Aragon D2A upgrade path? - Page 2 - diyAudio
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Old 12th February 2010, 04:58 PM   #11
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Yeah, I bumped into it myself. It's pretty hard to go wrong with the DAC, the upsampling is amazing to me, kind of adds cream to the music.
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Old 12th February 2010, 05:09 PM   #12
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I'm reading through that other thread now, and it seems the output transformer 'mod' is the way to go.

I assume you did what was suggested ($250.00/transformer I believe?). That sounds like a great mod to me- simple- which is good for the sound (usually) and good for me too, because I'm not the best at these more involved mods.. Plus it sounds as if the board is not the most 'mod friendly' as it is difficult to remove components. (based on what I'm reading so far).

On thing that 'scares' me a bit is that it seems there are a few versions of the board and components. How do you know what you have, and therefore what to mod? Seems difficult to determine for a guy who fixes things with hammers more so than soldering irons...
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Old 12th February 2010, 05:49 PM   #13
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It's not quite that bad. A decent iron and a Radio Shack solder sucker do a fine job.

The trafos won't cost you much more than $100 if you buy new, if that's the way you want to go. Sure, you could spend as much as you want, but keep your perspective here. To add them it's just snip or remove 4 resistors, add 4 jumpers, and solder 4 wires. This is the safe way. If you are confident in your skills there are other ways.
All the boards are very,very similar and are marked which version they are, and I have the complete schematic for version 5.
No Worries.

Best, Bill
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Old 12th February 2010, 05:58 PM   #14
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Thanks, Bill.

I do have to admit it takes FOREVER for my hammer to get hot enough to melt silver...

I may have to bother you once I get the piece. I plan to get it going ASAFP and then A/B it with the D2A. If it sounds better as-is, I might just leave well enough alone. But, that probably won't happen!
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Old 12th February 2010, 06:10 PM   #15
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No problem, you can email me if you wish. After you read more of the thread it will be hard to leave it alone. It's just amazing what the trafos do.
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Old 12th February 2010, 06:11 PM   #16
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Sounds good Bill!

Thanks again for the 'guidance'; I'll be ordering it today I think...
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Old 14th February 2010, 11:34 AM   #17
hihopes is offline hihopes  South Africa
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Gosh, you guys got far fast without my knowing. A friend ordered one of those boards (the most expensive one) and it didn't work, so be a little careful. I still say the Zero is excellent value for money and it is highly tweakable. You can add OPT's if you want, or as I have done, just bypass the output opamp.
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Old 14th February 2010, 12:16 PM   #18
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Hi Hihopes,
The Zero probably is excellent for the money, but the upsampling on this board takes it to another level. I've listened to my dac without the upsampling and it sounds fine, but it sounds so much better with the upsampling. It's not a gimmick, it works, and the trafos take it close to the realm of analog reproduction.
I could go on and on about the different aspects, I'll just say it's the closest thing to vinyl I've heard, but much better in some ways, providing the rest of your system is up to the task.
I'm looking to get another for a project, if you buy one and don't like it I'll gladly buy it off you. Your friend's experience is unfortunate but we do not know the circumstances. I've talked to scores of people that are using this dac and generally all their problems have been either translation of the directions or lack of basic knowledge, both of which can be dealt with easily.

Oh, I thought I had read the D2A2 used the PCM63, guess I was misinformed.

Best regards, Bill
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Old 14th February 2010, 08:17 PM   #19
hihopes is offline hihopes  South Africa
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The Zero is an upsampling DAC too. The power supply is probably better than most DIYers would build for themselves. I have upgraded it nevertheless.
My D2A uses 2 x Pcm 58's and it has a factory supplied upgrade board on the output using 2sk145 and 2sj74 J-fets if memory serves correctly. It is not a D2A2, but a D2a mkII. Perhaps the D2A2 uses PCM 63's. Some people are of the opinion that the PCM 58 is quieter.
The Crystal board lights up, but gives no output, no matter how you configure the dip-switches. Any suggestions?
I suggest that anyone wishing to upgrade, modify or tweak their DAC's should consider implementing discrete regulators. The Teddyreg of Teddy Pardo at Pink Fish is nice. I also like shunt regs. Even a TL431 based reg was an improvement in my Aragon. Chip-based regs generally don't sound that great.

Last edited by hihopes; 14th February 2010 at 08:23 PM.
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Old 15th February 2010, 02:45 AM   #20
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The Zero doesn't upsample.
In the case of the Crystal board, you better send it to me for disposal.
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