I did it with a Line 2SE and the result was a much quiter and transparent preamp. I had them put it vcaps as opposed to the audio notes though and the Burr Brown chips.
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I had my Line 3 upgraded with the Audio Note Silver caps.
I also have a Phono 1 that was up-graded by the parts connexion to SE++
I was lucky to have a factory Line 3 SE unit at my house to compare with my unit both before and after.
I have always liked the sound of the Line 3, the factory line 3 is a step up to the stock unit...I noticed it mostly in the musicality of the mids, with a slightly better bottom end.
After receiving the unit back from Chris I immediately noted that the modded Line 3 was now better than the factory Line 3 SE...best way for me to describe this is "It does everything better"
I also replaced the volume chips, my Line 3 is an older production with the "REL or Solen" caps on the outside of the heat sinks, not the newer Wima rectangle Caps. When I first received the unit back there was an audible "measurable" hiss coming from the speakers (I recall it being 10db ??? louder than the factory SE model)
I contacted Chris and his reply was simple...send the unit back on his dime and also could I send the factory SE to compare. Received both units back witn no hiss but the original volume chip (Chris said the newer one increased the noise floor by 1 or 2 db).
After letting the unit "form and settle" for a few months I put the factory SE into the system...there is a difference, the modded SE is a better sounding unit.
My Line 3 has a problem with humidity where it will cut the volume from the listening level to 30 intermittantly ???. Have though about picking up another Line 3 to replace mine, if I did I would most certainly send it to Chris to have his up-grade done. (I also have Power 3's that will eventually be sent for an up-grade)
This has been my experience, hope it helps
Have had PCX SE+ upgrades done on Phono 1; Line 3 and Power 3's - in each case the improvement is noticeable and brings the units up to world class standards without changing the sonic house sound character of dynamic, lean accuracy, transparency and control. For me, the SF sound is a trade off between a somewhat cool and extended sonic realism versus tubey bloom, harmonics & warmth. I could be ultra critical and say SF gear to some would lack a degree of timbre compared to the ARC house sound - but you can't have everything.
I had the volume OP amp upgrade done at the same time as the SE+, so I can't define that particular improvement, but I have the feeling my ARC REF3 would be even better if they used the same quality OP amps in their processor.
The SE+ upgrades seem to remove that last bit of a veil in the standard units. I also retubed using Chris's recommendations and as much as I tried never found any improvement with NOS tubes.
One benefit of the SF gear is it is dead quiet - equal to SS gear in my home. No hums, buzz, tube rush at all - and I have ribbon speakers that can hiss like hell. The Line 3 SE+ competes with my ARC REF 3 - the REF 3 has more soundstage depth and width, extended top, but less control. The Line 3 has more focus, better placement of instruments, increased bottom end definition, pin point staging and linear top end. The Power 3's have better base balance than my previous Bryston 7b SST's which had more punch but were uni -dimensional. I have never heard any tube equipment with same grip as SF gear on the low end.
PCX are great to work with, fast turnaround and the equipment has been 100% reliable. Bottom line - major improvement with the SE+ upgrades and well worth the money, high value IMHO.
Hi 833dave and Radicalseve,
Thanks for the comment. Compared to the other preamp (Herron) that I have, I feel the one thing that I want to improve on the Line 3 is the top end air that surround each instrument. The Herron just seems to have a little bit more separation among the instruments. I wonder if the SE+ upgrade improves on this area?
Radicalsteve, what tubes are you using in the Line 3? I have the same finding as you regarding NOS tubes. I have tried using a pair of NOS tubes (Telefunken CCA, Amperex orange globe 3708 etc.) in the most critical gain stage, and while the they sound cleaner (which I like), they also sound leaner from mid bass down (which I dont like) than the stock Sovtek. I am kind of surprise at that, and I think I will try out some EH6922 next.
I will be hand delivered my line 3 to pcX tomorrow to proceed for the upgrade. However, I spoke to Chris Johnson and he said that to me the components that they use are even than the original upgrade kit. I will post the upgrade components matrix later so that you can evaluate it yourself. So far, I think the upgrade is worth the price..
I'm owner of Line 3SE and std Power 3's. I'm interested in the pcX upgrades but note all exchanges on this forum topic dtd 2008. That's pushing almost 3 yrs ago. Does anyone have an update and contact info for Chris? No one ever mentions cost of shipping 300 lbs (for entire set) of audio hardware over a thousand miles (or much more for some of you) and across a border - as latter as it relates to turn-around time. Does pxX pay rtn shipping? Hopefully some of yoo are still chk'ing this blog.
I don't own my Sonic Frontiers equipment any more but Chris was always a good guy to work with. Just google parts connection and his site will come up. The parts connnection can let you know what the current upgrade conists of now.
Nobody will pay return shipping for you. I think they figure it in to the upgrade price.
I own the SF line 2 and the SFCD-1, I had my Line 2 upgraded a few months ago, with the SE+ and volume chips upgrade, the background now is much quiet, and the sound stage is wider with more details and resolution, however, you can still recognised the SF signature.
I had the pre amp couriered to Chris at PCX and after the mod couriered back to me, PCX used UPS services, buyer pays rtn shipping, and I live on the other side of the globe where PCX is located.
You can contact PCX for the mod details and option you can choose.
The SE+ upgrade seems quite intriguing yet the price of it is rather off putting to me. I purchased my Line 3 new and have never had any additions or changes made to the piece. I am wondering if simply replacing all of the tubes would be a viable and economical approach to improved quietness and more authoritative bass. And, I do marvel that Chris doesn't appear to have any challengers in so far as offering the upgrades. Any comments from the members would be appreciated. Thanks!
I'm not sure about the specifics, but the hourly labor charge Chris charges doesn't seem unreasonable, and I would imagine that due Chris's business he would be able to get parts at favorable prices. That no one knows these products as well as him is a big plus. Unlike using other outside modders, I would think that his upgrades would retain their value much better than any competitors. I tend to prefer ss, but the tube SF Line 3 is one of my favorite components.
A little late to the party but in regards to pricing I analyzed the cost of all the parts if I purchased separately. The parts he uses are not cheap and was really a significant portion of the price so no I don't think he is overcharging. Owners of SF equipment are lucky to have him around. I did the factory upgrade before I realized Chris was upgrading (or maybe before he started doing it himself) and I noticed a marked improvement. I thought the unmodded unit was absolutely silent but the modded unit was just eerily silent in a good way, I can't imagine his mod being any less dramatic, probably more so because of newer parts that weren't available back when.