EC Aficionado (was: The Studio Jr.)

Discussion in 'Eddie Current' started by AppleheadMay, Nov 10, 2015.

  1. JK47

    JK47 An angry flower

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    A few weeks ago @Jh4db536 came over to my place to compare his Fostex T900 super tweeters against my friends T500mkII that are on loan in my system. I was surprised that he brought over his DIY modded DG300b speaker amp, and I'm glad I had the chance to listen to it in my system. It is a beast that he put his personal touches on, and his attention to detail and practicality was awesome.

    In my 2 channel system, it made the AF sound slow and bloomy, and I was a little disappointed, but we discussed what changes he did to his amp and how he tuned the sound to his liking. It boiled down to modern Russian 300b tubes, and replacing the original caps with the very reasonably priced Jantzen Superior and maybe another secret sauce mod or two. I really like the sound of his 300b amp, fast clean and dynamic, although the AF was at a slight disadvantage power wise, approximately 4W vs 8W. The 300b amp bridged the gap between the AF and the Pioneer M-22 I also had to compare, with the 300b leaning more towards the solid state M-22.

    I set out to head down the righteous path of less bloom... First the Russian EH 2A3 tubes were found for a song on ebay lightly used and tested to spec when they arrived. Jantzen Superior caps were ordered, and the wheels were put in motion. I tracked down a thread here that refereed to the caps tested in the development of the AF. I went with the number 2 pick the Jantzen's and not Jupiter, partly due to price (1/4 of the price) and a few people have had long term reliability problems with them in other applications even though they start out crazy good, but have had a tendency to deteriorate quick. I didn't feel like rolling the dice...

    http://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/capacitors.4106/

    I unplugged the AF from power overnight, and tore into it this evening. The stock Russian caps (with a great reputation for value) were pulled and the Jantzen's went in. Doing this on your own WILL VOID YOUR WARRANTY, not to mention the usual dangers of high voltage and death, etc.

    IMG_0656.jpg
    IMG_0657.jpg IMG_0658.jpg
    First of all, for those that don't know me, I'm a HD600 guy, not an HD650 guy. I did this mod for my speakers not my headphones (which I enjoyed with the Russian caps), but felt a little too much bloom with my Fostex speakers.

    2 albums in this evening, and the fat I was looking to trim is gone... This mod will not be for everyone, but it works very well in my set up. It also helps to have the the devastatingly good T500mkII tweeters, they did noticeably best their little brother, the T900's when we compared them head to head. I tortured @Jh4db536 with a few tracks of MJ's "Thriller" album (80's CD), and the difference became more apparent than with a few other genre's and tracks.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2018
  2. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Don't you love our builder? That guy is amazing. I still dream of those tweeters.
     
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  3. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    One other thing you can try is replace the electrolytic cathode bypass caps on the driver and power tubes with large film equivalents. There is certainly enough room in the chassis. Large film caps will be expensive though - so maybe a measure in-between might be to parallel the electrolytic caps with smaller film. No guarantees though as these are already good caps used.

    A more extreme measure would be to take the output from SE outputs, which is from the tertiary winding, and use it as feedback to the driver. Delete the cathode bypass caps if you do this. Use about 1.5db of feedback, and this will increase bass quality significantly, but at a small expense to depth, openness, and liveliness.
     
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  4. Garns

    Garns Friend

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    What would you say cut more bloom, replacing the Marconi 2A3 with the EH, or changing the caps? I am in for round 2 of the AF, but don't want to dink around DIYing it (my DIY history involves lots of magic smoke).
     
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  5. JK47

    JK47 An angry flower

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    The Jantzen caps made a bigger difference than the tubes. I have Jantzen Superior caps in the L-Pads for the Fostex T500mkII, and they have been awesome. Jantzen Superior have a rep for being farely neutral maybe with a slightly bright tendency.

    I'm really enjoying these Jantz caps in the AF.

    Edit: I actually had black glass Ken-Rads in which sounded very similar to the Marconi black plate RCA clones before I switched to the EH.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2018
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  6. raif

    raif Man made lobster/plankton

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    Apologies in advance for what is likely a stupid question... What is the gain setting on the Aficionado?

    I have been telling myself for years that I was gonna get an EC amplifier, and then for the last year that I was going to buy this one whenever it came out.

    The problem is, I am slummin' it with an O2 right now and even at 1.0X gain I am can't get above 9 o'clock(right where the channel balance starts to even out) before the volume becomes uncomfortable with the HD800S.
     
  7. monacelli

    monacelli Friend

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    One suggestion would be to buy a SYS and not worry about it. It's transparent, well-made, and a steal at $50. Between the volume control on the SYS and the one on the amp, you'd have all the flexibility you need.
     
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  8. JoshMorr

    JoshMorr Friend

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    Channeling my inner reddit - stick with the O2
     
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  9. cskippy

    cskippy Creamy warmpoo

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    Most of my listening on Aficionado with Utopia and Auteur is at the first dot up or about 8 o'clock. I have some volume play below that before channel balance becomes a problem but with a sensitive headphone like the TH-X00 I did have issues if I wanted to listen quietly. That's where a Sys might come in handy. I did use Freya for a time as a preamp into AF and that did help quite a bit.

    Here is a picture of my normal volume:
    [​IMG]
     
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  10. Stapsy

    Stapsy Friend

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    I don't think this is a very good idea. If you are having issues with listening at low levels just upgrade the pot in the AF.
     
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  11. raif

    raif Man made lobster/plankton

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    Based on recent stories of purported crankiness, is this is even something Craig would offer?
     
  12. cskippy

    cskippy Creamy warmpoo

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    You would probably be following the path of @JK47 and void your warranty. It would be worth it to some I suppose.
     
  13. Stapsy

    Stapsy Friend

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    In the past he has offered P&G pots as an upgrade option specifically for better channel balance at low volumes. If you are serious about buying and that is the one thing that is holding you back all you can do is ask.
     
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  14. g_mr_p

    g_mr_p Acquaintance

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    I only found out about this recently when scrounging about for DIY parts, but the venerable P&G RF15 pot has been discontinued. There are maybe a couple of places that still have stock left, but if anyone's looking they should be prepared for exorbitant prices and/or limited selection (didn't end up buying one myself, as I couldn't find a quad-deck unit).
     
  15. Garns

    Garns Friend

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    @Marvey Would 6SN7 work in the driver position? Electrically it seems OK if there is enough gain. However, heater current is higher (0.6A vs 0.3A). Wouldn't want to overload the power transformer.
     
  16. kirayamato

    kirayamato Friend

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    hi, can anyone help out. I am using balanced cables into a yggy and I need to set the volume to around 4 o'clock to get decent sound levels out of my vHE1000 2 on Spotify at full volume and even if someone is a lighter listener they would still need to go to around 3 o'clock on the dial.
    Am I setting something up wrong? or is this the amount of the power the amp has, seems weird to me as I saw @cskippy use utopia at 8 o'clockish which is not that much more efficient than my he1kv2 at least from what I know.
     
  17. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Do you have the switch at the back of the Af set to balanced inputs? The Af has a ton of gain.
     
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  18. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    No. Too much heater draw. Do not recommend using tubes not listed in the manual.
     
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  19. kirayamato

    kirayamato Friend

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    am assuming this is how its suppose to be

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  20. Melvillian

    Melvillian Friend

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    Yeah that looks right. Have you tried flipping the switch up and using the RCA inputs? Maybe try a different driver tube?
     

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