Help with system/ARC noise


Hi there!
Im new to this hobby and started to build my sytem. Currently i have an audio research ref5se preamp/ARC DS450 amp/B&W804D.  I hooked my oppo 105 to play CD and audio streaming using pandora. The problem is I'm getting noise and sometimes a loud pop of noise. I'm using audioquest yukon entry level xlr interconnects. All units are connected in individual wall ac. I called ARC and they said ARC ref5se and DS450 amp are compatible and should have no impedance issue and they already paired it before. I already isolated signal cables from power cables. My next step is to get a power distribution/conditioner and see if this will solve the problem. To old timers in this hobby:
1. Did you encounter similar problems and how did you guys solve it?
2. Any experience/suggestion on power conditioner to match with ARC with good result?
3. When hooking digital players like oppo or any cd player do you need to have a DAC unit even if the player has a built in DAC?

Any input is highly appreciated.



biggiglypanda
By the way, i was running the oppo with my yamaha AV receiver to ARC DS450 before to play 2 channel stereo with no problem. The problem i'm having is after incorporating the ARC ref5se. I already tried 2 ARC ref 5se with same problem. Im already having sleepless nights trying to solve the problem so guys please help.

1. No I haven’t had similar problems.

2. I don’t think it would help to buy a power conditioner.

3. Unless there is a problem with the Dac in your Oppo, there should be no benefit to adding another Dac unless the Dac is a better sounding one than the one in your Oppo, but that’s not what you’re trying to find out here.

I would not buy anymore gear until you figure out what the problem is.

I have not heard of anyone having problems connecting an Oppo to an ARC preamp but you have had the same problem with two different ARC preamps.

I would start by making sure your Oppo is working properly. Clean the contacts on the Oppo and the interconnects you are using. If the noise persists try a different pair of interconnects. Also try using a different input on the ARC.

If that doesn’t solve the problem, put your receiver or a borrowed preamp other than an ARC in your system, or take your Oppo to a friend’s place and try it in his system.

If you still have noise with your receiver or another preamp, the problem is in your Oppo.

If the Oppo is not making any noise with other preamps, then the problem is with the ARC preamp or the Oppo is not compatible with ARC preamps.

Try using a different cd player in your system with your ARC preamp.  If you still have noise, the problem is the ARC preamp.  If there is no noise with another cd player, then the problem is incompatibility between the Oppo and the ARC. 

In that case, I would keep the ARC and find a different disc spinner to use with it. The Oppo is a good player but I think it is the weak link in your system as far as sound quality goes (just my opinion).


I'm not sure why you are hearing a popping. A concern, though, is your power demands vs your power supply. If you are using a typical 15A circuit that runs to several receptacles in your listening room, you are probably underpowered for that big amp and preamp.  Plugging into several receptacles that are on the same circuit does not help, not with that circuit delivering about 1650W, and if there are other devices, e.g. lamps, etc, on that circuit, it all adds up fast.  A 20A circuit is optimal--then you can run a small isolation transformer for just your front end, or a large one for whole system.  Torus/Bryston/Richard Gray offer some good power supplies that will give much more than a passive conditioner, IME. Others will have different advice.  Describe your listening environment and your options for changing some wiring to a 20A circuit.  

Tomcy6-i will do everything possible based on your input. Thanks

jafreeman-a power source would be similar to a PS audio PS10 powerplant? My listenning environment is just a typical living room but nothing is running except for the system when i experienced the problem
Yes, the PS Audio regenerators appear to be very nice sources, although a bit spendy compared to the other brands that will supply more power than the PS10. See if you can first place a dedicated, 20A line, which will supply 2400W, but that is only one duplex outlet, so will need more.  The PS units have the outlets, but need to have enough output for your system, or part of it. You could plug the amp into the wall, the front end into the outlets of a smaller PS unit.  Most here would say not to plug amp into transformer, which would limit dynamics.  You can do that, but will need one with more wattage output--similar to the 20A line.  You have a fairly large system that can produce a lot of work at high volumes, and this usually calls for more power.  

Biggiglypanda,
I was researching the oppo dvd players recently, and vaguely remember reading posts about the 105 popping issue. I think it had something to do with a firmware issue and certain ( digital ) inputs. I believe there is a downloadable fix for it. Try searching of the more video specific sites ( like AVS). You might find the answer you're looking for there.

best of luck!
Yakbob-thank you for the heads up. Now i'm seeing hope lol! I will try to get a dedicated cd player and see if it will make a difference
I'm not sure if you have any hdmi cables connected to the oppo ( to send video to a tv perhaps?) if so, try disconnecting all hdmi cables before tracking down a separate CD player.
Nothing to add here except biggiglypanda is a pretty awesome username!

jond: you difinitely add something by making me smile and easing my anxiety with your awesome comment.

Update:

I reset my oppo to factory settings and download/update the firmware. So far I played CD playback for about 3 hours now and no loud popping noise. I hope it won't comeback.

When the oppo is on standby I can hear low hum on the speakers but only if I put my ears directly to the speaker.

With this development I plan to leave alone my oppo with my home theater set up and just invest in a separate CD player/DAC or a music steamer/DAC for my digital music.

Second: Invest in a power isolation/purification equipment to further reduce noise.

Third: work extra to support this addiction and the never ending list of equipment to complete my system lol!

Thank you so much for all your suggestions. It was a lesson for me and a lot more to learn.

 

jafreeman: can you please educate me more on how to improve my power supply to further reduce noise. I check the Richard Gray products and I'm not sure which one to get. There's a power isolation/purification equipment and a Parallel power delivery equipment. Do you need  to combine both to enjoy the benefit?

There are so many products out there and i got dizzy already reading reviews which are all very promising. (not sure if its painted or real results).

I want a unit that is truly functional but not utlra expensive.


big, Power conditioners are a complicated topic. Some people swear they result in a big improvement others say they hurt the sound quality. There has to be a good match between system and conditioner.

You seem to be very anxious to get your system sounding great but this is something that takes time. If you’re in too big a hurry you can waste a lot of money.

Now that you have the Oppo working with your ARC, take some time to familiarize yourself with the sound of your system. Move your speakers around a little bit to see if that makes an improvement. If it sounds great just listen for a while before any more purchases and read up on audio in general and individual products.

Make sure you like your speakers, the biggest difference in sound in components is between different speakers. Once you’re sure you have the right speakers, start figuring out where you might best put your money to improve your sound.

On Amazon you can buy "Get Better Sound" by Jim Smith or "Introductory Guide to High-Performance Audio Systems" by Robert Harley. These books would probably help a lot in getting your system to sound the way you want it to sound.

If you decide that you want to start experimenting with power conditioners, power cords, interconnects, speaker cable, etc, check with The Cable Company who will give you advice and let you try out different cables etc. for a price. They may save you a lot of time and money in your search.

In the end it’s about listening to music and not about buying gear, so take your time and enjoy what you have before deciding what to buy next.

Welcome to this fine hobby and enjoy your music!


Tomcy6:
 Point well taken. At this point I am running out of wall socket to plug all my equipment so i'm planning of getting a power distribution box that will also serve as conditioner. 
The oppo seems working well now so your right- i'll enjoy it first. I read in some forums about using their oppo as DAC and hooking a mini mac as media server.

Any suggestions?
If you plan to keep the Oppo 105, checkout getting it modified by ModWright.    I think Oppo 105 supports DLNA so you can run DLNA server, ie JRiver, on a computer and use the Oppo as a DAC.

From my experience, I suggests adding dedicated 20 amp lines just for audio, upgrade your AC outlets with Furutech's GTX-DR-NCF Receptacle and get a power conditioner or power distributor.    

As tomcy6 mentioned, power conditioners can be tricky.   I've had many and prefer a power distributor Weizhi PRS 6.  My brother has a Shunyata Triton and he loves it.    Have heard good things on PS Audio P10.

Once you have a good foundation, try different PCs. after market fuses, IC and SC ... 

You already have a good amp, pre and speaker so off to a good start and no need to rush.


Update: I added a richard gray substation and 600s conditioner so i have enough outlets for the entire dystem. After updating oppo's firmware the noise was gone for a while then came back. I was really having sleepless night thinking how yo solve the problem. My last resort was to change the tubes on my preamp. After inspection i noticed some white powder residue on the biggest tube of my arc pre amp though the tube looks new. After changing the tune ghe noise was gone- yay!



Glad to hear that everything worked out.  How does your system sound now?  Does the power conditioner improve the sound?  Enjoy!
Tomcy, after resolving the issue i decided to separate my 2 channel system from my hometheater in which im running it with my oppo 105D. I recently added an EAT C Sharp turntable so i'm only using my 2 channel system purely for vinyl and when i want to listen to digital i go back to my oppo/HT and switch it to 2 channel. I am so happy with the sound of my system now. Its my first time to vinyl and all i can say is wow! The clarity and separation of vocals, instruments and transition of drums is so transparent and way way far than when i'm listinning to cd's or losless audio streaming using my oppo. I dont know if the power conditioner help or its because of the equipment but all i can say is i am enjoying my music. The only downside is i have to flip records every 20 min. 

Panda-

Glad you got your system sounding great. I have an LS-17  and DS-450 with a Sony 5400ES and it sounds incredible. I can only imagine what a spanking your ref5se would give my LS-17. What cables are you running?

The new synergistic research uef black power cables and fuses have really raised the bar for my equipment. The take all the fine attributes of your system and make them shine.

 The DS-450 took a LOOOOONG time to come around.  I honestly  thought it was nothing special for the first month I owned it and felt it was flat sounding. It sounded like it had no air and only had good bass. Only  After about 2 months it began to sing sweet music, and my fears melted away. I concur about the imaging and separation. The DS 450 is an underrated amp imho. They are excellent amps.

 I also use a furutech gtxd r with the matching plate and cover. Interconnects are morrow ma-5. Feeding my Maggie 1.6, it's an entry level system that sounds waaaaay more expensive than it has any right to. Transparency in spades. I too would have sleepless nights if I had been in your situation. Glad you figured it out. 
Adiolover718,
Being new in this hobby, at first,  i thought everything is just plug and play. It was a great learning process for me and i'm glad i reached out to our friends here in a'gon.

I agree with you on the DS450. The break-in process is so long and at first I thought my speakers is really a bad match for the amp or either speaker/amp is garbage until i accumulated 600+hours. I'm still using the stock power cords and mid entry level audioquest interconnects and speaker cables. I also would like to upgrade my wires in the future but for now i would like to familiarize myself with what i have. Tomcy6 is right - i guess im too much in a hurry to make my system sound great.

i'm happy to hear about your good experience with the DS450 (yehey...i made a good choice lol!).


panda glad to hear things worked out and regarding plug n play, to paraphrase the late Harry Pearson, if it works right the first time it's not high end audio. Happy listening!