Black Gate Cap upgrade on Museatex Bitstream DAC

I'm gettin my DAC back later this week from Johm, it had been built from the ground up 12months ago, but it was just this week the Black Gate caps have been put in. I'm not getting overly excited about it, I'll be suprised if I hear a big jump, but I am anxious if anybody out there has had it done and what the results were?
I had my Museatex Bidat DAC upgraded by John Wright, a former associate of the Museatex founder Ed Meitner. Most of the work was done on the analog end of the DAC, and it was a big improvement. I believe he put in black gate caps, but I can't recall exactly.

Anyone with Museatex equip should visit the website and see what upgrades are available directly from the source. Highly recommended.
Ubglub, I know John personally, and own a modified Museatex Transport, he already built the DAC with upgrades last year, but a cap went, I sent it back to him and he put in Black Gate caps I was curious if anybody heard a difference just from the blackgate cap upgrades
Black Gates are a waste of money. If you're going to upgrade use Mundorfs or V-Caps. Both are clearly superior to Black Gates and Auricaps for that matter.
"Black Gates are a waste of money."

Careful with this advice. There are lots of different Black Gates and lots of different applications. They are certainly not the best at signal coupling, but for LF power decoupling, they are simply the best on the market, assuming you choose the right types and values and install them in the right places.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
John already put them in my DAC, he did it as a favour because one of the orginal were faulty, not because I asked for better caps. I was just curious if they made a difference. I guess I'll find out when I get it and have time to burn it in.
"Ubglub, I know John personally, and own a modified Museatex Transport, he already built the DAC with upgrades last year, but a cap went, I sent it back to him and he put in Black Gate caps I was curious if anybody heard a difference just from the blackgate cap upgrades"

Lush, thanks for clarifying. I didn't know who "John" was in your first post. I also didn't realize he is building new Bitstream DACs from the ground up. After the break-in period let us know if your new BG cap makes an audible difference.
A word of caution. The dac is unlistenable for two weeks after the new caps are put in. I would advise against even listening to it until after this point. After that, you'll have one of the finest dacs out there.
Hi Guys,

I bought a Bitstream dac updated to 2005 Data II specs w/ Black Gates and extra power supply mods a few months ago. I actually bought it off another A'Goner, Illia. I am extremely impressed by this dac - it almost analog sounding, in a good way - smooth, natural, detailed. It really closes a lot of the gap between CD & my vinyl rig. I've just got around to trying different Toslink and digital coax cables.

I also have a Melior/Museatex/Meitner CD-D transport that I just picked up. I sent Jon the serial number ,#89, and he mentioned that it was a very old unit. Although, it works flawlessly (for now).

The big question is if it is worth having it upgraded to the C-Lock T Anti-Jitter mod for $250?
Hey Darkmoebius, I actually bought John's personal transport off of him with all upgrades done to it. I can't comment on wheather the C-Lock upgrade makes a difference but I can recommened using a Moray James digital cable with the Meitner gear. Moray and John are good friends, and both use eachothers products to voice cables/mod's done. Ask John about the Moray James cables, they are quite brilliant with that gear.
Hi Lush,

That's great you his transport, you know it's in great shape. I kind of took a big risk with mine since John said they can't be fixed if anything goes wrong. So far, so good, though.

I'd love to have a Moray cable, but that $350 is a little out of my range right now. I still need to get a good pro amp for my passive subs and build some sound treatments. Though, I hear it is killer.

I'm hoping to find something affordable in the less than $125 that can get me by for a while until I can make the big step up. The Stereovox HDXV is doing pretty good right now. So are some Toslinks.
I can second Lush's comment about Moray James' digital cable between the Meitner transport and DAC. It was like night and day. I couldn't really hear the complete benefit of the DAC+upgrades until I got the cable.
Aaarrgh, you guys are killing me!

I really do need to check out one of his cables. I wonder if he's got some type of 2 week trial program?
email me for contact info for Moray James.
Lush, what do you think of the performance if the modified dac and have you tried diferent digital cables. Phil Brady.
Yeah Lush, inquiring minds want to know.

I finally picked up a sed Moray James digital cable and it lives up to it's reputation. So far, the bst of any cable I've tried - coax or Toslink.

Any news on the upgrade?
We'll its been quite some time now. The black gate upgrades did make a difference. But it was hard to judge just how much. I had the DAC sent to John and he was really tied up. I was without it for almost 2months...the first month I just had it sitting here as I used an old Yamaha cdp (ewwwwww) then a Toshiba DVD player (can you say 2-D). When John finally received it in Calgary it took him almost 3 weeks to get it back to me.

At that point I had pretty much stopped listening to music for any length of time, my system was a mess. It's funny, we don't appreciate what we have till we lose it. This is also a good demonstration for those that think source shouldn't be considered as the first priority. Needless to say when I got the DAC back from John with the new cap's it was harsh. I do remember sending an Email to Bwhite trying to calm my nerves. The detail was hyper but it was harsh. I could hear sibilance on almost every female vocal. I then emailed John and he told me give it another week, then send it back if it's still doing the same thing. John suggests because the circuitry runs in class A all the time there is no need to use a transport disc and hit repeat for any lenght of time. Instead just leave it on, but after discussing this again with Bryan White I went ahead and connected the crappy DVD player and let it spin for a day. The differences were staggering.

Now, from memory...and you have to realize with digital things are refined and less colored then speakers, so it takes time to hear differences. But the new DAC's did seem to provide more detail, things were slightly less rolled off, but still musical. But because the period of time was so long between listening to the non Black Gates to listening to the Black gates its tough to gauge how much of an impact it made. My guess is anywhere between 10-20% but it could have been more or less.

I did have the opportunity to listen to Moray's latest Power Cables over Christmas. I used them on my DAC, Transport and Intergrated. The differences were there but too subtle for the money asked. Again, I should have known to not listen to the PC's before giving them back. The last month I've really regreted giving them back and suddenly I can hear alot of noise that otherwise was eliminated when the Moray James cables were used.

Digital and PC's are a tough racket. It takes time to listen to the adding and sometimes SUBTRACTION of information. In closing if you have a system that is over $10k I'd do the BG upgrade in a heartbeat. The DAC might be the best kept secret in Audio. Well untill John releases his totally re-designed own creation he's been working on for some time.

Oh and lastly, I know of two people that have done direct comparisons to a fully modded Bitstream DAC (with black gates) and EMM Lab's DAC. The Bitstream won both times. I have a relative who sold me this Bitstream awhile ago in favor of a Sony 9000 ES SACD player. This past summer he was over and told me he not only regretted selling me the unit, but that he thought some CD's sounded better on the Museatex then some of the same titles of SACD's on the Sony. Last I heard he was selling the Sony and getting John to build him a new Bitstream.
I owned both the stock Bitstream and upgraded Bitstream. At first I was a little disappointed that the upgrade did not retain the original sound as much as I had liked. It did loose a little of the analog sound. That being said, the modified unit does have greater details in that it separates the instruments much better, produces a wider soundstage, overall more clarity. I especially noticed the clarity when a buddy of mine brought over a CD that sounded congested on the stock unit but the modified unit held it all together. Overall I find the Bitstream one of the best values for the money.

I hope this is helpful to some and Happy Listening.

Blackgate will be a definite change! However, please realize one thing - parts are like seasoning in food - everything does not always taste good on everything! Blackgate may be the ticket for one topology but not necessarily on another! Having said that - my personal experirnce is that I have had great success with Blackgate in amplifiers and CD Players.

Hope this helps

Studio 1

Definitely true. i have never have good experience with blackgates and in fact cannot understand the legend. they have consistently taken things in a more analytic and hifi-ish direction. as always, to each his own.
I added a Furutech rhodium IEC to my Bitstream (stock) a Shunyata King Cobra p/c and Virtual Dynamics Revelation Sig. digital cable, the sound is highly musical, easeful and relaxed with great separation and dynamic contrasts.

I reference my CEC/Bitstream against my friends Walker/Steelhead system, depending on recording quality of course.

In the near future I will try Bigkidz modded Bitstream.