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Slashsmil
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Last seen: 2 months 6 days ago
Joined: Feb 7 2021 - 7:53am
Help - phono stages dying!

Greetings,

I have a bewildering and unfortunately expensive issue that has come up with my turntable set up. I currently have a VPI prime with Hana ML cartridge [both purchased new October 2020] connected to Audia flight FL3S integrated amplifier. My original phono stage was an older Rega aria which was the 1st victim of my current predicament.

Just prior to Christmas - two months after the VPI was purchased new - I lost right channel sound. After a process of elimination I suspected it was the aria, which was confirmed by our local AV repair guy that indeed the Rega did have a blown right channel. I thought nothing of it, bad luck as there were no needle drops, lightning storms, etc.

Fast-forward then about one month, while awaiting the Aria repair, I made use of the internal phono on my integrated. Definitely not on par with the aria, but serviceable. By then as well I had upgraded all my cords to Blue Jeans cables from cheap amazon cables. Remarkably, while listening quietly the right channel goes out on the Audia Flight internal phono. I take this apart and can clearly see a blown resistor (I think)! At this point I have no idea what is going on. Prior to the second phono blowing, everything seemed to be playing flawlessly. No sound changes. No hum. No static issues that I could detect. Nothing. So, I take my turntable to our local vinyl guru here in Vancouver, Nick at the turntable shop. I would have taken it to my dealer, but I bought the tt/cart as a package for a remarkable deal from a reputable vendor in Eastern Canada... I could not get a local store to match the price. Anyways, he tests the tonearm and cart and he can find nothing wrong with either. Speaking with my repair technician handling the aria, he has never seen 2 phono stages die in such short succession. He as well feels the turntable/cart are unlikely culprits although I did not bring to him to inspect.

By this time I had already swapped out all my cables, bought a furman power conditioner, and was hoping to get my aria back in action. I thought perhaps simply bad luck x 2 as the turntable inspection passed muster and I could not think of any plausible deficiency with the TT. Again simply bad luck x 2. Unfortunately with Covid, parts are very difficult to find for the Aria and so with the delay I decided to upgrade my phono stage and purchased an avid pulsus lightly used.
2 weeks now with the avid, I like it very much. Last night though while washing dishes suddenly our speakers began to hum dreadfully. Nothing was playing at the time, but the platter was still spinning as I forgot to turn it off. However, the tonearm was safely parked. I race over, turn everything off quickly. Nasty smell. I popped off the case of the avid with dread and confirmed the smell of electronic death, one the little resistors black colored and clearly fried.

At this point I think I may need a priest for an exorcism. Obviously I am not going to be connecting anything to my turntable. CD player, stream box, everything play nicely so I am going to park my vinyl until I can sort this out.

I did email both VPI customer service and my dealer initially when the aria blew, and they assured me that is was likely the aria. Thereafter I have been in touch with both as well after the integrated phono blew...but they too were puzzled by the issues. I am awaiting their responses now after my latest debacle.

I would be most grateful for any shared similar experiences or theories. Thankfully the TT and cart were purchased new so boxing it up and returning both may simply be my best option. I have been combing through forum after forum, and have some theories but I am hopeful that the vast experience on these forums will help me solve this puzzle. Again thanks in advance your help.

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