I've had a bit of an epiphany lately, and it's that my previous apartment building might have had some really poor quality power. It was a high-rise built in the 1970s with 16 floors. Below is a list of strange electronic/computer problems I had in the two years I lived there:
1. Ground loop hum from high-end JBL monitors
Eventually remedied it with a ground loop isolator, but ferrite caps and different power strips/outlets did nothing.
2. Blown caps in one of the aforementioned JBL monitors
One speaker would intermittently hiss and squeal, sometimes very loudly. Was serviced under warranty and several capacitors were replaced. These speakers have two amplifiers each (tweeter + woofer).
3. Computer power supply causing weird POST errors on motherboard
The same Thermaltake PSU + eVGA mobo combo worked perfectly for a year in the previous apartment, then I moved to this place and within a year it would randomly refuse to POST or have strange freezing problems. RMA'd the PSU and the problem went away.
4. Same motherboard started having weird POST errors again
Replaced the Thermaltake PSU with a high-end Corsair unit and the problem went away for about 6 months.
5. Same motherboard had different POST problems
Similar issue but different symptoms. All PSU pins tested fine and voltages were well within spec and very consistent. Motherboard was out of warranty so I decided to just replace it with the latest and greatest. This new mobo had 8-phase PWM and was one of the highest rated/most-awarded ever (Asus Z87-A).
6. New motherboard and PSU has sporadic POST problems
Same issue as before, even though the Asus mobo was a totally different design and manufacturer. Intermittently would not POST and indicated a CPU fault, but flipping the switch on the PSU or hitting reset repeatedly seemed to correct it. Found small percentage of people complaining of this problem with my particular PSU + mobo combination. Same issue happened even when I moved to my current place, but less often. RMA'd the Corsair PSU and got a brand new one.
7. USB DAC developed very strange hiss with certain USB cables
I use an Audinst HUD-MX1 external DAC on my computer and it developed a very strange hiss shortly after I moved in that you could only hear if the USB cable was actually UNPLUGGED, but only from the computer (not from the DAC itself). I never had this issue before.
8. Two different power strips randomly indicated "wiring fault"
The power strips I use have an LED that says you have a wiring problem in your building. In different rooms, on different circuits, they would randomly flash this light on for a few days then it would mysteriously go away.
9. Every 6 months, the building would lose one phase of power
ComEd would inevitably come out to fix it, but during that time I would see bizarre behavior from my electronics. The speakers I mentioned above would power on but didn't produce any sound, for example.
10. Certain light bulbs needed replacing every 6 months
In particular, the 50/100/150 3-way bulbs in two of my lamps on different circuits could barely make it 6 months before needing replacement.
So am I totally crazy here, or did my previous apartment clearly have power problems? It seemed really weird that so many of my electronics had bizarre problems I could never really pinpoint ever since I moved in there. Even brand new stuff developed odd problems very quickly.
I've only been in my new apartment for a week and a half, but all of the above problems I listed are totally absent.
Somewhat OT, new view from my family room: