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Old 6th April 2013, 07:29 PM   #51
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Here's a list of some possible esoteric options. These are all from memory.

Clean power:
From Keantoken: An RC of 50R trimmer+2u polyester cap set from ~ to ~ of the bridge rectifier(s) to snub the transformer secondary(s). This RC does not attach to 0v line and therefore can't ruin audio. But we might really enjoy decreased power noise.

Clean source power:
A K-Multiplier put before the regulator for a digital source.
Likewise, nested regulators.

Old fashioned overkill:
A high end old style inductor based equalizer.

Information extraction:
An extremely small dose of stereo expander, which, on a non-inverting amplifier, is much like an RC from speaker output of one channel to inverting input of other channel. A homeopathically mild, transparent, setting, is what I'm talking about. In a really high end system, such a damper has to be set at the make-break point of work or not--an existential stereo expander. When aligned to make-break of noticing or not, the circuit works dynamically in practice and if done carefully, could extract even more detail without causing a more forward tone.
Stereo expansion circuits like that can be used as compensation for the practice of using lead lag comp for acutance (audio version of a photo sharpening filter), which does cause a more forward tone as its main cost.

Current headroom:
(what a modern source doesn't have)
Modern sources with high profit works of omission direct driving power amplifiers typically results in poor bass plus forward mids. If this is irksome, a careful job with a good buffer project can level it out. To help a modern source, I would suggest trying a fine quality discrete parts buffer with adjustable regulator power and adjustable bias. You're simply installing the omitted parts onto the output of your modern source. For example, it helps the Creative Labs X-Fi finally make real bass instead of EQ reliance with insufficient outcome. Yes, if what you needed was current headroom, a digital EQ doesn't substitute.

Checking various PC sound cards reveals one, just one, interesting bit of information. The M-Audio Revolution 5.1 that Ostripper and I both like, has a Pair of Parallel stereo op-amps to cancel some crossover noise and enhance current headroom. With effective use of op-amps, this one sound card doesn't need a buffer.

Needed an entirely different output section: I recently tried an M-Audio Audiophile 2496, thinking it would be better but that awful thing was returned to its cardboard box in less than 20 minutes. Unfortunately the headache it gave me lasted the rest of the day. Maybe the computer power supply affected that reputable sound card, causing it to fail on quality. Perhaps it needed a coax connected external digital to analog converter run on linear+capmulti+regulated power, not computer power.

Impedance matching at input:
Such as with Lightspeed+Buffer, or BlareBuster, or Input Transfomer, to knock out the shout, not the details.

Decreased midrange compression:
Rail2Rail cap can remove some midrange power noise resulting in cleaner, quieter midrange, specifically upper midrange, ear sensitivity peak. This can be done at the power amp with 1 really cheap polyester tweeter cap, or an RCR, or a Cornell 250v SEK, and the typical approach is 1 cap or RCR of 1u~4.7u range from V+ to V- of the amplifier board. The added cap does Not connect to 0v.

Base stoppers:
Got em? Carbon film and carbon comp work nicely for base stopper locale. For example some high quality brands of 1/2w carbon film resistors work nicely for feedback-shunt resistor in non-inverting amplifiers. Improvement from using base stopper suitable parts is not dramatic but could be noticed in areas of a circuit that have gain.

Lastly:
Tuning by ear defines the need precisely, but fails to specify the location for repair/adjustment, and that has risk of applying more patches because of more patches, so we need to be a bit cautious there.
With a really high end system, fell swoops won't do, but multiple, transparently small, little steps work fine.

There's probably a lot more to it, but this is all I could remember at the moment.
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Last edited by danielwritesbac; 6th April 2013 at 07:33 PM.
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Old 21st April 2013, 04:38 PM   #52
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As it turns out, the most significant contributor to an enhancement for MY systems midrange was to change out the conductive plastic volume pot on the amp to a tantalum resistor divider control. I tried quality MF resistors, which improved the definition/sound stage etc. but left the same edge/harshness and sibilance I wished to eliminate. The tantalums gave the smooth and warm mids while eliminating the edge and excess sibilance. Since the detail and the highs are coming through although somewhat decrease from the past I assume this process is not because of a filtering effect by the tantalums, but the need for me to adjust my years of hearing excessive and edgy systems. Time will tell, but I like this new sound very much. Funny how such a small component change can make such a big difference regardless if it is for better or worse. I don't understand how others could say that this couldn't happen. Again, years of trial and error have convince me not to be skeptical until I hear for myself.
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Old 21st April 2013, 07:46 PM   #53
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Component differences being audible totally makes sense when there's gain on it. I think that is especially true of impedance management with gain applied. Kudos for getting the job done by whatever means necessary.
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Old 21st April 2013, 11:29 PM   #54
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Not funny at all, this is bloody serious ...!! The closer one gets to optimum sound, the more significant the most minor alteration has to the subjective perception of the sound - this can become a nightmare, and did for me many years ago!

I'm a little concerned that you're losing detail, of course if this is false exaggeration of subtleties then this is not a bad thing, but one has to be careful that what one is doing is not just adding syrup to the sound.

How have you implemented the tantalum resistor divider control? And, have you considered or tried something like the Lightspeed optical pot?
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Old 22nd April 2013, 12:32 AM   #55
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A very recent experience has reinforced to me the importance of seemingly obscure but in my experience critical setup issue. One of my monoblock power amps recently met an unfortunate demise after I was doing some soldering on my speaker crossovers and overlooked turning off the amp. A grounded iron touching a positive leg of the crossover resulted in me letting out the smoke on one output transistor; predictable but infuriatingly stupid...

Anyway my small backup LM 3875 chip amps went into the system. They sounded detailed but thin and unappealing. On a whim I measured the leakage currents on the chassis. They measured approximately 100v AC. I therefore inverted the primaries of the transformers and the measured voltage lowered significantly. Most importantly the sound improved in an extraordinary way. Suddenly there was more ease and the decay of notes was much more audible and natural.

So the same amp with correctly oriented mains primary connections sounded significantly "warmer" and more natural.

If you haven't attended to this fundamental issue, you don't know what you are missing. Best of all it is free.
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Old 22nd April 2013, 01:37 AM   #56
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Leakage currents? 100v AC??

But, yes, that is precisely the sort of thing that becomes crucial! Unfortunately, it's easy to go the other way ... you start with natural and full sound, but feel you can go a bit further, so you implement a change which is fully rational, makes perfect sense, but after a while realise that the sound is gravitating towards "thin and unappealing" ... . If you think then that in fact you're getting closer to the raw, undiluted, recorded sound, well, you're wrong: the change made was a wrong turning, or requires other elements in place also to function correctly. The whole process can become very complex, because everything is interrelated - there are no easy answers ... at least, at the moment,
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Old 22nd April 2013, 01:44 AM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fas42 View Post
Leakage currents? 100v AC??

But, yes, that is precisely the sort of thing that becomes crucial! Unfortunately, it's easy to go the other way ... you start with natural and full sound, but feel you can go a bit further, so you implement a change which is fully rational, makes perfect sense, but after a while realise that the sound is gravitating towards "thin and unappealing" ... . If you think then that in fact you're getting closer to the raw, undiluted, recorded sound, well, you're wrong: the change made was a wrong turning, or requires other elements in place also to function correctly. The whole process can become very complex, because everything is interrelated - there are no easy answers ... at least, at the moment,
Given that the AC voltage is capacitively coupled to the chassis there is nothing safety wise you need worry about and those sort of measurements are surprisingly common in 230 v AC land. That said I think spacing the transformer further from the chassis will help lower the leakage voltage further.

Last edited by Robert F; 22nd April 2013 at 01:47 AM.
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Old 23rd April 2013, 06:08 PM   #58
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Implementation of the tantalum voltage divider is a directly soldered to the input. Only one setting at the moment, and I will be adding a six position switch, shunt style control later. The change in the input impedance should be percentage wise quite small as the overall input impedance is 250k and the input side of this divider will be at most 38k of the total 250k. In other words, the range of input impedance will only vary from 200k to 238k over the six settings.
............................

I'm a little concerned that you're losing detail,

I too though this, but with additional listening, is seems that more mid warmth was added, the edge gone with the sibilance in female voices still coming through. Its like now the highs coming through the warmth, without their presents all the time. Just nice!
................................

I too have gone through the AC polarity issues. My house does not carry the "ground" to outlets. Only the hot and neutral are present. However, I too found that polarity of power cords must be investigated. I found this important in the soundstage center area, where it was better defined and precisely held the position. Never measured voltage between components took any measurements. Just went by sound. Maybe less of a problem with only two components! Ok, four, cd player, two mono blocks and speakers, ops, five components.
..................................

have you considered or tried something like the Lightspeed optical pot?

Not on my budget as of yet. The tantulums resistors are from a 60's HP signal generator. High quality parts at reasonable prices, free, sans the silver solder.
..................................

The whole process can become very complex, because everything is interrelated - there are no easy answers .

Couldn't have said it better! For such a simple system everything affect the sound directly, even a deaf man could hear the changes.......................

Last edited by optimationman; 23rd April 2013 at 06:13 PM.
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Old 24th April 2013, 11:19 AM   #59
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I don't know if this works with LM3875; however. . .
LM1875 sounds like a decent and rather high resolution chip amplifier run solo; however, it sounds like about $5000 worth of "out of the black" voiced audiophile amplifier if run Parallel. The solo chip did not do both warm and detailed but rather one or the other; however, the Parallel gladly does both warm And detailed. Perhaps, therein, is a clue, or two.
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Last edited by danielwritesbac; 24th April 2013 at 11:22 AM.
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