I am finishing the Bushmaster mods to a friend of mine, while waiting for my SEG Caiman, to make the best possible mods, including clocks.
To begin, here are some photos whre you can see what the Bushmaster looks like today, waiting for some parts, to be finished.
I will not install a clock in this dac, It will be done in the SEG.
Bushmaster MKII :
As usual, I use Audio Note Kaisei caps. I love them. The 10000μf cap is an AN standard, because Kaisei would be to big. I could bent the legs but it would not look nice.
In the vernon mods, I took out the normal resistors and placed some Vishay nacked foil. Insane? No. There is a big improvement here.
Lots of information! Timbre.
The wima, (lousy, excuse me...), will be replaced by better ones, also film. I wish Silver mica from Charcroft Vishay had that value, 0.22μf, but no, I have to use another thing. They are ordered, I'm waiting.
Latest firmware, BM20 is installed, this is a very nice upgrade.
An external psu is in servive, waiting to be replaced by the next Dorado. This may be a huge upgrade.
I will not use tolkins, after the internal regs, I will try others that I found. Let's see.
The fuse has been replaced by a solid double silver wire. I noticed a difference, can't explain.
New rca connections and solid silver wire.
Now the photos, I made some macro, they are inforgiven, you can see the dirt in the holes.
- Before to decide what clock to choose, (may be tentlabs, but I am open to suggestions), I have to decide what clock I should change.
- The "ARMATURE Hecate Interface XMOS Xcore 208 USB SPDIF Asynchrone" would be a good choice and a good reason to change th crystal XTAL-2 of the SEG, near WM8804 receive processor.
- By the other hand, I wonder if it is a mistake. The SEG has a USB input. How good is this input? Isn't it better to change the clock of this input? My priority is USB for the output server. I wonder what is the best solution.
Yes PaulD, the Bushmaster II has improved significantly. A few important mods are on the way : Supercaps on C37 and C38, replacement of Wimas 0,22μf by Evox Rifa MMK or WIMA FKP2 and Dorado. I must have all the caps this week. I will not install a clock in the Bushmaster II.
I always thought the USB output was a weak link so be interesting to see how this develops Thanks for sharing
I don't know how it will develop, not yet, until I decide if I use the spdif input with the Armature or the usb input, tweaked.
One thing we all know is that when the I2s signal is converted in spdif, some irreversible lost is the consequence. Then we can improve the spdif signal with better clocks, but we will NEVER recover from that loss.
I can change the clock of the SEG usb input, and may be I can do more mods here. Who knows? Any help?
Ok, I made my decision about where to install the clocks. It's simple, two clocks will be installed! The one near the firmware and the one in the usb path.
I want to have the Caiman as my main dac, the only one. My preamp and amp can stay, may be I'll change one day, but they are very good for me. Not at all a priority. So, after this dac I only have to think about buying a new pair of Eikona drivers, because one of my old Jordan drivers burned. Then it will be about turntable. I already have two very nice phono preamps. I have the best cables of the world. (!!!!!!!) hu hum... Two clocks for max performance and flexibility. Now I only have to decide...
To finish, I also think that the clock near the firmware will have an influence in the sound, even if the signal comes from the usb input, right?
Hum...very interesting... It was sounding very very well with some bipolar Kaisei I had before and I took them out to upgrade... with tokins...! I don't know if I try the blue ones or put the Kaisei back there and that is it. Who knows? May be the blues will sound better, but if it is so, they have to be very good! I am tempted to try and compare. Kaisei versus Blue ones. Or even Simics, but I already know them. Opinions? Are them Oscons? Where can I find them? Thanks, good tip!
Well, I have a small list of clocks. There is a lot more, I am sure that some of them are quite good, but I see no information about them and the sources are not necessarilly the most prestigious. Obscure.
Look at the position those caps are in, what are they actually doing in the circuit at that point this should help you decide.
Having maxed out a fair few of these things including seg's with very unique power supplies I would seriously consider either having a go at designing a dac based around tats Wolfson chipset yourself and have space to engineer in some quality ground planes, supply rails and ar better layout also throw in some RF control, different casework and you will end up with what you are trying to achieve but with a far more desirable result imho. However for the cost its a fair price.
Or you could look at the Topping D70 a very decent under £450 unit that can really be made to sing rather nicely.
Your comment is most welcomed, but I don't feel at easy, not yet, to design such a dac myself. It's may be where all this will lead me, but later on. For now I am still in the 3,5 level of diying. I took a look at the D70, and it has a good looking board. Clocks are much better than SEG's and the psu is very decent. Tempting. With the SEG I will spend a lot of money in clocks and all the rest. But I will have better clocks (I guess... as they will be tentlabs, MAY BE!), and better PSU. I think that it will reach another level of refinement, with much more work and money, but it's beeing fun. After all, I would like to take this project to it's limit. Also, I ordered the SEG. It's important for me to finish something. Seeing the level reached with the mods I made in the BMII, and believing that much more quality will be achieved with a heavily modded SEG, I will stay in this track. All decisions are (ALMOST) taken, except what caps to use in those "tokin holes"...
"Look at the position those caps are in, what are they actually doing in the circuit at that point this should help you decide."
Well, I am not seeing anything. What would you do?
I don't think SEG is using a XMOS silicone in the usb circuit and this a good thing for me.
Yesterday I soldered two Kaisei caps, (this time polarised!), on the place of the tokins, in the BMII, and also soldered the two caps to finish the Vernon mods. For those who donn't remember, I took out the Wimas. Then I soldered two 0,022μf Evox Riva in parallel with the old (odd) 0,22μf wimas. Then I had a very pleasant surprise. The sound itself didn't improved, but the PRAT, the engagement, the enthusiasm of the music was astonishing.
We can understand very easily what the musicians are doing. All the sounds have something to say, they all make part of the music. I never had so much musicality and enjoyment with music, even when I had very fancy cd transports like Flatfish from 47Labs and Naim CDS, etc. Those drivers and cd players were superior, but had not the same level of musicality I have here. I heard a few records that usually find boring and heard them from track one to the last track, all cd's without interruption.
It was difficult not to dance! It's amazing the potential of this dac.
I still can perceice noise, and I know that the psu must be improved, until I receive my Dorado, the next version.
I will post photos of psu and recent mods, may be today, later on.
This project is coming to an end, I'll soon begin the Caiman SEG mods. It will be much more complete and I have a few good ideas and a few different things to try and compare to each other, before definitive installation.The BII project was like the preparation for the Caiman SEG project.
Oh, just one last thing for the BU II : Can I solder the supercaps like tokins in parallel with the 25V/100μf Kaisei caps? I must receive them today or tomorrow. I have to try the supercaps here and it would be convenient to try them in parallel, I'm afraid of board massacre. Thanks!