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What are your top 5 fav amp tweaks? Cost no object, in order of musical improvement in your system.
1. Bybee filters in the power supply & speaker coupling.
2. Power transformer upgrade
3. Upgrade coupling caps (from crap ones to Mundorf Silver Oil)
4. Change resistors from warm mushy ones to Tantalum's
5. Upgrade power supply caps to Jensens
cut and remove any/all zip ties, separate bundled wires, keep them away from metal chassis, sides, or cover.
Replaced one in my Rotel 932 integrated.Big improvment.Got the idea from this TNT article.Did not have the nerve to try the rest thats outlined in it.
1- Quality Tubes
I'm suprised no-one's mentioned replacing the input attenuator (or are we talking power amps only?). Replacing a crappy carbon-track pot with an Alps blue was a big improvement for me, but then rewiring that as a psuedo-shunt attenuator was a much bigger one.
1. Coupling caps - currently teflon
2. Resistors - currently Holco
3. Chokes in PSU - at least two per side
4. PSU and cathode bypass caps - currently all polypropylene
5. Mains cleaner - 8A isolation toroid.
1) add IEC if applicable
2) change bridge rectifier to fast / soft recovery
3) upgrade all caps in signal path to best quality applicable given size / V rating
4) change binding posts to superior electric
5) upgrade power cord
lower priority is signal wiring, DC wiring, power supply caps in reverse order.
1. Combak Harmonix RF-57 tuning dots on circuit boards, case, and iec receptacle
2. Musicoat on all solid state devices, particularly ICs and dag blasted silicon rectifiers...
3. Replace steel bolt on toroid transformer with bronze, use bronze and titanium washers, and fasten with titanium nuts. Replace case screws with bronze screws.
4. Judicious use of Dynamat X-treme, under transformer, loud/ringy parts of the cabinet... don't overkill or you will have flat sound
5. paint underside of amp with C37 lacquer
6. if possible, a shorty Z-sleeve (the 4 inch version) over internal ac wiring
7. Stabilant-22 on any slip connection (non soldered) a.c. points of contact... far more common in modern designs...
8. Use of graphite plate on top of amp for vibration management, RF reduction, spectral tuning
9. specialized superfine diamond powder/C37 lacquer matrix coatings... absolutely stunning, awesome, mind expanding results... not coming to any products in the near future so you have to mix your own...totally blows away the typical tweak...
They sound like great suggestions but what is musicoat and where do you get it?
Also what is a z-sleeve, stabilant-22 and where do you get those things.
My Favorite tweaks to my SS amps so far:
2) Walker Audio SST (on IEC contacts, any internal non-soldered connections including fuses)
I do not dare to change out any of the electronic parts inside my Proceed amp. Here is also my list of performance gain (internal and external tweaks) based on my setup used with a Proceed AMP2:
1) Musicoat treating of internal electronics of amp
2) DBS based DIY ICs
3) Electraglide Fatman 2000 Gold powercord
4) Walker Audio SST (on IEC contacts, any internal non-soldered connections including fuses)
5) Symposium clone platform
6) roller blocks
I am reluctant to try MusiCoat until there is more evidence that it works. I have not seen any proper reviews of it, and it's extremely expensive for what it is.
I see that the ChrisVH website sells the replaceable Furtech iec inlets. Any thoughts about these improving sound quality of amplifiers? Are they worth the trouble? Thanks!
I have purchased and do use many of the rhodium Furutech IEC inlets Chris VH sells within my system. They do improve the sound reproduction a tad. I have not tried the inlets on my amps though, only on source components and power conditioners.
I'm curious to know why you've chosen these and ranked them in the way you did (or aren't they in "best" order??).
1. What d'ya mean by "power transformer upgrade":
* upgrade to a "named brand" from a cheapie Chinese made?
* upgrade from a toroid to a "conventional" transformer ('C' core, 'EI' core etc.)?
* upgrade to a higher VA rating transformer?
* upgrade to the same VA rating but wound on a larger core?
2. Why do you say "tantalum resistors" are the best? Yes, a lot of commercial components use crap resistors - even if they are metal film - but there are also Holco, Beyschlag, Vishay ...!
3. How do Jensen power supply caps rate vs. Black Gates?
I would add one more ... add solid-core wires to the power supply PCB traces (so you don't constrict current flow).
I thought it would be nice to rank tweaks in order of musical improvement in my audio system. Much is said in the Asylum about this product & that tweak, but it boils down to what it sounds like in an individual system.
For example I have not tried every different type of resistor in my amp but in terms of musical improvement the tants are very nice to my ears & made a significant improvement. If I find a better resistor, I'm just as likely to change the tantalums. By the way that recommendation came from another Asylum member.
The power transformer was an accidental tweak. The power tranny decided to die on me, so I had a Black Art handwound one made by a local tranny genius. I don't have all the details on the ins & outs of it but it improved the bass & soundstage significantly.
The great capacitor debate will always continue. Why did I chose Jensens paper in oil of all things over Black Gates? I was looking for warmth of sound rather than neutrality. By putting them in the power supply it reduced the risk that the sound would be to warm. I like a leaning towards warmth, as live music sounds that way. Ideally Black Gates like to be run constantly, & I don't like my valve amp to be on all the time.
Before someone pipes up & says I don't know what I'm talking about, I do use Black Gates in my CD player, and love the sound of them.
Can you tell me a bit more about your transformer experience ... as I'm most interested to hear that it "improved bass & soundstage significantly". My next project is redoing the power supplies in my 6 AKSA monolocks so, if there's benefit in changing transformers, I'll do it!
Do you know what caused you power trannie to give up the ghost? I thought they were basically indestructible!
Can you give me whatever specs you have on your hand-wound power tranny? And an email address so I can ask them any more Qs I might think of? To give you such a good improvement, they must've done something right!
Her is the link to Lucas Cant's website. He makes the best trannies if you don't mind getting them from Australia. He is hard to get hold of but be persistent.
He mentioned to me that American power trannies sometimes give up the ghost with our 50hz power supply.
Amaaazing - i AM in Oz, Ian ... moreover, in Melbourne, where Lucas is! So I'll go see him soon.
Thanks for the info!
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