Well protected

June 4, 2022
 by Paul McGowan

The mother of one of our family’s dear friends, Dr. Stu, always amazed me. Her New York home located somewhere out in the wilds of Long Island, featured really nice looking furniture covered in plastic. Yup. Plastic.

And the thing was for all the years they owned that furniture the plastic never came off. Not once did anyone in that family ever feel the actual fabric the couch and chairs were made of.

This over-protection always boggled my mind. To this day I have never understood the logic of covering up furniture so that on the day one sells it’s as new.

Protection has its place. Terri will often put a blanket over our couch when the grandkids come over. But after they leave, we can again enjoy the fabric’s soft feel.

Amps are protected in a way that allows their full use nearly all the time. Only in the rare case where you’ve exceeded their power limitations are you thrown out of the music and required to go reset the amp.

Protection for extraordinary circumstances makes sense to me.

Protection to the point of never actually using something is about as bizarre a concept as I can imagine.

Our cool stuff needs to be used!

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65 comments on “Well protected”

    1. Hi Steven,
      When you come from a Hi-Fi retail background like me, you learn to look after your home-audio
      gear & to retain all of the original packaging if you want top dollar for it when it’s time to re/on-sell.

      The guy who bought my nearly 38 year old Luxman C-120/M-120A pre/power combo, in January 2019, was most impressed when he saw that I had all of the original factory packaging, also in mint condition, & didn’t quibble about my asking price.

      One day you might sell your car or your house; what condition will they be in when you sell?

      1. I keep the boxes. When rebuilding our house last year the hifi was mostly covered, but when all done my audio server, CXA81 and two QNAP servers contained a mountain of dust. All fully cleaned up, although I had to take the QNAPs apart. No harm done. Cleaned out the sockets of everything else. Wet wipes and all like it never happened.

    1. Those vintage Fender guitars and amplifiers in pristine condition today would be worth a bundle.

      As far as the Ventures are concerned, hot drummer, but the song is a tad bit monotonous.

      God save the Queen!

  1. Whilst our railway line, ‘The Sydney Metro’, is being upgraded/built (2020-2024) there is
    an extra amount of particulate (dust) in the atmosphere around our neighbourhood.
    Hence the front of my CD player (where the draw is), the top of my integrated amplifier &
    the baffles of my (phase-plug designed main drivers) loudspeakers are covered up with
    clean poly-cotton fabric when not in use, or powered down.

    So much perfectly good clothing, that people are just bored with, gets thrown into landfill
    every day in Australia.
    It’s nice to be able to re-purpose at least 3 ‘T-shirt style’ items as component &
    loudspeaker covers.
    The fabric that I’m currently using to cover my loudspeaker drivers are large prints
    of ‘Spongebob Squarepants’ staring out at me with his big round blue eyes & goofy
    smile…in 2 channel, no less 😀

    1. hey Fat Rat you are indeed an inspiration to us all and I thank you for this post: now I know exactly what to do with my old under-pants……..Marantz SA10 watch out!

      1. Hi Mike,
        Aaah, but as your lovely wife will attest, there are far too many holes in your pre-loved
        under-pants to be able to successfully use them as dust covers…sad but true 🙁

  2. While I agree, I also have to say that all of my displays on gear that came with the little protective clear plastic strip attached… still have it attached.

  3. Todays whole topic and discussion seems bizarre.

    As far as furniture goes, if it was purchased to be just a show piece or a room place holder then cover it and never use it. If it was meant to be ‘lived’ on then get something you can live with.

    As far as covering audio gear, go for it if you feel it helps. Dirt dust grime etc are an electronics enemy. Deep cleaning at periodic reasonable points also makes great sense.

    On both the audio and furniture side there are the excessive compulsives.

    Internal System protection of electronic circuitry to the degree that it doesn’t take away from the sound is a different concept. If it takes away ‘too much’ many would gladly take the risk of blowing speakers or even take the risk of watching a “Great Canadian Sunset” appear from their electronics.

    1. Four buildings up from my apartment I have access to compressed air;
      very handy for blowing the dust out of electronic components if required.

      1. Handy….

        I ‘fire’ my up my compressor, and while blowing out, use a big shop vac to suck the crap into the dust bag of no return. A soft long bristle brush can be helpful also. Add in some clean room swabs. (Did I say something about excessive compulsive earlier?) BTW…. Remember not leave the air hose, the shop vac, the used swabs plus any other cleaning necessities laying around the house while you get immersed in how good your cleaning project sounds. It’s a sure fire way to stir up the dander of your spouse. 😀

      2. I have that at work FR. Very powerful air guns connected to large shop air compressors. I used it on my car engine once but I wouldn’t drag my delicate audio components to work. Got to be careful with machine shop compressed air on some electronics. It can be powerful enough to cause damage to some parts and even knock some circuit board pots out of alignment. Many tuners and other audio components have those pots that are factory set. High air output can even break soldered connections. Be careful not to get too close when using high output air compressors. I was looking into something other than compressed air cans that are expensive and don’t last very long but the ones you plug in are said to be weak. At least the inexpensive ones are. I have a feather duster that works ok. I try not to touch anything sensitive. I just create some air with it by waving it back and forth. Does anyone recommend an electronic air gun that has the power of a can of air?

        1. Hi Joe,
          Over the decades I have used air compressors many times to blow the accumulated dust out of the internal areas of amplifiers without damaging any circuits or components.
          The trick is NOT to bring the air nozzle that close to the various internal bits ‘n pieces as to cause any damage…you’re only supposed to remove the dust; your NOT supposed to bend any wires, or to peel off any copper tracks from the boards or to eject any capacitors or resistors 😉

          1. LOL For sure FR. I did edit my post before my 10 minute edit time expired to include just don’t get too close if using shop air power. Thanks FR.

          2. Another thing to consider is the direction of the air when using compressed air to clean out a component. When blasting out dust and other debris you could accidentally force dust and inject it into an area or device sensitive to dust and make matters worse if you’re not directing the air in the right direction.

              1. Yeah I like when the amp other components have external heat sinks where vents are not needed. But in other components that are vented I’m always concerned that dust sitting on the circuit board not causing any harm can be displaced into an area where it will cause harm if I’m not careful using air pressure.

                1. My ‘M6si500’ has both top plate vents & external heat sinks because each channel has 12 big bipolar transistors with claimed 200 amp peak-to-peak performance…a terrific winter amplifier.

                  By placing a dust-proof piece of fabric over the vents when the amp is not in use this will extend the time by a lot before I need to consider compressed air surgery 😉

              2. Some of the Aragon amplifiers have interesting V shaped heat sinking on the top of the unit that has this big V cut out of the front faceplate. So even if you had a tight fit in a rack or stack something on top (which I don’t recommend since the Aragon amplifier runs very hot) the amplifier still has good enough heat venting. Many amps with external heat sinking place the heat sinks on the sides or back and have only venting on the bottom if that where dust is less likely to enter.

                1. The Aragon 8008BB and some of their other models have two transformers and is a dual mono construction. It has 200 watts conservatively rated into 8 ohms and 400 watts into 4 ohms. Can be stable into 1 ohm. Uses the full 1500 watts from your wall and bipolar transistors that run in class A up to around 20 watts and has pre class A drivers. Weighs in at around 70 pounds. Said to be a poor man’s Krell. Can also heat your home. :). I’m happy with my Creek 5350se at the moment.

                  1. Same with my ‘M6si500’…two separate L + R toroidals (dual mono construction) 500watts rms per channel into 8 ohms & 850wrms/ch into 4ohms.
                    Weighs in at 66lbs.

                    1. The Aragon uses all 1500 watts 120V from the wall. They said it’s conservatively rated 200 into 8 ohms and 400 into 4 ohms. Stable into one ohm. How could they possibly make it more powerful without using class D? It would draw more power than the wall could deliver if they did. They said not to pay attention to the watts but rather the volts. They are utilizing all of the wall power possible in this AB design their engineers are saying. Looked up your amp and am reading a lot of good things for what it costs and the power delivered with class AB and the low distortion levels across the entire frequency range is astonishing for an integrated amplifier. Beats most separates. The top of the line Aragon is over 4500.00. The silver one with rhodium wiring and connections. Better value are the older models on the used market.

                    1. Yes that’s true nor would it weigh over 60lbs. I should have figured that out. When did you buy this? Recently?

                  2. Bought it in early September last year.
                    Australia has a mains output of 10amps by 240volts, ie. 2,400watts max.
                    The ‘M6si500’ max’s out at 2,000watts consumption at full rated power output (both channels driven) but I’d blow up my loudspeakers before I get anywhere near there.

                    1. We can reach close to that into 20 amps at 120 volts in the USA. Many homes are wired for 15 amp circuit breakers but for electric stoves and some other appliances 240V is available.

                      My most powerful amplifier is my Proton D1200 which has 7.3 db of headroom.

                      The D1200’s output clipped at 155 watts per channel into 8 ohms, 175 watts into 4 ohms, and 350 watts into 2 ohms RMS. We measured the dynamic power response of the amplifier with bursts of 20, 100, and 200 milliseconds repeated twice per second. The 8-ohm output with a 20-millisecond burst was 593 watts, for a dynamic-headroom measurement of 7.73 dB. The power increased to 1,187 and 1,800 watts into impedances of 4 and 2 ohms, respectively. During the longer bursts the available power was lower, of course, but even at 200 milliseconds the 8-, 4-, and 2-ohm power readings were 478, 700, and 1,055 watts. It appeared that only after the signal duration exceeded 1 or 2 seconds did the power output fall to its steady-state value.

                      The 1,000-Hz harmonic distortion was between 0.0025 and 0.005 percent from 1 to 130 watts into 8 ohms. The 2- and 4-ohm readings were in the range of 0.008 to 0.003 percent from 1 watt to their clipping levels. With both channels driving 8-ohm loads, the distortion was typically about 0.003 percent from 50 to 2,000 Hz at power outputs from 10 to 100 watts, and the maximum reading was 0.024 percent at 20,000 Hz and 100 watts.

    2. Ha, “Great Canadian Sunset” I like it but wasn’t sure which way to take it.
      Is it because they have fantastic sunsets in Canada or that Canadian built gear has a dodgy reputation for build quality? 😉

  4. I think Paul raises an interesting conundrum about one of the many fascinating facets of human nature, the frailty of the human condition. Do we use and abuse or gaze and be amazed? Hopefully the balanced answer lies somewhere in between. I think to some extent it depends on how easily gotten the asset. Those that feel they have worked hard for something will I believe take greater care of it than someone who came easily by it. A general feeling of wealth will also have an impact. If you have an expensive bottle of wine do you drink if tonight or save it for a special occasion? Or maybe never drink it and sell for profit?

    Like all attitudes things can be taken too far but, how far is too far? I know a chap who when purchasing anything, even a tube of glue for example, will look for the most physically perfect one, it’s not me btw. Another who won’t buy a pair of shoes if they have been tried on by someone else, but how he knows I’m not sure. I obviously know some strange people. Best, or worst of all, I learned recently of someone, a lady, who maintains furniture, primarily seating exactly as Paul describes, and yet it is changed frequently. To my mind this is obsession bordering on the nutty, but then again doesn’t that sound familiar. Isn’t that how an outsider would view an audiophile?

    As enthusiasts we strive for audio perfection in our systems, perhaps it’s natural to want to maintain that perfection in its appearance.

  5. In my search for a used PS Direct Stream Junior in excellent condition, I believe we understand what Paul is alluding to in today’s post.

    From for sale ads, many purchasers of PS audio products never remove the protective plastic sheet on the piano black gloss top of components. This fact is often highlighted in the ad to emphasize excellent condition.

  6. Reminds me of car collectors who must have the rarest, most exotic cars and keep them in perfect shape and sell them decades later with less than a few hundred miles on them. Is it really a car if you don’t drive it or is it a sculpture?

      1. but then do they really love cars? and lots of cars end up as lousy investments like indy versions where they make hundreds of the car selected that year

  7. In all these years of running Maggies (and others), I’ve never once forced and amp into protection. Maybe I’m not trying hard enough.

    In other news….RAFA! VAMOS!

  8. I think Richtea does a great job of surveying OCD and various psychologies. My mother did not put plastic over the living room couch, but she didn’t particularly like it when my father or I sat down on it. Now, decades later, she still uses that couch, and it looks like it is in new-in-the-box condition.

    Growing up as I did, not surprisingly perhaps, I try to keep my amateur radio equipment, my audio components and a certain, precious car in perfect condition: covered, protected, no dust, no scratches.

    My wife says that I should be less worried about keeping things pristine, and that I should enjoy them more. Why, she asks, am I preserving them in perfect condition for whoever buys them at my estate sale?

    I know she is correct!

    1. Dear RonRes,
      No she is not.

      All of my pre-loved home-audio gear has been on-sold prior to my death.
      I’m just sayin’ that you don’t have to wait until you’re dead.

      Also, you can keep things pristine & still enjoy them.
      The two are not mutually exclusive.

  9. My grandparents were from Northern Italy and when we were kids we’d always laugh at the furniture. Everything from carpet staircases to couches and chairs were covered with the plastic protective layer. My siblings and I always got a kick out of it. Of course I look back on it and can appreciate how clean my grandmother was. I mean she would even go out of her way to wax the wood trim on her coffee table to give it that smooth pristine feel to the look and touch.
    Now do I have that neatness with my audio to some extent? Absolutely. I care for my equipment and I even learned a new trick from Martin using a Blusher to wipe those small insidious pieces of dust off the CD surface before inserting into my player. 🙂

    Refinement is good, but lets be honest you gotta take the cover off at some point!!! Lol.

    1. Nicholas,
      Don’t forget to Blusher brush the open CD draw, as dust also likes to settle on that too
      & we really want to keep as much dust away from the pick-up lens as we possibly can 😉

      1. Oh yes indeed, Mr. Martin. Not all my CDs unfortunately can’t be kept behind glass cabinet shelves, so dust can be a real killer. It is incredibly handy and I now call my blusher “The Martin.” 🙂

    2. Plastic-covered furniture was quite common among Italians of the Greatest Generation in the USA. It was also not uncommon for them to have an everyday kitchen in the basement to keep the one upstairs pristine. Kind of like having a 2nd audio system for regular use and a very high-end rig for special listening occasions, I suppose.

      1. Longplayer. My grandmother wouldn’t even allow company to sit on that plastic covered furniture. It wasn’t a situation where one would only break out the good China dishes when guests would arrive. I really can’t explain it. I just can’t. Special comes to mind though. Lol.

        1. Well, remember they had grown up during the depression and maybe were involved somehow in WW II. They probably worked very hard to afford new furniture, too. It was a different mindset. Today, young people buy cheaper goods with the expectation that they will set it out on the curb when they get their next job someplace halfway across the country…or maybe even in another country. The sense of permanence eroded with the development of the nuclear family and then even further with the need for dual-income families, and single parent families. The 20th century was a wild ride, and has only become wilder in the 21st. Be well,

          1. And to you as well. 🙂

            I’m happy and grateful to have experienced different generations and the eccentric nature of each. 🙂
            My grandparents were beautiful people and some wonderful traditions have definitely died with them, especially the old world style cooking….oh how I miss my grandmothers cooking. Nothing else like it. 😉

  10. I still remember the first time I saw plastic covers on furniture. I was a freshman in college and was visiting the home of another freshman who lived in a much wealthier neighborhood than I came from. He explained to me before we went in that his mother was crazy and I should not say anything about the plastic covers on the furniture. I thought he was kidding me. Even though I had been warned I was shocked when I saw the furniture.

    Off Topic:

    This morning I heard what I was sure is human voices singing live through an open window in my second story study. My wife informed me that our next door neighbors have a mariachi band serenading them ( I have no idea why ). My study is on the far side of our house from the neighbor’s house and I am listening to the music through an open window. In spite of this I knew it was live music and not recorded music. I have never mistaken live for recorded or recorded for live. Why can’t we do better with our audio systems?

  11. I have known people who protected their living room lampshades and sofas with plastic while for years chain smoking and baking outdoors in the sun, ending up with lung cancer, leathery wrinkled skin and solar keratosis. The misplaced priorities of some people is mind boggling.

    I knew someone who bought and collected new Swatch watches, never opening their factory packaging. Years later he was about to sell his “mint” collection, only to learn that the batteries in them had corroded, rendering them all worthless.

  12. Below is an example of plastic seat covers on audio equipment 😉

    “For sale is my immaculate PS Audio DirectStream Jr with the Bridge II streaming module. I’m the first owner, bought from an authorized PS Audio dealer. It has been in the rack in a dedicated audio room since purchase – no kids, no pets, no smoke. I can’t find any marks on the unit anywhere. I never removed the protective packaging film on the top; I have learned from experience that the high-gloss tops of PS Audio gear attract scratches! So the marks you see in the top photo are actually bubbles in the protective packaging film.”

    But honestly, I am not throwing rocks. I always had glass plates cut to fit the top of my large speakers. Too many people think speakers make good places to set their drinks.

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