Sunday, July 15, 2018

Friday, I paid a visit to Best Buy in Tampa, the purpose was to 'look' at replacements for the B & W speakers that the lightning strike destroyed.

Lightning strike? you say. Yes, my sound system was struck by lightning on Tuesday, June 19. The first hint of trouble was the  smoke arising from the 300 W Adcom amp to my left and the flames shooting out of the one to my right.

The TV show I was watching suddenly went blank. I rushed – hobbled – to the source of the flames, turned power off by pulling the plug, and limped/doddered over to the scene of the smoke puff, where I pulled the plug on that amp, too.

The damage: two  300 W mono-block Adcom amps with flame damage, one B & K Processor non-responsive, one Adcom 200 W stereo amp which only works in mono, and two B & W 802 (top-of-the-line) speakers with blown woofers.

This was major. My house has been struck by lightning several times, but because of all the grounding and electrical precautions which I took when that portion of the house was rewired during the last remodel, all had remained isolated from harm. During rain storms with Central Florida lightning, there have been many signs that the electrical system has been struck.

One time in January 1999, electrical problems caused me to miss the National Championship Tennessee versus Florida State game in Tempe Arizona, for which I had tickets, hotel, rental car, and other travel accouterments. The fault that time belonged to TECO, my electrical provider who paid me handsomely for the damage to my house, but nary a penny for the game I missed, or for the money I lost on tickets or other accommodations.

This strike, however, was totally silent, offering only flames as a warning. The sound system is a disaster, with weird sounding TV my only resort for now.

Tuesday, in the morning, my insurance company informed me that my $12,000 claim was being honored, but with deductibles etc., cash to me would be slightly over $7000 – nothing to sneeze at, but not quite full compensation, either.

On Wednesday, Linda Walker, my therapist, asked if I could come in early, to which I assented; I left her place in search of B & W. The Lakeland Best Buy was followed by the one in Davenport which both proved to be worthless trips, and although the people were nice, they were completely unhelpful.


Thursday was spent working, but a few phone calls offered hope that my search for B & W was yielding hope for this success.

Friday, the Best Buy in Tampa proved to have a Magnolia  (what BB calls their high-end audio store) and my appointment there proved fruitful. It felt great to be snobbish in completely ignoring all the wannabe speakers, homing in on the B & Ws. B & W has developed a new line of speakers between the 600 series and the 800 series which they deem, oddly enough, the 700 series.

I felt like I was hearing my old 802's for the first time and at a lower price than the 800 series ever was. These are the 703s, and I can't wait to get them home.

During the purchase write up for my new speakers and the 200 W per channel Rotel stereo amplifier, I was informed that the installation charge was going to be a mere $800. When the very nice salesman scraped me off the ceiling, I began firing questions at him about this charge.

It seems that there is a group of installers dedicated to the Magnolia enterprise, and they come at a premium.

Of course…

I told the salesman, hotly, that that is more than even I charge for a half-day.

We changed to discussing other particulars of the installation – when is my appointment, etc.

I am trying my best to rationalize setting up two speakers and a power amplifier for $800. The equipment was actually pretty reasonably priced, but the negative effrontery of the installation charge I found to be quite insulting.

I won't see them until the first part of August, and I will stew on it until then. At least the new system cost me less, even including the exorbitant installation, than the insurance settlement. After all, I had already paid for the replacement for my processor ($3500 claimed for the fried one).

And the speakers sound GREAT.