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georgehifi 8th July 2005 03:29 AM

Tent Labs XO3 Clock Impessions
I bit the bullet and ordered a Tent Labs XO3.
I have a Pioneer PD77 which is similar to PD95 which I've compared to a lot of transports and it's held it's head up very well against transports costing 10x more, as I'm using it as a transport only with a Musical Fidelity A3.24 (modded) dac (see previous posts on mods) I've always been interested in trying Guido's clock as it seems to be the best ready made one out there.

The Tent XO3 has a new SPIDF output as well, thou I thought that the one in the Pioneer was going to be hard to beat as it uses a transormer coupled output with a Motorola MC74HCU04 as a buffer very similar to Guido's new SPDIF output on the XO3 , but I instaled it anyway and retianed the original as well, so what, it's another rca on the back.

I was not prepared for what I heard when I first powered the system up, the difference was quite astounding, the transparency that I heard of music that I know well and thought that I've already heard at it's best was breathtaking, the impact of transients was as if the system had no limit to it's headroom, and the decay of instruments, seemed to fade into a black abyss, this clock has blown me away.
I've heard other clocks before, not on my system, the best one before yesterday was the LC XO3, it was very good but does'nt seem to have the impact that the Tent Labs has.

The oringinal SPIDF sounded better with the XO3 clock, but the new SPIDF was better.
If you get one of these XO3's do'nt bother adding a new SPIDF output rca, convert the old one over to the new SPIDF XO3 output that way the back of your machine will still look original.

Anyone who is contemplating doing a Pioneer PD77 or a PD95 be prepared, they are a real pain to put a clock into because of a packed inards and layered boards and no space to mount the XO3

Thank you Guido for showing me the light.
It's the old Lin Sondek addage get the front end right first.

Cheers George

Ruach 8th July 2005 06:57 AM

One question George:

Does the Tent X03 has a built-in coaxial output?

I have checked Tent's website and it wasn't really specific about this.

Yes, the PD77 is a really a pain in the *** to mod. The digital and servo section is a big piece of PCB with lots of chips and caps on in.


Btw, can you post up some pictures of this mod? Thanks

georgehifi 8th July 2005 07:19 AM

Yes it does Ruach, and a very good one at that, just mount an rca or bnc on the back and wire it in, and you'll become a beliver like me.
Can'nt belive Pioneer did'nt put a coax digital out on that machine, it's near the top in the model line up, all the better now if you insert a Tent XO3 as you will have even better than they could give.

Cheers George

georgehifi 8th July 2005 07:41 AM

Ho!!!, and Ruach if your pd-s904 uses the same CXD1167Q decoder chip, Guido's site has pin 5 as the tap off for the signal for the SPIDF out when it is acually pin 27, don't get caught out by this, and also on his instructions, he mentions it's a white wire that you use when it's yellow. I mentioned it to him yesterday but he has'nt got around to fixing it yet.
As for photos I wish you would have asked yesterday as even the lid removal is a pain 15 bloody screws just to get the lid off. I'll do it next time I'm saying to myself, (I'm bored what can I do today).

Cheers George

Ruach 8th July 2005 09:14 AM

Thanks George for your comments.

I have been looking for a commercial solution to a coaxial digital output for sometime. I will definately try the Tent XO3.

The Pioneer PD-S904 is the top of the consumer range for Pioneer's stable platter cdp from 1995-1997. I had a look at the service manual for the 904 and it appears that Pioneer took out the coaxial digital output for the Asian 904.

This make of the stable platter is also used in Wadia 301, though it is a world of difference when compared to the stable platter mechanism of your PD77.

The 904 uses a Sony CXD-2500BQ servo chip and I think I should be able to tap the SPDIF output from Pin 24.

Btw, it is better to tap the SPDIF output from the servo chip or the decoder chip?

georgehifi 8th July 2005 09:34 AM

Decoder, that's where it all starts from. Double check that pin 24 is right, as the CXD1167Q was wrong on Guido's site, try to get a Data Sheet on the CXD-2500BQ just to be sure. I think the pinouts on Guido's site are given to him by outside sources, and some could be suspect. Better safe than sorry.

Cheers George

Ruach 8th July 2005 09:43 AM

I just took out the PCB from a spare 904 to have a quick look.

It is using the Sony CXA1372Q. It is described as RF Signal Processing Servo Amplifier. Is this a servo chip? Or is the Sony CXD-2500Q the decoder?

georgehifi 8th July 2005 09:59 AM

Without seeing the circuit I'm almost sure it's the CXD-2500Q.
Guido could answer more positively, it's around this time he lurkes around here. Just wait a little and he'll throw his two bobs worth in.

Cheers George

Ruach 8th July 2005 10:07 AM

I had a quick look at the datasheets and I think SPDIF Out should be at Pin 60 for the Sony CXD2500.

Pin 24 is listed as EFM signal input where Pin 60 is listed as Digital-out output.

Thanks George.

Guido Tent 10th July 2005 10:55 AM


Originally posted by georgehifi
Without seeing the circuit I'm almost sure it's the CXD-2500Q.
Guido could answer more positively, it's around this time he lurkes around here. Just wait a little and he'll throw his two bobs worth in.

Cheers George

Hi George,

Yes, lurking around

Pin 60 indeed is the digital output of the CXD2500 chip. That can be fed straight into the XO3 SPDIF input.

The XO3 SPDIF output is equiped with wiring, as to support various players and required output connectors (I prefer BNC)

Happy to hear you like the new sound

all the best

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