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Is it time for new IC's

Discussion in 'The Cutting Edge' started by LotusFool, Feb 1, 2018.

  1. LotusFool

    LotusFool Active Member

    Messages:
    330
    Location:
    Rochester NY
    My Cardas IC's are getting old and beginning to fail. One of the IC's that connects the pre-amp to the amp quits once in a while. I'll notice one channel has dropped out, so I get up and give the IC a bit of a touch at the connection point and the connection is restored. I'm guessing it is the "hot" wire and not the ground shield because there is no loud hum when it happens, just loss of signal. It's not a big deal for me to get up once in a while and jiggle the wire (I could use the exercise) I"m just wonder if continuing to use this faulty IC is degrading the sound.

    All my IC's are Cardas that the seller gave me when I bought his McIntosh system, and I'll bet they are 15 to 20 years old. I think it's time to open up the wallet and get something new and without failures. Is this a no brainer?
     

     

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  2. MannyE

    MannyE Exterminate! Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,263
    Location:
    Miami Beach
    Maybe. But why not give Cardas a call and see if they can refurbish them at a fraction of the cost of new ones?
     
    Samac likes this.
  3. Wildcat

    Wildcat Audio Sommelier Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,348
    Location:
    MI, US
    I second that--Cardas is very "open" to dealing with their customers. The copper they use inside is worth having a new end put on, if that's the problem. New Cardas costs a lot. Aside from their bulk cable or buying used, Cardas is above my pay grade. If I were doing it, I'd probably just buy a replacement Cardas-branded plug and solder on one myself (or buy a set of four and replace all of them, to keep them consistent). I don't know how their preassembled ICs are constructed, but recent cables have heat shrink tubing over the back ends of the RCA plugs onto the cable--if that could be removed and the plug opened up (unscrewed), it might expose the problem and easily be resoldered.

    As long as you're sure it's not the component in question having a faulty jack, as that could happen also. Not very likely though.
     
    Samac likes this.
  4. runnin'

    runnin' Super Member

    Messages:
    1,243
    With the cables being at least 15 years and likely older, it's a good time to replace. The weak connection is affecting sound, no doubt. There are a lot of options these days, you might want to google what others are having good success with paired with Mcintosh for a start.
     
  5. jdwdmi

    jdwdmi Active Member

    Messages:
    293
    Location:
    Des Moines, IA
    I have tried a handful of IC’s with my Mcintosh gear. I landed on Cardas Parsec and Neutral Reference with my 2 McIntosh setups. :music:

    YMMV.
     
  6. Samac

    Samac Active Member

    Messages:
    115
    Location:
    N.E. Ohio
    If they are higher end Cardas I'm with MannyE and Wildcat. Check with Cardas and see if they would re-terminate them for you. They make fantastic cables. I used Cardas Golden Reference for a year and had to sell them. I still miss them.

    Cheers,

    Scott
     

     

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  7. bentconvert

    bentconvert New Member

    Messages:
    19
    Not trying to talk you out of new IC's but have you tried cleaning your connections with contact cleaner? I don't know how cables would get "weak" and fail over time unless you spend a lot of time changing them or they were removed by pulling the cable instead of the barrel of the connector.
     
  8. MannyE

    MannyE Exterminate! Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,263
    Location:
    Miami Beach
    This is also a consideration. Cables don't wear out unless they are moved often. I know that in the past when I was constantly trying out new stuff, I would occasionally experience a broken connector. But now that I rarely switch things around that's no longer an issue.
     
  9. bimasta

    bimasta Super Member

    Messages:
    2,643
    I'd like to see more examples of cables "wearing out". To spend Cardas-level money to replace Cardas-level cables, when the OP seems to describe a bad solder joint (which can be resoldered) makes little sense to me — especially if extended to many cables in a whole-system replacement. Corrosion or other contaminants can, and often do, degrade a connection, but can be cleaned. Thin gold-plating can wear off if frequently plugged/unplugged, but if paying Cardas-level money the plating should be very durable — and the role of plating in signal transmission is controversial to begin with. Mechanical problems can happen with connectors (metal contact-points get bent) but can often be fixed, or the connector replaced, but not the entire cable.

    Personally I've never had a cable "wear out" in its entirety. That's why I began by asking for examples. If I'm wrong please correct me, I prefer my opinions to be correct.
     
    Bill Ferris likes this.
  10. Blue Shadow

    Blue Shadow I gotta get me a new title

    Messages:
    21,507
    Location:
    SE PA
    I've had a cable delivered new in the packaging that was worn out. Shorted internally somewhere. Took out a small part of an amp, probably a resistor, and that long set of Teac cables got the boot. And these were good cables back in the day.
     
  11. MannyE

    MannyE Exterminate! Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,263
    Location:
    Miami Beach
    I completely agree. What I mean by wearing out is physical damage resulting from being tossed around. I can't imagine metal "wearing out" because too much music passed through it. That's ludicrous. I can imagine solder connections going bad or air/moisture getting into the insulation and oxidizing the metal but somehow getting worn out is not possible.

    Maybe if they get so hot they melt. If that happens, well, I will wish I was there! :)
     
    Bill Ferris likes this.

     

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  12. LotusFool

    LotusFool Active Member

    Messages:
    330
    Location:
    Rochester NY
    Hey everybody,

    Thank you for your thoughtful replies!!

    I wouldn't say the IC's are worn out, but rather I believe inside the terminating end (the big plastic thing encasing the metal jack) is where I believe the lose / broken connection exist. And bending it or just to give it a little jiggle corrects the problem. Yeah, if it were a metal casing (jack) I could take apart, I could and would easily solder the wires back up. Because the Mc225 imputs are on the side of the chassis (why oh why did they ever do that!) the IC's have to bend 90 degrees, from connecting to the back of the pre-amp to the side of the amp. It is this stress I thought was creating the lose / broken connection.

    But I just took a look at my connections to the pre-amp (where I jiggle the wire) and low and behold it is the RCA pre-amp out jack that is actually wiggling! I'm sure now it is the jack and not the IC. I never thought to look there. I just wiggled the IC and got my signal back and sat back down. It is only because of the comments from bimasta and wildcat that made me second guess my first thought and take a closer look.

    So it looks like a trip to the shop to get the RCA jack soldered up, which is a lot less expensive than a new set of Cardas or something equivalent.
    Thanks everybody!
    Gary
     
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  13. runnin'

    runnin' Super Member

    Messages:
    1,243
    Good news, hopefully the repair charge isn’t too much!
     
  14. EyeGee

    EyeGee Big Ears Subscriber

    Messages:
    185
    Location:
    Northern California
    I bought a DAC from that company that rhymes with "it" and noticed a ringing about 10 days in. I contacted the company's customer service and they told me it was probably that the cables were "worn out". They were relatively new Shunyatas --- less than one year old. I took them out, upon reflection I am thinking the DAC's output RCA jacks are too close together for the Shunyata plugs.
     
  15. Chip Chester

    Chip Chester Super Member

    Messages:
    1,988
    Location:
    Central Ohio
    The RCA jacks in the equipment have a (probably) tin-plated sleeve that the pin slides into. (Might be gold plated/colored on some items.) These sleeves are usually an open U shape, and lose some tightness over time. Often a simple squeeze with a pair of needle-nose pliers will restore the tension necessary for a good connection. (Opening up gear required.) It may only work OK for another 20 years before you have to do it again, though...
     
  16. hifitommy

    hifitommy AK Subscriber Subscriber

     

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  17. MannyE

    MannyE Exterminate! Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Miami Beach
    After you do that, get yourself some 90 degree adapters and take the stress off your terminations. Or if you feel a little more adventurous, get inside your Mc225 and add some less ridiculous connectors in the "correct" location.
     
  18. Wildcat

    Wildcat Audio Sommelier Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,348
    Location:
    MI, US
    Cardas will re-terminate any of their cables you send them that go defective--they have a lifetime warranty on them.
     
    stish and mikeybc like this.

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