Lack of particular sounds is driving me crazy...


New member
Username: Andrewrust

Post Number: 1
Registered: Mar-16
Hello! Ive been having this problem recently with my audio set up and it is driving me crazy. Crazy because I havent been able to fix the problem and even more crazy because describing this problem has been challenging. FIRST let me describe my set up...

My receiver(s) is a harman/kardon hk440. I also have a TEAC ag-v 3020 that I switched out thinking a different receiver would fix the problem, but it didnt.

My speakers are Sony SS-U461AV.

I have a Audio Technica AT-PL 120 record player that I run through a Gemini ipmx mixer that I then connect to the receiver. I also have an auxiliary cable that runs through the mixer so I can hook up things like phones and laptops.

Heres the problem...Some records that I have wont play particular sounds, such as big saxophone parts on jazz albums or backing vocals. I can kid of hear hints of them but it sounds as if the sounds are coming from another room or from under a blanket. The best way I can describe this is by asking you to listen to this guitar solo at 1:36
the record wont play this sound. Everything else sounds great, but the guitar solo isnt even there. I thought the record player or stylus might be bad (so I ordered a new one). To test it I played the same song from my iphone plugged into the auxiliary cable. The same thing happened. BUT when I unplugged my phone and just played the song though the phones speakers, the sound was definitely there.

Ive tried shifting the speaker wires from (-) to (+) thinking the problem was speaker "phasing", unplugging everything and then putting it back together, switching out the receivers. I havent touched this set up in quite awhile and everything was sounding right a couple months ago. Is there something Im missing or am I legitimately going crazy? Suggestions?

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 18183
Registered: May-04

There is nothing in the system that is instrument/frequency selective. The system cannot not play certain sounds if they are presented to the entire system.

I don't click on unsolicited links so I have not listened to your guitar solo. There seems to be no need really if the only problem is it doesn't play on your system.

My first guess would be you have the system connected out of phase with itself.

Switching the speaker connections from + to - only changes the absolute phase of the system, not the relative phase of one channel to the other.

Begin by playing the system with only one speaker. Information that would exist in the disconnected channel should obviously not exist but sounds that are common to both channels should show up. Then check the other speaker in the same fashion.

Next, check for relative phase within the system.

Your speaker cables are marked in some manner to indicate one leg is distinct from the other. Usually this is either a small ridge or a stripe/labelling on one leg of the cable. Make sure that is running to the + (red) connector at all locations.

If this problem ONLY exists with the turntable, then you probably either have the cartridge connected out of phase or the electrical phase is being reversed somewhere between the cartridge leads and the RCA plugs running to the receiver.

The latter would be a problem you would need to check piece by piece. Do you know how to use and read a DVOM (digital Volt/Ohm meter)?

I will say, it would be a fairly uncommon problem for the table to leave the factory in a reverse phase condition. But, if you purchased the table second hand, you don't know what repairs or modifications a previous owner may have attempted. Or, possibly you have tried something that you have failed to mention?

Determine whether the problem only exists with the table or with all sources. That narrows your troubleshooting down.

The next issue would be with the speakers. They may have a blown driver or pair of drivers. Make sure all drivers are operational. The easiest way to check this would be to find a frequency sweep app and run that through each speaker separately.

Finally, you have speakers that are not new. It's quite possible, even if the drivers operate, they are connected out of phase internally. This is a more difficult check since, depending on the crossover configuration, some drivers may have been designed to be connected in reverse electrical phase yet play in corrected acoustic phase. This is fairly common with speaker crossovers but not in a way you can detect through a visual check.

And, if you simply start disconnecting drivers and reversing polarity without a clear understanding of what you are doing, you can thoroughly screw up your speaker's sound. You would need to check the speaker system you have against a schematic for the circuit of the crossover. That probably doesn't exist.

"I havent touched this set up in quite awhile and everything was sounding right a couple months ago."

That would lead me to think you got a bit ... "overzealous" one night and cranked the crap out of the system. You probably blew out a driver or two or three.

Start by making a determination of which sources are causing the problem.

If it's only the table, then there's a best chances guess that you've screwed up the connections to the cartridge.

They're color coded to go with the cartridge though not all cartridge manufacturer's colors agree with all table manufacturer's colors.

Check your owner's manual for both items.


New member
Username: Msjazzmaven

Post Number: 1
Registered: Apr-16
I had a similar experience with my JVC RX 8010V BK receiver the first time I used my turntable. It sounded as if the fronts and surrounds were reversed. My old Pioneer VSX 5000 processed it normally. I found if I reversed the black and white wires inside the headshell, the problem was fixed. I guess not all receivers handle the signal the same way.

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 18213
Registered: May-04

" I guess not all receivers handle the signal the same way."

More or less, yeah, they do handle the signal the "same way". That's the thing about standards, they are the standard convention for operation and certainly for correctly wiring a system in the first place.

Using the turntable with a stereo (two channel) cartridge but running it through a multi-channel processing system is the issue here, not the wiring conventions of the receiver or cartridge.

Given the numerous, and at times proprietary, processing selections for multi-channel output from a stereo source, I can't even begin to guess at what the receiver was doing to the signal. Nor can I assume that your speaker cabling was not at fault. Even, in this case, your listening position could affect the perception of a problem when none actually existed.

You didn't care for the sound and you came up with a solution that, in your specific case, suited your tastes.

As I stated above, the cartridge could be wired out of phase or the turntable/tonearm cabling could be reversed at some point.

The former is exceptionally rare and easy to test for using a mono source. The latter is exceptionally common, particularly among people who do not follow or unaware of the "standard" conventions for cabling a system.

Using vintage gear, it is particularly difficult to pin point a problem let alone a solution. Even using less expensive gear where less attention to detail is somewhat expected, the problem can be burdensome to track down.

Your solution is one solution possible when converting a distinctly two channel source to a multi-channel output.

It wouldn't be my first choice in a strictly two channel system.

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