Shocking Latest Krell & H/K Hall of Shame Additions

These latest additions to the Hall of Shame are two of the worst cases of hi-fi electronics bodgery I’ve ever seen. The destruction of this Krell KRC preamp by a so-called expert must be seen to be believed.

What follows are snippits from my latest Hall of Shame cases. Visit my Hall of Shame for all the horrifying details, more photos and more detailed descriptions, plus even more cases.

Case 4 – “Soldering Teacher” Tries to ‘Upgrade’ a Krell KRC Preamplifier & Destroys it.

This Krell KRC preamp destruction case really angers me for a few reasons. The KRC is a superb preamp. There aren’t many improvements possible, even by people who know what they are doing, let alone by some buffoon who can’t even solder.

This KRC was destroyed by a guy on the east coast of Australia who sadly thinks he knows what he’s doing. His name – William ‘Frampton’. OK, so not his exact name, but it rhymes with Frampton, you just need to change a letter at the front…

Goodness knows why anyone takes their equipment to him, how people like this become established and even develop a ‘following’ is completely beyond me. Anyway, this is what a regular, un-messed with Krell KRC preamp looks like with the cover off.

Note the uppermost board, with the rows of chips, precision resistors and relays. Note also the volume encoder, top left. Spinning the encoder sends a series of pulses to the CPU, which instructs the chip-based switches to select the correct resistor string to produce the commanded volume level. This is a great, though expensive, way to implement a volume control. It’s very precise, very symmetrical in terms of channel balance. Note finally that, typical of Krell, there is very little wiring. Everything is super-neat and well laid out.
Standard unmodified Krell KRC. Dusty, yes, but note all the perfectly fitting, neatly installed capacitors. Everything here is carefully designed and exectuted, by people who really knew what they were doing.
Just a Few of the Gory Details…

Now let’s take a look at the ‘improved’ KRC, after work done by Bill ‘Frampton’, soldering teacher and hi-fi equipment destroyer extraordinaire, somewhere on the east coast of Australia. (Actually, we know where, ask me for more details.)

The upgraded Krell KRC. Before you ask, yes, this is the same model, it should look like the images you’ve just seen, not like this. Note that the entire precision attenuator board is gone. It’s been replaced with this Silicon Chip remote control volume kit – that’s the smaller green board, and cheap ALPS volume pot. Frampton reckoned this was an improvement – I’m not kidding. Note also the maze of shitty ribbon cable wiring, mass of bodged in resistors and replacement caps that are too tall and very poorly soldered in.
No, this is not a joke, this is what someone actually did. Note the vaporized traces, terrible soldering and no attempt made to clean the board. This is a disgrace, pure and simple. This Frampton guy should never again touch any electronics.
With the top board now ‘missing’ (vaporized), this idiot had to bodge all the top row of board mounted connectors to the bottom board. They originally neatly attached to the top board, with everything fitting perfectly. Now it looks like this.
This is without doubt, some of the worst bodgery I’ve ever seen. WHAT IS THIS??!!
Why use an axial capacitor, or neatly mount a radial one, when you can bodge one in like this? Note the left capacitor lead doesn’t go through the board and is barely even soldered to the top. These are double sided, through-hole plated, multi-layer boards. Components leads must be inserted into holes and soldered from the bottom on a board like this to guarantee correct operation.
Let’s just re-orient ourselves again and take another look at this spectacular work, with Silicon Chip remote volume control ‘upgrade’. WHY???
Yep, this replaces a CPU, switches, relays and super-high precision 0.1% metal film resistors. Why use Krell parts when you can install the Silicon Chip the Studio Series Control Module..?
Transistor and ribbon cable bodgery. Note the bodged in blue relay. This replaces one previously on the top board.
Almost everything here is bodged. This is disgraceful, this preamp was someone’s pride and joy. This is no upgrade, it’s the total destruction of a beautiful, irreplaceable piece of equipment. When asked about how he could possibly have done work with soldering this bad, Mr Frampton replied that he actually “taught this stuff”. I’m not kidding.
These caps are too tall, the wrong values and soldered in so badly, it looks like a child who never soldered before did it!
More evidence of something blowing up and very hasty repairs. Remember – this preamp was in perfect original condition when sent to this ‘expert’.

Part 2 of this Krell KRC destruction examines the power supply.

The moral of the story – don’t EVER send any hi-fi equipment you care about to someone on the east coast by the name of Bill (rhymes with) Frampton.

Case 3 – Destroyed Harman / Kardon PM-655 Integrated Amplifier

This sad case came to me in February, 2018. My customer bought this new from Vince Ross Audio, back in the day.  When it broke he took it back to Vince to see who he recommended. Mistake…

Nice amp the PM-655. From the outside, all looks normal.
A Few of the Gory Details…
A closer look after removing the lid reveals this mess. Flux residue everywhere, and this is just the beginning.
This is the bodged volume control repair. Note the cut quality factory wiring loom, and the shitty, bodged in ribbon cable, just tacked onto the underside of the board. One question – WHY??
This is an abomination. My soldering at 16 years of age was ten times better. Who would leave a job like this??
Look closely at the joints
This is appalling, note the unsoldered joints and mass of flux residue.

For the rest of this case, and other cases, visit my Hi-Fi Repair Hall of Shame.

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