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General HIFI => Other DACs => Topic started by: vitavoxdude on September 11, 2012, 12:25:40 PM

Title: CD player upgrades
Post by: vitavoxdude on September 11, 2012, 12:25:40 PM
 ;D ;D ;D Well I have been playing around with an old CD player of mine, one of many.  It has four TDA1541's for those who are in the know.  Having replaced 26 caps on the  main board with Silmic 2's a few Solens and Elna cerafines it made a nice difference, more musical with less smear, check out all those bypass caps (orange drops).  As Terry has gone into hiding and Mario sold MY ZEN CLOCK to someone else I have bought the Rubidium precision crystal to implement where the Zen clock should have been.  Just look at the difference in size of the original crystal and its replacement, certainly greater than 100 x the size don't you think!

The power supply needs to be able to deliver > 1.5amps at start up for its twin oven stabilistion so its included in the picture, a seperate sealed transformer feeds the regulator board.  To keep the crystal lead short I am mounting it to the base of the player so they will be less than 20mm away, in the original design they are around10mm from the chip.  I will also try battery powering it but it requires 15 to 18 volts which is doable with a 12 and 6 volt batteries or possobly a truck 24 volter and a power reg, hmmm, will have to play to see which works best.

The DAC stage is seperate in case you were trying to locate the 4 TDA's, they are on another board not included in the picture.  Has anyone else one of these fine old players from the eighties? 8)
V ;)
Title: Re: CD player upgrades
Post by: ozcal on September 11, 2012, 01:07:59 PM
EMMM , where are the pics Mr V?
Title: Re: CD player upgrades
Post by: vitavoxdude on September 11, 2012, 01:11:52 PM
Hi Mr. G ;D

Well currently flumoxed as to why they won't attach, image size is now <256K hmmmmmm, errrrrr, doh!
I have posted twice with image but its not coming up, grrrrr.
V
Title: Re: CD player upgrades
Post by: crazikid on September 11, 2012, 03:13:08 PM
jesus christ,, now thats a clock. :P

not sure what happened to the zen clock.. :'(

Title: Re: CD player upgrades
Post by: vitavoxdude on September 11, 2012, 04:08:10 PM
Steve M has it.....................................doh!
Title: Re: CD player upgrades
Post by: crazikid on September 11, 2012, 04:39:57 PM
he didnt keep it long, he;s selling it on SNA
Title: Re: CD player upgrades
Post by: vitavoxdude on September 11, 2012, 06:53:22 PM
 :-X Yeah, by the looks of things he has an AUDIO habit, here today - gone tomorrow.  At least he has good taste in kit so I almost forgive him....... and he is called Steve ?  :D
V (Steve B) ;)
Title: Re: CD player upgrades
Post by: matt200sr on September 11, 2012, 07:05:43 PM
hey guys

Steve M's DAC and CD50 has me a little interested... hopefully will get time to visit him for a listen over the weekend.

How do you think think this dac with usb converter and macbook via coaxial would stack up against my PDX (previously Rab's)

Very happy with the Naksa James thanks again.
Title: Re: CD player upgrades
Post by: crazikid on September 11, 2012, 07:56:27 PM
hey guys

Steve M's DAC and CD50 has me a little interested... hopefully will get time to visit him for a listen over the weekend.

How do you think think this dac with usb converter and macbook via coaxial would stack up against my PDX (previously Rab's)

Very happy with the Naksa James thanks again.
your welcome! its a bloody good amp. hope you work out the hum situation.
Title: Re: CD player upgrades
Post by: kajak12 on September 11, 2012, 08:21:59 PM
hey guys

Steve M's DAC and CD50 has me a little interested... hopefully will get time to visit him for a listen over the weekend.

How do you think think this dac with usb converter and macbook via coaxial would stack up against my PDX (previously Rab's)

Very happy with the Naksa James thanks again.
stevem has got a crap chip in his dac but you never know  dac needs work
Title: Re: CD player upgrades
Post by: matt200sr on September 11, 2012, 09:41:53 PM
It's the double crown Taiwan job isn't it.

I am still yet to lift the lid on the CD-94 Mario... It would be the Taiwan chip in there too wouldn't it?
Title: Re: CD player upgrades
Post by: kajak12 on September 11, 2012, 10:14:57 PM
It's the double crown Taiwan job isn't it.

I am still yet to lift the lid on the CD-94 Mario... It would be the Taiwan chip in there too wouldn't it?
no taiwan chip in cd94  :D :D :D :D
Title: Re: CD player upgrades
Post by: terry j on September 12, 2012, 04:08:04 PM
Wow, this is another whole area for me, completely uncharted waters. Viewed from there this kind of stuff seems magical to me! I mean when you break it down into little black box components it seems reasonably understandable but geez....

Tell me, how did you guys get into this type of mods?? I guess it has some equivalences with what I do...on the speaker side...but whilst I think the speaker side is completely understandable and within my grasp, this by comparison looks like an arcane art I could never hope to get.

So is there (usually) an electronics background of sorts? Or is it the case that if you read enough of the appropriate forums you'd start to grasp it.

Equally, is there some sort of check along the way, I mean how do you confirm you have just improved that components contribution without any adverse side effects, do you use measurements as a check? If so, what type. Or is it just swap and plug and hope it has been researched by others before you.

Indeed, just occurred to me, do you decide on your own mods? or follow some formula from somewhere else.

In any case, you certainly have my respect 8)
Title: Re: CD player upgrades
Post by: ozmillsy on September 12, 2012, 09:32:43 PM
To someone so seasoned and experienced in the audio game, this maybe stating the obvious.

All you need is a pair of ears, and self belief in what you hear.
Title: Re: CD player upgrades
Post by: kajak12 on September 12, 2012, 09:48:29 PM
To someone so seasoned and experienced in the audio game, this maybe stating the obvious.

All you need is a pair of ears, and self belief in what you hear.
+1 use your ears musicians do
Title: Re: CD player upgrades
Post by: stevenvalve on September 12, 2012, 11:00:57 PM
Wow, this is another whole area for me, completely uncharted waters. Viewed from there this kind of stuff seems magical to me! I mean when you break it down into little black box components it seems reasonably understandable but geez....

Tell me, how did you guys get into this type of mods?? I guess it has some equivalences with what I do...on the speaker side...but whilst I think the speaker side is completely understandable and within my grasp, this by comparison looks like an arcane art I could never hope to get.

So is there (usually) an electronics background of sorts? Or is it the case that if you read enough of the appropriate forums you'd start to grasp it.

Equally, is there some sort of check along the way, I mean how do you confirm you have just improved that components contribution without any adverse side effects, do you use measurements as a check? If so, what type. Or is it just swap and plug and hope it has been researched by others before you.

Indeed, just occurred to me, do you decide on your own mods? or follow some formula from somewhere else.

In any case, you certainly have my respect 8)
Terry, If you do it long enough. you learn the sounds or colouration's of components (parts). listen to real unamplified music, then decide what you need in your system to approximate what you hear, buy it, then insert that part, be it interconnects capacitors resistors valves wire etc,  and with some luck its flavor with take your system closer to the truth (real).
Title: Re: CD player upgrades
Post by: stevenvalve on September 12, 2012, 11:38:47 PM
The flavor in this modern audiophile world, pushed by the HIFI mags, manufactures, audio salesman etc, is pointing us to that analytical, heartless, flavourless, cardboard, plastic planet. That is the flavor the modern audiophile has come the accept. Some believe what they read.
Title: Re: CD player upgrades
Post by: terry j on September 13, 2012, 08:10:35 AM
Hi oz, presume your post was referring to mine...well ok. I think by now you'd already know my thoughts on where the potential problems lie in your post.

In any case, I am more interested in how any of you got to be doing this. I mean you don't just wake up one day and think 'I know enough to pop this lid and start changing components', how did you start? How did you get the knowledge enough to even know it is possible that changes can be made if you follow me.

As I said, when you think about it it is reasonable that you should be able to do this stuff, it is not too far removed from the guy who changes carbs on the car, so logically this stuff should be doable. So did you grow up building cat's whiskers radios?? You are an electronics tech?

Is there anyone who does this and does NOT have that sort of background? If so, how did you start. Reading how to's on the net or forums??

And again, how do you know what to change. Is there a generic formula, I dunno, 'in most cases the clock is the block, so it usually makes sense to always change that' or is it more defined, 'this model has a good clock, so in this case we need to change this other component'.

As you can see, all of these questions come from a place of complete ignorance, and when we don't know how to do something the thing looks like magic!
Title: Re: CD player upgrades
Post by: ozmillsy on September 13, 2012, 09:27:39 PM
Again, feels like stating the obvious, but as with everything in life, we all build upon the knowledge that we learn from others. 

There's plenty i could learn from you, I have no doubt about that.
Title: Re: CD player upgrades
Post by: ozcal on September 14, 2012, 05:58:47 PM
Again, feels like stating the obvious, but as with everything in life, we all build upon the knowledge that we learn from others. 

There's plenty i could learn from you, I have no doubt about that.
Spot on Andrew , if we all stopped arguing we all might end up with better sounding systems.
Title: Re: CD player upgrades
Post by: vitavoxdude on April 28, 2013, 03:52:05 AM
Why can't the Killer Dac look more like this attached image???????  It would reach a far wider audience if it did don't you think?  :D
Title: Re: CD player upgrades
Post by: vitavoxdude on October 05, 2017, 02:26:23 PM
With all the time on my hands what with no work here in WA I have been tinkering around with an Orelle Evo cd player.  It was 1250 UKP back in 2004 when new so one would have fairly high expectations for it, but it never rose better than a very average product IMV.  Build quality is lightweight and has a decent toroidal transformer for the main board and a separate small plate and frame transformer for the digital board (s).

So I raided the parts bin to see if it could be made to sound better bearing in mind different does not always equate to better.  So first the transport which is an uninspiring VAM 12 mech clearly bought in and unchanged rather than the better Phillips swing arm CDM series.  The laser assembly has a large daughter board beneath it which has an additional crystal lock mech which appears to be a standard 'off the shelf' board. Out went all the crap 10 cents caps and in went Oscons and Silmic 2's.  Put it all back together and yup, a slight but very welcome increase in clarity, air and precision., hmmm I think, well what's next.  The audio side of Chris Bryant's work is usually a labour of love but I note the bog standard voltage regs and the crappy output op amp.  So solder sucker to hand and wham the op amp, an LF353 is out and rapidly binned in favour of a sparkos lab SS3602.  This has a footprint only slightly larger than the dual in line socket it fits into so was chosen above the Burson and the Audio Guilds Moon or Sun opamps due to size.

So replace the main board, hook up all the ribbon connectors and insert into a Valve pre and power system driving JBL's and it.................woooo, far to hard and bright,yuk but I persevere for a couple of hours......... just as well I did as now things begin to smooth out and I immediately heard more detail but it was of the undigested kind, not smooth and well formed. Crikey had I just cocked it up?  Well it turns out to be a big fat no.  Given 6 hours or soo and it now starts to revel what it's capable of.  Solid state at its best will never be as good as valves IMO can get, but it is now sounding really nice and it has some of the walk in soundstage of Marios system with its tiny speakers  well into the room (sadly missed).

So what's next?  Well the main crystal clock is still the dollar toss away crystal so a replacement clock c/w separate power supply is next which I also just happen to have in the parts bin. There luckily is enough space in the front of the case to mount the transformer and crystal board (audio guild) It also has some nasty metal film resistors in the OP stage so they will be replaced at the same time.  I will try some slit foil Vishays and some Allen Bradleys for a comparison.

Whilst I would not rate op amps in the same league as the killer Dacs OP stage these Sparko labs may just lift your game enough to enjoy your old CD player as I have.  They are not particularly cheap, here the Audio Guilds Moon, Sun and Earth opamps are around 1/3rd the cost but when space is limited maybe the new bursons will fit.  As I have all these opamps, IMO the Sparkos edge out the others with their greater space,  dynamics and clarity.  They actually made me jump with one recording which has to be good - right?

I am currently listening to Bill Evans and Stan Getz play together and I am really enjoying it - that's almost sacrilegious for a Killer Dac owner to say, but I am smiling and its only been on for what 20 odd hours. I am put in mind of the old joke,

...................."stand back eve - I don't know how big this thing is going to get" - ha ha.................................

I am in no way affiliated with Sparkoslabs, but feel they are worth mentioning if you want to inject some new life and enthuisam in older silver disk spinners.

http://sparkoslabs.com/discrete-op-amps/

The Audio Guild clock with a better 'class a shunt regulated power supply' is next, I can hardly wait but I want the latest round of changes to settle in first, then onwards again.  I hope the clock brings similar gains to Mario's old Zen clock which I will NEVER forget, yes it really was / is that good.

Pictures to come when next ripped apart.

Title: Re: CD player upgrades
Post by: stevenvalve on October 07, 2017, 08:41:26 PM
Why can't the Killer Dac look more like this attached image???????  It would reach a far wider audience if it did don't you think?  :D
There are music lovers and there are equipment lovers. The problem is price, all the killerdac internals are ear selected and have no affinity with price. Whatever the parts cost, if its superior as a whole it is used. There is little profit. They are for the people who love music and made by people who love music, its not a business thing, never was, most if not all of those music lovers put the sound quality as a big priority, looks secondary. I guess we could have great looking KD, but what if that made it double the price how many will pay with no extra return in sound quality.
Title: Re: CD player upgrades
Post by: vitavoxdude on October 08, 2017, 11:37:49 AM
Whilst agreed SG the internals are the most important for sound, the exterior makes it acceptable to put on shown in one's home.  Ugly duckling 19" rack boxes don't seem to cut it with the other half.  :-\

Boring looking black boxes most of the industry has learnt get tucked out of the way so thus do not promote their sales.

With cheaper good looking cases being churned out by China I think there is a case for rehousing the internals into a more non resonant high wife acceptance factor enclosure.

I agree that the kind of person who would look to buy the KD will be primarily interested in how it sounds rather than looks, but not placing it in pride of place next to a sleek silver disc spinner, well here it fails IMO.  :-X

I personally would like to see it looking more like a conventional valve preamp with the valves on show on the top plate with large choke and transformers on the top plate.  ;D  Audio Note still seem keen to hide their valves until it comes to their top offerings.  I like the idea of a copper top plate on a strong chassis with classical black base or even a wooden base.

All of these cases are below 250 AUD and when you consider that Altronics wants over a hundred bucks for a self assembly ugly duckling with its visible screws etc and no pre punched / drilled holes, well it beggars belief  :-X :-X :-X :o

With all the interest (apparent?) being in cheap DSD dacs, why not do a make over of the KD and get it back in favour for the music lovers and whilst I am at it, why not install as standard an I2s input socket and a USB reclocked input. :) :) :) :) :)
Title: Re: CD player upgrades
Post by: Rob181 on October 10, 2017, 10:17:31 PM
How about something a little bespoke...

Title: Re: CD player upgrades
Post by: gamve on October 13, 2017, 12:10:21 PM
Or...you could stop wasting your valuable time and money on 16/44 digital music reproduction.
It is already a dead duck in my book. Yes I have a good transport and a KillerDac. Problem
is I hardly ever use them. I would proffer to listen to LPs or R2R reel tapes or even cassette
tapes over 16/44 PCM. Wish I had my time and effort back that I put into CD reproduction.
DSD has some potential and can be good with a very modest investment. I have mentioned
and even demonstrated a good DSD DAC but it does not cost enough for Audio snobs to even
consider being worthwhile.
With 16/44 now on the chopping block a good idea would to be to buy up a heap of spare laser
assemblies for your favorite machines as they are already scarce and will be unobtainable in the
near future. 20 years from now your turntable will still work and kids wont know what a CD was. 

Title: Re: CD player upgrades
Post by: vitavoxdude on October 13, 2017, 04:46:53 PM
 ;D Crikey the black stuff corrupts you and the R2R magnetic tapes makes you totally ignore a KD :o :o :o :o :o :o so no Silver freak anymore................I still think CD's can sound great but will concede to R2R tapes as being "it" when it comes to realism in the home.

Lots more dedication and cost associated with running a vinyl or R2R rig that's for sure and a fair bit more real estate and storage for the playback medium.

So what DSD players have you been playing around with prey tell?
Title: Re: CD player upgrades
Post by: stevenvalve on October 14, 2017, 12:38:29 AM
Or...you could stop wasting your valuable time and money on 16/44 digital music reproduction.
It is already a dead duck in my book. Yes I have a good transport and a KillerDac. Problem
is I hardly ever use them. I would proffer to listen to LPs or R2R reel tapes or even cassette
tapes over 16/44 PCM. Wish I had my time and effort back that I put into CD reproduction.
DSD has some potential and can be good with a very modest investment. I have mentioned
and even demonstrated a good DSD DAC but it does not cost enough for Audio snobs to even
consider being worthwhile.
With 16/44 now on the chopping block a good idea would to be to buy up a heap of spare laser
assemblies for your favorite machines as they are already scarce and will be unobtainable in the
near future. 20 years from now your turntable will still work and kids wont know what a CD was.
Yes 16/44 PCM is long in the tooth alright. The problem is if you what the convenience of digital, the KD is the only one i know that of that sounds like real music. Is there any other digital (other than the KD) that cuts it, unlikely. Lets face the truth, most digital is sh!t, There is no argument here that master tapes on a good machine rule. As for Vinyl i have heard many big dollar well setup turntables, the owners play them once every 6 months because they play almost exclusively Digital. What digital is that you ask that is good enough to stop them playing LPs. Well the KillerDac what else. If anyone has a DAC that cuts it, lets hear about it. Does this DAC make Music, not HiFi. 
Title: Re: CD player upgrades
Post by: zenelectro on October 15, 2017, 11:01:40 PM
;D Crikey the black stuff corrupts you and the R2R magnetic tapes makes you totally ignore a KD :o :o :o :o :o :o so no Silver freak anymore................I still think CD's can sound great but will concede to R2R tapes as being "it" when it comes to realism in the home.

Lots more dedication and cost associated with running a vinyl or R2R rig that's for sure and a fair bit more real estate and storage for the playback medium.

So what DSD players have you been playing around with prey tell?

Most people, even very quality conscious audiophiles have moved on. They want access to music content.
With the advent of multi format direct downloads, they've got it.

There are some VG software players that can deal with any of these formats from 384k PCM to quad speed DSD.

With an isolated USB input DAC, using a decent software player you can get really good results now.
Title: Re: CD player upgrades
Post by: Rob181 on October 17, 2017, 02:29:37 PM
Terry...based on your expertise in this area....gives an example of what you would use...

Title: Re: CD player upgrades
Post by: vitavoxdude on October 17, 2017, 03:25:16 PM
 :D Nice question Rob - look forward to Zens answer here greatly................... ;) ;) ;) ;) ;) ;)