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Old 10th June 2007, 01:12 PM   #1
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Question Denon DCD-1015 mods

I bought recently Denon DCD-1015. Looking for mods that would make it better, hopefully. Has someone experience with this player and will it worth the effort? Actually I am looking for improvement in DAC area (and sound of course).

Thanks in advance for any recommendations.
Alex.
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Old 2nd October 2007, 11:01 PM   #2
OneyedK is offline OneyedK  Belgium
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Default Re: Denon DCD-1015 mods

Quote:
Originally posted by alex108n
IHas someone experience with this player and will it worth the effort? Actually I am looking for improvement in DAC area (and sound of course).
Yups, I've got a DCD-1015 and a DCD-1550AR.

I don't know how far you want to go with it.

The simplest way is to focus on the analog output section,
improvements there are rather simple and really audible.
1) who needs that variable output? --> remove R712 and R713
2) Denon likes to use a very bad headphone amplifier, changing volume changes the sound of the fixed output. Loose that headphone-amp by means of removing R912 and R913
3) the mute circuit is not needed when using good opamps remove TR706 and TR707
4) coupling caps C710 and C711 (100F/50V), change them to high quality audio types (don't know why Denon uses 100F, 22F is more than enough and allows you to choose better caps)
5) IC 309 and IC 310 are the I/V and filter stage, Denon fits NE5532... Not really bad, but there are much better opamps these days... take them out and change them into something better, plenty of examples at this forum
6) optional: C325 and 326 (100F/50V) are used to equalise the power supply, change them into low ESR types. C318 and C319 are decoupling caps of the opamps mentioned in (4), 1F, better change them into a low-esr-type too.

This will really make an audible difference.

You don't have to stop there, but the next level takes a lot of work and less improvemment, since the PCM61P DAC is simply not the best performer.
You could change the master clock (16.9344MHz) to a Flea powered Tentlabs XO, but I only would do that if you intend to use the DCD-1015 with an outboard DAC.
In that case, you need to change almost every decoupling cap on the board and make severe changes tot the psu.

The DCD-1015 uses one power-supply for everything,
+8V and -8V unregulated for the motors
and +5V and -5V regulated for everything else.
Needless to say that every capacitor in the psu-section is of
utmost importance.
There's also a -33V section (display-unit), no need to do something there.

One little warning:
DO NOT TOUCH VR300 AND VR301 unless you have the proper equimpent to adjust it.
(It's the MSB-adjustment of the PCM61P)

Good luck with the modifications!
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Old 8th September 2010, 11:22 PM   #3
Pironi is offline Pironi  Greece
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OneyedK View Post
Yups, I've got a DCD-1015 and a DCD-1550AR.

I don't know how far you want to go with it.

The simplest way is to focus on the analog output section,
improvements there are rather simple and really audible.
1) who needs that variable output? --> remove R712 and R713
2) Denon likes to use a very bad headphone amplifier, changing volume changes the sound of the fixed output. Loose that headphone-amp by means of removing R912 and R913
3) the mute circuit is not needed when using good opamps remove TR706 and TR707
4) coupling caps C710 and C711 (100F/50V), change them to high quality audio types (don't know why Denon uses 100F, 22F is more than enough and allows you to choose better caps)
5) IC 309 and IC 310 are the I/V and filter stage, Denon fits NE5532... Not really bad, but there are much better opamps these days... take them out and change them into something better, plenty of examples at this forum
6) optional: C325 and 326 (100F/50V) are used to equalise the power supply, change them into low ESR types. C318 and C319 are decoupling caps of the opamps mentioned in (4), 1F, better change them into a low-esr-type too.

This will really make an audible difference.

You don't have to stop there, but the next level takes a lot of work and less improvemment, since the PCM61P DAC is simply not the best performer.
You could change the master clock (16.9344MHz) to a Flea powered Tentlabs XO, but I only would do that if you intend to use the DCD-1015 with an outboard DAC.
In that case, you need to change almost every decoupling cap on the board and make severe changes tot the psu.

The DCD-1015 uses one power-supply for everything,
+8V and -8V unregulated for the motors
and +5V and -5V regulated for everything else.
Needless to say that every capacitor in the psu-section is of
utmost importance.
There's also a -33V section (display-unit), no need to do something there.

One little warning:
DO NOT TOUCH VR300 AND VR301 unless you have the proper equimpent to adjust it.
(It's the MSB-adjustment of the PCM61P)

Good luck with the modifications!
Do the same changes apply to the 1550 as well?
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Old 13th September 2010, 09:40 PM   #4
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OneyedK, Just came across this thread. Thanks for the great info because I have one of these and thought for a few bucks, to make it sound better, why not!

One question please. For the life of me I can't find R912 and R913 to disable the headphone amp. Where the heck are they? Thanking you kindly in advance.
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Old 14th September 2010, 06:07 PM   #5
OneyedK is offline OneyedK  Belgium
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Adams View Post
One question please. For the life of me I can't find R912 and R913 to disable the headphone amp. Where the heck are they? Thanking you kindly in advance.
It's been a while since I've seen the innards of my 1015,
but I had a quick look at the schematic and they are connected to
the fixed output of your Denon.
I have to replace the drawer switch of the 1015 one of these days,
so if I do, I'll take a picture of the exact location.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pironi View Post
Do the same changes apply to the 1550 as well?
Difficult to comment on that, since I simply removed the dac+analog board of the 1550.
It's a different beast...
The way headphone amp and variable output are coupled (fully buffered)
makes me think that the audible improvement will be less that with the 1015.
There could be some tonesuck by the mute circuit, so you could remove that.
Improving the coupling caps might be very well audible.

Basically steps 1 to 4 can be done on a 1550 (different part numbers),
step 5, not so much, Denon fitted OP275's in a well designed circuit,
different (even "better") op-amps could give you a circuit that sounds worse.
--> this circuit seems designed around the actual OP275 instead of a theoretical op-amp (no such thing in the 1015).

And step 6, the 1550 is full of 78xx regulators, before you start, please read the following article:
Simple Voltage Regulators Part 2: Output Impedance
--> the 1015 has a discrete regulator that actually benefits from lower esr caps, so don't worry...


The rigid drive of the 1015 matches very well with the PCM61P dac, it is worth
the effort to do the "mods" and end up with a extremely good CD-player.
An outboard DAC doesn't improve the sound all that much.
(sound is a little bit "harder" than with the 1550)

The better drive of the 1550 can give you much better performance
with an outboard DAC, so I believe it is wiser to leave the 1550
as it is and spend some money on a different DAC.
I only made some (poorly documented) "upgrades" to the power supply,
replaced the drive (still available from Denon after all these years!)
and gave the digital board a capjob (some caps were ready to burst).
My sample had brown Teapo caps, my friends 1550 had red caps from a
different make (don't remember).
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Old 14th September 2010, 06:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OneyedK View Post
It's been a while since I've seen the innards of my 1015,
but I had a quick look at the schematic and they are connected to
the fixed output of your Denon.
I have to replace the drawer switch of the 1015 one of these days,
so if I do, I'll take a picture of the exact location.
Thank you!
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Old 14th September 2010, 07:51 PM   #7
OneyedK is offline OneyedK  Belgium
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Oops, sorry, R912 and 913 are actually marked on the board as JV204 and JV238 (right side of the PCB).

btw, I replaced the op-amps with OP271G.
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Old 14th September 2010, 08:23 PM   #8
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Thanks! I thought that might be the case. I appreciate you taking a look. How does that OP271G sound compared to the NE5532? I thought I'd try an OPA2132 and an OPA2604.
May I ask what you replaced c710 & c711 with..and the opamp decoupling caps?

Last edited by Chris Adams; 14th September 2010 at 08:33 PM. Reason: added info
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Old 14th September 2010, 11:54 PM   #9
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OPA 2604 is much worse than 5532!
1612 should be better, or keep the 5532..
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Old 15th September 2010, 12:16 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by esl 63 View Post
OPA 2604 is much worse than 5532!
1612 should be better, or keep the 5532..
Worse in what way? Bright, dull, shrill, warm, less open? Have you heard it in the Denon 1015? If not, what circuits have you heard it in? I'm curious because I am just starting to experiment and I would appreciate a broader description.
What is better about the 1612?
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