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Quiet Stereo Amp Suggestions
post Apr 12 2012, 08:40
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My HK 3490 I use on my desk with bookshelves about 2 feet away from me always seems to have a low hiss noise (slightly louder on right channel then on left) that is always present at some volume regardless of chosen input. The noise at times bothers me more than other times just listening to the speakers, but if I plug in audio technica headphones (which I've found to be easy to drive) the hiss becomes unbearable.

To this end I was wondering if there are any stereo amps I might look at that eliminate this hiss? I currently use the optical in and so would like a replacement that also has that. The speakers are Linn Majik 109s and they are pointed in at me each at about 2 feet from my ear.

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post Apr 12 2012, 15:35
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@OP: Are you sure this isn't tinnitus, i.e. "ringing" in your ears? Serious question, as I have very high-frequency tinnitus myself, and it occasionally changes into a sort of hissing sound. Your comment about the hiss becoming worse when you put on headphones (which will block out some degree of external sound, depending on the 'phones) - and also about being slightly louder in the right channel - brought this to mind.

If you don't hear the hissing anywhere else, and it is especially noticeable through headphones, then it does indeed sound like the HK has a rather high noise floor *and* you're particularly sensitive to it.

I had a Kenwood receiver back in the early 90's that I bought brand new (which likely had published noise specs similar to the HK), and even with the volume all the way down, I could easily hear hiss from the tweeters of my Boston Acoustics bookshelf speakers from about 18" away.

My Marantz NR1601 receiver that I bought a couple years ago, OTOH, is essentially dead silent - even with the volume at a normal playback level (~-26 dB through speakers or -20 dB through headphones), there is no audible hiss whatsoever through headphones (also Audio-Technicas, FWIW), and I have to have my ear nearly on the faceplates of my Dynaudio Audience 52's tweeters to hear any hiss from them.

"Not sure what the question is, but the answer is probably no."
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