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Hotrodding the X-Fi: A Layman's Guide (No 56k) - Page 103

post #1531 of 2194
had these pic posted before? if it had , sorry, the thread is too long for me to go through.
the mod applied 12v to the opamp through those wiring instead of 5v.he used AD8620BRz for the main sound, op2604 for others.

post #1532 of 2194

My report on trial of bichi's MLCC coupling cap

Just want to give everyone an update on my trial result of bichi's X7R MLCC cap as coupling cap on X-Fi Elite Pro.

First of all, thanks a million to bichi for providing samples and give me this chance to try. Bichi is a very cool guy to meet anyway.

My original mod was using 100ohm resistors replaces coupling cap C35, C45, C58, C49. I made a few other modifications on my existing X-fi elite since met bichi, including changed the C104, C133, C154 +/- 12V and +5V power cap to 470uF/16V panny FM, changed DSP power filter cap C151 to 1000uF/6.3V FC, changed DAC decoupling cap C40 to Elna Silmic II 100uF and replaced C60, C55, C109, C131 from Oscon 47uF to Kemet tant 47uF. To avoid these changes affecting the MLCC cap trial, I let the card burn-in for three days.

Now comes the MLCC caps to try.

With 100ohm shorted, at idle, the left channel measures +5mV and right channel measures -1mV. With MLCC cap, but channels are 0mV at idle, which is expected.

First, let's look at the RMAA result from technical perspective.
My system:
W2K3 x64 Q6600 @ 3GHz, 4GB memory (sorry no crappy Vista)
X-Fi Driver: the latest Creative beta driver 6.0.1.1281
X-Fi mode: audio creation mode, 24/96, bit-perfect playback enabled
RMAA: 6.0.6
Player: foobar 0.9.4.5 with ASIO plugin
Headphone: HD-595 direct on line-out

The MLCC cap result is excellent, there is very slight loss on the low freq side, but it's barely noticeable. The dynamic range of MLCC cap is excellent.

Next, some real listening test.
I used Burmester Reference CD #2 for testing. The MLCC cap sounds very neutral, the high is open and transparent, and the bass is tight. It's noticeable with MLCC cap, it reveals more details. The sound is colorless, so depends on the personal preference, some people may feel it's too cold. As far as the bass goes, I do not see any noticeable bass loss. HD-595's bass response is not that good anyway.

Overall, I really like the MLCC sound, and decide to keep the setup. It's a little bit cold for some female vocal scenario, but once I change the output to my little dot MK 3 tube headamp, everything is perfect.

All images are here.
post #1533 of 2194
It was FUN meeting you too, eBoy2k3!
- too bad you're a "software" design guru and not a HARDWARE "He-Man" - (LOL!)

Very cool you took the time to make the mod, with precision approach!
- have been curious to get an "independent" test for months on "verboten" MLCC, applied as audio coupling.

Have made a few more measurements and changed MLCC value a bit...
- will exchange the set with new ones, next time we meet, maybe at HSC Electronics? (map below)
- I see our RMAA results match, especially low-end bumps, seen on IM distortion result.
- new values designed to match "shorted" low-end IMD performance and "very-low" bass response.
- will also bring lower-voltage TANTs (smaller) and SOIC socket/plug stuff.

Beta drivers, eh?
- will install, based on your experience.

REFs:
RMAA v6.0.6 results, MLCC x3 22uf, complete set: (caps same as yours)
X-FI-MOD-101 - eSnips, share anything

HSC Electronics Supply location:
HSC Electronic Supply - Silicon Valley's Electronic Marketplace
post #1534 of 2194
SB0550 - Pink and White noise response
- MLCC X7R, 22uf x 3; matched set; audio coupling, Line-Out
- opamp: NJM5532
- audioTester DE v2.2c build 5

PINK:
X-FI-MOD-102a - eSnips, share anything

WHITE:
X-FI-MOD-102b - eSnips, share anything

Picture of MLCC cap-stack and other tested caps:
X-FI-MOD-100a - eSnips, share anything

REFs:
AudioTester DE v2.2c-build 5
audioTester

Pink Noise Definition:
Pink noise - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

White Noise Definition:
White noise - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
post #1535 of 2194
so in looking at the blackgate supply listing on partsconnexion's website, I noticed that there's more than one series with a part of compatible spec. It appears to me it's between a polar "FK" unit and a "STD" polar unit...will i want to go with the FK over the std? I noticed that the mod also described using a 2200 versus the stock 470 microfarad cap...i'm wondering if the extra buffer size would be worth the extra hassle in mounting them...the 1000 and 2200 are HUGE....


Here's their little spiele:

"AC - non-polar, high-current, compact for loudspeaker cross-over applications
C - polarized, coupling applications, compact, great value for money
FK / K / VK - highest technology polarized, rated up to 350V
N - non-polar
NH - non-polar, high voltage
NX - highest technology non-polar
NOTE: Use N/NH/NX series in the most critical coupling and power supply applications
STD - polarized, standard grade, excellent value for money
PK - polarized, ultra compact/miniature size
WKZ - polarized, high voltage, large can, for tube amplifier B+ supply
WK - non-polar, asymmetrical "power tank" design, high current applications"
post #1536 of 2194
hi i will like to replace the cap of my audigy 2 zs with blackgate.. may i know which cap should i replace?

post #1537 of 2194
I'm wondering, what other opamps have people tried in the X-Fi? I'm getting a Fatality Pro soon, so I'm wondering if there are other opamps I could try.
post #1538 of 2194
FYI:
- noticed a small noise floor increase during X-FI Elite (SB0550) testing/mods and P5WDH BIOS 2602. (system specs in sig below)
- see across RMAA v6.0.6 tests, THD, THD+Noise, etc.
- installing older BIOS, 2406 fixed issue.
- theory might be processor PWM control code for newer processor support might be cause.

More of a "curiosity" than an operational problem.

RMAA Test Result:
X-FI-MOD-104 - eSnips, share anything
post #1539 of 2194
Quote:
Originally Posted by desaturated View Post
hi i will like to replace the cap of my audigy 2 zs with blackgate.. may i know which cap should i replace?

it's the cap to direct lower right of the main processing chip. should be a 100µf 16v jamicon cap. i replaced mine with a 1000µf NTE cap.






On a different note, which chip is the stereo opamp on the audigy 2 zs?
i have some lm4562ma's on the way.
post #1540 of 2194
Quote:
Originally Posted by Random Murderer View Post
it's the cap to direct lower right of the main processing chip. should be a 100µf 16v jamicon cap. i replaced mine with a 1000µf NTE cap.






On a different note, which chip is the stereo opamp on the audigy 2 zs?
i have some lm4562ma's on the way.
ok, so i've been busy the last few days trying to find the perfect sounding cap.
originally i had an NTE 16v 1000µf cap that sounded great. since then, i've tried a 16v 470µf Rubycon YK, a 16v 470µf Rubycon (unlabeled, but it's light blue), and both of those sounded good but there was crackling in the highs.
just a few minutes ago i put a 3300µf 50v Nichicon VX(M) on and it sounds as good, if not better than, the NTE.






i'm still trying to figure out which opamp is for stereo on this card, help would be appreciated.
post #1541 of 2194
For the "hardcore" SB0550 modders:

SB0550 Elite
- U7 Line-Out opamp decoupling experiment.
- assumes U7 has been socketed and requires ground stake soldered to AUX connector signal ground.
- requires building an adapter to connect bypass capacitors from V+ and V- to ground and small value capacitor across V+ and V- rails.
- can also apply to SB0460, (U2) with 5vdc for V+ and V-.

eBoy2k3:
- share your experiences/results here so others can benefit too, LOL!

Pictures of carrier/adapter with circuit details:
X-FI-MOD-105 - eSnips, share anything
X-FI-MOD-106 - eSnips, share anything
post #1542 of 2194
no sb0350 love?
post #1543 of 2194
Quote:
Originally Posted by Random Murderer View Post
no sb0350 love?
I don't own a SB0350 (Audigy) and its design is different than X-FI SB0460 (Music, Fatality) or X-FI SB0550 (Elite)
- only post from actual experience, rather than guesses
- might have better luck if you started an Audigy mod thread instead of using one for X-FI?
post #1544 of 2194
is there a cheaper alternative to ers paper? it's really expensive!
post #1545 of 2194
If you own a Auzen Prelude or X-Meridian (I think it's the meridian anyways) you can bypass the opamp entirely and get very clear sound from your card. To do this, all you need to to is take a very small wire and bridge the 3rd and 6th opamp terminals



You get very clear sound this way, albeit at a cost since the output volume is very low this way now. My Darkvoice 332 isn't loud enough to output at a satisfactory level with the opamps removed, so I will most likely buy a dedicated DAC instead, rather than have to go back to opamps, which I found to sound quite poor (the lm4562 is very grainy sounding compared with the bypassed opamp mod) It's still quite loud but just barely not loud enough for some of the classical music I enjoy so I will have to try something else. This mod would probably be fine if most of your source music is quite loud or even just at an average recording volume. That is, if you have an amp, of course.

I've gone through just about every opamp you can use in this card though and none sound as good as with the opamp bypassed entirely.
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