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Arcam A29 - nightmare

Wharfedale EVO4.4 Speaker

audiofool

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Jul 25, 2018
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Chennai
I’ve always been a ghost hifi vision user, skimming through posts of fellow enthusiasts and only recently actually signed up. Finally, my post follows as well. I only wished it were on a happier note however. Moderators, apologies. Posting wise, I’m a noob. Kindly move to the right thread if incorrect please.

Bought an Arcam A29 in 2016 from the UK and brought it home with me. 2018 onwards starts a faint crackle only noticed by those with keen ears. 2019 onwards, there is not a single track that doesn’t have the crackle. I tried every possible trick to figure out what was causing it from swapping the source to the cables to leads to power filters. Nothing helped. Little did I know that the amp was infamous for the same with a faulty relay and there are other international customers who have been offered buy-ins for different models.

The amp is still under warranty and though Arcam do not openly acknowledge the issue as a manufacturing defect but they know of it and are willing to ship spares. Not a big believer in repair of electronics cuz they never sound / function the same way. I’m frustrated and on the verge of sending Arcam a stinker email. Just wanted to get some help / advise / leads from the veterans here on how I can handle this? Arcam suggested that I check with the folks at decibels - Chennai (as they are the local Arcam dealers) but upon contact, they don’t sound too happy to take up repairs.
 

Nitin K

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2018
Messages
858
Points
93
Location
India
I’ve always been a ghost hifi vision user, skimming through posts of fellow enthusiasts and only recently actually signed up. Finally, my post follows as well. I only wished it were on a happier note however. Moderators, apologies. Posting wise, I’m a noob. Kindly move to the right thread if incorrect please.

Bought an Arcam A29 in 2016 from the UK and brought it home with me. 2018 onwards starts a faint crackle only noticed by those with keen ears. 2019 onwards, there is not a single track that doesn’t have the crackle. I tried every possible trick to figure out what was causing it from swapping the source to the cables to leads to power filters. Nothing helped. Little did I know that the amp was infamous for the same with a faulty relay and there are other international customers who have been offered buy-ins for different models.

The amp is still under warranty and though Arcam do not openly acknowledge the issue as a manufacturing defect but they know of it and are willing to ship spares. Not a big believer in repair of electronics cuz they never sound / function the same way. I’m frustrated and on the verge of sending Arcam a stinker email. Just wanted to get some help / advise / leads from the veterans here on how I can handle this? Arcam suggested that I check with the folks at decibels - Chennai (as they are the local Arcam dealers) but upon contact, they don’t sound too happy to take up repairs.


Pls don't send Arcam a stinker yet. Since the amp is under warranty & they have offered to help by suggesting their dealer Decibels for repair. It is better to follow this route rather than not getting your work done & having a defective amp. After giving the amp if there is any issue with Decibels or anything pertaining to the repair , then it is better to send Arcam a stern mail.
 

Passive_audio_enthusiast

Active Member
Joined
May 15, 2020
Messages
319
Points
43
Location
Kerala
I’ve always been a ghost hifi vision user, skimming through posts of fellow enthusiasts and only recently actually signed up. Finally, my post follows as well. I only wished it were on a happier note however. Moderators, apologies. Posting wise, I’m a noob. Kindly move to the right thread if incorrect please.

Bought an Arcam A29 in 2016 from the UK and brought it home with me. 2018 onwards starts a faint crackle only noticed by those with keen ears. 2019 onwards, there is not a single track that doesn’t have the crackle. I tried every possible trick to figure out what was causing it from swapping the source to the cables to leads to power filters. Nothing helped. Little did I know that the amp was infamous for the same with a faulty relay and there are other international customers who have been offered buy-ins for different models.

The amp is still under warranty and though Arcam do not openly acknowledge the issue as a manufacturing defect but they know of it and are willing to ship spares. Not a big believer in repair of electronics cuz they never sound / function the same way. I’m frustrated and on the verge of sending Arcam a stinker email. Just wanted to get some help / advise / leads from the veterans here on how I can handle this? Arcam suggested that I check with the folks at decibels - Chennai (as they are the local Arcam dealers) but upon contact, they don’t sound too happy to take up repairs.
Repaired amp should theoretically sound the same if replacement parts are same as the original. Even in factories, some units during the QA would have issues and they would be fixed before it reaches us. So don’t worry about that part. But if you give it for a local repair in India, you have huge percent chance of getting it fixed with a different parts. At that point your assumption is right. If possible send it to Arcam England. It’s unfortunate that these things happen. No brand is unfortunately an exception though. I had crackles on my arcam power amp, but I realized it was the power cable i used was not having a earth pin! So this is what happend:

I brought my power amp I was using abroad to my home in Kerala. And I used my European plug to connect to my Indian power strip. I totally ignored the fact that the earth of plug was on sides of my European plug. I thought the amp was faulty and wanted to test it with my computer so I took it out of the rack leaving the power cable there and used my PCs power cable in the other room since I was lazy to take out the Orginal behind the rack. The issues vanished with the pc cable. Your issue can be different. But just give it a try.
 

oracle1974

Active Member
Joined
Feb 6, 2010
Messages
446
Points
43
Location
Mumbai
I’ve always been a ghost hifi vision user, skimming through posts of fellow enthusiasts and only recently actually signed up. Finally, my post follows as well. I only wished it were on a happier note however. Moderators, apologies. Posting wise, I’m a noob. Kindly move to the right thread if incorrect please.

Bought an Arcam A29 in 2016 from the UK and brought it home with me. 2018 onwards starts a faint crackle only noticed by those with keen ears. 2019 onwards, there is not a single track that doesn’t have the crackle. I tried every possible trick to figure out what was causing it from swapping the source to the cables to leads to power filters. Nothing helped. Little did I know that the amp was infamous for the same with a faulty relay and there are other international customers who have been offered buy-ins for different models.

The amp is still under warranty and though Arcam do not openly acknowledge the issue as a manufacturing defect but they know of it and are willing to ship spares. Not a big believer in repair of electronics cuz they never sound / function the same way. I’m frustrated and on the verge of sending Arcam a stinker email. Just wanted to get some help / advise / leads from the veterans here on how I can handle this? Arcam suggested that I check with the folks at decibels - Chennai (as they are the local Arcam dealers) but upon contact, they don’t sound too happy to take up repairs.
Since the Arcam was bought from abroad, you may get the part replaced free of cost and but need to pay the local dealer the labour/service charges as you have not purchased it from them. This is despite being in warranty. Else you will need to ship to the dealer in UK from whom you bought to get free labour/service plus parts replacement.
 

superczar

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Joined
Feb 5, 2008
Messages
678
Points
93
Not a big believer in repair of electronics cuz they never sound / function the same way. I’m frustrated and on the verge of sending Arcam a stinker email.TE]
Very True for modern ultra dense electronics like a cellphone/ tablet.. But not at all for your case
The components/ PCB/ PCB tracks on your Amp are orders of magnitude bigger than the former - practically elephant sized vs a flea- and that makes reliable repairs quite easy

Even better for you, as you mentioned, Arcam is ready to ship parts directly to you - which almost certainly confirms that they will ship you a part that is user replaceable as a drop in replacement e.g.. either a daughter board which houses the defective component or something similar

In such a case, the actual repair work done by you (dont’t bother with service centers at all for your own sake) will be easier than replacing a car tire and the amp would truly be as good as new.

I had a similar scenario with a Polk DSW PRO subwoofer almost 10 years ago - Polk shipped me the amplifier board, took all of 5 mins to swap it (a couple of cables and screws) and the Sub still works perfect.
You should take the Arcam offer without a worry
 

audiofool

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Joined
Jul 25, 2018
Messages
11
Points
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Location
Chennai
Pls don't send Arcam a stinker yet. Since the amp is under warranty & they have offered to help by suggesting their dealer Decibels for repair. It is better to follow this route rather than not getting your work done & having a defective amp. After giving the amp if there is any issue with Decibels or anything pertaining to the repair , then it is better to send Arcam a stern mail.
Unsuccessful. Spoke to decibels today and they don’t take up repairs. Not sure why Arcam is suggesting to check with them. I will try and drop by their centre for a F2F to try and persuade.
 

audiofool

New Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2018
Messages
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Points
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Location
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Repaired amp should theoretically sound the same if replacement parts are same as the original. Even in factories, some units during the QA would have issues and they would be fixed before it reaches us. So don’t worry about that part. But if you give it for a local repair in India, you have huge percent chance of getting it fixed with a different parts. At that point your assumption is right. If possible send it to Arcam England. It’s unfortunate that these things happen. No brand is unfortunately an exception though. I had crackles on my arcam power amp, but I realized it was the power cable i used was not having a earth pin! So this is what happend:

I brought my power amp I was using abroad to my home in Kerala. And I used my European plug to connect to my Indian power strip. I totally ignored the fact that the earth of plug was on sides of my European plug. I thought the amp was faulty and wanted to test it with my computer so I took it out of the rack leaving the power cable there and used my PCs power cable in the other room since I was lazy to take out the Orginal behind the rack. The issues vanished with the pc cable. Your issue can be different. But just give it a try.
Agreed. Did not expect this from Arcam or an £800 amp. It may not be much but the price we pay is not a flex but is to avoid such quality issues and the sound signature. Thank you for the suggestion. Power cord swap was part of my process to isolate the cause. I had the 110 and 220V cable with earth supplied in my purchase. It didn’t stop the crackling.
 

audiofool

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Jul 25, 2018
Messages
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Location
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Since the Arcam was bought from abroad, you may get the part replaced free of cost and but need to pay the local dealer the labour/service charges as you have not purchased it from them. This is despite being in warranty. Else you will need to ship to the dealer in UK from whom you bought to get free labour/service plus parts replacement.
I just can’t catch a break. Unfortunately, Superfi is now closed and I’m in touch with them too if they can help. Waiting for a response.
 

audiofool

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Joined
Jul 25, 2018
Messages
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Very True for modern ultra dense electronics like a cellphone/ tablet.. But not at all for your case
The components/ PCB/ PCB tracks on your Amp are orders of magnitude bigger than the former - practically elephant sized vs a flea- and that makes reliable repairs quite easy

Even better for you, as you mentioned, Arcam is ready to ship parts directly to you - which almost certainly confirms that they will ship you a part that is user replaceable as a drop in replacement e.g.. either a daughter board which houses the defective component or something similar

In such a case, the actual repair work done by you (dont’t bother with service centers at all for your own sake) will be easier than replacing a car tire and the amp would truly be as good as new.

I had a similar scenario with a Polk DSW PRO subwoofer almost 10 years ago - Polk shipped me the amplifier board, took all of 5 mins to swap it (a couple of cables and screws) and the Sub still works perfect.
You should take the Arcam offer without a worry
Thank you for the suggestion. I’m certainly good with my car but haven’t had a go on amps. However, several Arcam A29 owners have stated that the issue comes back in a couple of months and the relay swap is not a permanent fix. I will check this out with Arcam if they have a latest fix and if a novice can swap.
 

Nitin K

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Joined
Nov 23, 2018
Messages
858
Points
93
Location
India
Unsuccessful. Spoke to decibels today and they don’t take up repairs. Not sure why Arcam is suggesting to check with them. I will try and drop by their centre for a F2F to try and persuade.

That's bad then. Very few dealers in India have the expertise of repairing or some of them shy away from it forcing you to buy a new one.
The money you have paid for it is by no means small. Considering it is in the warranty period, It's better to write to Arcam a very stern mail and put the ball in their court.
 

rikhav

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Mar 27, 2008
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Maybe decibels is not willing to repair it as the amplifier is not purchased from them and bought internationally.
Most D&D have that policy in India
 

insane79

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Maybe decibels is not willing to repair it as the amplifier is not purchased from them and bought internationally.
Most D&D have that policy in India
Yes this is the reason, even Pioneer India boldy use to mention on their website, no repairs for avrs bought directly internationally.
 

surfatwork

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Aug 7, 2007
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If it's still within the warranty period, it is sad that arcam is not honoring it. If you have someone in the UK, get them to speak to arcam directly - in my experience, companies are way better at responding abroad than here.
 

Passive_audio_enthusiast

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If it's still within the warranty period, it is sad that arcam is not honoring it. If you have someone in the UK, get them to speak to arcam directly - in my experience, companies are way better at responding abroad than here.
OP bought the amp in UK And he has not mentioned that arcam is not honoring the warranty.
If he is able to send it to UK, may be they would fix it, just like most consumer electronic devices

in his own words :
“The amp is still under warranty and though Arcam do not openly acknowledge the issue as a manufacturing defect but they know of it and are willing to ship spares. Not a big believer in repair of electronics cuz they never sound / function the same way.”

he mentions that arcam doesn’t acknowledge the issue, legally they don’t have to unless they have the amp on their bench to test it.

BUT not everyone, is interested in pain of repairing it themselves. I had received support on self repair in similar situations from spendor and jds labs in the past where sending the device to them was not practical due to the cost involved.

in this case, if they are ready to ship the parts, I would say best bet is to take the offer. It’s the best they can do without diagnosing the amp.

honestly my chord mojo dac I sent to uk and came in the same way as they couldn’t hear the problem I stated. According to them it was perfectly alright. so I ended up wasting the money for such a warranty claim. So, in my opinion, it’s wise to get the part and fix it yourself.
 

vinothkumar

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Jan 27, 2015
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Chennai
Hi,

I also own Arcam A39, bought brand new from cressida AV, so for no single issues with the amp and the build quality of the amp is top notch. Its unfortunate that yours has an issue. No worries.

Before A39, i had A32 (bought is used though) which had similiar issue, i took it to the grand cinema chennai and they repaired it without a second thought. One of a true customer friendly dealers in chennai. So better you can get the spares shipped from Arcam and take the amp to the grand cinema and get it serviced and be happy.

Hope this helps.
 

audiofool

New Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2018
Messages
11
Points
3
Location
Chennai
Maybe decibels is not willing to repair it as the amplifier is not purchased from them and bought internationally.
Most D&D have that policy in India
I believe so too to prioritise their stock and investment over others. However, this “policy” makes no sense.
 

audiofool

New Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2018
Messages
11
Points
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Location
Chennai
If it's still within the warranty period, it is sad that arcam is not honoring it. If you have someone in the UK, get them to speak to arcam directly - in my experience, companies are way better at responding abroad than here.
They absolutely are. I’ve seen on forums that the A29’s are being bought-in for SA20’s and 30’s. Here it is more like you’re on your own situation.
 

audiofool

New Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2018
Messages
11
Points
3
Location
Chennai
OP bought the amp in UK And he has not mentioned that arcam is not honoring the warranty.
If he is able to send it to UK, may be they would fix it, just like most consumer electronic devices

in his own words :
“The amp is still under warranty and though Arcam do not openly acknowledge the issue as a manufacturing defect but they know of it and are willing to ship spares. Not a big believer in repair of electronics cuz they never sound / function the same way.”

he mentions that arcam doesn’t acknowledge the issue, legally they don’t have to unless they have the amp on their bench to test it.

BUT not everyone, is interested in pain of repairing it themselves. I had received support on self repair in similar situations from spendor and jds labs in the past where sending the device to them was not practical due to the cost involved.

in this case, if they are ready to ship the parts, I would say best bet is to take the offer. It’s the best they can do without diagnosing the amp.

honestly my chord mojo dac I sent to uk and came in the same way as they couldn’t hear the problem I stated. According to them it was perfectly alright. so I ended up wasting the money for such a warranty claim. So, in my opinion, it’s wise to get the part and fix it yourself.
Yes. Shipping across will be quite expensive and also worried about damage in transit. I will reach out to Arcam to see if I can get the spares swapped as a novice. Thanks.
 
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