Tonight I installed a 12MHz TentLabs XO2.2 superclock module into my Caiman SEG DAC to see whether it can be further improved over Stan's excellent firmware reclocking code. The claimed jitter is <3ps, compared with the hundreds of ps from a standard crystal solution. There are three crystals in the SEG and I'm superclocking the S/PDIF receiver since my Pi/DigiOne sends S/PDIF data and that's the only input I use. The other crystals are for the USB interface and the firmware.
This is the diagram showing removal of the crystal and two capacitors and feeding the input to the processor with a direct low jitter 12MHz clock.
Showing the WM8804 receive processor and the crystal XTAL-2.
The crystal and two capacitors C37 and C38 have been removed in preparation for the superclock.
The XO2.2 module is squeezed in tight, with the clock going into the R/H hole vacated by the crystal (pin 11 on the WM8804) and signal ground going to the two pads closest to each other vacated by removal of the capacitors. 15V power is taken straight from the power switch.
I'm listening to it now but have forced a break to give it some settling and warm-up time. I'll comment on the sound later.
First impressions. I mucked around with the SEG modes to get the best one and settled on Mode 1: optimised XTAL processing (two LED blinks, unlike the manual, although this could be due to my special click-free firmware). I guess this might be because such a good clock may not need or desire firmware re-clocking. I don't know enough about what each mode does, so it's just a guess. In any case, I stuck with this mode for all my listening.
Two things struck me out of the box. Firstly, the soundstage is HUGE. I mean big depth and the sense of it being wraparound. Twice I looked sideways thinking that someone had joined me in the room. Uncanny. Listening to Zero 7's Somersault the feeling of space was immense. The ambience rose from the extreme low noise floor, which is a characteristic of many of the songs I played. Within this space is so much fine detail, with many things happening in the mix.
The second is dynamic clout. On Jeff Beck's Space for the Papa and Dire Strait's Ride Across the River there is real attack and I found myself listening at one volume notch lower than usual. All the music I played was vibrant and alive making me want to play more. Some special moments ensued with Mindy Smith and Juliette Commagere sounding very special. Oh, and the bass on Tangerine Dream's Cry Little Sister was impressively tight and thunderous.
I did play a couple of numbers on Qobuz just to make sure I wasn't missing anything but went back to Spotify as it continues to impress and doesn't seem to lose anything.
Amazing. I need to sleep now but I'm already looking forward to coming home tomorrow evening!
Goodbye from Emmylou Harris's excellent Wrecking Ball album. The opening ambience builds up with subterranean bass waves, almost air movements. The soundstage is again very wide and deep. Instrumental entries appear in different locations and then Emmylou's voice cuts through it, centrally focussed and vivid.
Santana's Europa is an old recording but his guitar sounds electric (!) within the gentle South American boogie. As is often the case with their songs, there is a change of pace mid-song and the whole uplifted rhythm carries you along. There is so much more atmosphere than I've heard before.
k d lang's The Joker sounds as wonderful as ever, with what must be one of the five greatest female voices in existence, achingly beautiful. The bass guitar is deep and underpins everything superbly well. The whole song has great rhythm and drive.
Ry Cooder's Tattler has some great guitar work, again sounding incredibly vivid and real. Oh, and the backing vocals sound very good, too. Wonderful for a 1974 recording.
I wonder whether the blue cable is Gotham, maybe GAC-1.
Decks: Salvation + London Reference | 301 + Ortofon 2M Mono SE Digital: Lindemann Limetree Network Bridge | Chord Qutest Amplifiers: Pre AVC1 (Slagle) | Temple Monoblocks with Supercap LPS Speakers: Bastanis Sagarmatha Duo with with twin 15" baffle-less bass drivers per side | MarkaudioSOTA Viotti One
The blue co-ax wire came pre-connected to the board with prepared ends. Guido Tent should be able to tell you, there is a contact address on the TentLabs website.
Do my observations tally with what you've heard with your Oppo mods, Gaz?
Still waiting on the OCXO clock upgrade board coming from Oppomod Martin,
post back with some comments when its fitted.
All the other mods I've done have noticeably improved the player, the benefits being for both audio AND video. The linear PSU was a standout, but audio wise being able to use the i2s hookup to my dac has been a bit of a revalation.
Been playing with a bunch of 0.5/0.5m HDMI cables for that today, and have to say it makes a big difference from the supplied 6 foot one that came with the Oppo.
Think the clock upgrade will do wonders as you've found with the SEG.