Did I damage my new amp

So, as posted elsewhere, I bought new Monitor Audio Gold 300 speakers which I am still waiting to receive. I was impressed by the Arcam SA30 during the audition so I brought one home to pair with the speakers whenever I get them. In the meantime I am using my 20 year old MA Silver S8’s

Being new to streaming it took some playing around before I figured everything out. But one big mistake was not understanding that the volume on my iPhone also effects the amp volume.

Long story short, I managed to crank the volume on the amp to 100% for a few seconds before I understood what was happening, and got it turned down. ( I found the max. volume setting after the fact)

Since then I find my speakers a bit distorted. Now, I don’t know if they sounded like that with the old amp. Am I just over analysing things, paying TOO much attention to details as it’s a new amp and I’m listening too hard for an improvement, or I damaged the speakers or the amp. It sounds fine with jazz but something more in the progressive rock style and it sounds distorted.

I would like to think that if the amp was in danger it would shut itself down before anything would get damaged. And it was really only a few seconds. I probably will not see my new speakers until next week so I can’t compare with anything and this is got me totally depressed thinking it’s the amp.

What do you all think?



Sorry to hear of your misfortune. You are not the only one to have done something like this. I think it most likely the speakers might have been damaged, not the amp. Your right it would have likely shut down. 

Typically the tweeters might have been overloaded. Although if ancient the surrounds on the woofers could have broke free. Where is the distortion?

I hope so. Even though they are the out going speakers I figured I could sell them for a bit of cash. That’s not going to happen now. But if that’s the case, better the speakers than a brand new amp.

See if you can see if it is one tweeter or both by ear. And reach out to Monitor Audio. It may be cost prohibitive to replace a tweeter(s) if it is still even possible, but at least you will have all the info. Maybe you can still get a few dollars out of it if a tweeter can be replaced.

You'll need to isolate what's damaged.  If the tweeters are damaged, check to see if the voice coil butterfly assembly is replaceable. Could be a simple, and not overly expensive fix if they are. If the woofers are damaged too, it’s gonna cost more for sure, but may still be replaceable.


Hopefully it is just a crossover component.  Pull the woofer and behind it you should find your crossovers.  A resistor or cap that failed catastrophicly like that will generally show heat damage and is easy to identify and easier to repalce than a driver.  

I’ve got a pair of Focal Chorus 714’s in my surround sound setup for my tv. I might just plug those into the 2 channel setup and have a listen. I’ll try that tomorrow sometime. That should get me a quick answer as I don’t think they have ever been punished in any way. Then I know to have a deep dive into the MA components.

Not that I am refusing the dumb ass award but Arcam could ship streaming amps with the “max volume” feature for the Net source at 50 or so, and then direct people to that setting in the manual. It never dawned on me that my iPhone would do that. It really upsets me that I missed that.

Yeah, that is one thing about airplay that sucks. It is an easy mistake to make, especially if one is not aware it can happen. You may have distorted your voice coil/s on one or more of your speakers. If they hit max excursion all at once they can drive themselves hard and warp or even bend a bit. Doubtful, as others have said, you damaged the amp. Your speakers could be cooked unfortunately. Hopefully you discover the problem and it is easily remedied.

I hope you sort this out. But here’s one little tip for you. If your streaming involves using the volume control on your phone, you aren’t doing it right.

At this point, step by step diagnosis is possible. Any diagnosis/repair: Step by step, change only 1 thing at a time.

a. amp damaged?

tv speakers will reveal that. nearly everyone doubt’s that, you will know when you hook up the tv speakers.

b. one MA speaker? or both MA speakers? if amp ok.

Hook up one MA, one tv speaker: noise from that MA speaker? switch sides, noise from other MA speaker, i.e. one side or both sides?.

Now you know which speaker(s) are problematic

c. Fix MA’s to sell: determine the problem(s), decide if fix? Hifishark: they are worth decent $ if working.

Monitor Audio is still in business, they can help, some diagnosis first.

c1. might be only single driver (typically tweeter).

c2. might be crossover part(s)

c3. might be both.

d. both MA speakers, or only one (hopefully only one).

d1. grilles off, low but enough volume: listen carefully to each of the 4 drivers, both L & R; as well as feel the vibration of the lower three.

feel tweeter movement IF you can, sometimes not feel them moving but working, properly or damaged, or not.

e. IF from only one side (good news), you can move good drivers from good side to the problematic side. ONE AT A TIME.


e1. after driver move: no noise: driver only.

e2. find original, OR substitute drivers can easily be found and replaced

f. noise persists: crossover part(s) damaged

Time to get Monitor Audio involved

f1. Personally, I would stop, make some notes, deal with crossover(s) now or later. Or never. Depends on your or a friend’s skills.

f2. Where Crossover? (To Know what is involved). Monitor Audio tells you, IF they don’t:

remove bottom or two bottom drivers, find crossover location, and IF crossover parts all in one place, or some hither, others thither. AND, are crossover parts on a board that can be removed, fixed, replaced? Or, some are parts glued to the inside surface(s).

f3. IF all on one removable board, you could mark/cut wires to drivers, and send only the crossover board to Monitor Audio, or another party to repair/upgrade.

f4. One removable Board or Scattered Parts

I just restored another pair of AR-2ax’s. Single board, removable. Out, fix, back in, easy.

JSE Model 2’s, bunch of parts hot glued hither and thither, PITA.


good luck, hope it’s fairly easy to fix.



I hope you sort this out. But here’s one little tip for you. If your streaming involves using the volume control on your phone, you aren’t doing it right.

which brings me to a side question. 
Is there a way to have the iPhone or iPad volume to NOT move when adjusting the actual amp dial or remote? I should think the phone/pad should remain at the middle or lower and adjust the amp?

Not to derail my own thread though.

If you are using an app like Lumin, Sense or some other streamer app, you can fix the volume. What are you using to stream?

The Focals are in place. My wife is still sleeping so I can’t play at a decent volume yet.

But I should have thought of this yesterday. I plugged in my headphones and I think it sounds ok. You know how it is now, my mind will be messing me up for days thinking I’m hearing or not hearing all sorts of stuff.

If you are using an app like Lumin, Sense or some other streamer app, you can fix the volume. What are you using to stream?

Just my iPhone or iPad and the Arcam

So…😔 after all that I might have to recant. 
I’ve spent the last few hours a/b ing the Focal’s and my old MA’s. I can’t hear what I thought I heard last night.

Maybe my ears were too tired? Maybe I just hit run of a few poorly recorded songs? I don’t know but they sound fine today. I have no other explanation.

One thing the direct comparison revealed, I don’t think the Focal’s sound as good as the MA Silver’s. That was a bit of a surprise.

Post removed 

A negative example of confirmation bias.  there is a lot of it out there, in most threads on this forum.  

Great news.


I hope you sort this out. But here’s one little tip for you. If your streaming involves using the volume control on your phone, you aren’t doing it right.

So what is the correct way?

Excellent. Glad to hear it. I know the feeling of fear in thinking you may have really screwed something up.


During my most recent upgrade I got a new preamp, an Audio Research Reference 6SE… I connected it to my system… with my relatively new $32K speakers and sat down to listen. The music started at ear defining volume… it took me maybe two seconds to cut it off. I researched the connections… the preamp has three outputs… one, two and the third is Record Out (if I remember correctly)…. Basically all amp power to the speakers. Personally I was really pissed. They could have put a yellow cap in it. Sticking your head upside down to wire the preamp (I have been doing this for fifty years) it is easy to get the directions reversed.

Anyway, I did not know the speakers that well yet. But over the next couple days it became obvious my speakers were not damaged. A couple weeks earlier I would have had my Pass 350 in my system and I have no doubt the tweeters would have been toast.


So, don’t feel bad, a good lesson in being careful with no cost.

It's been a stressful day and a half so I'm thinking I will avoid music for a day or two. Let my brain decompress. My new speakers, hopefully, will be here next week. That's when I can really have a good listen.


So two people commented that I’m “doing it wrong” as far as volume adjustments go yet I get no answer when I inquire as to the correct way.

Im not trying to be funny either, I am curious about the answer. 

Sorry, can't help you, but I did read this in the Soundstage review of your integrated:

There are many setup options available through the onscreen menu system........including setting a fixed volume level for that input; setting a maximum initial volume level at power on;

SoundStage! Hi-Fi | SoundStageHiFi.com - Arcam SA30 Integrated Amplifier-DAC

Thanks Jetter. That I know but what I find strange is the relationship between the phone and the amp with regards to volume settings.

Turn up the amp and the phone volume goes up, turn down and the phone goes down. The other way around also. Adjust the phone and the amp follows. I don’t get that.


I’m confused regarding what you are describing as the problem.  My bluesound has the option to be used as a preamp, and my smartphone would be used to control the bluesound volume.  I have disabled my remote smartphone volume adjustment function (via the bluesound app) because I have a preamp that I would rather use.

In my interpretation (likely incorrect) of what you are saying is your problem is that your smartphone can be used to control your integrated, including the volume.  If so, why wouldn’t you expect it to also track the volume when you manually adjust the volume on the integrated?  Or are you saying that manually turning your volume up and down manually on the unit adjust your smartphone volume universally including for listening to phone calls and vice versa?

Again, not understanding exactly the problem, if you just want to use your integrateds remote, why not just disable the Wi-Fi connection between phone and integrated?

The problem was the first night of experimenting with streaming, something I’ve never used, I grabbed my phone the wrong way and it cranked my amp up to maximum volume. A dangerous situation. I just felt it would make more sense to be able to select a volume level on the phone, lock it there, while leaving further fine adjustments to the amp.

As for disabling the Wi-Fi between the phone and amp, will that not also stop me from selecting songs, etc. As I say, I’m very new to the whole streaming thing and I am still in discovery mode as far as settings go. I will look into that though.


 I have disabled my remote smartphone volume adjustment function 

Something I don’t have as that would be the solution 

 Buy a dedicated streamer and only use your phone or iPad to control the app. Volume control would only come from the preamp.

I learned this the hard way also. My tv remote triggers my preamp so I put on some music and the volume control was at about 3:00. Normal loud volume is at 10:00 so I was instantly blown out of my chair. That’s just one more thing to be aware of. No damage to anything thankfully!

Same thing happened to me.  I bought a used RME ADI-2 DAC fs.  I installed it and turned it on.  It was set at very high volume and I immediately turned it down.  Then when I played music I heard some low frequency distortion/fuzzyness/offtone.  So I wondered if it was the new DAC or damaged speakers.  I have Beolab 8000 powered speakers. 

So for a while I turned down the bass. Some songs were great, maybe 1 in 8 were a bit fuzzy . I moved 1 speaker further from a wall.  I put my ear next to the drivers to listen to songs that had fuzzy low notes. It's not definitely bad distortion, just some low bass notes are not clear.

I decided to test the tweeters.  I could hear 1000 Hz, but nothing above that. My wife could hear 2000, 4000 and 8000.  Is there any way to definitely test powered speakers.  It's not the DAC, as using earphones sounds clear.  Maybe it's bad recordings, or dId I become heightened in my listening due to the volume mishap.  Or, is the new DAC clearer, so the fuzzy notes on bad recordings are noticable?

That's how I feel now. I keep thinking I'm hearing things which perhaps are not there. But not the speakers because that happened to me with my new amp and the old speakers I have since replaced. [Yes, my new MA Gold 300's are here!!] So I worry its the amp.

I tend to get paranoid and over think things once a bad thing has happened and now I am thinking I am hearing distortion from my new amp. I am even thinking to try my NAD amp and pre again. If I hear something then I know it's all in my head and that I am over thinking things. I hate to do that because I just got everything all nicely wired and neat tidy, I hate to rip stuff apart again. But if I don't I will always wonder. And if I did pooch the new amp in some way I might as well get the repair over and done with.

Actually one more question of the group. 
If something were buggered in the amp from the momentary full volume event, would that now be evident in the headphone section? I assume the headphone section is a dedicated preamp, right? But with my limited knowledge of electronics I guess that preamp is still going through the main amp circuitry.


contact the dealer you bought the amp from...if they're local have them listen to it...

I just may do that as they are local to me. They will just tell me to buy thousands of dollars worth of speaker cable.

The more in home testing I’m doing is suggesting that I am crazy and over analysing things.  I just finished swapping back my NAD components which were in play before the “event”. It sounds no different. 

I am being overly critical in my listening to brand new expensive equipment which I thought I blew up. I’m probably just paying too much attention to tracks which may not have been recorded perfectly or it’s simply my aging damaged hearing! Most rock/pop/glam rock, whatever way you want to classify it, is not “audio file” level anyway.

Next…I will run the Dirac software and see what I see.

Saying this from unfortunate experience. Ears can seem distorted when subjected to excess volume pressure. But they will most often return to normal soon. Sounds to me like this might be the case.