Pioneer N-30 with Buffalo 3 via I2S - diyAudio
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Old 23rd May 2014, 12:32 PM   #1
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Default Pioneer N-30 with Buffalo 3 via I2S

Pioneer N- 30 with Buffalo 3 via I2S

At our house in the countryside, I have a small but eventually pretty good sounding system. It started with a Pioneer N-30 not in use anymore. I took out the original dac, and mounted a Buffalo3/IVY3 combination and an ICE125 power amplifier (I had got hold of second hand). This became thus an integrated media streamer / dac / preamp / power amp.

Everything fit well into the original Pioneer cabinet, and the sound was (almost) to live with, even if still rather thin and sharp. Initially, I had connected the B3 directly to the SPDIF inside N-30. The big difference came after I found out, through a Korean website, how I could tap the I2S signals directly into B3. What a difference in sound quality compared with SPDIF!

When I also replaced the power supplies with the smaller ones from DIYINHK, I got space for an extra 12V module - and could feed the N-30 internally with high quality 5V and 12V DC. Cleaning up the internal power made another huge step forward in sound quality!

With Neotech silver cables on all signal paths inside the cabinet, this started to sound very transparent, but also warm and organic.

This solution actually sounded so good that it was almost a disappointment to come home to my music server pc/SoTM/exau21 usb solution in town. Direct tapping of I2S obviously do very much with the sound quality, at least in this setup. Here are some pictures.

The entire N-30 from above:

Click the image to open in full size.

I2S from N-30 to B3:
The connections are as follows (counting from right) leads 9=GND 12=D1, 13=D2, 14=DCK. The channels became swapped compared to SPDIF.

Click the image to open in full size.

Powering the N-30:
To get the power to work I had to short-circuit between the lead 1 and 2 (counting from the top of the image), and otherwise I followed the instructions on the circuit board on the N-30. I soldered together the three 5V leads and the five 12V leads. And, of course, I had to cut over the leads from the original N-30 psu. The 12V transformer in the N-30 was also replaced with a toroid.

Click the image to open in full size.

Last edited by arvema; 26th May 2014 at 09:20 AM.
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