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Opamps and Modding thread.
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ROBSCIX
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Default Opamps and Modding thread. - 03-07-2008, 18:33 | posts: 16,175 | Location: Guru3D Audio Lab

Hey guys, I am starting this thread because OPAMPS and card modding is really big right now and post about it just get lost in others threads. We can just keep all the questions and answers here for easy locating.
I know many of you are starting to change out there opamps after Auzentech launched their high end opamp line. Others are changing their capacitors with better quality models..etc.

Currently I am using OPA637's in my Prelude 7.1 and I considering modding the card quite a bit. Including but not limited to:
New power capacitors (filters)
Changing out or bypassing the coupling capacitors with higher grade models.
and a few others that are secret.

So....what up with you guys?
   
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roguesn1per
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Default 03-07-2008, 18:50 | posts: 9,514 | Location: Aussie Perth WA

i would love to do that...

but i just dont have the Proper Soldering Iron and my hand isnt steady enough
   
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ROBSCIX
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Default 03-07-2008, 18:53 | posts: 16,175 | Location: Guru3D Audio Lab

Have another do it... Modding is a great way to improve the sound quality of your card without actually buying another card.
   
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DoctorO
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Default 03-07-2008, 20:11 | posts: 123 | Location: Germany

Since I currently don***8217;t use a case an my RMAA measurements were pretty bad I built myself a shielding for the Prelude and then for even more devices. For me the difference is noticeable (since I started with really bad conditions). I don***8217;t know if it will be perceiveable for users with a case but I***8217;m pretty sure differences will be measureable.

Since it is pretty cheap an easy you could try it for yourself. Just get some paperboard with the right dimensions, wrap aluminum foil around it and then insulate it with tape. The effect will be bigger if you ground the aluminum (connect it to your case).

I***8217;ll upload the RMAA results with graphs before shieldings (1), with only the Prelude shielded (2) and cables, amplifier and PSU shielded as well (3) pretty soon.
Edit2: RMAA results: http://www.mediafire.com/?ys2z1xi2m94


Shielding is worthless if you use digital out, of course.

Last edited by DoctorO; 03-07-2008 at 20:18.
   
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ROBSCIX
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Default 03-07-2008, 20:56 | posts: 16,175 | Location: Guru3D Audio Lab

You built a Faraday Cage. Very nice. Would definatley help with keeping out EMI/RFI....great job.
   
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DoctorO
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Default 03-07-2008, 22:55 | posts: 123 | Location: Germany

Thanks. I also built it because I wanted to find out how good a Faraday Cage really works. Turned out to be really good, way less noise and crosstalk, espacially in the 40-1000hz range.

Maybe I***8217;ll add even more shieldings at the power cables but I***8217;m running out of cables to ground the shieldings...
   
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ROBSCIX
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Default 03-07-2008, 23:33 | posts: 16,175 | Location: Guru3D Audio Lab

There are lots of different ways to improve soundcards if people want to take the time and energy to perform the modifications.
   
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NapalmV5
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Default 03-08-2008, 06:36 | posts: 183

5 ***** to boot

now lets see those mods everyone
   
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GenClaymore
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Default 03-08-2008, 13:30 | posts: 5,455 | Location: Michigan,usa

What would be some good all around opamps,like gaming music and etc. Because I thinking of getting some opamps my self when I get the cash. Also does it just go in with ease, or is there some force needed?
   
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Default 03-08-2008, 13:57 | posts: 123 | Location: Germany

Depends on how your opamps pins are bent. It***8217;s easy if they are bent the right way. Actually, it is harder to get the LM4562 out the first time.
   
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ROBSCIX
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Default 03-08-2008, 15:44 | posts: 16,175 | Location: Guru3D Audio Lab

Quote:
Originally Posted by GenClaymore View Post
What would be some good all around opamps,like gaming music and etc. Because I thinking of getting some opamps my self when I get the cash. Also does it just go in with ease, or is there some force needed?
When you get them new opamps have their pins like /-\ and you need to have them like |-| to fit into the socket. What I do is put the one side of pins down on the table and use my finger to gently roll the opamp back and forth to bend in the pins slightly..then flip over and repeat until the pins are exactly how they should be. It is a bit harder to get out the opamp then install one.
I use a small steak knife with a thin blade tip, pry up slightly on the one end -then the other...be careful NOT to bend the pins. Line up the new one and push down with moderate pressure...simple. Just make sure you line up pin1.
Hope that explains it. I have changed many,many opamps and other chips and most likely will be changing my opamp today!!
   
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DoctorO
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Default 03-08-2008, 15:48 | posts: 123 | Location: Germany

I bend the pins the same way ROBSCIX does. To get an opamp out of the Prelude, I use this tool:

Btw, has anyone compared AD797 and OPA6x7 in the Prelude? I***8217;m going to buy one pair of them pretty soon and could need a bit help deciding...

Last edited by DoctorO; 03-08-2008 at 15:50.
   
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GenClaymore
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Default 03-08-2008, 16:57 | posts: 5,455 | Location: Michigan,usa

thanks, I'll problly be safer if I get them from auzentech even if there more. that way i dont mess up and break the pins. Since from the look of it. their already |-| .
   
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ROBSCIX
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Default 03-08-2008, 17:07 | posts: 16,175 | Location: Guru3D Audio Lab

NapalmV5 has been using the AD797s in his XM and he said they are great. Personally I haven't tried them yet.
@GenClaymore, yeah the Auzen Opamps snap right in without any need to bend anything.
If your a bit uneasy around this type of stuff, then your probably better off doing what you said.
   
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DoctorO
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Default 03-08-2008, 18:37 | posts: 123 | Location: Germany

797 it is then. Hope it will be here by the end of next week
   
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ROBSCIX
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Default 03-08-2008, 18:50 | posts: 16,175 | Location: Guru3D Audio Lab

@Dr.O, Let us know how you find the AD797's
   
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Radical_53
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Default 03-08-2008, 23:21 | posts: 3,126 | Location: Germany

I saw a couple of threads on X-Fi modding, which made sense as the Creative cards didn't have too high quality components.
But is there as much to be gained with a Prelude? Wasn't it supposed to be packed with much higher grade components from the start?
   
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NapalmV5
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Default 03-09-2008, 00:32 | posts: 183

HT OMEGA CLARO+ AD8620BR blackgated


the difference the blackgate made on the claro is so little that it was hard to pick up on anything not worth the mod.. needs smtg else

i sheet u not guys the blackgate mod on the xmeridian is tremendous improvement..

im not dreaming
im not earucinating
im not making it up

the ad8620 on the xm + blackgate takes off like crazy
   
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NapalmV5
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Default 03-09-2008, 01:45 | posts: 183

Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBSCIX View Post
Hey guys, I am starting this thread because OPAMPS and card modding is really big right now and post about it just get lost in others threads. We can just keep all the questions and answers here for easy locating.
I know many of you are starting to change out there opamps after Auzentech launched their high end opamp line. Others are changing their capacitors with better quality models..etc.

Currently I am using OPA637's in my Prelude 7.1 and I considering modding the card quite a bit. Including but not limited to:
New power capacitors (filters)
Changing out or bypassing the coupling capacitors with higher grade models.
and a few others that are secret.

So....what up with you guys?
how about a tent XO on the prelude?

http://www.tentlabs.com
   
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Deckard79
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Default 03-09-2008, 11:09 | posts: 119 | Location: Bristol, UK

I'd love to mod my Cambridge Azur 540A with better opamps.... a bit scared to attempt it though!
   
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Finny
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Default 03-09-2008, 16:03 | posts: 1,269 | Location: North Dakota, USA

Are there any guides on anything other than OPAMP changes on the X-Plosion? I would be really interested in those.

And how do the LM4562's stack up to other OPAMPS?
   
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ROBSCIX
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Default 03-09-2008, 16:31 | posts: 16,175 | Location: Guru3D Audio Lab

@NapalmV5, I have talked with a couple guy that replaced their Crystals with better, -more precise units and while the theory is sound that a precision oscillator would help with Digital to analog conversion and help prevent drifting and jitter...many who have tried it say they notice no noticeable improvements. -Although I take that with a grain of salt.

@Deckard79, We all felt like that at one point. You just need to dive right in and do it. If your really new to soldering etc..find some older parts to solder. It is really just a learned skill...nothing more. I suggest if your unit has DIP8 opamps to remove the stock opamp and replace it with a socket, so you can test out a few different units.

@Finny, Soundcards are all basically made the same. They just use different parts or better quality parts. Almost all mods from one card can be applied to others, you just need to figure out which parts are which and relate that info to the mod info.
The LM4562 opamps are considered great among DIY guys, National won many awards for them. They have a great clear sound to them that was previously unavailable at that price point. There are many others that are still higher quality and produce better sound quality.

Hope that helps.
   
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Deckard79
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Default 03-10-2008, 23:22 | posts: 119 | Location: Bristol, UK

Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBSCIX View Post
@NapalmV5, I have talked with a couple guy that replaced their Crystals with better, -more precise units and while the theory is sound that a precision oscillator would help with Digital to analog conversion and help prevent drifting and jitter...many who have tried it say they notice no noticeable improvements. -Although I take that with a grain of salt.

@Deckard79, We all felt like that at one point. You just need to dive right in and do it. If your really new to soldering etc..find some older parts to solder. It is really just a learned skill...nothing more. I suggest if your unit has DIP8 opamps to remove the stock opamp and replace it with a socket, so you can test out a few different units.

@Finny, Soundcards are all basically made the same. They just use different parts or better quality parts. Almost all mods from one card can be applied to others, you just need to figure out which parts are which and relate that info to the mod info.
The LM4562 opamps are considered great among DIY guys, National won many awards for them. They have a great clear sound to them that was previously unavailable at that price point. There are many others that are still higher quality and produce better sound quality.

Hope that helps.
Mmm very true, however there's also the aspect of soldering equipment... I have a very basic soldering iron but it's probably not ideal for something like that, especially as opamps are so tiny. I most certainly do NOT have a steady hand either! Do you know what type of opamps basic 2 speaker hifi amps use? If only they did utilise a DIP socket, that would be so much better.

Have looked through the internet for more info on this sort of thing, but there's very little there. Pretty much nothing, in fact. I also have no idea what opamp the Cambridge Azur 540A uses, and whether it is any good!
   
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ROBSCIX
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Default 03-11-2008, 04:42 | posts: 16,175 | Location: Guru3D Audio Lab

Well if your that unsure, I would advise against it. Let somebody else do the task that has some skills. Good luck.
   
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NapalmV5
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Default 03-11-2008, 12:01 | posts: 183

my prelude blackgated + opa637 = awesomeness




though if anyones interested in the mod.. have it done pro..

i almost destroyed mine because the stock cap is superglued..
   
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