Help with DIY Upgrade for X-Can v2 and X10-D
I have been getting some intermittent static on the Musical Fidelity X-CAN v2 headphone amplifier lately. This static is "amplified" to an unlistenable level when the X-PSU is powering the X-CAN. An engineering friend of mine suggested that the cause is likely to be a faulty capacitor. He has offered to help if I can get a schematic for the component.
As fellow owners of Musical Fidelity X-series components know, virtually no documentation is supplied with these devices not even the basic specs. In attempting to track down a support source, I discovered that MF provides NO means of direct contact. The vendor, AudioAdvisor, from whom I purchased these items also has not responded to my email requesting information/direction (AudioAdvisor no longer carries the MF line but I feel it is reasonable to still expect some support). Anyway, in the process of doing this reserch, I have become excited about doing a full scale mod (upgrade the Capacitors, Op Amps, and Tubes) to not only eliminate a "point of failure", OVER-HEATING/Stress but also for the sonic improvements.
Following just one user's suggestion (treating the X-CAN for "vibes") has yielded such amazing results that I have become even more enthused about hearing the impact of the other suggested "mods". My jaw dropped when I heard the results from placing Herbie's Audio Lab "Baby Booties" under the X-CAN v2.
Before I state my questions, let me provide some background info on the "system" being used:
(1) Sennheiser HD580 Headphones
(2) 15' Cardas Replacement Headphone Cable
(3) Musical Fidelity X-CAN v2 Headphone Amp (on Booties)
(4) Musical Fidelity X-PSU (currently runs only X10-D)
(5) Musical Fidelity X10-D Tube Line Stage
(6) Musical Fidelity E20 PreAmplifier (on Vibrapods)
(7) AMC CD9 CD-Player (on Bright Star Air Mass3)
(8) Dakiom Feedback Stabilizers (CD source & Pre Out)
(9) Tara Labs Space & Time IC from X-CAN v2 to Pre Amp
(10) Kimber Kable PBJ IC from CD-Player to Pre Amp
(11) AudioQuest Ruby IC from X10-D to Pre Amp
(12) Monster Interlink 400 MkII IC from video to X10-D
(13) PS Audio Lab Cable II AC cord for Pre Amp
All cable connects and power cord prongs were treated with Craig Gold and Mapleshade SilClear. Highwire WireWraps were used on all fixed power cords. The AC cords were connected to a Monster Cable HTS 2000 Line Conditioned. The Line Conditioner was plugged into a Furutech FP-3 (gold plated 15 amperes duplex) outlet.
Ok, now to the questions:
(A) Does anyone know where/how to obtain a schematic for the Musical Fidelity X-CAN v2?
(B) Phase 1 of my intended mod is to replace all the Capacitors. For the X-CAN v2 I have a list of the basic cap values recommended. It's been stated (by several different "modders") that upping the "V" value (say from 35V to 63V) while keeping the "uF" value constant should improve the quality of the sonics. Meridian's website states that increasing "V" also helps to increase the MTBF as well). Besides an increase in the capacitor's physical size, is there any additional trade off such as increased heat?
(C) Is it worthwhile to swap out the Op Amps in the X-CAN v2 with something like the National Semiconductor LM6172IN or TI/Burr Brown OP2132? The audiophile Op Amps of choice seem to be the Analog Devices AD825, AD826, AD8065, or AD8066 but these are all "surface mount" chips (SMD). It seems that these have to be converted to DIP modules to be used in mods for CD-Players, etc. Is this true for performing a swap in the X-CAN v2? Has anyone heard a particular Op Amp in the X-CAN v2 that he/she really deems the best?
(D) The Mullard ECC88 seems to be the tube of choice for the X-CAN v2 whether it's modded or not. Apparently, its charastics are somewhat similar to the NuVista on which the X-CAN v2 circuit design was based. These are getting a bit expensive and hard to find. Can anyone suggest a good (but cheaper) alternative?
Appreciate any feedback provided (even constructive negative criticism).