Arcam Alpha 9 Amplifier - Setup Help Please

vince666

Novice Member
Hi, I have had an Arcam Alpha 5+ Integrated Amp that I've been happy with since buying new back in the day. I've recently inherited an Arcam Alpha 9 Integrated amp that someone has nabbed the Pre-Amp from. I've now got an external pre-amp and have connected it up as in the manual says but when using the turntable the volume control ignored and the system sounds like it is at max volume. It is very loud.. If I remove the pre-amp and connect direct, the volume control again has no control but the volume is obviously at a small level. Can someone please advise what I am doing wrong?
Listen Knob - Phono and using SP1. Input via the External Pwr Amp in(as manual) and the internal switch is selected to External.
Thanks.
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
Please let us know what turntable you have and what preamp.

Does the turntable have an inbuilt phono stage and does the preamp have a phono input. If yes to both you have two choices -

Turntable preamp on (line level out) into any input that is NOT the phono one e.g. cd, tuner, aux etc.

or

Turntable preamp off (phono level out) into the Phono input on the preamp.

I suspect you may have the preamp in the turntable on and got it plugged into the phono input on the preamp giving you double the amplification of the cartridge output (and double the RIAA filter too).
 

vince666

Novice Member
Please let us know what turntable you have and what preamp.

Does the turntable have an inbuilt phono stage and does the preamp have a phono input. If yes to both you have two choices -

Turntable preamp on (line level out) into any input that is NOT the phono one e.g. cd, tuner, aux etc.

or

Turntable preamp off (phono level out) into the Phono input on the preamp.

I suspect you may have the preamp in the turntable on and got it plugged into the phono input on the preamp giving you double the amplification of the cartridge output (and double the RIAA filter too).
Hi Ugg. Thanks for the prompt reply. The Turntable is a Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB so no Pre-Amp. The external Pre-Amp is a Behringer PP400 that I have borrowed for testing the amp. The amp seems to work perfectly when using the CD's. Thanks.
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
The Behringer is not a true preamp, it is a phono preamp that takes the cartridge output, amplifies it from approx 2-4milivolts to around 1volt and applies the RIAA filter to correct the filter applied in the record making process. This has no volume control and will pretty much max out your power amp which is likely to have a max input of around 1volt. You need a way of controlling the volume, the easiest way is to put a passive preamp (attenuator) between the Behringer and the Poweramp. Have a search for something like the Nobosound Little Bear ones or if you feel flush a Tisbury pre amp.

Example Amazon product


Or buy a second hand Hifi preamp from someone like Nad or Rotel if you can find one at the right price with a phono input, I had the Nad 1240 which was pretty good, Rotel preamps habe the RC prefix to their numbers e.g. RC850.
 

rccarguy2

Distinguished Member
Until you get it working, make sure you test any line level input that has variable out. It's only sheer luck using record deck source is very low level (you need phono stage, either inside the Arcam or external) that phono is very low level, if you connected a CDP you'd have blown your speakers as it would be at 100% power.

The Arcam Alpha integrateds suffer from bad input selector control, mine is shot, the only way I can use it is using tape input, that bypasses tone controls and input selector so it works as a single channel integrated amp (the volume alters volume)
 

Timmy C

Distinguished Member
When you say the pre-amp has been nabbed I assume you mean the phono pre-amp?

It sounds as though your are using the Alpha 9 in power amp mode. I think that internal switch you mention is to bypass the regular pre-amp features (ie volume/tone etc) and turns it into a power amp.

If I understand correctly, you want to use it as an integrated with an offboard phono stage, is that right?
 

rccarguy2

Distinguished Member
When you say the pre-amp has been nabbed I assume you mean the phono pre-amp?

It sounds as though your are using the Alpha 9 in power amp mode. I think that internal switch you mention is to bypass the regular pre-amp features (ie volume/tone etc) and turns it into a power amp.

If I understand correctly, you want to use it as an integrated with an offboard phono stage, is that right?

Internal Phono stage was optional upgrade.
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
Ok, thought you meant that the preamp section of the integrated had been removed, this is a mod that some do when the dreaded selector/pot crackles strike. Makes a bit more sense now.
 

rccarguy2

Distinguished Member
Ok, thought you meant that the preamp section of the integrated had been removed, this is a mod that some do when the dreaded selector/pot crackles strike. Makes a bit more sense now.

There is method in using this amp as a single input stereo integrated amplifier.
 

vince666

Novice Member
The Behringer is not a true preamp, it is a phono preamp that takes the cartridge output, amplifies it from approx 2-4milivolts to around 1volt and applies the RIAA filter to correct the filter applied in the record making process. This has no volume control and will pretty much max out your power amp which is likely to have a max input of around 1volt. You need a way of controlling the volume, the easiest way is to put a passive preamp (attenuator) between the Behringer and the Poweramp. Have a search for something like the Nobosound Little Bear ones or if you feel flush a Tisbury pre amp.

Example Amazon product


Or buy a second hand Hifi preamp from someone like Nad or Rotel if you can find one at the right price with a phono input, I had the Nad 1240 which was pretty good, Rotel preamps habe the RC prefix to their numbers e.g. RC850.

Ugg. Sorted in the end. Looks like when the internal pre-amp was removed the internal board switch was moved across to 'external' this effectively turns the Arcam 9 Integrated into a 9 Power Amp. As soon as I moved the switch back all working fine and the Behringer works fine also.
 

vince666

Novice Member
When you say the pre-amp has been nabbed I assume you mean the phono pre-amp?

It sounds as though your are using the Alpha 9 in power amp mode. I think that internal switch you mention is to bypass the regular pre-amp features (ie volume/tone etc) and turns it into a power amp.

If I understand correctly, you want to use it as an integrated with an offboard phono stage, is that right?
Hi Timmy. Thanks for the reply. Yes I did mean the phono pre-amp, apols I am new to this and have got confused by it all. You were correct and the internal switch had been set to external. As soon as I move back across everything was working normally and does sound good despite the cheap Behringer. Thanks for you input.
 

vince666

Novice Member
Until you get it working, make sure you test any line level input that has variable out. It's only sheer luck using record deck source is very low level (you need phono stage, either inside the Arcam or external) that phono is very low level, if you connected a CDP you'd have blown your speakers as it would be at 100% power.

The Arcam Alpha integrateds suffer from bad input selector control, mine is shot, the only way I can use it is using tape input, that bypasses tone controls and input selector so it works as a single channel integrated amp (the volume alters volume)
Hi, thanks for the input. When you say test. how would you? Just by the voltage seen?. The amp itself works perfectly, had not long ago had an upgrade done on the input switch. Thanks.
 

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