T-Amp gone bad?


Active Member
I have a T-Amp connected to my HACS AB8SS to provide whole-house TTS announcements. It's been working great for about 8 months.

About a week ago, my speakers started making an intermittent crackle, maybe once every 20 minutes for a split second.

I thought it was either my USB sound deviec or my AB8SS doing something weird.

This morning about 20 minutes after I woke up, the speakers began producing continious static. I tried switching the speakers and the static moved from speaker-to-speaker, which made me think it was NOT the AB8SS. I then powered-down my HA PC, thinking it might be the USB sound device, and the static persosted. I finally realized my T-Amp must've gone bad.

Fortuneately, I had another still, still new-in-box, that I was saving for another application. I swapped it out with the bad one and all was well again.

I wonder what caused it to go bad.
- Is it just not designed for continious use?
- Was my Parts Express 12V 2A Power Supply giving it some nasty power?
- Is the T-Amp not robust enough to handle the varying impedence introduced by the AB8SS (The AB8SS does some impedence matching, and keeps the impedence between 4.92 and 8.49 ohms... actually in the 4's for 2-8 speakers and 8.49 for one speaker)?
- Maybe I just got a bad unit.

I'll have to check with Sonic Impact and see what kind of warranty these things have.

Anyone else have one go bad?
When I was looking for a whole house AM/FM receiver many of the audio/video stores said that there are very few receivers that can handle the rigors of being left on 24/7 and varying impedances. I bought a Yamaha that was designed for this and it's been on for 4 years now.
If the one I have now goes out, maybe I should try one of those small Elk amps, since, as an amp made for a home-automation application, it should be made for continious use...

What's the model # of the Yamaha you're using?
jrfuda said:
If the one I have now goes out, maybe I should try one of those small Elk amps, since, as an amp made for a home-automation application, it should be made for continious use...
I hope you don't mean the Elk-800 Amplifier. It is not meant for continuous use (refer to the clip from that manual link below).


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Hmm, by continious use, in my case at least, I mean under continiuos power, but not continiously playing audio. I only used it for TTS, so, although it is powered 24/7, it only speaks a few seconds at a time, maybe 20 times a day.

I'm assuming the Elk can be continiously powered, just - as the excerpt you posted says - not continiously playing music.

I use an AB8SS. The "spare" T-amp I had was originally going to be connected to my Receiver's Zone2 audio connection and then to the AB8SS' speaker B input, to provide whole-house music ('low-fi' through the Elk speakers, kept to a rather low volume). In that case, the second T-Amp's power supply would have been connected to one of the receiver's switched outlets so it would only be powered when the receiver was (or, better yet, it would be on an appliance module and only on when zone2 was active).

It's practical to have the Zone2 amp's power switched, becuase a slight lag in response is acceptable, however, an amp delivering TTS needs to be always on, becuase the time it takes for power-up, though very short, is too long for TTS (I know through expiremenation - I once tried to use a completely appliance module-switched speaker switching system [switching on/off amplifed speakers] and it did not work well at all.

So, those of you that use the Elk amp, do you keep it powered-on always?
My Elk amp is on all the time. But, like described above, it's only actually used a few times a day to make HA announcements. It's been running constantly for a few years now with no problems. It's driving 5 speakers (3 at first, added 2 more later).

By the way, music through my setup sounded really, really bad. I don't know if it's the amplifier or the speakers, but I wouldn't rely on using them - even for low level background. I didn't bother to figure out if it was the amp, the speakers, or both since I had no intention of actually using the system for music and I was just curious what it would sound like.

Playing wave files (like winchester chimes or the 5 notes from CE3K) sounds ok, though.
Thanks Smee,
I've never tried music either, just a few chimes. Perhaps I'll give it a try after I move.
Hi John;

I'm using the amp the same way as smee. Powered all the time and only plays short duration sounds and announcements.

I'm driving four Elk Echo speakers (in parallel) with no problems (12 vdc power on the Elk).

I also have the elk amp powered all the time. I use it for HA announcements. When I first hooked it up I tried playing music thru it. It played for about 10 mins before the overload protection circuit kicked in. Powered down the amp, powered up and all was fine. Needless to say I don't use it for music. Thank the HA gods for overload protection. :) :(