TIDAL and strange noise, ref#102

I understand your concern. No problem, you’re welcome. I added your particular question if it it hardware related to the ticket. As soon as I have a response I’ll let you know.

I got a response. You’re advised to open a formal support ticket at arcam.support@harman.com and refer to your post here. It might have to do with a software bug in the MQA decoding, but this is a premature statement. Please send the email and keep us posted about the outcome. Thank you.

Should I just send an email to the arcam.support@harman.com and mention the link to the current page TIDAL and strange noise, ref#102 ?

@jvs1, done will keep you updated.

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Yes, something like that. I would send them an email and tell them you bought a new SA30 and found out an issue with MQA deconding, state your worries (is it hardware or software related) and finally refer to this conversation. That would be enough information.

I have exactly the same problem and have been in contact with Arcam’s support about this and received the answer that it is a software problem that they are working on and fix in a new software version that may come out this week. There are a large number of other people who have reported that error as well and received the answer that it is a software problem.

And I think it’s related only to MQA decoding, just make few tests:

  • Select on TIdal MQA playlist and not MQA
  • Starts to play tracks, and often switch between
  • The issue appears only on MQA tracks, when I hear it, I just switch to not MQA track - everything is ok

Sometimes the noise is horrible, like in the video which I posted, sometimes it’s level is very low and I can hear it only with high volume.

Very interesting.
I was listening to a song called Corcovado from Kenny G on Saturday evening and suddenly I heard a strange sound.
My source is QOBUZ and I though it is related to a pb with the source file or the streaming.
I was more thinking about a problem with my Pylon speakers which are only a couple of months old.
But by reading this tread I have the feeling it is more related to the SA30.
But why only with certain songs ???

Does someone know, can I install a previous software version where this issue was not present?
And how to disable auto-update via the internet after,

It does it with regular streaming as well. I stream FLAC files from my NAS and it will do it as well. It’s more prone at higher sample rates. In my case I have found I don’t need to re power the amp just select a different input then go back to NET and all will be ok.

Hi @jvs1, do you know approximately how much time Arcam team takes for the reply? And is there any possibility to connect with them via phone?

From my personal experience I can tell a reply from formal Arcam support will take about a week. I didn’t have any contact by phone yet. So I don’t know if this is possible.

How to block firmware update…

Thanks for the info, @bvm. But how can I get an old firmware on my device to test if the issue is present there?

I have spoken several time with ARCAM field engineers.
you can call +44 (0)1223 203200.
I must say that they are really nice on the phone.


So, first of all, @hoffmap7 thanks a lot. I was able to talk to their tech team, As you said, they are very nice and provide great support on the phone. They said that my issue is a software issue. They also mentioned that the new version will be available in a week or in 4 weeks. Also, they answered other questions that I have. I have a large experience with different companies support on the phone. I would say Arcam is really great in this. And from my point of view in spite of some issues with the software, Arcam SA 30 is a part of the art as hardware. Any comments from the members?


I somehow share your point of view, it rather rare that you can speak to people who have a good understanding of the products they support. So this is the good point.
when it comes to software development and release, I’m a bit more severe.
I’m an IT product manager in the Pharma industry and I’m accountable for software release.
It is obvious that bugs that are reported here would not go out, but I already explained my point of view to the moderator of this site. Now releasing software which play with peoples life has not the same impact than an Amplifier software. Fully agreed. In the Agile methodology it all comes down to defining the MVP, the Minimum Viable Product. This is what defines the product that can be part of a release.
Certain bugs are for me too obvious and are connected to a lack of testing. Others are more complex.
Unfortunately nowadays the software has a big role in a connected amplifier.
One option is to have an amplifier which does just amplifying, but it would still not mean that a separate streamer would not have bugs !

Totally agree with you. I’m also in the software industry for more than 10 years. And what I see, the current approaches in the development have become more and more features oriented. It means that everyone wants to have more functionality in their products, and this leads to a rush, lack of strong testing, pragmatic development, etc. I can imagine then after Arcam introduces musical server possibility including support for different services, etc - they have a really huge number of scenarios, which is difficult to cover. And also I think that today when they are part of Harman International Industries, the business layer can push Arcam engineers to add more and more features just to use this in marketing. And in my opinion, it would be much better if Arcam supports not so many streaming options but do it slowly in time but more robust and stable.

It’s interesting, does anyone know, what’s about companies like NAD, McIntosh, do they also have a lot of issues with software nowadays?

NAD also had some major issues with their software, especially for C658. And for them it should be easier, as software is developed inhouse, by their parent company.
Some, like Marantz do not have some issues, as… they are using same platform since years, only minor changes between models.
In case of arcam they changed the platform to something new.
Problems with SA30 are nowhere near as severe as with AVRs, and I guess this is why they have put much more focus on latter ones.