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DAC losing SPDIF signal when I spark my gas stove!!!! Please help


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I just upgraded my DAC from a MSB link DAC to the Bryston BDA-1 based in part on the glowing review here. It sounds fabulous except...

 

When my gas furnace starts and when I spark my gas stove to light it (both on different circuits than my computer and my DAC) the DAC loses the signal for a half second. Very annoying since the furnace is going on and off frequently.

 

I'm running:

Win XP

Mediamonkey with Wav.out plugin

M-Audio Delta 1010LT sound card

SPDIF output

Bryston BDA-1 to my pre and amp etc.

 

I've tracked the problem down to the computer since I can swap the computer for a CD player and keep the lock on the signal no problem.

 

My old DAC didn't seem affected at all so maybe it had a higher tolerance for errors or noise in the bitstream.

 

I don't have a UPS or Line filter on either the computer or the DAC.

 

I'd appreciate any suggestion. I'd not sure if I need to change sound cards, drivers, power supplies, OS, ???

 

Thanks for reading,

Dave

 

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I'd say the problem is definitely in the quality of power reaching your equipment. If your computer is receiving a power surge strong enough to interrupt your connection each time the furnace kicks on, then you should put a surge protector/ regulator between it and the wall. It will protect it from malfunction in the long run. Alternatively, if there is a surge protector on the computer right now, then it might be reacting adversely to the repeated surges.

 

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This may be a pain in the butt, but can you try plugging your equipment into other receptacles in another part of the house.

I had similar problems with my electricity, I had issues with my main fuse box, I wasn't getting full power.

I'd get it looked at though.

 

Michael J. Howell[br]Macbook Pro, Airport Extreme Base Station, AppleTV, Majik, Numerik, Katans. Linn Silver and Audioquest 3 Toslink, AQ - Indigo (bi-wire), Mapleshade Bedrocks (yes these actually work).

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Ok now I've tried a whole bunch of things including plugging both my computer and DAC into a power filter and even a UPS with a battery backup. Still the same drop outs.

 

Here one additional peice of info - my sound card (M-Audio Delta 1010LT) allows me to output both a analog and SPDIF output at the same time so I have computer speakers as well as a connection to my DAC. The sound to my computer speakers is unaffected yet my DAC loses its signal frequently. It does it when:

- the furnace compressor goes on

- the gas stove sparks to light

- and even when I turn some lights on an off.

 

I'm beginning to think its my computer or my sound card. When I hook a CD player to the same SPDIF line there is no problem.

 

I'm going crazy here. Anyone got any suggestions?

 

I'm running a Dell 3000 Dimension running XP SP3. I'm running MediaMonkey but I don't think it has anything to do with it since the SPDIF signal is interrupted whether MediaMonkey is playing or not.

 

Thanks again

dbdog

 

 

 

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The saga continues but this time I’ve figured out what happening. I can make the problem go away if I do all of the following (i.e. the problem returns when any one of these conditions is unmet):

 

1. I need to move my computer physically 10 ft. away from the wall where I keep it. My theory about this is that interference from the house electrical a few feet away from where the computer lives is being induced into the SPDIF line either after it comes out of the back of the sound card or inside the computer. My dongle out of my sound card looks pretty unshielded and the SPDIF signal travels about 10 inches in it before connecting to my 75 ohm shielded cable.

2. I needed to replace my 50 ft. cable (decent by not super high end shielded 75 ohm cable) sending my SPDIF signal to my BDA-1 with a 3 ft cable that is either shielded better or the shorter length picks up less interference

3. I needed to plug both my computer and the BDA-1 into a power filter.

 

My initial conclusion it that the BDA-1 is a very sensitive little creature. Recall that my old MSB Link DAC has no trouble playing right through with no power filters and leaving my computer where it was with the unshielded dongle and the 50 ft. cable.

 

I suppose when sound quality is concerned, one may argue that sensitive is better. My trouble is that I have no idea how I’m going to work out a realistic and livable solution for using the BDA-1. I can’t really move my computer or my fuse box without serious disruption. And putting my BDA-1 only 3 ft. from my computer is another challenge I'd rather not deal with.

 

If any thoughts about solutions I haven’t considered come to mind when reading this please send them along. I'm wondering if it's all worth it. Sure the Bryston sounds better but it seems temperamental and it's making me mental.

 

Cheers

Dave

 

 

 

 

 

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Hi James,

 

Thanks for the suggestion. I tried optical with no change in the behavior. Last night I ended up moving my computer away from my fuse box area closer to my stereo, using a shorter SPDIF coax cable and filtering the power going into all units (computer, DAC, Pre) except my amp and it sounds wonderful. I had the most glorious night of listening! I didn't want to go to bed!!!!

 

The only problem is my desktop computer is humming away in my livingroom ruining my enjoyment of my now dead quiet noise floor. I'll have to solve that problem now.

 

Cheers

Dave

 

PS Chris suggested trying to float the ground pin on the BDA-1 (i.e. use a two prong plug) to see if it's a grounding issue going into the BDA-1. I'm curious to try but I'd prefer if all my gear was grounded for the safety of the equipment. I'm no expert on that though.

 

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I've been using the coax spdif connectors to get the digital stream from my computer to my DAC. Does anyone have an opinion if my problem might be solved by using a BNC cable with an RCA adaptor at the computer end (since that is the only option on my sound card) and running to the BDA-1 BNC SPDIF input.

 

Are BNC cables better than sheilded 75 ohm coax? I've hear that BNC is better but no explanation as to why.

 

Cheers

Dave

 

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  • 1 year later...

Well I finally got around to replacing my M-Audio Delta 1010 sound card with a Lynx AES16 and the problem has completely disappeared. It was nothing to do with the awesome Bryston BDA-1.

 

The lesson: when troubleshooting always start with the source! Thanks everyone for your help.

 

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