Armageddon causing left channel to drop out? Weird !?!?!?!

Hi everyone

I have an active olive 4x135/52/SBL set up with LP12/Aro/Troika/Prefix/Hi-Cap/Armageddon. The whole system is well over 25 years old but has been recapped and sings gorgeously; except…

Something very strange is happening when I play the LP12. Occasionally, the left channel drops out suddenly. Without fail, if I quickly flick the Armageddon off then on, then the left channel comes back on. Sometimes I have to do this 2 or 3 times but it always comes back. I recently contacted a wonderful chap at Naim and he said it was a faulty “mute relay” and should be sent for servicing. I don’t for a moment doubt this but can’t understand how this could possibly happen? Isn’t the Armageddon simply a power supply to the LP12 with no connection whatsover to signal?

Sometimes I also suspect the right channel is slightly louder than the left?

Has anyone seen or heard anything like this (CDS2 and NDX2 streamers work fine !) or am I going mad?

What a top question for your first post on the Forum. You are absolutely right about the Armageddon; its only connection is to the motor, and it’s not connected to the signal path in any way. I wonder if the Armageddon and Supercap are on the same Hydra or mains block, and that the process of switching on and is enough to unblock an issue with the mute relay. Is the Prefix powered from the 52? I don’t recall if it has a powered input. If it is, you could try powering it from a Hicap - maybe you could borrow one - and connecting to a different input on the 52 in order to isolate the problem. Maybe I’m just spouting nonsense.

Yes. Most people will think I have gone mad but I can 100% vouch for what I have written !

Is the mute relay in the Armageddon or the Supercap (I thought the Arnageddon was basically a glorified transformer, albeit amazingly effective)?

The Prefix is connected to a HiCap which of course goes to the 52.

I am no Craig Sidwell but have a reasonably basic knowledge of my setup but this has me really baffled !

The Armageddon doesn’t have any mute relays, so the Naim person must mean the 52. Given you have a Hicap, try connecting the Prefix to the powered output 2B. Make sure you turn the Hicap and Supercap off before changing connections. Another thing to try is connecting the signal lead from the Hicap to a different socket on the 52. You’ll then - hopefully - be able to get an idea of what’s happening.

OK. Thank you ! I’ll give that a go during the day (it’s 10pm here in Sydney Australia).

I assume I keep the BNC cable running from the HiCap and then switch on after I move the Prefix cable to the 52?

Or does hooking Prefix directly to the 52 make the BNC cable not required?

I’m unsure what you mean here, as no BNCs should be involved. You should have the Prefix connected to Hicap socket 4, and then a 4 pin to 5 pin interconnect from Hicap socket 3 to the chosen input on the 52. Maybe you are confusing BNC and Din? To power the Prefix from the 52, connect the Prefix’s 5 pin Din direct to socket 2B. Nothing else is needed.

You can also try connecting the interconnect from the Hicap to one of the inputs that you know is ok, such as the one you use for your streamer. Just mute the 52 before swapping over.

My Prefix goes into socket 4 of the HiCap. From there I have a BNC cable that comes from socket 1 on the Hi-Cap to the 52.

I’ll see if I have a 4 pin to 5 pin cable too to try the second point - thanks for your suggestions !

Thanks for explaining, and sorry for being so dim; I now understand that you are connecting to input 1 on the 52, with the phono boards removed and replaced with straight through boards or links. For best sound, you’d normally use the Hicap socket closest to socket 4, as it has the shortest signal path. If it’s a very early Hicap it may also have a single rail output, so watch out for that. At least you can try connecting the Prefix directly to input 2B on the 52, without the need for a 4 to 5 lead. That may fix the issue. It’s certainly all very weird.

I have a wild theory here, so bear with me - you might think I’m bonkers!
If we consider that, indeed the person whom you spoke to at Naim is correct in their remote diagnosis & the problem lies with a relay. These relays - both input & output, work by means of a coil (an electromagnet) that, when energised, attract the “reed” contact to make the connection.
If the relay is either faulty, or the voltage on the coil drops below a certain threshold (for whatever reason), the reed will potentially lose that contact.
When you switch your Armageddon on/off, the transformer will emit an EMP pulse at varying degrees, depending on where you catch it on the mains cycle - could that pulse, potentially be enough to pop that magnetically attracted reed back into its correct position?
The EMP from a toroidal is enough to make screws (placed precariously during a repair) on the centre potting material dance around on switch on.

Just an idea - feel free to shoot me down!



That, IMO, is a very good hypothesis… :slightly_smiling_face:

So, a relay in the 52 is intermittently dropping out - causing loss of the left channel.
Power cycling the Armageddon cause enough electrical disturbance to cause the 52 relay to come back in.

Sound like the 52 needs some TLC, maybe…?

Neil, have you run this one past Robin? It sounds like just his sort of thing…

It’s the same idea I came up with a week ago - that the switching of the Armageddon is somehow interacting with a blocked relay.

You should contact Chris Murphy here in New Zealand Real Music Wellington.

He will sort it for you. If it was me I wouldn’t be to keen to let anyone else other than Naim UK play around with it. Good luck :crossed_fingers:

I haven’t yet Richard - but I will, should be interesting!



Thanks everyone. The left channel is now harder to retrieve so I will bite the bullet and send the LP12/Armageddon/HiCap in for a check up. I did have some cable problems with the Aro ages ago so maybe this is the core of it? That way Ive also still got my 52 so I can still listen to music

If that fails will send in the 52 for a check up. Hopefully I will get a loaner preamp (hopefully not a 552 !)

I brought this thread to the attention of Robin & he concurs that if the problem does lie with a relay, then my theory is potentially feasible.

Good luck with getting to the bottom of it @dk276


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Hello Everyone and thank you all for the thoughtful replies and suggestions. It turns out that the culprit was loose connections in the Troika connection to Aro. I still don’t understand why previously switching the Aramgeddon off then on fixed the problem. It was evidently a mechanical thing and the switching of the Armageddon must have somehow tweaked the cable into making a connection. Still very very strange !


Glad the problem has been found and fixed. I love a simple explanation…!

And thank you for reporting back… :slightly_smiling_face: