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In Reply to: RE: Oh man, Don Allen died? posted by 1973shovel on April 08, 2017 at 04:48:58
He passed in October of 2016. He personally requested to me that if he were to pass, it would not be formally announced on any audio forums.
Don moved to Florida roughly a year-and-a-half prior to that, we suspected failing health. Don was mum about his health. He almost died of pneumonia several years prior to that.
Don may be gone, but his gear is his legacy. I think I'll be using his gear for the rest of my life.
I am so sad to hear that Don is not longer with us. I am thankful to own and to have owned some of his creations.
At present I am running a Gen II preamp that originally was a one tube unit. I sent it back for an upgrade. How does this differ from the Gen IV ?
The Gen II is a two-tube unit running cathode follower. The Gen IV is a dual-mono four tube unit which operates just one half of each dual-plate tube. (If one channel's tube is noisy or depleted, it often runs fine in the other channel.)
Because I missed my window for having my Philips CDC-935 modified by him. I was hoping he was heading for a long and happy retirement though.
"His gear is his legacy" . Nice!
Thank you for the update.
"Because I missed my window for having my Philips CDC-935 modified by him."
That window closed when he moved to Florida.... The only product he had from Florida was modifying the Little Bear (Chinese) phono stage. Which happens to be what I use for the two systems with a vinyl rig.
If you know someone who can "reverse engineer" the CDC-935 upgrades, you can possibly borrow one, and then have the person upgrade your unit. (I'd send a couple of "stock" 935s that I have. The stock units are for replacing the laser assembly, if one in a modified unit happens to die. These things won't last forever.)
Anybody who figures out how to replicate Don Allen's CDC-935 circuit upgrades could made a good chunk of change modifying these players..... I know quite a few people who would get an upgraded CDC-935 if such an option became available. (Part of the upgrade is mounting a 1/4 inch steel plate on the bottom of the player, to mimic the Marantz CC-65SE chassis.)
The closest thing to the CDC-935 DAC section is an outboard DAC made by Valve Amplification Company (VAC) called the DAC MkII. They're not easy to find, however. It uses the same DAC chip as the CDC-935 (Philips SAA7323) and has a tube output stage. It happens to be a Lampizator fave. The wacky thing is this chip was targeted for portable CD playback, not high-end gear. (My speculation is that it has low power consumption, hence a small "RFI footprint".) But in spite of that, it sounds more "right" to me than 99 percent of the DAC chips out there. (And more right than some discrete circuits I've heard as well.)
FWIW - I have three of Don's modified Magnevox CD players, on a whim I set out to replicate one for myself and it worked great. Sounds exactly as my others. Since I had a working model to start with I didn't have too much trouble, the parts and layout look exactly as the original. I've loaned two of those CD players to my family and a friend, but I still have one left. It uses a 12af7 loctal.
I don't know about the ethics of building more, I am going to make one more for myself - maybe I could get some opinions on this here in the forum?
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