Monthly Archive for May, 2009

At the receiver’s end

When I was young, if we wanted to listen to music we used to turn a knob on a Medium Wave radio and it used to croak out music at a pitch of its choice depending on which direction the antenna was pointing to.  If it didn’t produce sound, we whacked it on its head and music promptly followed.  Life is not that simple these days.  They invented this equipment called “Receiver.”

It took them a lot more research to find a problem that is solved by the Receiver.  If you have a lot of audio/video players that want to share the same goddamn speakers, you need a Receiver.  In other words, a Receiver is a piece of equipment which accepts input from several audio/video sources and outputs nothing.  It is an Entertainment device.  Most of the entertainment is derived while setting it up.  This is how it went for me.

When we bought our receiver a year ago, the first thing I did was to study the back of the receiver carefully.  It took me half an hour to figure out that I was holding it up side down.  Not that it made much sense the right side up.  For the curious, the backside of the receiver looks somewhat like this:

After an hour of writhing under the sofas, shoving speakers in every corner of the house and inhaling a few pounds of dust, all I achieved was clean living room floor that I inadvertently cleaned with my undershirt when I crawled around the room on my belly. Oh yes, I got all the connections done too.  For the grand finale, I played my favorite CD.  Then I heard it.  The crystal clear sound of silence, in Dolby 5.1 surround.  Nothing.  Not a peep.  Nothing was there to speak for my hard work other than the clean floor.

Not the one to give up, I went to work checking the connections.  I heard a whirring sound.  “Yes! There is sound!” I told myself.  Didn’t matter what sound.  I jumped out to see where it was coming from.  It was coming from the running power drill, which was carelessly left around, in the hands of our 3 year old son who explained to me that he was trying to help.  If  Wife sees him with it, the power drill privileges will be taken away.  From me.  After the power drill was returned to safety (under the couch), I got back to work.

Then, putting professional contortionists to shame, I snaked myself into the tiny gap between the entertainment center and the wall into a wild forest of open electric wires, spiky tools and broken light bulbs.  When I explained the mortal hazard of my situation to Wife, she asked me to get the toys the Kid threw in that gap when I was done.  The risk I took partly paid off.  I got the toys out.  No sound though.  I halted the work for the night.  I vowed to get back to it at daybreak.

Later that night, Wife handed me an unfamiliar object sealed in a plastic bag.  She pleaded with me, “Please read the user manual.  It might help.”  Just to make her happy, I did read the manual, which has absolutely no useful information.

The next morning I took another swing at taming the beast.  In a stroke of brilliance, it suddenly occurred to me what I was doing wrong.  Within seconds everything was working!  It was just an unfortunate juxtaposition of events that an amazing clarity of thought dawned on me followed by my reading of the user manual.  But the argument about it never ceases at home.