Confessing some bad things I've done.

Forgive me, A/V gear, for I have sinned! Even though you have been so good to me - providing me with not only years of entertainment but also a terrific career in the custom installation business, - I have wronged you in the past. I've broken things that had no business being broken. It has been forever since my last confession, so please hear my sins . . . 

There was that time back in high school when I installed a pair of Infinity 6 x 9 speakers in my friend's car and the drill slipped and went clean through the woofer. I know that I should have mentioned it to the store when I returned them and asked for my money back, but I was weak.

There was the time after high school when I was delivering a big screen TV for The Goodguys! when I knocked over that porcelain figurine of Jesus and it broke in half. I know that I shouldn't have just gingerly set it back on the table and acted like nothing happened, but I was young and immature.

Surely you can forgive me for letting candle wax melt all over my tower speakers and into the grilles? It was the night I got engaged, and my mind was certainly elsewhere. Plus all of those candles did look romantic.

Of course, now I know that you should power down gear before connecting cabling on amplifiers and preamps. But when I started in this business, I figured what's the harm? Oh, B&W, you were so kind to replace our showroom's Nautilus tweeter under warranty. And even though we'll never really know if that the 200-watt pop! from the Lexicon amp was the culprit, I can promise you it won't happen again.

I really don't know what happened several years when I reached into a wall box to cut a zip-tie, but accidentally cut the end off a 10-meter HDMI cable instead. Sure it was dark and I was working by mirror and flashlight inside a cabinet and cutting with my left hand, but that's pretty much status quo. I actually did cop to that one since I had to run a new cable, but still, it was a perfectly good HDMI cable, and it didn't deserve to have its life – literally – cut short.

And most recently was the time when I was reviewing that portable satellite radio. It was the one that I had to go and purchase at Best Buy because the manufacturer couldn't get their act together in time to send out a review sample. Oh, if only that radio would have come with a home dock instead of just a car charger! Then I wouldn't have tried to cobble together a power supply, accidentally frying out the unit within about 30 minutes of unboxing it! Yes, I know, I shouldn't have told Best Buy that it "came that way" or pretended that I didn't notice the horrible wreak of smoldering electronics wafting from the unit – "Is that what that is?" – but damn it! I was on deadline and needed another sample stat, so I did what I had to do!

Ahh. Confession is good for the soul. Give it a try! Let me know what smooth A/V moves you've pulled off. John Sciacca

John Sciacca is The Custom Installer columnist for Sound & Vision. His company is Custom Theater and Audio.