Have you contacted Creek for their opinion? Mike Creek sure knows his stuff....maybe he'll give you some valuable feedback.
Thank you Danlib1 for the suggestion. I should have thought to do it myself before posting this question in open forum. I know Mike Creek to address this type thing on his own without using a forum like this. There's no question that Mike knows his stuff regarding both stereo and his own design ideas. mea culpa. I just sent a letter to Mike to see where it goes. I'll let everyone know when a solution becomes known.
I can only add that I hope anyone else using/owning Creek equipment has enjoyed it as much as I have mine so far. Creek components are a true bargain in affordable high end audio.
I emailed Creek with a question about my Destiny Integrated and Mike Creek was right back to me within a day with a very detailed response. I think he will be the best bet for you to get to the bottom of your problem with your amp.
I agree with you on Creek stuff. I've had a couple of the 4330 integrateds and recently purchased a Destiny integrated for my bedroom system and it's a keeper for sure. It's a big slice of what you get in gear that costs a lot more I think.
Creek responded to my request by confirming that it's a tarnish issue on the ribbon connector pins joining the pre-amp to the volume control PCB and power amplifier PCB. They suggested connecting/dis-connecting these connections several times to wipe the contact surfaces clean. I did this and followed up with a thin coating of Pro Gold on the pins before buttoning it all up.
First off, the repair worked superbly.
Secondly, the system sounded better than I had ever heard it before. I can think of several possible reasons for this but rather than try to analyze the "Why" of it, I'm simply basking in the wonderful outcome of this interesting odyssey. I listened to it for about 12 hours today and simply marvel at the improvement.
Thank you again to all of you who shared your thoughts with me on this question.
Sometimes the problem is not just corrosion. Apparently, either the connection between the pins and the sockets works loose over time, or there is some defect in the ribbon cable itself. I shipped the amp to LA several times for repairs and had the ribbon replaced to no avail. So did other owners of the amp, without success. In any event, I hope Creek's solution works for you. But if one channel or the other starts to drop out again...
wow...the power of the web...i hope my issue is like REL2's and moreover is solved by me fiddling with the ribbon cable(s). REL2's problems are exactly what i have experienced recently. i first thought it was my speakers but after a bunch of random occurrences, i just last night came to appreciate that it was the Creek unit.
i however, somehow thought it was related to the input selector switch (it still may be) as it seems the problem happens when i switch sources...
time will tell, but i'm glad to have seen i'm not the only one with this problem and hopefully collective wisdom will mean a solution that doesn't involve buying a new amp!
(i too have had mine for almost a decade...bought it shortly after it came out in 2001)
The problem has returned. It is definitely a faulty Input Selector Switch. I'll purchase one from Roy Hall, install it and report back. I think now that this has been the problem all along. Incidentally, I tried cleaning that pot (all of the pots) while I had the amp opened up for the ribbon. It's possible that I wasn't able to effectively clean it but my current conclusion is that it's simply mechanically/electrically faulty. I'll post back what I find. It may be a month or more before this comes to a conclusion on my end, I have a lot going on right now and little time to address this.
First of all, my apologies for not reporting my results after the repairs had been performed. I was personally unable to install the motorized Input Selector Switch. It was simply too involved and technically complicated. There are several rows of pins that have to be de-soldered so I wrote to Roy Hall asking for advice.
I was contacted by email a short time later by a gentleman named Mitch Singerman in Los Angeles who Creek refers for repairs on the older 5350 SE units. I spoke to him twice at length before sending him my unit. I was very impressed with his experience and technical savvy.
Indeed, the Input Selector Switch was the culprit on my unit and Mitch swapped it out. However, he will be the first to tell you that this is typically not the cause of this common 5350 SE complaint. Usually its the ribbon connector or some function of the ribbon connector terminations that are causing the complaint. He can only tell by testing it on his bench.
Mitch also made a few adjustments and minor repairs as well as cleaning the entire assembly before sending it back to me. I was very pleased in every respect. His charges are very reasonable.
My sense is that my 5350 SE had a problem of some kind since the day I received it (although I have to admit that it served me incredibly for many years before the channel began to drop out). The reason I say this is that after Mitch repaired the unit, it sounded very different than at any time prior to the repair. I say this only in positive and glowing ways. The bass was improved, separation was much more pinpoint and resolution had improved so much that it made me think I received a different piece of equipment than the one I had sent for repair, something much more expensive.
I got the unit back from Mitch at the end of October 2010. Its been in use for several hours a day every day ever since and sounds fantastic. Ive been a huge fan of this integrated for nearly a decade and anticipate many more years of enjoyment. It does some things even better than my fabulous Sansui AU-20000 Integrated (but not everything).
If anyone would like Mitchs contact information, send me an email.
Thanks for the info. I opened up my 5350SE last week and connected/dis-connected the ribbon cable connections several times to wipe the contact surfaces clean. Cleaned with Deoxit and applied a thin coating of ProGold on the pins. Also cleaned the volume pot, switches, and other connections. I noticed how involved it would be for a input selector switch replacement while the cover was off. Better left to the pros. I haven't had any channel dropout nor switch noise since the cleaning. Hope it worked, but it has only been a week so far. I know what you mean. The 5350SE is a fine piece of equipment. If something were to happen to it, I would definitely get another.
Ref2, I'm glad Mitch was able to fix yours. As I've written above, mine was an entirely different matter (the computer cable issue) and I had all three computer cables replaced with hand soldered point to point wiring.
In any event, the point you make about feeling that the amp now sounds significantly better than it ever did, is precisely what I experienced after my repair. I believe a good deal of the problem we both experienced (but caused by different defects) related to channel balance and separation. In fact, if you look at John Atkinson's old Stereophile tests of the amp, you'll notice that channel separation is only "average" and that the two channels are not balanced.
When this amp is working properly (and that may be a big "IF"), it is magnificent.
I believe the true test is to compare the sound of an amp/speaker system to that of a dedicated headphone amp/headphone system. I have Gallo Reference 3 speakers and a Cayin headphone amp and various headphones, including top-of-the-line AKG, Beyer and Sennheiser. The sound I get from the Gallo speakers driven by the Creek is very close to the sound I hear through AKG 701s driven by the Cayin, namely: flat frequency response, transparency, detail, "air", dynamics, PRAT, etc. The Creek is absolutely ideal for classical music (Does anyone still listen to Classical?) because it captures the ambience of the hall better than anything I've heard and transports me to the event, rather than transporting the event into my living room. When I listen to "live" recordings, I feel that the Creek amp is providing me with a tour of US and European concert halls, palaces, cathedrals and other recording venues. Enough said!