Advice on popping noise from Audio Aero Prestige

I recently upgraded this player to 'signature edition' (cryo tubes, exotic caps, better damping). Sounds brilliant and is an improvement over standard unit. Upgrade took place at factory in France.

Popping noises (esp on left channel) now occurs whenever volume is changed, pressing stop, or choosing next/previous track. Also, player gets confused on repeat play (at end of cd/sacd it either stops or goes into scan mode). When system is idle, a buzzing sound comes through left channel. However, when playing music none of these noises occur.

Prior to upgrade, no such problems happened. My dealer suggests that I should burn-in the player for longer in the hope that popping and buzzing significantly reduces. I'm not entirely convinced this will work and seek other suggestions/solutions. Also, is it safe to continue using this player?

Thanks in advance.
The noises you have are not good. I'd contact the folks who worked on the player and demand that they find the problem and fix it free of charge. And "burn-in" (seemingly the solution to all audio problems these days), will likely do nothing!
Your dealer is clueless. He`s hoping it`ll cure itself. Yes, pops (transients) can damage electronics & drivers under certain circumstances. Might need service, French or otherwise.

I have worked in Audio Retail for many years and this problem will not simply go away. The unit has some kind of defect. You should have your dealer send the unit back IMMEDIATELY. If he does not contact the U.S. distributor for Audio Aero and explain to them what has happened. Problems such as yours should not happen in high end audio. Not enough units are sold, thus quality control is kept at a premium.

Hope this helps,

Thank you for your prompt responses. The player is getting worse. I'll be sending it back for repairs - its still under warranty.

Another 3 weeks of waiting in frustration...

Johnny - Fortunately, I haven't paid for the upgrade yet but yes this should never happen in high-end audio. Its just sloppy qa or workmanship on the part of the factory. It feels like a backyard/garage operation!
as long as it is gettting repaired in less than a month... that is really good...

Just as a follow up. The unit may have been damaged in transit. I have heard of PC boards being cracked during shipping. The Manufacturer will be able to investigate the unit and evaluate the problem. Point being the fault may not lie at the hands of Audio Aero. The problem may be the result of shipping damage!!
Why would anyone cryo tubes to begin with? It seem stupid.
Transport damage is a possibility however on receiving the unit, I could not see any damage to the box. No stress marks, kinks, etc. that would suggest physical abuse. But transportation could definitely be a factor and I may be incorrectly faulting Audio Aero.

Rwwear - quote from Audio Aero on cryo tubes: "2 cryo'd 6021W high precision matched Philips tubes (tube is frozen to stabilize the molecular structure from the tube and to eliminate moisture)".

Let us know the outcome in this thread as I have just purchased the Audio Aero Prestige CD/SACD player.
I think that most people here feel and know your frustration. Really press the issue of not paying for shipping anywhere and see if you can get a "loaner" from your dealer. There should be some "perks" for purchasing a $13 000 US MSRP player!

There shouldn't be any moisture in a tube since it is in a vacuum. If there is it can't get out even if you freeze it or heat it.
David - Will definitely inform on how this plays out. This player takes a long 2-3 months of burn-in and unfortunately my dealer can only loan me a new one. The difference is not subtle as you will find out. When its in the 'zone', its just brilliant.

Rwwear - Your logic cannot be faultered. AA provides this as part of the 'signature edition' kit. (You also get a 'signature edition' decal which is attached to the transport tray face). My understanding of this treatment is that its temporary and benefits wear off over time.
Took the player to my dealer and tested it in his system. No pops or buzzing whatsoever!

The thinking now is that it could be a grouding issue - I am puzzled as nothing has changed in the system except for it being powered down completely for 2 weeks.

Does this make any sense?

Do you have the AA direct to your 33H amps? What amps did the dealer use and did he hook the AA up directly as well?

Yes, my AA connects directly to the 33Hs and in the dealer setup, the AA connects to a Viola preamp which drives a valve amp.
Finally getting somewhere. After lots of trouble shooting (change power cords, swap line filters, test ics, check voltage, lift grounds, etc.) the pops simply continued. This was not a grounding issue.

I took the player back to the dealer for another test and test his own player (also prestige se) in my system:
- In dealers system using my player, pops were more noticeable than before but still very soft and acceptable.
- With dealer's player in my system, I have no pops at all!

It seems there is a difference between the 2 players with the dealer's unit having older software. There also may be differences between the phillips transports.

We're going to run the players for a while in both systems to be sure. It may just be that in dealer's system, preamp is doing some additional buffering/muting when music signal is interrupted (i.e. stop, next, prev). Nonetheless fault seems to be with the player.
Thank you for keeping us up to date. I was thinking along the lines of a small DC spike when making input/volume changes. This would be noticeable with amps that do not block incoming DC.
With the buzzing, the culprit could be one (or both) of the new cryo treated tubes. Can your dealer re-solder in new tubes to try that out?
Very interesting-i'll follow-up on whether the 33h deals with dc spikes. I think its worth noting the player comes with a stern warning on switching off power amp or turning vol down on preamp whenever player is powered on or off. When you press stop it also mutes output for a few secs. It does this to prevent a spike through the system. I've heard this spike on 2 occasions (power on & off) before the upgrade (at low volume) and what is interesting is the pops i'm hearing now are similar to those spikes.

On changing tubes, AA insists that it's done by the factory otherwise they won't warranty it. The buzzing problem is not as consistent as the pops though.
Change out the tubes, bet that fixes it.
Problem has been resolved! AA sent a replacement mother board which elliminated the issues.

Looks like a transportation problem where some damage occurred but definitely not visible to the naked eye. Damaged board has gone back for analysis.

After a few days, its hit the sweetspot! I'm wondering whether the board has been burnt-in at the factory... but i'm not complaining.

David - just curious, what is your experience on the player?


As it turns out I also have the "pop" sounding noise when changing the volume, stopping or changing next/previous track. For me, it really is very small in loudness and not bothersome. I will, however, keep my ears open and post in this thread if anything changes.
I have the Prestige hooked directly to a Bass Augmentation Module (part of the Merlin VSM-MX speaker system) then directly to a pair of Joule Electra VZN-100 OTL monoblocks.
I do not have any buzzing noise while the player is idle.
Like you, there was no damage at all on the shipping box and it was packed well!
After I have let this 2 channel SACD/preamp player settle in my system for a while longer, I will post a review.


Minor pops on stop/prev/next seems to occur on these players. The swapout unit does so as well as my repaired unit (although rarely). A technician suggested this may be due to the player not having a muting circuit.

However, I only experienced volume related spikes with the faulty board. You may want to experiment with the grounded/ungrounded switch and/or checkout your system grounding. In my case this had no effect on the problems but I do get better performance with the switch on ungrounded.