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John PA's My One and Only System
IP Address: Last Update: December 14, 2014 at 09:54:03
Amplifier: Balanced Cary Audio Six Pac: I changed the amp to balanced, very nice improvement. Yes I know they are made by their 'other' company, but it is all the same.

Mundorf Supreme Silver .22 1200V coupling caps. In place of the Jensen copper bypassed with teflon, which I had been using.

I noticed that the amp has grid stoppers but that they are metal film Dale. Dale is a great resistor for the price but I prefer not to have it in the direct signal path so I put in a Tantalum for the input tube and 220 Ohm on the output grids (1 watt, non magnetic -nos-).

All the wire for the signal path has been changed out to flat high purity silver with teflon loose tubing.

Full wave rectification added for the filaments of the 12BZ7. An external transformer was added with Schottky rectification in the form of a bridge rectifier and capacitance added to smooth the ripple. An added since of depth and transparency as well as separation of intruments or voices and a general refinement of the sound.

30uF ASC oil cap added to the B+ where it goes to the output transformer. This added speed and punch and to my ear, the smoother sound of a fine oil cap vs electrolytic. Without this the amplifier is excellent but this added snap that will take your head off, in a nice way :^). .01 polystyrene 630 volt used on the ACS for high frequency bypass of the B+. This does have a subtle posistive effect.

The original Chinese EL34B tubes as compared to Svetlana 34's and EH fat bottle, sound the best by a good margin. The 34B's are a great bargin and appear to last a long time.

The B+ caps changed out for an outboard supply of 4 100uF ASC caps and one 15uF cap per mono block. There are no electrolytics in the B+ now. The sound is more dynamic, transparent, and there is more 'space' around instruments and singers. Just more natural sound now than before.

Cary SLA 70?: (purchased new in the early 90's, Cary gave advice over the years for upgrades, very helpful and appreciated), copper foil caps bypassed with teflon .056, no feedback, Ultra linear or triode with a switch added, 12/00 new output trans from Cary-nice (same as Rocket 88 and others per Kirk), inductors for the power to the input tubes and B+ opt to each channel (5AR4 X 2 =Mullard metal base=, L90 current limiter for start up, ClC to opt, 1 for each opt, CLCLC to each of the driver tubes (2uF Vitamin Q with 20uF of fast caps), very extended top to bottom, neutral, good air, no roll off of highs Sovtek KT 88's, Svetlana EL34's (nice),Amperex BB EL 34, EH 6CA7 fat bottle are outstanding and holding up well. About 35 watts per channel. Amplifier is very little like the original with many of my own changes. All point to point wire is silver. Resistors are Riken Ohm, Tants, Kiwame, and Allen Bradley. Cathode caps are Solen fast caps.
Preamplifier (or None if Integrated): Balanced Output Transformer Preamp. My own Pre 76, 55 or 27 (I love those 27 balloon mesh plates) tube with the written help of Carlos Sousa and Steve Jones. Completely dual mono with separate huge regulated ps's. Four foot umbilical to line stage. Mono DACT's. Ultra quiet. Lincoln Miles made a beautiful rosewood chassis for the ps and line stage. RLCLRCC to a 27 or 55 or 76. I use opt's that are designed for the 27, 55 or 76 from Electroprint. All pure silver -dead soft- wiring with teflon tubing. Kiwame,Allen Bradley resistors and Riken Ohm. 76 tubes produce the sound with delicate ease. The fine mess Cunningham 27's sound very good with the Arcturus right behind. The older tipped Arcturus have a solid plate and sound a bit hard and are not to my liking. I have Arcturus in tipped and the later version in nos, which gives a good comparison.

The dual DACT's have one resistor in the signal path with the DACT actually shunting to ground. The DACT is not in the signal path but in a small way. You use the centet post as the input.

Quicksilver, dual atenuators (DACT), copper foil caps, mills noninductive wirewound for feedback, etc. rewired with silver point to point and other mods-disconnected phono section, it runs cool now - 12FQ7 in place of 12AU7 works good. Tele, Mullard, 5751 Sylvania gold pin etc. IMPORTANT: change filament voltage from factory 13.7 to 12.4, big improvement, very nuetral, extended and naturalThe power to each of the tube halves has been divided and each has its own Solen Fast cap bypassed with a P716 .1 and .01 (very important to bypass or the sound is lifeless)All three tubes have this treatment, which improved inner detail and overal performanceWired now for the 12SN7 in place of the input tube of 12FQ7 or 12AU7, nice Also using a 12SL7 in place of the 12AX7/5751 Inductors used for each half of the tube - improved voltage swing - better dynamics and overall sound
Speakers: Newform Research 645: -fantastic! Bass below 30hz noticable to 20hz - KS3 Xover upgrade. Biwired w/silver 91db rated but I think they are a little lower in actual practice.

Klipsch Chorus, modified in many ways and sound great but they are in storage now 1000 miles away :^(.
CD Player/DAC:

Audio Note DAC 1.2?? (I am not sure what this would be now as it is clearly different than the 1.2 in most all respects except for a couple of the chips on the digital board- (K series for the 1865 dac) with C nickel core Audio Note output transformers and AN interstage transformers, tantalum resistors in all signal paths. All dead soft silver wire, point to point wired, no PCB used for analogue signal. The power to the tube section is divided with two 30H 500ohm inductors so the regulator tubes don't oscillate; 100uF ASC cap to 15uH inductors to 100uF ASC cap and a 20uF ASC then the feed goes to the output transforms to the tubes. Achieving about 90% of dual mono power supply and refining the supply even more. Digital interface transformer 280 (silver with the best core - so far) from the input of the BNC to the Crystal chip, bypassing the relay etc.) The sound is very real. The digital to analog board, which requires three DC supplies is powered with three SLA's. The analog board uses 6N1P (analog tubes -later 6N1P's were designed for digital circuitry- with black plates and three micas made in 1965) tubes for the analog stage or octal 6SN7GT Sylvania 1952. This is a very musical and rewarding dac.

About 60% of the original digital board is gone and all of the caps are Oscon SG. The Audio Note interstage transformers come directly off of the I/V resistor beside the AD1865K chip that I use. No other resistor is used in conjunction with the interstage trans.

1865K dac chips are stacked (2). This provides better resolution, dynamics and the general presentation of music is improved across the board. The I/V or dumping resistor is changed to 220ohms for the added dac chip.

Audio Note nickel C core output transformers. Outstanding transformers. Less than a mV needed to excite them. Fine detail and totally natural sound. The dynamics and contrast are beautiful. These are something I would like to try with my preamp. Incredible quality.

Cathode bias is switchable between a resistor/cap bias and a nickel metal hydrate AA battery for each tube. I have determined that in my dac the res/cap has the better presentation for sound reproduction than a sla but the NiMH is overal the best for the bias.

Sealed lead acid:

1. This upgrade consists of switching over the power supply feed from either the local ps board on your dac or as in my case, individual regulated power supplies, each with an individual transformer.

2. Three SLA’s (sealed lead acid, 5 amp each) and a “smart” charger as well as a 3 position 3 pole switch to change the battery from going to the dig board to going to the charger. This entails a bit of thinking, as you have to wire the negatively used battery on the negative circuit of the analog section of the board to be reversed so that it can charge along with the other two batteries. Well it required a bit for me anyway.

3. The batteries I used are 5 amp and appear to hold a useable charge for a couple of days so long listening periods are no problem, unlike many battery systems that only give you a few listening hours of use.

4. Everything, chip wise or regulators, is socketed on my board. With the experimentation that I do I need this as I tend to ruin a few op amps and regulators. With the sockets the fix is easy. Now in implementing this change I did blow a few to get it right. If you short something, well there goes an opamp or regulator. Or if you drop a line across the B+, which makes a nice cracking sound, but who would do that, you may have to replace both the regulator and opamp. :^) (

5. There may be a question as to voltage. Yes the voltage is higher. I have installed regulators on the digital board rated at about 1 watt dissipation. They have a small fin that helps with heat dissipation. The standard ones might work but these add a bit of safety margin. If the regulator feels very hot (it will get warm), something is wrong. If the opamp feels hot or very warm, something is wired wrong. You need to check voltages after the regulator at the checkpoints on the board a few times as everything can appear to work and you may be getting 10 volts to the chips. I especially had problems with the negative voltage but worked this out.

The sla's are not a fast battery (higher interanl resistance) so I use a 22mF Solen cap across each one. With this they are fast and deliver a constant supply to the board. I would use 25 volt Black Gate at this point or a good film and foil (I have the Solens on hand).


Everything is improved. The noise floor drops to nonexistent except that on the recording. Clarity and open air space is fantastic. Natural and artificial reverb are much more evident as are small sound cues that are normally only evident in live music (and this only if you are actually in a position unhampered by noisy people etc, etc.

There has always been some hum with the music turned up at a higher volume that could be heard in quieter passages. With the batteries and with the volume turned up to the maximum position, there is but the slightest increase in hum/hiss that is more like a well-done solid state where background noise is all but absent. One instrument that has always eluded me in capturing its sound, well there are a few but this now does the same with them as well, is the clarinet. I now notice the hollow sound of the instrument along with the notes. The body of the instrument is there with its inner space and resonance.

Anyway, the sound is natural, clean and dynamic. This is all a bit of work but worth doing. To make matters simple, if you only do the digital section using one SLA, and none for the analog section of the board, you will reap about 80% of the change. This would be a simple change and much easier to do. It would also require less room and switching would be a simple do tambien.

XO-DAC installed. This goes between the 8412/14 Crytal receiver chip and the 1865K dac. It lowers the jitter to a reported 3ps. Sound improves across the board and bass is more solid and defined. This is not a cheap upgrade but really gives the best quality digital input to your dac.

Philips SACD 1000 it is ok but I thought it would be much better

Turntable/Phono Stage: Pioneer 563A-s as a transport. Works very well. PS is modified with bypass, better caps and more capaictance. Rectifiers are Schottky now.

Sony 775. My own modification to have a dig out and modded with Black gates and other items, reclocked with the Super Clock II, which uses a large external regulated power supply
Other Source(s): A modified iRiver H140 for optical or coax output with a 120gb hard drive. Internal caps improved.
Other Accessories/Room/Misc.:
Speaker Cables/Interconnects: My own silver configuration all components rewired with silver'dead soft'Power cords are hand made braided 4-8 plat some are copper one is pure silver (preamp very demanding of good power) I used to braid horse tack for a living so braiding of complicated braids is fun

Kimber 8TC
Other (Power Conditioner, Racks etc.): Jon R. conditioning for each of the other units (these work very, very well) isolation ball bearing devices that I have designed - very effective

Balanced ps, which did not sound right for some time. I then removed the RFI filter and the everything snapped into place.
Tweaks: parts quality upgrade and not always retaining the same topology on all components solderable fuses

Everything that can be taken out, chips, tubes etc., has a solution of SilClear and ProGold. I make a slurry of the two and it works better than either one alone.
Room Size (LxWxH): 18 x 20 x 9-15
Room Comments/Treatments: Aymara tapestry from Chile, Peru y Bolivia, hung at different points
Music Preferences and Comments:
Music Used (Genre/Selections): all except rap and beebop
System Goals/Comments: like most everyone else
System Strengths: great depth, transparency, imaging
System Weaknesses: Room could be bigger, but I am glad to have the room that I do have.

Video/HT System: None
URL Link: http://www.pbase.com/jamato8
Other Interests/Hobbies/Occupation: Registered Nurse, ICU/ER, professional photographer, visual anthropologist/natural history photographer, electronics.

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