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ARGH!  ZMA crackling noise issue. (Read 277 times)
HockessinKid
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ARGH!  ZMA crackling noise issue.
03/18/17 at 14:32:11
 
Hey Guys,

I have an email into Steve to resolve an issue with my new ZMA amp.  After setting up the ZMA and CSP3 preamp I have a pretty loud, steady crackling noise in both speakers with any volume set past about 15-20%.  It was a bit unnerving hearing this after powering up the amp.  All four bias meters start moving around as well when I push the volume up.

I am hoping this is just a bad set of power tubes, as I'm dreading the thought of having to ship the beast back to Steve for repairs. Cry

Any insights/thoughts from you ZMA owners out there in Decware land?

HK
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HK
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Lon
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Re: ARGH!  ZMA crackling noise issue.
Reply #1 - 03/18/17 at 14:35:33
 
I don't have a ZMA nor any particular insight into this problem. . . but I would try to reach Steve by phone. I don't know about weekend hours, but in the past many have noted that reaching Steve by phone (a guy who likes to talk on the phone!) is quicker and easier than getting a quick email response. And I think you'll want this corrected as soon as possible and Steve is THE best "first responder."
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HockessinKid
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Re: ARGH!  ZMA crackling noise issue.
Reply #2 - 03/18/17 at 14:59:40
 
Thanks Lon, very good suggestion.  Just called and left a voice mail for Steve in case he is in during the weekend.  He does like to talk on the phone.

HK
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HK
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Archie
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Re: ARGH!  ZMA crackling noise issue.
Reply #3 - 03/18/17 at 19:07:50
 
Does it happen without the CSP3 as well?  That it comes out of both channels is odd if it's a ZMA issue since the two channels are separate -- two mono blocks in one chassis with only the IEC and volume pot in common.  Could be a volume pot or CSP3 issue?
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« Last Edit: 03/18/17 at 19:08:09 by Archie »  
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HockessinKid
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Re: ARGH!  ZMA crackling noise issue.
Reply #4 - 03/18/17 at 19:40:45
 
I will check on this Archie by running my CDP directly to the ZMA.  Sent Steve a video w/ sound to he can diagnose the problem and get back to me.  What service - on a weekend no less.

HK
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HK
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Archie
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Re: ARGH!  ZMA crackling noise issue.
Reply #5 - 03/18/17 at 20:58:34
 
Yeah, you don't have to worry about Steve dropping the ball.  I'm hoping it's just a CSP3 tube.  Everything is tubed correctly?  I remember a couple years back someone had a problem with a new ZP3 and it turned out he switched up the tubes.  Great if it's that simple!

I've had some crackling from my ZMA input tubes but not what you describe.  In my case the tubes were at fault.
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HockessinKid
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Re: ARGH!  ZMA crackling noise issue.
Reply #6 - 03/18/17 at 21:16:36
 
Archie, ran the CDP directly.  Got a very loud buzzing noise, different sounding from crackling sound (almost sounds like popcorn popping loudly) with the CSP3 hooked up.  All the tubes are properly placed in the right position, I triple checked them before turning on the preamp and amp.

After Steve reviews the video I sent him, I'll sure to get a call.  I still have my 2 watt Zen amp and Eastern Electric preamp if something needs to go back.  At least I'll have music.

BTW, even at relatively low volumes I can tell this amp is going to be something very special when the tubes and caps burn in fully.

HK
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« Last Edit: 03/18/17 at 21:17:25 by HockessinKid »  

HK
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Archie
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Re: ARGH!  ZMA crackling noise issue.
Reply #7 - 03/18/17 at 21:49:26
 
I take it you don't have a different source to try?  That the sound changed without the CSP3 makes me question the source.  But of course, Steve is your best shot at figuring this out.
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« Last Edit: 03/18/17 at 22:10:37 by Archie »  
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HockessinKid
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Re: ARGH!  ZMA crackling noise issue.
Reply #8 - 03/19/17 at 00:53:23
 
Update: It's definitely the amp or amp tubes.  I put my little Decware Zen back into my system with the CSP3 preamp. Everything was quiet as a church mouse.  The CDP and turntable sounded great, they are not the problem.

HK  

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« Last Edit: 03/19/17 at 00:53:36 by HockessinKid »  

HK
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Lon
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Re: ARGH!  ZMA crackling noise issue.
Reply #9 - 03/19/17 at 01:29:48
 
I hope it gets sorted really soon! Must be frustrating. . .luckily you have that backup Zen amp!
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alper_yilmaz
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Re: ARGH!  ZMA crackling noise issue.
Reply #10 - 03/20/17 at 19:15:29
 
Have you tried swapping the input tubes?  On my Copland push-pull, I had a similar issue few months ago.  Even when the volume was turned down all the way to zero, it made this loud crackling noise on one of the channels.  I also thought it was one of the output tubes, but it turned out to be one of the 12BH7's...
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HockessinKid
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Re: ARGH!  ZMA crackling noise issue.
Reply #11 - 03/20/17 at 21:36:44
 
I sent a video of the noise problem to Steve.  He's never heard anything like it (electronic corn popping) in the ZMA, especially since the noise is in both channels.  Having ruled out the preamp and amp tubes as the problem, the ZMA is heading back to the shop tomorrow for a once over and necessary repairs.  BTW, Decware makes returns for new product repairs very easy.

Thankfully, I have my trusty old Zen amp back in my main system for listening until I get the ZMA back.  I told Steve that even with the noise it was clear this is a VERY SPECIAL amp.  

HK
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HK
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JD
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Re: ARGH!  ZMA crackling noise issue.
Reply #12 - 03/21/17 at 12:14:03
 
HockessinKid,

Way to keep a level head about the whole thing, impressive. I know the wait will be worth it.

JD
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HockessinKid
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Re: ARGH!  ZMA crackling noise issue.
Reply #13 - 03/21/17 at 15:34:36
 
JD,

Having dealt with Steve and his Decware team before on upgrading my Zen amp, I know that they work extremely hard to deliver exceptionally high quality audio products for very reasonable prices.  Even with careful QC, sometimes things just go wrong.  

It was a bit unnerving initially listening to the crackling/popping sound of the new amp after waiting some 14 weeks on the build. My heart did sink a bit, it was frustrating.

With that said, hearing the capability of this amp at low volume levels w/out the noise was simply captivating.  So, I give kudo's to Steve and Sarah for arranging a quick ship back to the shop and know that the amp will be gone over with a fine tooth comb to fix the issue.  I think that's all any reasonable person can/should expect from an audio equipment manufacturer.  As the wise man once said, "sh*t happens", it's the follow-up that matters.

HK
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« Last Edit: 03/21/17 at 15:35:03 by HockessinKid »  

HK
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stone_of_tone
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Re: ARGH!  ZMA crackling noise issue.
Reply #14 - 03/22/17 at 16:29:47
 
Steve and Sarah were as good as it can get with my repair. Heck, it was serendipitous for me. My ZMA came back better than ever (Steve gave me backlit meters, volume pot and new 001 serial number sticker and tweaks). It just needed beefier resistors for the meter's and a three year check up. Mine was the first one shipped, back in mid January, 2014.

Yes, you noticed at low volume how good this Amp is................ . I swear mine did come back to me even better. The check up/adjustments did her good.

Enjoy the journey.  My journey continues with NOS Platinum input and inverter tube rolling. I recently had a Pre in and decided to send back. I love my ZMA sans Pre. CSP3 is awesome though..... .  I had one for 27 months with my ZMA.

Hope it's back soon.   Enjoy.
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« Last Edit: 03/22/17 at 18:19:23 by stone_of_tone »  

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