My stereo is haunted!!

Hello Audiogoners,

I’m looking for some serious sleuthing. I cannot figure out what’s going on with my system. 

The basic system is:

  • Bel Canto Ref1000M Class D mono blocks
  • Modwright SWL 9.0 Anniversary Edition preamp
  • Bel Canto DAC 3
  • Either my old Rotel CD player or Cambridge transport to DAC
  • GoldenEar Triton One speakers

I liked the sound. It was just fine. Then, out of the blue, when I started the system, I’d get static that would build up until I got a loud POP out of the right speaker. How loud? My dog is now afraid of my stereo. Well, she’s not that brave…

I have tried:

  • Swapping in various tubes in the preamp.
  • Sending the preamp back to Modwright for a full exam. Done for only the cost of postage- great company. 
  • Switching the channels used for each mono block. 
  • Switching the channel for each speaker. 
  • Switching out the electronics in one of my speakers (parts supplied for free from GoldenEar- great company).
  • Switched in Adcom GFA555
  • Switched in a Dynaco PAS 3 Series II preamp
  • Used all combinations of preamp/amps
  • Switched out all cabling including speaker wire
  • Added a Furman PL-8C to stop line noise
  • Tried a different circuit in my apartment
  • Tried powering off flatscreen TV, Roku, and WiFi router
  • Switched between CD transports and used the Rotel built in DAC to take the DAC out of the system
  • Tried new surge protectors and power line.
  • Tried some medium sized Klipsch speakers I had around.

Nothing has worked. Some things (like the Furman, oddly enough) have added additional hum. 

I’m fine with basic tube noise floor. Not so fine with small booms and hum.  

I’m ready to go back to my Victrola and give up on electronics all together!

Guesses? Things to try? Have a problem like this before? Thanks for any clues!

Given that you have already switched out all stages and interconnects of your audio chain and still have the loud POP, the problem may be coming from external sources. Does the problem repeat later or only on power-up of your system? And to verify my understanding, it is always in the right channel?
You should swap your speaker cables left to right ( at speaker end only ).

If the problem stays in the right speaker - then either the speaker has issues or it is picking up rf from somewhere. Possible speaker issue could be faulty caps or bad solder joint which is more prone to rf.

If the pops go to the left then stereo more likley the problem, or one channel of the stereo is picking up rf.

Typically if you have a one channel problem, you simply swap left and right channels on one component at a time until you find the problem component.

Sources of rf - anything electrical device that has digital control of timer software running - eg fridges and air-conditioning units are a common source, wifi routers, washing machines/driers. Just try switching them off one at a time to see if it helps.

Try having all your digital gear off a separate outlet - even if you have to run a temporary extension cord. Also make sure your wifi fi routers are on a separate spur from the stereo.

Light switches and dimmers with bad contacts are another common source. I periodically turn the mains power off and go through all the power outlets and light switches in the home and clean and tighten up all the wire contacts - you’d be amazed at how bad these get over time.

It is just a process of elimination. Good luck.
I don't have a suggestion but I can relate to the issue because I had a very similar system with annoying sounds. I also had a Modwright Anniversary Ed. preamp like yours with a Bel Canto REF500s amp and Dynaudio Special 40s. I would always hear faint hums/static (no pops) and little 'ping' noises. I tried to ignore it at first but it eventually began to really get on my nerves. I switched cables, moved things around, called my expert friends and so on. Eventually, nothing worked so I sold them and got a Luxman 505UXii integrated and never looked back. Quiet as a mouse. Best of luck to you--I hope you figure out what's going on. 
Could it be in the room or the electrical wiring or electric service? Did you try a different room/circuit/outlets? Any component or piece in there constantly when it occurs?
It sounds like static build up. I cannot tell if you switched out every component, but it sounds like you have.  I’d check the wall sockets and confirm if they are properly grounded.  

A qualified electrician should be able to tell you if you wiring has a good ground.

Bu the way, if all else fails a good loud exorcism to handle any evil spirits that might be haunting could be worth a try (courtesy of legendary TV script writer Sam Hall).
Maybe something like:

I command thee — whoever thou art! — thou unclean spirits which possess her body — to remove yourselves from her presence, and leave her free to become a servant of the true Lord! HEAR NOT HER BLASPHEMOUS CRIES! JUDGE NOT BY WHAT SHE SAYS! GIVE ME THE POWER TO STEP UPON THE SERPENTS AND SCORPIONS WHICH INHABIT HER! I adjure thee, foul serpent — by the judge of the quick and the dead — that thou depart in haste from this unworthy creature, that she may return to the bosom of goodness! Depart from her, ye cursed demons, into the everlasting fire which burns all evil, and leaves only the ashes of what good she once possessed! ”

That will show it! 🏆

Or not.😳

It did work quite well on TV.

OP you have swapped every component and every cable?

You have changed the AC supply location?

Use one preamp, one source and one power amp, to one pair of speakers.. LIFT the speakers off the floor if the speaker post are close to the floor.

NOW test.. If it's still only the right side, swap left to right from the preamp to the speaker amps (RCAs or XLRs). If it's still on the right.. It's the speaker.

If it moves right to left swap the source (CD, or DAC)'s RCAs or XLRs right to left, if it doesn't change. It IS THE preamp.. Send it back to the manufacture, they missed something..

Easy to check in 10 minutes you'll know.. It's not possessed.. :-)

Your Bel Canto DAC-3 is also a preamp. Try taking the Modwright out of the chain and use your DAC’s preamp section and connect the DAC-3 directly to your amp. Don’t forget to switch the volume on and lower it on the dac. See if the problem persists. 
Let me make sure I understand a couple of thigns: your speakers have a built in subwoofer AND you have swapped the monoblocks. If this is correct then wwap the speakers. If the pop follows the speaker you need it serviced.  As an alternative if your speakers play without the power cord, disconnect it from the popping side.  If it all turns on without a problem, that's also proof your problem is in your sub.

Next minor piece of advice: Leave you mono blocks on all the time. Those really sound better after 48 hours.

That will show it! 🏆

Yea but you forgot the most important part. 

Ask it's name.

AND in the name of "      ", (then their name) be gone..


Amen, (the end)

No laughing matter. :-)

Unless your exercising a bad case of gas. Bigger :-)


If there is anybody here with the power to make an exorcism work I suspect it is you. 👍

Try it on the chickens. Be sure to record video and post. That could go viral!!

"...Use one preamp, one source and one power amp, to one pair of speakers..."

Get down to a bare system to isolate the problem item. 
Post removed 
This is no help to you but when you said “haunted”, it hit home.  My house is 100 years old and I know it is haunted.  I know because one night I was asleep in my chair and suddenly I woke up and saw a figure in front of me, it looked like it was all smokey but I could see the figure.  I remember yelling “what do you want?”, then the figure was gone.  Another time I was in my upstairs office and felt something on my shoulder, it was a arm and hand that looked Smokey, and it was very cold.  That’s it. I also smelled something very sweet.  I do know the woman we bought the house from grandma died in this house from an illness.  

Lately, 5 times to be exact, I have muted my system and perhaps an hour later, the music starts playing again, only on a different FM station.  I keep hoping the ghost is friendly.  One time when my wife and I were traveling, my daughter had her friend stay over the house and she was in our bed.  She was still awake and felt something get on the bed and she assumed it was my dog, but it wasn’t, he was sleeping on the floor in the kitchen.  Kind of makes you think.
Kind of makes you think.
About moving!
Honestly, I have had similar experiences when I lived in a house built in 1720.
Light bulbs unscrewing themselves, someone (thing) lying down next to me in bed, my name being called, the smell of fresh flowers in the middle of winter, footsteps following me up the stairs then past me...
And don’t get me started on how the house ate a starling!
This is just a sample of what went on.
When they're not friendly, you'll know it....
Does the stereo system puke out green pea soup? Tie garlic around the speaker cables!

Maybe your speaker is waiting to crossover...!
Ha! Get it?
Speaker! Crossover!
It's funny because your speaker has a.....forget it.

Thing that go bump in to day and night.

LOL, great thread. I like the garlic, isn't that vampires, VooDoo is cigars and rum, to vanquish the boogly.

If it's at night it's a raccoon, if it during the day it's a squirrel. If it's Chicago it's the neighbor.. :-)

I have a DEMON squirrel, always on the edge of the roof barking at dog. The neighbors cat is always after that squirrel. What a trio.

The noise that squirrel can make.. He gets pissed.. possessed squirrel!

Now the stereo OP, you making any progress?

Set up a completely fresh system on the same outlets using all different equipment and cables.
If you still have the pop, it's your house wiring or outside interference.

If you don't still have the pop put back your components and wires ONE PIECE AT A TIME.  Wait until the pop returns.  Take out the now offending component and you have your answer.
Does the stereo system puke out green pea soup? Tie garlic around the speaker cables!

Ha Ha too funny! It reminds me of a food show I went to 30 some years ago. Hain Food Group hired Linda Blair to autograph cans of their pea
soup. When it was my turn to get a can she said "I need to take a bathroom break". I could resist it. I replied "Why don't you just pee on the floor!" She just stared at me. Joe

Nothing to add other than, thanks for the laughs. Some good ones @thecarpathian  And BTW @oldhvymec this is an e.g. of good decorum. 

I went through the same recently 
In my case it was Rotel preamps Michi P5 and Rotel RC1590 
turning the lights fan AC on and off makes loud pop noise power on and off the system will do the same 
I replace both preamps with Parasound P6 and Hint6 and everything gone 
my recommended is first eliminate the Rotel from the system unplugged it  from wall or any power source 
also if you have iPhone charger plug it to power now instead of charging the phone use the little end that goes to iPhone to touch your preamps CD and the rest of your equipments  the bad one will make noise through your speakers leave all the equipments on like you are playing music but stop the music where you doing this report back  
Sounds like have tried  lot of things, my only suggestion would be to run a dedicated line to your system, because a power conditioner will only add hum if there is a ground problem in the system or the line.
If you do get the exorcism, pay for it immediately.
You don’t want your stereo to get repossessed!
I am on a roll!
Hmm. That's probably why there's butter on my pants...
OP, I have read your post several times hoping that there was a combination missed somewhere.
  You KNOW that it is not your speakers because you swapped out speakers to a different set.
  NOT  power line issues because it only happens in the right channel, whether using mono blocks or a stereo power amp, or even a different AC circuit. 
  Not cabling because ALL cabling was switched out?
  Preamp too, was switched out for a different preamp.

 The list goes on, but I can't help but think that accidently there was something used or loosely connected. I suspect this because I have done it myself, thinking everything was ok.


Sorry, not ghosted, just busy. Current working setup:
Bel Canto DAC as DAC and preamp. Rotel CD player. Adcom GFA-555 amp. GoldenEer Triton Ones speakers. 

Next step: swap in Bel Canto monoblocks.