Optical Input Issue

Can an optical input on an amp go bad?

Currently running a streamer into the optical input of my Halo Hint Integrated amp. I also have the amp connected to my AV receiver via the bypass mode.

The other day I was streaming music via Spotify and noticed there was suddenly a lot of distorted low end coming out of my speakers? Strange because it’s always been very clean signal and I haven’t changed any components, wires or setting.

I re-seated all the speaker connections, optical connections, unplugged everything, etc. Basically, did a full reset of the system but still getting a lot of distortion out of the optical input.

Then I noticed when the amp is in bypass mode (still pushing the front speakers) everything sounds clean. So this narrowed it down to either the streamer, the cable or the amp input.

Replaced the cable…distortion.
Hooked the streamer up to a secondary system using the same optical cable…clean.

So I believe I have it narrowed down to the optical input on the amp.
Any suggestions on what could be causing this? Any recommended fixes?

Again, it’s the low frequencies that sound really distorted/flabby.

Try to clean it. Otherwise contact the manufacturer for service.

Try Coax, if it works then it’s the optical in that’s at fault. If it doesn’t work or on board DAC is at fault.

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Thanks for the suggestions.

I did some more troubleshooting today based on your tips. I took another listen to my secondary system and noticed the distortion was actually happening there as well when I turned up the volume.

Eventually I discovered a couple EQ settings buried very deep within the streaming UI were max/min.

Bass pushed up to +5db
Treble pushed down to -5db

That would explain the distorted sound. I flattened them out and everything went back to normal.

I have absolutely no idea how they got pushed to the extremes. I haven’t been in that app in several months? Very strange.

Thanks again for your time.

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