf that I bought specifically for this purpose
  • Dustpan and whisk broom
  • Floor cleaner, because I'm not getting down on that floor to do any work before I clean up that puddle of cat pee
  • One sheet of disposable cleaning rag (see above)
  • Hand soap (ditto)
  • Two steel angle brackets to add extra support to the back of the rack shelf
  • ¾" x #10 wood screws
  • A leatherworking awl, to make starter holes for the wood screws
  • A slightly-melted fuchsia-coloured multi-bit screwdriver
  • A couple of nice, heavy bookshelf-size speakers which I bought about 10 years ago but haven't yet pressed into service
  • A quick lie-down, because with the humidity it feels like 40℃
  • A peek at the manual, just because
  • Various contortions that vaguely resemble an entire hatha yoga class trying to dance to "Rock Lobster" under someone's front porch
  • A bottle of La Fin du Monde beer and a couple of European wieners with fried onions
  • One ⅛" to ¼" adaptor
  • One set of headphones
  • Another set of headphones, because the first set is only working on one side
  • Red's help to test the wonky headphones and declare them perfectly functional
  • A good night's sleep
  • A coffee run
  • A brand new ⅛" to ¼" headphone adaptor, because the first one was shorting out
  • A spool of proper 18-gauge speaker wire, because the cheap red-and-black stuff that came with the speakers seems to have a break on the left side
  • Another lie-down
  • Scissors and an extremely sharp Swedish-made Frosts knife, to strip the insulation off the new speaker wire
  • A few more contortions to run the new wire through the equipment rack, out the back and under the desk
  • One more bottle of La Fin de Monde beer
  • A hug from My teddy bear, Mikhael Bearzhezhinski; a thumbs-up from My guardian dragon Glori; and an "Ooh! Ahh!" from Red, who has come downstairs to hear what the new system sounds like
What you will probably not need:
  • Five or six MIDI cables
  • Power adaptor for now-defunct 10/100 Ethernet switch
  • Three completely different USB cables
  • A guitar cord
  • Needle nose pliers
  • A copy of Essential System Administration by Æleen Frisch (but only because I no longer need it to hold up the paper tray on My printer)
  • A bag containing 45' of spare Cat 5e network cable
  • A video switchbox
  • A cable from a KVM switch
  • A Command and Conquer disk that has yet to run properly on the WINE emulator on My Linux system
  • A toy car (bright red BMW Z8)
  • A Clue-By-Four™ (parks Her weapon of choice back in the corner next to Her desk)
Elapsed time: About three hours of actual labour over two evenings. Special thanks to Larry, the IT instructor who taught Me that approximately 90% of all computer problems are bad connections. I took that lesson to heart many years ago (and expanded it to include electronic stuff and whatnot in general), and it continues to pay off handsomely. I mean, a broken speaker wire *and* a broken headphone adaptor? It happens.

And if you take anything home from this episode of TSG, let it be this: Life is far too short to waste on cheap speaker wire.

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