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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 17 2012, 20:55
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HKs are notorious for bad solder quality, so possibly that was at work here. Besides, AVRs can be quite noisy. Our old Kenwood KRF-V8090D (I don't remember what its US counterpart was called) makes a nice hiss bomb. Most of that seems to come from the PGA, as with electronic muting active, the speakers are dead quiet. The HK3490 is spec'd at a 95 dB(A) SNR, which should be much the same.

The TX-8050 seems to use a far less noisy PGA, at a 106 dB(A) SNR for line inputs. Note that it, just like the HK, uses simple dropper resistors on the headphone output, i.e. that one isn't exactly a 0-ohm job. Oh, and I suggest going to the Onkyo website with the serial number of your unit at hand, as they currently have a recall of several models from a specific batch going on and you want to make sure yours is not affected.
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