ARC: audio interruptions are noticeable, ref#92

Yesterday I sat next to the speaker listening to TV audio and noticed it does occur very frequent, even every 3 minutes I’m able to hear an abnormality. I hear various abnormalities: little cracks, silences and hiccups. They all have in common they are very short in time, less then a second. If you’re paying attention to it it does occur very frequent. If I wasn’t paying attention to it (at the time of the initial report) I heard only the very short silences. I can say almost for sure the abnormalities have nothing to do with the content of the TV broadcast. If I replay the recorded TV broadcast I cannot hear the abnormalities.

As a follow up: today I’ve noticed also 'silences" while listing to CDs on the BD-input. Following your observations @jvs1 I also sat close to the speaker and noticed more frequent “clicks” and “pops” although not as loud as the less frequent “silences”. Actually, my wife thought I was listing to a vinyl record… :roll_eyes:

Because I was confused, I reverted to the previous firmware (1.21). Gone are the clicks and pops (and slight metallic edge in the high frequencies) but even more strikingly, back are the dynamics, emotion and expression of the music. Back is the sound of the amp I felt in love with.

I’ve bought the SA30 as an upgrade over my previous amp and I find it quite shocking that a firmware upgrade (?) downgrades the musical abilities of the amp. :thinking: Although the firmware addressed some issues I find it very worrying that this is done at the expense of its sole purpose: playing music.

I’m able to hear the abnormalities over HDMI ARC only. The other input channels I use are NET (I use MusicLife to stream music from NAS) and airables (I use MusicLife to listen to radio channels). I didn’t hear any abnormalities over the NET and airables inputs yet.

I didn’t compare the sound between the current (705) and previous build (v1.21) yet. Maybe I’ll do this later (next the the additional effort to perform the test and report ‘quantified’ differences, I have to find the time to sit back and really listen).

Although the perception of music is very personal, I do not know if Arcam changed something which changed your perception of the music abilities of the amplifier. In general it is never the intention that existing features will break after an upgrade. In software development this phenomenon is known as regression. From a customer point of view all we can do is report the broken/changed functionality. Maybe a short-term workaround for you: stick with the old build?

The perception of music is very personal indeed. I might have got carried away a bit in my previous post, but to my ears the previous build sounds a little better (less compressed and less metalic glare, although the difference it is not night and day). I’ll stick with it for a while.

This means I can’t access the SA30 anymore using the IP-method, because then it automatically updates the firmware :laughing: Which I know, because this happened today. Although I could clearly hear the clicks yesterday, today I couldn’t hear them anymore during the half hour I listened to the new firmware so maybe it occurs only after a while.

You can disable automatic update through SA30 menu, system settings, set OTA UPG to disable. Refer to the SA30 manual on page EN-20:


I split my last post into two, so this is not new content.

Today I heard some very loud ticks over HDMI ARC, I heard these ticks never before. I was listening to radio (Music Life app airable) then I switched to the TV. Instead of hearing TV sound through the SA30 I could hear the following ticks:

The following sample demonstrates a subtle silence (refer to position 0:03):

The last sample shows a more hard silence (refer to position 0:03):

All samples were recorded with my phone mic having next to the the speaker, the quality of the recording isn’t best at all however it shows the abnormalities I found.

I have literally emailed Arcam about this because I have rolled back to V521 as it performs better than the latest firmware. I had disabled the OTA update and all was well until I went to the web client and ran through the configuration wizard only for it to detect the firmware was out of date and automatically update it without asking. So unless Arcam get back to me with a solution, you can roll back the firmware but you can no longer use the web client.

I have now installed the latest firmware (Host v1.33, net v705) for the SA30 and done system and net reset. Now the sporadic distortion problem I had when playing an analogue source through the ADC/DSP/DAC chain seems to be fixed. That’s when not using DIRAC in my case.

But, now there’s another problem after the firmware update. When playing an analogue source (my two CD players, a cassette deck or a turntable) there’s a short sporadic ”clip/break” (sounds like a quick/fast ”jump”) that hasn’t been there before the firmware update! I have also checked it by listening with headphones. Hear the sporadic ”sound clips” clearly. That appears when playing through the ADC/DSP/DAC. I’m not using any DIRAC room correction, it’s OFF… The way to come around this is to switch to ”DIRECT” mode that bypass the ADC/DSP/DAC.

Anyone have this problem?

Hi bvm, Welcome to the forum!

Sounds like you facing the next issue. This issue contains some audio recordings too. Maybe you can have a look and listen for yourself if they sound similar. If possible please confirm it’s the same issue.

I have sent a ticket about the interruptions to ARCAM about a week ago. We may see…

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Got this answer today from ARCAM about the interruptions/blips…

Good morning

This seems to be a side effect of the changes to the DSP that fixed the distortion. It got to a stage where we had to push out some software to solve the distortion and figured that this periodic audio blip was less problematic than the sum total of the other bugs that were in the unit and the total loss of audio /distortion that would inevitably happen. While it is not ideal, it was the lesser of two evils and is already well on the way to being resolved in the software roadmap.

I apologise for any further disruption but it does look to be reaching a conclusion.

Kind regards

Field Support Engineer
ARCAM, JBL Synthesis, Lexicon, Mark Levinson, Revel

I found a way to block SA30 firmware upgrades, refer to post below.

I am getting brief ‘dropouts’ from a Sky box via optical and an Arcam tuner via analogue. These have definitely appeared since the update to v705 a couple of weeks ago. The occasional pop or crackle is also present.

Hi Derek, welcome to the forum! Thank you for your input. I’ll make sure all info is fed back.

The latest status update is: they are working on a proper fix which includes no dropouts and no lip sync issues over ARC.

Yes, I tried ARC this morning (LG B6) and experienced interruptions. I have to do the reverse: switch on TV them switch on SA30 from cold.

Just adding my +1 on this

I haven’t yet downgraded the software as I plan to, but decided after much debate with myself to pick up a CDS50 to go with my SA30. Seemed OK at first listen to a Dire Straits SACD (Money for Nothing sounded better than I’ve ever heard it in my life!!) and now sat listening to Eric Clapton SACD (analogue CD input) and there are little blips and stutters every now and again that I am getting, almost like a jumping record.

Interestingly I’ve not noticed this until now, I mainly use streaming and play Vinyl. I have had the Tidal distortion issue, don’t know if any of these things are related. Deffo going back to 5.21 firmware

Those small gaps in the music when playing from an analog or digital source are a problem that Arcam knows about. They are working on a solution to this according to them. If you want to solve the problem, you can set it direct on and when the new software comes, hope that they have solved it…

I have had the intermittent short scraping, distorted sound (or what to call it) on analogue CD-input since february when I bought the amp (also with v 521) and the only way to solve the problem for me was to use the analogue direct function or to connect the CDS50 via dig coax…

Nearly one month alter and still no news from a solution to this issue.

Maybe a good surprise for Christmas with a new firmware solving this issue ?

I regret so much to have bought this unit…