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ZP3 phono pre hum problem! (Read 8963 times)
rmcfee
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ZP3 phono pre hum problem!
12/02/12 at 01:34:22
 
 Has anyone had trouble with hum in these amps?  It is as loud as the quiet passages in any album making it unusable.
 I tried grounding the tonearm to the Zen, grounding the Zen to the amp, grounding both to the amp or no ground.
  I gave the Zen a dedicated outlet instead of the isolation transformer I usually use.
   I replaced the Decware interconnects with shielded ones.
    I tried swapping tubes in case a tube had a problem.
  Still a loud hum.
  Any advice would be great since I really wanted to like this amp. Thanks.
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Lon
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Re: ZP3 phono pre hum problem!
Reply #1 - 12/02/12 at 03:55:47
 
When I first plugged my ZP3 in I thought I had some hum, turned out the hum was not from the ZP3 at all but the CSP2+ I think, it didn't persist anyway. I'm not having any problem at all. Mike (tgarden) has related to me he had problems with his first ZP3 that turned out to be the ground wire not attached internally in the ZP3, sounds like you describe. . . .
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rmcfee
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Re: ZP3 phono pre hum problem!
Reply #2 - 12/02/12 at 04:37:20
 
 When I disconnect the ZP3 the noise goes away so it is not the table/tonearm.
   When I turn the ZP3 off it is still making a faintly audible hum through the channel.
   The previous preamp (Rega Fono) was dead silent so it is not the channel on the amp. Very frustrating.
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SteveC
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Re: ZP3 phono pre hum problem!
Reply #3 - 12/02/12 at 05:54:28
 
I have the same problem.  Don't remember all the troubleshooting I've done.  Haven't listened to vinyl for a while.   Like you said. hum is at quiet level between tracks.  no problem during a song.  plainly humming between them.  my speakers are 96db efficient, so I don't know if that was allowing me to hear a small amount of hum.   I put shielded wires on instead of the decware silvers like you.  helped.  Everything is on same isolation xformer.  if I disconnect zp3 from Torii, the torii alone is dead silent.  adding the zp3 to torii, powerered on, without turntable hooked up, I get hum.  adding the turntable, I get a bit more hum, so it's more than one thing involved.  trying to ground everything to everything else has made zero difference.
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rmcfee
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Re: ZP3 phono pre hum problem!
Reply #4 - 12/02/12 at 05:58:16
 
I may have to send it back which would suck after waiting so long to get it!
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Re: ZP3 phono pre hum problem!
Reply #5 - 12/02/12 at 07:36:37
 
have to use power from same outlet for all your hifi equipments to prevent ground rounding (and all your sources as well also turntable). I had no problems after that. Not hard to try
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Lon
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Re: ZP3 phono pre hum problem!
Reply #6 - 12/02/12 at 12:54:13
 
rmcfee wrote on 12/02/12 at 05:58:16:
I may have to send it back which would suck after waiting so long to get it!


I agree that would suck. I waited three months for mine and have had it just over two weeks, I love it and would hate to send it back.

You should both call Steve!
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SteveC
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Re: ZP3 phono pre hum problem!
Reply #7 - 12/02/12 at 16:03:26
 
Well, my zp3 made a liar out of me.  Because of the hum, I haven't been listening to vinyl for a while... and it clearly used to hum.     I  just opened my zp3 to see if the ground wire was there, and it was.  put it back together.  put tubes back in,  connected everything... guess what. I don't have hum anymore.   now, when I play a track at the higher end of my normal listening level, and lift the needle... it's quiet. no audible hum.  There is hum if I turn the volume all they way up (20 out of 20 steps on the attenuator) but that's to be expected.  The high end of my listening level is 10~12 steps on the tori with HDT's.  at that point, I cannot hear hum.  So... I don't know what happened.  But I don't have the hum problem anymore.  (And yes, everything is powered out of the same isolation transformer, and thus out of the same wall outlet).
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Lon
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Re: ZP3 phono pre hum problem!
Reply #8 - 12/02/12 at 16:37:01
 
Great news!
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rmcfee
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Re: ZP3 phono pre hum problem!
Reply #9 - 12/02/12 at 16:56:30
 
 I tried using the same outlet (with an isolation transformer ) and also using a dedicated outlet for the ZP3  but no effect on the hum.
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jpv
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Re: ZP3 phono pre hum problem!
Reply #10 - 12/02/12 at 20:46:54
 
There are two oher things you could try.
1) Use a cheater plug on the ZP3. Thay may remove the ground loop.
This is not the best solution but it may work.

2) I cured my hum problem by grounding the motor on my VPI Scoutmaster. I took a thin wire and ran it from the mounting screw on the motor assembly, wrapped it around the bearing assembly , then attached it to the phono grounding post. Why a stand alone motor not even attached to the turntable causes a hum is a mystery.
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rmcfee
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Re: ZP3 phono pre hum problem!
Reply #11 - 12/02/12 at 21:17:55
 
Thanks. My table is a Scoutmaster 2 so I will try that. However the table has a ground lug where the rca outputs are and a wire coming out of the table.
  I attached that wire to the ground lug to see if that would work but it did not .
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rmcfee
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Re: ZP3 phono pre hum problem!
Reply #12 - 12/02/12 at 21:43:00
 
  One thing I forgot to mention - the rectifier tube supplied was a different one than listed in the manual (5Y3GT) It was an equivalent 5U4G.
    Also the other tube OA3 looked different than the pic in the manual - it looked like a rectifier bottle shape.
   If I installed them in the wrong place the amp wouldn't work at all would it?
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Lon
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Re: ZP3 phono pre hum problem!
Reply #13 - 12/02/12 at 22:32:28
 
rmcfee wrote on 12/02/12 at 21:43:00:
† One thing I forgot to mention - the rectifier tube supplied was a different one than listed in the manual (5Y3GT) It was an equivalent 5U4G.
† † Also the other tube OA3 looked different than the pic in the manual - it looked like a rectifier bottle shape.
† †If I installed them in the wrong place the amp wouldn't work at all would it?


I received a 5U4G as well. I prefer the sound of the 5Y3GT in this preamp, but the 5U4G should work and not be causing your hum situation if the tube is new and healthy.

(It's funny, it says this in the ZP3 manual: "The rectifier is a 5Y3GT and should not be substituted unless itís a different brand of 5Y3GT." And yet the web page references a 5U4G and Steve ships a 5U4G.)

The OA3 regulation tube is made in both bottle-shaped and straight sided versions, and they both work and that alone would not be causing you hum if the tube is functioning properly. That OA3 should be the tube furthest back in the chassis, right in front of the power and standby switches.
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« Last Edit: 12/02/12 at 22:41:58 by Lon »  

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Lon
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Re: ZP3 phono pre hum problem!
Reply #14 - 12/02/12 at 22:34:08
 
rmcfee wrote on 12/02/12 at 21:17:55:
Thanks. My table is a Scoutmaster 2 so I will try that. However the table has a ground lug where the rca outputs are and a wire coming out of the table.
† I attached that wire to the ground lug to see if that would work but it did not .


I would try running a ground wire from the ground lug by the RCA connections to the ground lug on the ZP3, as well as the wire coming out of the table.
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rmcfee
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Re: ZP3 phono pre hum problem!
Reply #15 - 12/02/12 at 22:58:50
 
 I tried grounding the arm and table to the Zen in various combos but no luck.
 I tried a cheater plug ( 2 prong adaptor if i am understanding this ) but also no luck.
 Also tried grounding the motor to the Zen and table etc etc etc .
 Getting a little crazy here. Only a fellow audiophile would understand!
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Rivieraranch
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Re: ZP3 phono pre hum problem!
Reply #16 - 12/02/12 at 23:59:31
 
Don't go crazy here. If we can't help you solve this call Steve Deckert. He is the final authority on these things.
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Lon
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Re: ZP3 phono pre hum problem!
Reply #17 - 12/03/12 at 01:54:21
 
What else are you using in the system, amp, other source?

I agree that calling Steve is the next step.
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rmcfee
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Re: ZP3 phono pre hum problem!
Reply #18 - 12/03/12 at 02:36:28
 
Haha! Thanks. I won't go crazy yet. I will talk to Steve tomorrow or whenever he has time.
  The system is:  a Tripp Lite Isolation Transformer to plug everything into. It is plugged into a dedicated outlet.
  The amp is a Bryston B100 SST integrated. Also a Bryston crossover so I can send the lowest stuff to a subwoofer (HSU UL15)
   The table is a VPI Scoutmaster 2.  The speakers are Mirage OM-7s.
   Thanks for the help, by the way.
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Lon
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Re: ZP3 phono pre hum problem!
Reply #19 - 12/03/12 at 03:17:10
 
Thanks for the info. I don't see anything jumping out as a possible source of hum. I did use a Tripplite isolation transformer (two actually, one for digital and one for analog) and I found that one or the other of them was introducing some noise (not specifically hum) that went away when I began using PS Audio Duet power centers and then the PS Audio Power Plant Premier. But I may have had a defective unit (though another here has heard the sonic effect of a Tripplite).

Every time I've had severe hum problems in my system it was either an unshielded interconnect too near power cords, or a tube causing the hum. If you've changed out every tube, and have put in unshielded interconnects, those aren't the reasons. I know you've done all I could think to do. Steve may have further ideas.

I hope Steve can get you humless soon!
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« Last Edit: 12/03/12 at 03:20:16 by Lon »  

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jpv
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Re: ZP3 phono pre hum problem!
Reply #20 - 12/04/12 at 13:31:53
 
A Scoutmaster 2 -very nice Smiley. What cart. are you using?
I grounded mine by attaching the wire to the silver ring that goes around the top of the motor. I poped off once and the diff in the sound is very easy to hear between cuts or during quiet parts.
I am using the speed controller so maybe that is cuasing my problem.
John
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rmcfee
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Re: ZP3 phono pre hum problem!
Reply #21 - 12/04/12 at 14:25:58
 
  Hi John. It's a Dynavector 20X2 high output MC. I just got it recently and it seems great.  I have the option of trading it for a Soundsmith Zephyr that lots of people rave about (more money too!) .
 Not sure if I'll do that or not.
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Re: ZP3 phono pre hum problem!
Reply #22 - 12/05/12 at 08:43:56
 
Talk about with friends
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Re: ZP3 phono pre hum problem!
Reply #23 - 12/05/12 at 15:28:35
 
I`m interested to find the cause of your hum rm. I have the same small hum. Tried all sorts of earthing including using the central heating †radiator and turning the fridge off. I use the step up with it and thought the extra amp gain or nor quite having a perfect ohm match for the cart might be causing it. I also use the dyno cart you have, but the L version, and really like it.
Opening up the ZP3 is an option I wont do unless I know what to look for. The hum is small enough not to concern me as I listen at moderate levels.
Then there is a possibilty that equipment needs repositioning and I`m happy to wait until new amps arrive when I will have chance to reposition the whole system and if that doesn`t work I will tackle the hum with a must do attitude.
I`ll have another go, as I think it`s not the step up now. It made no difference whether the su was earthed or not.
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« Last Edit: 12/05/12 at 16:02:15 by marky »  

Decware: Rachaels x 2 bridged, CSP2+, ZP3, ZMC1, DSC i/c`s, DHC-1 pw/cbl`s. Roksan Radius/Nima/high def cabl & M.Benz LP s , M/L aeon i`s, Townshend Isolda sp/cbl`s, Isotek mains sub
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Lon
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Re: ZP3 phono pre hum problem!
Reply #24 - 12/05/12 at 17:02:46
 
Awesome Marky! Glad that has been taken care of.

I hope rm has been able to talk to Steve?
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« Last Edit: 12/05/12 at 17:24:55 by Lon »  

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marky
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Re: ZP3 phono pre hum problem!
Reply #25 - 12/05/12 at 17:06:03
 
Lon, erm sorry.
I had the phonos in and out to the ZM3 the wrong way. No change. I`ll delete the last post.
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Lon
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Re: ZP3 phono pre hum problem!
Reply #26 - 12/05/12 at 17:13:32
 
Oops. Well, hope you can get this squared away. Have you tried calling Steve?
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rmcfee
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Re: ZP3 phono pre hum problem!
Reply #27 - 12/05/12 at 17:27:27
 
  I talked to Steve and he spent a long time troubleshooting with me on the phone. Unfortunately we determined that the ZP3 was not compatible with my common gear.
   We exhausted all grounding, cabling, distance of components, etc,etc.
   Somehow this phono stage won't work with a VPI/Dynavector /Bryston setup.
   So I sent it back and will probably have to eat shipping and $277. customs fees (I'm in Canada) just to audition a unit that apparently isn't designed to be used with common gear.
  Steve was great to deal with however, very friendly and knowledgeable.  I had not expected the ZP3 to be so finicky.
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Re: ZP3 phono pre hum problem!
Reply #28 - 12/05/12 at 17:36:39
 
Really sorry to hear that. I have a Rega RP3, a new but pretty common gear, and have no issues at all so I'm surprised.

Glad that this has at least been exhaustively worked out.
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Re: ZP3 phono pre hum problem!
Reply #29 - 12/05/12 at 17:50:36
 
What I can say is that after removing the step up and putting the deck straight into the ZP3 the same small hum is there and remains the same with or without using any earth config or not using the earth jack on the ZP3 . I have a double wall socket one of which feeds the power conditioner and has a dedicated earth connector that I routed †the decks 2 earths and ZP3 onto. The other socket is for e/stats, lamps, comp, on a basic 6 way strip strip.
Yes it seems odd that putting the jack into the ZP3 with all the earths connected has no effect at all.
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« Last Edit: 12/05/12 at 17:53:44 by marky »  

Decware: Rachaels x 2 bridged, CSP2+, ZP3, ZMC1, DSC i/c`s, DHC-1 pw/cbl`s. Roksan Radius/Nima/high def cabl & M.Benz LP s , M/L aeon i`s, Townshend Isolda sp/cbl`s, Isotek mains sub
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marky
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Re: ZP3 phono pre hum problem!
Reply #30 - 12/05/12 at 19:18:54
 
The Isotek mains sub has 6 inputs so as the ZP3 is earthed anyway through the plug there should be no need to use the earth jack in the unit. Next step is to try it in different sockets in the Iso. They are rated for different power requirements so, tomorrow...
Yes Lon...wonder if RM has spoken to Steve.
I tried to explain soon after I received it through online chat.
Theres an earth wire with a spade coming from through the decks arm/phono loom. It`s onyl a couple of inches long. I`ve never used it and cant think where it goes. I linked it up anyway with the rest of the earths.
Come in RM, it`s a solveable puzzle.  :)

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rmcfee
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Re: ZP3 phono pre hum problem!
Reply #31 - 12/05/12 at 19:43:24
 
Hey Marky. I did talk to Steve. See my previous post.
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Re: ZP3 phono pre hum problem!
Reply #32 - 12/06/12 at 00:17:42
 
Ah, yes. Thats a pity, it`s a very open sounding amp.
My upgraded Roksan worked ok with my old phono.
I cant beleive the TT is the cause, it`s quite standard.
What I`m thinking deep down is that when my other
Decware amps arrive there should be more compatability.
My minimax pre/power are good but maybe there is an imbalance
with the signal going in.
In the meantime the small hum isn`t really noticable to be
anywhere near offputting.
Sugar, thats unfortunate for you.

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« Last Edit: 12/06/12 at 00:19:25 by marky »  

Decware: Rachaels x 2 bridged, CSP2+, ZP3, ZMC1, DSC i/c`s, DHC-1 pw/cbl`s. Roksan Radius/Nima/high def cabl & M.Benz LP s , M/L aeon i`s, Townshend Isolda sp/cbl`s, Isotek mains sub
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Re: ZP3 phono pre hum problem!
Reply #33 - 12/06/12 at 02:27:44
 
 A bit irritating actually. And costly.
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Re: ZP3 phono pre hum problem!
Reply #34 - 12/06/12 at 21:08:22
 
You`re dead right it`s irratating trying to find it, you pay your money you want silence, you cant get it, only option is to return it, what can I say.
First thing I thought when I took a breather playing with the earths, was no way would Decware sell noisy amps, it`s not going to happen.
I tried most things, swopped out the e/stats for my more efficient higher ohmed Focals. Anyway to cut a long story short, I realised that the ZP3 is a big lump of gear, 5 valves and sounds so open and bass powerful that I realised there were no filters on the output. The hum, is going through the amps and so coming from the phono, so in my way of thinking, the pre amp couldn`t handle it. What to do.
Now the hum is so quiet that you couldn`t hum to yourself more quietly at the levels I use that I would have been more than happy with it as it was. I can turn it up when it`s playing etc. And I`ve got the c/heating boiler in a cupboard that sometimes you can hear very quietly  when the music stops. So...
I was so pleased with it that I ordered the pre and power, which will be more at home wih the ZP3.
Different route to you, I should think everyone here feels a little.

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Lon
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Re: ZP3 phono pre hum problem!
Reply #35 - 12/06/12 at 22:08:33
 
Definitely feel for you r, the long wait, the frustration, the loss of duty money and shipping. . . . Sorry that you had this problem, and don't understand why as I don't have a problem.

Best of luck with your next component!
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Re: ZP3 phono pre hum problem!
Reply #36 - 12/07/12 at 16:19:03
 
There is one last test I havent done.
My pre amp usually stays around 7-8 o`clock with my cassette, cd, and old phono. With the ZP3 it reaches around 10-11 o`clock for the same volume, so the extra headroom would exaggerate any tiny hum, maybe not audible.
Would changing the 0a3, voltage regulator, for another value which I have seen used here, make a difference to the output ?
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Re: ZP3 phono pre hum problem!
Reply #37 - 12/07/12 at 16:27:19
 
Well, the OA3 is I think the "hottest" of the types. I find that the straight shouldered ones have a bit more "oomph" than the coke bottle shaped ones, but I'm not sure that translates into more voltage output. . .

I've tried OB3s in my ZP3 and for me the bass output is too soft and the dynamics restrained. . . not sure there was less output, but there wasn't more. That should be even more pronounced so to speak with the OC3 and OD3 tubes.

Have you tried different 12AU7 and pairs of 12AX7 tubes, have you determined that it's not particular tubes or a particular tube that is contributing to the hum? (I bet you have, I just haven't seen you specifically mention trying a number of tubes).
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Re: ZP3 phono pre hum problem!
Reply #38 - 12/07/12 at 17:49:02
 
Thanks Lon. I`ve tried just that. I put all the stocks back in because I remembered that sylv ax7`s were put in before the stocks.
The volume is back where it should be now, and the hum is, well i`ts not really a hum more like a quiet warmth which I would expect with valves amplifying valves. Now at the normal volume it`s quiet. When I lift the needle and turn it right up it past 12 o`clock it`s annoying, but at that volume people down the street would be knocking.  :)

I suppose thats a lesson learned ! Put the stocks in that were shipped with it first as they were tested with the unit in situ.


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Lon
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Re: ZP3 phono pre hum problem!
Reply #39 - 12/07/12 at 19:19:17
 
Whew! Happy to hear that. Now you know to look for tubes that are tested to be very quiet if you are looking for other tubes. Hope you can settle in and really enjoy some listening.
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marky
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Re: ZP3 phono pre hum problem!
Reply #40 - 12/07/12 at 23:18:13
 
You got it Lon !
I`ve been busy putting the tree up this evening but am looking forward
to a good session when time permits.  :)
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