Exemplar Denon 2900. WOW Need owner advice.

I am the very happy owner of a Exemplar Denon 2900. What an incredible player. For you other Exemplar owners:

Two questions.

1. Do you leave the unit in "Standby" mode or do a hard shutdown with the main power button? Anyone know what John Tucker recommends? My concern of course is heat and shortened tube life if left in standby.

2. Do you utilize the "pure direct" mode- shutting off video functions? Is it worth it to do so? (My Stereo rig is completely seperate from any video display...to use "Pure Direct" I'll have to drag a monitor in and temporarily connect the Exemplar 2900 to it to shut the video functions off.)

I emailed John Tucker with these questions,but I think he's working 28 hours a day building units- I have'nt heard back from him.

Thanks in advance for your advice!

Why do you need to use the remote to turn off the video and digital output? Use the front panel switch. Did the Exemplar mod remove this switch?
I asked this same question a couple of weeks ago and received no
response. I leave mine in stand-by mode. The tubes are
"off" in this mode as far as I can tell.

I use the Pure Direct mode by shutting off the video and digital output
and display as recommended to me by John. I honestly can't say, though,
that I hear a difference.

FWIW, I've found the Exemplar gets a bit hot in my cabinet (Salamander
with perforated door and open back), so I'd recommend keeping it on an
open shelf. John says the heat isn't an issue, but I still wonder. When I
had the player on top of my cabinet, heat was no issue. In fact, it only
got slightly warm.

Also, I recently noticed some vibration from the Denon during SACD
playback. Some quick research revealed this has been an issue with the
Denon 2900. It's not a John Tucker issue, and it apparently doesn't exist
on all the 2900 players. I had my Exemplar on a Sistrum SP-003 shelf,
and while it sounded excellent, the Sistrum exacerbated the vibration
issue to the point I was going to replace the drive. But, with the
Exemplar off the Sistrum, the vibration much less noticeable.
I'm glad that someone else can't hear any improvement with the digital/video off. Same here, before and after Underwood mod.
Tvad: Not to sidetrack the thread, but the logical deduction about your experience with the Denon and the Sistrum was that there was too much "coulomb friction" for the drive to work properly. Glad you were able to solve the issue with something as simple as replacing the support structure. Sean
Sean, it's apparent to me the Sistrum was amplifying the vibration. Almost as if the player was sitting on a drum head. Odd. But, before the amplitude of the vibrations had a chance to build, the sound was very nice.
When not in use, John recommends leaving the player in stand by mode. He says it keeps the digital circuit warm and preserves tube life.
Hook the Exemplar to a tv by video cable; depress the P D MEMORY button on the remote. Select one of the two available mode choices. I then turn off everything-video, digital out, and display on mode 1 and everything but video display on mode 2. You can use Dimmer on remote to turn the display off as you want when you choose mode 2. There is a very obvious improvement with everything off.

The on/off button on the remote differs from that on the front panel. I use neither as the tubes take about five hours to get back. I know it shortens tube life but I have a lot of Amperex 7062s. Heat does build up and I wonder why John put the plastic plugs in the holes for the tube heat to escape. You could remove them. My unit sits on top and really does not cause me any heat problem.

Treating the tube sockets, tubes, IEC, and RCA jacks with AudioTop raises the performance of the unit as much as does the Siltech wire option.
Tbg, while I believe you hear what you hear, your statement that
There is a very obvious improvement with
everything off.
does not mirror my observations,
and therefore others should be advised that they may or may not hear
any improvement. I am also using 7062 tubes.

This week, I'm going to treat the tubes, connectors, etc. with CAIG De-
Oxit and Pro Gold. I'm interested to hear the difference.
Thanks to all of you for your help. I disabled the video out and digital out signals, and I'm now running in Pure Direct mode.

I am also now turning the unit off via the remote- putting it into "Standby". The tubes remain lit, but heat generated above the output tubes is minimal.

I'm thoroughly enjoying this unit, and I'm finding it very sensitive to power cords and interconnects. Any feedback on what you guys have found to work best would also be appreciated!

Thanks again guys!

Tvad, you are wasting your time with the CAIG De-
Oxit and Pro Gold. As I have mentioned elsewhere, the new AudioTop makes the other contact enhansers I have used sound half-hearted. I do not know how some such treatment could so far surpass others, but it does.

I must say that I am perplexed to hear that you fail to hear any improvements. I know four others who have heard clearly superior sound with the video and digital off. The display being off make less difference.

Danlib1, I entirely agree that the Exemplar responses to power cords and interconnects, as well as to isolation. I use it on the Neuance shelf on a level 5 Mana stand. Presently I use the Omega Mikro power cord and the Acapella interconnects, although the Indra gives a wider and encompasing soundstage.
Well, Tbg, I know of one other in this thread, Eldartford, who has also heard no discernable improvement with video and digital off, so I can surmise we aren't the only ones.

Audiotop at $316/kit is way beyond what I'm willing to spend for cleaner and protectant. Since my ears don't appear to be as golden as yours, I'll start with my $40 investment in CAIG products and go from there.
Tvad....Just a guess, but maybe tube electronics, which circuits run at much higher impedance that transistors, might be sensitive to digital noise pickup.
Well, Tvad, I cannot fathom what might explain why such a clearly audible improvement is not heard in your system, but I have always sincerely said that systems can greatly affect what we hear from different components. YMMV still applies.

I do believe that were AudioTops contact treatments a fourth as costly, there would be no other products selling within a year. I, of course, cannot say why it is so expensive, but I will say that you would find it the cheapest great improvement you ever had in your system.
FWIW I'm in agreement with Tbg with regard to video and digital out sonic improvements, i.e. with them off. Turning the display off makes only a minor difference in my situation.
Tbg, I am ordering that high dollar stuff, hope you are right. I also have the 3910 coming, so, MY EXEMPLAR sounds better than yours. Heh heh heh.
Any website or Link where i can buy and find any more info regarding AudioTops contact treatments ?

Audio999, the webpage is aaudioimports.com and you can learn of dealers by email at aaudioimports@cox.net

711smilin, I will be very interested in what you hear. What caused you to go to the 3910 before you had to?

I bought Steve's 2900, so whatever made him do it, it's my gain :)

I'm sure he'll love the modded 3910 as much or more- he's a Deadhead, and wants HDCD to make the Dead's stuff sound it's best.
Tbg, Thanks for the info. There are many variety which one is yours?
Danlib1, as I said earlier, I do miss the HDCD performance of the Lindemann.

Audio999, I have the full-blown unit with the Siltech wire. I guess it is the top-of-the-line. I also use the Amperex 7062 pinch waist tubes with Hal-os on each.
Tbg, I have all formats to play, plus I am planning on using Johns for HT. The 3910 blows away the 2900 on video, it has HDCD, also has much better dac's. I researched a lot on the web, so I ordered numero uno for myself. I betcha it will be GREAT. At the same time I also have Alex building me a 3910, cause since I sold the 2900, and lent Ric my exception II, I have been just using the sacd 1000 with the custom crystal Dacs and volume control. This puppy rocks too. I am just a nut and want it all. BTW HDCD when played right is a wonderful medium. These 3910's, I believe will take the units to another level yet.
Wow! Cleaned all the contacts today...tube pins, IC terminations,
speaker terminations with CAIG DeOxit and then used CAIG ProGold. It's
like new unobtanium interconnects were put in the system. Just the best
tweak ever imaginable, and all for less than $40 shipped!
Tvad, Great to know the tweak works with the inexpensive stuff too. See, Tbg was right again, I hate that.
Sorry about that, 711smilin. But really were, Tvad, to try the AudioTop and say it was far superior would I really be right. I can wait.
TBG, send me your Audiotop to try. I'll pay for shipping. Then, we'll
John is ordering some, hopefully at a discount, and I have asked him to order some for me too. John is also working on putting the remote control and siltech on the Exception II for me....lots of suff to wait for...
Well, do you have the Exemplar 3910 yet?
I am still waiting, uugghhh I believe it is being shipped today, getting a bit impatient now.
Talked to john today, I will have the 3910 tomorrow, Man I cannot wait, but, I guess I will.
Unfortunately, if it is like the 2900, you are weeks from hearing it at its best. But at least you will be started toward breakin.
I have the 3910, I just set it up, redbook is singing, I am smiling, wife is bitching I am playing too loud, and to get rid of the boxes. I am still smiling, more later.
Do give us a full report after proper break-in.
Steve, I don't want to know...

...I just don't want to know...

...please make the upgraditis stop!!!

BTW, does this mean the APL 3910 has been bettered by the Exemplar

...no...I don't want to know....

I cannot give any real review yet, I will say I have spent over 5k on MUSIC in the last 60 days, AND I am actually happy with music. Heh, heh. My search seems to be simmering down awhile. Tvad, I have not received the Apl yet, it was shipped today. But, right now I am SMILING. Wink, wink. Right now I am just using my HT receiver, SS with my system and actually loving it. Now, for me, this is a big change. I am trying to calm down after all the equipment I have bought, tried, sold, returned ect. I will get to serious critical listening when a few more toys arrive. Until then, enjoy the music, and be happy.
Interesting review of the 3910 in this months HFN&RR (uk based mag).
They said the 2900 sounded better than the newer unit. Im not sure if this is attributed to the dac or analogue output stage...if its the dac then perhaps the Exemplar 2900 will become even more sought after.
I didnt read the full review...just the conclusion.
Vikingboy, keep on reading, I know it's easier to believe what you read in print, than what you hear at home. I no longer even think I can go to a audio store, and make an opinion on what I like. I have found that whenever I like the sound of something in a store, it never sound the same in my home. UMM I wonder why. And to think you can trust reviewers, WOW, they gotta get paid somewhere. I like to put my $$$ where my mouth is, yaknow. BTW in MHO to my ears I like the sound of the stock 3910 better than the 2900. I also like the sound of the Exemplar 3910 a lot better than I remember my Exemplar 2900 being. But, since I sold my 2900, before receiving my 3910, I cannot say how much better on redbook. I can say without a doubt that the SACD is GREATLY improved, as well as the video, and my beloved HDCD is WONDERFUL. My 3910 is still breaking in, and without a doubt I feel it betters the 2900, in every way. I love the new remote functions too, as well as it being back lit. I am waiting for john to break in my new Exception II pre-amp with siltech and remote(for my lazy ass)till I write a full review. Suffice it to say, I love the 3910. I am just not sure if I want to keep my black one, or have John mod me a silver one. AAHHHH decisions, decisions.

Gotta go now, listening to the new Elton SACD Capt. Fantastic, and as I leave, I will say it sounds FANTASTIC.
711smilin - is the exemplar mod a 2 channel mod, or a multichannel mod?

How does the exemplar 2900 or 3910 do with multichannel material?
The Exemplar Mod is a complete multichannel mod, with a 2 channel tube stage. I cannot really comment on the 5 channel difference, cause I never used the 2900 with multi-channel. I can say the 3910 is GREAT with multi-channel, and the video blows the 2900 away. Johns mods, with his custom clock, power supply, new caps, ect really gets this player SMOKIN. I love the sound I am experiencing.
711smilin, since the Denon 2900 is no longer available, it had to happen that John moved to modifying something else and the 3910 was a likely culprit, but than for taking the plunge.

I decided to bite the bullet and will be getting mine next week.
Tbg, you are not biting any bullit IMHO, you are gonna be smiling.

I've been lurking on this thread since the original post. I've owned John Tucker's modified Denon 2900 for sometime now (I have one of the first Siltech units he made). This is the most musical piece of digital gear I have ever heard. I dumped my Audiomeca Enkiathus DAC and I've never looked back. My only disappointment with the unit is that annoying crackling noise that appears if you jump between tracks on the SACD layer but according to John that seems to be typical of most SACD units regardless of manufacturer. Other than that it was hard for me to imagine that there is much room for improvement.

Of course the phone call came from John with the results of his 3910 modification and he was extremely excited. Visions of my bank balance looking like a moon crater danced in my head but I figured onward and upward.

I was planning on having John make a balanced version of the 3910 and moving the 2900 into my secondary system. I discussed this at length with him. It seems as though the DAC in the 3910 is balanced so it is a matter of fitting the power supply in the chassis or possibly going to an external power supply. He seemed to think it is extremely likely it can be done so perhaps if enough people request it he might explore it as an option.

After giving it some consideration and research I think (for me) the move is to skip a generation and see what Mr. Tucker will be able to create with the imminent release of Denon's 5910 unit. I'm envisioning a 2 chassis balanced 5910. I believe John when he tells me the 3910 is an improvement over the 2900 but I also believe that when the time comes John's modified 5910 will be a monster.

And so my wait begins...

Ken Golden
Yes, I think the 5910 will be the one to wait on. I think it will be the final link of video/audio nirvana. Why limit ourselves with the 3910? I think a balanced version will be what we are all waiting for....
Yeah, but what happens when the 7920 ans 9920 are released? :)

...Oh, God, make it stop...

Tvad, I also find the pace of this technology change to be exhausting. Long ago I bit the bullet and assumed that my computer would be outdated every two years at best and that I was unwilling to await the next evolution before I bought. I think this is life in the digital world. I don't imagine it will be long before digital sources do not rotate.

It never stops. Everytime I thought to myself "I'm done" I wasn't. It happened with my preamp, it happened with my amps, my cables, and now my speakers.

Just when you think you're out of the game they find a way to suck you back in...

Ken Golden
Jeez- I bought 711smilin's old Exemplar 2900 and can't imagine a better unit. Now he's got me thinking......

Damn this hobby!
Guys, this is an obsessive journey, it's only done when you are happy where you are. When you get tired of the search. When you get to the point that another obsession takes over. When you get divorced. When you run out of money. When you get satisfied. But, as long as the journey is fun, we audiophools keep going.

Aint this ffuuunnn!!!!

BTW The 3910 BLOWS away the 2900, so there.
BTW the remote is great with the 3910, you can easily control the front panel, plus the video is OUTSTANDING.
The best time I ever had in my stereo listening life was back in the 70's when I had a Sansui receiver, Pioneer turntable and KLH speakers.

I may go contrarian, and exit the hi-fi racetrack. I'm kinda tired of chasing the rabbit.
Tvad, your tired of being the svelt greyhound?