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Chord Electronics DAC64 Help

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by Pikman, Oct 1, 2004.

  1. Pikman

    Pikman
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    I've recently installed a DAC64 into my hi-fi system and am very pleased with the increase in sound quality.

    However the DAC has a nasty habbit of clicking off and quickly back on when the thermostat in my fridge switches on and off. The problem is extremely annoying as the thermostat switches every quarter of an hour or so.

    I contacted Chord who advised I use an optical cable as this would isolate the audio signal from electrical interference - good advice but my CD transport is only fitted with one digital output which is an RCA coax electrical socket.

    Does anyone know how I might cure the problem as it's spoiling my enjoyment of music to such an extent that I shall be forced to sell the DAC if it cannot be remedied.
     
  2. MarkE19

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    Hi Pikman and welcome to the forum :hiya:

    Well as much as I hate to I think I need to state the obvious here - why not turn off/unplug the fridge whilst listening to music. It takes several hours to defrost a fridge so should not cause any problems.
    Another method would be to isolate the noise from the DAC. Have you got the DAC on a surge protected mains socket or similar? A lot of noise heard on HiFi can be sent to a source via the mains. If you don't already have one then I suggest you try one of the Belkin PureAV surge protectors. For around £50 they do a very good job and may well reduce or even remove the problem.

    Mark.
     
  3. gwc

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    Hi Pikman,

    I had a DAC64 in my hifi for about 2 years, before I upgraded, and never encountered this problem.

    The clicking sounds like the DAC has lost sync with the transport.

    Were you using a DAC before the 64 ?

    If not have you looked at the transport to see if it loses the digital signal when the fridge switches on?

    Cheers

    gwc
     
  4. Knightshade

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    I have had the DAC 64 (all be it only only once) fail to sync with the CD, turned out to be a tiny nick in the cable. Just big enough to screw things up. Took a while to figure it out....
     
  5. Pikman

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    The DAC64 is indeed my first experience with DAC's. My transport (Sugden CDMaster) never reacted to the thermostat in the fridge before using the DAC so I'm pretty convinced that the problem is the DAC itself.

    I could unplug the fridge when listening to music, but it's not uncommon for me to play music all day and I can see myself forgetting to plug it back in on many occasion.

    The DAC is currently fitted with a Kimber Reference PowerKord (fitted with a Wattgate 350 & SuperClamp) connected to a Russ Andrews Mains Block which is fed through a Chord Clearway Mains Filter with another Kimber Reference PowerKord - so the system is reasonably isolated from the usual problems associated with mains.

    What about fitting contact supressors across the fridge's thermostat? would this remedy the problem?
     
  6. gwc

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    Is the Sugden CDMaster a CD player or a transport

    If it is a CD and this is the first time you have used it as a transport it may be that the digital path out is more susceptive to noise.

    Could you borrow an other DAC or tranport to try and isolate the problem?
     
  7. Knightshade

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    Only one way out I can see.... Ditch the fridge! :D

    Adding suppressors to the fridge would be a good way forward. Probably void your warranty though and shouldn't they already be fitted? I'm surprised you haven't noticed the problem with your TV before I would've thought it would be more susceptible than the HiFi.

    I'm not sure I understand how the fridge can interfere. You have your system pretty much isolated for any electrical interference to affect the DAC Unless you are using a completely unshielded COAX cable even then....
    Weird!
     
  8. Pikman

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    Okay, I bought a contact supressor and VDR this afternoon. I took the fridge apart (after nearly breaking it) to access the thermostat, I fit the bits in and put the fridge back together only to find it wouldn't start up, so I had to take the bloody fridge apart again to see what was wrong. Anyway, I got it working again.

    With the contact supressor and VDR fitted to the thermostat I've noticed the DAC now 'clicks' far less than it did but the problem isn't completely cured. My central heating system is gas driven - could the thermostat in the boiler be a problem?

    In regards to the digital cable - I'm using a Chord Signature RCA -RCA cable and an RCA - BNC adaptor, could the adaptor be the problem?

    gwc - yes is the first time I've used the CDMaster as a transport, so maybe the digital out on the Sugden is the problem. I could use the transport on my DVD player and an optical cable to cure the problem - but when I tried this I noticed a huge drop in sound quality - indeed it was only marginally better than using the CDMaster connected directly to the pre-amp.
     
  9. Knightshade

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    Pikman,
    What outputs do you have on the back of your CD player?
     
  10. Pikman

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    1 pair of RCA analogue and a digital RCA electrical coax.
     
  11. Knightshade

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    OK,
    The Digital output on the Sugden is a RCA type connector right? Your running this down an RCA Analogue cable with a RCA/BNC adapter on the other end to connect to one of the 75 ohm inputs on the DAC 64?
    If this is right it will be part of the problem. Your using an analogue twisted pair interconnect when you should be using a Chord Prodac 75 Ohm digital cable. (An analogue cable is not really suitable for carrying a digital signal - any digital cable would do the job it doesn't have to be Chord). I know the DAC 64 can be a fussy beast. Before you do much more I'd change the cable.
     
  12. Pikman

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    Knightshade, the cable I'm using is 75ohm - it's the digital version of the Chord Signature. Could the adaptor be the problem? - it's a pretty cheap device and the same design as those sold on the Russ Andrews website.

    I was intending to have Chord modify one end of the cable so it's RCA-BNC, but I'm uneasy about spending any more until I'm certain the problem will be cured.
     
  13. Knightshade

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    Pikman, I didn't know the signature came as a digital cable. I thought the signature series were all twisted pair. Learn something knew everyday I guess. Having spoken to a few people I'm still at a loss! My instincts tell me it's the cable but how and why i'm not sure. It could be that there is slight interference all the time and when the fridge cuts in it's enough to lose connection to the transport but i'm only guessing.
    I personally wouldn't use an adapter. It's another point of failure to worry about. I know 4 people with the DAC 64 including myself and none of us have had this problem. Or anything similar. The only thing we all have in common is we use Coax to Coax true 75 ohm cable. No adapters.
    Sorry I can't help....
     
  14. gwc

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    Pikman,

    Does the DVD have a coax output if so you could try the same set of cables, see if the problem is still. If it is still there you can rule out the sugden.

    I have a Chord Prodac cable that was modded for the DAC64 if you would like to borrow it you are more than welcome.

    Cheers

    gwc
     
  15. Pikman

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    gwc, yes - I've tried using the DVD player as a transport using the same cable I use on the Sugden but the problem is still evident.

    Thanks for the kind offer, tell me - is the Prodac cable terminated from RCA to BNC? If it is then I would love to borrow the cable to see if the RCA -BNC adaptor I'm using is causing the problem. I would of course pay for tracked delivery both ways.
     
  16. gwc

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    Pikman,

    The prodac ir RCA/BNC terminated. I haven't used it for a while as I started running balanced shortly after getting it.


    My wife say's it's in the attic, I shall have a look tonight and keep you posted.

    Cheers

    gwc
     
  17. CJROSS

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    Pik, have you tried the Toslink connection of your DVD-V player to DAC 64 ?

    What happens with this connection type ?
     
  18. Pikman

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    Yes - I've used the DVD player as a transport hooked up with a toslink cable. The problem disappears but sound quality takes a bit of a dive, it sounds a little 'bright' and sometimes even a little harsh.

    It's not surprising sound quality takes a tumble - the source is being switched from a £1300 CDMaster CD player with a £200 mains cable and £200 digital cable to a £80 Toshiba SD-340E DVD player with a free figure-8 mains cable and £40 optical cable.

    Another issue when using the DVD player (through both optical and electrical digital output) is that when skipping tracks the player stops sending a signal while it reads the disc, after reading the disc it fires up the signal again making DAC click on causing the speakers to pop horribly. With this in mind I can't really use the DVD player as a transport.

    To be honest the Dac64 isn't quite as amazing as I was led to believe, don't get me wrong it definatly improves sound quality but I can't help but miss the way a few of my favourite songs sounded without the DAC. I sometimes get the impression it can rob music a little of it's warmth and musicality; and taking into consideration the problems I'm having I'm seriously thinking of selling it and upgrading to the Sugden MasterClass series of components.
     
  19. CJROSS

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    Interesting stuff Pikman

    Many 64 DAC users swear by the toslink connection as the di-rigeur method of connection, even the designer of the unit swears by it. I think the fact the toslink connection works fine highlights the problem of your adaptor / bnc connection. Another point that some people notice about the DAC 64 is the initial loudness or output is @ 2.3V, this is a great way of getting some devices to sound better at demos but a few people I know of found it heavy going in the long run, no doubting it sounds superb to the users who like FWIW.

    BTW excellent choice of CDP , Ive heard 2 CD players in my life that have blown my socks off in their respective systems : A Sugden Masterclass & A Chord 822 in Coplands new range, 2 machines that could lure me away from DAC usage I tells ya. Well maybe not.
     
  20. gwc

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    Pikman,


    Had a look last night and didn't find it :mad:. I will delve deeper into the darkness tonight. We have had some building work done and the leccy has moved everything about and not put it back.

    I did find my Chord chorus balanced connector. Does the Sugden have a balanced output?


    Will keep you posted.



    Cheers

    gwc
     
  21. Pikman

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    gwc,

    sadly the CDMaster is not fitted with balanced outputs. Thank you for trying to help though - it's much appreciated.
     
  22. bullyvision

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    Guess what? If the signal is getting into your Sony Phillips Digital Interface Format Coaxial cable(Ingress), it is obviously jumping out of your refridgerator(Egress). Have you considered just shielding the wires behind your fridge? It could be many things, have you ever heard the saying don't let your wife run the sweeper by the T.V? It used to make T.V.'s turn into a consortion of diagonal lines... Well this problem is very common in house holds, that is why I don't use my Coaxial digital connection, because egress and electrical interference are like monsters to this cable. This standard is in a war with all RF and electrical (mosly electrical instability). And if you are using a standard RCA cable to transfer your digital signal WAKE UP!!! you need tri-shielded cable, or quad even better or else you will be experiencing digital tiles for the rest of your audiophile future. Also your DAC is just sensitive to the digital carrier(similar to the Sony ES333 I have), I can do some experiments because it is my job... I will keep you informed if you respond to this quarry, and I'll tell all about boring Analog RF tech crap...
    P.S. Ever heard a cell-phone on your computer speakers? Think about it...
     
  23. Pikman

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    The Chord Signature digital cable is a pretty well shielded cable and very highly regarded so I don't really intend replacing it.

    I've now fitted contact supressors and VDU's to every thermostat in the house which has definately helped without totally eliminating the problem, and I suspect that my neighbours appliances (I live in a semi-detached house) are interfering with the signal.

    I'm actually still considering selling the DAC, although I have to admit after using it for so long I do now notice a sizeable drop in resolution, depth and clarity without it.
     

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