Troubleshooting MegaThread

In an effort to keep the noise level down here as well as keep the forum tidier we are creating one thread for all troubleshooting posts to go in. All future troubleshooting posts will be moved here.

The thread will get updated with issues as well as solutions as it continues. If you are having any troubleshooting issues, we encourage you to use the forum search function as your issue may have already been solved.

Optical Out on Macbooks



iFi Audio xCAN Outputs & Inputs



AKG K701 Wire Assembly and Repair

Problem & Solution

Schiit Modi 3 / Vali 2 Buzzing Issue



Focal Arche Issues

Arche + Macbook Connections Problem

Arche + Macbook Connections Solution

Focal Arche Background Crackle

Background Crackle Solution

Focal Arche “No Sig” Problem

Focal Clear Clipping Issues


Monolith Liquid Spark Volume Pot issues



iOS Volume Issues



FiiO Olympus 2 Issues


Astell&Kern SR15 Issues



iPhone XR DAC Connection Issues



Liquid Platinum Channel Imbalance Issues

Left channel 1db lower than right channel


If you were to make this a wiki, people could contribute directly reducing work for moderators.

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Hi all,

I’m running into an issue with my Focal Arche that I would like some help with.

I have my Arche hooked up to my PC (Windows 10 1909) via a USB A -> USB B cable.
When I set the bitrate manually to 48 kHz, or 96 kHz and don’t use exclusive mode via Tidal, Arche works flawlessly and there are no issues.

My issue is that when I set the bitrate to 16/44.1 kHz, or 16/88.2 kHz or when I play Tidal via the app in exclusive mode where Tidal sends the bit perfect signal directly to Arche and the bitrate on Arche changes based on source file, after some random time - some hours of listening I get “NO SIG” on Arche and no sound is played. Windows and Tidal look like all is working normally, no errors or signs of issues are to be seen. After this happens the only way to have Arche play music again is to set bitrate to 48 kHz, or 96 kHz manually and unplug the USB from the PC (unplugging it from the back of Arche does not help) and plug it back in. When I change the bitrate to 16/44.1 kHz, or 16/88.2 kHz or play Tidal in exclusive mode the sound cuts out within seconds and “NO SIG” is shown again.

I have to turn the PC off (restart is not enough) and back on for the issue to be gone, but it is only a matter of time until it pops up again.

What I have tried:

  • I thought the issue may be my PC, so I plugged Arche into my laptop, but the problem manifested itself there too
  • I tried connecting Arche to my PC via toslink, here the sound does not cut out (although I would have to test this more), but exclusive mode in Tidal does not automatically change the bitrate in Arche, so this is not an ideal solution for me. Also when plugged in via toslink, there is a weird pop every time I start a playback or a new sound (Windows notification etc) is played and it drives me crazy.
  • I tried multiple USB ports on my PC, all behave the same way
  • I e-mailed Focal, but I only got a generic reply to get in touch with my local dealer

What I think may be the issue:

  • issue with Arche driver for Windows - if this was the case, there would be more people with this issue, but I have not found or heard of anyone else
  • issue with my PC - I ruled this out as the same issue was seen on a completely different machine (my laptop)
  • issue with Windows - no other device is having these issues (I have a PC soundcard - Soundblaster ZxR and have no issues there, the onboard Realtek soundcard is also ok as demostrated with toslink connection)
  • issue with my USB cable - this is one common variable (aside from the Arche) for both devices I tried this on, will try to get a new cable and see if that helps, but it is still strange that issue would be only with some bitrates and not with others pointing me more to a software issue rather than hardware
  • issue with my Arche - hardware issue? it acts strange after it heats up? will test a theory where when the issue occurs I will stop using Arche for a couple hours to let it cool down and see if the problem is fixed then

Did anyone with Arche or any other USB DAC experience similar issues? Do you have any possible ideas on what may be wrong and how to fix it?

Thanks for any ideas.

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It is known that many products do present some level of channel imbalance – e.g.: left channel is louder than the right one – and many issues are due a faulty (or cheap) volume/gain pots.


My Liquid Platinum at low volume levels, left channel is typically 1dB lower than the right one. Volume knob was around 10 o’ clock.

How I found this out? A simple A/B against Liquid Spark (and/or my Scarlett 6i6 jack).

Did this bother me after finding out? Yes. You can’t unhear things, right?

Was I happy before finding this out? Yes. :pill:


In my case:

  • Set the volume to noon position;
  • Control digital volume through PC (or physical monitor knob in the Scarlett interface).


  1. What is the imbalance dB threshold for a given product to be considered faulty? E.g.: 1dB, 2dB, or higher?

  2. If this happened to you, would you return this product*?

* I’ll most likely keeping this amp and crank the volume up when listening. After all, it is a hybrid tube amp. At moderate listening levels I’ll just reach the Liquid Spark.

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I’m sure someone can explain this better than I can but channel imbalance at low volumes is usually due to analog volume pots being used (although price of the pot could also play a large part in it).

The majority of items that use analog vol pots have some kind of imbalance at the lowest end of their travel. Products that do the volume control in the digital realm (such as dac/amp combos etc) usually avoid these issues.

Again, I hope someone can explain it in better detail.

How much imbalance is considered faulty? I suppose that it depends on what the channel imbalance is on the rest of units of the same amp.

Would I return it? That totally depends on whether the volume imbalance is something that affects your enjoyment of the amp. First find out from other users what the average is and then decide if yours is faulty and if you can live with it or if it will drive you crazy.


Anyone having issues with Tidal Offline Mode not working today? 6/22/20. Worked fine yesterday, but today it’s not working. Source is Iphone XR with current iOS version 13.5.1, and current Tidal version. Tried rebooting the phone and the app multiple times, but no go. Really don’t want to delete and reinstall the app as i’ve got well over a GB of offline content that I don’t want to redownload.

Hey all

I’m running Tidal on Windows 10, playing back a Master recording. I recently acquired a RME DAC, which can display the sample rate of the incoming stream. I’ve installed the RME driver and I believe I have everything set the way it should be, but the DAC says the incoming stream is 44.1kHz. Is there a setting somewhere in the labyrinth of the DAC to tell it to allow higher sampling rates to be used?

UPDATE: When I checked my PC this morning, it appeared to have loaded the correct driver for the DAC. Now that I’m actually trying to use the device, it seems to have switched it to the Microsoft driver. Any idea how to switch back?

UPDATE 2: Reinstalled the driver. The Microsoft driver is still being used. How do I get the driver to install and actually be used by Windows? :angry:


  • S

I assume Tidal still uses the Windows Mixer to send the audio stream? Maybe this can help on the sample rate issue?

The driver issue though… That’s odd.

I kinda hoped Tidal (or whichever playback app I used) would set the sample rate based on the file, not rely on me to change it every time.

As for the driver install issue, I have friends at Microsoft who are going to (hopefully) help.

OK, got the driver situation taken care of - it was actually using the correct driver, but you have to look at device manager with a non-default view to actually see it.

So here’s the question: if I play a Tidal Master recording using USB, should I see the DAC reflect a higher sampling rate on the display? I’ve ensured that Tidal is using exclusive mode, and that the device allows for exclusive mode.

Does the RME support MQA? Or are you running a program the does the fist unfold? My main dac doesnt decode MQA so I use Audirvana for the first unfold and I just checked some MQA albums on my Tidal playlist and some file info says FLAC at 24/44.1 and other albums say 24/96.

Looking at that, you may just be getting exactly what Tidal is spitting out and you havent come across anything above 44.1 yet. So its very much possible there is no issue with the RME.

Have you tried any non Tidal high res music that you know is running higher than 44.1?

Dont know if any of that helps.

The RME does not support MQA. To eliminate MQA and Tidal as the issue, I bought a 96/24 FLAC album, which I’m trying to play back through foobar2000. foobar2000 says it can’t even play the file back because 96/24 it’s an unsupported stream format (I assume the audio device is saying it’s an unsupported format). So now what? How on earth do you get the RME DAC properly set up on Windows?!? I really don’t want to have to use my Mac just to play music.

IIRC, the only thing I did to get mine to work is plug it in via usb. Drivers installed automatically. It plays everything Tidal has to throw at it without issue. I later installed the digi thing from their website.

May I suggest a scorched-earth approach to troubleshooting this? Go into Control Panel, remove the driver. Disconnect the RME. Reboot. Connect it again and just let Windows do it’s thing. See if it plays. Then install the drivers from RME. See if it breaks it.


You can either use the RME supplied drivers and run the unit in ASIO mode, via an ASIO compliant player (and selecting the ASIO driver/output option in Windows/your player). Or you can use the built-in UAC2 drivers for the latest versions of Windows 10 (which means NOT having the RME drivers installed at all - which can be an issue as you require them installed to do firmware updates etc.).


I removed the RME drivers. I still can’t get foobar2000 to play 96/24 content to the RME, nor will Tidal use anything other than 44.1kHz. foobar2000 will use my Audioquest Dragonfly to play 96/24 content, FWIW. I tried using Adobe Audition to play the file, and it throws an error saying it can’t use Exclusive mode with the RME. I’ve checked everything Audition suggests (device configuration in Windows) and everything is set correctly.

I would contract RME then. Sounds like it might be something they are responsible for troubleshooting.

I’ve been in touch through a friend with the engineer who used to be responsible for WASAPI at Microsoft. Unfortunately, the suggestions that were made didn’t help. I’ve also had a chat with engineers who work on some pro-audio software, and their advice was “if you’re serious about audio, use ASIO”. So that’s my next step.

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Wow, this was a horrible experience. I’ve had to give up on using the USB connection into the RME ADI-2 DAC, because it just isn’t possible to get it to work with Tidal on Windows. Tidal only supports WASAPI, and the DAC sometimes works with WASAPI and sometimes doesn’t, depending on one’s specific Windows installation. RME don’t seem to have any interest in debugging the issue from their end. Meanwhile, using the Schiit Eitr as the USB interface works absolutely perfectly, but it’s not an acceptable long-term solution for me. I understand the RME DAC is designed to be a pro DAC rather than an audiophile component and they assume pro-audio people will use ASIO, but this doesn’t leave a good impression of their firmware quality.

You could use Asio Bridge. I know it doesn’t really solve the problem but it is a work around.

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