I bought a Xtreamer SideWinder to replace my Western Digital TV Live media player which I reviewed here. After upgrading the firmware of the Western Digital TV it gave me a lot of problems. Some MKV films would play without sound and the sound volume of all films out of the HDMI output was to low, so I had to increase the volume to insane levels. Not fun when changing back to TV and crap your pants in the process.
This is the filter changes I did to the Gigaworks DAC to remove the second opamp and to straighten out the filter section of the DAC.
You can see the original values and the values that I changed to in parenthesis. Just tap the signal from the lifted resistors (and maybe add output caps of 4.7uF) The before/after RMAA tests of the modifications can be found here.
Here is the second part of how to improve the quality of an old CD player, the Pioneer PD S-505. You can find the first part here. In this section, I’m going to show you how to install a better, more stable clock circuit into your 505 to lower the jitter. This particular clock comes from Kingwa, that has a series of crystal oscillators for improving DVD players, CD players, and DACs. The price is reasonable. I’ve installed them in three different units and had zero problems, so the quality seems reasonable.
Ok, so why install a new clock? Isn’t there one in there already? Yes, your right. But by using better parts like crystals with lower ppm and also design a very clean power supply to feed the clock, you can make your CD-player sound much better. And the reason is lower jitter.
But what is jitter? There is plenty of excellent places to go read up on it. Here’s some. [Read more…]
Many months ago I bought a DAC to use with my computer in the bedroom to connect to my Musical Fidelity X-Can V2 for some headphone listening. I have used it, but not been impressed by it at all. But when surfing around, I got into this crazy page about installing a tube amp output on CD players and DACs. And he listed the cheap one I have as one of the best DACs he ever heard. The guy bypasses the output stage and replaces it with a simple tube buffer/amp. That got me interested.
So finally my new ProAc Response 2.5 clone playing music. And how they play! I got myself a new Class-A amplifier to have something nice to drive them with. At first they sounded a bit short on the bass side, but now after about 20 hours of listening, the bass starts to improve. I’ve never believed in the “burn-in” of speakers, but I have to say I’ve been mistaken.
I invited some friends over for a music listening party. A lot of records and an even larger amount of beer made for a beautiful evening.
At the same time I ordered my new amplifier, I also ordered a new DVD player with DVD-Audio and SACD playing capability. So I rush out to get my hands on a SACD record, but the only one I could find was the slightly overplayed Dark side of the moon by Pink Floyd. But it was a good test record because I have two different mastering versions on cd, so comparing was easy. And to my surprise the CD (actually Flac played through my Squeezebox) sounded better than the SACD one! So I had to check that the player didn’t play the normal cd layer, but no, it played the SACD layer. The singing voices on the SACD sounded muffled compared to the Japanese pressing of the CD. Also the pinpointing of instrument placements in the stereo image was not as good an coherent from the SACD. The player a Pioneer 696 is a low budget player so it could be it. But I’ll crank up the manual and check so I haven’t done something stupid with the settings.
More testing tomorrow…