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PenguinAmp Caffeine Modded- Blew My Brains Away - Page 2

post #16 of 21
Everything about the caps I got appears the same except for the length. I was planning on insulating them because they would be a bit close. Im still considering doing this. Just havent had everything I need yet. Im too broke to buy my own soldering stuff at the moment. I have been using this amp a lot at work lately with my E5 as back up when the stupid rechargable Energizer dies on me. It's only 7.5v and hasn't been lasting very long lately.

This mod would make a nice addition to the lid that is painted black to match the rest of the tin and my ipod, and the belt clip I have velcrod on the back so I can clip it to my side. I cant imagine it sounding better, but I'd like to hear it. If I had the money I would consider that great trade in offer for the new Arrow!
post #17 of 21
Good work.
post #18 of 21
What's key, it appears, is if the difference between an Pro and Ultra will negate the benefit of the caps.

yeahx.. I would suggest a temp controlled solder station for the 'fine' work. I've had it with the RShuck and other garbage soldering equipment.

I picked up a temp controlled one on sale $40. It's their trade brand, but I find it excellent. Even has mounting for R or L hand users, nice big digital readout in F or C, easy to set dial..very fast heating and cooling.

MPJA - Power Supply, Power Supplies, Security Cameras, LCD, Fans, Etc.

A friend has a Weller which sells for about the same. It's a stripped kit in comparison, but does a good job too.

Weller WLC100 Adjustable Power Soldering Station, Weller WLC100 - at the Test Equipment Depot

Of course, you can pay a LOT more for soldering equipment, I would say either of these two are the minimum you should have for any kind of soldering that can get delicate. If you plan to make it regular hobby invest in something even more substantial.
You can spend a lot more to replace broken cheap irons or finding you've damaged your work because the iron was too hot.
post #19 of 21
Originally Posted by EFN View Post

I will make this short and sweet.

Stock PengAmp Caffeine:
- A bit too bright sounding for my blood, hard-edged in the higher frequencies
- Lean and lacked warmth for driving the likes of AKG K701, Ety ER-4S
- Analytical - perhaps a tad more than necessary
- Caved in soundstage

Modded PengAmp Caffeine (Unknown 850 uF Cap OUT, TWO Rubycon MBZ 1500 uF IN)
- Super smooth and no longer hard-edged
- Milky warm and soothing signature
- Still analytical but no loger fatigue inducing
- Airy soundstage

And I am not ********ting when I say my brains melted with the new sound. I have listened to many good amps and I know this is the real deal.

Unfortunately this will require DIY skills and agility with solder to parallel the two MBZ Rubycons.

Words have it that the PengAmp will be "sunset" in favor of the spanking new HeadStage Arrow. So this mod applies to existing PengAmp if you have one.


It is worth to note that this mod is NOT recommended for those not familiar with DIY work. Taking out the board itself from the unit is difficult and you may damage the tin casing in the process.

Additionally, my choice of caps are not really suitable because the voltage is somewhat lower than the 9V battery used. The caps are 6.3V and the amo itself uses 9V. So if you have to do this mod make sure the caps are similarly rated to the amp power level. This is to make sure that the caps don't get fried in a prolonged use.


........Short and sweet no?
Good work man. Your capacitor leads look like they're getting close to shorting out there, maybe a little electrical tape around one of them wouldn't hurt...
post #20 of 21
I don't know if this is where you found the Rubycons..but there's quite a few other options here too..not knowing what would be best..
but it would not be difficult to get up to 10v maybe even 16v single Rubyconns and maybe 2200uf...just make replacement a little easier.
not sure how big you can go..but the one you took out is a pretty fat baby!

eBay Store – PC MotherBoard Capacitors Store: Search results for.

Curious to know if you tried just one Ruby cap? Maybe just doubling to around 1500 is enough. More capacitance might just have diminishing returns.
post #21 of 21

Sorry to dig up an old thread... but I'm thinking of attempting this just for shots and goggles. Ive had this amp around for awhile and i'm ready for a new one. But perhaps i'll go and ruin this one first :D . 


Just a question or 2 if anyone wants to enlighten me. Would these particular caps be safe for home use with the 12v dc input? Or would i rather select something like the 1000 uF 10v? The OP makes it sound like those 6.3v are pushing their limits even using a 9v battery. So do i need something different if I'm using the 12v plug? I'm obviously new at this but if someone wants to point me in the right direction for perhaps a sound improvement of "some sort". Or if you want to explain to me why it's not worth the trouble I'm all ears as well. Laymens type explanations are best for us noobs :) . But unlike the op almost seems to suggest I dont think this is brain surgery either and im not sufficiently discouraged to just "stay out of the pool". So take that as you will.


Anyway atm im thinking why not just give it go. I got a friend with a solder sucker and all that solder stuffs. This is a decent amp and all BUT I do agree with most of the gripes the op mentions and I wouldn't mind to try tinkering with it before I just buy a new one. I'm going to be using it with ZMF's and other full size headphones in the future.


Is this really the sort of thing that yields "night and day" improvement? 

Also the AD8397 opamp.. Anything better i should look at these days to swap that out?

Remember im ready to try something new anyway. So why not tinker.


Thanks for listening. Input is appreciated.

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