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Old 20th January 2004, 04:22 AM   #1
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Default Can grounding be upgraded?

Another great newbie question: I have this wacky idea of doing some sort of mod to the internal grounding of my Rotel amp, with the notion that it might improve sound quality (ie. lower distortion) - perhaps soldering extra wires or something? Are there any ideas floating about that might help acheive this? This is what my amp looks like inside:

http://www3.sympatico.ca/stilyagi/rotelra820A.jpg
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Old 20th January 2004, 07:07 AM   #2
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I would not consider any significant sound improvements just by changing a few wires on that amp.
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Old 21st January 2004, 06:56 PM   #3
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Don't be sure of that. I've managed to make significant sound improvements to this amp just by barely moving the position of the parts. I'd say I added about $500 to the sound...
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Old 21st January 2004, 08:09 PM   #4
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No offence, but how on earth did you manage to move parts around in that?

Everything apart from the transformer is fixed on to a large PCB, which is fixed at the front and back by the RCA sockets and the control pots and switches.

What might be a better idea for you here seen as how this amp looks like it would take a quite a lot searching and component swapping to make much (if any) of an improvement, would be to spend a few dollars and go an order the parts to build youself a gainclone. It's dead easy and will cost less than the price of a good night out for most of the parts (if you want theree are even PCB's I could send you the layouts for to build one).
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Old 21st January 2004, 08:10 PM   #5
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Don't mess with the grounding unless you know how it works and have a schematic. This goes beyond sound quality - you have the potential of doing something that will kill you or someone else.
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Old 22nd January 2004, 02:05 AM   #6
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bigparsnip:

> No offence, but how on earth did you manage to move parts around in that?
> Everything apart from the transformer is fixed on to a large PCB, which is fixed at the front and back by the > RCA sockets and the control pots and switches.

I think you misunderstood. When I said I "moved parts" to improve the sound, I didn't mean from one location in the amp to another. I just meant "moving the part". For example, so far, I've done all the 6 emitter resistors and the 4 little black "thingies" in between them, and also the large black 3-legged "thingy" behind the lg. right cap. Its just a matter of taking a pencil (or my finger) and pushing the part -ever so slightly-, in one direction or the other (6 possible directions at the least). Usually not enough to see a difference, but just enough to feel a difference. I think the secret is knowing when to stop. After I had acheived an intensely musical sound during my second effort, I was still not 100% happy, and fooled around a bit more with one of the emitter resistors. Then I kinda lost "the magic", and couldn't really get it back, no matter which way I bent the resistor. Since nothing was working, I finally got the idea of moving it from the bottom, rather than just the top. And after moving just one of the legs a certain way, no more than a mm, the change just blew me away. It was far and away better than I had ever heard it, and now I'm afraid to do any further experimenting on the parts. But imagine what I could do if I knew how to improve the grounding...

Seriously, there is no doubt in my mind that I could do a million things to improve (or at least "change") the sound of this amp. Moving parts is not the only thing I've done to prove that to be the case. I don't know why people think you can't make a significant improvement if its not an expensive high end amp, and only low-end budget audiophile gear (thats at least 12-20 years old...). In my mind, the opposite would seem to hold true. If its not a super-fantastic amp to begin with, then that means you have a lot of room for improvement!

> What might be a better idea for you here seen as how this amp looks like it would take a quite a lot searching > and component swapping to make much (if any) of an improvement, would be to spend a few dollars and go > an order the parts to build youself a gainclone. It's dead easy and will cost less than the price of a good night > out for most of the parts (if you want theree are even PCB's I could send you the layouts for to build one).

Thanks, but I'm not quite up to the task of soldering and desoldering parts on the PCB; doing solder work on the PCB is to me a big undertaking (as you noted, it has to be unfixed at the front and back), and I'm only approaching modding the amp -delicately-; nothing too invasive. I just recently got it (for my wife's system), I'm really fond of it and think its probably much better built (if not designed as well) than anything today selling at its original price. So I don't want to mess it all up (yet).


sam9:

I was just thinking of something minor, such as adding a wire from the amp's casing to the ground screw on the electrical outlet (since the amp only has a cheap two-bladed plug). I've kinda done this before already, where I've changed the 2-prong electrical cord one of my 'practice amps' to a 3-prong industrial-type cord, using solid-core house wiring fitted to a heavy duty 3-prong plug (which btw much improved the sound and never caused any electrical problems over the course of 3 or 4 years, despite moving the amp around quite a bit). But if you think I need a schematic and good knowledge of grounding theory before I attempt to do anyting to alter the grounding system, then okay, I'll take the hint that I'm probably better off leaving that part of it alone.
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Old 22nd January 2004, 02:22 AM   #7
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Moving (i.e. bending) parts
Huh

Welcome to the world of Voodoo.
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Old 22nd January 2004, 02:27 AM   #8
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BTW:
I really wonder, where your name "fotzepolitic" comes from.
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Old 22nd January 2004, 05:30 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Cybergent
Moving (i.e. bending) parts
Huh

Welcome to the world of Voodoo.

Yeah, I know, I know... I expected that. I've been around the block, and fully realize that "techies" / engineers live with these huge mental wedges in the form of rigid doctrines developed by formal or informal "education". Which dictates that if they can't measure it, it don't exist (not that I'm saying it can't be measured, I won't even pretend to know what drives the effect. I only know for certain it causes an effect - so great, even my non-audiophile wife hears the effect of the accumulated differences). That unfortunately is why we have so many crappy sounding amplifiers on the market, that are no better with music than sound effects.

But I also know there are pioneering engineers who the more mediocre "doctrinaire engineers" scoff at. Criticising their ideas as "voodoo", because the engineers are not smart enough to understand the principles behind the effects the pioneers use (sometimes, neither are the pioneers!). So "the wedge" causes them to conclude they don't exist. Engineers like Yves Bernard Andre and Ivor Tiefenbrun have been lambasted with the "voodoo" tag by such other engineers, and when I listen to their products, they are usually sonically superior to most of the competition. So (even though I'm no engineer), I don't mind at all being in the same camp as true audio pioneers. Of course, if it weren't for mediocre engineers, who would never even think of experimenting with what they consider "voodoo" or "snake oil", we would never have acheived the thrilling "you are there" sound of home theatre systems, with their 600 sound processors and 65 speakers around the room... That's progress all right..

(The name "fotzepolitic" btw, is the title of a song. Other than that, I cant say whether it does have a particular meaning).
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Old 22nd January 2004, 06:47 AM   #10
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Im aware of the fact, that not everything can be measured.

And a 100 years ago all technologies of today would have been regarded as miracles.

But bending the leads of an emitter resistor?

Sorry, but that is nothing but voodoo to me. Well, if you bend it often enough, it will break off. That would certainly have an effect.


BTW...
Your nickname is the German word for a very naughty description of the most female part (cu..-word) combined with the word politics. Just in case you like to know....
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