Loss of PCM sync on CD tracks on HK520

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by JohnSer, Dec 21, 2002.

  1. JohnSer

    JohnSer Stunt Coordinator

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    I have my CD player connected to my new HK520 through the optical 1 input. I noticed the sound was being cut-out for the first few micro seconds on some CD tracks. Closer inspection, shows that the PCM indicator goes out, then back on a few microseconds after the next song starts. It doesn't happen on all CDs and all tracks. It seems to be more prevalent with longer silent pauses between tracks. I never noticed this type of behavior on my Onkyo 575X, and I used only the optical input on that as well. Is this a problem with the 520? or possible set-up adjustment? Do not want to revert to the Sony CD DACs by using the analog outputs.
    I haven't played many DVDs yet, but will and see if there is similar problem. I do have that on a coax digital input, though.
    Any help would be appreciated.
    >>>> added:
    After posting, I did some searching. Sounds like this is the infamous audio drop-out problem [​IMG] Surprised that it showed up in Sept 2002 built unit. I am close to my 15 day period with OneCall and will have to make a quick return decision. While I didn't have a problem with the 575X with a cheapy optical cable (CD Player doesn't have a coax), could that be contributing to the problem? I have a spare optical, I will try tomorrow, but it is one of those thin ones, too.
    JohnS
     
  2. JimBarrese

    JimBarrese Stunt Coordinator

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    A couple of months ago I got an HK 220 and it did this. Not only that, it also put a "pop" noise in after the sound would come back on. I returned it and got an HK 125 and it is better, but it still has a little sound drop out. I've bipassed this by hooking up my CD player via analog inputs. It all really depends how good the DACs are on your CD player, but with my setup I couldn't notice any difference between using the recievers DACs and the players. It won't matter if you use optical or coaxial digital input either, it has to do with the auto signal detect feature on the HKs (that you can't override). Before I got the HKs I tried a Onkyo 500 and it did this too, but it on it you can turn off the auto signal detect and it corrects the problem. However I didn't at all care for Onkyo's tonal qualities with music so I'm sticking with my HK. You'd think HK would make a point of correcting this problem though, oh well.
     
  3. JohnSer

    JohnSer Stunt Coordinator

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    I will be trying a CD in the DVD player, to see if it is a problem there. From what I've seen posted, I expect to see it [​IMG] . Will watch a couple of DVDs very carefully, too. If it is a problem, and I haven't exceeded the 15 days, its going back.
    Can someone point me to any detailed write-up on why this occurs? I would think, once it has determined the disk format, it wouldn't need to resync between tracks. Is this a byproduct of having so many different formats, that it takes so much time to analyze the bit stream, to determine what it is?
    The 575X was only DTS, DD, and prologic, and I didn't see any of these problems. I did see some posts on latter generation Onkyos having this problem. I steered away from Onkyo because of amp ratings game they have seemed to get caught up in. The HK does have a very nice amp, but some of these other issues are starting to over shadow this.
    JohnS
     
  4. Rick_FL

    Rick_FL Stunt Coordinator

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    I watched(& listened) to my avr320, the PCM light goes out after the song ends, but it starts rigt up when the next song begins and there is no audio drop out.
     
  5. JohnSer

    JohnSer Stunt Coordinator

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    Rick,

    With the testing I have done, it depends on the CD, and the music. Some CDs the pcm light stays locked through all track changes. Others, it will drop out for a second, the left/right speaker indicators will flash, and then it relocks. Even the problem between tracks is not 100% repeatable. I can get the pcm to flash 2 out of 3 times. Sound does not drop out every time the pcm goes out. You do not detect anything if the next track starts off soft. I do detect sound cut-off on some songs that start right off loud. Verified by listening via headphones in the player. I do not get any popping noise that others have mentioned. When I put the same CD in the DVD player, I get similar results. Please note, all these CDs are production CDs, not CDRs.

    I did just play a DD DVD paying close attention during chapter changes, and saw no issues with the DD lock. Will try a DTS DVD next. I will continue to test and will call OneCall soon to start the conversation with them.

    JohnS
     
  6. JohnSer

    JohnSer Stunt Coordinator

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    Observations on issue:

    After testing about 20-30 CDs, narrowed the problem down to older CDs. I then noticed the relationship between, negative time and the problem. On a number of older CDs, when one track ends, and the new one starts, you see negative time on the CD player display. If the negative time is -1 second, the HK520 handles it fine. If it is -2 seconds, its hit or miss. Sometimes it is fine other times the pcm light goes out. If it is -3, -4 (that is the largest negative number I saw), the pcm light will go out, and you can have the potential sound issue.

    If the pcm light goes out, it will resync very quickly as the counter passes through zero. Its hard to measure, but it is in the 1/4 second or less range. The ability to audibly detect the cut-in, depends on how attentive you are listening to it, and the material within that first quarter second. If it is soft material, you will probably not notice it at all. If it is loud material, that starts immediately at zero, you can hear the initial cut-in. Many times, you detect something, but not sure of what it was. If you press the button to go back to the beginning of the track, you will not hear the same thing.

    Another thing I noticed was when I push the pause button for the CD, it takes about 2 seconds for the pcm light to go out. This leads me to believe the HK circuitry is such that it waits about 2 seconds of lost signal before enabling some muting circuitry. Once the signal is re-aquired, it will disable the muting circuitry. As I mentioned before, it appears to be in the 1/4 second or less range.


    Now for the additional questions and tests:

    Does anyone know what the negative time is that shows up on the CD display? Is this just some old format recording artifact?

    Can someone do a test on a HK X25 series machine? One test would be to press the CD pause button and count the time it takes for the pcm light to go out. It would be curious if this time is now in the 3-4 second range. Also,if you have some older CDs that have negative time -3,-4 would be interested in the results.

    Can someone with HK X20 series do similar tests and report back. Interested if its my unit or all units.

    Can others with non-HK equipment do a similar test. I am no longer convinced that this didn't happen on my Onkyo 575X. It is all boxed up in storage, and would be a pain to get back out.

    Appreciate any feedback.

    JohnS
     
  7. JohnSer

    JohnSer Stunt Coordinator

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    HK x20 and x25 owners with CD player using digital input? Anyone?
     
  8. Dave Jewett

    Dave Jewett Agent

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    John,

    I have an HK 520, and I tested it with a few CDs just now. I noticed that at the very beginning of each disc there was a 1/4 second dropout, and I can hear a very slight pop from my speakers when the PCM indicator lights up. Also, between tracks there is also a very slight pause (most noticable on consecutive tracks that are continuous). Not sure if that's my player though (Apex AD-5131 DVD player). In that case, the PCM light does not go out.

    When I hit pause during a track, it takes about 2 seconds for the PCM light to go out.

    Hope that helps,

    Dave
     
  9. JohnSer

    JohnSer Stunt Coordinator

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    Dave, Thanks, it looks like this issue is more a design problem then a single unit failure problem. When using my DVD player for testing this issue, it was harder to control and test. FF and R are different on DVD then on my CD player. On the CD player, I would advance to the next track, then reverse back into the previous track about 10 seconds, and let it play out watching the CD display for the negative numbers, and the pcm light on the receiver, and listening close to the start-up music. Sometimes would use track back (which always starts at 0) to compare to letting it play through, to convince myself there was a difference.
    Still interested in some x25 and non-HK owners doing the test. Also, if someone knows what that negative time is on CDs is, and can explain it in layman's terms, would greatly be appreciated.
    BTW, I think I convinced myself that this is more of nuisance issue. I didn't contact OneCall, but the prospect of paying for shipping of the 35lb receiver across the country and possible restocking fees, helped convince me. Most of the CDs I see it on, are old such that they are remakes of prior released LPs. For the most part, it will be just dealing with my present collection, and not impact new purchases. I will connect analog patch cables along with the optical, such that I could switch input on the really offending CDs. I do have some that had -4 ahead of each track. Some old Bad Company and Grateful Dead CDs were the worst offenders. I guess I can look at it like having an old LP with a slight scratch at the beginning of the song. [​IMG]
    JohnS
     
  10. Jeffrey R

    Jeffrey R Stunt Coordinator

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    John, I'd say try to ignore this issue and enjoy the receiver. There are probably hundreds, if not thousands, of people on this forum who have bought this receiver in the past year, and despite its quirks, it is very highly regarded for its overall performance. Once you really get some time with this receiver, you should truly enjoy its performance for both music and home theater. Happy listening.
     
  11. JohnSer

    JohnSer Stunt Coordinator

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    Jeff, overall I am still satisfied with this receiver. If I wasn't happy with its sound quality, it would have been a no-brainer about sending it back. This unit has been around for awhile, so was able to find a number of quirks posted here and evaluate if they would impact me or not. Quirks like DTS LFE, remote, low-cost heatsinks, and such could be found. While audio drop-outs was covered, it was stated in such a way that I could not understand how it would impact me. Since this particular problem was not called out in any great detail, thought that other prospective HK buyers might want to know about it. Again, this might be an issue with other brands as well. I would like to know if Denon 3802/3803 has a similar issue.

    People should not read this and just associate HK = problems. As with all things, you need to take the time and evaluate what it really means, and how it could impact you, for your particular application.

    JohnS
     
  12. Rick_FL

    Rick_FL Stunt Coordinator

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    I've never really even noticed it, and I listen to a lot of cd music. It certainly is not an issue for me. My biggest gripe about the hk av320 is the s-video conversion. Other than that, my avr320 is an excellent unit. Sound quality, features, are just superb.
     

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