Sudden Loss of Stereo Balance

When we first set up my system we did a “Left, Right, Center” test and found that changing the balance in the Vivaldi DAC 1.5 db to the left put the center channel dead ahead. Have been listening contentedly ever since. All of the sudden the center channel is way over to the right. I checked the balance on the DAC and it still says 1.5 to the left. Everything looks like it is working right…no error messages or lights anywhere…nothing has been touched or changed for a long time as up to now if has been sounding great. I shut all down via the rear switches. Double checked all interconnects and power cables were solid. If I crank the balance all the way to the left (6 db) the center channel is STILL right of center although not as much. Any ideas? Can one of the amps (Gryphon Apex Mono) all of the sudden be under (or over) powered and cause this issue? The only change that I can think of was an update to the Mosaic app. But I think things sounded OK for a while after that so I don’t think that could have any effect. I’m stumped.


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Check balance on your mosaic amp. I found mine had been moved to one side although i did not ever intentionally alter it from tdc

Mosaic is what I’m using to alter the balance. I did double check to make sure that the value on Mosaic matched the value on the DAC screen.

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Dont know if youre driving a preamp or going straight to mono but check to see if you are out of phase? Also a switch on mosaic


Did you check your pre-amp to insure that the balance control had not been bumped or adjusted.

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I like the ideas of @barryr1 and @still-one. Please check. However otherwise it may be preamp or power amp ( also assuming that the speakers have not been inadvertently moved, even by a tiny bit of toe in).

Easy to check your Vivaldi. Just reverse the outputs so that left channel out feeds the right channel in of the amp ( and right to left). If it is a Vivaldi issue the sound should now move from over to the right to over to the left. If it remains over to the right then it is likely to be an issue with the amplification.

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@PAR Exactly what i was thinking but tried to eliminate the things that he indicated he wasnt sure were golden first

Thanks all for the suggestions. I did swap L&R cables on the back of the DAC (no preamp) and the center is still off to the right. So an amp issue. Rats! Well, time to call my dealer and see what my option are. Thanks again all.


Small update for those who are interested. I was able to use Roon DSP to crank the balance beyond the 6db that Mosaic allows and ended up at 9db to the left to get the center back where it belongs and…it still sounds awful. So something else is going on. Anemic, harsh and no sound stage even with the center properly placed. It kind of sounds out of phase but the phase toggle in Mosaic had no effect one way or the other. Well, back to headphones while I wait to hear from my dealer and Gryphon.

Hi John, Are you driving the Gryphon balanced or unbalanced? If balanced you may have a hardware fault only affecting one leg (i.e.’half’) of one channel - although this should in theory manifest itself as a 6 dB, not 9dB drop. Your cable swap definitely points the finger of suspicion at the Gryphon although it could also be a cable issue so you may want to swap L and R interconnects (at both ends) just to eliminate that variable. If not the cable my guess would be a loose wire somewhere inside the Gryphon.

Afterthought: If you’re not tired of cable swapping yet you could swap the L and R interconnects and speaker cables at the Gryphon end. If the problem changes channel then it is almost certainly a problem with the Gryphon.

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I had a similar balance issue and it turned out I was the problem… £60 later after having my ears cleaned and all was well again. After three hospital stays this year having thermometers shoved in my ears every four hours blocked everything up.

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The dealer was out yesterday and it turns out to be a bad midrange driver in the left speaker. Thats the last thing I would have expected. From the price of these speakers I would think they’d be bullet proof. I don’t listen that loud so I don’t think I blew it. 30+ years of hifi listening and this is the first issue with a speaker of any kind. Anyway they’ll be out next week to replace. Tearing into the equipment gives me the willies. Will it be back to perfect. Can I ever trust that speaker again?

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If a midrange driver blew something is likely to have caused that. You need to find out why the driver blew.

My dealer did say that he didn’t think it “blew” as it didn’t have the symptoms (whatever they were…I don’t remember) was just maybe defective and finally failed?

Maybe. However although I am unsure what speakers you have you do describe them as pricey ( commensurate with the rest of your system and room). These should be built to a high standard though I suppose self induced failure is feasible. You have 30+ years without experiencing a drive unit failure and I have nearly 60 though I have damaged a couple of ESL treble panels. I know what caused that damage (excess voltage from the amplifier).

Your dealer thinks unit replacement will fix the problem. OK but as you are concerned with future reliability I would at least swap the left and right monoblocs . You may then have grounds to point the finger if the fault recurs on the other channel.


@demoleon Glad you got to the bottom of it. I certainly wasn’t expecting a speaker problem!** But a useful reminder that the problem is not always hiding in the most likely place. A good foundation for any troubleshooting protocol is a structured approach to isolating the problem. In this case an iterative set of cable swaps would have helped ring in the speaker, although that was in fact probably the least likely link to have failed.

But to your point @PAR I inadvertently discovered a good way to blow a driver at the weekend during a family gathering to celebrate my middle daughter’s 17th birthday. We were sitting in the living room while she opened her presents and I was playing some background music at low volume via Roon. The birthday girl complained (not unusual) about my choice of music and asked if she could choose something, taking up her phone and starting to scroll in Spotify. I explained how to select the Bartók with Spotify Connect and she pressed play.

The volume at which the music started playing is far and away the loudest I have ever experienced in that room, possibly in my life. It was literally a physical shock wave. I still don’t know how it happened. My understanding is that when using Spotify connect the volume is steered by the volume buttons on the phone, she claimed afterwards that her phone volume had not been on max. Anyway as everybody else instinctively dived for cover I threw myself towards the Bartók and turned the volume down as quickly as I could. It can’t have taken longer than a fraction of a second, I never realised my reactions were that good! I was convinced that my speakers were about to make an expensive and lengthy trip back to Vicenza.

Luckily, subsequent tests showed that no permanent damage seemed to have occurred to either speakers or guests. But lesson learned about taking extra care when switching between streaming inputs! This “direct to power amp” thang is not entirely without its risks.

** But as Python taught us Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!


I don’t know. I guess we’ll see when my dealer pulls out the driver. Maybe it will be obvious what caused it. I’m 99.999% sure it wasn’t excess volume. I’m really careful about that. The one thing that bothers me are those Transparent cables. Who knows what’s going on inside those bulges. We already had one XLR interconnect cause problems letting noise into the system. Sent it back to Transparent and they redid the voodoo in the bulge and so far it is working properly. I know when we ordered them we had to specify the amps and speakers so they could “tune” the speaker cales to my system. What if they aren’t correct and are causing the amps and/or speakers to over work? When I suggested maybe looking at other cables I thought my dealer was going to start crying and have me committed to a mental institution! But to me the less gobeltygook between the amps and speakers the better (assuming proper gauge and high quality materials.) But swapping the cables or the amps is a good idea. I’ll suggest that. I guess we’ll see next week.

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I smoked a wilson (focal) tweeter a number of years ago. The speaker resistor didnt blow but i believe it was due to the sub crossover network being hooked up incorrectly. Manuals were unclear and between the tech guy at wilson and the tech guy at krell it was determined how to install. ( well, that didnt work). Switching the sub to a different path in the preamp solved the problem. I had commented to both that when switching in the network i noticed an audible increase in amplitude. Obviously the load was changing.