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AVR300 starts crackling and making noise.

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by John P., Aug 28, 2005.

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  1. John P.

    John P.
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    THIS IS AN OLD THREAD, BUT CAN STILL BE OF HELP TO A FEW PEOPLE. SEE LAST POSTS FOR REASON FOR BUMP.


    Hi, first post here.

    I have an Arcam AVR300, with firmware version 3.01 and DSP 1.12.

    The unit has pretty much ran flawlessly for the about six months that I've had it (bought new), but recently it's started to misbehave.

    What happens is that after having been turned on for a while, the sound suddenly started crackling on all speakers, and the voices of people (and sound in general) got warped/distorted - it sounds like the voices are run through a "cartoon filter", and they get deep and weird - all the while lots of crackling and static noises comes out of all the speakers as well.

    I've had this happen before, but then all I've had to do was to turn the unit off, then on again, and it would be fine.

    Tonight, that hasn't worked. Well - it has worked but after about a minute, it's back to crackling again, and that hasn't happened before.

    So obviously, I thought that this must be caused by overheating. Although, I find that weird, since the receiver has lots of air around it.

    But anyway - I turned it off properly, waited an hour or so, felt the unit with my hand and it was cold, so I turned it back on. Again, it sounded just fine.

    -But after about a minute or two, the noise starts again! And now the receiver is still cold!

    To try and trouble shoot this problem, I have done a couple of things; I used to have the receiver hooked up to the digital TV decoder/tuner via a digital coax cable (for sound), and so I swapped this with an analogue stereo pair instead. No change.

    I have as mentioned tried to cool the unit down, no change.

    I haven't noticed this behaviour before on DVD, so I turned the DVD player on, and pressed the DVD input button. Here, the crackling and noise weren't present, but there was NO sound! Initially there was, because I also turned the receiver off and on for this "experiment", but as soon as it had been on for a short while, the sound disappeared. When I then pressed the SAT button, I could hear that the sound was crackling from that input. But no sound from the DVD player.

    Again - the crackling/distortion has been there before, but tonight it seems whatever causes this, really reared its ugly head for keeps.

    Then I tried something: I pressed the Direct button on the front panel of the receiver. And - the crackling disappeared! Now the unit is starting to warm up again, so heat cannot be the problem. I turn the Direct function off again, and now the sound in Dolby PLII Movie is again perfect. But after a short while, it starts crackling again. I press the Direct button again, and again - sound is perfect.

    I have now had the TV and receiver on for about half an hour with the Direct function active, so the receiver is again warm, but the crackling/distortion has not started. So it seems I'm in the clear as long as I use the Direct function. But that means I can't watch movies in surround etc., so that won't do...


    So - what does this mean?

    My own theory so far is that since the sound is OK when I use the Direct function, something must have happened to the decoder chips in the receiver. But what? I could understand it if it was a heat problem, but when it happens even with a cold receiver? And it works fine now when warm too, as long as I use the Direct function.


    Has anyone even heard of something like this? Could a firmware update possibly help? The unit has worked well apart from the occasional hiccup since I bought it.

    Thanks for any answers.
     
  2. John P.

    John P.
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    Update: The receiver has been turned off (using the Off button) all night, about ten hours.

    I turn it on this morning, and decide to go into the menu and turn off Lip Sync, as I'm thinking maybe that has something to do with this (I had it set to 60ms).

    Switch to Dolby PLII Music, and it sounds as it should.

    About three minutes pass by - - and the noise and crackling starts again... (so the Lip Sync was not to blame)

    Like yesterday, I press the Direct button, and the sound is again fine. But as mentioned, I can't use the receiver in Direct mode all the time.

    Is this a clear cut RMA case, or is there anything I can do myself, you think?


    [edited]

    OK - another update:

    The same thing happens when playing a CD, through digital coax; works fine for a while, then suddenly terrible distortion and crackling. Press Direct, and the sound is fine.

    However: I turned my subwoofer off this morning, just to eliminate another possible cause. That didn't help initially. But just now as I'm playing a CD in Stereo(not direct), I went into the main menu of the receiver, and set it to Large, instead of Sat+Sub. At this point, the distortin and crackling was there over the speakers.

    It didn't stop by setting it to Large, BUT when I then went in and tried to switch the Subwoofer to "Not present" I guess - - well, the menu wouldn't change at all, it still said Present, BUT the sound dissapered for half a second(like it does when you switch inputs), and when it came back, the distortion and crackling stopped, just as it does when I press the Direct button!

    This surprised me, because when the distortion/crackling has been present before, it hasn't helped to switch inputs or modes; if it first began, it would continue no matter what I tried, except for three things I could do: turn the unit off then on again, or press the Direct button, and now apparently going into the menu and "trying" to disable the sub will also work.

    I'm now listening to the CD in normal Stereo mode, and so far no distortion/crackling. It's been playing for several minutes now.

    I'm almost afraid of setting it to PLII Music now, 'cause I'm afraid that will make it distort again...

    But I guess I'll have to do it, to see if Stereo Direct and Stereo (normal) are the only modes that work, or if trying to disable the subwoofer in the menu actually fixed the problem.

    -Should mention that when it's been distorted before, all of the modes have been affected by the distortion, including the normal Stereo mode, so switching modes hasn't helped. But right now, normal Stereo mode has worked for a few minutes.

    I'll be back with another update when I find out. [/edited]


    [edited 2]

    I went back into the menu, and put the Subwoofer setting back to Sub+Sat, turned the subwoofer back on, and kept the input mode to Stereo (normal). I have now played a whole CD with no problems. So it seems that it's the enhanced modes that causes the problem; the PLIIx Movie, Music etc.
    I'll try to switch to those modes now, and see what happens. Maybe I've somehow already fixed the whole problem, who knows.

    I don't listen to CDs in those enhanced modes, only use them when I watch TV, but as mentioned, there is also a problem with digital sound from DVDs, only there the sound just disappears, so I need to find the root of the problem(unless I already did and it works now - we'll see).

    I'd still like some feedback though.[/edited 2]


    [edit 3] OK - Stereo Direct and normal Stereo works, both with and without subwoofer. It's only when I switch to PLII Music or Movie that the distortion/crackling starts, after about maybe three minutes. [/edit 3]


    [edit 4] Nope - scratch that. After having used normal Stereo mode for a while with good sound, the distortion/crackling started even there. I'm now on Stereo Direct again - we'll see how long that lasts..... [/edit 4]
     
  3. RedFrog

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    I seem to be having exactly the same problem with my AVR300 and much like yourself I cant seem to find any obvious reason for it. There doesn't seem to be any logic to when the crackling starts with mine, it can happen after a few minutes or be fine for up to an hour or so but it always seems to happen eventually.

    The amp seemed to be working perfectly for the first few months, then recently the sound started cutting out regularly, now that problems gone but the crackling seems to be getting worse by the day.

    I've not had much time to try and isolate the problem yet though I've got the day off work tomorrow so will be on it until I figure it out or make the inevitable trip back to the hi-fi shop.

    So far I'm pretty sure it's not a problem with a particular source or audio cable and I'm down to having only the centre speaker connected in mono so speaker cabling problem seems unlikely. Heating problems also seem unlikely due to the irregularity of when it's happening .

    Unfortunately I suspect this is gonna need at least a firmware upgrade if not a component replacement to fix it, I really hope I'm wrong though.

    J
     
  4. John P.

    John P.
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    Thanks for replying - I felt a little alone here! :)

    OK - I may have found the cause.

    I said I didn't think it could be due to overheating, because 1) the internal fan has never started(not that I have heard anyway), 2) the unit worked well this summer, when it was REALLY hot inside, and now it's relatively "cold", 3) the unit has approx. 5 cm. space on top, and 15 cm. space on both sides, and 4) after having been turned off overnight, the distortion starts after only maybe two minutes.

    However:

    Just to check it out, I have now put a large table fan right in front of the receiver, blowing really strongly on it.

    And lo and behold, it has worked in PLII Music mode for maybe half an hour now.

    Can be a coincidence, but I know from other people's experience, that this unit really needs a lot of space.

    -Come to think of it, overheating does make some sense, since Stereo and Stereo Direct seems to work OK(especially Direct). And of course; the more channels you drive, the hotter the amp will get. So in that sense, it makes sense(!).

    I'll get back if it turns out it was just a coincidence. Well - I'll be back regardless, to tell you how the progress is.
     
  5. RedFrog

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    interesting....

    I'd ruled out heat problems as well for the same reasons you listed but maybe it's time I moved the amp out of the cabinet it's currenty sitting in. I'll give it a try tonight thanks.

    J
     
  6. radio

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    You guys should call the dealer and or arcam and they will send repair it for you i am not 100% but i think few people had similar issue they had it fixed by sending it back or getting a new unit.. im not 100%
     
  7. John P.

    John P.
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    -After some "carpenting work" on my stereo rack, the receiver now has 12 cm. air above it, and 13 cm. on both sides (plus the rack is open behind the receiver).

    So far so good. This problem started so suddenly out of nowhere, that I guess it can be a coincidence that the receiver now works after having it on for a while, but I'll post an update if it suddenly starts making noise again regardless of this 'tweak'.
     
  8. cwick

    cwick
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    John,

    Mine has been doing exactly the same thing for a while now. A few months, I'd guess, but it's been getting worse. It's due to go back to the dealer this week, and then off to Arcam.

    For what it's worth, I suspect it's heat related - I've never heard the fans come on mine either - I'm guessing that they should have done, and something has got too warm at some point.

    Either way, it's going back. Will keep you posted.

    Cheers, Carl.
     
  9. roffe

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    Yes, keep us posted.

    I have sometimes experienced a somewhat related problem, but my problem seems to be related to loud peaks in the preamp. At volume settings from 85 and above, the unit seems to be crackling at loud peaks. (My problem is not a continouos crackling). I thought this was related to the power amp clipping, but I have tried this with separate power amps, and the problem persists. The strange this is that the crackling is either not there or at speaker-killing levels. There is nothing between these two states.

    For me this is not a problem at normal levels, but I find it strange that this is obvously happening somewhere in the analog preamp. It happens regardless of setting stereo direct or using ordinary stereo with digital cables. I have also heard this on loud LFE tracks on the subwoofer.

    I hope some Arcam representative can clear these things up. I find it especially strange that this occurs when using Arcams internal DACs, since the preamp should really be dimensioned handle output from these on any level.

    What volume settings are you other ppl using when the crackling occurs?
     
  10. John P.

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    -Thanks to Crustyloafer on this forum, I have now updated my AVR300 to the latest firmware revision, 3.29, which is a good thing! :)

    This process went smoothly, and the update was successful.

    So I turn the unit back on afterwards, and it sounds fine. I have to go through the settings again though, but that's logical.

    Anyway - the thing is:

    I was about to press the Display button on the front of the receiver to dim the display, but missed and hit the Direct button instead.

    -And there it went: started popping in one speaker after the other, then after a while of that, the distortion started again..................!

    Not sure if pressing the Direct button caused it or if it was just a fluke, but that's when it happened anyway.
    -Remember, by the way, that it was the other way around before; pressing the Direct button was what would temporarily fix the problem before!

    Turned the unit completely off again, let it stay that way for a while, and turned it back on.

    It's been working for a while again now, but I think I'll probably have to send this unit back for repair at one point.
    I don't think this is heat related at all. If it still is, I'm gonna have to buy a fridge to keep this thing in...

    Haven't played any louder than about 62 for the last few days, btw - haven't watched any movies at loud volume or anything.
     
  11. cwick

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    Mine's back with Arcam. Estimated turnaround about two weeks, I'll let you know what I'm told.
     
  12. John P.

    John P.
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    - I have always thought that if something's broken, it's broken, and that's it.

    But now I'm starting to question my own sanity...

    Most of last week, the receiver was acting up - every day it would start distorting and crackling. So I was pretty sure I would have to send it back for repair.

    -Then, from Friday to yesterday(Sunday), it has worked without flaw! And it's been on several hours a day, 'cause I use it when I watch TV as well. I've even seen a couple of DVDs on normal movie level(80), no problem. So I thought "OK - I don't know what's happened, but it seems to have 'fixed itself' somehow". I had planned to send it back today, but now I wasn't so sure.


    Then today, Monday, suddenly the darn thing starts acting up again!! How the #¤%& can that happen?? I mean - you'd think it either works, or is broken somehow!? What could possibly cause this weird behaviour?

    Anyway - it does go back today or tomorrow, I can't sit here hoping it'll work when I need it to.

    [edit] I have now been to the shop and returned it, so we'll see if they can find anything. If I know my own luck though, they'll probably test it for five minutes, it'll be working just fine, they don't bother testing it for longer, I get it back, and it's just as broken as before... But here's hoping. [/edit]
     
  13. Greggles

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    There's nothing so infuriating as an intermittent fault! Let's hope the Arcam engineers are able to get to the bottom of it ASAP?
     
  14. sutcliffed

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    I've read this thread with interest. I've just had to contact my dealer today and am heartened to hear I'm not the only one with the problem. I've got my AVR300 racked up in a glass cabinet with what should be plenty of room, but am getting all the same crackling and/or no sound problems you all describe. Problem is appearing on SAT, DVD, DVD-A and AV inputs, and I've only got two front speakers set-up (bi-amped though). Would be most interested to hear any feedback anybody's had from their dealer and/or Arcam thus far. I'm awaiting a response from my dealer and will let you know what I hear. From your postings I'm not holding out much hope of an easy solution.
     
  15. WRG

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    Boy hearing these posts are met with mixed feelings both good and bad. I really enjoy my AVR300 and has been thus far flawless. I've only owned it for a little over a month. At least if these symptoms rear their ugly head in mine I'll be ahead of the game, and if these types of problems persist without correction of sorts, I'll have to replace it with the AVP700 :smashin:
     
  16. ntang

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    Does any one you happen to use the DV79 and it's HDMI port?

    I also get this sometimes when I connect my DV79 to the TV (HDMI) while routing the sound via the AVR300. Connecting said Dv79 via component cable makes the issue disappear

    /Nick
     
  17. John P.

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    I haven't been using HDMI (don't have it). But I think (my own personal theory) that all of this is related to digital sound/image somehow. Perhaps something happens to the converters after some time.

    The reason I think that is that some of the same symptoms(sound wise) have been mentioned in scenarios that has nothing to do with the AVR300, but with digital sound from for instance a PC; popping from some of the channels, then static, then distortion or just a different combination of those three(or just one of them).

    Anyway - mine has (hopefully) been in for repair for almost two weeks now, and I'll post again here as soon as I hear anything (I say 'hopefully', 'cause it wouldn't surprise me too much if it's still sitting there in its box in the hi-fi shop...).
     
  18. cwick

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    And mines still with Arcam. It arrived with them the Friday before last, so I'm expecting it back sometime next week.
     
  19. Horse

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    I have this problem !!! Grrr. it was working perfectly for 5 months. Now its losing some picture every now and then. if i turn off the dvd player and back on again it works. Im trying to work out if i send it back to Arcam. My problem is that its used every day for my 2 year old . . .
     
  20. roffe

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    I think my problem is a bit different. I experience it wth both analogue and digital sound inputs. I think it must have something to do with the analogue circuits, probably somewhere in the preamp parts. But my problem is regardless of input and only occurs on relatively high volumes (from 85dB and above)
     
  21. John P.

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    I think I explained it wrong in my last post, 'cause yes - I got my problem with both analog and digital inputs as well.

    What I meant by 'converters' was that.... well - to be honest I don't really know a whole lot about the technical aspects of this - but mine would work for the longest time in Stereo or Stereo Direct mode. It would sometimes occur with those as well, but for the most part it occurred using one of the surround modes.

    (I didn't really experience it with DD or DTS much, probably 'cause it's so much less often that I watch DVDs compared to TV. But with DVD I would sometimes get sound dropouts. I don't think I ever got the dirtortion and crackling with DVDs, just sound dropouts.)

    So - "converters", DSP chips - - whatever. Something wrong in that area is my theory.
     
  22. cwick

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    Mines still at Arcam, now into week 4. How about yours John ?
     
  23. tvh3ad

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    Hmm...I may have experienced this for the first time with my AVR300 last weekend. :eek:

    For me, it only manifested with the DTS Neo modes (which I sometimes use for FM radio, though when this happened the DTS modes were broken on every input). When I switched to any of the other DSP modes or went direct, the problem went away completely. I tried shutting the unit off completely but that had no effect. I then left it off overnight and the next day the modes were working normally again.

    I'm using the latest software already for both the DSP and the main unit.

    Although my cabinet has plenty of room all around the unit for heat dissipation and no front at all, it could theoretically be a heat-related issue: in my case, I switched the center speaker from a Linn Trikan to a Thiel SCS3 and its cable from an ordinary 14ga biwire run to a singlewire MIT networked big gray rope. (Although...I would have expected the AVR300 to run *cooler*: the Thiel's specified resistance is lower and sensitivity is higher than the Linn's.) I doubt a cabling or speaker problem: I'm using bananas and the speaker seems to work perfectly at all volumes.

    I have always had the unit set to operate @ 4 ohms, originally to accommodate the Linn but also because I've read elsewhere that this reduces heat (and possibly improves the overall dynamics).

    The problem has not recurred since it went away, but I work in software architecture where one of the first rules is: "If it went away by itself, it can come back by itself."

    Any comments or ideas?
     
  24. cwick

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    Based on my experience, it will only get worse over time.
     
  25. John P.

    John P.
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    Two days ago I had my two-week anniversary. I'm probably going to call the store pretty soon to hear if they have any update. I'm actually not sure if they've sent it to Arcam or if the store I bought it from have their own repair people. I live in Norway, not UK, so perhaps it's different here.

    I thought I'd cut them some slack because of the intermittent nature of the problem.

    Have you called them to hear what's going on?
     
  26. roffe

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    Just for your information, there is an Arcam service centre here in Norway. But it is only one, so the retailer you bought it from probably has had to ship it to them.
     
  27. cwick

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    Call from my dealer this afternoon, it's arrived back so I'll go and pick it up tomorrow. Fingers crossed !

    I'll try and remember to ask what was broken ....

    Cheers, Carl.
     
  28. cwick

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    New DSP board fitted apparently. Sounds good to me :)
     
  29. John P.

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    OK, thanks for the update. :)

    I can't say I'm too happy about the prospect of having to wait another two weeks though. But if that's what it takes.

    But that DSP board - - that's pretty much what I expected it to be. I'm just wondering what causes it to malfunction after a few months use? Could be heat I guess. But the fans never started on mine.

    Anyway - when I get it back, it'll have more space around it than it had the first few months, plus I'll be running it in the 4Ohm setting.
     
  30. John P.

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    Aug 28, 2005
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    OK - I've just been to the store and picked up my AVR300. Took three weeks in my case.

    I haven't tested it yet, but I kinda expect it to work now(!).

    According to the report from the service people, they have "Disassembled, searched for errors. Replaced DSP board. Modified PSU on instructions from Arcam. Tested, OK"

    Since they did the same thing to cwick's receiver, I guess this is a "common" error with these receivers, or at least a small batch of them.

    -I have to commend the repair people btw; everything looked exactly the way it did when I delivered it, to the point I almost didn't think they'd done anything at all to it (but I really hope they did!). No scratches or stuff like that either.

    So if everything works now, I'll be a happy camper. :)
     

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