Arcam Alpha as a Transport - diyAudio
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Old 1st February 2010, 09:47 AM   #1
virnuls is offline virnuls  United Kingdom
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Default Arcam Alpha as a Transport

Hello all!

I have a Stello DA220 MkII DAC, which I'm currently feeding from a Marantz CD5001 - I bought the Marantz cheaply to tide me over while I pondered the transport options.

I lent someone my old (original) Arcam Alpha, and it's just been returned after almost a decade, and seems to be working OK, so I thought I'd compare it with the Marantz to see if I could hear a difference between the two "transports".

I also had a quick look inside the Arcam, with a view to the possibility of adding a clock upgrade, and noticed that the analogue circuits and outputs seem to be on a separate board with a separate transformer.

So, would there be any benefit in disconnecting the analogue board when using the player as a transport? Is it simply a matter of unplugging the cables to the power supply and the larger board underneath, or would that have some undesirable consequences?
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Old 1st February 2010, 08:54 PM   #2
amc184 is offline amc184  New Zealand
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I'm pretty sure there will be no problem. That transformer powers the DAC and analog stage only.

I've accidentally left the analog board unconnected before on one of my Alphas, and the player functioned as normal (but without an analog output, obviuosly).
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Old 2nd February 2010, 09:21 AM   #3
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I've been fooling around with a couple cdm4 units for transports, seems that reclocking the SPDIF itself was the most beneficial. Really sharpens the image and solidifies the bass. I followed along the lines of what Tent Labs does with the xo3.
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Old 3rd February 2010, 12:00 PM   #4
virnuls is offline virnuls  United Kingdom
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Thanks for your replies.

I'm quite surprised that both my wife and I expressed a clear preference for the Arcam when we compared the two players used as transports only - the Arcam was smoother, but voices and instruments had more body, and the whole sound was warmer, with possibly a touch more detail. The Arcam was a good player in its day, but the surprise was that it was more than a match for a player 16 years its junior.

My only reservations about modifying the Arcam are that it's getting old, and lasers fail (again, that seems to be something that happens sooner on newer mechanisms, my 1987 Philips CD460 still works, but my 2001 Arcam DV88 doesn't), but also that, for not much more than the cost of, say, a clock and power supply, you can buy a Meridian 500 on Ebay.

Has anyone compared a modified Alpha with such a dedicated transport?
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