Audio Systems/home stereo system

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QUESTION: Hello,

My parents bought a good stereo system back in 1984 or so which for some reason is still my favorite system to use. It's an LXI series receiver with two tall speakers for it. A few years back I paid to have the speakers rebuilt and have everything fixed up with the receiver. The sound is very good, at least it's better than any of the other stereos in the house. It's probably as close to good as you can get without actually investing in a complete home theater system which I don't have the money to do.

Anyways, there seems to be nothing wrong with my speakers. Maybe it's just my receiver is so old and needs replacing?? I don't want to do that. Here's what my receiver seems to do: When I plug things into the aux, my ipod, my smart phone, cd discman, or whatever it is, if the volume on the aux device is on max, there is some popping sounds, distortion maybe, I think it's a peaking type of sound, that comes out of at least one of the speakers, the left one, on occasion. It doesn't do that on every song, just on some of them, but always on the same spots. But its inconsistent, occasionally, it won't distort. Sometimes, it'll play for weeks with no distortion, and then it's back all the time.

To get rid of that distortion, I turn down the volume on the aux device by twenty or thirty percent, and then everything is fine. I can turn up the volume on the actual receiver as loud as I want, and that's okay. It just seems to not want my aux original device to be so loud I suppose.

But here in lies the tale, I got tired of using discman in there to play cd's, and having to make sure that it's batteries are charged up and etc etc, so I bought a five disc changer from sony two weeks ago. But now it distorts, makes that peaking popping sound all the time. And there is no volume on the sony player where I can turn it down for my receiver. It's volume I guess is pre-set.

I know that this sound is a receiver issue, not a speaker issue because even if I put in headphones into the receiver, it makes the same sounds in there too.

Anyways, is there a way I can deal with this some how? Can the volume on my cd disc changer be changed somehow at an electronics repair shop, or better yet, is this maybe something that can easily be fixed on my receiver? Or do you think my receiver is so old that I should just get a new one and use my speakers with a replacement receiver?

Also, I want to also note that whenever I turn my receiver on, there is a faint buzzing sound in the speakers, it's louder primarily in one of them, and quieter in the other. And if I turn the volume up or down, the buzzing sound stays the same volume. Funny thing is, to get rid of the buzzing sound, I just have to switch the input selector from the aux where it normally is, to the phono, then to tape, and then to fm radio, and once it's on fm radio, the buzzing suddenly stops, and I can put the input selector back to aux and listen with no buzzing anymore. So, not a major problem per say, just an annoyance which has been going on for a year. But I thought I'd tell you about this issue as well, in case it gives you an idea of what might be causing my other more serious issue that I was explaining about earlier.

Kind of complicated communication skills on my part, but I hope you understood what I was saying, and if you have any ideas please let me know. If you need to hear what sounds I am talking about, I can plug in my mp3 recorder into the headphone jack of my receiver and probably record something very short for you and email it as an attachment, so that you'll know what I'm talking about.

Thank you for your time,

Darrin

ANSWER: Your question is too long for me to digest everything you conveyed but let me give you my first impression.

It seems the aux input on the LXI is very sensitive and you easily overload it by turning up the volume of your feeding signal to it.

Here is what to try for best performance:  Start the feed signal as low as possible volume from the smartphone, 5 disc Sony, etc.  Then increase volume on the LXI.  That will keep you from overloading the input preamp of the LXI.

So far as the background hum or buzzing it may be a grounding problem between some of the equipments. Or it could be a bad electrolytic in the power supply of the receiver/LXI.  It may require some technical expert troubleshooting but send a more simplified question as a followup after considering the above.

Hope this helps as a first round.

PS:  LXI equipment of the era you are talking about are very middle of the road products and it is quite a miracle it's still working.  LXI of this age does not warrant an investment in repairs or expensive troubleshooting.  Money is better spent on replacement equipment - in my opinion.



---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for getting back to me.

You probably nailed it... my aux input is very sensitive and gets overloaded. Yes, starting the feed signal as low as possible improves the sound. My one problem now is, with my sony 5 disc, it's output volume is preset or something, I can't actually turn it down. Do you think it can be turned down at a repair shop somehow, or, can a repair shop fix my receiver aux overloading issue so that it's not a problem anymore for me?

ANSWER: I think what you need it an attenuation pad between the output of the Sony and the input to the LXI receiver. It is just a little box with a resistor voltage dividing network to reduce the voltage feeding the receiver.  You can buy them or make one; once installed no further maintenance is required.

http://www.amazon.com/Axxess-AALC-Controller-Discontinued-Manufacturer/dp/B003FP

Above link is for an attenuator with adjustable level and connecting rca cables which I think will do the job for you.  And the price is much cheaper than making your own.

Good Luck.



---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I am sure that this product, once I have it will fix that problem for me, and it's fairly inexpensive. I live in Canada so I copied and pasted the amazon.com product title to the amazon.ca search, and I can get one from them. Although, I was wondering if I can possibly pick something up similar at my local best buy store that will do the job? I tried to search at the best buy . ca website for attenuator but it didn't show me what I was looking for. If you have any ideas of what I might be able to get at best buy, please let me know, but otherwise, I will just order that thing you were telling me about from amazon.

Thank you

Darrin

Answer
I sent the amazon page mainly to give you an idea of what you may find.  I would think BestBuy may have a similar thing or any type of attenuator that will do the trick.

Radio Shack used to sell them but there aren't many  RS stores around anymore. If you want to make one on your own there are several sites with how to DIY your own.  Cost is only a few dollars for r or 4 resistors and you don't need a chassis box; the resistors can just be bound in a tape package on the cords going between the Sony and the LXI.

Wishing you the best.  

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Audio Design Engineer; systems, loudspeakers, cd/dvd players, etc. I am knowledgeable in all high end audio equipment and installations. MAKE SURE YOU GIVE A MAKE AND MODEL NUMBER AND CAR IF IT IS AN AUTO QUESTION. Note: I am getting some who ask good questions that take a lot of time to research but then the questioner fails to read the answer. Please don't ask questions unless you are seriously looking for an answer. If you find an answer to your question otherwise then let me know with your reply. Thank you.

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Have been associated with audio design, standards, testing and component systems for over 40 years.

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