my hacked-up Sony DVP-NS500V SACD player

i'm currently hacking up my Sony NS500V DVD/SACD player. here is a picture:

http://www.dorkus.org/junk/sony.jpg

i haven't really changed anything yet but i wanted to get the thing in an open-chassis, top-load configuration so i can play around with it more easily. i'm trying to decide if it is worthwhile rebuilding the whole thing - new chassis, analog boards, power supplies, etc. etc. at the moment i'm inclined to plunge head-first into project... i think the sound of this sub-$200 unit is quite promising.

believe it or not, i think it sounds quite a bit different when ripped apart like this; a little smoother and warmer, with richer bass and better dynamics. it might be from removing the flimsy tray assembly completely and fixed-mounting the transport block onto a piece of wood, or maybe removing the steel top panel. i bolted the transport down to the wood with 3 aluminum PCB spacers and 6-32 screws; the wood is held in place by two screws through the back panel and a plastic cable-tie in the front pulling up on the wood with a rubber eraser as a spacer.
 
it is going to go again soon...

hi jam,

i had a hiatus from all my hobbies (audio or otherwise) due to a project at work, but i'm getting everything going again now. i ordered the rest of my parts from digikey and they should arrive today or tomorrow. i'm going to build the power supply and the borbely SE circuit first, hopefully by the weekend. we'll see how that sounds.

cheers,
marc
 
dorkus said:
i'm currently hacking up my Sony NS500V DVD/SACD player.

believe it or not, i think it sounds quite a bit different when ripped apart like this; a little smoother and warmer, with richer bass and better dynamics.

The transport will sound better when out of chassiss. It's like Sumiko Blue Point cartriges, the naked one sounds better.;)
That's why I'm also building my transport without chassis.
 
Re: Re: my hacked-up Sony DVP-NS500V SACD player

HPotter said:

The transport will sound better when out of chassiss. It's like Sumiko Blue Point cartriges, the naked one sounds better.;)
That's why I'm also building my transport without chassis.
what about ambient light interfering with the laser pickup? particularly since DVD/SACD wavelengths are in the visible spectrum (red). i think the transport may just sound a little better at night when there isn't so much light shining down on it, though it's hard to tell (there are other factors, such as less ambient noise and cleaner AC power late at night). as well as induced vibrations due to the lack of acoustic isolation. also, the laser servo is quite noisy, so i am going to need to put it in a sealed enclosure of some sort to make the machine quiet again. i'm thinking of making a big MDF platform for the unit, then build a metal/MDF enclosure with copper plating. the original tray mechanism will be converted to a sliding cover for the transport.

dorkus
 
i checked out your CD PRO project HPotter. very, very nice.
i would like to do a full rebuild of my cheap Sony DVD/SACD but i'm not sure if it's worthwhile. i actually would rather mod a audio-only Sony player so i don't have unnecessary video circuits, but the only single-disc Sony SACD is the 777 ($3000). i think the Sony transports are pretty good, they track well and seem reliable. i think the 6-channel AKM DAC IC used in this player has great potential, and i'd actually like to use 6 of them, one for each channel of SACD... i'd parallel all 6 DACs per chip into one channel. it has differential outputs as well. i would probably feed a pair of Borbely complementary buffers per channel, or if i'm lazy maybe an AD825 with a Borbely buffer for summing (single-ended output). but i think i'll wait and see if i can find a more suitable player to mod before going to the point-of-no-return with this unit.
 
Full rebuilt would be waste of time, better work on your preamp.;)
I've seen Sony SACD 777 at $2000 but it's still expensive and to do it my way I would have to change a lot there as well. I also like to built my own chassis. So I opted for CD PRO wich cost me $300 and considering that most of my parts and materials is surplus or free I think it is a good deal. I'm not using SACDs anyway.
You might check with http://www.tweakaudio.com/. Rick is pretty nice guy and he started modifying SACDs. Maybe he would spare some advice on your player.
 
Re: Re: Re: my hacked-up Sony DVP-NS500V SACD player

dorkus said:

what about ambient light interfering with the laser pickup? particularly since DVD/SACD wavelengths are in the visible spectrum (red). i think the transport may just sound a little better at night when there isn't so much light shining down on it, though it's hard to tell (there are other factors, such as less ambient noise and cleaner AC power late at night). as well as induced vibrations due to the lack of acoustic isolation. also, the laser servo is quite noisy, so i am going to need to put it in a sealed enclosure of some sort to make the machine quiet again. i'm thinking of making a big MDF platform for the unit, then build a metal/MDF enclosure with copper plating. the original tray mechanism will be converted to a sliding cover for the transport.

dorkus

Try putting it in a bread box, make sure you get the box
that was made for nut bread. if you have the time check this out
http://www.cirrus.com/pubs/cdb4396-1B1.pdf?DocumentID=470
 
tubesguy said:
I take it you're not married, huh? ;) - Pat
dorkus said:
no, but my girlfriend actually thought it was sorta cool. :p

Girlfriends only pretend to think it's cool. Wives don't pretend.
Save the case for when you get married. You can put it back on during your bachelor party. My bachelor party won't be strippers and drinking. It will 12 guys sitting on the floor painting flowers on all my speakers!!! :D
 
DVD/SACD

dorkus

A friend was told me that Sonic Frontiers had some CD chassis
for sale. I have preamp and a DAC in their chassis I bought from a several years ago, their are heavy duty. They were only about $45 each, maybe that would be good way to prototype your SACD player. Let me know if you interested and I'll get you their number. Just kidding about the bread box, I've done similar thing before also.
 
Another DVP-NS500V hacker...

...for 180 bucks, I thought why not see what all this SACD fuss is about... so I got myself the NS500V yesterday after work.

I've only had one evening to tear it apart and look at everything, as well as do some listening and comparison with my "stock" Rotel RCD-951 HDCD player (via home-built preamp and HD600 headphones). For comparison purposes, I bought the SACD version of Dave Brubeck's "Time Out" to compliment the HDCD version I already own. I'll be doing a more thorough comparison tonight, but it is interesting to hear how a standard CD with HDCD compares to the two-channel SACD mixes...

Initially, I'm a bit disappointed, as I was expecting a greater difference in sound quality with SACD. The difference is there, but it's subtle, and the Rotel actually sounded better in certain respects. Of course, the Sony's analogue circuitry is nowhere near the quality of the Rotel's, so I expect that once I've had a chance to do some upgrades to the NS500, the differences will become more pronounced. For now, I'll pass judgement until I've had a chance to listen more and make some performance improvements to the Sony.

As far as the internals of the NS500 go, here's a short list of some things I noticed, and am probably going to change:

1. output muting transistors: to be removed of course!

2. 47uF electrolytic output coupling capacitors: ditto. (actually, I'm just going to short them rather than completely remove them... easy to do without even removing the board from the player).

3. 4558 dual opamps: to be replaced with OPA2134 or OPA2604, perhaps with upgraded power supply decoupling caps if I can fit them under the chassis lid.

So those items are first. Then, there are some ancillary items that I will look into and investigate:

1. replacing crystal with a good oscillator.

2. tapping into SACD data streams and adding a NPC SM5816 DSD-to-PCM converter so I can output 24/96 data to an external DSP / DAC.

Anyway, one other nice thing about the NS500: full DTS decode! I guess I'll also have to look into tapping into the multi-channel PCM data streams too.

With respect to the postings about the sound of a loader in an open chassis vs. closed chassis, I think you'll probably get fewer data errors in a closed chassis which is blocking external light. I recall an article somewhere in which the author was testing open-top or clear-top CD players by firing a camera flash above the disc and seeing if it tripped up the playback! Obviously an extreme example, but it does show that external light can affect the reliability of data transfers from the disc. I imagine certain light sources like flourescent or quartz will cause more trouble than regular incadescent bulbs...

I can't really imagine the mechanical differences between an open and closed chassis making much if any difference to the sound (of the loader specifically, ignoring the effect on other circuitry), other than data errors resulting from excess light spilling in. In any case, I really prefer to have a closed chassis to keep dust out of the player and also to try and isolate the noise of the spinning disc and laser head seeking. I find this noise can be extremely irritating during quiet passages of music. This is one area where the Sony seems to be a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, the loader is generally quite quiet, especially when playing ordinary CDs. But, when playing SACDs, the loader makes a persistent ticking sound, presumably as the laser head seeks and reads successive chunks of data off the disc. I'm probably going to apply some acoustic damping (maybe some leftover dynamat) to the inside of the NS500 chassis, and some foam seals around the loader door. Hopefully this will make the player nearly silent, which would be a very welcome improvement in my sound system!

Anyway, I'll keep you all posted as I make the mods and continue testing...
 
chad,

a few comments...

- you will need to give the sony at least a couple hundred hours of burn-in before getting critical (i kid you not). its sound improved vastly after the first 3 months of use and only after about 7 months do i feel like it's settled down.

- be careful removing the output muting transistors, you may get some really nasty (and potentially speaker-damaging) pops

- i have measured some DC offset from the output stage which is not exactly negligible (tens of millivolts) so you may not want to simply short out the bypass caps. i would try Black Gates.

- i too may try OPA2604 on the output stage, but i'm close to deciding it's a waste of time. the #1 limiting factor in this player is the awful switching power supply, which has a significant amount of noise on it (i've looked at it on a 'scope). you can't just add decoupling caps either as doing so can cause the supply to stop working altogether - someone tried it and apparently the crappy regulator just konked out.

- repacing the crystal is also sort of a waste of time, because it is followed by a very messy clock-divider circuit anyway.

- why would you want to convert the DSD stream to PCM? that sort of kills a lot of the benefits of using SACD in the first place. DSD is best left DSD, and a converter might make it sound downright terrible - not just the change of format but the timing and jitter issues as well.

my end conclusion - this player has a lot of promise, but trying to modify it is difficult and probably not worthwhile. i might still do a rebuild anyway, just for fun, but if you want to get real improvements expect to build a completely new power supply and analog stage, which probably necessitates a new or greatly modified chassis. also, light interference is an issue with the pickup but it is not as bad as i thought it would be and having the transport mounted firmly on a fixed block does seem to improve the sound quite a bit. there is great benefit to improving the structural rigidity of the transport in general.

you are right, the pickup tends to be very noisy on SACDs. with the top off, it is almost unbearable.

dorkus
 
SACD Modifications

I have heard and seen big improvements from upgrading the clock in CD's, and DVD's. The clock circuit should be super stable and there should be no ringing on the rising or falling edges and the signal should be very low in jitter. It is possible to look at the clock on a scope and not see the jitter, however the ringing is obvious.

Power Supply Modifications: I have found that paralleling Vishay 550D, low ESR Tantalums cap's across the power rails bead will really lower the power supply switching noise . Also ferrite help some but they have to be low frequency beads. Also, it's is difficult to get inductor to work in correctly because of the size, and problems they cause generating ripple or impeding current during music transient . To use a inductor circuit successfully you have to a dual T/ pie circuit to get back what you lost.

Do this and you can forget having to change the regulators. Of course, these capacitors or a specialty idem, you'll have to order them through a manufactories rep. http://www.vishay.com/document/40017/40017.pdf part spec's

As for DC offset problem that start at the VI amp. In my DAC, I use a low noise and offset OP27 "A" grade but the it's not that fast. The part only slew's at 2.3Vusec. The output is a BUF03 "A" grade low offset and it only works at unity gain, it's great for driving longer cables and 600ohm loads. These opamps were made by PMI now Analog Devices.

I have heard and seen big improvements from upgrading the clock in CD's, and DVD's. The clock circuit should be super stable and there should be no ringing on the rising or falling edges and the signal should be very low in jitter. It is possible to look at the clock on a scope and not see the jitter, however the ringing is obvious.

Power Supply Modifications: I have found that paralleling Vishay 550D, low ESR Tantalums cap's across the power rails bead will really lower the power supply switching noise . Also ferrite help some but they have to be low frequency beads. Also, it's is difficult to get inductor to work in correctly because of the size, and problems they cause generating ripple or impeding current during music transient . To use a inductor circuit successfully you have to a dual T/ pie circuit to get back what you lost.

Do this and you can forget having to change the regulators. Of course, these capacitors or a specialty idem, you'll have to order them through a manufactories rep. http://www.vishay.com/document/40017/40017.pdf part spec's

As for DC offset problem that start at the VI amp. In my DAC, I use a low noise and offset OP27 "A" grade but the it's not that fast. The part only slew's at 2.3Vusec. The output is a BUF03 "A" grade low offset and it only works at unity gain, it's great for driving longer cables and 600ohm loads. These opamps were made by PMI now Analog Devices.