New (to me) amp: McCormack DNA-125

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Comments

  • Clipdat
    Clipdat Posts: 11,488
    edited January 2018
    The only other things plugged into the same outlet were the preamp and CD players. Other outlets in the room have clock radios plugged into them that's it.

    There's a florescent light in the kitchen, I tried it with the light both on and off, no effect on the hum. No dimmer switches anywhere in the apartment.

    And yeah I'll try it tonight with just the amp plugged in with nothing attached to it, and I'll try it on an outlet in a different room.
    kharp1 wrote: »
    Try the strip just for reference, but, keep in mind that many of them will restrict quality power and you're better off plugging directly in to the wall in most cases, especially with an amp. Not sure what else is plugged in to that outlet, but, I would start eliminating pieces one at a time. Unplug a piece and see if the hum goes away. Many electronics can interfere with each other. Also, is there a fluorescent light in the area? Is there a dimmer switch being used.

    You could also go the reverse route and unplug everything from the system except the amp and see if there's hum, then start adding components back in one at a time.

  • I am missing something here. Is it a hum through the speakers or a hum from the actual transformer?
    2 channel: Anthem 225 Integrated amp; Parasound Ztuner; TechnicsTT SL1350; Vincent PHO-8 phono pre; Marantz CD6005 spinner; Polk SDA2BTL's; LAT International speaker cables, ZU Mission IC's and power cables all into a PS Audio Dectet Power center.

    Other; M10 series II, M7C's, Hafler XL600 amp, RB-980BX, Parasound HCA-1500 amp , P5 preamp, all in storage. All vintage Polk have had crossover rebuilds and tweeter upgrades.

    The best way to predict the future is to invent it.

    It is imperative that we recognize that an opinion is not a fact.

    Imagine making politics your entire personality.
  • Clipdat
    Clipdat Posts: 11,488
    There is a hum originating from the actual amplifier itself when it is powered on.

    There is a slight white noise/hiss originating from the tweeters of the speakers when the amplifier is powered on.
    I am missing something here. Is it a hum through the speakers or a hum from the actual transformer?

  • Ok, that is what I thought.
    2 channel: Anthem 225 Integrated amp; Parasound Ztuner; TechnicsTT SL1350; Vincent PHO-8 phono pre; Marantz CD6005 spinner; Polk SDA2BTL's; LAT International speaker cables, ZU Mission IC's and power cables all into a PS Audio Dectet Power center.

    Other; M10 series II, M7C's, Hafler XL600 amp, RB-980BX, Parasound HCA-1500 amp , P5 preamp, all in storage. All vintage Polk have had crossover rebuilds and tweeter upgrades.

    The best way to predict the future is to invent it.

    It is imperative that we recognize that an opinion is not a fact.

    Imagine making politics your entire personality.
  • gmcman
    gmcman Posts: 1,678
    I would turn off a circuit breaker one at a time and see if the noise goes away. You could have some DC on one of your circuits which can make a transformer hum.
  • motorhead43026
    motorhead43026 Posts: 3,892
    edited January 2018
    If you can, might consider getting a dedicated circuit installed. On my to do list for 2018.
    2 channel: Anthem 225 Integrated amp; Parasound Ztuner; TechnicsTT SL1350; Vincent PHO-8 phono pre; Marantz CD6005 spinner; Polk SDA2BTL's; LAT International speaker cables, ZU Mission IC's and power cables all into a PS Audio Dectet Power center.

    Other; M10 series II, M7C's, Hafler XL600 amp, RB-980BX, Parasound HCA-1500 amp , P5 preamp, all in storage. All vintage Polk have had crossover rebuilds and tweeter upgrades.

    The best way to predict the future is to invent it.

    It is imperative that we recognize that an opinion is not a fact.

    Imagine making politics your entire personality.
  • Clipdat
    Clipdat Posts: 11,488
    I just tested the amp with nothing plugged in on every outlet/circuit in my apartment, same hum.

    Then I took it to my office building (built in 1993) and tried on three different outlets in various offices. All three resulted in a hum from the amp.

    In the first office the hum was also accompanied by a high pitched electrical noise. On the second outlet it was just a quiet hum, on the third outlet it was a very quiet hum.

    Unfortunately none of them resulted in silence.

    Conclusion is that it's not my apartment's power that's causing the humming sound.

    Thoughts?
  • kharp1
    kharp1 Posts: 3,453
    Ask for a refund
  • halo
    halo Posts: 5,612
    While Kerry had a dead silent amp in his posession, the amp always exhibited some very small degree of transformer hum for me. Like Drew, I live in an apartment and the power in this place is far less than ideal. I cannot hear a hum from the listening position or from the speakers but I can feel a vibration from time to time on the amp. @SCompRacer assures me that this is a very common phenomenon and it’s difficult, at best, to determine the source, cause, or resolution.
  • Tony M
    Tony M Posts: 10,794
    Is there any McCormack amp owners that state they have a humming amp with hiss coming out of their speakers and are completely happy and complicit about it?

    If there are, they bought their amps for peanuts. ;)
    Most people just listen to music and watch movies. I EXPERIENCE them.
  • Clipdat
    Clipdat Posts: 11,488
    edited January 2018
    I've emailed TMR and I will share their response here.

    My conclusion is that if in fact their technician who tested the amplifier before the sale did not hear a hum coming from it, then their listening/testing area was not quiet enough.

    If it did in fact not have a hum before it was shipped, then something transpired during the shipping process to cause this hum.
    kharp1 wrote: »
    Ask for a refund

    Maybe I am being unreasonable about the hum, and that it could be "normal" for an amplifier that is 10+ years old. However, my previous experience with power amplifiers is that they don't make this sound when powered on.

    I would hate to get into a situation where the amp gets shipped back to TMR and they claim that the noise is "normal", or "quiet enough to be acceptable" etc.

    If the item description on TMR's website said that they unit exhibits an audible hum I would have never bought it.
  • Tony M
    Tony M Posts: 10,794
    I agree that the ad should've stated a small hum is audible up close if that was the case. I seriously doubt they'll ever admit it though. But then if they did state that, nobody would buy it without a drastic reduction off MSRP.

    They thought it was sold and gone probably.

    They themselves might have bought it at a seriously reduced price and then went to pass it on as a fully functioning QUIET amp. I'm just upset when scenarios like these happen.

    Forgive me.

    Tony
    Most people just listen to music and watch movies. I EXPERIENCE them.
  • lightman1
    lightman1 Posts: 10,721
    Drew....your chasing ghosts...
    If the amp does a "buzz hum" at start up....no worries.
    You have tried to eliminate the result at three points of trying. Without eliminating the first cause.
    Amplifiers hum..... Let it be a part of the chain and then ignore it.
  • PSOVLSK
    PSOVLSK Posts: 4,731
    Clipdat wrote: »
    Oh, a few quirks that I forgot to mention in my post.

    It makes a thump sound through the speakers when you turn it on, and also slightly dims the lights.

    Also, if you put your ear up to the tweeter with no signal, you can hear a very slight hum/buzz.

    Also if you kneel down next to the amp itself you can hear a slight hum/buzz, presumably coming from it's power transformer.

    The NAD integrated was literally silent, FWIW - from both the speakers and the unit itself.

    Not showstoppers by any means since when music is playing you can't hear it. Just figured I'd mention it.

    Serious questions here. Not being a smart a$$.

    How often to you put your ear up to the tweeter with no signal?

    How often do you kneel down next to the amp?

    If you can't hear when the music is playing, what's the issue? I suppose just the fact that you know if you put your ear to the tweeter with no signal or knelt down next to the amp you know it wouldn't be silent. I get it, but I'd sure try to get past it if I liked the sound the amp was producing.

    Anyway, best of luck on whatever you decide to do. Great looking system you've got.
    Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.-John Wooden
  • lightman1
    lightman1 Posts: 10,721
    PSOVLSK wrote: »
    Clipdat wrote: »
    Oh, a few quirks that I forgot to mention in my post.

    It makes a thump sound through the speakers when you turn it on, and also slightly dims the lights.

    Also, if you put your ear up to the tweeter with no signal, you can hear a very slight hum/buzz.

    Also if you kneel down next to the amp itself you can hear a slight hum/buzz, presumably coming from it's power transformer.

    The NAD integrated was literally silent, FWIW - from both the speakers and the unit itself.

    Not showstoppers by any means since when music is playing you can't hear it. Just figured I'd mention it.

    Serious questions here. Not being a smart a$$.

    How often to you put your ear up to the tweeter with no signal?

    How often do you kneel down next to the amp?

    If you can't hear when the music is playing, what's the issue? I suppose just the fact that you know if you put your ear to the tweeter with no signal or knelt down next to the amp you know it wouldn't be silent. I get it, but I'd sure try to get past it if I liked the sound the amp was producing.

    Anyway, best of luck on whatever you decide to do. Great looking system you've got.

    Thanks Paul. BTW.....that amp you sold me is a paperweight. :D
  • Clipdat
    Clipdat Posts: 11,488
    edited January 2018
    Going to have to politely disagree with that. I just hooked my NAD integrated up, which is an amplifier, and I get zero hiss from the tweeters and the unit itself is absolutely inaudible. I put my ear 2 inches from it and there is literally no noise coming from it whatsoever.

    It's simply not accurate to say "amplifiers hum" as a blanket statement.
    lightman1 wrote: »
    Amplifiers hum..... Let it be a part of the chain and then ignore it.

    I definitely see your point, it's very possible that this is just a quirk of how these amps operate. However, I don't believe it is based on other McCormack owners stating that their amps are silent in operation. The hum can be heard by kneeling next to the unit, yes, but my wife also mentioned she could clearly hear it as well and she was roughly 11 feet away. It's a weird frequency that resonates.
    PSOVLSK wrote: »

    Serious questions here. Not being a smart a$$.

    How often to you put your ear up to the tweeter with no signal?

    How often do you kneel down next to the amp?

    If you can't hear when the music is playing, what's the issue? I suppose just the fact that you know if you put your ear to the tweeter with no signal or knelt down next to the amp you know it wouldn't be silent.

    That's the thing, to my ears it didn't sound any different than the NAD. $400 NAD vs. $800 McCormack and the NAD is giving me blacker blacks and better S/N ratio?
    Doesn't seem like all is right with this particular DNA-125. Even when I spoke with SMc today they mentioned that the DNA should be giving me a much different/better sound signature.
    PSOVLSK wrote: »
    I get it, but I'd sure try to get past it if I liked the sound the amp was producing.
  • kharp1
    kharp1 Posts: 3,453
    halo wrote: »
    While Kerry had a dead silent amp in his posession, the amp always exhibited some very small degree of transformer hum for me. Like Drew, I live in an apartment and the power in this place is far less than ideal. I cannot hear a hum from the listening position or from the speakers but I can feel a vibration from time to time on the amp. @SCompRacer assures me that this is a very common phenomenon and it’s difficult, at best, to determine the source, cause, or resolution.

    Full disclosure, I had mine plugged in to a PS Audio Powerplant.
  • lightman1
    lightman1 Posts: 10,721
    edited January 2018
    halo wrote: »
    While Kerry had a dead silent amp in his posession, the amp always exhibited some very small degree of transformer hum for me. Like Drew, I live in an apartment and the power in this place is far less than ideal. I cannot hear a hum from the listening position or from the speakers but I can feel a vibration from time to time on the amp. @SCompRacer assures me that this is a very common phenomenon and it’s difficult, at best, to determine the source, cause, or resolution.

    Full disclosure, I had mine plugged in to a PS Audio Powerplant.
    B)
  • tonyb
    tonyb Posts: 32,772
    kharp1 wrote: »
    halo wrote: »
    While Kerry had a dead silent amp in his posession, the amp always exhibited some very small degree of transformer hum for me. Like Drew, I live in an apartment and the power in this place is far less than ideal. I cannot hear a hum from the listening position or from the speakers but I can feel a vibration from time to time on the amp. @SCompRacer assures me that this is a very common phenomenon and it’s difficult, at best, to determine the source, cause, or resolution.

    Full disclosure, I had mine plugged in to a PS Audio Powerplant.

    Which is why I suggested a good non current limiting PC. Hum is one of those things that drives me nuts, be it normal or not. I want a dead silent system.

    I have a PS Audio PC too, but it's more along the lines of an entry model that I picked up for like 3 bones. Does what it's suppose to do and my system has always been quiet as a church mouse.

    I think the OP has a few choices at this point.
    Get a power conditioner
    Sell the amp and recoup most the coin
    Trade the amp for another.

    Other adjustments to the incoming power, circuit breakers/wall outlets/dedicated lines aren't possible seeing he's in an apartment.
    HT SYSTEM-
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    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
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    Kitchen

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  • tratliff
    tratliff Posts: 1,423
    I would make a call over to Josh at TMR. I have worked with him many times and he is 100% focused on customer satisfaction and repeat business.

    Make sure he understands your concern(s) and let him help remedy the situation.

    Good luck with whatever you decide. That is a great amp and you will be hard pressed to find anything that even comes close for the cost.
    2 Channel
    Legacy Focus SE's, 2 REL Carbon Limited, Norma Revo IPA-140, Lumin U2 Mini, VPI Prime w/SoundSmith Zephyr MIMC, Parasound Halo JC3, Denon DP-59l w/Denon DL-301MKII, AudioQuest Thunderbird Speaker and Interconnect Cables, AudioQuest Niagara 5000 w/Hurricane and Thunder Power Cables

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  • PSOVLSK
    PSOVLSK Posts: 4,731
    Clipdat wrote: »

    That's the thing, to my ears it didn't sound any different than the NAD. $400 NAD vs. $800 McCormack and the NAD is giving me blacker blacks and better S/N ratio?
    Doesn't seem like all is right with this particular DNA-125. Even when I spoke with SMc today they mentioned that the DNA should be giving me a much different/better sound signature.

    This part I really understand. If I'm paying twice as much for an amp (or anything else for that matter) I expect improvement.
    lightman1 wrote: »

    Thanks Paul. BTW.....that amp you sold me is a paperweight. :D

    Best paperweight money can buy ;)

    Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.-John Wooden
  • tonyb
    tonyb Posts: 32,772
    Clipdat wrote: »


    That's the thing, to my ears it didn't sound any different than the NAD. $400 NAD vs. $800 McCormack and the NAD is giving me blacker blacks and better S/N ratio?
    Doesn't seem like all is right with this particular DNA-125. Even when I spoke with SMc today they mentioned that the DNA should be giving me a much different/better sound signature.

    Indeed it should, which means one of 2 things in my mind. Either your incoming power is that bad, or the amp itself needs some maintenance. Not much you can do about the apartments juice, aside from springing for a good power conditioner. Even then, you may still find the amp needs some maintenance or something got jarred loose during shipping.
    HT SYSTEM-
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Polk Sig. 20's
    Polk FX500 surrounds

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    Grant Fidelity tube dac
    B&k 1420
    lsi 9's
  • Clipdat
    Clipdat Posts: 11,488
    Thanks for the additional point of contact.

    Been emailing with another member of their customer service team, so I will see how that plays out first.
    tratliff wrote: »
    I would make a call over to Josh at TMR. I have worked with him many times and he is 100% focused on customer satisfaction and repeat business.

    Make sure he understands your concern(s) and let him help remedy the situation.

    Good luck with whatever you decide. That is a great amp and you will be hard pressed to find anything that even comes close for the cost.

  • Clipdat
    Clipdat Posts: 11,488
    Response from TMR:

    "If the amp isn't going to work for you I'm happy to get it back here. If you decide that this is the best option for you and you would like to return the amp I can set up an RA to get the unit back here. Let me know how you would like to proceed and I can get you an RA and address to start that process.

    With regards to it having been damaged during shipping, unless the transformer physically came detached during shipping there isn't much else that could cause this that wouldn't immediately cause the fuses to blow. You wouldn't even have time to hear the transformer hum. It would be obvious if the transformer had come detached as it would be bouncing around inside the chassis. With a torrodial transformer there is always some level of transformer hum when it is in operation. This can be increased with DC offset on the AC lines.

    Let me know how you would like to proceed and I'll get that started for you."


    So I guess now we get to decide who pays for the return shipping.

    Also I don't know why he mentions a toroidal transformer, as this amplifier uses an E-I transformer.
  • mikeyb128
    mikeyb128 Posts: 2,886
    You should hear the transformers hum on my Bryston 4B3, OP would probably throw it in a river.
    2 channel:
    Bryston 4B3, Bryston BDA3, Cary SLP05, Shanling CDT1000SE with parts conneXion level 2 mods, Nottingham analogue ace space 294, soundsmith Carmen MKii, Zu DL103 MKii, Ortofon MC 20 MKii, Dynavector XX2 MKii, Rogue Audio Ares, Core power technologies balanced power conditioner, Akiko Corelli power conditioner with Akiko Audio HQ power cable, Nordost heimdall 2, Frey 2, interconnects, speaker and power cables, Focal Electra 1028 BE 2, Auralic Aries Femto, Black diamond racing cones, ingress audio level 1 roller blocks, JL Audio E110 with Auralic subdude, Primacoustics room treatments.
    Theater:
    Focal Aria 926,905,CC900, SVS PB ultra x2. Pioneer Elite SC85, Oppo BDP93, Panamax M5400PM, Minix neox6, Nordost Blue heaven LS power cables.

  • Clipdat
    Clipdat Posts: 11,488
    Re-reading the response from TMR, I don't like the tone of that email at all.

    Why is it that it "isn't going to work for you" versus there being something physically wrong with the amplifier? It's being spun around back on me like the issue lies with me, not the amp.
  • gmcman
    gmcman Posts: 1,678
    Did you try turning off each circuit breaker one at a time until the only one left is for the amp?
  • Clipdat
    Clipdat Posts: 11,488
    edited January 2018
    Nope, but I did unplug everything else that was on the same circuit. And then as mentioned I physically took it to my office building and tried it there. In my opinion, I effectively ruled out the source of power being the culprit.
    gmcman wrote: »
    Did you try turning off each circuit breaker one at a time until the only one left is for the amp?

  • gmcman
    gmcman Posts: 1,678
    Clipdat wrote: »
    Nope, but I did unplug everything else that was on the same circuit. And then as mentioned I physically took it to my office building and tried it there. In my opinion, I effectively ruled out the source of power being the culprit.


    I have to respectfully disagree. Does your office have flourescent lights? If so, likely many of them?

    Unplugging an appliance, doesn't remove the possible DC from the live circuits in your home.

    The only way to rule out the power source, is to de-energize the other circuits in your home. Everything shares the same ground, and is tied to the neutral buss.

    Try what I said and report back.