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Author Topic: Noise floor questions...  (Read 6336 times)

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Offline altec604e

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Noise floor questions...
« on: May 29, 2014, 05:37:59 PM »
Hello,

I have some questions regarding my Stereomour 2a3 tube amplifier.

1.  How much noise is usually "accepted" or "normal" with the Stereomour amp:

Mine is not dead quiet - I use a pair of Altec 604E`s that are rated to 16 ohm operation.
And the speakers are rated at 100dB efficiency.

The output transformers are wired for 8 ohm operation right now, I heard a lot of difference from the 16 ohm wiring - the noise floor did go down, but it is still not as quiet as I want it to be.  It does not have to be dead quiet, but a bit more would have been great! 

The 4 ohm operation was even more quiet - but at the same time I lost a lot of information - especially vocals was lost ( I have not done a lot of testing , but this is how I heard it yesterday ).

Previously I have been recommended to lower the ohm setting on the output transformers because of the high efficiency speakers I`m using.  4 ohm is definitely the setting with the lowest noise floor, but I cannot find the sound convincing because of other things that are lost - based on your knowledge of these amps - is this loss of for example vocals just in my head??

One more thing on the subject: is there anything else I can do to lowering the noise floor on my Stereomour amp?





Signal Source : Thorens TD 124 MkI / SME 3012 / Denon DL103

Setup : Quad 44 / Bottlehead Stereomour / Altec 604E in DIY 612C cabs

Offline Grainger49

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Re: Noise floor questions...
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2014, 12:01:39 AM »
I'm going to agree that with 100dBW speakers noise will be hiding in the background.

You don't say how much noise it is.  Is it only heard between tracks or is is heard during quiet passages?  How loud do you listen, 60dB, 70dB, 80dB or higher?  How big is your room?  The larger the room the farther away you will probably sit (attenuating the noise).

There may still be a few tweaks to minimize the noise and PJ will probably come up with them.

Offline altec604e

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Re: Noise floor questions...
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2014, 02:02:53 AM »
Hi !

The noise is definitely present during quiet passages.

To answer you questions:
I do not know how loud I listen to when you're talking about dB - normally I use from the Stereomour from the 9 o`clock position to the 12 o`clock position .  I`m guessing the loudness Im listening to is quite low to normal - not loud or extremely loud.

My room is roughly 30 square meters.
I`m sitting roughly 3 meters away from the speakers.

Thanks for your replay !






Signal Source : Thorens TD 124 MkI / SME 3012 / Denon DL103

Setup : Quad 44 / Bottlehead Stereomour / Altec 604E in DIY 612C cabs

Offline Paul Birkeland

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Re: Noise floor questions...
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2014, 04:44:51 AM »
The Stereomour is AC heated, so some filament hum is to be expected.

Can you describe the nature of the noise itself?  Is it a hum or a hiss?

It's also worth mentioning that the Paramounts are significantly quieter than the Stereomour.
Paul "PB" Birkeland

Bottlehead Grunt & The Repro Man

Offline Paul Joppa

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Re: Noise floor questions...
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2014, 08:57:28 PM »
If it's hiss, could be the bad batch of 431s.
Paul Joppa

Offline altec604e

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Re: Noise floor questions...
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2014, 09:08:00 PM »
The noise can best be described as a hiss.

What is 431s?


One more questions:

1.  Right now I`m using my Svetlanas - the HUM-balance is set to as low as it gets with my Svetlanas - to 1.8 and 1.9 mV AC.  When using my RCA-s I cannot get it lower than 2.3 or 2.2 mV AC. 

It says in the manual that the HUM-balance varies between which tubes you use. 

So my question is what does this HUM-balance do? - and what difference is it between using these two sets of 2a3 tubes I got ? 


I mean one pair
the Svetlanas is right below 2.0 mV AC and
the RCA´s is right above 2.0 mV AC
 - what difference does this make on the noise floor? - if any?




Signal Source : Thorens TD 124 MkI / SME 3012 / Denon DL103

Setup : Quad 44 / Bottlehead Stereomour / Altec 604E in DIY 612C cabs

Offline altec604e

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Re: Noise floor questions...
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2014, 09:30:41 PM »
OK - just went through the manual - are you talking about the LM431 adjustable shunt regulators?

Then I got something to share -

1.  When turning the amplifier on there is always a couple of seconds with both hum and hiss.

2.  There were some points when doing the DC check when first firing the amp up that got me a little bit confused - especially the measuring points around the circuit boards...

I will attach all the DC voltage checkpoints in a PDF document - please let me know if you can see if there is a problem related to the items you are talking about....

Signal Source : Thorens TD 124 MkI / SME 3012 / Denon DL103

Setup : Quad 44 / Bottlehead Stereomour / Altec 604E in DIY 612C cabs

Offline Grainger49

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Re: Noise floor questions...
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2014, 01:29:35 AM »
That is the 431 (LM431) that they mean.  They have new ones that meet the spec, the bad lot didn't.  Just contact replacementparts (at) bottlehead (dot) com or fastest thing is to call Monday.  They are very quick about getting parts out.

Offline Paul Birkeland

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Re: Noise floor questions...
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2014, 06:51:54 AM »
Regarding the 431's, you can look at the writing on the 431 to be sure.  We received some 431 regulators labeled "WS" that entirely meet spec.  If you have these 431's and sensitive speakers, you ought to replace them.  If you don't have these 431's, then there isn't any need to replace them.
Paul "PB" Birkeland

Bottlehead Grunt & The Repro Man

Offline altec604e

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Re: Noise floor questions...
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2014, 07:07:39 AM »
I have the 431´s with WS labeled on them.

I think something is missing in your post replay....

If I understand your post correctly - these WS labeled 431´s did NOT entirely meet the specs - and are from the bad batch of 431´s...

This is the answer to my problem then.  Will write a email to the replacementparts email address.

Thank you !
Signal Source : Thorens TD 124 MkI / SME 3012 / Denon DL103

Setup : Quad 44 / Bottlehead Stereomour / Altec 604E in DIY 612C cabs

Offline johnsonad

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Re: Noise floor questions...
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2014, 10:55:23 AM »
Change those WS 431's! I did so and it made all the difference in the world!
Aaron Johnson

Offline altec604e

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Re: Noise floor questions...
« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2014, 07:53:12 PM »
Hello!

So I installed the new 431´s - with great improvement !
Thank you for all help with this issue.

One last question from me:

I´ve set the secondary windings on my output transformers to a 8 ohm impedance.
My speakers has a 16 ohm impedance.

So before making any new changes; will the speakers perform better ( sound more prominent in the room - raised from the background ...) if I set the secondary windings to a 16 ohm imperdance?
I have a sense that the sound has a veil over it...

I mean since I´ve now got a much more quiet Stereomour 2a3 amplifier and the noise floor question I started this thread with is now gone...

The popping when sometimes occurred when turning of my Stereomour is also gone...

GREAT!

Best,
Altec604E



 
Signal Source : Thorens TD 124 MkI / SME 3012 / Denon DL103

Setup : Quad 44 / Bottlehead Stereomour / Altec 604E in DIY 612C cabs

Offline altec604e

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Re: Noise floor questions...
« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2014, 09:14:41 PM »
Hi,

Got some more questions....

I do hope this is OK.

Here we go:

     The secondary windings on the output transformers : if set to 8 or 16ohm operation should not have a great impact on sound since my speakers are rated to 100dB sensitivity-  correct?
     Noise: The 100K potentiometer in the 12 o`clock position is a source for noise.  I usually use the volume knob set between the 10 o`clock and 2 o`clock position when listening. 
     Is there any high DC current at the input?  I´m asking since I have been told that there are no input capacitors on my Stereomour.
     If there is no high DC current at the input, then I can use any normal pre amp to control the volume of my Stereomour ( as long as the 100K pot is set to fully clockwise position ) - correct?

     What output current should I choose on the Pre amp I now own.  The 5mV, the 1.6V or the 5V output to use it as a volume controller for my Stereomour?

     So my two 2a3 RCA tubes died yesterday.  They did not last long, did I do anything wrong?  They were supposedly to be NOS.  Now they make this up and down hiss noise...



     
     

     



     

     
 

 

Signal Source : Thorens TD 124 MkI / SME 3012 / Denon DL103

Setup : Quad 44 / Bottlehead Stereomour / Altec 604E in DIY 612C cabs

Offline Grainger49

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Re: Noise floor questions...
« Reply #13 on: June 22, 2014, 11:13:49 AM »
The secondary windings on the output transformers : if set to 8 or 16ohm operation should not have a great impact on sound since my speakers are rated to 100dB sensitivity-  correct?

Nope, the damping, how well the amp holds your woofer, changes if you mismatch the load and OPT.  But try it, you might like it.

Noise: The 100K potentiometer in the 12 o`clock position is a source for noise.  I usually use the volume knob set between the 10 o`clock and 2 o`clock position when listening.

I'm not sure, are you saying 12:00 and above or only at 12:00?

Is there any high DC current at the input?  I´m asking since I have been told that there are no input capacitors on my Stereomour.

Input DC would be from your source or preamp.  There is no DC at the Stereomour input/12AT7 grid.

What output current (voltage) should I choose on the Pre amp I now own.  The 5mV, the 1.6V or the 5V output to use it as a volume controller for my Stereomour?

Again, this is a try and find the best balance.  The output of your preamp depends on the input voltage.  So you don't always have those voltages available at the output of your preamp.

So my two 2a3 RCA tubes died yesterday.  They did not last long, did I do anything wrong?  They were supposedly to be NOS.  Now they make this up and down hiss noise...

How old are they?  Were they new?  I'm thinking they may have been old, old stock if they failed this soon.

Offline Paul Birkeland

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Re: Noise floor questions...
« Reply #14 on: June 22, 2014, 12:18:20 PM »
     So my two 2a3 RCA tubes died yesterday.  They did not last long, did I do anything wrong?  They were supposedly to be NOS.  Now they make this up and down hiss noise...

What do the voltages look like with those tubes installed?
     
     

     



     

   
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Paul "PB" Birkeland

Bottlehead Grunt & The Repro Man