Problem with Ref 5SE


I recently purchased a 5se and took delivery the other day. Did not get a chance to open it up until last night. Upon installing it into system I switched it on and after it warmed up, I was very much interested in hearing how it sounded against my current 27. After listening to several tracks with the 27 I switched pre's and after a couple of minutes playing a CD I got some noise, almost a loud static sound coming from the right channel. It was not effected by changing volume controls or input selector. It went away after 10-15 seconds and then returned. At that point, as it was late, I shut everything down and figured I would take another look in the morning.

This morning I removed the top cover and pulled and reset the output tubes and then the power tubes. I fired it back up and still had the 'static' sound but now it also had a humm, like an impedance type hum and constant. I do not believe that the humm was present last night as it is quite noticeable. 

The static type load noise seemed to have abated after the unit warmed up after maybe 15-30 minutes.

Can I assume that perhaps a tube was damaged during shipping? Do you ARC guys think a new set of tubes will fix this issue or am I looking at something more severe? Any additional suggestions to try and pin this down?

I rerouted the IC going to the amps to get them further away from source IC's and no help...

I am a little bummed, as my initial impression it that it is a leap from the LS27, my current...
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Showing 12 responses by stevea11757

No, but seems a reasonable test..thanx, did not think of that
No, the tubes were installed in the unit, although I doubt that if they were horizontal instead of vertical that it would have helped much. I know they should have been removed...

There are about 800 hours on tubes

Balanced IC;'s, swapped out for another set I had, no difference, humm is both channels and disappears with mute on.

The static noise seems to have gone away once everything was powered on for more than 30 minutes...power tubes?
Okay, after a bunch of reading and research it might just be something that I am going to have to live with. Apparently the S/N is what I am hearing, hum/hiss or whatever there might be no getting around it. I do plan on replacing the power tube and ordering a set of outputs as the unit is a little over 1k on the hours and I plan on using this a lot as I get used to it so might as well have replacement on hand.

Any ARC 5se owners have similar issues? I can't have the only set up that this has become apparent. I am probably used to the LS 27 as I do not recall having any issues with a noticeable noise floor.

Have a Power Plant 20 I have to put into system (my 12 could not handle the Pass and the 27 at the same time, had to do them one at a time, the 5 draws a LOT more.

Should anyone have additional suggestions, it would be appreciated, I was already looking for new balanced cables as I need them a little longer so I can cut the cables for speakers to a minimum. I had another thread I posted earlier looking for IC's recommendations. 
Moved the tube around from the 27 and hum is still present. I guess next is the 6550 power tube, which I will have to order...this is going to ruin my holiday.. :((
I tried plugging the amps into wall and the pre into my PS Powerplant and then the opposite, amps into PP and pre into wall. The 5se is replacing a LS 27, also a tube unit and I had no issues with that set up.

Ordered a full set of tubes and will be trying that out in a couple of days. While at the moment I do not have any other power cords to swap out as it is a 20a but will look today and see the cost to replace with another power cord. This is turning out to be a costly endeavor...
tattooedtrackman

Got a reply from ARC tech support, and the short answer is, to him sounds like the 6550 was damaged and a replacement is in order. I will know soon enuf. He wanted me to touch base after the swap as he did not recommend sending it in for service before trying the replacement. Fingers crossed....

He answered my question same day, still great customer service.
Update, sort of.... I just installed a PSA P20 that I had ordered before the pre, was kina hoping it was a ground loop issue, but apparently not as noise is still there. The loud static pop sound is no longer evident so I guess resetting tubes helped there. As these are original tubes with just over 1000 hours, to start I will just replace the 6550 and see what happens. Once I increases playback volume to drown out the background noise it really does sound very good a leap over the 27.  

Motorheadflash, that you for describing your issue, sounds pretty much identical. Seriously considering leaving the top unscrewed and removing it when I am doing some extended listening. The pre is on the top shelf of a stand that I made, so ventilation should not be an issue. All the components are sitting on vibration isolators which are sitting on a 1/2" block (so the rubber isolations do not mark the finish on the wood) so there is plenty of free air movement.
 
Tubes will be delivered tomorrow so tomorrow night will be the test. I will be letting everyone know if this was the problem....is it is I guess I should keep a spare handy..


Well, it is official, problem is bigger than a power tube. Got replacement tubes, installed new power tubes and it made absolutely no difference. Will look for local authorized shop or send back to ARC if there are none close enuf.

Put the LS27 back into system and it is dead silent with same cables configuration, just swapped out pre's

Not that it matters, as either I get it fixed or have a paperweight, how is ARC on their repair work price wise? Am I looking at a Chevy or a BMW?
Seller has started the claim with shipper, so he is holding up his end. Other than being disappointed I fully expect that this will end up working out in the end. 
The seller had a lot of positive feedback, which I checked on before I purchased. He has been available during the entire process and I am currently waiting for a reply since I just found out that the issue was larger than tubes last night. I contacted two two ARC authorised service shops that are local to me and will be calling a little later today, since the issue was in shipping I do not feel like giving the shipping company another shot at it. High End Audio Repair and New York Audio Repair are both authorized shops and a half hours drive from me. Both seem to have good feedback here and elsewhere.

Fortunately I am not pressed to sell off the 27 as it was going into second system replacing a 17se, which was headed to my work system. There the Quicksilver would either be retired, sold off or kept as a spare.

Shipping large heavy pieces of equipment seems to be a real crap shoot as a brand new PSA P20 has arrived with an issue with the remote sensor. Have contacted PSA hoping for a quick fix but this also seems to be a victim of rough handling. As it is fully operational except for the remote and just a pia to go thru the menus again not feeling like sending it back as it now resides on the second floor and required help to get it there.

Really not feeling the holiday spirit.... 
I am not so lucky as the lead snapped at the top of the cap with nothing left to reattach
Well, I understand all the suggestions to send the unit back, but the seller is eager to make this right.

Stopped by HEAR today, spent 2 1/2 hours with Ben and we found the failure. Apparently ARC never considered the possibility of rough handling during shipping. The output coupling capacitors are tied together using what I would assume is some sort of foam backed double face tape so they form a single group. They are not anchored to the pc board by anything but their leads. If the unit (new or pre-owned) is dropped on the side ignoring the Fragile This Side Up labels all over the box, then  they move as a group and depending on how hard a drop and the number of times the leads break. This is what happened in this case, two capacitors leads broke, one on each channel, so that was the hum in each channel.

So two caps will need replacing, as while I was there he de-soldered the four caps and now it is just getting the parts in and installing. He will make a minor modification to attach the caps to the board to keep them from moving....a bad design for a group of caps with some weight behind them when they are fixed together.