Why dropout only on digital classical? or "Why is my system haunted?"

Still in the process of troubleshooting a problem. My left channel drops out randomly, sometimes as long as 15 minute intervals but only with classical music coming from a digital source. Headphones play fine coming out of the amp, so it’s not the pre-amp or digital source.

Triggers that immediately precede the problem: extra-musical details such as bow noises and key pads on woodwind instruments, and in general, music with a diversity of timbres, i.e. an orchestra.

The problem doesn’t occur on analog and doesn’t occur on digital unless it’s complex orchestral music.

Ready to throw in the towel because thought I solved this problem already by taking CD player in to shop with the exact same issue, except it was definitely the CD player.

Is it the amp? Speaker crossover? Bad power?

Will be swapping speakers and cables but just so curious about the genre specific issue and if anybody has any interesting ideas about the source of the problem. Speculation allowed.

While you describe it a random, are you able to trigger the issue in some way, or is it truly unpredictable?

As it does not occur on analog, I suspect the digital source.

What is your source? Do you have an alternative you can try?

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Can’t be digital because it comes out fine on headphones while speaker is dropping out.

Got it.

Maybe a faulty crossover?

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That’s what I’m afraid of. Just had them recapped last Fall. Kef 104/2’s. Getting sick of vintage and the headaches involved.

How could it be the crossover when analog is immune from the dropouts?

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Classical digital hits certain frequencies more often?

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Roll over Beethoven and tell Tchaikovsky the news :joy:

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Getting ready to trade speaker positions and see if problem comes from the right this time.

Good idea…

Good luck.

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I would swap R & L speaker cables first. This would either confirm or eliminate doubts around speakers / crossovers vs. output stage in the power amp.


Is it reproducible? When it happens what happens if you replay the same passage again immediately? Is it optical drive or computer/network/file based?

Please explain your system configuration.

I would start by reversing the speaker cables and see if it follows a channel from the amp continuing back towards the source.

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Belezabob is trying to tell you only listen to Ozzy Osborne or MegaDeath.


The problem never came up again. Played the exact same album through Qobuz from computer into DAC with the speakers having traded places.

Just wait and see for now. Thanks for the replies.

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Hopefully it won’t happen again :crossed_fingers:t2:

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Since you are losing all of the sound if it were in the speaker it would need to be the main + and - paths based upon the design. I would methodically apply the channel switch technique in this order:

  1. Speaker connections at speakers
  2. Speaker connections at amp
  3. Amp input connections
  4. Preamp output connections

Proceed until it does not switch and you’ve found your fault. If it still switches after 4 it can be in the preamp as the output stage may not feed the headphone stage.