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Stumped! Something in my system overloads amps

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    Posted: 20 Sep 2021 at 1:51am
Hi all,

I figured I would post my issue here given that some of my system is GS products though not all of it. Lots of knowledge here so maybe someone has suggestions. 

I use a GS Accession M as phono preamp and used to have a Goldring 1042 mounted on a Debut Carbon with a number of tweaks/upgrades. I use Lautus from TT to Accession and GS CuSat50 from Accession fixed level output to a GS ULDE for headphone listening (which is what I mostly do) and CuSat50 from the variable output to my amplifier. 

I had an old Technics class A from the 80s that served me well for about 7 years. It worked fine when I had the Goldring 1042. This summer I upgraded my cartridge to a Goldring 2500. It came with a noticeable upgrade in sound quality including frequency response in low and high ends as well as clarity, separation and other improvements. 

But shortly after making this upgrade, my Technics amp cut out and stopped working. I figured “I guess that’s that. It was old. No biggie.” Then I brought another Technics Class A amp from 80s I had in basement to my setup and after a few minutes of working fine it also cut out. And it didn’t work anymore. 

I tried messing around with cables and audio sources and as the headphone setup still worked fine I eventually concluded the amps were both shot.  

I started to suspect that maybe the increased frequency response from the Goldring 2500, particularly the bass and sub bass, were somehow responsible. And I thought far too late that I probably should have turned down the volume on the Accession variable output at least on the second amp to see if that helped. But I didn’t do so as I only thought of it later. 

So two amps shot. I continued listening with great pleasure on my headphone setup and started the search for a new amplifier. 

By the way, my speakers are modest Castle Knight 1 bookshelf speakers. Sound great for what they are. And as stated I’m mostly listening on headphones - Sennheiser 6XX (Massdrop). 

Today I brought home a used Parasound Zamp v3 thinking it would do the trick. I just have bookshelf speakers, right? It’s fine but doesn’t provide much amplification. If I turn it up to an acceptable level for “rocking out” (you know, a bit loud but nothing crazy) the “Protect” mode turns on and although it still sounds good I’m pretty sure it shouldn’t run in protect mode all the time or I’ll damage it. 

I tried fiddling with the Accession variable output knob and the gain knobs on the Parasound Zamp but found no option the made it loud enough and also didn’t turn the thing to protect mode. 

So is my problem simply that my setup with GS Accession and Goldring 2500 is too awesome for old 80s amps and that my solution of a Zamp was simply a bad choice because it doesn’t have enough power to drive even some bookshelf speakers (apparently).

Anyone know what my issue is here and how I can resolve it? I just want to be able to amplify my sound in a clean unobtrusive way.

I have had my eye on Proprius monoblocks and assume they would do the trick but was going to save up for those and wanted an inexpensive intermediate solution. Apparently buying old amps for $100 isn’t working. And even a modern amp (the Zamp) not working. 

Thanks for any advice! 


P******t Debut Carbon, Goldring 1042, GS Accession MM w/Enigma, GS Solo ULDE w/PSU1, Sennheiser HD6XX, Technics SU-800 IA, Castle Knight 1, PS Audio Ultimate Outlet, Lautus & CuSat50
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote discrete badger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Sep 2021 at 11:34am
How odd!

3 different amps apparently under serious strain suggests there is indeed a problem upstream or downstream of them.

Here's what I'd do. Get hold of a cheap but reliable sound source (mobile phone headphone socket would do just fine) and with an appropriate cable (headphone plug to dual phono) try straight into the working amp at line level. Increase volume gradually to the point where the Parasound went into protection. If it does, then problem would seem to be with speakers or their wiring, and I'd repeat the test with different speakers and different cables - perhaps borrowed temporarily.

If it doesn't go into protection, then it's likely something problematic about the turntable source. I've seen stunning bass woofer movements in some phono setups; no sound but serious amounts of power being burnt. I'd check for this at a level below where protection activated. In my case the cause was a worn turntable motor.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Fatmangolf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Sep 2021 at 7:51pm
Which input on the amp are you using, please?
Jon

Open mind and ears whilst owning GSP Genera, Accession M, Accession MC, Elevator EXP, Solo ULDE, Proprius amps, Cusat50 cables, Lautus digital cable, Spatia cables and links, and a Majestic DAC.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Graham Slee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Sep 2021 at 11:03pm
It might be cartridge/arm compliance producing low frequency boost, taking the power output of your amp too high, but not at the frequencies you hear.

Try increasing the arm mass by sticking a pea size blob of blutack on the headshell and don't forget to  readjust tracking force to where it was. 6 gram effective mass is very low for an arm.

It may work Ermm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pushpaw Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Sep 2021 at 1:05am
thanks all for your responses. Did some fiddling today and resolved the issue. 

Great diagnostic advice badger. I first searched for possible sources of sub sonic bass and I figured the motor would likely have presented itself when the old cartridge was on. The new cartridge seemed to be the catalyst. So I wondered if there was a poor connection in one of the wires from cart to TT. In fact, one of the wires for left channel previously broke from the solder so I have trouble with that connection. I carefully undid each connector pin and redid them all and even stripped the wire of the unsoldered one to give more bare wire for a connection. 

Result was that there was no effect! The darn thing was still running in protect mode at modest volumes. 

So I retrieved the necessary connectors and plugged in the laptop and played YouTube. Guess what? Still overloading! Conclusion: it wasn’t the turntable setup.

So I got my second pair of speakers from basement (Mission model 70) and hooked them up. And everything worked perfectly. Amp didn’t play in protect mode. 

I was confused but relieved. Apparently my speakers blew my two Technics amps. Huh??? How and what’s connection to change in cartridge?

I have a theory. I think that when I changed cartridge I moved some of my equipment. Don’t remember why exactly. Just fiddling with ground wire on the Accession etc and that sort of behind/beside my speaker. I also think I swapped lautus and CuSat for fun.

I think that in doing so a few filaments of speaker wire from the right speaker ended up in contact with the wrong speaker node. So it was overloading because the right speaker was connected improperly. And that’s what blew my two amps and sent current Parasound Zamp into protect mode. Supporting this theory is that the Zamp would have a green light on left channel and the right channel light would go out when overloading. 

At first I thought my castle speakers were somehow ruined and I was stuck with the Mission speakers. They are ok but it’s a noticeable downgrade in sound quality. 

Anyway, turns out I just had to reconnect the castle speakers and be careful to keep stray filaments away from the wrong mode. 

System works great now. 

End of story. 

I learned a valuable lesson. One is an overload circuit is a great feature to have. Another is that speakers can ruin amps - something I didn’t know previously. 

And by the way, might as well add that the Accession and Goldring 2500 are a phenomenal combination. Sound incredible. I’m in audio heaven lately. Only headphones for a while there but looking forward to more speaker listening too, now that I have a working amp. And the Accession is working great as a preamp feeding into the modest power amp. 


Edited by Pushpaw - 21 Sep 2021 at 1:12am
P******t Debut Carbon, Goldring 1042, GS Accession MM w/Enigma, GS Solo ULDE w/PSU1, Sennheiser HD6XX, Technics SU-800 IA, Castle Knight 1, PS Audio Ultimate Outlet, Lautus & CuSat50
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pushpaw Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Sep 2021 at 2:45am
Originally posted by Fatmangolf Fatmangolf wrote:

Which input on the amp are you using, please?

There’s only one input that I’m aware of on the Zamp v3. At least only one rca input. There’s a 12 V input too I think but I’m not even sure what it’s for. 
P******t Debut Carbon, Goldring 1042, GS Accession MM w/Enigma, GS Solo ULDE w/PSU1, Sennheiser HD6XX, Technics SU-800 IA, Castle Knight 1, PS Audio Ultimate Outlet, Lautus & CuSat50
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pushpaw Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Sep 2021 at 2:55am
Funnily enough, I dealt with that issue a long time ago and indeed used blue tak to add mass. I also use weighted mounting screws. I probably added about 8-10 grams all said and done. I also had to add a significant amount of blue tak to counterweight to balance it out, and also put small stainless steel nuts in the blue tak for more weight. And yes I use a tracking force gauge to make sure it’s set right as the dial on the tonearm is completely inaccurate with the added weight. Good thing to mention as I would not recommend the Goldring 2500 (or 1042) with Debut Carbon without adding mass to the arm somehow. 


P******t Debut Carbon, Goldring 1042, GS Accession MM w/Enigma, GS Solo ULDE w/PSU1, Sennheiser HD6XX, Technics SU-800 IA, Castle Knight 1, PS Audio Ultimate Outlet, Lautus & CuSat50
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