From observation, most basic mods of any kind, whether tube or not, begin with power supply improvements and capacitor upgrades, and progress from there.
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Have had same argument with freidn who is amzed that Music Fidelity's best seller is a tueb bufer.Tube should in his mind (and I agree) used in cicut design not adding "artifacts" which is what you do essentially asdding upper harmonic distortion which we find pleasing as opposed to first order or lower harmonic distortion which we call"distortion".I read interestesting interview in Stereophile a while back with head designer of Pathos who say's in amplification (I think I have this right) hybrid is a great way to go because tubes do a good job at chaninging voltage and ad a nice warmth but solid state does a beter job in handling output because it has bettter control of bass than all tube designs and it's highs do not roll off the way they do with tubes.Made sense and i wonder why not more manufaturers make hybrids.But of course morefolks use tubes in preamp then power amp prefering SS for it's control.I know some folks who reverse it I guess it depends on attributes of pieces and how "dirty" you want sound.But adding a tube in a CD player may sweeten sound nontheless.I just agree with others it's less important then power supplies,caps,fast diodes etc in geting you clean undistorted sound.
From what i'm gathering from the local tech guy here in Baton rouge, he feels
1) opamps: easy to change/pop out, low cost/$25 each, and make the most significant difference. I agree, it has made the most difference.
2)Tube roll. Not so easy, as each tube will offer noticable character. I'm working on locating a set right now. Can be costly as if you buy used and don't like them, your stuck. So this tweak is risky.
3) caps changed. Though the tech guy feels this is more of a "flavor" change than anything of significant. And its abit costly. Good caps/labor =$200. I'm hesitant here.
4) I guess power cord. Though I'm not much a believer in cord differences.
09-21-06: BartokfanYou agree? Because you have also compared the sound after having improved the power supply and after having changed the capacitors, or because this has made the most significant difference of the other tweaks you have tried thus far?
2)Tube roll. Not so easy, as each tube will offer noticable character. I'm working on locating a set right now. Can be costly as if you buy used and don't like them, your stuck. So this tweak is risky.This is a tweak. Not a mod. You asked about mods.
3) caps changed. Though the tech guy feels this is more of a "flavor" change than anything of significant. And its abit costly. Good caps/labor =$200. I'm hesitant here.I'm suspect of your tech guy's expertise. Changing caps generally results in a lower noise floor and better resolution. This is not simply a flavor change, although it certainly results in a change in the sound of the player by reducing noise. Perhaps he's offering lowest cost alternatives at your request.
4) I guess power cord. Though I'm not much a believer in cord differences.Yet another tweak. Not a mod.
If you want info about tweaks, then ask about tweaks. You asked about mods.
Regarding the info in this thread, which has been consistent, I would suggest you do some thorough research by carefully reading the level of modifications offered by Modwright, Empirical Audio, Reference Audio Mods, and others. All these providers begin with power supply upgrades and move on from there.
On the other hand, if you're intersted primarily in tweaks, then there's a boatload of info in the threads on this topic.
Power supply, analogue output stage and the clocking circuit will all render huge improvements in either a ss or tube player. Which is more important........I suspect they all are since they lend synergies with one another. I had the superclock III and the super clock power supply along with the transport caps installed/upgraded and the improvements were substantal. Next on the list is power supply and audio board rebuilds. Modifications are being performed by Douglas Jesse of RAM's east...He is doing an excellent job.
Ken just changed out the other 4 opamps and ahs made another significant boost in this true balanced design.
First we changed 2 of the 6 opamps, and now the other 4.
I'm listening to Mississippi Blues cd, the vocals are super realistic, instruments are clearly separated. The bass has power to where i can now only turn the Jdais up just past 9 O'clock. Any more with rattle the dual 7 inch Seas mids in the Thors.
Somehow new higher grade opamps boost the fq's, allowing cleaner higher resolution.
'll find out the name of the opamps Ken used.
My next move may be to upgarde these Romlex commercial wires I bought at Lowes for $25. I'd like to look at some silver/copper combo, see if i can get some improvment in the upper hz's.
Well I had the other 4 opamps replced in the 17. That makesa total of 6 changed. My tech guy said the original are $2 opamps, and he used ones that were "la creme de la creme" costing $25/each.
I did notice a significant gain as the first 2 were changed, these were the 2 most important I believe. Now the 4 behind the 2 manis were changed and sure enough added benifits in the soundstage can be heard.
But as I say the complete 6 new opamps have made vocals seem cleaner, much more live like, bass is deeper. Power has been increased, as i play the Mississippi Blues cd, the drums now rattle the midwoofers and this just at 10 o clock vol.
At present the amp is the weak link in my system. The Thors have more potential, the Cayin has more potential.
My tech guy does not feel its necessary to change the caps to Mundorff, as the stock caps are already superior quality.
I will try a quad of sovteks to see if they beat the stocks.
From my experience I would say the following order applies to most any mod, not just CD players:
(1) clock, although a very expensive mod, it has the potential to make the most improvement in CD players
(2) power supply, especially for switching types in any digital circuit, but this can be tricky for any tubed circuits
(3) analogue section, including op-amps and coupling caps, this is a 50-50 with the power supply but will have a bigger impact if the power supply is upgraded also
(4) general resonance/vibration control, I consider this a mod although other would say tweak, in any case it does work and is cheap to do, but not necessarily easy to do right
(5) internal wiring and connectors, if you're in there and you want to be a completest this can be done, but it should always be done if any of the connectors are cheap nickle.