so if you know its this piece of equipment, why would you not send it in and have it looked at ?
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Did you buy this new from Upscale? Even used I think they warranty the used stuff for perhaps 90 days? When did this start or did it start in September? If so, I hate to mention the obvious but that piece should have gone back as soon as those demons raised their ugly head.
I say no to tubes as I cannot believe you keep coming up with bad tubes every time you swap one out. Are all the soldered joints that hold the tube sockets to the board solid? It sounds to me that somewhere their is a bad or loose connection that is allowing some DC to run amok in the unit. Did you call Manley? The people there are pretty good about diagnosing the issues over the phone but it sounds to me that the Chinook is going to need a trip back to the factory for a good "once over". It is at times amazing how a small piece (resistor etc.) can go bad and make a mess of the whole unit. I once had a $1.25 resistor turn a whole preamp into a boat anchor. The same with a transformer that went south. If tube replacements did not cure the problem then the issues is probably beyond the skills of mere mortals and the manufacturer needs to eye-ball it.
riley804 called it. The Chinook needs a trip home, sorry to say but there is a lot that goes on in the Chinook and you do not want to be messing with it.
Manley is a good company. The chinook is a good product that is typically very reliable. Obviously you have an occult problem somewhere in that preamplifier, and like everyone else said it is probably very minor, if and when it is properly identified. Complaining here on Audiogon is not going to help you one bit. You need to contact upscale audio and or Manley, and I am sure they will solve the problem.
I would definitely contact Manley Labs . When I owned one of their products they were always very helpful and prompt return calls.
I never had a horror story like you are describing they were just very helpful.
Usually Evana will return a call.
I know it sucks when you have a component that has issues and you feel helpless.
Hope you have happier listening in the near future.
Thanks for the replies. Didn’t mean to come of complaining just frustrated. I thought I had made progress to find I had not. I talked with Paul from Manley and I've been in communication with both Upscale and Manley, and to be honest VPI and SoundSmith for awhile. It took a lot to narrow this down and to be quite frank, I don’t have time for it. I wish I did, but I have other demands that can’t be ignored and when I get a chance I work on this little by little, so I seek advice along the way.
Paul was helpful and agreed it needs to go in.
Fingers crossed. Friend is loaning me a PS Audio phono so I will experience a bit of solid state in my chain. Must say though, that Herron seems interesting too.
I purchased the same Chinook phono pre-amp from Upscale Audio with 0 problems and around 200 hours use. Defintely take it back to them as they are very good and honorable. If you bought it 2nd hand, I would definitely go back to the seller and ask them to pay for repairs. As for the Herron, great phono pre-amp but lacked in flexibility to load different cartridges. Just my opinion. Good luck and don't fret....once you get this problem fixed you will be listening to hours and hours of pure pleasurable, 3 dimensional and musically accurate music !
Good advice from phill55. No matter the piece, be it solid state or tubed, anything man makes, breaks. No exceptions. I have a neighbor who is a mechanical engineer and damn near a genius, and he calls any with some type of electrical engineering "black magic" and it scares the crap out of him! I do understand your frustration as I had a CJ preamp that died on me twice within six months, both times repaired by CJ to the tune of a lot of money. The second failure was within six months of CJ having done the first repair and they never even offered to help with the cost of the second repair, and they said they only warrantied their repairs for 90 days. Now that made me want to sell the piece, and I did, but that said, it was only after the second failure that I got frustrated. I think Manley is way above board on their business ethics and all so I am willing to bet that once the Chinook is back and running as it can you will be very pleased.
I bought a used Chinook a few years ago from a dealer (not Upscale) and have rolled tubes, used MM and MI carts, different loading and gain settings and never had a problem. I also had an inexpensive resistor fail in a brand new, modified preamp once like zkidd. It caused crackling just like a bad tube and after troubleshooting sent the unit back for a quick repair. After talking with the preamp builder and sending them an audio file of the noise the unit made and detailing my trouble shooting they were extremely appreciative of my effort and repair was very rapid. The was first only occasional. Hang in there. Manley and Upscale are both great companies and very responsive.
tkr, Are you sure your problem was like that described by the OP? Because his problem does not at all sound as simple as a grounding problem really is. What he describes seems most likely due to a bad solder joint or a defective diode or transistor or op amp, somewhere.
Believe me, this was an earthing problem like I`ve never had before. There was popping, crackling, spiking.
I had a Manley repair contractor come home to me, after having sent the unit away for repair TWICE. Only then was the problem solved.