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Art D/IO Tweaks

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
After reading about the very affordable and “tweakable” Art D/IO, I have decided to purchase it for use with an older Toshiba DVD player for CD playback at the office.



I ordered it from Full Compass for only $122.
(thanks to the tips on this thread)

Since this DAC-ADC lends itself to so many tweaks, I have decided to start a new thread here.
So, lets hear some feedback from Team D/IO!
post #2 of 28
Some tweaks eh... only one I have done was to remove the tube inside the unit. The power supply should be upgraded too, as the stock is lousy. People have said that you should ground the unit too (connect the chassis to something that is grounded). There is something about the digital input too, it is 100 ohm and some say you can convert it to 75 ohm or something...
post #3 of 28
This may bust your budget, but a really good power supply for Art
DI/O is the Monolithic P3.

Apparantly you need cable adaptor to connect ART to preamp etc, because analog output is through 1/4 phono plug. Also output signal is very strong at 7volts and may be too much for some active preamps. Also read as Chych said remove single tube. Performance seems to be very good, but has user interface challenges as this unit is not designed for home stereo use.

That said it seems to offer unbeatable performance for the price, but can offer problems to set-up/use. $122 is great price as retail is $250.
I have not used this unit

http://www.monolithicsound.com/p-3.html

http://www.stereotimes.com/Art_DIO.htm
post #4 of 28
Thread Starter 
I plan on running the DIO into my headamp. I'll see how that goes as far as any overloading issues. If this doesn't work then I might go the Bolder cable route or try a DIY solution.
The supply upgrade is a must. The P3 might be a bit overkill for my setup but the RS unit might do the trick for now or i'll wait until I get more info on the unit Bolder Cable is offering. (nothing on their web site as of yet!)
post #5 of 28
The website won't let you buy the cables?
Have you e-mailed them, when will they be making more?
post #6 of 28
Who, Bolder? One of the components for their DI/O cables is backordered, and they won't be getting anymore for over a month...
post #7 of 28
The Neutrik 1/4" male jacks are back ordered for like 7 weeks now. The digital cables are still avialable, and they get good reviews.
post #8 of 28
I have ordered in some of the Silver plated Neutriks to try with the DI/O cable. I will report my findings here when I get them.

I have just heard from the people cutting the holes for the power supply case. They will be shipping the cases to me on Monday. Still no idea of the final cost of the unit yet, but will balkpark it at under $200.00. This will include the type 2 AC power cord into the case, the Jon Risch designed AC Filter. A 5.6 amp transformer for the DI/O's AC, an Acme Audio silver plated AC outlet for your digital gear, and a Type 1 cable to go to the DI/O with the appropriate connector. I will also have a separate ground connection for those who feel like playing with that. The case will also have anti-resonant dampening material on its internal surfaces.

One cheap tweak for the DI/O is to terminate the digital input. The unused digital input jack can cause reflections and jitter if not terminated. Here is a quote from Jon Risch talking about unused digital ouputs. The same seems to hold true for the digital input on the DI/O:

"Classic RF impedance theory says that if a transmission line is open circuited, then it will have reflections at certain frequencies. Since the digital output signal has a wide range of signal content with regard to the frequency content, it will have some signal reflected. This reflected signal can back feed into the input of the digital output circuit (no circuit is perfect, and none have the textbook infinite input/output isolation that the texts imply), and then back into the rest of the digital circuitry, causing jitter.

Terminate this unused digital output with a 75 ohm resistive load, and the reflections no longer occur, the transmission line has been terminated in it's characteristic impedance, and the backfeed has been reduced greatly or eliminated altogether. Less jitter, cleaner sound."

I have found that this tweak does indeed help the sonics of the ART DI/O. YMMV
post #9 of 28
This is probably a stupid question: how do you terminate the output?
post #10 of 28
I have made a terminator from a Holco 1% precision metal film resistor and a Canare RCA connector.

If there is interest in this terminator, I will add it to my products on my website.
post #11 of 28
Cheap terminator for digital output with no soldering: Get a Radio Shack RCA to F-connector adapter. Get a Radio Shack 75 ohm coax terminator. Connect the terminator to the adapter and plug into the digital output. Cost about $3.00. Not as pretty as the film resistor and the Canare connector, but it works just fine.

Here's another cheap tweak that stunned me when I tried it. Make a couple more of the terminators above, and get a pair of RCA to phono adapters. We're into big money now at Rat Shack, perhaps as much as $10.00. Now, if you're using the DIO as a DAC, terminate the analog inputs. In my DIO, this completely opened up the sound. Bass went deep and tight, and detail appeared that I never even dreamed was there. Instrument separation improves greatly. This is not a subtle improvement; it makes the whole listening experience far more involving. I'd love to hear if other people find this as dramatic as I did.

Moving up in cost, Calrad makes a very nice RCA to 1/4" mono phone jack adapter. These let me use my MIT MI-330 interconnects with the DIO. They don't have built in attenuation. However, many preamps can handle the hot signal. Both my Grado RA-1 and Creek OBH-11se (as well as my Electrocompaniet Pre I) handle the hot signal just fine. YMMV here. I tried some 12 db attenuators from MCM Electronics. They worked, but degraded the sound. I'm pretty sure that Bolder Cables' implementation is much better, but I haven't heard them yet. I'm not planning on attenuating the DIO's output until I have a preamp that needs it.

Radio Shack also carries a Stancor 9 VAC 3400 ma power supply that does a much better job than the one that comes with the DIO. Must be ordered online (not carried in stores), cost is $27 + shipping. Wayne's power supply should far outperform this one, but I'm listing the cheap tweaks here

Chych mentioned removing the tube and grounding the chassis. Removing the tube makes the DIO sound better as a DAC, but funtionally disables its ability to do A to D. Grounding the unit can't hurt.

Some people at AA have commented about changing the digital input from 100 to 75 ohm. That's getting into warranty busting territory (I LIKE the three year warranty). There's also speculation that the 100 ohm input is part of the weird magic that makes the DIO work so well.

Just IMO, but I'd try some of the inexpensive tweaks before laying out serious money for upgrades. You'd be surprized at just how good this unit can sound with a minimal aftermarket investment.
post #12 of 28
Hirsch, know where one can purchase the Calrad 1/4" to RCAs?
post #13 of 28
Chych,

One of the other inmates at Audio Asylum bought a bunch of them, and I got mine from him. I'll see if I can find out where he bought them.
post #14 of 28
I tried the tweak that Hirsch suggested of terminating the analog inputs. It works pretty much the way described, but maybe not quite so drastic on my sytem. Probably due to the differences in equipment. This seems to be a nice, cheap, tweak.
post #15 of 28
Well I just did the tweak... I'm gonna have to say it is a subtle improvement, if any improvement...
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