DIYPARADISE CD63 based "music centre"

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A year or so ago, I was reading an article about a cheap NOS DAC on the TNT website. At the end the author Geoff Husband stated that this DAC was a good candidate for his T-System, a high performance low budget system based around a T-amp for under 400 Euros.

This got me thinking. I had been aware of Yeo's DIYPARADISE.COM products, and I thought that I could better this T-System and put it all in one case with one power lead and one on/off switch, and have some fun to boot.

I did alot of research into components (diy modules mainly) and wracked by brain about which CD/DVD player to chop up. There were so many options, and eventually I gave up and went for the ubiquitous Marantz CD63. There is plenty of back-up on several forums for this machine, and I thought that it would be simpler to improve for this reason.

So I purchased an untidy scratched unit for £25 and set off. I had read many good reports on the Monica NOS DAC so one of these kits was purchased too. At the same time I bought a Charlize amp, as it was also well regarded on this forum and others. To complete my system, I would need a volume control and/or a pre-amp. For simplicity and purity, I decided to go passive, and I splashed out on a 25K Stepped attenuator from DIY Fidelity, which uses Vishay/Dale military grade resistors. Not the cheapest solution, bit I couldn't resist.

I laid these out on a test board and used a Meanwell 3.2A 12V SMPS as a power supply. The quality of the diyparadise units was excellent and they produced an excellent sound, however the output from the Monica2 DAC was low and consequently sound levels were not high. I put my Musical Fidelity Pre in the siganl path and wow. The Charlize is certainly capable of good volume.

At this time I had been following a thread on the diyparadise forum about Rudolf Broertjes' SS I/V Gain Stage, which soon became available on Yeo's website. I thought that this should go some way to sort my problem out so I purchased on of these. Oh and a USB to SPDIF converter (as I was having a delivery from Malaysia.

Nearly there. The SS I/V stage was reported to be even better at higher voltage (18v or 24v), so I would need something with a higher voltage than the Meanwell smps to supply it. I had a KEYENCE KV-U3 24v smps with three seperate outputs already, so I put this into play. I would need to drop the voltages down to 12v for Monica, and 18v for the SS I/V stage. I was lucky enough to purchase an AUDIOCOM INVISUS super regulator
and a AUDIOCOM Q-POWER super regulator, cheaply off ebay. The
INVISUS is to supply Monica at 12v, and the Q-POWER is to supply the SS I/V stage at 18v.

Apart from a couple of selector switches and various connectors that was it.

I built a wooden housing out of five pieces of 24mm ply laminated together. This allowed me to have a one piece shell, which effectively had been carved out to accomomdate the electronics (I cut the centres of the sheets out to specific shapes prior to laminating. A bit of routering afterward and job done. The wood was stained, selaed with sanding sealer sanded again and finally polished with couloured wax polish. I had a piece of 12mm toughened glass made to act as a lid, allowing the guts to be viewed.

Here are some photos.

Hopefully this will lead to discussions on how to improve this further. This is my first project of this kind.

There are some matching speakers on their way MT-TL using Fostex FE-127e...

So to recap:

The "music centre" consists of a Marantz CD63 rehoused into a wood and glass case.

The digital output goes to a DIYPARADISE Monica 2 NOS DAC module, which is powered by the KEYENCE 24v smps via an AUDIOCOM INVISUS 12V super regulator.

The output from Monica goes to the DIYPARADISE Rudolf Broertjes' SS I/V Gain Stage. This is again powered by the KEYENCE 24v smps but this time via the 18V Q-POWER super regulator.

The output from the gain stage goes to the DIY FIDELITY 25K stepped attenuator.

From the attenuator the signal is amplified by a DIYPARADISE Charlize tripath amp. This is powered at 13.8V from a 3.2A Meanwell smps.

To make things fun, I added a selector before the DAC so that I can swap the inputs between the CD63, a DIYPARADISE USB coverter and an alternative spdif source.

In the spirit of things, I also put a selector switch before the attenuator so that I can switch between the DAC, the normal outputs from the CD63, and an alternative RCA source.
Actually for a stepped attenuator, it is dirt cheap.

Yes, I agree.

I paid AUS$50 plus another 25, because I didn't trust myself to build it. Then there is postage from Oz too.

It sounds fine. I can't say great, because I have not compared it to an APLS say. Also, my diyaudio fullrange reference project MT-TL monopoles are not completed yet. I have only tried my system with large inefficient floorstanders so far. Impressive nonetheless.

I am not entireley sure that the 25K Ohm version was the way to go. I can always try adding resistors in series or parallel to alter it.
Like it!
That looks great!
I'd love to rehouse my CD player, but I'd be so concerned about accurately aligning the CD tray with the hole in the front panel so it doesn't foul. Was that part an easy job? I still can't think how it could be anything but difficult (I could imagine myself getting it right eventually on the 8th attempt, with the 7 other front panels thrown in the bin).

Did you ever consider removing the black plastic front to the drawer (it should slide or click off) and fit a bespoke wooden equivalent, to match the rest of the unit?
Absolutely brilliant!

Well done.
Hi Dublin,

That's a beautiful piece of work! I like it.

Thought I might mention that the Tripath amp should have at least a small heat sink to keep it running reliably. I'm not sure which amp you are using (maybe 2021 from the look of it?), but it's always more reliable to keep it cooler, especially if the box gets closed and you run it at high volume on a hot summer day (you have those in the UK, don't you? Global warming & all)javascript:smilie(':cool:').
Hi philpoole

The chassis is made by sticking sheets of ply together (laminating). Providing that here is a join where the drawer needs to be, it is quite simple to get right with a router. You simply take a slice out of the bottom of one sheet, and the top of the other. After the glueing, the sides of the cuts can be filed by hand so that they line up nicely.

I am sorry that I did not take photos of this laminating process in order to demonstrate it better. I am just about to do some more for the speakers. So I will document that.

I am aware that the black plastic front of the CD drawer clicks off. It gives the unit an undesirable 80's feel. I could spray it matt silver very simply, but then the On/Off swith would be the only black component left. What do you think? I had thought of making a front out of aluminium, but had decided that it would be hard to achieve a tidy result.
Routers are great aren't they?
I conveniently convinced my wife that I needed to get one to do the kitchen worktops, while plotting to use it to flush and bevel edges of DAC enclosures and (one day) speaker cabinets ;).
Maybe I should consider doing this to my CD940 one day? It looks very good.

wrt the drawer front, could you not veneer it or something to match the wooden enclosure? Or better still, a wooden front?

I like wooden enclosures. They're very heavy and don't ring at all. Excellent job!

Hi dublin,

No doubt you can get away without a heat sink if the ambient is cool enough and the speakers are 8 Ohms. But it's always a good idea to keep your IC's cool even so. For every 10 degree rise, you cut the expected lifetime in half. For the cost of a little piece of metal, why not? Especially since they're not making 2020's any more.

FYI, it is possible to overheat these amps if you drive 4 Ohm speakers at high volumes. See the TA2020 datasheet for details. (
Hi dublin,

I like your design. I am also use monica and rbroer ss iv too. Wooden chassis is fine and want to try to use it too. But have you ever consider to use marble as your chassis? I have try to rehousing my cdp and the sound better than before.

As its characteristics marble could absorp the heat easily and it heavy too. The mechanic vibration maybe less important than electronic jitter source but heavy housing could absorb mechanic virbation and give better performance. IMHO.
OK Frammis, I will add a heatsink. Better safe than sorry.

ims: I did not look into using marble for many reasons, largely simplicity. I should think that the main advantage of marble is that it is heavy, and the extra mass reduces mechanical movement.

My chassis is fairly heavy too. About 15kg inc the glass. I have placed it upon Sorbothane Hemispheres to reduce vibrations further. This works very well.

The appeal of using plywood laminated in this way is that the chassis appears to be made from one piece of plywood as the joins are invisible and blend into the plywood layers.

I will post some photos of how this is done when I complete my matching speakers..
Hi Dublin78!

Congratulations on your design!
Truly Great Work!!

I'm looking forward to your follow up posts and pictures... kindly share us with your listening experience

Kind regards,

PS: Have you consider to try out Monica 3 in your 'DIYParadise' music centre?

First, I want to commend you on how awesome that looks. You have done almost exactly what I am preparing to do, and your success gives me some hope that I will be able to accomplish this.

My suggestions:

1. Your signal paths seem fairly long. I understand in this case that some length is required, but you could easily mount your attenuator and switches further back in the chassis with extension rods and keep that length to a minimum.

2. The knobs - This is the part of my project that is going to drive me nuts. I don't like to be able to see any space behind the knob and in front of the case... I would prefer to see them sunk into the front of the chassis a bit. I am currently using black matte AudioNote knobs on my charlize amp, and I am trying to design a multi-layer front panel from plexiglass to inset the knobs just a bit.

Other than that, I agree with the coment by philpoole to replace the black plastic cd tray with a wooden one... but maintaining the look you got with the rest of the casing may be a bit tough. I personally would go with a big fat piece of brushed aluminum in place of it... something to the order of 6 to 7mm thick. I think the contrast would be nice, and it would match the knobs you've chosen.
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