Cambridge Soundworks Newton T500 speaker problem - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 40 Old 01-04-2010, 12:29 PM - Thread Starter
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A lot of the discussions on this board are way above my head,(hence this being my first post) and perhaps an AV Science forum isnt the best place to ask this question, (since these is little science involved with what Im about to ask), but this is one of the only places (if not the only) Google finds when searching on Cambridge Soundworks Newton T500 speakers that isnt a fixya site, or some place trying to sell me something. I have a few questions about these speakers and was hoping this board could help me out before I get on the phone with CS tech again. Not only am I looking to isolate the issue, but Im also looking for assistance in generating the right language to get me in good with the CS techs so they have a good idea what is happening, and possibly want to help me out for nothing! (For the price of these speakers, I think they should!)

Some background -


I bought these T500s brand new from CS in 2006 and they are supported by the cheapest equipment I could talk a friend into giving away - a Pioneer VSX-452 and a 5 disc cd changer I forgot the name of. I use these speakers in a small 10 x 12 room, so they dont have to be loud at all, but they do have to compete with my 11 piece drumset, so they see their share of volume.

Im not sure what the problem is with one speaker in particular, but it sounds broken in the obvious way - the speaker doesn't replicate the sounds effectively. Muffled sound comes through barely, but its accompanied by a lot of hiss and static. Even with the receiver off, the speaker continues to emit a high pitched "staticy" sound for a small period of time after the shut down. Are these the signs of over heating these units? I dont know the specs on the receiver, but I know it cant be much more than 100w/per channel, and the manual on the speakers say you can use a receiver up to 200W/per channel, so long as its not operated at excessive levels. The volume on my receiver never goes above halfway, and all of the bass functions are virtually disabled. Could it be possible to still over work these speakers?

The bass on the powered amp in the speaker is barely up 20% from its starting point, and as stated previously, the bass on the receiver is even less. I dont need bass with a 22" bass drum under my right foot, I just need volume for everything else so I can play along. My point is, I don't think these speakers see a lot of hard work.

I know I need to check the wired connection in the back of the receiver, (back of the speaker is good though) and I didnt go crazy buying anything awesome for speaker wire, so those are two possible issues that could be causing this issue, but if it is the speaker, what should I do to check it out? Any easy way to tell if its the speaker or the amplifier in it before I call the tech line? I suppose I could swap out the other amp from the other speaker (which is fine) but I dont consider that "easy". Any thing else I should be looking for?

Cambridge Soundworks wants all clients with issues to ship the unit in question to TX, where they'll look at it, and possibly fix it for a service charge of $75 plus whatever else. I'm not shipping a 81 pound speaker to Texas. It just aint happening. So if I could narrow it down to the amp or speaker, and I could extract those pieces, it would save a lot on shipping. Not that I expect to pay for shipping mind you. Im of the mindset that for the price I paid and the work I ask these speakers to do, I consider what happened to them unacceptable and expect Cambridge Soundworks to either fix these for nothing in house, or allow me to bring them some place local where they will fix them for nothing. Any advice on making that happen would be appreciated too!

So I guess my questions are -

- What is up with my speaker?
- How do I get CS to pick this one up? Any specifics on who to ask for in tech, or what route is the best way to go to get service? I called the tech line once already, and like many tech lines, they treat like you know nothing from the instant they talk to you, but I'm willing to go through it all again if someone thinks it will actually get me somewhere.
- If my plight with CS doesnt work out, does any one know any place local to South shore MA/Boston that can fix these units?

Thanks in advance to any and all responses. I appreciate you taking the time to read all this!

~Mark
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post #2 of 40 Old 01-04-2010, 12:39 PM
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Those speakers should have a 10 year warranty. I don't know why they'd charge a service fee.

Those speakers should have very strong bass, too much for a lot of people, so something is definitely wrong. I'd just try and get them to be sympathetic about shipping. Tell them for what you paid, you shouldn't have to be shipping all the way out there, etc. They might give in and send you a prepaid label.

It could be your electronics, but if it's hissing when all of that is off, I'd say something is wrong with one of the internal amps. Not sure if it's overheating, but something is definitely off.
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post #3 of 40 Old 01-04-2010, 08:56 PM - Thread Starter
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I thought these had a good warranty, I just couldnt find any supporting paperwork. Sound advice all around. Thanks! I'll repost when I have results form the calls into CS.
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post #4 of 40 Old 01-19-2010, 10:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Just an update on this issue.

According to Cambridge Soundworks, its my amplifier in the speaker that is having the problem. Good troubleshooting tip I should have thought of in 3...2...1.... The amps are powered externally, so unplug the amp, and see if the speaker still behaves like it did when it was powered. If it doesn't, then the amp is at fault. Cool.

Also, since Im being positive, the amp is easily removed and shipped separate from the 81lb speaker. Nice.

Heres the bad news. The amps themselves have only a 2 year warranty on them. (figures. Ive had them for 3 plus years). Maybe its the speakers that have a 10 year warranty. Or maybe the warranty only covers parts that dont move, or perform any real function....like the speaker covers. Im just going to chalk CS up as another company that did great research on when their products would fail, and then issue a warranty for a year less than that.

$75 is a mandatory payment made in advance to CS for them to review, and fix the problem. Now this may be a super deal since most shops charge that by the hour, and it would probably take them three hours to diagnose root cause. Plus this also covers shipping of the item back to you. So I dont think CS funds the company on tech bills. However, we'll see at the end of this ordeal if thats all it ends up costing me. And yeah, I cant say Im happy that a company has my money before any service was provided, but I'll give them this chance.

Here is what really makes me upset though - when asked about expected turnaround, the time estimate was 3-4 weeks. Yeah...3-4 WEEKS. In my opinion, no one that just "likes" sound reproduction, goes out and buys T500s. You have to really love sound reproduction to warrant spending 2k on a set of speakers. And if you love sound reproduction, I'm betting you make music/movies part of your life on a regular, if not daily, basis. As a company that specializes in making decent audio equipment, is it really ok to ask your connoisseurs to go without that part of their lives for a month? Personally, I don't think so.

I'll have more news when it becomes news.
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post #5 of 40 Old 06-05-2010, 02:47 PM
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I'm going to bump up this old thread because I was about to post my own with a similar issue. I know it's a long shot, but just hoping someone else may have had a similar problem or any experience dealing with Cambridge customer support?

I've had my T500s for three years now and they just recently have kicked into the same issue... seems like they were selling a faulty product or something. I absolutely love my Cambridge setup and I haven't had any problems up until this point. Seems like I should have waited because the receiver I ordered from them is kinda ****** and now it turns out that people are having similar issues with the towers.

I spent over 5k on my 7.1 setup, so if they're going to charge me shipping + $75x2 to fix both amps (on something which seems to be their fault), I am going to be pretty pissed.
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post #6 of 40 Old 06-09-2010, 02:29 PM
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My left T500 just started doing this exact same thing last week! High pitched static. I disconnected my speaker cables and it still makes the noise. It stops when I turn off the power switch under the speaker. Wow, I never thought it would be such a common problem. I didn't see any resolution though, so I'm also curious if this was remedied.
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post #7 of 40 Old 06-09-2010, 02:52 PM
 
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I believe the T-500 can be run full range, without using the built-in amp. Maybe this could be an option? I can't imagine shipping those monsters, it would cost a fortune!
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post #8 of 40 Old 01-05-2011, 05:28 PM
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Sorry to resurrect such an old post again, but has anyone attempted to repair the amps themselves? or at least had any success in getting them repaired? There doesn't seem to be much info concerning success stories with these speakers.

Thanks.
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post #9 of 40 Old 07-06-2011, 03:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Way sorry guys. I hate those posts that say exactly what you need them to, and then don't give a resolution. Here I was doing that same thing.

I did end up fixing the faulty speaker, but I had to pay CS Tech the $75 just to get an RMA number to ship in the faulty amp. Luckily, they did fix it @ no cost to me. Unfortunately it was a tad over 7 weeks from leaving my door to before it was back in my hands. Sent it UPS ground. Thank goodness the amp was easily removable form the speaker.

Now the other speaker I have is down where there is no amplification at all. It was hissing a month ago so I presume its the same issue all over again. The speaker does provide sound, but its flat and @ only about 20% of its volume. I'll run some tests to see what the issue is.


The email address I used was csw.support@customercare.creative.com. Hopefully it will still work so I can send in this other unit.

Hope this helps!

~Mark


BTW - thought about fixing it myself, but because nothing on the board looked obviously burnt out, I decided to let the pros handle it.
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post #10 of 40 Old 04-16-2012, 09:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Since the last post in 2011 July, I've spoken to CSW Tech support a few times about my other speaker. They wanted $284 to fix the same issue that 15 months prior only cost me $75! I didn't find that acceptable. It's not the money mind you, its the principle. A 379% increase for what appears to be faulty engineering? No way. But trying to go up any managerial chain within their Support group is impossible. I actually had one tech tell me talking to her was as good as talking to the CEO of CSW. Yeah, OK. I've been relegated to using headphones while listening to music in that room.

In the days and months since, I've been trying to get in touch with anyone in CSW or Creative that might be able to help me. I even contacted the person responsible for posting all of the public relations documents because it was the only email I could find. poshaughnessy@creativelabs.com. One time I was actually lucky enough to get a phone number off one of his posts. I emailed him twice within 10 days, and called to follow up not too long after that. I explained my experience and basically said Id be willing to get this amp fixed for a flat rate of $100, but never once did he respond to any of the those messages.

Here is where the good news comes in. Flash forward to March of this year, and I get an email from a woman at CSW saying the following:

"First let me apologize about the ridiculous delay in response. Please let me attempt to explain. Creative Labs and Cambridge SoundWorks ceased partnership with one another almost two years ago. That being said, emails that were send to Creative Labs, that were for Cambridge SoundWorks were never delivered to us until today 3/27/12. There is no excuse for this, and I am truly sorry."

She went on saying she would like to try and help by fixing the amp for the $100 I offered. I told her "it shows courage and integrity to respond to an email that realistically (she) could have just forgotten about. It impresses me you and CSW felt the need to let me know I was not forgotten."

Soooo... I got an RMA number, they have my amp and are working on repairs as we speak. I'm ecstatic. I'll post with what should be good news when its back in and working.
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post #11 of 40 Old 04-16-2012, 02:36 PM
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73LEMANS:

Wow! I have had the same experience. The amp in my first speaker went out about 4.5 years ago (September 2007). I got a repair for $65. The second amp went out about 9 months ago. I sent an email but got no response. I have been using the speaker with the amplifier turned off. Perhaps I should send an email to the new email address. Do you have the new email address? Sure would like to get the amplifier fixed at $100 dollars.
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I find it amazing that some companies would rather deal with RMAs et. and all the added cost (one RMA kills profit and in some cases induces losses) than redesign the FLAWED amplifier PCB/design with a FIXED updated revision.

I personally wouldn't touch ANY Creative Labs/Cambridge Soundworks product WITH A TEN FOOT POLE.

Well certainly not any of their new stuff. Vintage YES!

It's not the same outfit as it was back in the day with Henry Kloss at the helm.

PS for NA market both Marantz and Sony speakers are stencils and CSW is the ODM
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post #13 of 40 Old 04-18-2012, 09:16 AM - Thread Starter
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pclement,

The CSW website lists the general tech line I've been using through most of this ordeal. The poshaughnessy email and phone number will do no good to anyone, as that guy wanted nothing to do with this. I don't even have any special extension to get you to someone higher than the techs that take the initial call unfortunately. To reach my contact, I still have to call the generic 1800-FOR-WIFI number and ask for her specifically. And since I have to tell the tech that answers what its regarding before I can be transferred, I'm betting she only answers calls she's expecting. The emails I've been getting all come from service@cambridgesoundworks.com, so I would suggest that instead of any of the Creative address that were mentioned previously.

You bring up something I was going to leave out because I didn't think it mattered, but its worth mentioning now. When I first spoke to the woman who contacted me after all of this, she told me it was never $284 to fix an amp...it was only $185. I told her if I had known it was only $185 way back last July, we could have avoided ALL of this mess as I would've just paid it to get the speaker back and working. So even if they cant help you fix a price better than $185 o fix your amp, its better than $284 to get the speaker back up and running. (although I agree it should really be free as the boards should have been redesigned a long time ago!)

I would definitely call the CSW Tech Line. Tell them the issue and see what happens. Post back results too please, because this is one of the few threads across the internet that talk about these speakers in any way.

Hope this helps.

~Mark
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post #14 of 40 Old 04-18-2012, 10:13 AM
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73LEMANS:

Thanks for the information. I will post my results on this thread.
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post #15 of 40 Old 04-23-2012, 11:52 AM
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I called Cambridge Soundworks and the Tech confirmed the cost to repair the T-500 amplifier is a $185 flat fee. The repairs are done in Oklahoma. This is almost three times what I paid in 2007 for the same repair ($65). I could put the money toward a Hsu Subwoofer as I have a VTF-1 that I really love. I can still use the tower speakers without the subwoofer. I will have to give this some thought. The last repair went well and I have not had any problems with the repaired amplifier. Thanks for your help.
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post #16 of 40 Old 04-23-2012, 01:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Just in case any techies want to attempt this on their own, this is what CSW replaced on my board:

- Replaced the DS-150 digital amplifier module, volume control and the bass contour control.

However, note that my repair may need to go back.

I put the board in and replaced the fuse (apparently it blew) and the speaker just isn't producing the same crisp and clear highs the other one is. Basically it sounds like the speaker is coming through a wall. I will swap boards from one speaker to the other to see if its the board or not, but my woes are not over.
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post #17 of 40 Old 04-23-2012, 03:02 PM
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^ AFAIK that amp only powers the woofer + passive radiator - all the other drivers are powered by your receiver's amp.

There's an internal filter a.k.a. a crossover in the speaker's woofer amp that filters out the upper bass, mids and highs; then there is a crossover that filters out the lower bass from the midbass/midrange/tweeter, so I am not sure how this speaker can be "fully" used without its internal amp operating (unless there is a switch present that can allow the woofer to be powered by the owner's receiver).
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post #18 of 40 Old 04-26-2012, 11:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donutfan View Post

^ AFAIK that amp only powers the woofer + passive radiator - all the other drivers are powered by your receiver's amp.

I like that idea. I just switched the boards from speaker to speaker and the issue didn't switch sides so it supports that statement. Now we know the issue definitely ISNT the board. Good for CSW, bad for me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by donutfan View Post

There's an internal filter a.k.a. a crossover in the speaker's woofer amp that filters out the upper bass, mids and highs; then there is a crossover that filters out the lower bass from the midbass/midrange/tweeter, so I am not sure how this speaker can be "fully" used without its internal amp operating (unless there is a switch present that can allow the woofer to be powered by the owner's receiver).

There is an on/off switch on the speaker amp mounted to the bottom of the speaker enclosure. With it off or unplugged, the speaker still receives signals from the receiver and produces sound, albeit through only the mids and tweeters. The two 12" subs are only along for the ride in unplugged mode. So you can use them, but you're right in saying that can't be fully utilized.

****X-overs****

If I'm to understand the crossovers correctly, it sounds as though my woofer amp (or receiver amp, we dont know yet) may possibly be filtering out the upperbass, mids and highs...because I'm not getting any of that crisp, clean sound. But when a crossover fails, does it over filter, or does it stop filtering altogether? Or is it somewhere in between?

If the crossover in the receiver amp failed, would the issue have switched sides when I swapped the speaker wires from side to side? I would theorize no, because there would only be one crossover to the pair of speakers, yes? But if thats true, then the issue should occur in both speakers, yes? A low end receiver like this VSX452 wouldn't have one for each individual front speaker, would it? The manual doesn't give much on the technicalities of the unit unfortunately.

I'll have to see about swapping out the amps in the speakers to see if the issue follows. I think the issue lies here. I'm not sure how easy that would be, or if its even possible, but I'll take a peek to see how they are mounted.

I've got a Denon AVR591 receiver downstairs I could bring up to test, but that runs all of the AV for the only TV in the house and Id rather not disconnect it just for a test. (Better said, my wife would rather me not touch it.) But I will if I have to!


Thanks for the help so far!
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post #19 of 40 Old 04-27-2012, 06:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 73Lemans View Post

****X-overs****

If I'm to understand the crossovers correctly, it sounds as though my woofer amp (or receiver amp, we dont know yet) may possibly be filtering out the upperbass, mids and highs...because I'm not getting any of that crisp, clean sound. But when a crossover fails, does it over filter, or does it stop filtering altogether? Or is it somewhere in between?

Passive crossovers in a speaker very rarely fail - usually they only fail if too much power is applied to them. As far as bad xovers are concerned, I only know that aging capacitors can restrict power to tweeters & midranges and in turn reduce their output....but capacitors usually have to be at least 20 years old to act this way. If a resistor or inductor is burned out, depending on the circuit configuration, output could increase or decrease, but now I'm reaching the limits of my xover design knowledge so cannot say for sure.

Active i.e. powered xovers like those in your receiver should be very reliable too, since they are integrated circuit-based and aren't exposed to high amounts of power.

Quote:


If the crossover in the receiver amp failed, would the issue have switched sides when I swapped the speaker wires from side to side? I would theorize no, because there would only be one crossover to the pair of speakers, yes? But if thats true, then the issue should occur in both speakers, yes? A low end receiver like this VSX452 wouldn't have one for each individual front speaker, would it? The manual doesn't give much on the technicalities of the unit unfortunately.

There has to be one xover per channel in a receiver, no matter what its price point, because each channel carries its own specific set of signals, so yes, it should follow the wiring changes.
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post #20 of 40 Old 04-30-2012, 10:26 AM
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Ok, I went ahead and got an RMA and returned the speaker amplifier to CSW this am. I will let you know how it goes. Shipping thru UPS was $13. So I'll have about $200 invested in the repair.
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post #21 of 40 Old 05-07-2012, 09:22 AM
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I got a call from CSW today. The amplifer needs the main board repalced, some resitors and the front controls. Should be done today. Will then bench test for 40 hours and then ship out. I hope to get it back neXt week.
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post #22 of 40 Old 05-18-2012, 07:20 AM
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Received the repaired amplifier. I will try to get it installed this weekend.
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post #23 of 40 Old 05-21-2012, 06:28 AM
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I installed the amplifer and reconnected the speaker and did an Audessey setup (Took about an hour). Everything is working as it did before. CSW did the repair very quickly (2 weeks from door to door). At $185, I think the repair was worth it, but time will tell.

Does any one else have any recent CSW experience they would like to share?
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post #24 of 40 Old 06-07-2012, 09:36 AM
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Anyone else have recent CSW experiences to share?
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post #25 of 40 Old 11-15-2012, 02:48 PM
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Just read your thread. You know, when I had my Parasound amp powering my T500s, I would hear a hiss from the tweeters if I placed my ear next to it and the volume was completely down. When I started using a vintage Fischer tube receiver about three years ago, the same sound was hardly noticeable. Having read this I'll have to go home and investigate(keep my fingers crossed). I'm not as intimate with my system as I used to be unfortunately(broken AC unit / daughter in college). Glad you got yours fixed. Hope it continues to sound good. smile.gif
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post #26 of 40 Old 11-18-2012, 12:40 PM
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Well I guess I'll share my little story. I got a pair of T500's plus surround of CL a few years back. At the time one of the subs wasn't working (hiss/cracking sound from sub). I just used the one sub for a while, but eventually that died too. So I called them, and for $75 each I had both fixed. I don't know if I ever received a paper telling me what they fixed though. When I got both back I was a bit surprised to find two completely different boards- one was obviously a revision, the other looked the same as the two I had sent in. So fast forward a few years and one of them died again (crackling sound). At some point I'd like to open it up and take a loo, and my guess is it is the board that looked the same as the first two that failed... It's not worth me spending 185 + shipping to replace the amp again, so I'll either try to fix or just get by on the one alone. If anyone has any more info about components replaced on the board please PM me or post so I can more easily track down the faulty components.
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post #27 of 40 Old 12-28-2012, 11:51 AM
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After going through this entire forum, I thought I might throw in an issue that I have with my T500s.

When they are plugged in and turned on the subs start to make a rhythmic bumping noise. The light on the bottom switches from green to red (indicating on/standby) with the tempo. The speakers are fine, and it sounds to me like its the amp, but what specifically about the amp, I do not know.

I made contact with CSW customer support and they gave me the $185 deal to send in the amp, and have it repaired. What really interests me is that both speakers are behaving the same exact way (what are the odds). That means I would pay double to have the pair fixed up... and I do not intend on spending $370+.

I have considered having a private audio specialist take a look, but I am wary of the quality/ non-factory repair possibilities.

Has anyone had or heard of this issue before? Any feedback whatsoever would be greatly appreciated.
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post #28 of 40 Old 01-02-2013, 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by carsonhobart View Post

After going through this entire forum, I thought I might throw in an issue that I have with my T500s.
When they are plugged in and turned on the subs start to make a rhythmic bumping noise. The light on the bottom switches from green to red (indicating on/standby) with the tempo. The speakers are fine, and it sounds to me like its the amp, but what specifically about the amp, I do not know.
I made contact with CSW customer support and they gave me the $185 deal to send in the amp, and have it repaired. What really interests me is that both speakers are behaving the same exact way (what are the odds). That means I would pay double to have the pair fixed up... and I do not intend on spending $370+.
I have considered having a private audio specialist take a look, but I am wary of the quality/ non-factory repair possibilities.
Has anyone had or heard of this issue before? Any feedback whatsoever would be greatly appreciated.

I've experienced a similar thumping noise with my T500 units. As a matter of fact, my left speaker just started doing it a few days ago mad.gif

I had the right speakers amplifier module repaired a few years ago for $75 (I think) due to the same issue, so we'll see how much they try and get me for this time. I'm guessing $185

EDIT: And $185 it is. Oh well.
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post #29 of 40 Old 07-12-2013, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Slaine View Post

I've experienced a similar thumping noise with my T500 units. As a matter of fact, my left speaker just started doing it a few days ago mad.gif

I had the right speakers amplifier module repaired a few years ago for $75 (I think) due to the same issue, so we'll see how much they try and get me for this time. I'm guessing $185

EDIT: And $185 it is. Oh well.

It has been a year since my repair and was good until about a month ago. I have noticed a distortion in one speaker. It only lasts a few seconds then is fine. It is when the system is first turned on. It doesn't do it every time it is turned on and does not continue or repeat after the system is turned on. I will just live with it for now, but it is not a good sign.

As far as the "thumping" mentioned above. That is a failed amplifier. You could still use the speakers with the amplifier turned off. You will need another (separate) subwoofer to get the bass. Might be an option and you could get a HSU VT-1 sub for about the same as repairing the two amplifiers.
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post #30 of 40 Old 08-16-2013, 07:04 PM
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Wow. I'm sorry to here about the problems some people are experiencing. My T500s are 8 years old now and I just sent an e mail to CSW to see If I can get a couple of replacement binding posts. It had been quite a while since the last time I changed my speaker cable configuration and recently, while trying to loosen the posts, they (plastic) cracked:mad: This "thumping " from the subs that has been referred to, is this audible during music playback, while in standby mode or both?
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