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Everything posted by plaurids

  1. For the glue on the Audezes, I guess so (never had one). Isopropyl alcohol doesn't work so well on the earpad adhesive for the Stax Lambdas, though. Believe me, I tried. However, since the casing is all plastic and the earpad gluing base is so close to the drivers, it's not advisable to use anything else, so one has to make do with it anyway. A lot of patience and care is needed to remove the black gooey, tar-like glue residues without touching the drivers - the former just seem to stick everywhere on the outer case.
  2. In due time: I was thinking... Indeed the CCS mod doesn't address a design flaw of the SRM-T1(S) which causes this loss of frequency response at higher volumes - namely, the fact that the 6CG7/6FQ7 tubes are driven slightly over their maximum voltage spec. It rather addresses a greater flaw which is the major loss of output current in the plate resistors, precisely by replacing them with constant current sources as done e.g. in the KGST. To fix the former flaw as well, some people have also proposed to use e.g. ECC99 tubes instead of the 6CG7/6FQ7 (which, in this case, requires some rewiring of the tube sockets and replacing the cathode resistors in series with the TVR2 trimpots), which have a higher maximum voltage. I did the CCS mod on my SRM-T1S a couple of months ago (I wrote a detailed account of the process mainly for my own use in this thread, as sort of a field journal) and it really did wonders on how my SR-007A performs on that energizer. I'm still using the stock Gold Aero 6CG7 tubes and gauging whether it's worth to do the ECC99 mod or not - I use the volume at 10-11 o'clock as it stands, which is enough for most of the music I hear (classical, choral, jazz, blues, rock and metal), but I do need to go higher occasionally e.g. with some particularly compressed tracks (quite a few rock recordings have that problem), and then I notice the SR-007A doesn't perform so well. Of course, the recording itself may be also to blame for that since these cans are quite revealing of poor recordings (especially with the port mod I use), but I could be also hitting the tubes' limitations on the SRM-T1S's circuit design, I'm not sure yet. So, suppose one has a Stax SRM-T1S energizer with the CCS mod and ECC99 tubes. Will it then be enough to drive the CRBN, even at higher volumes?
  3. Hmm... Good to know. I'm taking the Stax Lambdas as my only former experience with this issue - it's a freaking nightmare to clean the glue residue from old earpads on these. But still... a flagship headphone such as the CRBN ought to have something better. I've read that Audeze's new planar magnetic flagship LCD-5 also has glued earpads. Seriously, even a relatively old mid-fi dynamic headphone such as the AKG K701 has plastic bayonets for the earpads. This can be done without compromising the earpad seal, and makes maintenance and modding far easier.
  4. Let me just mention one minor thing that does bother me about the CRBN, though... The earpads are glued. Why Audeze, on a $4500 headphone? Especially an electrostatic one... I know spritzer reported that the earpads do seem solid and may not need replacement for quite a while, but I did have to replace the (also glued) earpads on my L407 recently and it's not fun at all.
  5. That's the ultimate reason I ended up doing the CCS mod on my SRM-T1S. In stock configuration, it was a good match to the SR-L407 that came with it but it definitely underpowered my 007, to the point I started hitting the well-known difficulties with higher volumes spritzer alluded to above. Things are a lot better now, also considering I'm currently unable to afford a BHSE or even a KGST (custom taxes here in Brazil are no joke). Likewise, the CRBN is pretty much out of reach for me right now but one can always dream... That also raises an interesting point. Hi-end dynamic or planar magnetic headphones usually need a (more often than not similarly priced) suitable hi-end headphone amp to drive them at their best. It makes absolutely no sense to buy a Focal Utopia or an Abyss AB-1266 Phi TC and then plug it straight to an iPhone or a mainstream DAC, when you can get close enough results on such devices spending about one order of magnitude less. Of course, you can also do it with such headphones, but then you'll leave so much refinement on the table, you are no longer doing it for the sake of sound quality but rather of something else. If you take that into account, the estat proposal of always factoring a matching amp/energizer into the cost+practicality equation no longer seems so absurd at the hi-end level.
  6. Audeze CRBN + Mjolnir Carbon... Of course Audeze would do that ðŸĪŠ Jest aside, very exciting breath of fresh air on the estats market from Audeze, although the price tag is no jest at all... Given spritzer's impressions on the CRBN pitted against the Stax SR-007 (by the way, I do have to commend his bravery on taking the former apart) and the north-of-$6000 price tag of Stax's new flagship SR-X9000, I'm now thinking how much of a "steal" (as far as hi-end estats go) the 007 has become. Still, I'm quite intrigued by the CRBN, but $4500 for a headphone is way out of my league. Head-Fi's YouTube review of the CRBN claims that it's relatively easy to drive, which clashes with spritzer reporting it above as "intentionally inefficient". Just to have a better idea, how does the CRBN fare against, say, the 007 regarding amplification demands? If I put a CRBN on, say, a CCS-modded SRM-T1S (as the one driving my port-modded SR-007A SZ2 right now), will it be enough?
  7. I've found the culprit. A tiny solder blob which seems to have landed out of nowhere was shorting two solder points in the CCS module's PCB. Removed it, resoldered the module to the unit's PCB... and presto! Left-channel voltages back to normal! Phew! Rebiasing with the stock tubes took a couple of hours (3-4 rebiasing sessions with about one hour in between to wait for the tubes to drift). I'll wait a couple of months to see if it's worth it to start tube rolling. In the meantime... Currently testing my SR-007A with the newly recapped and CCS-modded SRM-T1S. Amazing! It seems a straitjacket was removed from the cans! The CCS mod really makes a difference.
  8. I've finally managed to take some days off from work and open up my SRM-T1S for the component changes. To summarize, this is what I did: 1.) Recap. The stock power supply caps were replaced as follows (Mouser links to all caps listed below can be found in previous posts of this thread): C9-10: 2 x Panasonic EEU-FR1H151B (FR series) - 150uF, 50V, 105oC, DF=0.10 (at 120 Hz, 20oC), ripple current = 0.82A (RMS, 120 Hz, 105oC), life = 6000h, dimensions (LS x D x L): 5mm x 10mm x 12.5mm C11-14: 4 x Nichicon KX series - 330uF, 400V, 105oC, DF=0.15 (at 120 Hz, 20oC), ripple current = 1.44A (RMS, 120 Hz), life = 2000h, dimensions (LS x D x L): 10mm x 30mm x 50mm C21-22: 2 x Panasonic EEU-FR1A681 (FR series) - 680uF, 10V, 105oC, DF=0.19 (at 120 Hz, 20oC), ripple current = 0.66A (RMS, 120 Hz, 105oC), life = 6000h, dimensions (LS x D x L): 3.5mm x 8mm x 11.5mm C23-24: 2 x Panasonic EEU-FR1V181 (FR series) - 180uF, 35V, 105oC, DF=0.12 (at 120 Hz, 20oC), ripple current = 0.71A (RMS, 120 Hz, 105oC), life = 6000h, dimensions (LS x D x L): 3.5mm x 8mm x 11.5mm I didn't use the EPCOS / TDK B43547A9477M000 (B43547 series - 470uF, 400V, 105oC, DF=0.15 at 120 Hz, 20oC, ripple current = 2.71A RMS at 100 Hz, 105oC, 8000h life) for the big C11-14 caps as originally planned because I've encountered the same problem as thebrunx - the leads of the stock C11-14 caps were off-center and, thanks to that, the C11 and C13 leads were closer to each other than the cap's diameter. Due to that, the EPCOS caps cannot fit, but the Nichicon do (barely). Is the 2000h life of the Nichicon caps a problem in the long term? What kind of lifespan may I expect for the new caps on the SRM-T1S? 2.) Added safety resistors to the outputs: Left +/- (resp. yellow / green), right +/- (resp. red / white): 4 x Vishay CCF025K11FKR36 2W 5.11Kohms 1% Pro / Normal bias (resp. gray / blue): 2 x Vishay CMF654M9900FHEK 1.5W 4.99Mohms 1% Notice that the wire color assignment for the output terminals in my SRM-T1S differs from e.g. the Stax Pro bias diagram in this post on adjusting bias on Stax tube amplifiers. 3.) Replaced the output plate resistors (8 x 33 Kohms) with four constant-current sources (CCS), following the mod design proposed by JimL. I didn't make the CCS array myself; I bought it ready-made from here. However, I did measure the currents before installation at 4.9mA for each CCS in the array using the testing rig proposed by JimL in the AudioXpress July 2017 article where he published his CCS mod. The recapping had its moments of stress. The copper trails in the SRM-T1S's PCB are quite fragile and it took me a while to find the right temperature for the soldering iron, particularly when desoldering the big C11-14 caps, which not only had a lot of solder to melt but also the cap leads were bent sideways, so I had to keep the soldering iron for longer than reasonable until I could pull off the caps (by the way, the C11-14 caps were also glued to the PCB). In the process, I ended up peeling off a bit of the trail in two places - I've managed to reattach the trail at one place (right below C12), but at the other (right below C23) I had to replace the trail with a small piece of wire (AWG22 pure silver, PTFE-insulated). Just in case, I've measured the conductivity of the reattached trail and it's working fine. All new components were soldered using 3%-silver, lead-free solder. When it came to turn the energizer on and rebias the tubes, a problem emerged whose cause I've been unable to pinpoint so far. The energizer did turn on and didn't explode (phew!), but it seems to me that the delay circuit is now taking longer than before to "release". So far, no big deal (I think, but it may be important in what follows, so I'm taking note of it). When rebiasing the tubes proper, the voltage between the channel terminals (Left +/-, Right +/-) and the ground terminal (e.g. in the back), which is adjusted by the Balance (TVR2) trimpots, can be set near zero on the right channel as it should but stays at about +/- 280-320V on the left channel, depending on the left channel's TVR2 adjustment. The left channel's Offset (TVR1) trimpot can be set "around zero" (sort of), but it swings with a much larger voltage amplitude than the TVR1 on the right channel - the voltage fluctuations are certainly far above the 15V bias tolerance interval. The latter problem alone makes rebiasing the left-channel tube near impossible. Like the TVR2, the TVR1 adjustment on the right channel is behaving normally. What I could observe so far is the following: The problem is not caused by the new power supply caps, since judging by the schematic they should affect both channels equally; The safety resistors are measuring properly after installation - no shorts, no missed contacts; A problem with some of the CCS's is possible but unlikely - I don't know if a faulty CCS circuit could cause the problem I'm observing, but if that were the case, it would mean that precisely the two CCS circuits connected to the left-channel terminals are faulty; I tried to swap the tubes, but the problem stays in the left channel. The same happened after I replaced both stock tubes with a pair of Japanese, short-plated Raytheons (not a matched pair). Therefore, it doesn't seem to be a tube problem; The tube socket leads on the left channel are not cut off; All four red leds on the PCB are lit - the only odd thing (which I don't know if it's related or not) is the additional time the delay circuit is taking to release the energizer. The 2Kohm TVR1 and TVR2 trimpots on both channels are measuring properly (with the amp turned off) at several adjustments on the circuit and don't seem to be mechanically damaged. However, sometimes when turning the left channel's TVR2 trimpot, the voltage drops to reasonable levels for a few seconds and then goes back to 280-320V. This seems to indicate a faulty trimpot, despite the fact that resistance measurements with the energizer turned off seem to indicate normal operation. Needless to say, the energizer was working normally before I started tinkering with it. Any ideas of what could be causing this? In view of 7.) above, I'll try to desolder the left channel's TVR2 trimpot from the PCB and measure it alone to see if it's really faulty. If that's really the case, I'll probably replace all TVR trimpots with e.g. 2Kohm, 1/2W Bourns 3386F trimpots, which should be fine. I couldn't find 2K trimpots with the same PCB footprint as stock and power rating higher than 1/2W, even though JimL recommended 0.6W of higher based on the rule of thirds. The only other component which could possibly affect the left channel alone in the TVR2 measurement is the left-channel C26 capacitor (ERO, now Vishay Roederstein, model MKP1841 - polypropylene, 0.01uF, 630V), which is connected to ground, but I think this one failing is highly unlikely.
  9. Oh, are you referring to the electrolytic caps? I've already bought the EPCOS / Panasonic combo listed above, I figured it would make most sense since these are all power supply caps and they seemed to outperform or match most other choices for that application. Not to mention that Black Gates are discontinued and hence hard to find in the specs I need. Actually, I did look for Black Gates while researching this, but Hificollective is the only place I could find that still has some of those in stock. For instance, Black Gate WKz caps would theoretically replace the C11-14 snap-ins but their physical size is too large for them to fit in the PCB, and the ones with the appropriate rated voltage (500V) are only 100 uF at most, so at best one doesn't gain any extra filtering muscle compared to stock. The EPCOS caps, on the other other hand, are 470 uF and still are smaller than stock. Likewise, I couldn't find any Black Gate caps that can match or outperform the specs of the Panasonic caps for the replacements I need within the allowed physical dimensions for the SRM-T1S's PCB. Honestly, I couldn't get data on DF and ripple current for the Black Gates (which are the other specs that count the most for power supply caps), but I doubt they outperform the EPCOS / Panasonic combo within the allowed PCB dimensions and lower bounds on the capacitances and voltage ratings in that respect either.
  10. OK, got all the replacement caps, safety resistors and a nice CCS mod circuit - what I'm lacking now is time to open the energizer and change the components... Also just got an additional incentive to recap and mod my SRM-T1S - managed to get a fine used Omega SR-007A (serial number SZ2-1636) in addition to my Lambda Signature SR-407. Currently burning in the newly acquired cans, but already amazed at how different the 007A and the 407 sound from each other. The most obvious differences to me are the noticeably stronger bass and somewhat depressed upper midrange of the 007A as compared to the 407. Resolution, instrument separation and imaging are clearly superior on the 007A (I didn't think that was possible), and the soundstage is wider (probably partly due to the thicker earpads). However, the aforementioned relative "darkness" in the mids and a bit of excessive "blast" in the bass (both to an extent depending on the recording) make the 407 sound more natural to my ears (personally, I'm not really a bass buff), at least when both are paired with my yet unmodded SRM-T1S, but 80% of the time the 007A is actually more pleasant to listen to (the 407 seems to be less forgiving with respect to less than ideal recordings). And yes, I do need a bit more of volume on the 007A - I find myself pushing the volume to 10-11 o'clock on the 007A and to 9-10 o'clock on the 407. Comfort-wise, the 007A is light-years ahead of the 407 - the latter's headband assembly doesn't have the ratcheted height adjustment of higher-end Lambdas and cannot keep my head's fit for long, which is really annoying. Another problem I have with using the 407 for longer periods of time is that it squeezes my head a bit too hard. (update - June 22nd, 2021) In view of the aforementioned issues, I've replaced the original headband assembly of my 407 with the one from the L700 Mk II. I was afraid that the color mismatch would make the 407 look weird, but it actually looks quite nice in my opinion. The new assembly is sturdier (thanks to a large extent to the new metal driver holders) and keeps the height adjustment where I set it as it should, but it still presses my head a bit too hard for me to keep using it for longer periods, even though it's better than the original assembly in that respect as well. As for the 007A, once I figured out the proper earpad angle for my head, I simply forget it's there. Can't wait to hear how the 007A will sound after the mod on the SRM-T1S. Update (June 22nd, 2021): should be able to do the recap and mod of my SRM-T1S by the end of July. In the mean time, I decided to try spritzer's port mod on my 007A. My initial impression matches what others reported - the port mod evens out the response, the bass now sounds a bit more natural and (more importantly) that depressed upper midrange which was my main gripe with the 007A seems to be gone. Another effect is that I seem to get a slightly higher volume in good recordings. I guess sealing the port slightly increases the efficiency. However, the modded 007A seems to have become less tolerant with subpar recordings (especially ones with at least a fair amount of dynamic compression), becoming closer to the 407 in that respect. This leads me to conclude that the port aimed not only at eliminating the "Stax fart" from the original Mk I (yes, my 007A is "farty" now), but also at making the 007A more agreeable to the majority of modern recordings when used with "lesser" energizers like the (stock) SRM-T1S, which is clearly better matched to the 407. This will probably change after the mod, since the stock SRM-T1S sort of underpowers the 007A.
  11. Another improvement I've seen people around (e.g. spritzer) suggest on the SRM-T1 is to replace the RCA input jacks and input wiring, but judging from pictures it seems that there is some improvements made by Stax on that area from the T1 to the T1S - the RCA jacks definitely look beefier and the input wiring looks nice enough (actually better than the output wiring)... but again, that's only a visual impression. I wonder whether it's sonically worth the trouble to make these upgrades... Anyhow, I'm using the XLR balanced inputs in my SRM-T1S for now, so this makes upgrading the RCA input jacks moot (but possibly not the input wiring). I've also seen some people (e.g. spritzer again) recommend to change the tubes from 6CG7/6FQ7 to the modern ECC99 from the Slovakian brand JJ (apparently the only one who makes these), used instead of the 6CG7/6FQ7's in the SRM-600 variant of the SRM-T1 circuit, but that requires rewiring the tube sockets somewhat and changing the R20 resistors in series with the TVR2 bias trimpots from 2.2kOhm to 1kOhm, 1/2W in order to achieve proper bias for the tubes, as JimL suggested here: https://www.head-fi.org/threads/stax-srm-t1-repair-re-cap-mod.796058/post-14276400 Rewiring the tube sockets for the ECC99's can be done as e.g. in these instructions (in German, sorry): http://blog.prof-x.de/2019/03/02/stax-vacuum-tube-driver-teil-4-ecc99-tube-swap/ The author combines JimL's CCS mod with the ECC99 mod but he changes the CCS trimpots from 100 to 200 Ohms in order to achieve more easily the required 6mA plate current required to run the ECC99's in SRM-T1(S)'s CCS-modded circuit. The claimed improvement over the CCS mod with stock tubes is an extended frequency response at higher volumes, but given that the ECC99 mod is not easily reversible, should one regret doing it (particularly due to the pair of PCB trail cuts in the rewiring process), I wonder how much one gains with it compared with the CCS mod alone (possibly also after a tube replacement / rolling with some nice Japanese short plate NOS tubes such as Toshiba, Matsushita, Hitachi or NEC). Another thing that worries me about the ECC99 mod is this tube's longevity, which seems to be not so great in certain setups: https://www.diyaudio.com/forums/tubes-valves/205364-lifespan-jj-ecc99-tubes.html JimL claimed in the AudioXpress article where he published his CCS mod that SRM-T1(S)'s circuit is rather conservative with the stock tubes, despite Kevin Gilmore's criticism that the 6CG7/6FQ7 tube being driven somewhat above its rated voltage by the SRM-T1 circuit also causes loss of high-frequency response at higher volumes, but how much strain does the SRM-T1 circuit put on the ECC99? More precisely, how is ECC99's lifespan on the SRM-T1(S), particularly with the CCS mod? Edit (May 12th, 2021): Another tube modification I have seen being suggested (e.g. by spritzer, once more) is to replace the 6CG7/6FQ7 tubes with the USSR/Russia-made 6N6PI (which is said to differ from the 6N6P tube only by a so-called "(im)pulse" operation - no idea what that means) instead of the ECC99. The case for this is that the 6N6P(I) has the same pin layout as the 6CG7/6FQ7's apart from pin 9, which is connected to a screen separating both triode sections in the 6N6P(I) which does not exist in the 6CG7/6FQ7. This screen seems to be disconnected from the remainder of the internals of the tube, which is consistent with spritzer's claim that the 6N6P(I) has the same pin layout as the 6CG7/6FQ7, period, unlike the ECC99 for which pin 9 is connected to a section of the heater. Therefore, tube rolling the SRM-T1S with the 6N6P(I) does not require rewiring the tube sockets as we need to do with the ECC99. However, according to spritzer in the link above, we still need to replace the 33K/2W plate (anode) resistors with 30K/2W ones since the heater current on the 6N6P(I) is 50% larger (900 mA) than on the 6CG7/6FQ7 (600 mA). Interestingly, it is the same resistor substitution used for the ECC99 (which has a 800 mA heater current)... If one were not to apply the CCS mod as well. Otherwise, one just looses all the plate resistors altogether, which are replaced by the CCS's. If I understand correctly, given that both the 6N6P(I) and the ECC99 require the same plate resistor substitution, the former must use the same CCS current as the latter, as derived from Ohm's law and the 320V rail voltage connected to the anodes (320V / (2 x 33kOhm) = about 4.8-4.9mA per plate goes to 320V / (2 x 30kOhm) = about 5.3mA per plate). Is this correct? What I fail to understand is which is the possible audio improvement one may get from tube rolling the SRM-T1S with the 6N6P(I) instead of the ECC99, if any. Again, if I correctly undertood Kevin Gilmore's criticism of the SRM-T1(S)'s design, the main problem with using 6CG7/6FQ7 tubes in this circuit is that they end up being driven by a plate voltage too close to its maximum spec (330V, formerly rated 300V), which causes loss of high-frequency response at higher volumes despite the fact that the tube itself is not so strained since it is only being driven at 320V x 9.8mA = 3.1W = 55% of its maximum plate power dissipation (5.7W on both plates together, according to more recent datasheets). Given that the loss of performance caused by this mild voltage overdrive is a lesser effect than the loss of output current in the plate resistor array (solved by the CCS mod), the ECC99 nonetheless solves the former problem since its maximum plate voltage is 400V. The plate dissipation power with either the ECC99 or the 6N6P(I) is 320V x 10.6mA = 3.4W, whereas the maximum plate dissipation power on the ECC99 is stated in its current datasheet from JJ as 3.5W - per section? It does not say... Older datasheets set it at 5W, some forums reported 8W on both plates but that info is most likely outdated. Update - June 8th, 2021: I've contacted JJ directly to clarify this, and according to them the maximum plate dissipation power of the ECC99 tube is indeed 3.5W per section and 7W on both plates together. That puts the plate dissipation power of the ECC99 in the SRM-T1S at about half of its maximum, which should make for great tube lifespan just like the 6CG7/6FQ7. That kind of answers my second question above. I conclude that the only technical disadvantage of using ECC99's in the SRM-T1S is having to rewire the tube sockets in a not easily reversible (if at all) way, so one is basically stuck with ECC99 tubes if one decides to follow that route. The question of whether the ensuing sonic improvement is worth it remains, of course. The 6N6P(I), on the other hand, has about the same, slightly insufficient (300V) maximum plate voltage as the 6CG7/6FQ7 and therefore is potentially subject to the same voltage overdrive problem as the 6CG7/6FQ7. Tube longevity should be ok, though, since the 6N6P(I)'s maximum plate dissipation power is 4W in the 6N6PI variant (couldn't figure out either whether this figure is for a single section or both) and 8W for both plates in the 6N6P variant. Why should I expect the 6N6P(I) to perform sonically better in the SRM-T1S circuit than the 6CG7/6FQ7, let alone the ECC99? The only advantages I see in the 6N6P(I) for the CCS-modded circuit are: Tube rolling with the 6N6P(I) instead of the ECC99 is (at least more easily) reversible (the only other operation needed besides exchanging tubes and rebiasing should be adjusting the plate current in the CCS's trimpots), Possibly a (slightly) longer lifespan than the ECC99 due to the more conservative plate dissipation power (up to a rated service life of 500 hours for the 6N6PI variant, against the 2000-hour figure of the 6N6P variant - no idea why there is such a difference), and 6N6P(I) tubes are usually cheaper and easier to find than adequate 6CG7/6FQ7's, especially in matched pairs for easier rebiasing, none of which really being related to audio quality. Am I missing something? I suppose much (all?) of the above information has already been discussed at length in the (loooong) Stax threads in this and the Head-Fi forums along several years, but I've found it difficult to gather all of it in an up-to-date form, so I apologize in advance for the redundancies on my behalf in this thread and appreciate the community's patience with them. Again, it seems convenient (at least to me) to have everything I need in one place.
  12. I've found a potential problem concerning a possible future replacement of the bias trimpots (TVR1-2) in the SRM-T1S. I couldn't find 2kOhm trimpots with at least 0.6W power rating as recommended by JimL above with the same PCB footprint as the original trimpots (three pins forming an equilateral triangle - 3 x 60 degrees). The closest PCB footprint I could find for these is with three pins forming a right isosceles triangle (2 x 45 degrees + 1 x 90 degrees - e.g. Bourns 3345W single-turn). Ideally, were I to replace the bias trimpots, I'd use multiturn parts to make the rebiasing easier as recommended by spritzer and others in other threads, but the only multiturn trimpots I could find with vertical adjustment and the same specs (2kOhm, >=0.6W) have a PCB footprint with the three pins in a single straight line (e.g. Bourns 3252W and 3290W). In view of that, I have the following questions: Is it safe to bend the pins of the trimpots in order to make them fit into the existing PCB holes? I'm unable to see whether the original trimpots have bent pins or not... May I leverage the multiturn option and use higher resistance trimpots so I can have more footprint options? For instance, may I use 3.3kOhm, 1W trimpots instead? These would be compatible with a 10mA current and the rule of thirds. By that logic, these would probably be the largest resistance trimpots I could use, since I couldn't find trimpots with a power rating higher than 1W. Even so, I'm not sure I'd be able to find options with the same PCB footprint... In view of that, how much freedom with the "rule of thirds" do I have with the power rating? Allowing for lower power ratings (1/2W? 1/4W?) would significantly increase my choices...
  13. Now, regarding tube replacement / rolling... I am pleased with the sound of my Gold Aero / Sylvania 6CG7 tubes (they probably can use some rebiasing, though, but that will wait for after recapping), but I have nothing to compare them against, and as I said above it's good to have spare tubes when mine decide to die out, at least. JimL forwarded above advice hirsch and spritzer gave on other threads about Japanese short plate tubes sounding best with the SRM-T1(S) circuit. Digging deeper on these threads revealed that Toshiba 6CG7's seem to be preferred, and that some of these have been rebranded by Raytheon. How do the Raytheon-rebranded Toshibas compare against the "original" Raytheons made in USA in the SRM-T1(S)? How about other Japanese brands, like Matsushita (i.e. Panasonic), Hitachi and NEC (some of 6CG7's made by them were also rebranded by Raytheon, by the way)? How do they fare against the Toshibas on the SRM-T1(S)? Some USA made 6CG7's like the "clear top" RCA (i.e. without the chrome plating on the top of the glass most 6CG7's have) and Amperex (these were made by Philips, I believe) also seem to be highly regarded in general - even more than the Sylvanias by some -, but how do they compare against the Toshibas on the SRM-T1(S)? Does the center shield present in the 6CG7 and absent in most of the 6FQ7's make any sonic difference? Quite a few people recommend going for "black plate" tubes against the "grey plate" ones (like mine). Is there really a sonic difference?
  14. Just a summary of what I have learned on planning the recap of my SRM-T1S unit - a bit on the TL;DR side and probably repeating a lot of boring stuff well known to experts in the forum (specially ones with little or no patience for capacitor esoterics - yeah, I did notice that the latter is a thing in the audiophile community 🙄 ), but it may be useful to others (or at least to me) in the future to have everything in one place. I still have a few doubts, though (those only interested in that may skip to the last paragraph below)... Thanks again to all who helped! My current (stock) configuration of PS electrolytic caps is the following (cap numbering follows the schematic): C9-10: 2 x 10uF, 50V (Marcon, currently United Chemi-Con), radial - dimensions (LS = lead spacing x D = diameter x L = length): 5mm x 10mm x 12.5mm C11-14: 4 x 100uF, 400V, 85oC (Hitachi, currently AIC Tech), snap-in - dimensions (LS x D x L): 12.5mm x 30mm x 60mm C21-22: 2 x 220uF, 10V, 85oC (Elna), radial - dimensions (LS x D x L): 3.5mm x 6.5mm x 11.5mm C23-24: 2 x 47uF, 35V, 85oC (Elna), radial - dimensions (LS x D x L): 3.5mm x 6.5mm x 11.5mm Surveying through a number of places (based on the above comments by Pars, Fitz and JimL) pointed that caps meant for power supply should privilege not only low dissipation factor (DF), but also high ripple current and long endurance (assuming capacitance and voltage rating the same) - high ripple current suppression capabilities are not relevant for signal-path caps (which assume that the DC power has already been filtered enough in the power supply stage) but are critical for power supply caps. "Audio grade" electrolytic caps are usually strong in the first characteristic but rather weak in the last two. They are also more often than not unavailable with the 105oC temperature rating recommended by Pars above (which seems reasonable since the circuit gets quite warm, as a pure class-A tube amp should). Taking that into account when searching through the Mouser catalog, it seems to me that the following substitutions should yield a good result within Mouser's current stock availability: C9-10: 2 x Panasonic EEU-FR1H151B (FR series) - 150uF, 50V, 105oC, DF=0.10 (at 120 Hz, 20oC), ripple current = 0.82A (RMS, 120 Hz, 105oC), life = 6000h, dimensions (LS x D x L): 5mm x 10mm x 12.5mm - https://br.mouser.com/ProductDetail/667-EEU-FR1H151B C11-14: 4 x EPCOS / TDK B43547A9477M000 (B43547 series) - 470uF, 400V, 105oC, DF=0.15 (at 120 Hz, 20oC), ripple current = 2.71A (RMS, 100 Hz, 105oC - EPCOS is a German manufacturer and mains power in Germany is 50 Hz), life = 8000h, dimensions (LS x D x L): 10mm x 30mm x 55mm - https://br.mouser.com/ProductDetail/871-B43547A9477M000 C21-22: 2 x Panasonic EEU-FR1A681 (FR series) - 680uF, 10V, 105oC, DF=0.19 (at 120 Hz, 20oC), ripple current = 0.66A (RMS, 120 Hz, 105oC), life = 6000h, dimensions (LS x D x L): 3.5mm x 8mm x 11.5mm - https://br.mouser.com/ProductDetail/667-EEU-FR1A681 C23-24: 2 x Panasonic EEU-FR1V181 (FR series) - 180uF, 35V, 105oC, DF=0.12 (at 120 Hz, 20oC), ripple current = 0.71A (RMS, 120 Hz, 105oC), life = 6000h, dimensions (LS x D x L): 3.5mm x 8mm x 11.5mm - https://br.mouser.com/ProductDetail/667-EEU-FR1V181 A small comment on the lead spacing of the chosen replacements for C11-14 is in order. As thebrunx pointed above and also comparing to recap choices on the SRM-T1(S) made by other people, it may be in fact necessary to slightly reduce the lead spacing from 12.5mm to 10mm. The size of the lead holes in the PCB seems to allow for that, and there seems to be no replacement snap-in caps available with 12.5mm lead spacing and up to 30mm diameter, so one has to make do with 10mm LS here. One may also notice that the diameter of the chosen replacements for C21-24 is slightly larger (6.5mm -> 8mm). Again, this is due to the fact that there seems to be no available replacement caps with at least the same capacitance / voltage rating, the same lead spacing (3.5mm) and 6.5mm diameter - the smallest diameter available within the former constraints seems to be 8mm. On the other hand, there seems to be enough room in the C21-24 positions for 8mm-diameter caps. Comparing this with an "audio grade" choice of caps: C9-10: 2 x Nichicon KZ Muse series - 33uF, 50V, 85oC, DF=0.08 (at 120 Hz, 20oC), ripple current = undisclosed (I've seen reports on KZ having about 1/3 of the ripple current rating of similarly spec'ed Panasonic FM, whose only difference to FR according to datasheets is a shorter life - no idea where the former data came from, it's not in the Nichicon KZ datasheet), life = 1000h, dimensions (LS x D x L): 5mm x 10mm x 12.5mm (this is the largest capacitance KZ with 5mm LS) - https://www.nichiconcapacitors.com/product/nichicon-kz-muse-33uf-50v/ C11-14: 4 x Nichicon KX series - 330uF, 400V, 105oC, DF=0.15 (at 120 Hz, 20oC), ripple current = 1.44A (RMS, 120 Hz), life = 2000h, dimensions (LS x D x L): 10mm x 30mm x 50mm - https://www.nichiconcapacitors.com/product/nichicon-kx-330uf-400v-snap-in/ C21-22: 2 x Nichicon KW series - 470uF, 16V, 85oC, DF=0.20 (at 120 Hz, 20oC), ripple current = 0.42A (RMS, 120 Hz), life = 1000h, dimensions (LS x D x L): 3.5mm x 8mm x 11.5mm - https://www.nichiconcapacitors.com/product/nichicon-kw-470uf-16v/ C23-24: 2 x Nichicon Fine Gold series - 47uF, 35V, 85oC, DF=0.12 (at 120 Hz, 20oC), ripple current = 0.10A, life = 1000h, dimensions (LS x D x L): 3.5mm x 8mm x 11.5mm - https://www.nichiconcapacitors.com/product/nichicon-fg-fine-gold-47uf-35v/ So, one can see that the Panasonic + EPCOS selection outperforms or at least matches the Nichicon "audio grade" selection on all characteristics, apart from the DF of C9-10, for which the difference seems not to be of much significance (Nichicon KZ: 0.08, Panasonic FR: 0.1). I imagine that the latter is outweighed by advantages of the Panasonic cap in the other characteristics for power supply applications (is it?)... As for the price, yeah, the Panasonic + EPCOS selection is cheaper (notice that the "audio grade" caps linked above are priced in Euro) but not by nearly as much as I thought, so it really boils down to specs and quality for the intended purpose. One concern I still have (warning: people who didn't bother to read up to here may do so from now on 😁 ) is the following: I understand that increasing capacitances in the recap procedure increases the filtering capabilities of the power supply circuit. However, won't doing this cause other problems if I increase the capacitances too much above stock values? Is it safe to increase capacitance as much as possible just within the allowed physical dimensions of the caps, as recommended in this thread?
  15. Ok, indeed I didn't know the current through the bias trimpots either... Thanks!
  16. Hmm... Do you mean just the four big snap-in caps, or all ten of them?
  17. Thanks again JimL, I've measured the lead spacing of the big snap-in power caps (100 uF, 400V) and it seems to be 12,5mm, but I've seen people saying that in this particular case snap-in caps with 10mm lead spacing should also fit because the holes in the PCB are wide enough to allow for such lead spacing (indeed, there is a lot of solder in those holes). I don't think the other dimensions will be a problem. Do you know the remaining specs of the bias adjustment trimpots (power rating, tolerance) apart from its maximum resistance (2 kOhm)? I couldn't find that in the schematic, and I need to know which part to buy in case one of them goes bad during rebiasing.
  18. That makes sense... I'm (clearly) not that familiar with power amplifier designs (something I'm currently trying to overcome) but I did help my father build a couple of passive loudspeaker crossovers back in the day, and electrolytic caps were a big no-no in such devices if you sought quality sound (he used big polyester / polypropylene caps). I guess this is a general principle... As far as I could understand from the SRM-T1(S)'s schematic, all of its electrolytic caps are in the power supply stage. So no such cap is used in this design for coupling, right? On the other hand, I've also seen "audio grade" electrolytic caps explicitly meant for use in (audio equipment) power supplies (e.g. the four big 400V ones). Do these make any difference in the sound quality?
  19. By the way, if one of the TVR pots goes bad during rebiasing and needs replacement, which are the part characteristics (power rating, tolerance, etc.), apart from having 2k Ohms (total) resistance (according to the schematic)? Thanks
  20. OK, so for example, if I replace the four big 100 uF, 400V, 85oC power caps by, say, 330uF, 400V, 105oC caps with compatible physical dimensions, the amp should be fine, yes? Does the same apply to the other electrolytic caps? Another thing: I've noticed on the Mouser website that some cap brands (e.g. Nichicon) have so-called "audio grade" capacitors: https://br.mouser.com/ProductDetail/Nichicon/LKX2G181MESA50?qs=TI%2F9gtmDCEEsSiejfUzVag%3D%3D Is there any real sonic advantage in using these, or is it just marketing? What I can tell is that the "audio grade" caps usually have smaller leakage / ripple currents and smaller dissipation factors than their similarly spec'd, non-"audio-grade" counterparts (and are more expensive, of course). Regarding the safety resistors, the last bias capacitors for each channel would be the two middle blue ones right in front of the transformer, correct? If so, this means these safety resistors could be put e.g. at the PCB tips of the blue / gray wires (which in my unit leave the PCB from its bottom), as it seems to be done in this (German) implementation of your CCS mod: http://blog.prof-x.de/2018/08/08/stax-vacuum-tube-driver-teil-2-technische-ueberholung/ By the way, here the author also includes 5.11 kOhm 350V 2W safety resistors at the outputs, which is another improvement you suggested here: https://www.head-fi.org/threads/stax-srm-t1-repair-re-cap-mod.796058/page-2#post-14276400 Can these safety resistors be included into the circuit with benefit independently of the CCS mod, or should both mods be done together? I'm asking you this because adding the safety resistors seems simple enough, whereas doing the CCS mod will take me some time, especially because I'm still quarantined due to COVID-19 and doing this without ordering a custom PCB will be messy. Something I may try to do is to use a small perforated PTFE plate and hand connect everything with PTFE-insulated silver wire to withstand the heat coming from the MOSFETs, but this will probably take even longer.
  21. I see... If that's the case I have no problem with (de)soldering components on a PCB and I do have the necessary tools (fine soldering iron, standard multimeter). Do you have any particular brand/model recommendation for the electrolytic caps, apart from your previous voltage rating / size / lead spacing instructions? For instance, are the choices made in this particular recap example OK? (granted it's a SRM-T1, not a SRM-T1S, but it's also a B-type serial number like mine and the PCB arrangement looks similar - I'll have to check my precise cap parameters, of course) https://www.head-fi.org/threads/stax-srm-t1-repair-re-cap-mod.796058/ You've also mentioned that the four big power caps (100uF / 400V) can nowadays be found with higher capacitances but with the same physical size. Is it safe to do such an upgrade? What kind of benefits may I get from using these? By the way, a safety tip request: for how long should I keep the amp turned off in order to sufficiently discharge the caps so it's safe to touch the circuit? Regarding the tube wear signs, does this mean that if I check the tube bias without changing any components the bias should drift from zero over time? If that's the case, I suppose it's good form to at least check the tube bias a few times along a certain time period (days? weeks?) after recapping. I've found instructions on how to rebias the SRM-T1(S) here: https://www.head-fi.org/threads/biasing-stax-srm-t1.324155/ Finally, as for your CCS mod, in the thread I quoted in my previous post you and others discuss possible improvements to it. What is the current status of the circuit over your July 2017 AudioXpress article, and where can I find the last version's schematics? Anyway, thanks again!
  22. Thanks for the reply JimL. How do I know (apart from sheer age) that the electrolytic caps are reaching the end of their lifespan, particularly in terms of sound quality? Moreover, if I replace some (or all) of the electrolytic caps, do I need to rebias the tubes, even if I manage to keep the capacitances and voltage ratings the same for the new components? As for the tubes, the manual says that the end of service life of the output vacuum tubes is signaled by a decrease in output volume at the same volume knob adjustment. In other words, you start to feel the need to turn the volume knob to a higher level in order to reach the same volume. Is this correct? Are there other signs of tube wear? By "short plate" tubes, do you mean like these? https://www.ebay.com/itm/Tests-NOS-Matched-Pair-Realistic-Lifestyle-Japan-6CG7-6FQ7-2-Grey-Plate-Tubes-/123718196207 It would be interesting to know how these recommended tubes compare to the Gold Aeros (barring the brand variation within the latter)... Finally, regarding your suggested mod (something for the future if/when the amp starts to fail on me, as I'm more of an "if it ain't broken, don't fix it" kind of guy), I reckon it's (at least related to) this one of yours...? Indeed by looking at the PCB trails it's clear that these plate output resistors are on 4 series of two resistors each. By the way, where do you get that aluminum heat sink and those spacers? They look really nice... Once again, thanks for the help!
  23. Thanks spritzer, I think I figured out what's beneath the 100V sticker by now even without removing it, just by looking at the manual... 😁 I wonder why Stax did that... Is it because the unit was meant for sale in Japan and therefore it was pointless to provide other voltage options, but at the same time to strip the voltage selection feature from the power supply was not worth it in terms of production cost (that is, it's cheaper to slap a tiny sticker on the back of units meant for sale in Japan than to produce units with two different power supply designs)? I understand why they kept the voltage jumper hidden under the bottom panel, though... I saw that in older SRM-T1 and SRM-T1S units this jumper was in the back (as thebrunx mentioned in his first reply above), but in this case at least a couple of the jumper slots are always exposed, which is dangerous, not to mention the possibility that the jumper may fall off or be kicked out by accident. A better solution would have been to hide the jumper behind a smaller panel, so you don't have to expose a lot of unrelated circuitry when changing voltage... I guess Stax decided to go cheap with this. I also find a bit amusing that, from all the things I asked in the OP, this is what caught people's attention...
  24. Well, what do you know? It did have a voltage selection jumper behind the bottom panel... I hadn't bothered to check the first time due to the warning in the back panel, I'd inferred it would be a fool's errand. Moreover, the manual PDF doesn't describe how to reach the voltage selection jumper. Thanks thebrunx and spritzer! In due time: is it safe to change the jumper to (say) 117v and drop the step-down transformer for use with a 127V power outlet? Is changing the jumper enough, despite the warning at the back panel (it seems to be just a sticker on the metal back plate, but even so)? The manual says the unit has a 10% power voltage tolerance, so in my situation it seems safe to do as above, but I need to be sure.
  25. Thanks for the reply. Unfortunately, my SRM-T1S has no voltage change jumpers at all. The back panel clearly states "100V only" (50/60Hz). I wasn't expecting otherwise when I bought it (even though the manual PDF available on the internet describes a variant where voltage changes are indeed possible), so I bought the step-down transformer right after I ordered the unit. Good thing I did that...
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