...and worried you should be. I would unplug the sucker immediately and place a phone call to the preamp's mfr tech support. Dimming the lights??!!
14 responses Add your response
It's definitely the preamp. Swapped in the old one and everyone is getting along just fine now. Time to talk to the good folks at Rogue.
What I really love about this "high-end" stuff is remembering the cheap old Yamaha and Infinity system I had that never once stopped making music (and nothing else) for ten years. Over the past three years of "high-end," I've replaced a driver in a speaker myself (with parts from the manufacturer), sent an amp back to the factory to have a bad muting switch replaced, and now the preamp is on the blink (not to mention the countless hours on DIY wires, tube rolling, and just general tomfoolery). Sure, it all sounds a lot better, but it seems to spend an inordinate amount of time not sounding at all, what with all the "maintenance." What more, the stuff seems so damn fragile, half the time I'm almost wary to use it -- say I want to listen to something for 10 minutes before running out: is it worth firing up the tubes for 10 minutes? I hate to turn it on and then just turn it off again? can't leave the thing on because lord only knows what it will do while I'm gone? (Used to be I'd leave the amp on for weeks at a time, now I come back after two hours and it's blown fuses in my absence). Call it a crisis of faith, but I'm questioning my trust in the fickle gods of "high-end." Maybe I do need a priest....
As for dimming the lights from the preamp -- yep, not good. Not good at all. However, at the risk of talking out of school, I have to say that at the time it decided to put on the show I was approximataly 12 hours into what ended up being a 25-hour first date. So, without more fanfare than a simple "humm, that can't be good," I just shut it all down and didn't mess with it again before switching out the preamp alltogether last night. All things considered, I'm sure it's for the best. If I didn't have something else to distract me at the time, I might have attempted to take the fool thing apart and likley would have killed myself in the process. Shoot, this gal might just have saved my life . . . imagine.
Dunno. According to its maker, nothing. Spent a good deal of time speaking and corresponding with the good folks at Rogue (it's a 99 Magnum). Actually dealt with the owner / engineer, whose name sadly escapes me at the moment, but genuinely interested, engaged and an all-around great fellow (gotta concede, the devil-possessed preamp does make for an intriguing story). Ultimately, sent it in for a full battery of tests and they had it hooked up on a bench for a bunch of days trying to make it act funny or do wacky tricks -- and it never did. (Don't you love that...fickle, primadonna little bitch -- only throws a tantrum when it's not the center of attention). Great preamp and fantastic company, but ultimately decided it just didn't play well with the rest of my gear and moved on. Actually still have it, but it lives in a box in the basement these days.
Get it fixed by a pro.
Probable causes are very limited and mostly component related....bad caps or tubes.
Does unit emit any smell? You know, that here-we-go, the electrons are out, kind of smell?
And FWIW, that's one reason for ME to avoid tubes.....I simply don't want to mess with it and end up owning a tube tester, scope, signal generator and a couple DVMs.
Yea, at the time it was strictly RCA. Haven't tried the thing out for near on seven years, but it would be nice to dial in whether there is actually anything wrong with it (so that, someday, it can come back out of its box, if not in my home, someone else's.)
Since things have changed, the set-up that put on the show was: Meridian 508 - Rogue 99 Magnum -- Bryston 4b-st -- Thiel 2.3. Interconnects all RCA, then I think Homegrown Super Silver. All run through a Richard Grey power block.
End of the day, this sort of shenanigains is what ultimately drove me to cut the cord on tubes entirely. Just too many unanswered questions. Whether that was the culprit or no, went all SS (all balanced), never had another problem, and haven't looked back. In a game where second-guessing things all-too-insideously leads to the upgrade virus, tubes just seemed constantly to require entirely too much second guessing.