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Germanium's Sound blaster ZXR mod thread - Page 14

post #196 of 201
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by NCSUZoSo View Post

Hey germanium, you never did tell us the source of this mod.  You mentioned to me a few times about it, but I never found out where it started.  If you just Google "ZXR Mod" on my computer, the first hit is this thread and I don't see any other hits related so I am curious just where this did originate from.

My own idea.


Electricity usually takes the path of least resistance however in this case the load is shared through bass & lower midrange.as the impedance is still fairly close to each other however as you move up in frequency the metalized film takes more of the duty over as it's output impedance drops much faster than the electrolytic caps does.


Electrolytics are far from a perfect cap. A perfect cap output impedance would drop to the point that at some frequency it would be like a superconductor. No Cap is perfect however all have some  inductance which restricts their high frequency potential. The point at which the capacitance meets inductance is what determines the resonant frequency of the cap. Virtually all caps resonate at some frequency & usually well above audio frequency. electrolytics also resonate but the have an odd property in that their resonance is highly damped. When something is damped it gives up energy I.E. it gets turned into heat. This tells me that something is getting lost & it may not be just heat It may just be signal that is lost as well, particularly soft sounds that form the background of the music.


When one talks of the damping factor of an amplifier we are talking of controlling the driver by providing a means of braking. That means of breaking is by shorting the back electromotive force through the amps power supply. Guess what this uses some amplifier power to do & this power is given up in the form of heat. Same thing happens with electrolytics. This does not happen with metalized films to even near the same degree & consequently they will resonate quite a lot at their resonant frequency. This lack of internal damping in the metalized films allows them to pass all signals better below their resonant frequency & since their resonant frequency is very far above the audio range they pass the signal very well without adding anything.


 As you can see metalized films are pretty much the ideal cap for audio


When used in the power supply they help maintain a low output impedance across all frequencies of interest. With transistor amps it is as important if not more important to maintain a power supply that has a low output impedance than it is to maintain rock solid voltage which is why most really good sounding power amps are still unregulated in the power supply. The best ones are regulated though. I'm just saying it is possible to have a good sounding amp without rock solid voltage regulation.


The interesting thing is these mods work well in regulated amps as well as unregulated & can be placed either before or after the regulators & have the identical same effectiveness. Why these mods work is that the power supply is in the direct signal path & the sound effects are the same as replacing an electrolytic coupling cap with a metalized film one.


The reason tube amps sound so good or at least part of it is that the power supply is largely outside of the signal path & is only supplying a constant current to the output tubes through the output transformer especially in a pure class a1 push/pull transformer coupled tube amp.


These mods bring you much of this type sound the you get with tube amps to transistor amps without the tube problems of old like soggy sounding bass.


This taken from a PM I sent someone else here

Edited by germanium - 4/11/15 at 10:42pm
post #197 of 201

I thought when the last capacitor was overlooked it was caught by someone else and that is what made me think it came from another source.  I am surprised you never mentioned it to me in our PMs, haha.


Well here is a very, very late thank you for the best hardware mod I have ever done in my 10 years of modding.

post #198 of 201

While talking to germanium i understood that he simply "feels" electricity and components, he knows how what impact it makes on sound...he knows what will happen after changing something here or there... I really envy someone who has that strong knowledge and passion.


And i also want to say thanks one more time!

post #199 of 201

First impressions that mod did removed some heights harshness from my T90 :) And it seems that stage got a bit wider.


Can't tell anything more now, as i just enjoy the music right now :)

post #200 of 201

Yea my sound became a lot more organic and warm after changing the op-amps and doing this mod.  Sound stage is much, much wider also.


By the way, if you need any help on describing changes I always keep this bookmarked: HeadFi's "Describing Sound - A Glossary"



Edited by NCSUZoSo - 4/11/15 at 7:34am
post #201 of 201

Heya, so after hours of reading on all kinds of op-amps for ZXR, I still couldn't find a good match for myself. Are there any conclusive good suggestions for what op-amps I could take? Some details:
I imagine I would like the sound sharp, crispy crystal, lows should be well-defined, not boomy (but with strength). The default ZXR sound is a little too muffled up and with too little contrast between sounds/levels. I'm sure long time users will understand what I mean?

I am using 2 speakers through RCA. Will never use headphones with this card.
My budget is limited, but I can still spend up to 50usd I suppose. So I guess no Muse'es for me. 

I would also prefer being able to use the EM shield, but good sounding op-amps is a priority.


Thank you very much for any suggestions! I really find it troublesome to decide myself on what to choose. It was fun reading it all for the first few hours, but on the 15th hour of reading into op-amps and peoples experiences with them I kinda got lost :D

Please feel free to advice on condesators if they are a worthy addition. I have no soldering experience but with those great schematics forum users here provided, it shouldn't be much of a problem for me to ask someone. Or perhaps I'll even risk doing it myself with a few online tutorials! 


Sidenote: It would also be great to understand how op-amps and capacitors actually work in audio. Anything -really- easy to read? I have 0 electronics knowledge. Would love to get the bare minimum understanding. 

Edited by Kristijonas - 5/11/15 at 10:56pm
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