APL 3910 owners, has anyone tried APL upsampler?

I placed order today for APL 3910 and Alex offered me to install his new upsampler board too. I choose to go with it but I've asked him to have it installed as switchable option.

I wonder if anyone of you heard his upsampler?

I spoke to Alex today. He told me only a couple of people have even listened to it. I got the impression no one has yet to receive it. I will be sending mine in to have the upgrade. i can tell you if Alex says it is better yet for redbook, you can take it to the bank. The only hesitance I had was how could it be better? Once again, if Alex says there is improvement, I believe it. He has always been very honest with me.

Thanks Tom, it's probably too early to expect any feedback yet.

After reading so many positive posts on Audiogon and AA I just can't wait to get my APL-3910. The only decent player I heard in my system was Audio Aero Capitole II and it was very, very good but I think APL 3910 should sound better.
Kaaos, Your right, you will be AMAZED at the improvement over the AA. I am shipping mine back to Alex next week, uuggghhh, I hate to part with it, but I will let you know after I get it back. I have found out over time, I just do what Alex suggests, as far as digital goes. Now, if the guy just got his amps, and speakers going, maybe I could stop searching....remember, the APL really comes into it's own after 500 uugghhh hours.

I thought i remembered reading comments from Alex saying something to the effect that "upsampling does nothing" and is "strictly marketing", etc... Am i confusing him with someone else??? Sean
Sean, you're probably confusing him with me. My only points on upsampling is that the name "upsampling" is strictly a marketing term, not a technical one. From a technical standpoint it is simply "oversampling". Secondly, oversampling/upsampling by non-integer values to 96kHz or 192kHz results in a slight mathematical imprecision compared to oversampling/upsampling to 88.2kHz or 176.4kHz or other integer multiples of 44.1kHz.

BTW, Alex has chosen a 88.2kHz "upsampling"/oversampling filter for sonic reasons (2x44.1kHz). With this chip he is able to use 88.2/96/176.4/192/211kHz oversampling, but feels 88.2kHz sounds best. I'm not sure I'd be able to tell the difference...I'll trust Alex on this one though.

I guess my biggest gripe with the "upsampling" marketing that has overwhelmed the digital field for the last 4 years is that it was marketed as something new and implied (by virtue of 96/192kHz) that it in some way was related to, or equivalent to, the new DVD-A standard, but for redbook CD's. Maybe it was necessary to give people a reason to accept the superiority of a better designed digital filter? But dCS's "upsampling" chip is not the same as the cheap ones that followed. Unfortunately, way too many of us "buy in" without listening at times. Not all of us certainly, but quite a few. I couldn't even count how many threads I've read that contained sentiment like, "yeah, but it's not an upsampling player, so I'm going with brand x". For others, their ears, or the ears of trusted others, have convinced them that a particular player is to their liking, and if it's an "upsampling" player, this may give them a certain confidence that there are good technical reasons for its superiority. No problem with that, but it's not really accurate.

"Upsampling"/oversampling is not the source of the sonic superiority of some chips. This is simply digital multiplication and is about as basic as it gets. The real magic/technical superiority lies in what happens after the additional bogus sampling data is added. This is where the math and technical complexity is expressed in the chip/digital filter. The merits of any given digital filter are in how well it implements noise shifting, anti-aliasing, etc and ultimately how well it is able to facilitate the reconstruction of the original analog waveform. This is where high mathematics comes into play and IMHO what differentiates the various chips.

I'm not "against" oversampling/upsampling to 96kHz or 192kHz...just think those numbers are chosen for marketing reasons, even though there is a small loss of mathematical precision in doing so. Whether this is audible, I have no idea? I owned and loved the Audio Aero Capitole and it oversamples/upsamples to 192kHz. I think the Swiss Anagram chip that Audio Aero uses is a fantastic and technically sophisticated chip!! I also think their analog section is done well. Unfortunately, the user interface/remote was ridiculously bad, IMO...heck $50 DVD players did this much better. Damn French Company...did so many things so right and then dropped the ball on the easiest part! LOL

Does my "stance" make sense? Preaching to the Choir? Babbling like a Baffoon?

BTW, I just received my APL 3910 from Alex today. It does not have the "Upsampling" chip. First impressions right out of the box without even a warmup were positive, but certainly not earth-shattering. I still have some system setup issues to address and certainly some burn-in time should help. I'm optimistic though.
Based on a search of the archives, Alex is not a fan of non-linear conversion, often refered to as 'upsampling' ie 44.1 khz to 96 khz etc. Referring to APLs website comments he is technically ony performing linear coversion, often referred to as 'oversampling' ie 44.1 to 88.2 etc. The difference between the two methods is that non linear conversion in a binary based system like digital must by definition involve truncation of bits at some point in the conversion. Linear conversion does not involve any truncation of the original signal.

This makes sense to my brain and confirms what my ears have known for much longer. I have never liked any implementation of non-linear conversion. Players and digital remasters that upsample the redbook standard to 24/96 have rarely sounded right to my ears.

In general terms Alex's oversampling implementation doubles the sampling rate and the takes the bit rate to 24 bits.

Hope that helps

So far I have just two people who listened to the Upsampler in A-B test with the original 44.1/16 version while playing CD. For all of those who decided to go with the Upsampler but are not interested in the Digital Input receiver, I will be able to use the second PCM port of my DAC so you can alternate between the origianl and upsampled version and hear for your self. Until now, most companies were using Analog Devices AD1895/96. This chip is the one built into the DAC modules in Audio Aero too. The AD chip has a control port. The designer has just two choices - 96/24 or 192/24. The chip I am using is the latest deveolpment in the industry and NOT used by any other company on the market today. At least not for now. It is a product of many years research and is absolutely uniquie. It can perform any type of conversion up to 211/24. I am not going to tell you why, but the sonic improvement with this chip is not only because it upsamples. I find that 88.2/24 sounds best with it. Please keep in mind that the CS4398 DAC chips as used in my DAC board, unlike most 8x oversampling DACs on the market, have non-oversamplng digital filter for PCM. Then the PCM is converted to dual bitstream and then is overampled 32, 64 or 128 (user selectable). In the case with 88.2/24 oversampled PCM you get final dual bitstream rate equal to 128 oversampled DSD inside the DAC.

I'm the only one IN THE WORLD to have this new linear upsampler in a player. I got it today and that's what Alex told me today. He only received 4 chips and has 10 more on the way (hopefully). My 3910/APL only has 170 hours on it and new chip just a few hours. I'm running it balanced (I have the optional XLR's). With the remote I can switch between upsample and back to regular pcm. Believe me, it's better with the new chip. You can tell the difference immediatelly when switching back and forth.
I'm not going to go into detail at this time as the machine isn't broke in yet and I haven't spent enough time with it yet. However, at this point the difference is so obvious I feel confident in saying that the upsampler is definitely better. You WILL like it.
P.S. This is NOT an April fools joke.
Thanks for the info, Frank. You've heard both, and your opinion carries considerable weight. Lucky you to be the ONLY ONE.

To Alex

You told me 6 months ago that you perhaps would have a 230V version of your modded 3910 out soon. Since then I have send mejl to you asking about this European version but got no answer. How is things going with this project?
Hi Ulf,
I think that 220-240V version is available now. The unit I am about to receive in few weeks time is going to be 240V. I am from Melbourne - Australia.

Guys, the one thing I have learned in this hobby, is to TRUST Alex in his hearing, and upgrade path. He is Anal to the point of obsessing in excellence, sonically speaking. He is a genious, as an engineer, but SUCKS as a business man. wink wink
711smilin, what can I say, you are right; I am not a businessman, just an engineer who is passionate about audio.

I really wish that I can offer excellent customer service, but the work load is so HUGE and overwhelming that 5 am is a normal bedtime. I can not wait for the moment I can find (and afford) people who I can trust so they can help me out.

There are many who provide free "silent" support and help. I really appreciate that. Also, I would like to mention a fine gentleman and brilliant engineer from Bulgaria - Mr. Danail Genov who provides tremendous help with all new designs of APL Hi-Fi. He is expected to arrive to US soon and I really hope that this will change a lot of things for the future.

Thank you all for the support and understanding.


Alex, who luv's ya baby!!!now get back to work, and off the computer, you gots people waiting for your stuff. wink wink
Alex is on a deadline to have our APL ready for Thursday. So will you please stop bothering him? He's got work to do! I'm getting the upgrade twitches just waiting...
Boa2, I just upgraded amps too...heh heh. You just keep waiting for the apl aawww.
Cary 211 anniversary amps? When you open a second-hand audio store, I'll be first in line, buddy!
I am still gonna get the GT-200's and compare, yes I am NUTZ
You don't need Alex's mods, Steve, because you ARE the upsampler.
No, I am NUTZ!!
I see that a company called Hot Rod Audio Mods is offering an APL clock package for the 3910. Can any of you speak to what relation Hot Rod has to APL? They say that just replacing the 3910's clock with the APL clock is the biggest improvement that can be made to the 3910. Can anyone speak to this. Thanks,

Hot Rod is a division of Verastarr, as far as I understand. You might ask Mike (www.verastarr.com) and/or Alex (www.aplhifi.com) for the scoop.
Pardales, I am sure that Mike from Hot Rod Audio Mods can give a better explanation of why he decided on using my Master Clock.

"They say that just replacing the 3910's clock with the APL clock is the biggest improvement that can be made to the 3910. Can anyone speak to this"

What this means (and Mike can confirm it) is that a Denon 3910 upgraded with fast Op Amp modules, Black Gates, Harris Diodes, Super Clock 3 and other "exotic" parts can not hold a candle to a stock Denon 3910 with JUST my Master Clock installed.

Of course, Hot Rod Audio Mods are friends to APL Hi-Fi and our products are not in any competition.

Thank you, Alex. That is what I wanted to know.
My wife and I apparently have only the second unit with the Upsampler. We've had the player for just a day--not much time, clearly--but thus far we prefer it with the Upsampler 'off' more than we do 'on'.

What we've noticed so far:
Upsampler ON:
The music sounds more blended
Softer edges between the instruments
Midrange feels slightly more airy

Upsampler OFF:
Better clarity
Images clearly focused
Distinct separation of instruments

I know that the choice between the two will be a personal one, and we could certainly feel differently as the player breaks in. Depends on the specific song as well as to whether or not we prefer one effect or the other. I will say that right out of the box, the player itself is ridiculously good. I know that's an odd way to put it, but those are the best words I can find for something that plays this well.
Boa2, thanks for the impressions of the upsampler. Your descriptions match what I would expect. Obviously, you ordered yours with the switchable feature, which eliminates the capability to use the player as a DAC, correct?

Also, I don't recall if you still have a preamp, but I'm wondering if you've tried the APL through your preamp? I've done it both ways at least twice, and each time I prefer running the APL through my First Sound. There's not even a question to me. The First Sound brings the music to life.
Hey Grant,
I believe that the Upsampler does eliminate the DAC capability of the player.
We are running our player direct. I've not heard the First Sound--only heard great things about them. At this point, I have no desire to add a preamp, as the music really sounds great.
I look forward to hearing your system, hopefully later this month.
Just got my APL 3910 with upsampler board and so far, out of the box I prefer the upsampler on. It gives the musical presentation more "presence" at this point - as the player breaks in, it will be interesting to see if and or how the differences sort themselves out.

Also, watched a DVD tonite and the upsampler makes a pretty big difference on the clarity of the voices - greater feeling of the characters being right there in the room with you.

Hope this helps.
It should be said that Fplanner2000 has the improved version of the upsampler. My comments are based on the previous version, which I'm having upgraded in a week or so.
Sorry if that was vague. I have the 16-bit (data word) upsampler, and if Fplanner2000 just received his player, he would have the 24-bit, which is said to be much improved.
Boa2, you have 24 bit version, but yours upsamples from 44.1 to 88.2 which results in "softer" sound. Fplanner2000 has it with the new configuration which sounds much better and just expands the data word to 24 bit while keeping the sample rate the same - 44.1

Crimeny, what time is it, and what version of the APL Denon 3910 do we have?

1:20pm 5/13/05. Latest version just out of the Easy Bake Oven...

Did someone say Friday the 13th?

Are you trying to tell me what I have in MY machine? What nerve!

Sorry I mispoke. I said I was non-techno.
Tvad, the Upsampler configuration was shortly updated after first released. Just two cusotmers have it the "wrong" way. I personally think that even with the fisrt version, it is still a benefit and some would enjoy the sound.

I thought it is good to have a digital player that can be constantly improved instead of having to buy a new machine every couple of years. I guess this takes away the excitement from the sales deals and from loosing money...:-)

No doubt, Mr. Mad Scientist...er, Alex. :)