Loud cracks on vinyl replay, again!

I hope you are staying safe and well during these strange times. I posted about this problem before Christmas and thought it was resolved but alas, not so. So here again is the problem summarised.

My system comprises:

Roksan Xerxes 20+/Roksan Artemiz 2/Dynavector XX-2/Reference Power Supply

Naim Superline/Naim HiCap DR

NAC 252 & Supercap DR


Naim CDS3 w/ Naim XPS2

Naim NAT05

into Totem Mani-2 Signature speakers.

I have been experiencing problems with vinyl replay for a good few months now.

I had added a NAP 300DR and a Supercap DR to the system two years previously and had not touched the system since then so knew it was nothing I had done immediately prior to the problem starting.

Sometimes when listening to vinyl I hear a loud “crack” through the speakers. These “cracks” don’t seem to appear at regular intervals - sometimes it doesn’t happen at all, at other times it may happen after one or two sides and other times may happen during the first track.

My initial thoughts were that this was probably static or some other kind of electrical discharge so my first action was to check all the grounding on the turntable and the earth connection to the Superline from the tonearm cable. All appeared fine so I then asked my dealer and the Naim Forum for advice.

My dealer suspected it was a phono stage issue so he gave me a Stageline to try. I went a few days with the Stageline in place without problems so we decided that was the issue and the Superline was returned for repair. Unfortunately before the Superline made it back to me the problem recurred. I swapped out the HiLine for the stock Lavender cable but the problem remained. At this point I removed the HiCap DR, powered the Stageline from the 252 but still the problem remained. I then borrowed a different SNAIC from my dealer but the problem persisted.

This led me to assume:

It can’t be a faulty Superline or HiCap DR as the problem occurs when neither are in the system.

It can’t be a faulty interconnect as it happened when both HiLine and Lavender weren’t in the system, and in any case it is unlikely both would be damaged in a way that it produces the same fault.

It can’t be the SNAIC as the fault happened with my SNAIC and the dealers SNAIC which works in his demo system without issue, and again, it is unlikely both would be damaged in a way that it produces the same fault.

It can’t be the Pre & Power amps as there is no problem when listening to CD’s or the Radio.

It can’t be a Line Input as it happens on Input 5 (aux 1) using an interconnect from the phono stage and on Input 6 (aux 2) when powered from the 252.

  • Would you say it is safe to assume these things?
  • Is it possible for a problem with the Pre or Power amp to only appear on vinyl replay due to the differing voltages? (I’m guessing at the differing voltages bit by the way, that’s probably all balanced out by the phono stage before it gets that far.)

Then I thought about possible interference from an external source.

I had recently “installed” a new water bowl for my dog on the advice of the vet. I say installed as it featured a water filter and a small electric water pump so that the water was filtered and kept oxygenated. On removing this I had several days without the problem appearing and somewhat prematurely thought I’d resolved the issue. I hadn’t, but decided not to re-install it anyway as it would always be a niggle. Next I considered that it may be some kind of electrical switch so began listening with the central heating thermostat turned to zero so it wouldn’t click on and off. This didn’t solve the problem either. I am now at a loss as to what to do next. Obviously with everything in lock-down I can’t have anyone come in to investigate.

If you have any ideas or suspicions I’d be most appreciative.


Steve O.

Steve - sorry to hear the dog bowl issue didn’t solve the problem. The issue with noise related to phono related sources, as you rightly point out, can be related to the very low signal levels these devices work at. As this seems to happen intermittently it would be worth checking other devices that are in your near vicinity that switch off and on. You seem to have ruled out the CH (a common problem especially with ageing mechanical thermostats) but do you have fridges, freezers, sewage pumps or any other devices that could do this ?

Another question - are you in a detached or semi detached property ?

It’s a detached property James.
While it would seem an opportune time to investigate, the fact that the house is constantly full and busy means the opportunity to turn anything off is less than limited.
I’ve got to the point now where I’ve stopped buying vinyl and am falling out of love with the hobby to some extent.
I’ve sent the same question via email to Naim support in case any of the boffins have any ideas but I’m not holding my breath.
Steve O.

Is all ok with the turntable, arm and cart? What about the TT power supply?

Like James I would suspect fridges, freezers, dehumidifiers, anything with a pump, anything that switches mains voltage basically…


Nothing happens if I move the arm cable and I’ve checked all the grounding which is fine so I’m assuming so.
As for the TT Power Supply, I thought that as all that did was power the motor it couldn’t put noise into the system. Am I wrong?
Would outside interference be limited to things plugged in to the “downstairs sockets” ring to which the system is plugged into or could the upstairs sockets, garage or lighting rings potentially cause problems?

Steve - An investigation on all mains devices within your household is worth doing (difficult as it may be). You can then ascertain whether it’s something internal to the property which is causing the issue. If not then there are other things to investigate.

Just for completeness how is your system connected to the mains supply - all items on the same socket (or set of sockets) ?

Everything is connected into a 6 way Atlas mains block James.

I had to replace a fridge for this reason, even though I have dedicated lines. Unplug the fridge and listen for an hour or two.

Ok that’s good. I would have a good look around at everything that runs of the mains within the house (and garage) both fixed infrastructure - boilers etc (which you say you’ve checked) to household appliances, and then other items that are plugged into the mains. If you say the house is pretty busy, is someone else turning something on ?


It’s happened with only me in the house so can’t be someone turning something on. Has to be an internal switch on something if that is indeed the problem.

One thing I can’t see that you’ve tried: have you left the equipment powered on, switched to phono, with volume set to usual listening position and left it to see if you actually need to be playing a record for it to occur ?

Then do it with the turntable motor on, but again not playing a record.

And finally switched to another source.

They should effectively rule out a fault with the front end and you may be able to go further along this route to rule out (or in) more.


My phone interfears with my system, although it sounds like a fax machine, not a crack.

Could it be the TV/DVD going into standby/sleep. Or maybe the virgin/sky box turning off.

The Sky box and TV are set to never go into standby. DVD player is used only rarely and from memory not this year.
Thanks for the input so far. It’ll drive you guys as mad as me by the time we’re done.
Steve O

1 Like

Hums, pops and other noise related issues are always an interesting puzzle to solve. Even more so in these lock down times !

It’s a puzzle I wish I didn’t have!

:point_up_2: :point_up_2: try what @TallGuy said :exclamation:

Good advice.

By switched to another source do you mean the CD input with nothing playing?

Switch to phono source & listen for a while with no record playing, start the turntable (if possible) & listen again for a while. If you hear the problem, then switch to another source (like CD) & listen again with nothing playing.

The idea is to see if it could possibly be a static issue via stylus/record, or an external switching issue or a deeper system issue.


Thanks, I’ll give that a go tomorrow.