Audio Research D-90

I just bought a A.R.D-90 and there is a hum in the right channel.I reversed the inter-connects and still in the right side.I switched the 12ax7's for 12au7's and it got louder.Any ideas or insight? Bill
Reverse the tubes you just installed from channel to channel and see if the hum follows the tubes. It could easily be in one of the tubes you just changed.
Did you rebias them. If you move tubes around you must rebias. I had 2 of these at one time, I took tubes out and put them beck in I still checked bias even if they went back in the same spot. The D90 sounds great but is very fussy. I biased mine every month or so. I also did a hail mary when I turned them on. Very touchy equipment. I agree with Newbe also you could just have a bad tube, Move them around but again bias very time you move them. Do not swap 12ax7 with 12au7 as this can mess thing up alot. only use the tube recommended for that location, ARC's from that era again are very touchy.
Thank you for the info. I'm new to the tube world and don't know sh-t. I also have a C.J.,but biasing it is a breeze. The person I bought the A.R. from didn't send a owners manual and I don't know how to bias the amp or the tubes. So thats probably the problem. If one or both of you wouldn't mind taking the time,I'd really like to know. I've seen the meters for sell on Ebay,from China but didn't know if that was the answer.Thanks,Bill
You need a meter that does A/C & DC voltage. Most any will work ever radio shack one. I think you can go to ARC's web site and either download or request the manual.
Thanks for the help.I have the volt meter but I don't know witch socket holes to check,what the reading should be or how to ajust the bias if it need be.Thanks again,Bill
I am still looking for the info for you.
I should have it by the weekend.
You must be having the same luck I've been having trying to find that info.A.R. do'es not seem to hospitable in giving info. Thank you for all your help.
If any one out there has a manual for a D-90 thay want to sell or make a copy of ,please let me know.Thank you,Bill
There is also an adjustment around the cross coupler 6FQ7's that needs to happen to set their operating points. That being said it is also possible that one or more capacitors on that channel need to be replaced. In which case given its age you might want to consider a total recap. G
I am having trouble finding the info for you.
I will try 1 other avenue this week.
The store I deal with is a dealer for ARC (DA).
No luck here he has not worked on a D90 so no info.
1.) There are three versions of the D-90 : 90 ,90A and 90B.The obvious differences are power tubes ( 6550 in original and a, 6L6GC in b) and power output 90 in original and a ,80 in the b.Don't know if there are differences in the smaller inverter/driver tube compliment. Basically -which variant do you have?
2.) Hum. How loud? Can only be heard with your head in the speaker or is audible from your listening position? You could try putting a ground lifter on the power plug - but since the problem is only in one channel - this probably won't do it.
3.) If you're going to work on this amp -you need the manual. Talk to Leonard at ARC and order one for $10 -you aren't going to get anywhere without it and can definitely make a small problem much worse by doing the wrong thing.Also, the cap bank on this thing stores more than enough charge to hurt you - even if the electric shock is only VERY unpleasant - there's a definite chance of hurting yourself jerking into something else in reaction.MCM makes some test probes that are the thing for servicing these amps -a sharp tip slides out of the probe - it's insulated until the very tip which is a sharp point you can stick into the solder TestPoints called out in the manual.Keeps your hands away from the nice hot power tubes.
Here's what we ended up doing to my D90B :1.) Replaced every single electrolytic cap in the thing . These amps are reasonable to work on - you have to decide how you want it to look when you're done. I decided I wanted to use 105C rated caps and ended up getting some caps that required drilling holes in the circuit board and building new traces with solder wick.Works fine - but my amp is no longer mechanically as rugged as it was when stock - don't think I'd want to ship it across the country after this treatment.This technique works fine and saved me about $350 on caps - so I'll live with the consequences.Don't just replace the filter caps -do the smaller 10uF etc. as well ( no brainier for me - one of the 10uF/150V caps had bulged and leaked).
2.) replaced every tube in it with fresh new tubes.
3.) Trouble shot a F#$%^&ng miserable intermittent problem for two solid afternoons .Turned out to be bad out of the box 6922EH ( emission problem that only showed up when you taped the tube while testing it) and a single Sovtech 5881 bad out of the box. 5881 Tube would be very noisy at start up - then quite down after 45-60 seconds of spiting and loud frying pan sounds - simply eliminated everything else and by substituting tubes -determined that a single tube was the source of the problem- replaced all power tubes with fresh recreated?Tung-Sol 5881's from Jim McShane (highly recommended).End of problem.
4.) Although about two thirds of this was spent trouble shooting the problems - have 15-18 hours of bench time into this amp( a nightmare).Arguably I have the kind of money into this project that basically takes a inexpensive used amp and pours so much money/time into it that it's like I bought it for new retail.
5.) Only have a few hours of listening in at this time - but am happy with the sound.because this particular amp has been gone over repeatedly top to bottom and side to side by three techs and all age/use sensitive components have been replaced - anticipate years of use out of it.This is by far the most powerful tube amp I've owned and really is sweet.
One final note - after lugging this beast in and out of the shop repeatedly -I've got a whole new appreciation for my Quicksilver Monblocks -way more practical design in terms of transportation ( and they sound great).
Thank you for the info.I intend to get the mannual now that I know who to talk to. Your info on the caps is very helpful because the previous owner replaced one cap so i have 8 cans and one little blue cap in this big open area.
I'm a beleiver of sound over appearance but the more I look at it the more it bothers me.I'll either replace the one or I'll replace all.Probably all knowing me.
I replaced all tubes last week. One of the 6l6's was bad and dumb ass me didn't test it first. It burned 2 resistors. So I had to replace those. I want back and tested the tubes I bought (27)I bought spares and 6 out of the 27 were bad and 3 were weak. So if you ever are thinking of buying from a guy with the initials J.B. that plays a fender,BEWARE. These are so called new Mullards Tung Sol and E.H. tubes. But,I did get new tubes in the amp and it is up and running as I type.
I'm running it Byamped with my C.J doing the highs and mids. I think it sounds good but I'd like more back end. My wife says I'm never satisified.Thanks,Bill
Depending on the version of your D90 there is a relay that should probably be removed for reliability issues. It's been a while since I've worked on one and will have to check with the factory to find out if the relay is replaced with a thermistor or not. If anyone is interested in that...Also don't overlook the output tube sockets. Given the age of that amp and the heat the sockets are subjected to, I would go ahead and replace those too. Nice new shiney output tube sockets can actually improve the sonics. If the input tube sockets are not tight..replace those too...G
Thanks for your help.Your right,there are a couple sockets that could be tighter. I got this amp at a good price and I new I'd have work to do on it. My wife likes when I buy fixxer-uppers.She figures if I'm fixxing one I'm not out buying a new one. Leaves her more money to spend on shoes. Thanks to all of you out there for your input. Please keep it coming.I need all the help I can get.I'm one of those that is pretty handy but a master of nothing.Bill
Houseofsound, Does your amp have the white body relay located near the main bank of filter caps? Let me know as I can contact the factory and get a bit of info for you. If your amp is sans relay no worries. G
Relay had crudy contacts 0n mine - burnished contacts,Cramolined and ordered a new one - which I plan to leave taped to my chassis to remind myself that this is something to replace next time I have the covers off ( which i hope is a year or two).
BTW -ARC has made up a replacement cap plus mount for these amps that is pretty cool - they've attached a new and very probably superior cap to a sled that fits right into the holes in the board the old caps mounted to - mechanically this has to be a better way of doing it than the way we did mine -downside is cost - $60 per cap ( X 8 in a 90B).This will probably look more "stock" and also be a lot more rugged in terms of shipping the amp - not important to me - definitely a YMMV situation.
One of the reasons I purchased this particular amp was I knew it's service history - sold new by a friend of mine - owned by a lawyer who used it - but didn't tube roll - sockets where in good shape . Hate replacing tube sockets - so not much interested in units that have been rolled a lot.
Houseforsound - contact me if you'd like my old caps - I will keep one as a sort of reference - but you could have the other 7 if you want them - remember - these are almost 30 year old caps - they're not treasures. Even if tested with a standard cap tester - you really aren't going to know if they're "good". If you know someone with one of the big time ( big bucks) cap analysisers (spl?) (Sencore)- that would be able to tell what kind of shape your (or my) caps are in.Standard cap testers basically will tell you if the caps shot - but not much else.
Also - look into a solder sucker - you're going to need it to get those caps out of the board.
Did not find relay you described. I beleive my amp is a D-90(revised). Here is my reasoning: I got some print outs with pic.s from info is limeted but acording to there info the D-90takes 9-6550's8+1,4-12ax7's,2-6fq7's,2-12at7's. The D-90b Takes 8-5881's,1-6550's,1-12ax7,and 5-6922's The revised D-90 takes 8-5881's or 6l6's,1-6550,4-12ax7's,2-12at7's,2-6fq7's. This is the tube setup mine has. Also the print out i have from the web sight shows pic's of the D-90 and D90b. The D-90b has 8 cans,where the D-90 has 9 can caps.My amp has 9 also. The face plate states it is a D-90. There is no (R) after so it could be someone down the line put the cheeper tubes in. This I don't know,but would like to find out. So my freinds,I'm just asuming and we all know what asuming is the mother of!What do you all think of my reasoning?
I would love to have your caps. let me know what you need. There's a guy here in town that is retired Mc sevice tech. I talked to him and he seid he'd check them for me but he'll charge me a 6 pack of miller and a pack of smokes.But if his wife see's the beer and cigs. the deals off.Some guy's sure know how to pick um:)My email is Thanks,Bill
Just so you know the old caps may be twist-lock-lytics. If that is the case I usually replace them. You can usually read a date code off of them to see when they were manufactured. Twist-lock caps have a high degree of ESR or equivalent series resistance. Even though the cap might say 300mfd on the can, because of high internal resistance it will act in circuit more like a 150mfd cap. They are unwilling to give up their charge easily. The average life of a filter cap depending of course on usage, age, and temperature exposure is approx. 15-20 yrs. If the amp sat unused for years that will shorten the life of a capacitor as well. After 15-20 yrs. of use they tend to get muddy in the bass and I replace them as the slurry they use in the process of manufacturing dries out. They can internally heat up and begin to leak. The material that leaks out is caustic, conductive, and can damage the circuit board if not removed in a timely fashion. The one place you want a low source impedance is in your power supply. The caps that now come from ARC as described by Stonedeaf are low ESR types and a clever little circuit board on them that adapts the new style computer grade electrolytics to the old circuit board footprint and they drop right in. This makes a nice very nice improvement in sound and especially the bottom end and transient performance. The amp is capable of sounding better then when it was new because when this amp was built these low ESR caps did not exhist! If I get a chance I will look at a D90 circuit diagram and see if there are other areas you need to check i.e. zener diode strings in the voltage regulator to make sure the regulator is running at proper voltage etc. Off hand I don't remember the circuit. G
Yup -they're twistlocks. Another thing to look at is what color are the caps - if blue - they are probably CDE's - these are a known problem with this era ARC - they probably aren't blue simply because the odds are they would have failed if CDE's - grey caps are 400uF @ 400VDC - I think the sleded caps ARC sells are 450uF's - but don't remember the working voltage? Replacing the caps with the ARC supplied caps will be relatively straightforward - toughest part of the job will be de-soldering the old caps - you'll need to have the wife hang onto the chassis and pull the old caps out as you de-solder the old ones and suck the solder out of the plated thru holes they go into.This is one of those tasks that really does require two people to do and it will probably be handy to have her hold the new caps onto the board when you solder 'em in.The problem with trying to do it by yourself is a tendency to overheat things while trying to get every single atom of solder out of all the holes ( four if I remember right per cap). She would also come in handy when you are biasing the amp - she can adjust the bias pots while you hold your probes into the test points ( do get the MCM probes - well worth $40 especially with 6550's which are taller and wider than 6L6 series tubes -gonna be harder to get at the test points.BTW - in a minor whine about this amp -it bugs me that every other set of bias pots adjusts opposite in rotation - clockwise is increasing bias on one pair of tubes - next pair is counterclockwise for the next pair of tubes.
BTW - if doing it again - I'd probably go with the Russian Tung Sol 6L6GC's instead of 5881's in a 90B. Your power tubes do need to be matched pairs - not necessarily matched quads. My 90B came with semiworn out 6550's in it when i bought it . Lesson here is that with used tube products - never assume what's there is what should be there - a lot of old tube gear has glowing glass plugged into 'em that passed only two tests -1.) No fire 2.) makes sound .
House -shoot me your name and address via e-mail and I'll mail the 7 old caps off to you for the cost of the postage- while the price is right - very questionable given the age and inherent quality of these caps if they are worth bothering with.
Would strongly suggest waiting until you have the manual in front of you before resuming work on this amp.Really - talk to Leonard at ARC.
Checked -caps on my D90B were 400uF at 450V - not 400V as I posted above.
Thanks for everything. I sent you a letter today.You should get it in a couple days.
How do I get a hold of this Leonard from A.R.C.? Just call the number on the web sight and ask for Leonard?
HAY,NEWBEE,HEVAC1,STONEDEAF and everyone. Thanks for all the help.I hope I can return the favor some time.Bill
Yessir...or me.. LOL newbie?
LOL I know Houseofsound no worries. I keep meaning to look at my D-90 diagram...