• 08-14-2009, 05:15 AM
    Luvin Da Blues
    Burson op amps for MH DAC25.2
    I ran across this interesting thread on Canuck Audio Mart. This looks like a promising upgrade for my Music Hall DAC. Does anyone have experience with these or have any comments? Thanks in advance - LDB

    http://www.canuckaudiomart.com/forum...p?f=21&t=12887
  • 08-14-2009, 06:33 AM
    Feanor
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Luvin Da Blues
    I ran across this interesting thread on Canuck Audio Mart. This looks like a promising upgrade for my Music Hall DAC. Does anyone have experience with these or have any comments? Thanks in advance - LDB

    http://www.canuckaudiomart.com/forum...p?f=21&t=12887

    As audiophile tweaks go, the Burson discrete opamps look like a relative bargain. It's speculation on my part but I suspect you'd hear more difference installing a Burson opamp than you might upgrading you interconnects to various mid-range models that cost several times as much.

    On the other hand opamps tend to get a worse reputation than they deserve largely, I gather, because the early ones were relatively awful. Current ones are much better.

    A few common opamps I've heard of, (I'm no expert) are:
    • NE5532 (dual) or NE5534 (single) -- a decent, very commonly used, unit targeted at audio application.
    • OPA2134 (dual) or OPA134 (single) -- a step up, according to some, for audio application.
    • OPA627 (single) -- considered by some the "ultimate" audio opamp. The OPA627AU costs a relatively exhorbitant US$24.95, (see Parts ConneXion). I have seen pairs of OPA627 mounted in an 8-pin DIP adaptor (to replace a dual such as the NE5532) for under US$30 on eBay.
    I'm a cheapskate but I'd be inclined to try OPA627's before springing for the Burson. (Note that the OPA627, even a paired module, will fit in tight spaces that the Burson will not.)
  • 08-14-2009, 07:36 AM
    Luvin Da Blues
    Thanks Bill,

    The OPA627 at $25 is quite a bit cheaper that the $63 each the OP paid for the Bursons. I'm sure both would be consideable upgrades.
  • 08-14-2009, 05:56 PM
    Luvin Da Blues
    I would imagine that this would void my warranty. I should probably wait until the one year expires in December.
  • 08-14-2009, 06:04 PM
    02audionoob
    My MH CD-25 has the 627's. I have a hard time remembering what the dang thing sounds like without my PS Audio DLIII. But then again, I spin so much vinyl, I'm beginning to forget the DLIII, as well.
  • 08-14-2009, 06:12 PM
    Luvin Da Blues
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by 02audionoob
    My MH CD-25 has the 627's. I have a hard time remembering what the dang thing sounds like without my PS Audio DLIII. But then again, I spin so much vinyl, I'm beginning to forget the DLIII, as well.

    Did you change to the 627s or are they stock units. I would think that the DAC would come with the same opamps as the CD player.
  • 08-14-2009, 06:45 PM
    02audionoob
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Luvin Da Blues
    Did you change to the 627s or are they stock units. I would think that the DAC would come with the same opamps as the CD player.

    It's a Parts Connexion mod. Stock is 2604.
  • 08-15-2009, 05:02 AM
    Feanor
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Luvin Da Blues
    I would imagine that this would void my warranty. I should probably wait until the one year expires in December.

    I'm just curious: are the DAC25.2 opamps DIPs in sockets or DIPs soldered directly to the board? Or are they surface mounts? Personally I'm not sufficiently confident of my soldering skills to attempt to swap surface mounts.

    Of course Parts ConneXion will mod you Music Hall for you with OPA627s or Bursons -- but not for cheap.
  • 08-15-2009, 05:37 AM
    Luvin Da Blues
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Feanor
    I'm just curious: are the DAC25.2 opamps DIPs in sockets or DIPs soldered directly to the board? Or are they surface mounts? Personally I'm not sufficiently confident of my soldering skills to attempt to swap surface mounts.

    Of course Parts ConneXion will mod you Music Hall for you with OPA627s or Bursons -- but not for cheap.


    My next step is determining the mounting configuration. I haven't opened the DAC up yet. I'm hoping for sockets but I have no problem with board level soldering. I'm not a cheapskate but wouldn't pay someone money for something I have time, equipment and skills to do.

    I found this video but nothing new here.


    <object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/sQ4zuQR6QBQ&color1=0xb1b1b1&color2=0xcfcfcf&featur e=player_embedded&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/sQ4zuQR6QBQ&color1=0xb1b1b1&color2=0xcfcfcf&featur e=player_embedded&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowScriptAccess="always" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>
  • 08-15-2009, 05:41 AM
    Luvin Da Blues
    1 Attachment(s)
    Here's a pic of the innards. Looks like sockets but at this resolution it's hard to confirm.
  • 08-15-2009, 05:51 AM
    Feanor
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Luvin Da Blues
    Here's a pic of the innards. Looks like sockets but at this resolution it's hard to confirm.

    Yeah, looks like sockets which makes swapping really easy of course.

    Bursons presumably can't be installed in place of surface mounts. The video shows them being mounted through the board, and I notice that this is what Burson recomments unless sockets are already in place.
  • 08-15-2009, 06:13 AM
    Luvin Da Blues
    I think I go with your advise and start with the 627s. Would be nice to hear a modded one first but what the heck, you only live once.

    02audionoob, did you buy your MH CD-25 already modded or did you sent it in after purchase? I'm curious in your opinion of the sonic improvement if you had a chance to hear it unmodded.
  • 08-15-2009, 08:11 AM
    02audionoob
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Luvin Da Blues
    I think I go with your advise and start with the 627s. Would be nice to hear a modded one first but what the heck, you only live once.

    02audionoob, did you buy your MH CD-25 already modded or did you sent it in after purchase? I'm curious in your opinion of the sonic improvement if you had a chance to hear it unmodded.

    I bought mine modded, so I haven't heard it without the 627's. When I got it I opened it up to look at the mods and my memory is they were in sockets.

    I think this CD-25 sounds beautiful and I might eventually take it off of the DAC. My original reason for the DAC is more for the DVD player. I love my concert videos. :4:
  • 08-16-2009, 03:34 PM
    Luvin Da Blues
    Thanks gents,

    I'm in no rush to order these but I'll post my findings after the swap.
  • 08-16-2009, 04:48 PM
    Luvin Da Blues
    Just took a look inside. Appears to have two 2134s and one 2064. Forgive my ignorance, but are the two 2134s to allow for the inverted balanced signal? Should I replace all three?
  • 08-16-2009, 10:10 PM
    02audionoob
    I don't know anything more about this stuff than you, but - given that that CD-25 has two op-amps and no balanced signal, maybe it's the 3rd op-amp that is for the balanced signal. The summaries of the mods at Underwood Hifi indicate the replacement of three op-amps, but it makes sense that you could do just the 2134s. Maybe you could get some free advice from the seller of the op-amps.
  • 08-17-2009, 05:35 AM
    Feanor
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Luvin Da Blues
    Just took a look inside. Appears to have two 2134s and one 2064. Forgive my ignorance, but are the two 2134s to allow for the inverted balanced signal? Should I replace all three?

    LDB, did you mean 2604 rather than 2064? Methinks so.

    To my very limited knowledge both the 2134 and 2604 are opamps designed with audio in mind and aren't to shabby, especially the 2134. But, N.B., both types are dual opamps and can't be replaced with single OPA627's.

    Almost certainly the 2134's are for the balanced output circuitry. I don't know but would guess that the 2604 is upstream of the 2134's and thus might be first priority. If you want OPA627's you'll need a pair of OP627's and a special adaptor. I believe Parts Connexion sells the adoptors but note that the adaptors might require the surface mount version of the 627 and these are extremely tiny and difficult to work with I dare say.

    02audionoob's suggestion is a good one. Email Parts Connexion and ask them if they can upgrade your DAC and what they suggest -- quaranteed they will say 'Yes' and suggest a lot of stuff, likely including the opamps. Ask them specifically about the opamps mentioning what you did here.

    A possible source for the pairs of 627 in adaptors is Gigalab on eBay. Assuming they aren't fake 627, these look like a bargain at around US$30 per pair on the adaptor, shipping included.
  • 08-17-2009, 05:53 AM
    Luvin Da Blues
    I think I found it. Is this what your talking about?

    http://cgi.ebay.ca/2x-Mono-to-Dual-O...d=p3286.c0.m14

    Looks like a dual "pair". Should I replace the 2134s with these and move one 2134 into the 2604 slot?
  • 08-17-2009, 04:30 PM
    Feanor
    Yep, that should do it
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Luvin Da Blues
    I think I found it. Is this what your talking about?

    http://cgi.ebay.ca/2x-Mono-to-Dual-O...d=p3286.c0.m14

    Looks like a dual "pair". Should I replace the 2134s with these and move one 2134 into the 2604 slot?

    I was thinking of this one from Gigawork, (sorry not Gigalab), but the one from Vintage Audio Lab should be the same.
  • 08-18-2009, 03:56 AM
    Luvin Da Blues
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Feanor
    I was thinking of this one from Gigawork, (sorry not Gigalab), but the one from Vintage Audio Lab should be the same.

    Ordered the burr-browns from Gigaworks, for this price what's a fellow got to lose.. Thanks guys, I'll post my findings later.
  • 09-01-2009, 05:32 PM
    Luvin Da Blues
    Just planted the Burr-Brown OPA627s into the rig. The 627s replaced a pair of 2134s for the balanced output signal. Improvements were heard immediately. I have to listen more but my intial impressions are;

    Overall the presentation was more "fluid" if you may while at the same time sharpening the attack time of instruments. Tonal balance was fuller and a bit more natural. The width and depth of the soundstage increased on all the tracks I've heard so far. Detail is easier to distinguish, absolutely effortless on my better recordings albeit a tad bright sometimes. Overall, for the minimum outlay I couldn't think of a better way to improve a digital signal.

    Since I had two 2134s left over, I decided to change out the remaining 2604 chip. Gotta say this was a huge disappointment. Basically not only undid everything the 627 improved but made things flatter. I put the 2604 back in and I'm going to leave it there. Not sure why the 2134 didn't improve things but I am very happy with the 627s so all's good. Cheers

    LDB :2:
  • 09-01-2009, 05:39 PM
    02audionoob
    This is good to know. Now I can assume the 627's are helping the sound quality of my CD player like they're helping your DAC.
  • 09-01-2009, 06:57 PM
    blackraven
    The 627's can dramatically change the sound. I changed the OP amps in my Music Hall 25.2CDP and it changed the sound of the player from a very open and airy sound to a more aggressive and forward sound with less transparency. For me the mod did not work out.
  • 09-02-2009, 06:30 AM
    Feanor
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by blackraven
    The 627's can dramatically change the sound. I changed the OP amps in my Music Hall 25.2CDP and it changed the sound of the player from a very open and airy sound to a more aggressive and forward sound with less transparency. For me the mod did not work out.

    Which goe goes to prove that you need to try them with an open mind. LDB's experience with replacing 2134s with 627s was positive, but replacing the 2604 with a 2134 was negative despite the generally better reputation of the latter.

    In LDB's DAC, since the 2604 and 2134 are not dissimilar in price, it is probably because overall circuit exploits the subtle qualities of the former, and that's presumably why the designer used it in the first place.

    But the use of a 2134 vs. a 627 is another matter, given the latter is several times more expensive than the former. That is, the designer might compromise best design in this case only to save money.

    LDB, you might consider replacing the 2604 with a 627 pair and see what happens.
  • 09-02-2009, 07:01 AM
    Luvin Da Blues
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Feanor
    .....LDB, you might consider replacing the 2604 with a 627 pair and see what happens.

    Just what I was thinking.:yesnod:
  • 09-27-2009, 04:03 PM
    joshcloud9
    I am just wanting to check that the 2134 is a dual channel, therefore replacing two of them would require 4 of the expensive 627's -- is that correct?

    Thanks
  • 09-28-2009, 03:03 AM
    Luvin Da Blues
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by joshcloud9
    I am just wanting to check that the 2134 is a dual channel, therefore replacing two of them would require 4 of the expensive 627's -- is that correct?

    Thanks

    That's correct. You can order 2 627s mounted on a single socket here. This auction is for two dual mounted sockets.

    http://cgi.ebay.ca/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?...=STRK:MEWAX:IT

    Cheers
    LDB
  • 09-28-2009, 04:23 AM
    jrhymeammo
    HEY LDB,

    Can you tell me what capacitors and resistors are used for the stock unit?
    I am pretty unsatisfied with my MF X-CAN V8, and it seem modification for the unit is not recommended due to its circuit board.

    Thanks,
    JRA
  • 09-28-2009, 05:42 AM
    Luvin Da Blues
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jrhymeammo
    HEY LDB,

    Can you tell me what capacitors and resistors are used for the stock unit?
    I am pretty unsatisfied with my MF X-CAN V8, and it seem modification for the unit is not recommended due to its circuit board.

    Thanks,
    JRA

    Hey J, I took a look when I had the cover off awhile back but I'll be damned if I can remember now. I have a day off today so I'll look in a while and let you know then.

    Cheers,
    LDB
  • 09-28-2009, 07:07 AM
    Luvin Da Blues
    J, The MH uses Rubycon caps and metal oxide film resistors (1% tolerance).

    FYI, the 6922 tube is used only on the SE outputs. I have both the balanced and SE connected and switch between them depending on the recording and source. I find although the tube sound is great for vocals it seems to collapse the sound-stage a bit too much for certain types of music.
    Any suggestions on what I should start with when I start to roll tubes?

    LDB
  • 09-28-2009, 12:07 PM
    LDB, I was surprised to hear that you were already wanting to change the MH DAC. If you remember, I returned mine not too soon after I auditioned it because it did not improve over the sound of the source. I was going to try a different tube, but decided to return it while I still could. But this got me thinking of maybe upgrading my player, then.

    Anyhow, next time you open her up, can you take a picture of what the DAC looks like with the new op amps?
  • 09-29-2009, 04:01 AM
    Luvin Da Blues
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by nightflier
    LDB, I was surprised to hear that you were already wanting to change the MH DAC. If you remember, I returned mine not too soon after I auditioned it because it did not improve over the sound of the source. I was going to try a different tube, but decided to return it while I still could. But this got me thinking of maybe upgrading my player, then.

    Anyhow, next time you open her up, can you take a picture of what the DAC looks like with the new op amps?

    I was happy with the MH and I didn't have a deliberate plan in mind but after reading about the op-amp swap for $40 I had to try it, glad I did. I find the 6922 tube collapses the sound field when I use the SE cables so I was wondering if a tube swap could help this out.


    My camera is FUBAR'd and since I don't take many pics it may be awhile before I replace it. I could take a pic with the cell phone but......



    Here is the link to the op-amps

    http://cgi.ebay.ca/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?...=STRK:MEWAX:IT

    and a pic of the innards are posted somewhere in this thread.

    Cheers
    LDB
  • 09-29-2009, 09:06 AM
    Sorry to hear about the camera, but I'm glad you like the upgrade. The tube in the MH DAC has been the topic of quite a few discussions. Most of what I've read suggests that while it provides an improvement in one area, there will be a shortcoming in another.

    The reason I was hoping to see a picture is because the op amps look pretty sizeable and could be a tight fit. Or maybe that's not the case?
  • 09-29-2009, 09:39 AM
    Luvin Da Blues
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by nightflier
    Sorry to hear about the camera, but I'm glad you like the upgrade. The tube in the MH DAC has been the topic of quite a few discussions. Most of what I've read suggests that while it provides an improvement in one area, there will be a shortcoming in another.

    The reason I was hoping to see a picture is because the op amps look pretty sizeable and could be a tight fit. Or maybe that's not the case?

    I seldom listen thru the tube due to the sound field collapse but may be inclined to use it more if I could find a suitable tube swap.

    No need to worry about the size of the op-amps. They take up the same amount of space as the originals (although a bit higher) and there is plenty of space to spare.

    Cheers
  • 09-29-2009, 11:15 AM
    Feanor
    1 Attachment(s)
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Luvin Da Blues
    I seldom listen thru the tube due to the sound field collapse but may be inclined to use it more if I could find a suitable tube swap.

    No need to worry about the size of the op-amps. They take up the same amount of space as the originals (although a bit higher) and there is plenty of space to spare.

    Cheers

    The opamps are the three small, socketted ICs 1 o'clock of the tube and partially surrounded by small red capacitors. There's lots of room for swapping dual 627 modules.
    ...
  • 09-29-2009, 11:23 AM
    Wow, what is pretty easy. I was thinking he installed those big honking things in the video clip.

    Maybe I should have kept the DAC. Aside from tube-rolling, it never occurred to me to do any upgrades on it.
  • 09-29-2009, 11:30 AM
    Luvin Da Blues
    [QUOTE=nightflier]Wow, what is pretty easy. I was thinking he installed those big honking things in the video clip.[QUOTE]

    That was going to be my original plan but our fine Silmarillion friend pointed out the Burr-Brown's from Gigaworks.
  • 10-03-2009, 03:35 PM
    jrhymeammo
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Luvin Da Blues
    J, The MH uses Rubycon caps and metal oxide film resistors (1% tolerance).

    FYI, the 6922 tube is used only on the SE outputs. I have both the balanced and SE connected and switch between them depending on the recording and source. I find although the tube sound is great for vocals it seems to collapse the sound-stage a bit too much for certain types of music.
    Any suggestions on what I should start with when I start to roll tubes?

    LDB

    Thanks LDB,
    Rubycon caps for a unit under $600? That's pretty impressive.

    There are plenty of cheap 6922/6DJ8/6H23 tubes out there. You don't neccesarily have to spend hundreds on NOS tubes to find the sound you love. I love the sound of cheap Sovtek compared to Electro-Harmonix. EH has more transparent but less involving sound to my ears.

    Have Fun,
    JRA
  • 10-03-2009, 04:33 PM
    Feanor
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Luvin Da Blues
    J, The MH uses Rubycon caps and metal oxide film resistors (1% tolerance).

    FYI, the 6922 tube is used only on the SE outputs. I have both the balanced and SE connected and switch between them depending on the recording and source. I find although the tube sound is great for vocals it seems to collapse the sound-stage a bit too much for certain types of music.
    Any suggestions on what I should start with when I start to roll tubes?

    LDB

    I tried half a dozen different 6922s in my Sonic Frontiers preamp. The SF is notoriously neutral, almost solid state sounding so I looked around from something that would make just bit more tube-like. The tubes I like best were these Amperex USA white label 'PQ'. Smooth, detailed sound with that great tube illusion of depth. I bought these used, not NOS, for US$86; (true NOS would have been about 4x that price).

    http://ody.ca/~wbailey/AmperexPQ.jpg
  • 10-03-2009, 08:32 PM
    Luvin Da Blues
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Feanor
    I tried half a dozen different 6922s in my Sonic Frontiers preamp. The SF is notoriously neutral, almost solid state sounding so I looked around from something that would make just bit more tube-like. The tubes I like best were these Amperex USA white label 'PQ'. Smooth, detailed sound with that great tube illusion of depth. I bought these used, not NOS, for US$86; (true NOS would have been about 4x that price).

    http://ody.ca/~wbailey/AmperexPQ.jpg

    I've heard that about the PQ whites. Sounds like what I want from a tube. Good to hear it from someone here on AR. A little pricey for a used tube but I only need one and that's a small price to pay for sonic bliss? Mucho Gracias Feanor