bertrand

Issues with my stereo

30 posts in this topic

I have had issues off and on for a while with the stereo in the living room. It comes and goes and I listen much more to the Denon mini-system in the rec room where I am 90% of the time (and where my collection is), so I have been lazy about getting this resolved but it is time, especially now that I am in my house 99% of the time.

All the pieces of my stereo are old, so the thought of replacing makes sense, except that I have been given the 'they don't make 'em like they used to' warning from several people, so I want to be cautious.

The issue is that the speaker on the left side will get a spitting scratching sound, basically it sounds like the music is having trouble coming through.

I brought up the other speakers, which had issues which my brother-in-law fixed for me.

The problem is still there on the left, so I guess it rules out the speakers.

I switched the wires to see if it was that, but the problem is still on the left, not moved to the right.

I could get new wires anyway to test, but I am wondering if I need a new receiver.

So we have a Pioneer SX-650. It was given to us 20+ years ago but was great for a long time. It is probably from the 80s?

So in terms of lifespan, it could be a goner, but I have been told there is nothing that good anymore. I had to get it fixed 10+ years ago, and it worked fine for a long time after that.

I am wondering it is really the receiver so don't want to rush to replace it. Also, what would I replace it with? Is there anything of comparable quality?

As you can tell, I am clueless about these things, or more precisely debugging them. I am not opposed to getting an entirely new system, but want to try to debug first.

Any thoughts are appreciated.

Bertrand.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

It might be that one or more of the controls (input selector, stereo/mono, speakers A/B, volume etc) is oxidated. It frequently happens with old amplifiers. Does operating any of these controls affect the problem? Depending on their design, it might be possible to inject de-oxidating fluid into them, but it would require you to take the hood off. 

 

Edited by Daniel A

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That sounds plausible, but if that would be needed, then maybe it is time for a new amplifier.

Oxydation = getting old, it's why I eat a lot of blueberries :)

Is it true I cannot find anything as good as a pioneer SX-650 or is it just a question of putting in the money?

PS: I forgot you used to be Duke Pearson fan. I am spending a lot of time thinking about him, I even made a Facebook group. There will be a livestream on 8/21 of a trio playing his music from a venue in the DC area, although I assume anyone in the world can watch. I may do a zoom lecture in conjunction, TBD. 

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I had a similar problem with an amp of about 15 years vintage, a good one too. i did what Daniel A has suggested and it worked. One preliminary test that might give you a clue. With the amp on, and the volume control at or above a normal level, vigorously work back and forth the various controls that Daniel A mentions. If the problem you're having alters at all as you do this vigorous twiddling , then it's a sign that oxidation or some other internal build up of crud is at fault. I attacked the rubber sheath around the volume control, which is where the problem seemed to be, with oxidation fluid and, ultimately (figuring what the hell) a knife, eventually peeling away almost all of that now gunky rubber sheath. Intemperate I l know, but the problem vanished and has yet to return after about three years.

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I have to disagree about amps not being as good as they used to be because they’re better. It obviously is going to cost you money, though. You might want to contact a dealer, though, who can suggest something to fit your needs and budget. About 20 years I purchased an Arcam 75 and it works as well as ever. 

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Posted (edited)

There's a world of good and great amps out there but you do have to spend a bit, Great receivers are a bit more difficult--receivers are less in vogue than in the past and there are fewer quality ones newly made. To me knowing the age I think it's possible a capacitor is failing in that channel. If you can locate a good technician it might pay to have it gone through and refurbished especially if you are very happy with the receiver.

Edited by jazzbo

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47 minutes ago, jazzbo said:

There's a world of good and great amps out there but you do have to spend a bit, Great receivers are a bit more difficult--receivers are less in vogue than in the past and there are fewer quality ones newly made. To me knowing the age I think it's possible a capacitor is failing in that channel. If you can locate a good technician it might pay to have it gone through and refurbished especially if you are very happy with the receiver.

A capacitor failing in the left channel sounds totally plausible. I do have the name of one repair guy, but I will see if there are others.

So here is where I am dumb: I have a receiver, but no separate amp. Is it just built into the receiver? Is an amp optional?

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Just now, bertrand said:

So here is where I am dumb: I have a receiver, but no separate amp. Is it just built into the receiver? Is an amp optional?

A receiver combines an amp (power) and a pre-amp (switching among components, volume and tone controls).  So you have in one box what others have in two (or more).

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I would try a can of deoxit. Spray a little in the pots and work them back and forth. Cheap and if it works great, if not it’s a great product you can use for a long time. A little goes a very long way. Saved $300 buying a “broken” amp and cleaning it. I did other things cosmetically but that was all that needed from an audio standpoint. 

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Posted (edited)

50 minutes ago, bertrand said:

A capacitor failing in the left channel sounds totally plausible. I do have the name of one repair guy, but I will see if there are others.

So here is where I am dumb: I have a receiver, but no separate amp. Is it just built into the receiver? Is an amp optional?

A receiver has a radio tuner, a preamp and an amp, all in one "box." An integrated amp has a preamp and and amp in one box. An amplifier alone is. .. an amplifier.

If you don't use your tuner section that opens up a lot more options as nowadays there are more integrated amps than receivers. But if you like your receiver having it looked at and getting a repair appraisal makes sense. It may cost you 65 to 85 dollars or so for a "look see" but you know it needs SOMETHING and that usually is included in the resulting repair charge, not separate from it.

I supsected the capacitor rather than contaminated pots on your controls as those in my experience cause noise issues in both channels. And they usually start to need replacement 20 to 30 years along the line. I guess the pots could be dirty in one channel only but that has not been my experience except in a mono amplifier.

Edited by jazzbo

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Long shot, but there could be oxidation at connectors, where wires connect to either receiver or to speakers.This can be remedied by spraying said connectors with Deoxit or the like. My father used to collect/trade old stereo gear of unknown provenance, and this problem periodically arose.

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Unless you're really in love with this old Pioneer SX-650 (sold new in 1976), I would just give it away and buy a new integrated amp. You only need a new receiver if you still listen to FM radio.

Google "Pioneer SX-650 restoration" - there is a cottage industry out there restoring these receivers so it's pretty likely that your amp is starting to fail. I read some forum posts of people restoring them and it seems pretty difficult, especially given that Pioneer changed the schematic during the production run. A full rebuild would be the way to go if you just have to keep it, but be aware that a full restoration is not cheap. I think it would be money better spent on a new one.

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Blast from the past - the SX-650 was the first receiver that I ever owned, bought in 1979. Still in use with another family member - I used it with a Dual turntable and Mission speakers.

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2 hours ago, bresna said:

Unless you're really in love with this old Pioneer SX-650 (sold new in 1976), I would just give it away and buy a new integrated amp. You only need a new receiver if you still listen to FM radio.

Google "Pioneer SX-650 restoration" - there is a cottage industry out there restoring these receivers so it's pretty likely that your amp is starting to fail. I read some forum posts of people restoring them and it seems pretty difficult, especially given that Pioneer changed the schematic during the production run. A full rebuild would be the way to go if you just have to keep it, but be aware that a full restoration is not cheap. I think it would be money better spent on a new one.

I am open to any option, but what out there is of comparable quality? I am sure there is something, but it might not be cheap. Yes, I would want FM radio. We still have a jazz station in DC, and my wife listens to FM as well. We are old.

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7 minutes ago, bertrand said:

I am open to any option, but what out there is of comparable quality? I am sure there is something, but it might not be cheap. Yes, I would want FM radio. We still have a jazz station in DC, and my wife listens to FM as well. We are old.

What is your budget? There are a lot of options out there, even in the receiver realm. And to your benefit, these days, most receiver tuners include HD radio, which may or may not be an improvement for you. :)

As for "comparable quality"... well, that is a personal thing when it comes to audio. I was not a fan of Pioneer back then so "comparable" to me doesn't mean that much. Ha ha.

I know that there will be people who disagree with me on this, but I find that speakers matter way more to what you hear than your amplification as long as the amp has enough clean power to drive them.

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22 hours ago, jazzbo said:

A receiver has a radio tuner, a preamp and an amp, all in one "box." An integrated amp has a preamp and and amp in one box. An amplifier alone is. .. an amplifier.

Of course.  It's been so long since I've listened to radio through my stereo that it skipped my mind.

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29 minutes ago, bertrand said:

I am open to any option, but what out there is of comparable quality? I am sure there is something, but it might not be cheap. Yes, I would want FM radio. We still have a jazz station in DC, and my wife listens to FM as well. We are old.

Many fm radio stations have websites so you may be able to stream the station over the internet. 

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Why do people not listen to FM Radio these days? I do in the car, it's a wonderful way to hear the limited versions of "White" pop music that exist these days, the seemingly unlimited types of "Hispanic" pop musics, a littles bit of sacred Hindu and secular Desi, and a little bit of everything else. When I want to hear what I want to hear, I play a CD. But when I want to know who and what all else is out there besides me, I play the car radio. It's fun, and often educational, especially the advertisements, who's selling what to who, and how they're doing it, how some products will just drop their English spots in verbatim, but others will get a campaign going specifically for the demographic.

And of course, there's a "jazz station" an a "classical station", but....CDs for that.

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I used to listen to the radio exclusively for many years. WROR 105.7 - Loren & Wally. News, traffic, some fun & a tune or two stuck in there. Then, about 4 or 5 years ago, they fired their top comedy writer and cut way back on the talk/music, going with more & more ads. The funnier DJ retired. Then they fired the traffic guy. About 3 years ago, I decided to figure out what I was listening to so I decided to time stuff. I put on the radio and for 10 straight minutes, there was nothing but ads. They came back with some small talk, a couple of 5 minute tunes and then another 8 minutes of ads. I drive an hour each way to work and I would guess that I was listening to ads about 40% of my drive.

I tried Sirius/XM and never looked back.

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Posted (edited)

Pandora is my radio now (other than copious amounts of NPR).

My big thing now is to find epic non-jazz songs (or especially non-jazz) instrumentals — especially that cross over multiple stylistic boundaries, and/or that AREN’T really representative of most the rest of particular artist’s output.  Then I’ll create a station with just that one song as the seed, and see what the hell Pandora can do with that - especially further sticking it on “discovery” mode, or “deep cuts”.

Think Neil Young’s “Sample and Hold” with its futuristic vocoder vocals, or Curtis Mayfield’s harder-hitting “(Don't Worry) If There's a Hell Below, We're All Going to Go”.

Basically it’s fun to try and get Pandora to serve up the weirdest and most obscure stuff I can get it to want to play based on its formulas (since they don’t let you get under the hood and actually check which of the 128 different boxes they have as “song attributes” - or however many it is).

I started paying their $5/month fee about 6 months ago, for ad-free service. But maybe a little more importantly, you can repeat-play tunes, not only a song that just got done playing, but one earlier in your stream, from like 20-30 minutes ago.

Tons of interesting Afropop and other crossover musics from the African continent, especially from the late 60’s and 70’s - but just as importantly, some modern stuff from the last 10-20 years, heavily influenced by that earlier hybrid-African/Western stuff.

Pandora’s new “discovery” and “deep cuts” modes have really been a game-changer for me. I always liked Pandora, but the same stuff would come up over, and over, and over again on the stations listened to the most. For instance, a Gang Of Four station I set up ~3 years ago had gotten as stale (for me) as a classic rock FM station.

But now Pandora is serving me up TONS of ‘new’ music (new to me) all the time.

Sliced bread has met its match!!

Edited by Rooster_Ties

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If you're in the market for an amp, or anything else in the sound reproduction realm, my son, an audiophile, swears by the Schiit line of products. They're elegant, compact, and great value. I recently got a Schiit headphone amp, and it's excellent.

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Posted (edited)

34 minutes ago, Larry Kart said:

If you're in the market for an amp, or anything else in the sound reproduction realm, my son, an audiophile, swears by the Schiit line of products. They're elegant, compact, and great value. I recently got a Schiit headphone amp, and it's excellent.

Do you use the headphone amp with your computer?  I've seen these, and other headphone amps, listed on Amazon, and am trying to understand when they're useful.  I have a headphone jack on my preamp, so wouldn't need it there.

Edited by mjzee

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25 minutes ago, mjzee said:

Do you use the headphone amp with your computer?

I don't use my computer as a sound source.  I run my regular amp's rec out signal through the head phone amp and then plug my headphones into the headphone amp. This is necessary/worth doing because my while my new Sennheisser  655 phones will work with my regular amp's headphone jack, they sound a whole lot better when they're plugged into/powered by Schiit's Magni 3 headphone amp.

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20 minutes ago, Larry Kart said:

I don't use my computer as a sound source.  I run my regular amp's rec out signal through the head phone amp and then plug my headphones into the headphone amp. This is necessary/worth doing because my while my new Sennheisser  655 phones will work with my regular amp's headphone jack, they sound a whole lot better when they're plugged into/powered by Schiit's Magni 3 headphone amp.

So if I understand this correctly, you plug the headphone amp into your amp’s headphone jack and then the headphones into the headphone amp?

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53 minutes ago, Brad said:

So if I understand this correctly, you plug the headphone amp into your amp’s headphone jack and then the headphones into the headphone amp?

No, he plugs the Schiit into his amp's "rec out" jacks (presumably to get a clean flat signal).

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