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Hotrodding the X-Fi: A Layman's Guide (No 56k) - Page 88

post #1306 of 2194
Quote:
Originally Posted by bichi View Post
Thanks for the analysis, Germanium.
- mystery opamp is the original NJM 4556A.
- no, no hardware changes between 48k and 96k.
- was cleaning home-lab and couldn't just throw out clipped opamps.
- decided to try soldering leads to SOIC stubs and test new lead-free solder-paste, just for grins.
- would also serve as "stock" reference."

Sony MDR-D777LP, Denon AH-D1001, MDR-SA1000, closed earphones, eh?
- closed get too hot for me.
- considering building simple buffer amp with Burr-Brown/TI BUF634 to use with old Sennheiser HD-414SL open headphones.

Just a few more experiments left with this SB0460...
- might try a trick I used when designing LNA GaAs MMIC parts, ten years ago, based on "close-field" electrostatic theory.
- when I finish calcs, will send modification to you for trial and analysis.
- considering playing with either Auzentech X-Fi Prelude or E-MU 1212M (balanced-out).
Denons & sony MDR-D777LPs are closed. The Sonys MDR-SA1000s are open bigtime.

Doesn't look like they performed to bad at all really (the JRC part). Worked better at 48KHz than the LME parts I feel but the LME parts seem to do better at 96KHz.
post #1307 of 2194
bichi and germanium, I respectfully ask that you two please take your discussion elsewhere, as it doesn't really belong in this thread anymore.

So I read through this entire post (sans the last few pages) and have decided to do the mod. I want to make sure I got all my information correct though, and had a few questions.

1. I'm only interested in modding the stereo output. From what it seems like, I need to replace the op amp and the power capacitor, and then short 4 smaller capacitors. Is this correct?

2. Regarding the power capacitor, it seems like any Blackgate capacitor will do, as long as it is 1 Farad or above at 16V. Is this correct? Also, I've read that non-polar capacitors have better sound characteristics than their polar counterparts but they take a while to burn in, is this also correct? Also, which one would be better, the 1 F or the 2.2 F one?

3. Regarding shorting the 4 smaller capacitors, I'm currently using speakers but I want to switch over to headphones, directly connected to the stereo out. Someone mentioned however that shorting the 4 smaller capacitors is inadvisable with headphones. Can anybody verify this?

4. cotdt had mentioned that running the output through an amp is preferred. Which amp would be good? I read that someone had horrible experiences with a CMOY amp.

5. If I were to replace the 4 smaller capacitors instead of shorting them, which ones should I get?

6. There was mention of using an anti-static bag to shield the sound card. Some people reported that it made it sound a lot worse and introduced noise, and other people mentioned that it was because the bag is slightly conductive and was touching the top of the capacitors. Can someone clarify this?

7. I currently do not have a soldering iron, and I read that the Radio Shack ones are real cheapy and not worth picking up. I know cotdt recommends the Hakko 936 but I don't want to drop $90 for a soldering iron I'll only use a few times. From what people said, it seems like I should get a variable temperature iron with a needle tip or a soldering pencil. Any recommendations on a cheap one that can do the job? I'm especially concerned about removing the power capacitor, as many people have had issues with it.

8. I have a X-fi XtremeMusic and I bought the breaker bay for it separately. I read that changing out the power capacitor might do funky things to the breaker bay, is this true?
post #1308 of 2194
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ranma13 View Post
bichi and germanium, I respectfully ask that you two please take your discussion elsewhere, as it doesn't really belong in this thread anymore.

So I read through this entire post (sans the last few pages) and have decided to do the mod. I want to make sure I got all my information correct though, and had a few questions.

1. I'm only interested in modding the stereo output. From what it seems like, I need to replace the op amp and the power capacitor, and then short 4 smaller capacitors. Is this correct?

2. Regarding the power capacitor, it seems like any Blackgate capacitor will do, as long as it is 1 Farad or above at 16V. Is this correct? Also, I've read that non-polar capacitors have better sound characteristics than their polar counterparts but they take a while to burn in, is this also correct? Also, which one would be better, the 1 F or the 2.2 F one?

3. Regarding shorting the 4 smaller capacitors, I'm currently using speakers but I want to switch over to headphones, directly connected to the stereo out. Someone mentioned however that shorting the 4 smaller capacitors is inadvisable with headphones. Can anybody verify this?

4. cotdt had mentioned that running the output through an amp is preferred. Which amp would be good? I read that someone had horrible experiences with a CMOY amp.

5. If I were to replace the 4 smaller capacitors instead of shorting them, which ones should I get?

6. There was mention of using an anti-static bag to shield the sound card. Some people reported that it made it sound a lot worse and introduced noise, and other people mentioned that it was because the bag is slightly conductive and was touching the top of the capacitors. Can someone clarify this?

7. I currently do not have a soldering iron, and I read that the Radio Shack ones are real cheapy and not worth picking up. I know cotdt recommends the Hakko 936 but I don't want to drop $90 for a soldering iron I'll only use a few times. From what people said, it seems like I should get a variable temperature iron with a needle tip or a soldering pencil. Any recommendations on a cheap one that can do the job? I'm especially concerned about removing the power capacitor, as many people have had issues with it.

8. I have a X-fi XtremeMusic and I bought the breaker bay for it separately. I read that changing out the power capacitor might do funky things to the breaker bay, is this true?
Why should we take it somewhere else?? We are on topic which is modifyiing the X-Fi. Almost all of our discussiion has been related to that. Both of us are also qualified to answer your questions. Bichi is a electronics tech with experience in designing circuits & I personally have been involved with audio since I was young though admitedly not a tech. I have done many modifications that if I told you them all you would think I was crazy but they worked very well.

You can't just come in & tell others who are on topic to go elsewhere especially when you have contributed nothing to the conversation yourself.

Concerning your questions

1. I would suggest you read up very carefully before changing the opamp as these boards are very fragile & it is easy to tear up the solder pads for the opamps. A number of people who have tried the opamp mod have ended up with dead boards as a result so if you have no experience in this field don't bother until you can practice on something else less valuable. On the extreme music the caps that need to be shorted or replaced are the 4-22uf caps that are setback from the rest & turned 90 degree from the others as well when you look at the bottom of the board.

2. 1 farad is a huge capacitor & the inrush to fill such a capacitor can be damaging to other componants on the board so I recommend smaller caps for this board. Black gates are indeed ok though there are some newer designs that may be better such as solid polymer. The large cap near the DSP is probably best with a standard low ESR blackgate cap though rather than very low ESR as bichi has pointed out.

3. That someone that told you not to connect headphones to the direct coupled output of the modded X-Fi is wrong It is best to connect direct to the headphones as that is where you will see the best quality in most cases. Care has to be taken when connecting the modded card to other amps as some are D.C.coupled and will amplify any incoming D.C. & overheat the amp or damage the headphones due to excessive D.C. current through the voice coil. I have done several D.C. coupled amps so I am definately qualified in this area. The D.C. offset on the modded extreme music with stock amps is about 180 millivolts which is plenty safe for the headhones if directly connected to the output of the sound card. However if you use a seperate amp & it happens to be also D.C. coupled depending on the gain you could end up with more than 1 volt at the earphone which in some cases could damage it or cause the amp to overheat. For this reason I always check D.C. offset at the source and the output of the amp.

4. Some earphones will require an amp but if you can get away without one that would be preferable as then there is zero coloration introduced beyond that of the soundcard itself which I can assure you is very low in the modded card with D.C. coupling between the DAC 7 the output opamp. I have no recommendations for amps so I will skip that.

5. Blackgates or solid polymer OS-CONs

6.Haven't went there as my card is already very quiet (-116db on Elite Pro). Yiou will see more improvement in other areas like powersupply caps on the analog sections both sonically and noise wise.

7. I use a 15 watt radioshack iron for the shorting & a heavier 40 watt unit for the power caps. I also have a 40 watt desoldering tool from radio shack. I sincerely suggest you read bichi's instructions on the opamp change though for his recommendationsif you plan on changing the opamps. I recommend against it myself though due to problems others are having. In spite of what this thread starter has said of the JRC opamps they are actually quite good in & of themselves. The bit about the caps inside the opamps causing smearing is B.S.. All caps inside any opamp used in audio are made of the same materials & that is silicon dioxide otherwise known as glass. Glass has low dielectric constant & low dielectric absorbsion & consequently no meaningfull time smear in the audio band. How they may be used is a different matter but the JRC opamps don't sound smeard to me in my configuration. In fact my system resolves an incredable amout of detail & still sound musical with the JRC opamps.

8. The breakout box has its own power supply via floppy power connector But I'm not rulling out that some rediculous sized cap like 1 farad couldn't cause a problem due to overloading & burning out the regulators from excessive inrush current but that could also ruin the card as well.
post #1309 of 2194
Quote:
Originally Posted by germanium View Post
"...Bichi is a electronics tech with experience in designing circuits..."
- nope, not a tech, but an engineering dingdong with "bunch of letters" after the name in title...
- too bad you took the time to answer that assquack...
- would have liked to have seen a "1~2.2 Farad" capacitor installed... LOL!

Quote:
Originally Posted by germanium View Post
"...JRC opamps they are actually quite good in & of themselves..."
- agree 100%!
- kind of odd, all the NJR opamp bashing, which seems based on "he said/she said," more than anything objective.
post #1310 of 2194
Sept 21, 07
- Model: X-FI Fat1; SB0460
- Line-Out opamp: NJM2114
- Line-Out: Panasonic S, SMT, 33uf @ 16vdc
- Line-In: Panasonic S, SMT, 10uf @ 16vdc
- C177: Panasonic FK, SMT, 1500uf @ 16vdc
- Other power caps: Mix of tantalum and solid-polymer (see Part ID link below)
- XP SP2; Creative Driver: v5.12.6.1187

Subjective audio quality is excellent, with less "sharpness" on the highs, compared to LME49860 opamp
Do your magic, Germanium!

Picture: (annotated with part ID/Location)
http://www.esnips.com/doc/14278041-4.../X-FI-MOD-070b

Part ID and Values Installed: (simple zipped TXT format)
http://www.esnips.com/doc/12dd4e0d-8.../X-FI-MOD-070c

RMAA Test Results: (48/24/48 - 96/24/96)
Summary: http://www.esnips.com/doc/28f4d867-3.../X-FI-MOD-071b
Details: http://www.esnips.com/doc/1c6148ab-6.../X-FI-MOD-072b
post #1311 of 2194
Quote:
Originally Posted by bichi View Post
Sept 21, 07
- Model: X-FI Fat1; SB0460
- Line-Out opamp: NJM2114
- Line-Out: Panasonic S, SMT, 33uf @ 16vdc
- Line-In: Panasonic S, SMT, 10uf @ 16vdc
- C177: Panasonic FK, SMT, 1500uf @ 16vdc
- Other power caps: Mix of tantalum and solid-polymer (see Part ID link below)
- XP SP2; Creative Driver: v5.12.6.1187

Subjective audio quality is excellent, with less "sharpness" on the highs, compared to LME49860 opamp
Do your magic, Germanium!

Picture: (annotated with part ID/Location)
http://www.esnips.com/doc/c32611e6-4.../X-FI-MOD-070b

Part ID and Values Installed: (simple zipped TXT format)
http://www.esnips.com/doc/12dd4e0d-8.../X-FI-MOD-070c

RMAA Test Results: (48/24/48 - 96/24/96)
Summary: http://www.esnips.com/doc/28f4d867-3.../X-FI-MOD-071b
Details: http://www.esnips.com/doc/1c6148ab-6.../X-FI-MOD-072b
On 96KHz Slighly higher odd order THD, Slightly lower even orderTHD. More spurie at high end beyand audio spectrum

Somewhat higher IMD distortion Both swept & spectrum.

Woaaaa Much better crosstalk at high frquencies with the 2114 slightly worse at botom end. Overall much better

Noise & Dynamics to close to call once again.

Nothing here to explane difference in sound except crosstalk & even that still shouldn't be audable. Overall still in the ballpark compared to 69b

It must be an interaction with the DACs on my card that makes it perform so well on RMAA as for the most part it tests slightly worse on your but not much except for the crosstalk which really shines & is consistant with what I see with mine.

Your subjective analysis tells me it is probably one of the best real world performers compare to the LMEs even though it specs slightly worse. A reduction in sharpness allows you wring more detail out of it without sounding hard through other tweaks.

About answering the other person you notice that I first criticized how approched us & my answers were to his questions were to someone that lacks experience as that seems to be the case with them.

I did mention that you have circuit design experience which means you are of a higher caliber than most of the techies on here meaning you were possably an engineer though I couldn't remember that for sure. Sorry that I got it wrong.
post #1312 of 2194
thanks again, Germanium!

some more stuff to possibly help persons decide on Line-Out capacitor values:

Simple demonstration of Line-Out capacitor values and it's effect on frequency response
- SB-0460 Line-Out capacitors: C23, C50, C76, C77 (socketed)
- LME49860 opamp (socketed)

1uf: (selected to exaggerate effect on frequency output)
- note severe loss on low and significant loss on highs

22uf: (stock value)
- sounds well behaved with nice lows and highs

33uf: (my current favorite value, playback via M-Audio BX-5A powered speakers)
- slight increase in bass and bass tightness, with crisp, clear highs

47uf: (not shown)
- very little sonic change from 33uf, if any at all

Shorted: (100ohm)
- sounds very similar to 33uf sonic signature

RMAA Frequency Response Data:

1uf @ 63vdc film:
Frequency response (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB +0.31, -4.81 - Poor
Noise level, dB (A) -101.7 - Excellent
Dynamic range, dB (A) 101.6 - Excellent
THD, % 0.0014 - Excellent
THD + Noise, dB (A) -92.2 - Very good
IMD + Noise, % 0.0038 - Excellent
Stereo crosstalk, dB -99.3 - Excellent
IMD at 10 kHz, % 0.0065 - Excellent
General performance: Very good

From 20 Hz to 20 kHz, dB -10.03, +0.31
From 40 Hz to 15 kHz, dB -4.81, +0.31

22uf @ 16vdc (stock value)
Frequency response (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB +0.01, -0.08 - Excellent
Noise level, dB (A) -101.7 - Excellent
Dynamic range, dB (A) 101.8 - Excellent
THD, % 0.0014 - Excellent
THD + Noise, dB (A) -92.1 - Very good
IMD + Noise, % 0.0029 - Excellent
Stereo crosstalk, dB -99.1 - Excellent
IMD at 10 kHz, % 0.0063 - Excellent
General performance: Excellent

From 20 Hz to 20 kHz, dB -0.29, +0.01
From 40 Hz to 15 kHz, dB -0.08, +0.01

33uf @ 16vdc
Frequency response (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB +0.01, -0.08 - Excellent
Noise level, dB (A) -101.7 - Excellent
Dynamic range, dB (A) 101.6 - Excellent
THD, % 0.0014 - Excellent
THD + Noise, dB (A) -92.1 - Very good
IMD + Noise, % 0.0029 - Excellent
Stereo crosstalk, dB -99.9 - Excellent
IMD at 10 kHz, % 0.0062 - Excellent
General performance: Excellent

From 20 Hz to 20 kHz, dB -0.20, +0.01
From 40 Hz to 15 kHz, dB -0.08, +0.01

SHORTED (100ohms)
Frequency response (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB +0.01, -0.08 - Excellent
Noise level, dB (A) -101.7 - Excellent
Dynamic range, dB (A) 101.7 - Excellent
THD, % 0.0019 - Excellent
THD + Noise, dB (A) -90.4 - Very good
IMD + Noise, % 0.0034 - Excellent
Stereo crosstalk, dB -99.5 - Excellent
IMD at 10 kHz, % 0.0068 - Excellent
General performance: Excellent

From 20 Hz to 20 kHz, dB -0.15, +0.01
From 40 Hz to 15 kHz, dB -0.08, +0.01

RMAA Summary Graphic:
http://www.esnips.com/doc/015457a8-e.../X-FI-MOD-073b
post #1313 of 2194
Get rid of the electrolitic coupling caps & electrolitic caps going to ground out from the negative feedback of the BXAs & I bet you will hear the diference between shorted & 33uf coupled DACs. It is not all that slight either. There are several in mine & getting rid of them opened up the soundstage in a very big way on the BX5's that I have. It is really in the soundstage you hear the biggest difference but instruments sound much more harmonically intact as well especially the most dificult to reproduce instrument of all, the piano. Piano looses it's life so quickly that it is one of the best instruments to test with.
post #1314 of 2194
Ranma,

DON'T use a blackgate for a power cap, they are not the best for this application, and cost much more.

Use panasonic FM series.

Also, I will say do not short those caps. That has not been shown to provide any benefits.

ALSO, unlike what germanium has told you, they are power caps. They are connected to -5 and +5. From what other members have found.

Testing proves the card performs worse with those caps shorted.

Instead of spending 10$ to replace a few caps with Blackgates, spend 10$ to replace ALL the caps with panasonic FM. I did this, and found several leaking stock caps in the process.

AND GERMANIUM AND BICHI, USE PM. This is bloody too far. Also, bichi, what are you even using to listen to this?

you dont have any amps or headphones listed, which lead me to believe your just using random junk. Which would mean your setup isn't nearly good enough to pickup any of the slight changes being made.
post #1315 of 2194
Quote:
Originally Posted by LawnGnome View Post
"...Also, bichi, what are you even using to listen to this?
you dont have any amps or headphones listed, which lead me to believe your just using random junk. Which would mean your setup isn't nearly good enough to pickup any of the slight changes being made.
it makes little difference what playback devices people use/have, its all relative to them, not you.
but [...] find list below. (of which, my PC playback has been posted previously)

Oh, and your explanation to the other fella:
- considering his level of expertise, highly doubt he could understand what you mean.
- based on testing? YOUR testing?

PC STUFF:
Sennheiser HD-414SL originals (not fond of headphones)
M-Audio BX-5A

AUDIO, (not used with PC)
Mcintosh C2505 x 2; C45
Bang & Olufsen MC120.2 x 4; S35 x 4
additional bunch of custom designed gear

AUDIO ANALYZER:
Bruel Kjaer
1049-Sine/Noise Generator
2636-Measuring Amp
2609-Measuring Amp (two)
4134-Microphone Cartridge (.5 inch)
2639-Preamp and cable (for 4134 Mic)
4135-Microphone Cartridge (.25 inch)
2633-Preamp and cable (for 4135 Mic)
UA 0196 Extensions for 4134/2639 (two)

SCOPES: (at home)
Fluke 97
Tektronics TPS2014
post #1316 of 2194
Quote:
Originally Posted by germanium View Post
Why should we take it somewhere else?? We are on topic which is modifyiing the X-Fi. Almost all of our discussiion has been related to that. Both of us are also qualified to answer your questions. Bichi is a electronics tech with experience in designing circuits & I personally have been involved with audio since I was young though admitedly not a tech. I have done many modifications that if I told you them all you would think I was crazy but they worked very well.

You can't just come in & tell others who are on topic to go elsewhere especially when you have contributed nothing to the conversation yourself.

I'm sorry if I offended you. It's just that the last few pages had very little to do with how to apply the mod, and more about the technical specs of various ICs (I think, I didn't bother reading it all). As a result, from my standpoint at least, it seems to have turned into a conversation between 2 people and everybody else stopped responding. Hence why I thought it was better if it was taken elsewhere, but hey, I'm just the new guy, maybe this discussion will lead to some important revelations down the line .

Concerning your questions

1. I would suggest you read up very carefully before changing the opamp as these boards are very fragile & it is easy to tear up the solder pads for the opamps. A number of people who have tried the opamp mod have ended up with dead boards as a result so if you have no experience in this field don't bother until you can practice on something else less valuable. On the extreme music the caps that need to be shorted or replaced are the 4-22uf caps that are setback from the rest & turned 90 degree from the others as well when you look at the bottom of the board.

I'm willing to take the risk, as I have some experience soldering small components onto a PCB. Thanks for the clarification.

2. 1 farad is a huge capacitor & the inrush to fill such a capacitor can be damaging to other componants on the board so I recommend smaller caps for this board. Black gates are indeed ok though there are some newer designs that may be better such as solid polymer. The large cap near the DSP is probably best with a standard low ESR blackgate cap though rather than very low ESR as bichi has pointed out.

Oops, what I meant was a 1000 uF capacitor, which is 1 mF. I think I'll be going for the Blackgate 2200 uF 16V polar capacitor.

3. That someone that told you not to connect headphones to the direct coupled output of the modded X-Fi is wrong It is best to connect direct to the headphones as that is where you will see the best quality in most cases. Care has to be taken when connecting the modded card to other amps as some are D.C.coupled and will amplify any incoming D.C. & overheat the amp or damage the headphones due to excessive D.C. current through the voice coil. I have done several D.C. coupled amps so I am definately qualified in this area. The D.C. offset on the modded extreme music with stock amps is about 180 millivolts which is plenty safe for the headhones if directly connected to the output of the sound card. However if you use a seperate amp & it happens to be also D.C. coupled depending on the gain you could end up with more than 1 volt at the earphone which in some cases could damage it or cause the amp to overheat. For this reason I always check D.C. offset at the source and the output of the amp.

I'll be hooking it up to a CMOY amp later on. Unfortunately I don't have a multimeter handy so I can't check the DC offset, but maybe I can borrow one from a friend. Always better safe than sorry, I just bought some Grado SR225's today and I don't want to fry them just yet...

4. Some earphones will require an amp but if you can get away without one that would be preferable as then there is zero coloration introduced beyond that of the soundcard itself which I can assure you is very low in the modded card with D.C. coupling between the DAC 7 the output opamp. I have no recommendations for amps so I will skip that.

As stated above, I'll be getting a CMOY amp. This way I can max out the volume control in the OS and use the amp to control the volume. This will also give me a portable amp to use with my Zune. I know that Grado's are low impedance headphones and don't need to be driven with as much amps, but I'm lead to believe that there will be a sound quality increase in the bass if I do use one.

5. Blackgates or solid polymer OS-CONs

I've decided to try shorting them first, but if that doesn't work, I'll pick up some Blackgates.

6.Haven't went there as my card is already very quiet (-116db on Elite Pro). Yiou will see more improvement in other areas like powersupply caps on the analog sections both sonically and noise wise.

I've decided to forego the shielding. I stuck an anti-static bag between my sound card and graphics card and there wasn't any difference in the sound.

7. I use a 15 watt radioshack iron for the shorting & a heavier 40 watt unit for the power caps. I also have a 40 watt desoldering tool from radio shack. I sincerely suggest you read bichi's instructions on the opamp change though for his recommendationsif you plan on changing the opamps. I recommend against it myself though due to problems others are having. In spite of what this thread starter has said of the JRC opamps they are actually quite good in & of themselves. The bit about the caps inside the opamps causing smearing is B.S.. All caps inside any opamp used in audio are made of the same materials & that is silicon dioxide otherwise known as glass. Glass has low dielectric constant & low dielectric absorbsion & consequently no meaningfull time smear in the audio band. How they may be used is a different matter but the JRC opamps don't sound smeard to me in my configuration. In fact my system resolves an incredable amout of detail & still sound musical with the JRC opamps.

From the numerous claims, it seems the LM4562 does provide a better sound output. Personally, I'm fine with the stock op amp, but I'm curious as to how much the sound quality will increase with the LM4562.

8. The breakout box has its own power supply via floppy power connector But I'm not rulling out that some rediculous sized cap like 1 farad couldn't cause a problem due to overloading & burning out the regulators from excessive inrush current but that could also ruin the card as well.
The LM4562's have already shipped (for free might I add, since I applied for the samples using my school e-mail and cited my purpose for using them as educationsl) and I'll be phone ordering the capacitor on Monday. Hopefully I'll have the mod done by the end of next week.
post #1317 of 2194
Lehmann Black Cube Linear from Germany is the choice for HD650.
post #1318 of 2194
Quote:
Originally Posted by LawnGnome View Post
Ranma,

DON'T use a blackgate for a power cap, they are not the best for this application, and cost much more.

Use panasonic FM series.

Also, I will say do not short those caps. That has not been shown to provide any benefits.

ALSO, unlike what germanium has told you, they are power caps. They are connected to -5 and +5. From what other members have found.

Testing proves the card performs worse with those caps shorted.

Instead of spending 10$ to replace a few caps with Blackgates, spend 10$ to replace ALL the caps with panasonic FM. I did this, and found several leaking stock caps in the process.

AND GERMANIUM AND BICHI, USE PM. This is bloody too far. Also, bichi, what are you even using to listen to this?

you dont have any amps or headphones listed, which lead me to believe your just using random junk. Which would mean your setup isn't nearly good enough to pickup any of the slight changes being made.
You seem to be full of all sorts of misinformation in this post. I will only point out one that bichi didn't.

The caps that I recommended shorting are not power caps in any shape or form. Shorting any power cap would in fact ruin the card & maybe even the whole computer. I do my measurement before D.C. coupling anything & there is not +/-5 volts on them. It is +2.5volts or less depending on which card you have. His card should measure less than +2.2 volts on all caps that I said to short in in answer to his question. Mine has +2.5 volts As I now have the Elite Pro card. When properly shorted the D.C. cancels out in the opamp with only a small D.C. offset left over & I listed that amount in my answer to Ranma13.

I have actually traced the signal. You appearanly are taking someone elses word as fact & not checked it for your self.
post #1319 of 2194
Ranma13,

I'd suggest you start with a generic low ESR cap before moving to a Blackgate. First is cost and second is whether or not you can hear the change. If you can't hear it, it was a worthless mod. Generally boutique caps measure worse than caps like Panasonic FM for instance, but it's the tone that is imparted that is important for the users of Blackgates. I'm not really a fan of boutique due to the cost, but I would go component quality first (like $0.10-$0.20 USD).

You should be fine with the CMoy on shorting the coupling caps, as long as you didn't remove the input cap. My amps no longer block DC on the input, so I put the X-Fi caps back in place, the DC offset was too high for my comfort out of the amp otherwise. I tend to prefer total offsets < 10mV-30mV if possible, though higher won't really cause issue, but may affect driver movement as the range of the driver is limited so adding offset moves it from it's resting position. Aside from burning up the voice coils, you get less range of movement. Audible? Probably not at normal volumes for a small offset, but definitely my preference.

For an iron, the radio shack kind of sucks. I have an old one a dual wattage (15 or 30) and the tip wiggles no matter what I did, and I can't recall what it was like new as it's over 10 years old. Temperature control was hard too and it didn't seem to get hot enough for short hold times. I like to hold no more than 5 sec when desoldering. For cheap, I bought an ECG J-060VT (up to 60 watts and I got it for about $16), it's much better, much more solid, but it's longer from the grip so you need a steadier hand. There are a number of irons you can get in a store for moderate work. Walk around, feel them, and see if you like it. ECG is fine, Weller is fine, etc. The important parts for small amounts of work is a sturdy construction and tips. Notice I didn't mention temperature control, because I don't feel it's all that important as long as you don't cook your parts and you are careful in your work. A small heatsink also goes a long way. I use, at times, some small pliers or tweezers to draw heat away when necessary.

For testing, I always use freebie earbuds before I plug any cans in. If it's going to blow, better that than anything I paid for.
post #1320 of 2194
Quote:
Originally Posted by holland View Post
Ranma13,

I'd suggest you start with a generic low ESR cap before moving to a Blackgate. First is cost and second is whether or not you can hear the change. If you can't hear it, it was a worthless mod. Generally boutique caps measure worse than caps like Panasonic FM for instance, but it's the tone that is imparted that is important for the users of Blackgates. I'm not really a fan of boutique due to the cost, but I would go component quality first (like $0.10-$0.20 USD).

You should be fine with the CMoy on shorting the coupling caps, as long as you didn't remove the input cap. My amps no longer block DC on the input, so I put the X-Fi caps back in place, the DC offset was too high for my comfort out of the amp otherwise. I tend to prefer total offsets < 10mV-30mV if possible, though higher won't really cause issue, but may affect driver movement as the range of the driver is limited so adding offset moves it from it's resting position. Aside from burning up the voice coils, you get less range of movement. Audible? Probably not at normal volumes for a small offset, but definitely my preference.

For an iron, the radio shack kind of sucks. I have an old one a dual wattage (15 or 30) and the tip wiggles no matter what I did, and I can't recall what it was like new as it's over 10 years old. Temperature control was hard too and it didn't seem to get hot enough for short hold times. I like to hold no more than 5 sec when desoldering. For cheap, I bought an ECG J-060VT (up to 60 watts and I got it for about $16), it's much better, much more solid, but it's longer from the grip so you need a steadier hand. There are a number of irons you can get in a store for moderate work. Walk around, feel them, and see if you like it. ECG is fine, Weller is fine, etc. The important parts for small amounts of work is a sturdy construction and tips. Notice I didn't mention temperature control, because I don't feel it's all that important as long as you don't cook your parts and you are careful in your work. A small heatsink also goes a long way. I use, at times, some small pliers or tweezers to draw heat away when necessary.

For testing, I always use freebie earbuds before I plug any cans in. If it's going to blow, better that than anything I paid for.
I will admit that radio Shacks irons are poorly constructed but they served thier purpose for me & they are indeed cheap.

I wish I had tons of money to spend on this hobby but then again if I did I would have been able to by top line stuff already & not learned the virtues & pitfalls of modding various audio componants.

Good Idea to test with freebie earphones but even better to test with multimeter first to make sure that the shorts were done correctly as if they weren't there would be huge D.C. offset (at least 2.1 volts depending on your card & that can cause the output opamp to overheat very quickly if connected to those freebie earphones as most of them have really low impedance of 16ohms).
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