Any chance to save my mini-stereo?

Discussion in 'Audio/Video & Home Theater' started by Muse, May 3, 2012.

  1. Muse

    Muse Lifer

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    Had this Sony MHC-MG110 since Dec. 2001, has served me very well. 60 CDs (and they're all filled) / AM/FM / dual cassette (one records), supports stereo audio input (I play MP3s from my network by using this with stereo output from a laptop). 110 watts, external speakers, and I swapped out the speakers for some decent Yamaha bookshelf speakers, this sits in my kitchen.

    I usually turn it on/off once a day, mostly use FM. When it doesn't have the tuner on, I usually switch it to Tape, without playing a tape. In that state it's silent. When I want radio again, I press the Tuner button.

    Suddenly today, while in this silent state (Tape selected, no tape playing) I touched something away from the unit but close to the right speaker and a really loud noise came from the right speaker (maybe touching the cabinet on which the speaker sits at that moment was a coincidence). The noise is like super loud static. Turning down the volume had no effect and I had to turn it off (on/off button). I left it off an hour and turned it back on and it seemed to work normally (FM). I'm waiting for a Fedex delivery, so I changed it to Tape (without a tape playing) to get silence. A few minutes later the super loud noise comes from the right channel.

    Is this a goner or is there some way I can maybe save this? I have another mini-stereo (only 5 CD accommodation), and I could use that instead, although my tool room would have no music if I do that.

    The bad Sony has an optical output. Could I maybe use that and get a simple stereo amp that accommodates optical input?

    I figured it would die someday but what I expected to fail first was the CD or cassette transport, not the amplifier.

    Thanks for any info!
     
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  3. vshah

    vshah Lifer

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    probably not the most helpful advice, but why not rip your CDs to mp3 & stream them from your network?
    most fm radio stations can be streamed as well.

    edit: the amplifier may have had trouble driving the yamaha bookshelves - prolonged stress may have killed it in the end.

    you could get a small t-amp with a stereo input to power those bookshelves, if you could get your CDs on your network and stream your fm radio.
    http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?Partnumber=300-380
     
    #2 vshah, May 3, 2012
    Last edited: May 3, 2012
  4. Muse

    Muse Lifer

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    Really interesting ideas, and thanks for that link. I may well buy that one! :thumbsup:

    Do you think that amp would power these speakers (I don't usually play them super loud):

    Yamaha NS-A60X Three-Way Speaker


    Aluminum drives
    8" woofer
    5 1/4" midrange
    3/4" tweeter
    Magnetic shielding
    5-way gold plated binding posts
    Black finish
    Nominal power: 70W
    Music power: 140W
    Speaker sensitivity: 89 dB/2.83V, 1M
    Frequency range: 60 - 20,000Hz
    Impedance: 6ohms
    Dimensions(WxHxD)=10 1/2" x 20" x 12 1/4"
    Weight: 24lbs/each
     
    #3 Muse, May 3, 2012
    Last edited: May 3, 2012
  5. vshah

    vshah Lifer

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    hmm, those are decently large 3-way speakers. I imagine it would be OK for low volumes, but would distort if you start turning it up much.

    there are more powerful versions out there as well, but they are more expensive.
     
  6. kornphlake

    kornphlake Golden Member

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    6ohm speakers might be on the low side for the amp, a lot of the little bookshelf stereo systems come with speakers that are 16 ohms or higher.

    I'm not certain the amp is bad though, from what you describe it almost sounds like the pre-amp has gone on the fritz. What happens if you switch to the CD source but don't play a CD when it's making the static noise? What happens if you insert a tape and press play when it's making the noise? Why not just switch the unit off if you're not listening to music?
     
  7. Muse

    Muse Lifer

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    I'll have to hook it up again to try those things, I removed it from it's location, unhooking the speakers, figuring it had reached its end. I think I might have messed it up this morning. I was listening to the radio a lot louder than usual. I didn't notice anything but then this trouble started, when it was on Tape (not playing). Reasons I don't turn it off when I'm not listening to the radio:

    1. The best reason probably is that the unit always makes a weird series of noises when I turn it on. It evidently has to do with the carousel (60 CDs). It spins seeming both directions (i.e. clockwise and counter-clockwise), then comes to rest. The mechanism's sound is annoying! I don't like to hear it. If I leave it on, I don't have to endure that but once a day. However, iff it's left on Tuner when I turn it off, when I turn it back on the sound of the radio drowns out the carousel spinning sound to an extent, depending on the volume.

    2. Then there's the fact that I can get instant music (if music's on the radio) by pressing one button (Tuner).

    Well, I guess I blew out the amp this morning, but I'll try your suggestions and report back what happens. If the pre-amp is gone, I don't see how that helps, though.

    I kind of think it doesn't matter what source is selected when I hear that noise. I tried 2 or 3 and there was no difference. Honestly, the sound was so loud and irritating I couldn't stand it and I didn't mess with it long before turning it off. Second time I tried it, I also turned it off really quick. Also, I noted that the volume setting seemed to have no effect on the loudness of the noise. It was in just the right channel, almost for sure. However, as I mentioned, when I turned it back on it seemed fine for a minute or two. Then the super loud racket came on without warning and I had to turn it off.

    I could put the speakers back on it that it came with, they aren't that bad, I just figured the Yamaha's would be better, maybe not smart. I don't suppose it would be any help at this point, though. I should have realized that pushing things up that loud was a risk in terms of busting the amp.
     
    #6 Muse, May 3, 2012
    Last edited: May 3, 2012
  8. Muse

    Muse Lifer

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    I'm thinking that probably the only way to save this system is to use the optical output into another device, probably a simple receiver with optical input. Not sure that would work. I can test it by hooking it up to my AV receiver. I have looked quite a bit online and can't find anything like this. Nowadays it seems there's no market for a mini-system with more than 5 CD slots. Well, there are some with 25, but I don't think they have cassette and AM/FM. I was seriously thinking about getting a 2nd when I bought this because I figured the day would come when it would break and I'd be sure to have another. Indeed, I can't find another now!
     
  9. slashbinslashbash

    slashbinslashbash Golden Member

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    As vshah stated, I think the real/final solution would be to have all your CD's as MP3's or other digital audio, and stream them to some device, put them on an iPod or other player, or put them on a cheap old laptop hooked up to an amp and speakers.

    Did you unplug and re-plug everything? You can get weird noises sometimes if there's a wire loose. I've been embarrassed to troubleshoot something for quite a while, then check the back and find that one of the wires was slightly pulled out.... could also be an internal connection to the speaker wires (if they're permanently attached) or terminals on the back of the minisystem. It might be worth your time to open up the back of the unit and look for something obvious like the terminal coming unsoldered, or a bulging or busted capacitor.

    There are still plenty of standalone CD megachangers out there. I just ran a quick search and found a 400-disc Sony DVD/CD changer on my local CL for $150. Pretty sweet, and kind of tempting, actually, since I still have a boatload of DVD's. (Having had a couple of these changers in the past, I can tell you that the rotating noise you hear on startup is probably the changer "scanning" all of the CD slots to see which ones are empty, so it can skip over them while in use.) But really, having 60 CD's in a reasonably sized box is not all that great when you could have 100 times that number in a much smaller box.... there's just not much of a market for them anymore. It looks like the last disc megachanger was released by Sony in 2009, a 400-disc Blu-Ray/DVD/CD changer. Your best (only?) option, if you want a replacement that's similar to what you already have, is to look for a used unit. Pawnshops and CL are probably your best bets.
     
  10. sdifox

    sdifox No Lifer

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    #9 sdifox, May 4, 2012
    Last edited: May 4, 2012
  11. vshah

    vshah Lifer

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    ^ i've seen people carrying things like that on the subway in NYC
     
  12. kornphlake

    kornphlake Golden Member

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    If there's a problem with the pre-amp you'll get the same noise through the optical output.
     
  13. Muse

    Muse Lifer

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    I can try running the optical out to my AV receiver and see (hear) what I get.

    I'm going to hook up the system again, this time with its original speakers and see if the problem persists. It makes me nervous, though. I live alone and as a rule when I leave the house I have this system playing FM radio, to give the place that lived in aura... i.e. to repel would be burglars. It's not loud, but loud enough where someone checking to see if someone might be home would conclude that yeah, seems like someone's home. Now, if the system suddenly puts out a huge shrieking noise, that would be ugly for the neighbors, it's that loud! Maybe I should just consider it a lost cause, or if it seems to be working, put it somewhere else in the house for other, occasional use.

    The thing with converting my CD collection to MP3s... well, I have probably 400 CDs, and I've copied just about all of them using CD Text, because all my players support that. It's nice to know the name of the track I'm listening to. I figure maybe there's some kind of system I could develop, maybe ripping CD's track by track, using file names and/or tags to identify the track names, maybe keeping each CD's tracks in its own directory and a player application could maybe be configured to play all the tracks in that directory, and even give the track names in alpha order coincident with that of the CD (i.e. 1. Track one, 2. Track two, etc.). To do this I'd need to have a laptop booted and ready, of course. And it would be a bunch of work to rip all the disks.
     
  14. vshah

    vshah Lifer

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    if they are retail music CDs, any decent ripping program will match the cd to an online database and automatically pull down the artist/album/track information, and set the tags/filenames of the resulting MP3s properly. you can easily set them to create an m3u playlist for each album or put each album in its own directory as well.

    here's a guide for EAC, my personal favorite and one of the highest quality rippers. http://blowfish.be/eac/Rip/rip1.html
     
    #13 vshah, May 4, 2012
    Last edited: May 4, 2012
  15. slashbinslashbash

    slashbinslashbash Golden Member

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    I'm not sure what you're describing here. Are all of your CD's custom "mixtape" style CD's (or home recordings)?

    If they are standard, store-bought CD's (or direct copies thereof; I think that even adding CD-Text to them wouldn't alter this, since the track times etc. wouldn't change, and that's what CDDB/FreeDB uses) then any ripping software will automatically pull in the names of all the tracks, artist, etc.... usually they're configurable as to exactly how they store them, too; you can have the filename and directory structure laid out however you want. Most ripping software defaults to creating a folder for each artist, and then within that folder, a folder for each album; and then, within the album folder, the tracks are named like 01-Track 1.mp3, 02-Track 2.mp3, etc.

    In fact, if all of your CD's are burned copies with CD-Text added (which I think is what you meant above, but it just took me a while to figure it out), it wouldn't be hard to configure the ripping software to only use the CD-Text data and not to connect to the online databases. Not sure if all of them will do this, but surely some of them will.
     
  16. Muse

    Muse Lifer

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    Thank you, that information is golden! :thumbsup:
     
  17. Muse

    Muse Lifer

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    Yup, it's a bunch of work but doable. The CD's I'm talking about are regular audio CDs, mostly by record companies, although many are self releases, but still standard format, AFAIK. If they didn't already have CD Text on them I made copies that did using Nero 6.x, typing in the text myself if the info wasn't available from free.db, or whatever Nero uses. I'll have to get into doing this sort of thing (ripping to MP3), obviously not a big deal. I have done it a few times in order to have the music available from my portable MP3 player.

    I will see how I like playing my music from the network instead of the CD player. I'm already playing MP3s on the network, being recordings of radio programs. It's a little kludgy, but it works, except for one problem and maybe you guys can speak to this:

    The programs I record are up to 3 hours (I'm a DJ at a college radio station), many of the shows are my own, many of other DJ's, many are one hour specials. Now, when I play them with Winamp on the laptop in my kitchen off my server (via wifi), if I decide to stop playing it by putting the laptop into suspend (i.e. close the top), when I resume the laptop (open the cover) the MP3 continues playing but usually it goes into a fast loop (i.e. loops every 1/2 second or so ad infinitum). I have to stop the play of Winamp and start it again, of course from the beginning of the selection. It would be nice, of course, if I could suspend the machine and resume it and the track would continue from the point it stopped. I'm not sure if pausing the playback prevents the issue.

    I just got another idea about the presumably screwed up mini-system -- Looking at the manual I get the idea that the optical out is solely for recording from CDs onto a device that accepts digital input. So, I don't think I can use that for tuner out, for example. However, there is a mini-headphone jack on the front, and I believe that when used it cuts out the speakers. I suppose that I could use that to divert stereo to an external amplifier and from there to speakers. This is assuming that the problem isn't in the preamp section, and I doubt that it is. I think I blew out one of the output (power) transistors when I was cranking it up Thursday morning, prior to the appearance of the problem. That would, I presume, be in the amplifier section of the machine. It's a thought, right?
     
    #16 Muse, May 4, 2012
    Last edited: May 5, 2012
  18. slashbinslashbash

    slashbinslashbash Golden Member

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    I've not played with CD-Text in a loooong time, but you should definitely be able to find a ripping program that will simply read in the CD-Text, so you don't have to type everything in all over again. Some interesting info in this thread:

    http://vortexbox.org/threads/3211-Rip-using-CD-text-info

    I'm not sure about your WinAmp looping problem. I seem to recall dealing with something similar back when I was a Windows/WinAmp user. (It really whips the llama's ass!) But now I use iTunes on my Mac, and it's well-integrated enough that I've never noticed a problem when shutting/suspending my laptop.

    It is almost a certainty that the optical output on your minisystem comes direct from the CD transport, i.e. there is no A/D converter built-in that would convert the other sources to digital. Using the headphone jack in the manner that you suggested should work just fine. It wouldn't be a bad idea to listen to it through some headphones for a while to see if the problem shows up there.
     
  19. Muse

    Muse Lifer

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    I'll look at that. IIRC EAC does support CD Text, although it may take some digging to figure it out, was my experience.
    I figure there's some answer, it's just something I've lived with, but an issue I have to pursue.
    Yup.
    Yes, I'll definitely check it out with headphones before pursuing this avenue. Two issues:

    I'm having fits in my kitchen at times because I don't have that system in there! As stated above, I have another minisystem that I bought at the same time (I think the same day) as the Sony, and it's a Panasonic SC-AK22. The downside of the Panasonic is that it only has a 5CD changer, compared to the Sony's 60CD. The Panasonic sits in my work/tool room, and is seldom used. It's a "meantime" thing, until I can get the Sony running again.

    The issue right now is what to do with the headphone out from the Sony, assuming that tests out OK. I'll want some component that will do a good job with that output, drive those Yamaha speakers, hopefully. I need to be able to control the volume in a convenient fashion, turn it on and off easily. I'm sure there's a lot out there, but I am not qualified to zero in on what is reasonably optimal.

    Again, the specs on the Yamaha speakers:
    - -
    Yamaha NS-A60X Three-Way Speaker

    Aluminum drives
    8" woofer
    5 1/4" midrange
    3/4" tweeter
    Magnetic shielding
    5-way gold plated binding posts
    Black finish
    Nominal power: 70W
    Music power: 140W
    Speaker sensitivity: 89 dB/2.83V, 1M
    Frequency range: 60 - 20,000Hz
    Impedance: 6ohms
    Dimensions(WxHxD)=10 1/2" x 20" x 12 1/4"
    Weight: 24lbs/each
    - -
    I'd appreciate any suggestions!
     
  20. slashbinslashbash

    slashbinslashbash Golden Member

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    The T-Amp linked upthread would probably work fine. Or just find any old $30 receiver at a pawnshop, it should be fine as well. Your Yamahas are 6 ohms while most amps are more comfortable at 8 ohms, but usually 6-ohm speakers don't cause a problem with 8-ohm rated amps; 4-ohm speakers might cause a problem. Of course, it wouldn't hurt to look for a receiver/amp that is explicitly 6- or 4-ohm rated.
     
  21. Muse

    Muse Lifer

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    The minisystem seems to sound just fine using the headphones! I'm wondering if the amp problem would be causing the system to draw more current than normally. That super loud noise from the right channel, seems like it would draw extra current. I figure I can measure the draw with my kill-a-watt. I think I have the former draw written down somewhere.

    I have an old receiver, Sony STR-V15 I bought in the 1970's. Been using its headphone jack, taking left/right audio out of my DVD player instead of using my 5.1 speaker system. I do have a headphone amp (Airhead), that I could use instead, but the Sony receiver has treble/bass controls, and I like to turn up the treble and the bass down because my hearing falls off by 50% above about 3000k. Just got a new blu-ray player, which has some equalization presets. I can try those and see if they work reasonably well for me, move the Sony STR-V15 receiver to the kitchen to amplify the minisystem headphone out signal, I figure that might work as an auxiliary source for the sony receiver. Should. However, the STR-V15 is rated at 22 watts/channel into an 8 ohm load. I figure it's probably enough (the T amp is 15 watts/channel, I believe). I used to use that STR-V15 and cranked it of pretty good sometimes and it never burned out or seemed distorted, IIRC. I could use it in my dining room, so actually I have 3 used for it now. I should scout around for used simple receivers, like you suggest. There have to be thousands of them around not being used it's just finding them.

    Edit: Using that Sony STR-V15 receiver I might even use it for radio duties, which is my primary use for the minisystem. It has two sets of inputs, tape and phono. Don't know that I could use the phono input. It would be nice if I could get audio from my laptop (mp3's from the network), which is by way of a USB sound card, into the receiver instead of into the minisystem ---> receiver. I'll have to play with it, I guess, see if the phono input is any use or maybe have RCA splitters left and right from the tape input of the receiver, one going to the laptop, the other going to the headphone out from the minisystem. If all this works, I'd only need to turn on the minisystem when I wanted to use the CD or tape transports or record FM to tape. I guess headphone out is not your standard line level signal, maybe depending on the volume the minisystem is set to. Electrical engineering is not my long suit, so I don't know how these hookups will/would work.
     
    #20 Muse, May 5, 2012
    Last edited: May 5, 2012
  22. slashbinslashbash

    slashbinslashbash Golden Member

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    The phono input on your receiver will probably not work as an input for anything other than an old-school turntable record player. Turntables output a very weak signal from their cartridges, and this needs to be amplified substantially, in comparison with a standard line-level signal.

    Headphone output (at standard volumes) is "close enough" that it's easily substituted for standard line-level outputs, and in fact this is what many people do to hook up their iPods/laptops/Walkmans/etc. to their stereo systems. It might not match the line-level specs perfectly, but it's certainly close enough, and it will not damage either component.

    Wattages on amps... blah. It really depends on how loud you want to play. On average, any given system at reasonable listening volumes is outputting *under* 1W, easily. (Keep this in mind for your Kill-a-Watt experiments.) There are transient peaks that can bring up the used wattage, however, and the lower the amp's rated wattage, the more likely the amp is to clip on those transient peaks. Clipping can damage the amp, speakers, or both. Your Yamahas are rated at 89dB at 1 meter, at 1W of input. 89dB is pretty loud; not "totally rockin' out!!" loud, but quite a bit louder than I typically listen to music, for sure. At 10W, they would be playing at 99dB. (Of course this is all kind of hand-wavey, since the sensitivity varies depending on the frequency and exactly what method Yamaha used to measure it, etc... but 89dB is a pretty typical sensitivity for home loudspeakers, so I'd say it's probably accurate for our purposes.)

    As for using both the laptop and the minisystem with the receiver, why not just switch the headphone plug between the laptop and the minisystem? Seems much simpler than splicing in RCA splitters, which IMO are not likely to give you good results. Should only take a couple of seconds to move the plug from one to the other.
     
  23. Muse

    Muse Lifer

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    Not sure how workable this is. The laptop is on the kitchen table. It has a USB sound card and I have a long (~20-25 foot) stereo RCA plug ended cable running to the back of the minisystem right now. The minisystem is above the stove on a special shelf I constructed for it (It's kind of hefty). The headphone jack is on the front of the minisystem.

    What do you think of this thing I just found by a google search on stereo amplifier:


    Mini Hi-Fi Stereo Audio Car Power Amplifier CD DVD MP3 -- Ebay listing


    It's cheap, small, looks pretty powerful and it might even have the several inputs I need (I'm not certain of that). I'd obviously have to work out a 12v DC power source for it. I might have something, maybe not.

    Edit: Then there's this one (similar): 2-CH output 100w+100w Audio Speaker Stereo Amplifier AMP 4~16ohm Twin Power IC -- also sans power supply, off Ebay

    Then there's this: Pyle Home PCA2 80-Watt Stereo Mini Home Theater Power Amplifier Stereo Brand New -- only one source but doesn't require added power source
     
    #22 Muse, May 6, 2012
    Last edited: May 6, 2012
  24. vshah

    vshah Lifer

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    i don't think the first 2 would adequately drive your yamaha speakers without tons of distortion. the 3rd pyle might be OK.

    those 100/150 watt ratings are more like 2-4 watts RMS.
     
  25. Muse

    Muse Lifer

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    That Parts Express Class T amp you linked early in the thread ( Dayton Audio DTA-1 Class T Digital AC/DC Mini Amplifier 15 WPC ). Would that adequately power the Yamaha speakers?

    Edit: What do you guys think of this one?

    Lepai Tripath Class-T Hi-Fi Audio Mini Amplifier with Power Supply -- $25 shipped at Amazon
     
    #24 Muse, May 6, 2012
    Last edited: May 6, 2012
  26. slashbinslashbash

    slashbinslashbash Golden Member

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    Oh, so the laptop is already plugged into the minisystem's Aux jack? Then no worries! Just leave it plugged in, and run the cord from the minisystem's headphone jack to the new amp/receiver, as decided previously. You will still be able to select "Aux" on the minisystem and have the laptop sounds come out the headphone jack. Sure, there might be a tiny bit of degradation by passing the signal through the minisystem on its way to the amp, but the convenience offered by switching solely through the minisystem surely makes up for it, IMO.