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PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:59 am 
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Hoping to get some insight or suggestions for a friend who is having issues with his new analogue set-up.

My friend just recently purchased a brand new analogue front end. Pro-ject Extension 10 with Ortofon Cadenza Black. His pre amp is an Audio Research SP-9. Since the Cadenza Black is a low output MC he needed to purchase a dedicated phono pre as the SP-9's onboard phono stage doesn't have enough gain. After extensive research he decided on the Lehmen Audio Black Cube Decade phono pre.

Once the table and new cartridge were set up he proceeded to connect the table to the Lehmen and then the Lehmen to one of his SP-9's line level inputs. Switched to the appropriate input, put on a record and was ready to enjoy his wonderful new analogue set up, but he got no sound,nada, zilch. He noticed none of the indicator lights on the front of the Decade phone pre were lit. He checked and re-checked all of his settings and connections and everything seems correct. Hmmmm?

He decided to borrow an Arcam phono pre which works perfectly in his system connected identically. This brought him to the conclusion that there must be something wrong with the Lehmen so he brought that to another system installed it and it worked perfectly. Getting perplexed now. Brought the Lehmen back home hooked it up again and same result. No sound. This time he noticed that when not connected to his AR pre but powered up the Lehmens indicator LED's light up but as soon as he connects the Lehmen to the AR pre the indicator lights go out. WTF.

Yes, he used the exact same cables in all situations described previously. He contacted the distributor. Their only suggestion was that perhaps his Chang Lightspeed AC conditioner may be affecting the set up so he removed the Chang and re-connected the Lehmen to his AR and same result. As soon as he connects the Lehmen to his AR pre, into any of the pre's line level inputs the Lehmen's LED indicator lights go out and he gets no sound. Very strange.

He has not attempted to contact Lehmen directly yet but plans to do so if no solution is found. My poor friend has invested a significant amount of money and now time on this new set up and can't enjoy any of his vinyl collection. Any ideas at all as to what might be happening here?

Thanks to all in advance who have taken the time to read this lengthy post and may be able to offer any insight.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 3:01 am 
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Is a SUT (step up transformer) available to try plugged into the AR?

If nothing else it (hopefully) would allow your friend to listen to his TT.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 3:16 am 
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Tom_r wrote:
Is a SUT (step up transformer) available to try plugged into the AR?

If nothing else it (hopefully) would allow your friend to listen to his TT.


My friend doesn't own a step.up transformer. He did consider that option initially but decided to go with a new phono pre-amp with sufficient gain for low output MC pickups like the Cadenza Black. He has hooked up the Extension directly to the SP-9's phono input but this only produced a barely audible output level, as expected.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 4:29 am 
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No sound at all makes me thing there is something fundamental wrong. If it were something like a loading issue you'd have some sound, just crappy.

How are you grounding the phono pre to the AR pre?

When it is plugged in and no lights etc, do other inputs still work on the AR pre?

Have you tried connecting just 1 channel at a time to see if perhaps one works and the other doesn't?

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 4:56 am 
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Early in your post you stated that when he first plugged in the Lehman there were no lights on at all. ARC preamps often have switched and non-switched power outlets on the back. Is that where he is plugging the Lehman into?

If so, try plugging the Lehman into a completely separate wall power outlet. The fact that it worked fine in other systems leads me to believe there's a power receptacle issue somewhere.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 5:02 am 
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kb007 wrote:
No sound at all makes me thing there is something fundamental wrong. If it were something like a loading issue you'd have some sound, just crappy.

How are you grounding the phono pre to the AR pre?

When it is plugged in and no lights etc, do other inputs still work on the AR pre?

Have you tried connecting just 1 channel at a time to see if perhaps one works and the other doesn't?


I'll try to address each of your questions individually keeping in mind that this is a situation that a friend of mine is currently experiencing, not me. I have not personally witnessed the issues first hand. The situation was related to me last night in a half lit movie theatre while we were awaiting the start of a screening of the new David Gilmour Live In Pompei concert film, which was excellent by the way. I am fully aware that I may not have or am able to furnish significant detail regarding the issue so as to facilitate complete troubleshooting through this forum. I simply told my friend that I would pose the problem here, with all the info I am aware of, in hopes that someone may be able to offer a potential solution. My friend is a seasoned audiophile who actually works in the industry in sales. He is a member of CAM. but has no presence in the forums and really doesn't care to.

Question one. My friend did think out loud that he wondered if it may be a grounding issue. I told him that even if the issue centered around grounding that there should still be sound of some sort. As far as I know the tonearm leads are grounded to the chasis is of the Lehmen in the proper fashion.

Question two. The AR pre works perfectly including when another phono pre, an Arcam model,is connected in the identical manner.
The issue with the lights is on the Lehmen phono pre only. On the front face of the Lehmen are a series of LED lights which indicate specific operating conditions of the unit such as cartridge type and load setting etc. When the phono pre is powered up but not connected to the AR pre the correct corresponding LED's light up. As soon as the interconnects from the Lehman are connected to the AR pre all indicator lights on the Lehmen instantly go out.

Question three. I don't know. I will suggest that to him but considering what I described happening in the previous paragraph I don't have a lot of hope that trying to connect a single channel will make any difference, but all possibilities need to be considered and each possible solution varified or eliminated.

Thank you.

-- 14 Sep 2017 09:15 --

shawnwes wrote:
Early in your post you stated that when he first plugged in the Lehman there were no lights on at all. ARC preamps often have switched and non-switched power outlets on the back. Is that where he is plugging the Lehman into?

If so, try plugging the Lehman into a completely separate wall power outlet. The fact that it worked fine in other systems leads me to believe there's a power receptacle issue somewhere.


Actually upon initial power up the lights on the Lehmen were not on, but this was due to the fact that it wasn't powered up until all connections were made between it and the tonearm leads and the AR pre which is the normal procedure. My apologies if I wasn't completely clear on this point. Subsequently he did power up the Lehman without it being connected to the AR but with the tonearm cable connected to the Lehmen's inputs. This is when he noticed that the indicator lights for power, cartridge type, and loading were all lit. He then proceeded to connect the Lehmen's outputs into the line level inputs of the AR pre and that is when the indicator lights on the Lehmen went out.

My friend has a pair of Chang Lightspeed power conditioners that all of his equipment is plugged into. I am fairly certain he does not use any of the AC outlets on the AR itself. He did try connecting all affected components directly to the AC outlets on his walls, at the suggestion of the Lehmen product distributor rep but the situation and results were the same. No sound

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 7:26 am 
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Wondering if the Lehmann has some kind of ground sensing circuit built-in.
The SP9 might float audio ground above chassis for some reason and the Lehmann doesn't like that.
Try snipping the interconnect shields at one end to see if that makes a difference.

Gary

Also,the SP9 seems to have a 45sec turn on/mute circuit.Might have to turn on the SP9 first and wait the 45sec then turn on the Lehmann.
Could be doing something like shunting to ground before the SP9 turns on. Lehmann might not like that.


Last edited by sasquatch on Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:49 am 
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sasquatch wrote:
Wondering if the Lehmann has some kind of ground sensing circuit built-in.
The SP9 might float audio ground above chassis for some reason and the Lehmann doesn't like that.
Try snipping the interconnect shields at one end to see if that makes a difference.

Gary


+1. The Lehman is looking for something that the AR is not providing. Does the Lehman have a protection circuit that is looking for a signal the AR is not providing?

Just to be clear, has he (or you) tried the Lehman in another system? If not, you might volunteer to give it a whirl and see if it is doing the same thing on another system. Finally I would be taking it back to the vendor and asking them to please make it work.

Good luck. Glad my Project tube boxes don't do anything funky like that!


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:54 am 
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brownslane wrote:
sasquatch wrote:
Wondering if the Lehmann has some kind of ground sensing circuit built-in.
The SP9 might float audio ground above chassis for some reason and the Lehmann doesn't like that.
Try snipping the interconnect shields at one end to see if that makes a difference.

Gary


+1. The Lehman is looking for something that the AR is not providing. Does the Lehman have a protection circuit that is looking for a signal the AR is not providing?

Just to be clear, has he (or you) tried the Lehman in another system? If not, you might volunteer to give it a whirl and see if it is doing the same thing on another system. Finally I would be taking it back to the vendor and asking them to please make it work.

Good luck. Glad my Project tube boxes don't do anything funky like that!


Yes, as I posted originally he was able to put the Lehmen in another system and it worked perfectly. I would agree that there is some form of mismatch going on between the Lehmen and the SP-9, the question is what? What could cause such a mismatch? Protection circuitry in a phono pre?
I suppose that's possible, although I have never heard of such a thing. Perhaps a impedance mismatch? That doesn't really make much sense either. He has had no issues with other line level source components. He also has an Ayre universal player and a tuner connected to the AR. I think Gary's hunch that it is ground related is so far the most ligical possibility. Unfortunately in the end, the only solution may be a different phono pre.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:59 am 
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Maybe a silly question, The ARC Sp9 has a tube Phone and fet line stage. Is the Line stage in the ARC working? Does your friend have any other source plugged into the ARC to confirm if the line stage of the preamp is working?

Best of luck.

Simon


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:04 pm 
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simonml wrote:
Maybe a silly question, The ARC Sp9 has a tube Phone and fet line stage. Is the Line stage in the ARC working? Does your friend have any other source plugged into the ARC to confirm if the line stage of the preamp is working?

Best of luck.

Simon


Yes, as I mention in a reply right before your post, he does have other equipment connected to other line level inputs on the AR. He has also connected other components to the same line level input as the Lehmen, including another phono pre and they all worked fine.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:14 pm 
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Hi,

Can you ask your friend to check and confirm the input & output RCA connections on the rear of the Decade.

The RCA connection are configured as shown in the pic.

Grounding would not have any impact on the problem that was reported.

Hope this helps,

MKoM, Toronto :D


Attachments:
Lehmann Decade Connections.jpg
Lehmann Decade Connections.jpg [ 118.95 KiB | Viewed 553 times ]

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:26 pm 
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corvigo2004 wrote:
Hi,

Can you ask your friend to check and confirm the input & output RCA connections on the rear of the Decade.

The RCA connection are configured as shown in the pic.

Grounding would not have any impact on the problem that was reported.

Hope this helps,

MKoM, Toronto :D


I sent my friend a link to this thread so he may be monitoring the responses. Whether or not he decides to chime in directly is up to him. I began this thread unsolicited by him as I know there is a large base of knowledge of all things analogue here on CAM and I was hoping someone could help.

As I mentioned earlier my friend is a long time audiophile and works in the sector and spends the better part of his day hooking up audio/video equipment of all kinds for a living. It is possible however that he overlooked something as simple as using the wrong connection, input to input instead of output to input, so I will pass this on to him as a possibility however unlikely it may be.

Thank you.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 6:47 am 
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Thought I would post an update to this thread. Sorry for the delay. This is now an "Alls well that ends well" situation. My friend returned the phono pre to the distributor who had it checked out. They tested it and hooked it up and could find nothing wrong with it. It performed perfectly. The distributor called up my friend to tell him. The distributor offered to send him a different brand new sample of the same model anyway basically out of desperation. Wouldn't you know it, the new unit arrives and performs flawlessly in my friends system hooked up exactly as the returned sample was. Go figure. So while there will remain no clear explanation ad to what the issue was at least my friend now has a properly working phono pre and it sounds fantastic.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 8:27 am 
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Pure speculation here on this issue, but could it be that the new decade phono MC preamp does have an output that is free from DC flowing at their outputs??
ARC SP9 not liking it shunt this down to ground??
More test might reveal something different.

A lot of manufacturer do change without notice version of their products, that's the only logic reason I would think of.
It did happen to me on a power amplifier schematics from Classé.


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