Xonar ST/STX mods...

Coris

Member
Paid Member
2009-05-29 5:35 pm
Norway
Hi coris
I believe you about astounding results on modding the Essence ST/STX because it's my same experience.
Here you'll find two links of my mod ( in Italian, I'm sorry) for a simple step and an extreme one
Asus Xonar ESSENCE ST/STX Parte prima: | Forum -X- NextHardware
Asus Xonar ESSENCE ST/STX Parte Seconda: l'upgrade estremo | Forum -X- NextHardware
I think with google translate could be easy to read

Thanks for the links. It is a little bit difficult to read the translation (not so accurate with Google translate), but one can get an impression about. For my self is not so much to help, because I have already done it. But could be useful for the new ones....

My pictures about those mods will come, but I think not really at once... Those pictures need a little work around for be actually useful in this respect. As my time will permit, I will start to work on this...

For those who want to try change the oscillator: I will suggest to use two solder irons in the same time on both solder points of the old standard oscillator. But for a good mod in this area, one have to remove too the rest of the components involve in this stage. It is about the two capacitors to GND an the resistor between. I`m not so sure if that the traces will remain intact after de-soldering of those components. So the best solution is to lift up the pin of the processor for solder the output pin of the new oscillator directly to that lifted pin. If one decide to chose to lift up that pin, then is no need to remove all the adjacent component for the old oscillator. As a tool for do it this operation, one can use an needle with a bended peak. Lift up that pin in one movement, and let it so afterwords. If you will try to bend that pin one more time, or to much in opposite direction, it is very possible that the pin will broke and everything is definitively lost.
This is a very delicate operation, but the result is immediate and a high positive one.

My complete description of this operation and something else one can find here (Con): Xonar harware mods brainbit | Unified Xonar Drivers
 

Kuze

Member
2009-12-16 12:50 am

Coris

Member
Paid Member
2009-05-29 5:35 pm
Norway
I used a needle instead, wedge a needle under the corner of whichever side you're about to de-solder and while de-soldering gently push upwards with the needle... real breeze.

Keep up the good work, looking forward to seeing your guides.

-Alpha

Yes, is another good method... They are few ways to do the work... In the case of that oscillator is not any problem if the traces will be destroyed...
 

Kuze

Member
2009-12-16 12:50 am
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Coris

Member
Paid Member
2009-05-29 5:35 pm
Norway
About to replace the RCA's, they started shorting out so just decided to replace them with some higher quality and more durable ones, might have to do some drilling to widened the ports a tad bit. They're CNC sliver plated got them for $10.
eBay - New & used electronics, cars, apparel, collectibles, sporting goods & more at low prices

[IMGDEAD]http://img62.imageshack.us/img62/9866/img0924hv.jpg[/IMGDEAD]

Hi Kuze

I can see in your picture that you have connected the oscillator power to the 12v rail of the card. That ferite bead you have connected it should have approx 10 - 11v on that place. This it could be quite wrong... I do not know how this can work for you... That oscillator it have to be feed it at 5v DC power... You should use the output of the 7805 regulator which is right beside the connection point you have used (that ferrite bead).
Else I`ve just removed any RCA connector from that place and soldered 10cm silver wires with BNC connector/plug on the end. Soldered directliy on the board output points. I`m satisfy with this work around... Is not so much place on that braket for a good mounting quality RCA connectors... And the body of the RCA connectors have to be isolated from that breaket...
 

Coris

Member
Paid Member
2009-05-29 5:35 pm
Norway
Referring to your last post and mine previous.
It is possible that I did not seen very well in your picture that place you connected the oscillator power pin to. My card is an STX, so is very possible that the arrangement of the components are different... But anyway, for be more clear in my explanation, I will post a picture here. Again, is about Xonar STX.
 

Kuze

Member
2009-12-16 12:50 am
Referring to your last post and mine previous.
It is possible that I did not seen very well in your picture that place you connected the oscillator power pin to. My card is an STX, so is very possible that the arrangement of the components are different... But anyway, for be more clear in my explanation, I will post a picture here. Again, is about Xonar STX.

Ok thanks, seen it done this way in another thread and everything seems just fine to me, however now you mention it i should double check with a multimeter just to make sure.

Also i don't plan on replacing any caps for now... not until i get a good soldering station, in your illustration you show some caps should be removed, should they be removed and be replaced or just removed completely?
Will it make a difference even though all the other caps are stock?

[IMGHTTPDEAD]http://img585.imageshack.us/img585/3137/photo257b.jpg[/IMGHTTPDEAD]
 

Coris

Member
Paid Member
2009-05-29 5:35 pm
Norway
Ok thanks, seen it done this way in another thread and everything seems just fine to me, however now you mention it i should double check with a multimeter just to make sure.

Also i don't plan on replacing any caps for now... not until i get a good soldering station, in your illustration you show some caps should be removed, should they be removed and be replaced or just removed completely?
Will it make a difference even though all the other caps are stock?

[IMGHTTPDEAD]http://img585.imageshack.us/img585/3137/photo257b.jpg[/IMGHTTPDEAD]

The caps should be replaced! Will be a little problem to just remove all the caps from the board... They have to be there, but replaced with something better.
I will suggest you to first disconnect the oscillator power from that point, measure to ensure it is 5 V in that place and then solder back the oscillator. Else, if is there more than 5 v that Vanguard can be destroyed.
It is the best to do the mods one by one... You can chose the order, but I think this is better, than change all at once...
This picture you find it show a little of my solution about the RCA output. The caps you see as removed on that picture are soldered on the back side of the board.... But they still be there in place.
You welcome to ask any time before you will want to go forward to another mod. Will take the caps mod later when you will decide to do it.
 

Kuze

Member
2009-12-16 12:50 am
I will suggest you to first disconnect the oscillator power from that point, measure to ensure it is 5 V in that place and then solder back the oscillator. Else, if is there more than 5 v that Vanguard can be destroyed.

Let me clarify... It has been working for over a month with no problems soldered at the point shown in my picture, but just to be safe i moved it to the 5v you suggested and still works fine.

This is where i saw it done using that method: http://www.head-fi.org/t/421890/the-xonar-essence-stx-q-a-tweaking-impressions-thread/1890

As for caps what do you recommend apart from ceramics?
 
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Hi Con, I have a bunch of questions to ask you as it seems as though you're the person to ask about this :D

Anyways here they are:
1. What model/size ferrite bead should be used next to the oscillator and how/where should it be mounted?
2. What type of glue should be used on the oscillator and approximately how much?
3. What wire should I use between the oscillator? Should it be insulated
4. What kind of solder should be used? I'm under the impression that 0.7mm solder is good for electronics but I'm unsure about everything else :p
5. What brand caps did you use? I have no idea which to chose from lol

Thank you very much in advance :)
 
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Coris

Member
Paid Member
2009-05-29 5:35 pm
Norway
I posted up my (very much more modest) mods to ST on Head-Fi here, if anyone's feeling less brave than Coris:

HELP! Need opinions for upgrading to Benchmark DAC1 HELP!

Hi
You did it very right at this "level" of mod! LM6172 is that I used my self with best result. Maybe you will try this op amp on the output/final stage too... If you will succeed to remove the sockets and solder the op amps directly on board, will much better. The easiest way to remove the socket is to destroy it (the plastic body). Cut carefully out all, pin by pin and care for do not touch the traces on the board, and have in good shape the rest of the sockets pins soldered in to the board. You will use those as soldering points for the new op amps. Do not try to de-solder on the board it self. The traces get destroyed at once!
Is very right that the feedback cap have to be quite few pF. The original feedback caps on the board are film caps. They do not like so much to be soldered and just dies when de-soldering it. The plastic film do not tolerate hot thing around...
With this mod done, I just suggest you to remove all the components just before the RCA connectors (see picture on few previous posts), and put only there, between the op amp output pin and the RCA centre, an non inductive (SMD) 10 ohm resistor, specially if you will have an LM6172 on the final stage. The SMD components is better to be soldered on the board, on the traces. They do not like at all any mechanical stress.
Then you can start to replace the original caps on the board (analogue stage first).
 
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