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  #1  
Old 10-21-2015, 01:56 PM
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AndrewN AndrewN is offline
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Default Ref 2 SE phono stage - advice please

Hi guys, I am looking for some advice from Ref 2 SE phono users (and ARC phono stages / pre-amps in general).

I am currently getting some transformer buzz from my unit. More at some times than others, predominantly from the left hand of the case. It's a mechanical buzz, i.e. not through the speakers. The unit is a few months old and has done it from new.

I am used to a degree of transformer buzz on my tube equipment, I have a similar thing with my McIntosh power amps (MC2301s), sometimes it's a little louder than others. For background I live in an apartment and I guess the electrical supply is variable to say the least.

The slight buzz doesn't bother me, but it would be good to hear other peoples' experiences to get a feel as to whether some noise is considered normal. My concern is that if it is injecting vibration into the unit it could have an impact on sound quality?

All help and advice appreciated.
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  #2  
Old 10-21-2015, 10:45 PM
jpgr4blu jpgr4blu is online now
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My Ref 2SE phono is silent as a crypt. I run it through a Shunyata Triton2. But my Ref 150 is plugged directly into the wall and also is very quiet despite the fact that I live in a prewar NYC coop with a fairly noisy electrical circuit.
I used to have a McIntosh 2102 which was also plugged directly into the wall and was also quiet.
The fact that you have had these problems with 2 different units suggests that your electric may be even worse than mine. Have you tried any power conditioners? Also, Shunyata and some other manufacturers make power cords with filtering characteristics that are quite effective. Maybe you should borrow one to see if it works. Or call Kal at ARC customer service and ask him what he thinks you should do.
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Last edited by jpgr4blu; 10-21-2015 at 10:58 PM.
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  #3  
Old 10-21-2015, 10:53 PM
tima tima is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndrewN View Post
Hi guys, I am looking for some advice from Ref 2 SE phono users (and ARC phono stages / pre-amps in general).

I am currently getting some transformer buzz from my unit. More at some times than others, predominantly from the left hand of the case. It's a mechanical buzz, i.e. not through the speakers. The unit is a few months old and has done it from new.

I am used to a degree of transformer buzz on my tube equipment, I have a similar thing with my McIntosh power amps (MC2301s), sometimes it's a little louder than others. For background I live in an apartment and I guess the electrical supply is variable to say the least.

The slight buzz doesn't bother me, but it would be good to hear other peoples' experiences to get a feel as to whether some noise is considered normal. My concern is that if it is injecting vibration into the unit it could have an impact on sound quality?

All help and advice appreciated.
Sure, vibration physically alters board level components and can negatively effect sound quality. That's partly why people hear sonic improvements with the addition of vibration control such as Stillpoints or SRA component bases.

I may hear a twinge of transformer noise from my RP2SE on initial turn-on, but when warmed up it is very quiet. I'm in the States and not familiar with electrical quality in London apartments but I think you're right to look at power variability in your building.

Do you have the opportunity to take your unit to a dealer for a comparison with another unit on a different power-line? But power is not the only thing to consider and there comparison may also help, based on the mechanical character of the sound. If it's been that way since new, you may have a loose or less-than-fuly-damped transformer, etc. Overall, ime, ARC linestages and phono stage are quiet.

Last edited by tima; 10-21-2015 at 10:56 PM.
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  #4  
Old 10-22-2015, 04:01 AM
BillK BillK is offline
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No buzz whatsoever for me; the only way I can tell mine is on is by the front panel (and from the tube glow.)
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Old 10-22-2015, 11:25 PM
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MtnHam MtnHam is offline
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It should be dead quiet. Try it somewhere else to determine if it is possibly your local power. My guess is you have a defective transformer.
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Old 10-23-2015, 03:05 PM
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microstrip microstrip is offline
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You have to check if the buzz is due to the a transformer problem or to the quality of the mains. The easiest way is to find it is borrowing a small power regenerator, such as the PSAudio units. Although the transformers are fixed to the side panels, not to the boards, vibration due to mains can not be a good think!

Excessive mains voltage can also cause mechanical hum.
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Old 10-26-2015, 11:34 PM
BillK BillK is offline
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Not to mention the obvious - try plugging it into a different outlet in your house and see if the buzz is still there.

If not difficult, try it at your dealer - if the buzz remains, they can work on shipping it back for you.
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  #8  
Old 10-27-2015, 08:44 AM
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Number95 Number95 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndrewN View Post
Hi guys, I am looking for some advice from Ref 2 SE phono users (and ARC phono stages / pre-amps in general).

I am currently getting some transformer buzz from my unit. More at some times than others, predominantly from the left hand of the case. It's a mechanical buzz, i.e. not through the speakers. The unit is a few months old and has done it from new.

I am used to a degree of transformer buzz on my tube equipment, I have a similar thing with my McIntosh power amps (MC2301s), sometimes it's a little louder than others. For background I live in an apartment and I guess the electrical supply is variable to say the least.

The slight buzz doesn't bother me, but it would be good to hear other peoples' experiences to get a feel as to whether some noise is considered normal. My concern is that if it is injecting vibration into the unit it could have an impact on sound quality?

All help and advice appreciated.
If it does not have an impact over sound ie not reflected thru speakers, I would not worry much. How loud is it? Can you hear it easily while you are not close to the unit?
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Old 10-27-2015, 10:19 AM
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The Lost Bears The Lost Bears is offline
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I do not have a Ref Phono 2se but I do have a Ref 5se. All my ARC pieces are dead quite. Transformer hum is not normal. I would try borrowing a power conditioner from your dealer. If that doesn't work then a power regenerator.

Do you have any compact florescent bulbs or dimmer switches? If they are on the same circuit they can cause a hum in your audio equipment. If you do, turn them off and see what happens. My wife put compact florescent bulbs in the dining room. This caused a hum in my preamp. I couldn't figure out why one day there was no hum and another there was. It took me a little while to figure out that the dining room light being on was causing the hum.
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Old 10-29-2015, 03:32 AM
BillK BillK is offline
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Silly me - I never noticed the original poster was in London!

I recall Audio Research had some issues with hum in their 230v/50 Hz transformers; your dealer may already be aware of this issue and its solution.
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