Author Topic: CD player upgrades  (Read 7277 times)

Offline vitavoxdude

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Re: CD player upgrades
« Reply #20 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
We all like different things so lets all agree to disagree and if any common ground is found then worship it.  Mine is the KD hence being present on this forum.

Offline vitavoxdude

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Re: CD player upgrades
« Reply #21 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.

We all like different things so lets all agree to disagree and if any common ground is found then worship it.  Mine is the KD hence being present on this forum.

Offline stevenvalve

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Re: CD player upgrades
« Reply #22 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.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2017, 08:44:11 PM by stevenvalve »

Offline vitavoxdude

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Re: CD player upgrades
« Reply #23 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. :) :) :) :) :)
We all like different things so lets all agree to disagree and if any common ground is found then worship it.  Mine is the KD hence being present on this forum.

Offline Rob181

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Re: CD player upgrades
« Reply #24 on: October 10, 2017, 10:17:31 PM »
How about something a little bespoke...


Offline gamve

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Re: CD player upgrades
« Reply #25 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. 


Offline vitavoxdude

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Re: CD player upgrades
« Reply #26 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?
We all like different things so lets all agree to disagree and if any common ground is found then worship it.  Mine is the KD hence being present on this forum.

Offline stevenvalve

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Re: CD player upgrades
« Reply #27 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. 
« Last Edit: October 17, 2017, 09:13:50 PM by stevenvalve »

Offline zenelectro

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Re: CD player upgrades
« Reply #28 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.

Offline Rob181

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Re: CD player upgrades
« Reply #29 on: October 17, 2017, 02:29:37 PM »
Terry...based on your expertise in this area....gives an example of what you would use...


Offline vitavoxdude

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Re: CD player upgrades
« Reply #30 on: October 17, 2017, 03:25:16 PM »
 :D Nice question Rob - look forward to Zens answer here greatly................... ;) ;) ;) ;) ;) ;)
We all like different things so lets all agree to disagree and if any common ground is found then worship it.  Mine is the KD hence being present on this forum.

Offline zenelectro

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Re: CD player upgrades
« Reply #31 on: October 19, 2017, 01:58:55 AM »
Terry...based on your expertise in this area....gives an example of what you would use...

Rob, I'm biased towards AK4497 type DACs as opposed to the ESS DACs.  Currently putting together
dual mono (1 x DAC chip / channel) AK4497 DAC.

The biggest challenge is to get the USB input done right with isolation and re clocking.
For playing 384k PCM, clocks need to be 45 / 49 MHz. Hard to source good clocks at
these freq. I now have a guy in states that can measure and sort clocks for me but he doesn't
have much success finding good ones at these freq's.

I wish you could run audio on 10MHz clocks. You can buy GPS base station grade clocks on ebay for dirt.

cheers

T