Hum and Hiss with Tube pre-amp


I recently got a McCormack DNA1 Deluxe and initially used the pre-amp section of my Arcam Alpha 9, and then a Creek OBH 12. No problems, but no excitement!!! I decided to try a tube pre-amp. I have tried a Melos MA 111 and a Cary Ae3 kit that was up-graded in many ways by it builder. Both of these units are reportd to work fine by their owners. When I put them into my system (front end of CAL DX 1 cd and Rotel -entry level- tuner) I get very audible hum (60 cycle) and hiss(like FM hiss). I have tried cheater plugs on both amp and pre-amp to no avail. It was suggested that I disconnect the inputs to the amp and turn it on to check for noise- I did this and there was no noise. This suggests the problem is elsewhere. Since the tube pre-amps worked fine in other systems, they do not seem to be the culprit. But then again, with the ss pre-amps there was no problem, apparently ruling out the front end. But that leaves NOTHING causing the obvious problem!!! Any ideas?? Thanks for any and all help. Rich
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60 Hz hum is a undereported problem. With your pre-amp connected to your amp try disconnecting the sources to the pre-amp. I had a problem with 60 Hz hum. Trouble shooting determined that the source of the hum was from a cable TV coax (I was taking audio outs from the VCR to my pre-amp).
I forgot to mention my experience with white noise hiss from tube preamps. My experience is that tube preamps produce a low level white noise hiss that is barely audible (you have to put your ear right up the speaker to hear it). The noise is not noticable to me when music is being played. I have never owned a solid state preamp; but, my solid state amp does not produce any noise when my pre-amp is muted. This suggests to me that the noise floor is lower for solid state devices in gereral. I have read complaints that solid state preamps sound harsh; but,I am not sure if this is true. It sounds like the solid state preamp has worked better for you. Perhaps you should stay with it and not go to tubes. One last comment. The problem may be with the design of the pre-amps that you are using. Maybe they are susceptable to external AC interference. The reason that the other users didn't notice the problem is because the noise level in their listening area is lower than yours.
I get hum in my system because of TV cable. If your stereo in connected to your TV system in any way via VCR, DVD etc try disconnecting the TV cable at the wall. I have never solved this problem and will probably to to DirectTV to "solve" it. Its the cable companies fault-bad grounding. The hiss might be due to several sources. 1. Bad tubes - Replace with low noise tubes. 2. Impedence mismatch between the amp and pre amp. If the amp has a lower input impedence then the output impedence of the preamp, that's your problem. Solution is a new amp or preamp. Its in the design. 3. Did you test the hiss under normal listening levels? All tube preamps will have some hiss and if you crank up the volume you will hear it.
Problem could be caused by cable TV hookup. Try disconnecting the cable feed to your TV if it's connected to your system. Also, my Audio Research LS-1 used to whistle and make all kinds of fun noises. Actually, it was the tube in the LS-1. Try changing yours to low-noise type.
Folks-- Thanks for the rapid feedback. Let me add the following, which may help: The input impedance of the DNA 1 is 100K ohms and I don't know the output impedance of the two pre-amps. Could they be that high? Keis had suggested that this might be a problem. There is no TV hooked to the system, just sources of FM and cd. The hiss/hum is not low level. It can be clearly heard at the listening position at normal listening levels. An increase of the volume knob does not lead to an increase in the volume of the hiss/hum. I turned on the pre-amp and amp and disconnected the source interconnects from the pre-amp as 7p62mm had suggested. I did this one at a time, and then both at the same time. There was no change under any of these conditions: the hum/hiss was strong and obvious. Any more ideas? Thanks again for any feedback. Rich