Loud Popping Sound from One Channel Using GCD & Dual M700 Combo

I have been searching through the forum posts for information related to this problem, and have found some things that are similar, but wanted to ask the question here.

I purchased a Gain Cell DAC and Stellar Phono Preamp early this year for use with my existing speakers and amplifier. I was initially very happy with everything and amazed at the sound. After a few months I had an episode with my existing amp, a JVC M-3030, where I got some very loud electronic sounding pops from one speaker, and blamed it on the amp. Since this amp was over 40 years old, I decided to complete my PS Audio system with new M700 amps, and no longer got the loud sounds so I though that the issue was solved.

The setup now sounds fine, but I have noticed a gradually increasingly loud pop from one channel when powering off the system. The effect is not noticeable on the other channel. The problem appears to be much louder if I have been using the Stellar phono preamp, but I am assuming that’s because I have the gain turned up more for that source. The issue is still there when using the digital inputs for the CD player or my Bluesound streaming box but at a lower level. It sounds like a static discharge, and is almost deafening with the gain set at 30. This always happens only the left channel, never the right one.

Today, I decided to swap the connections from the GCD to the M700s. Now the pop is coming from the right channel! I changed RCA cables connecting the GCD and M700 to make sure the cable wasn’t the problem, but that didn’t have any effect.

So here I am, many thousands of dollars later, with a system I am getting increasingly afraid to use. Something is clearly not right with this. It’s bad enough that my new equipment has this problem, but I am worried that this will damage my speakers. That would really upset me.

You need to contact PS Audio and send your GCD in. Same thing happened to me. Loud booms/pops in the left channel when powering down. They fixed it quick and now the unit performs as new. This may be an inherent flaw of the GCD. I just bought a used DSJ to replace the DAC and I’m considering something else as a preamp so I can walk away from the GCD before it goes bad again.

Thank you very much for your reply. I have been living with this for months now, with the problem gradually getting more noticeable. I have kind of been in denial, but it’s too the point now where I can no longer ignore it.

I have noticed, too, that the left channel pops loudly occasionally while playing records with the Stellar Phono Preamp. I blamed it on having the gain set on max for an MM cartridge - really an MC that plays at more like MM levels - the Goldring Eroica H. I turned the gain down to the medium setting and it doesn’t appear to do that, but something’s not right there as well.

No pops, cracks, crackles or anything but sweet music from my M700/GCD combo. Had it since march. No phono though, in my system.

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My SGCD does one or two odd things now and again, but I’ve never experienced anything like that. I have M700s, too, though my phono preamp is a Channel Islands Audio unit.

I am really disappointed with this. I bought this system with the intent that it would be probably the last one I would ever purchase. I replaced a system that while not sounding as good, NEVER had this kind of issue.

I work in the electronics industry, and while nothing is perfect, something of this severity is enough to give a manufacturer a black eye if it occurs often enough. Products are reliable enough nowadays that people have high expectations when they buy them.

Now, even if I manage to get this fixed and the problem never reoccurs, I am going to have a hard time recommending PS Audio, and will forever be on the lookout for the next problem with their equipment.

It’s a huge pain-in-the-ass to have to disconnect this piece from everything, package it, ship it and hope it doesn’t get damaged, wait for it to be repaired without doing additional damage, get it shipped back and hope it doesn’t get damaged, and reconnect it to verify the problem has been fixed.

If I had spent 1/3rd the amount it would still be a pain. At this price, it is almost unforgiveable.


Unfortunately no matter ow much one spends there can be issues. :frowning:

PS Audio is very good at addressing problems and helping out their customers.

Let us now how it goes.

They seem like a very good company, except for the fact that they sent me the wrong GCD when I purchased it. I ordered a silver one, but they sent me a black one in a box marked silver.:roll_eyes: That doesn’t give me a lot of confidence in their attention to detail.

In their defense, they gave me additional $$$ to keep the black one.:grin: