Parasound Volume Pot part two

Haoleb

Haoleb

Audioholic Field Marshall
I read through this thread. Well skimmed. Plenty of irrelevant discussions here. If the thing only makes a noise when changing the volume via remote control I don't see what the problem is. It is because you have a dual ganged pot with a dc motor attached directly to the back of the thing. Its not defective. It is just one of those things most people probably understand happens and don't care about. My Odyssey preamp does the same thing. It has a remote volume. The pot has a motor attached to the rear of it and when I turn the volume up and down I hear it through the speakers.

For the guys out there saying "well my so and so AVR doesn't do that" yeah, because it is a different technology. I am not saying every 2ch preamp with a remote volume control will do this but It is certainly not something I would worry about.
 
ematthews

ematthews

Audioholic General
Update
It makes noise when changing volume by hand as well. I sen Rich at Parasound an email. I will be calling their tech line tomorrow. For what it's worth, I am picky about my equipment. I would think most people would not like this sound when raising the volume on a high end system.. It wouldn't bother me on a clock radio...
I also know that my Primaluna HD Integrated amp has the Alps volume pot on it and it's dead silent.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
Update
It makes noise when changing volume by hand as well. I sen Rich at Parasound an email. I will be calling their tech line tomorrow. For what it's worth, I am picky about my equipment. I would think most people would not like this sound when raising the volume on a high end system.. It wouldn't bother me on a clock radio...
I also know that my Primaluna HD Integrated amp has the Alps volume pot on it and it's dead silent.
I traded e-mails with Richard today and he wrote that some of the Alps pots are a bit noisy at high levels (or with high power and sensitive speakers), but it's a small number.

Is the pot on the Prima Lina the same part number?
 
S

sharkman

Full Audioholic
Mark- I don't know if you're referring to 'ganged pots' as anything more than one tracer and wiper, but they are available in at least two tracer/wiper and are used extensively in many applications. I haven't seen the kind used in my old Sony Audio Lab integrated amp, though. That was Alps and had wipers for each source- you can see the VC at the bottom, in the link below. The piece behind has nothing to do with the original and is an add-on.

http://img696.imageshack.us/img696/5033/frankenamp.jpg

To the OP- I called Parasound this morning and Tech Support said the volume control adjusts analog audio, not a control voltage. We discussed the problem and he told me they have various brands/models of equipment, including some very sensitive speakers, so they can test under many conditions that would be impossible without it. Also, he mentioned that the time between design/beta testing and getting approval from all of the various countries/continental agencies can be long enough for changes to occur with, or without, Parasound's knowledge or approval. If Alps decided to discontinue the original VC and use the new version without telling anyone, these problems can happen even when the VC performs identically in all other ways. Could just be different shielding on the motor.
Okay, you called Parasound. Did you ask them about this volume issue, I see Richard's response, so he's saying there's some variance with the Alps pot?
 
slipperybidness

slipperybidness

Audioholic Spartan
I traded e-mails with Richard today and he wrote that some of the Alps pots are a bit noisy at high levels (or with high power and sensitive speakers), but it's a small number.

Is the pot on the Prima Lina the same part number?
Hmmm.....

Noisy at high power or with sensitive speakers.

To me, that says that the problem could also be corrected with a better S/N or a better gain structure!

In other words.....I doubt the real-world P5 is meeting the published S/N specs of >100dB.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
Hmmm.....

Noisy at high power or with sensitive speakers.

To me, that says that the problem could also be corrected with a better S/N or a better gain structure!

In other words.....I doubt the real-world P5 is meeting the published S/N specs of >100dB.
After the control stops moving, the noise stops. It's not S/N, it's the part and apparently, it's not all of them, so that tells me Alps may have changed something or had a production problem. Mine should be here next Tuesday and I'll check it out but they can't publish >100dB if it doesn't hit that on a regular basis.

If mine makes any noise that's excessive, it will be going back and I'll be comparing it with other equipment with worse S/N ratio.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
Okay, you called Parasound. Did you ask them about this volume issue, I see Richard's response, so he's saying there's some variance with the Alps pot?
There's variance in EVERYTHING. They know of only a few instances, two of which went to one person. In the nearly 40 years since I got into the audio business, I have heard and seen far worse problems, from far more expensive equipment that was supposed to be Top Of The Line. The first Sony CD players listed at $900 in '83 (>$2100 in 2014) and not long after they became available, the micro-switch that told the processor the drawer was open or closed began to fail and they didn't have a replacement for over a month after the problem reared its ugly head. This background noise while adjusting the level is hardly as serious and does nothing to make the preamp useless, unlike a tiny switch that prevented a CD player from playing.

I think the seriousness of this is being blown out of proportion but hopefully, it will prove to be a very small number that has this issue.
 
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slipperybidness

slipperybidness

Audioholic Spartan
The point is: For this price and from a "prestigious" company like Parasound, ANY noise from a pot is completely unacceptable.

If it's my $ on the line and I have a scratchy pot on a new piece of gear, then out the door it goes!

If you spend this kind of $ on new gear and a noisy pot doesn't bother you.....then you are a lot less demanding of your gear and $ than I am.

I'll keep my dead-silent USP-1, thanks.

Also, it kind of bothers me that it seems that Parasound knows about the issue! Their official stance thus far seems to be "it only effects a small number of customers with high power or sensitive speakers". Translation: The problem isn't effecting enough customers yet, nor is the problem getting enough bad press yet for it to be worth our time and $ to correct the issue for these few customers. Not the way to keep customers and gain new ones.
 
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ematthews

ematthews

Audioholic General
I have not had the chance to call them. I am going to try and set some time aside on my lunch hour. Scratch volume is a good way to describe it. For reference. This is heard on both the RAAL Ascends and the RBH speakers that I own.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
The point is: For this price and from a "prestigious" company like Parasound, ANY noise from a pot is completely unacceptable.

If it's my $ on the line and I have a scratchy pot on a new piece of gear, then out the door it goes!

If you spend this kind of $ on new gear and a noisy pot doesn't bother you.....then you are a lot less demanding of your gear and $ than I am.

I'll keep my dead-silent USP-1, thanks.

Also, it kind of bothers me that it seems that Parasound knows about the issue! Their official stance thus far seems to be "it only effects a small number of customers with high power or sensitive speakers". Translation: The problem isn't effecting enough customers yet, nor is the problem getting enough bad press yet for it to be worth our time and $ to correct the issue for these few customers. Not the way to keep customers and gain new ones.
I seriously doubt they're "OK with this". As far as prestige goes, a designer may intend something to be the very best but if one of their suppliers makes parts with a problem, what would you have them do, recall everything, in hopes that they find every one of the noisy controls? What if they only find ten of them? What if they find a hundred? How much should they spend in shipping and bench time, in order to do this? Recalls are for safety risks, not for a little noise. If you think Audio Research would recall all of their products in order to find a noisy pot, guess again. Ditto, WRT anyone who makes equipment that's even more "prestigious". Do you think Ferrarri, Maybach, Lambo and other high-end cars are without problems? Not a chance and anyone who knows these cars is aware that they all have "little quirks". This is a preamp that sells for $1095, not a super high-end piece that costs $8K, like the Audio Research piece I was listening to last week. At that price, a recall may be possible but

Less demanding? Doubtful. I do, however, have reasonable expectations and understand that in any kind of manufacturing process, human or mechanical, absolute consistency is impossible. Nothing is perfect.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
I have not had the chance to call them. I am going to try and set some time aside on my lunch hour. Scratch volume is a good way to describe it. For reference. This is heard on both the RAAL Ascends and the RBH speakers that I own.
I own and sometimes, I need to repair vintage tube guitar amps. One easy way to tell if a tone or coupling cap is bad is to listen for scratchiness in a control- if the noise is there, it's a good bet that you'd see DC voltage on one of the leads to the pot. Since these don't use coupling caps AFAIK, this can be a possible cause but I would defer to the designers to make sure.

Once I receive mine, I'll be listening for this and I'll post what I find.
 
ematthews

ematthews

Audioholic General
I just got off the phone with them. Got my RA number and I am sending it back for them to check out.
I'll update this when I get info back from them.
 
slipperybidness

slipperybidness

Audioholic Spartan
I seriously doubt they're "OK with this". As far as prestige goes, a designer may intend something to be the very best but if one of their suppliers makes parts with a problem, what would you have them do, recall everything, in hopes that they find every one of the noisy controls? What if they only find ten of them? What if they find a hundred? How much should they spend in shipping and bench time, in order to do this? Recalls are for safety risks, not for a little noise. If you think Audio Research would recall all of their products in order to find a noisy pot, guess again. Ditto, WRT anyone who makes equipment that's even more "prestigious". Do you think Ferrarri, Maybach, Lambo and other high-end cars are without problems? Not a chance and anyone who knows these cars is aware that they all have "little quirks". This is a preamp that sells for $1095, not a super high-end piece that costs $8K, like the Audio Research piece I was listening to last week. At that price, a recall may be possible but

Less demanding? Doubtful. I do, however, have reasonable expectations and understand that in any kind of manufacturing process, human or mechanical, absolute consistency is impossible. Nothing is perfect.
I agree with everything that you are saying!!! And yes, recalls are for safety problems and would not be appropriate here.

I work in manufacturing, so I understand that defects WILL happen.

However, I come back to my points:

*For the MSRP of $1095, I don't expect to have a "scratchy pot". For MY $, that is 100% unacceptable. Send me a scratchy pot on a new preamp and we have a problem, plain and simple!

*My $400 USP-1 does not have a scratchy pot. If it did, it would have shipped back to Emo fast enough to make your head spin.

*Defects happen, I agree.

But, the question now is: "How will Parasound and the Parasound dealer respond to keep a happy customer?". If it isn't resolved at 100% satisfaction, then it's time for me to take Parasound off my list for future purchases. That is very unfortunate because I have been nothing but pleased with my 1206 and ZCD!
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
I think ATI might be pretty smart by not messing with preamps and pre-pros anymore (except for any remaining old stock supplies). :D
 
slipperybidness

slipperybidness

Audioholic Spartan
I think ATI might be pretty smart by not messing with preamps and pre-pros anymore (except for any remaining old stock supplies). :D
The hassle with pre/pros is keeping them current and "future proof". It's a huge undertaking, and the little guys just can't keep up.

For a quality old-school 2 channel pre (maybe some bass management), it really isn't rocket science.
 
RichB

RichB

Audioholic Field Marshall
I think ATI might be pretty smart by not messing with preamps and pre-pros anymore (except for any remaining old stock supplies). :D
They leave that to Theta :p :D
At that price point, you can deal with a lot of customer support.

- Rich
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
I agree with everything that you are saying!!! And yes, recalls are for safety problems and would not be appropriate here.

I work in manufacturing, so I understand that defects WILL happen.

However, I come back to my points:

*For the MSRP of $1095, I don't expect to have a "scratchy pot". For MY $, that is 100% unacceptable. Send me a scratchy pot on a new preamp and we have a problem, plain and simple!

*My $400 USP-1 does not have a scratchy pot. If it did, it would have shipped back to Emo fast enough to make your head spin.

*Defects happen, I agree.

But, the question now is: "How will Parasound and the Parasound dealer respond to keep a happy customer?". If it isn't resolved at 100% satisfaction, then it's time for me to take Parasound off my list for future purchases. That is very unfortunate because I have been nothing but pleased with my 1206 and ZCD!
Do you have the part number for the pot in each unit? It would be sensible to see what is in each one and to see the schematic for each before lighting them up for scratchy sound when the pot is rotated. If the trace is smooth and continuous, it may become scratchy (I have seen this literally thousands of times) but the sound is usually more random. If it's more like a wire-wound pot that has discreet steps in the trace, it may be possible to hear those steps as the wiper makes and breaks contact, but it would normally track better between the channels. Also, the designs are probably very different. The Parasound doesn't use an op-amp to change the volume via a control voltage from the pot, it receives analog signal and attenuates it.
 
slipperybidness

slipperybidness

Audioholic Spartan
Do you have the part number for the pot in each unit? It would be sensible to see what is in each one and to see the schematic for each before lighting them up for scratchy sound when the pot is rotated. If the trace is smooth and continuous, it may become scratchy (I have seen this literally thousands of times) but the sound is usually more random. If it's more like a wire-wound pot that has discreet steps in the trace, it may be possible to hear those steps as the wiper makes and breaks contact, but it would normally track better between the channels. Also, the designs are probably very different. The Parasound doesn't use an op-amp to change the volume via a control voltage from the pot, it receives analog signal and attenuates it.
I have absolutely no concern of HOW / WHY the scratchy noise is there. We may be looking at a faulty part, we may be looking at a poor design.

Any scratchiness on a new pot for any reason is unacceptable, IMO.
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
They leave that to Theta :p :D
At that price point, you can deal with a lot of customer support.

- Rich
Yeah, I forgot ATI owns Theta. So I guess technically ATI does sell preamps and pre-pros.
 

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