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Quiet Stereo Amp Suggestions
post Apr 12 2012, 08:40
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My HK 3490 I use on my desk with bookshelves about 2 feet away from me always seems to have a low hiss noise (slightly louder on right channel then on left) that is always present at some volume regardless of chosen input. The noise at times bothers me more than other times just listening to the speakers, but if I plug in audio technica headphones (which I've found to be easy to drive) the hiss becomes unbearable.

To this end I was wondering if there are any stereo amps I might look at that eliminate this hiss? I currently use the optical in and so would like a replacement that also has that. The speakers are Linn Majik 109s and they are pointed in at me each at about 2 feet from my ear.

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post Apr 13 2012, 19:54
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In my experience, even equipment from reputable manufacturers can have problems. A Marantz SR4300 surround receiver I own has audible hiss in both channels driving a pair of relatively insensitive (87dBspl/w/m) speakers. Furthermore, the right channel has a very faint (almost inaudible) 50Hz mains buzz that's a lot more audible when using the headphone output.I attribute the noise floor to the ADC part of the ADC-DAC chain (even analog stereo sources get converted to digital for volume control, EQ and mixing and back to analog) because when feeding the amplifier through SP-DIF there's no hiss. There's a Source Direct mode but it's probably just a placebo switch since it doesn't bypass the ADC-DAC chain (you can still control volume). When lowering the (digital) volume control to 0 the hiss cuts out (probably because the ADC-DAC chain mutes) and only the mains buzz remains.

Sadly, without proper 3rd-party measurements (or listening before purchase for obvious flaws like these) you can't be sure that even a modern amplifier can be transparent.

This post has been edited by Ferongr: Apr 13 2012, 19:55
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