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Mark Levinson System Has Loud Crackling, Popping Noise For First 5 Min

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My speakers make a loud crackling, popping sound for the first 5 minutes or so after starting the car. It does not matter if the stereo is on or not (or what the volume is turned up to, if the stereo is on). This issue is worse in a humid, cold environment (and does not even happen in a warm, dry environment).

I am guessing this is the Amp (Mark Levinson Madrigal Audio Laboratories 86280-0W030, harman-motive, Inc.), since it is a powered amp and the crackling happens even if the stereo is off.

Does anyone know what this might be? If it is the amp, is it worth buying the star wrench to open it up so I can look into cleaning it and having a peek around. Does anyone know who I might bring or send this to, to get it fixed? I live in San Francisco.

Thanks in advance for any advice you can provide.

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I agree with James. A 90% bet it is the amplifier. Normally, as James eluded too, the only way to repair a part like this on a ML system is to unplug the old and plug in a new one. Why? Levinson has always deemed their product as proprietary, and license it for the exclusive use of Lexus. Levinson does not provide repair manuals or diagrams even to the Lexus dealers. The real slap is the price of over$1,500. for a new one. .( In my area)

The link below is for United Audio in Syracuse NY. Many of our members appear to have had good luck with their service. I have no idea how much they charge, but they may be able to fix your problem and save you money.

Please let us know what you find out.


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  • 8 years later...

I know this is an old thread but I dare write this for those who suffer and try to fix it inexpensively as a DIY job.

Recently a friend of mine mentioned about Mark Levinson's amplifier and I posted this to the Clublexus. According to him, the popping/cracking/static noise is mostly caused by the oscillation of the voltage booster at the power supply block. All you need to do is just to replace worn electrolytic capacitors used there.

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These days a tv repair man is a rare thing but if one does not know how to fix an amplifier yourself, a tv repair man probably can. 

Great info Yamae!

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