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SA-8800 Pops Thru Speakers

Hi all,

I have a Pioneer SA-8800 amplifier that I get popping sounds through the speakers. I only use the unit a few times a year, and a while ago I removed the cover and blew off the insides - which helped, but I still get the sounds.

It happens most often when I initially power it up, then goes quiet for as much as an hour or so after which I'll get a couple pops, sometimes a brief crackling sound, and then nothing for another hour more.

I figure I'll probably need to take it in for repair, but just would like to know more about it.

Any ideas or suggestions?


Re: SA-8800 Pops Thru Speakers

Capacitors and/or transistors could be failing. You should not operate the amp until it is repaired.
If it happens with both channels at the same time it is probably a power supply problem.

Re: SA-8800 Pops Thru Speakers


I did some reading that said it could also be caused by loose connections or the speakers themselves so this weekend I'm going to do some troubleshooting. First, I'll check the connections because two weekends ago I did pull it out some to remove the cover and replace the power switch. I also have a second set of speakers I can try.

I'll let you know what i find.

Re: SA-8800 Pops Thru Speakers

Very likely your power switch is arching or the speaker relay contacts are dirty. You said you replaced the power switch recently. Is it a new switch or a used one pulled from another unit? If so, those switches (just like the relay contacts) are prone to arching and leaving deposits on the contacts.

Another easy solution that I did not realize until recently is that the old gear likes heavy gauge speaker wire. I recently repaired a Marrantz for someone who kept bringing it back saying it would trip the speaker protection relay intermittently. I listened to it for 6 hours after repairing it and it never happened once.

Upon asking him what kind of speaker wire he was using, for instance, the gauge of wire...he said "dunno". Found out he was using some crap wire (22 gauge). After a lesson on speaker wire with him, the Marrantz is running happy.

I would check those first before needlessly tearing into it.

Re: SA-8800 Pops Thru Speakers

Thanks hercman.

Yes, the switch was used, but the one I removed had visible 'burn' marks at the solder joints where the power wires are attached to the switch itself, and the replacement did not. The replacement came with about 6 inches of wire which is where I made my connection.

Interesting point on the speaker wire; the set I have is at least 25 years old so I should probably replace it! Not sure what gage it is ('silver' and copper wire with clear insulation), but I had not had problems before. I guess I should at least replace the first few inches to expose 'fresh' wire to the terminals (both speaker and amp ends).

But back to my plan above, I checked all the connections and found nothing loose. I then connected a second set of speakers and - nothing! The amp powers up ok but no sound.

So I took it in yesterday.

By the way, when I had it opened up I did use some Deoxit on some of the switches; when I mentioned that to the Tech he said they only use that as a last resort. Does anyone have any bad experiences with Deoxit?

Re: SA-8800 Pops Thru Speakers

Some people claim they have had bad experiences with Deoxit. I have used it for at least 30 years with NO bad experiences; I think maybe other problems surfaced when they used this cleaner, and they decided to blame the Deoxit.
If a switch is really bad, no cleaner will repair it.
If there is no audio, the protection circuit may be kicking in, in which case there is DC on the speaker lines and you have a serious amplifier problem. Any decent repair shop should be able to fix it.

Re: SA-8800 Pops Thru Speakers

The power switch would have to be opened up and the contacts burnished to properly clean the switch. Those contacts take a lot of abuse (arching).

I agree with Johnnysan about DC. My bet is the DC offset is out of spec. , cold solder joints, and relay contacts.

The new switch was spliced in so I suspect the used switch has arching residue inside the switch on the contacts. Common problem with these Pioneers (among other brands).

Re: SA-8800 Pops Thru Speakers

Yes, this model has a protection circuit so I hope that's why there's no sound. They made it sound like the unit is repairable regardless of the problem - power supply, speaker relay etc.

Thanks for the comment - I feel better now!

Re: SA-8800 Pops Thru Speakers

Well, its been a while, so here's what's happened in the meantime:
The shop cleaned the unit; all the switches and contacts, and the problem is 98% resolved!
They kept it for 3 months and it wouldn't pop reliably enough with their 'scope hooked up to tell where its coming from.
So I took it back with the idea that when the problem returns, i.e. starts popping regularly, I'll bring it back and see if they can't find it.
Since re-installing it (with the same speaker wires and everything), sometimes it will pop once or twice when I initially turn it on (I've been playing it on the weekends), other times after its been on a while (again, only once or twice), and sometimes it will play all day without popping.
Oh well, I guess the good news is that all it cost me was the $25 diagnostic fee!

Re: SA-8800 Pops Thru Speakers

Thank you to all who posted here, very helpful comments. I have an SAE amp and preamp, with the same pops, I'll start with a good cleaning and that power switch etc. My problem occurs if the turntable inputs to the pre-amp get touched. Checked the turntable ( Thorens) it seems fine for out put etc.