Tweaks for EMM CDSA SE ... ?

Has anyone found tweaks that really improve their EMM CDSA SE? I am experimenting now -- trying to improve its performance.
replace the filtered IEC. thats the biggest thing you can do.
Rhyno, thanks for your suggestion but I'm not sure what you mean? Do you mean to replace the IEC receptacle on the EMM? If so, with what?
replace with furutech FI-09
made of pure copper and rhodium plated.
you'll have to fabricate it. about 2hrs work. start w/ a piece of copper clad fiberboard avail at most electronics stores, and punch out holes for the furutech IEC and a fuse holder. leave AC conditioning to a dedicated AC conditioner, not to a $5 part that EMM drops in the back as an afterthought.
I don't know if it's a tweak, but I think the sound is better (fuller, more open) using the XLR outputs. The same goes for a DCC2.
Rgs92, I'm already using XLR -- I took Shahin's advice. I'm also using the Totem beaks in diamond configuration on top of the EMM and a silk-covered cushion under the EMM. Much more effective than the four expensive Harmonix Synergy Points on the bottom. They have gone on top of my Marantz PM-15 with an unexpectedly wonderful improvement in sonics. The sonic results with my 2 EMM tweaks are not subtle.
A good mains filter made a significant difference to mine.

A friend swears by Acouctic Revive's Grounding Conditioner. I've not heard it yet hope to try one myself shortly.
Thanks for all that good info Sabai.
I can't find the Beaks.
That's interesting about the silk cushion.
I have not heard about using cloth under a component,
but whatever works!
Rgs92, raw silk is known as one of the best natural absorbers of unwanted frequencies because of its irregular fiber structure. If you dig a bit on the internet you will find people selling raw silk to put around speaker binding posts, etc. I have known about "audio silk" for a long time. I had a couple of silk-covered cushions lying around the house and one day it came to me -- "why not"? I put a silk cushion under my CDP -- BINGO !! An immediate and not subtle improvement in the sonics. I'm sure the high quality of the material in the cushion helps, as well. Until I get my Synergistic Research MiGs the cushion stays put under my CDP. I will compare the MiGs to the cushion and report back here next month when I pick them up from an authorized dealer overseas where I live. Regarding the Totem beaks, all you need to do is get on the Totem Acoustic site and find a dealer near you. Or call Totem and they will help you out. I am picking up a few sets of Totem beaks next month from an overseas dealer so if I can locate them overseas without a problem you'll certainly be able to find the beaks quickly in your location. I see that EMM has just introduced an X upgrade -- a hardware upgrade, not a software upgrade -- for $5,000. This puts the retail price of the EMM CDSA SE at a hefty $16,500. It doesn't look like EMM will be offering any free software upgrades -- anytime soon. Apparently the X upgrade delivers about 90% of the new EMM XDS1 that retails for $25,000. I am choosing to go a different route -- one that reportedly gives better results than the X upgrade and is more versatile because it can be used with any CDP -- the Synergistic Research PowerCell 10SE -- the latest version that includes a free Tesla Plex -- an upgraded model (I have the original Tesla Plex in my system) and also an upgraded Precision Reference power cord. I am picking up the PowerCell next month and will report back on the sonic results with the EMM. Both the new EMM X upgrade and the PowerCell are supposed to produce 3D sonics. I will not be able to provide an A/B report but I will be able to report my impressions. I know you own the EMM CDSA SE. Are you contemplating the X upgrade? By the way have you tried Schumann resonance devices? I have two SW1 units in my system and they do a nice job of sound stage enhancement.
Sabai--great post. Lots of info I have never seen, especially in terms of the CDSA. Thanks! I am mulling over the X-upgrade idea. So far, I just use Hydra-8 and a Telwire powercord (some more expensive cords slowed the bass or introduced some hyper-highs/nervousness). Stealth Indra XLRs also seem to bring out the best, most natural sound, especially in the frequency extremes: the controlled unmuddy low bass and upper highs that have a touch of warmth that is really nice.

My one concern is that upgrades that affect soundstaging often add some high-frequency prominence along with that.
In my experience, Wilson and Kharma speakers have done that,
where some awesome staging was accompanied by some TMI/listening-fatigue as the price.

Right now, the CDSA-se just seems to get the right combination of reach and truth w/o any cold or steeliness, even on
analytically-recorded CDs (or at least CDs that sound that way on other players).

Most who have commented on the the big EMM XDS1 or the X-upgrade mention the "3D"-ness. That's a kind of nice-to-have thing, but not a necessity IMO, where tonality is king for me.
Rgs92, thanks very much. Since the EMM X upgrade and the Synergistic Research PowerCell 10SE (that includes a new model Tesla Plex SE, a Precision Reference power cord with a 3-lead option and a standard MPC) both promise 3D sound reproduction I will opt for the SR. I have no way of knowing which 3D effect would be more pleasing to me, of course, and I have no way of A/Bing the two, so this is a crap shoot. But setting up my system, not being able to audition ANYTHING, has been a crap shoot. I have let my intuition be my guide and, frankly, I am more that happy with the results so far. I already have a partial 3D effect since I started tweaking my system and it is very agreeable. Any added 3D effect from either option would be first class, I'm sure, albeit different in one or another respect. I agree with you that tonality is #1 and the EMM CDSA SE provides me with wonderful tonality right now -- enhanced by my many tweaks. The thing is that the PowerCell will not only treat my EMM it will also treat all the other components and cables in my system so the synergy should be excellent. If I add the Galileo MPC the sound should be truly outstanding, including an enhanced sound stage -- one of the main improvements promised by the EMM X and the SR PowerCell. Two other factors that I have considered are that going the SR route provides me with more versatility. If, one day, I change my CDP I will still have the PowerCell. The other factor is that, since I live overseas, having the EMM X upgrade done would be very costly -- shipping both ways. The SR option will save me a lot of money. Also, doing an EMM X upgrade would mean no music for quite a while, whereas when I pick up the PowerCell next month it will be in my system when I arrive home. For you the EMM X upgrade may be the best choice since you already have the Hydra and excellent cables. I don't have a power conditioner yet and I have such a complicated mix of cables that treating the whole system right from the wall receptacle seems to be the most logical approach for me to take and looks like it will give me the best chance at having a better sonic experience. I will soon be adding more Totem beaks and a few sets of SR MiGs to the system, too. IMHO, you can never have enough top quality tweaks in your system. Each one adds to the synergy.
Rgs92, there is an Audiogon thread called "SR Tesla PowerCell or Dedicated Circuits ????" where people comment on the Hydra 8. You may be interested in having a look.
OK, thanks again for all that. Actually, it seems that doing both the upgrade and getting the SR may be worthwhile.
I have some SR cables and do feel they are great, especially for the cost.
Rgs92, you're welcome. IMHO doing both may be overkill since the upgrade and the SR are supposed to accomplish the same thing. I would be very interested in hearing if you do both how the sound sounds. You can A/B with and without the PowerCell. You will probably be the first person in the world to do both and to report about it. I am doing a PowerCell 10SE with Galileo MPC.
Thanks Sabai.
EMM said that the X upgrade is very significant,
like night & day. I from them that
the change is more than just power supply, but
involved the digital processing itself.
Rgs92, you're welcome. I am sure the X is a really major upgrade. Of course, it must include changes in the digital processing to achieve the 3D sonic effects that are being talked about. My point is that if you do the X upgrade AND buy an SR PowerCell it may be overkill because one OR the other options may provide you with the sonic benefits you are looking for. For me, since the SR PowerCell 10SE will treat my whole system, not just my EMM, and adding the new Galileo MPC will greatly enhance the PowerCell's effects, this is the route I will take. Add a few tweaks -- like the SR MiGs -- and I think I'll have a wonderful system. As well, buying the PowerCell is a much cheaper option for me -- it saves me over $1000 shipping and other costs -- each way -- to and from EMM in Canada for the upgrade. So the EMM upgrade would cost me over $7000. I will also be getting a trade-in for the conditioner I am now using, so the PowerCell plus the Galileo MPC will be costing me $5000 net. But if I do the X upgrade and keep my present power conditioner the cost to me for both is over $8300. I don't have a money tree in the back yard. I have to think about costs as well as sonic benefits and weigh everything carefully. I think I'll be getting the most bang for my buck with the SR PowerCell. I will have it in my system by December 20 and will post here how my system sounds with the PowerCell in place. You may find this helpful -- before you make your decision how you want to spend your hard-earned dollars.
Yes, thank you Sabai. I am still considering my options too (including just playing around with power cords).
It is amazing how much power makes a difference in tonal quality, especially in the bass and high treble).
The changes with power input are just as large as interconnects make. Good luck and I would love to hear your findings.
Rgs92, I agree, cabling can make a huge difference. I have also found that the particular plug and IEC you choose (if you are doing DIY work like I do) can change everything. You may note that a couple of the highest end SR plugs used to come from Oyaide -- one was the 079. I think SR are developing their own plugs now -- the G07 being the new one. I can report a change that I made to my system yesterday that astonished me. I had my Gabriel Gold Reflection power cord connected from my power conditioner to my EMM CDP. On a whim I connected it from my Tesla Plex into my power conditioner -- replacing an SR Master Coupler terminated with Oyaide plug and IEC -- and I plugged the EMM into the power conditioner using the Master Coupler. This has made a HUGE difference in resolution, dynamics and sound stage. Of course, my cabling configuration will change when I add the SR PowerCell 10SE to my system next month. So you may not have to double down with an X upgrade PLUS a PowerCell 10SE to get great results. Yes, cabling and plugs have sometimes made such a huge change in my system that they made it sound like a new component was added to the system or that one of my components was upgraded.
I too own a Emm Labs CDSA-SE ( metal transport ) and also using a SR Powercell 10SE and SR Mig's( pinpoint config). I'm using Mig's under all of my equipment including the 2 DD-18 subs to great effect. Sold the cerebase & all the stillpoints.

I also recomend changing the fuse on the CDSA-SE to a Furutech T2A. I sorted my GREEN Furutech 20mm fuse from Asia because only the blue one's are avaliable in Europe. The Green Furutech fuses are TRUE Furutech and sounds much better than the newer blue version ( made by PADIS .)

I've Furutech nano fluid all connections including fuse caps.

Another tweek being very good is to directly place a HRS small damping plate on top of the transport inside and another one on the top cover. This stops most of the vibration from the transport itself when spinning the disc. You can litually hear the difference.

I've tried a few top power cords and settled with the great Tara Labs Colbalt.

Hope this helps.
Flashunlock, thanks very much for all this information. Very interesting. I have the 230-volt EMM. It looks like I would have to buy the blue fuse -- the big or the small? Would the results be better than the fuse in the EMM? I use a silk cushion (waiting to be replaced by MiGs) under my EMM and 4 Totem beaks in diamond configuration on the top. The results are not subtle. I would like to know more about how your EMM sounds with the PowerCell. What MPC are you using -- the standard or the Galileo? How are resolution, dynamics and sound stage?

You're welcome. Try get the GREEN Furutech T2A fuse. The size is 20mm x 5mm and throw away the cheap glass fuse Emm provided. You will get a greater sence of focus, more layers, dynamics and resolution. If your system have valves in the chain, maybe try the HiFi Tuning Silver Star fuse as it will give you a bit more snap/ prat.

I'm using the SR Galileo MCP just on the Powercell 10SE and no where else as I've found it sounding a bit too laid back on the Precision AC cable for the Powercell and other SR cables. What you will get from the 10-SE is a bigger sound stage is the 1st thing you'll notice and everything else improves.... do use up all the 10 sockets as the more you use from the 10SE, the better it sounds. I have my AV, all of my two channel system plugged to it without any current limitation.

Do try the Mig's as they will knock your socks off.
I'm also using a set of SR ART system as well as a extra set of SR ART Basik.

Hope this helps and you can E-mail me for more info. :)
Sabai, I've forgotten to say I'm using the Tara Labs Zero Gold XLR interconnects from CD player to pre. Tried the SR Universal Galileo for ineterconnecst and speakers and found them did something better but not everywhere so stuck with my own stand alone cables. I guess they are great IF your system/ cables need them but in my system and my personal opinion, it was only a side step kind of improvement.

Flashunlock, thanks again. I had a look at the back of my EMM. No external fuse. It looks like I'll have to open up the box to make the fuse change. I'm still looking for the green Furutech fuse on the Internet. And thanks for all the information about SR cabling. Same as you -- I also will only have the SR PowerCell 10SE plus the Galileo MPC in my system. This is the first time I have read about the sound being a bit too laid back with SR cables. This is very important information because of the universally positive reports about SR cabling -- and all the sales promotion. I know the people at SR (by phone) and they are very helpful. No complaints about SR. They may not know about this sonic effect with the EMM. After all, they can't know about the synergy of their cables with every system in musicland and all the possible permutations. Knowing this about SR cabling with the EMM is very important information for me because I can't audition anything. I live overseas and have been guided only by sonic intuition in all my purchases which I either bring from abroad or have shipped over. So far so good -- like Steely Dan. I have mostly Gabriel Gold cables throughout my system -- not laid back at all -- dynamic, warm and resolving all at the same time, excellent all round, amazing cabling -- as well as an SR Master Coupler with Oyaide terminations for my 100-volt Marantz PM-15 that has to be plugged into a step-down transformer. The latter is nicely cleaned with the rest of my system because everything (except my REL subwoofer) is plugged into a Tesla Plex. I am also using Schumann resonance devices. I'll be getting my PowerCell next month. It will be the cornerstone of my system. I can't wait to hear it.
Flashunlock, I don't need to use all 10 sockets on the PowerCell, only 3 or 4. It will only be used for my music system. I have 4 sets of MiGs on order. I also use Totem beaks on top of my EMM -- they did nothing for my Merlin speakers -- and Harmonix Synergy Points on top of my Marantz PM-15. They are meant to be used as footers -- did nothing for my EMM -- so I tried them on top of my PM-15 and the sonic results are not subtle. A lot of the tweaking I have done is trial and error -- as well as switching around my power cords.
Flashunlock, thanks for clarifying about the SR cables. Since it it is impossible for me to have all-active cables in my system because of my step-down transformer, and Merlin does not recommend silver cables for their speakers, I chose to go with mostly Gabriel Gold cables -- no buyer's regret.
I have done most of the changes done above (iec, power cord) but also have the EMM on 4 stillpoints which itself rests on a wood plinth on 4 small springs which rests on my rack. That was a nice improvement.

The fuse is located directly under the power cord between the switch. Use a screw driver to pull it out and there is only one fuse even though the holder can accommidate 2.

Flashunlock, between the switch and the power cord? It looks like a small label. Do you pry that off and the fuse is behind it?
Flashunlock, VH Audio sells Furutech fuses. They don't say the color. They have a lot of models. Is it one of these two? One is the .75" HiFi Tuning Fuse Slow 2A and the other is the 1.25" HiFi Tuning Fuse Slow 2A? Thanks very much, in advance, for all your good advice.
Flashunlock, the only green one VH Audio has is called the T13A. The two I mentioned above are gold-colored on the ends.
Flashunlock, I am on the Furutech site looking for distributors. Where in Asia did you get yours? I live in Asia. I talked to a Canadian distributor a few minutes ago and he says the T2A 20 mm is on back order -- should arrive next month. He says the green one was discontinued a while back -- only the blue ones available now -- they are an upgrade, he says.

The GREEN 20mm T2A is not discontinued... they told you that just because they cannot get them. I bought mine in Hong Kong. The HiFi tunning ones are called Silver Star or the newer one called the Supreme both again 20mm x 5mm. You have to use a flat head screw driver to pull out the fuse holder between the switch and the power cable. theres a small slot to insert the screw driver into. Get a torch there and check it out.
Flashunlock, thanks for letting me know. I'll check out Hong Kong for the fuse. I'm on the road now but when I get back home I'll get into the nest of wires behind my EMM and check out the fuse situation. Thanks again very much.

Have you tried the newer blue Furutech fuses and compared them to the older green ones? If so, what were your impressions of each when used with the CDSA?

The Green Furutech is not a old version. Just that they are only sold in Asia. I've tried the Blue version and found it sounding a bit lacking in the bass department compared to the Green plus the Green had more insight with more layers in the mid's.
Flashunlock, what about the HiFi Tuning fuses? Especially the Supreme for the EMM? How would they compare with the Furutech T2A?

I have yet to try the Supreme from HiFi Tuning.
Flashunlock, thanks, I'm still trying to get the green T2A from Asia. If I can't I'll try for the HiFi and see what I can come up with.
Flashunlock, Singapore says they have the green but they are now shipped only in 25mm. When I get back home in a couple of days I will take that flat-head screwdriver and a flashlight and see what the back of the EMM has to tell me. Thanks again.
Thanks, I'll try to track some down next time I am in Singapore.

Furutech also only sells the 25mm 13A fuse in green for the UK's mains plug. They do sell the 20mm and the 32mm.

The one for the UK mains is available generally. I probably will first try that one on the mains on my Hot Box as a test case before I decide whether to run around trying to track down those other elusive green ones for my components.

I did exactly that. I tried the green 25mm in my Furutech Uk mains plug and was blown away by it so when I was in HKG last, I bought them for my components. I changed them one by one with the CDSA-SE being 1st and even from cold, it sounded much better than the blue and I have also compared it to my other HiFi tuning ( gold & silver star) and the isoclean. The urutech fuses takes about 300 hours to break in so it will sound better with time.

Hope this helps.
The distributors in Asia sometimes stock the T2A green, especially in Hong Kong, as far as I can glean by phoning some of them. But you have to go to Hong Kong to buy them. They will not ship overseas. If the Asian distributors don't have them in stock they can order them from Japan. Then you have to discuss having them shipped to you, if they will do so -- or pick them up if you are in the area. So it will take a bit of work to get hold of these little things. I'll let you know what I come up with. I live in Asia and am working on this now.

I should be in HK again early January and I can pick some up for you if you want or you can try to twist my arm off buying mine.... :)
Flashunlock, looks like the Thailand distributor is able to order for me so I should have them next month. I'll keep you posted. I don't know why my two postings that I sent through yesterday are not showing up in this string.
Flashunlock, it looks like I'll be able to get the fuses from either Singapore or Thailand. Do you have any experience with the Tara Zero Gold XLR IC versus the Tara Zero Onyx XLR IC?

I beleive the Onyx is the old GOLD. If I am correct then it is a lot better especially with the newer HFX ground float.

Do E-mail me as I have some cables that might interest you.

Flashunlock, thanks for letting me know. Do you know how the Onyx compares to the Zero? I can't find your email address. How do I email you?

Click my user name with option to send me e-mail.