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Tube Marantz CD63 KI

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Tube Marantz CD63 KI

Post by Wikin on Mon Dec 24, 2012 8:59 pm

Hi guys,
Here's another sharing of a tubed Marantz CD63 KI. Surprisingly after this mod, the sound of this KI and a stock CD63 does not differ too much.
So much for all the copper chassis and toroidal transformer...


Birds eye view...



Zoom in...



Output caps...




Direct signal tapping from the DAC...



Changed the output RCA and made it horizontal...


cheers.
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Re: Tube Marantz CD63 KI

Post by gloraglory on Mon Dec 24, 2012 9:51 pm

good job wikin
may i ask the small strip pcb is for what & have any circuit diagram to share here?

thanks
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Re: Tube Marantz CD63 KI

Post by Wikin on Mon Dec 24, 2012 10:42 pm

Hi,

That's a reclocker unit by Millennium Audio so I'm not sure about its circuit. It's the old method to reclock.

Nowadays you're better off just buying a precision TCXO crystal, build a 5V power for it and inject the clock signal back into the CDP.

cheers.
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Re: Tube Marantz CD63 KI

Post by cmboy on Thu Dec 27, 2012 11:14 am

Wikin wrote:
So much for all the copper chassis and toroidal transformer...

Supposedly better noise figures and better transformer regulation over run of the mill tranny.
Whether one hears the difference or not also depends on rest of the amplification chain. As with other things, it may work out well in varying degrees, some may not hear the diff, some can. To each his own mostly.
Personally I would not go to far in modding or spend too much on a one box player, maybe reclocking, change to fast recovery diodes and lastly rolling some opamp chips at most. A higher end preamp or some tube buffer after this may offer more significant benefit. Just my 2 sen, not imposing on anyone to believe my approach.
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Re: Tube Marantz CD63 KI

Post by Wikin on Fri Dec 28, 2012 2:48 pm

cmboy wrote:
Personally I would not go to far in modding or spend too much on a one box player, maybe reclocking, change to fast recovery diodes and lastly rolling some opamp chips at most.

To be honest that's what I thought too; and I did the above when I 1st started out meddling with CD players. Just swap out poorer components for better components.


cmboy wrote:
A higher end preamp or some tube buffer after this may offer more significant benefit. Just my 2 sen, not imposing on anyone to believe my approach.

And I did the above too. Somehow the result is totally different. The cd player's stock analog output stage is always the limiting factor to the sound. There's just too much series resistance, shunting capacitors and opamps in the signal path that creates fidelity losses. Cd player engineers design them to look good on specs and paper whilst not trusting their ears.

When the analog signal is tapped directly from the DAC's analog output pins and feed them to a good high voltage tube stage (not a low voltage tube buffer) the sound is so much clearer, purer and without the Opamp + electrolytic capacitor's sound which I describe it as 'smear'.

cheers.
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Re: Tube Marantz CD63 KI

Post by cmboy on Fri Dec 28, 2012 3:34 pm

Well my friend, We must remember this particular player is built to a price point and assumed its further tweaked and refined to a certain limit from its base architecture. I really don't think it can be further improved to be comparable to something realistically costing many times more, although some people seem to believe its all possible. Well, I won't argue with them, let they're entitled to enjoy their "feel good factor".
The 1st limiting factor in this machine is the transport/loader mechanism thats mostly plastic. Not going in too much, plastics don't promise high end.
Its obvious that higher end CDP/CDT utilize better made transport and loader mechanism, more metal parts and these sound better than plastics...period! This just isn't possible in the CD63.
The power supply department is just mere basics and sufficient, nothing really exotic nor elaborate. Chassis is the same as other base models, just plated and not of very heavy construction. No comparison to real deal transports of the same era like CEC, PS Audio, Accuphase, Sony ES,etc. (dare not say Wadia.. Rolling Eyes )
Moreover, it doesn't even have a proper IEC socket but a simple 2core flexible mains cable. In the past I did a quick comparison with some heavier built CDP and there's a significant SQ feel in those higher end CDP, being more expansive, airier, richer and lush presentation, much like if you use the same cartridge/LP on 2 different priced turntables.
Tweak this Marantz too much and although one seem to hear better focus, better details or resolution but loose out in areas of richness, loss of some warmth, may become clinical or drier, loose out lushness and space. We all try to strike a balance and to synergise with the rest of the amplification rig, no exacting science here but all with degrees of trial and error to find that elusive balance and satisfaction to our own judgement and ears.
Cheers!
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Re: Tube Marantz CD63 KI

Post by Wikin on Fri Dec 28, 2012 4:17 pm

I don't mean to antagonize here, but perhaps you're having a frame of mind based on a cdp modified with better opamps, better caps , better diodes etc etc (which to me are simple mods) and then compare with hi-end players. Is that correct? If it is then yes I agree with you that the modified cdp with this method won't hold a candle near hi-end players. We then postulate why that is the case.
I only urge you to go and try out a direct DAC output method and see where it stands. All this with an open mind. Otherwise go spend on hi-end stuffs. It's your money at the end of the day.
My customers are just laughing to the bank knowing the fact that I've actually saved them lots of money.

cheers.
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Re: Tube Marantz CD63 KI

Post by cmboy on Fri Dec 28, 2012 4:58 pm

No issue at all. I would naturally start comparing a modded cdp against some higher end (not among the most exotic or extremely high priced ones) to see where it stand or lack. I won't say it'll never hold a candle to those, but possibly hear if the mods have paid off with improvement from stock.
Yes, you could be right by trying out alternative DAC out methods but me personally don't want to mess around more than I feel I should be doing.
For me, I've put my money into a reasonably good 2 box CDT/DAC and that should suffice for most purpose and intent. The other would be my TT rig which I've attempted to max out. Even then, the same rigmarole applies and all subject to the limits of its mechanical and electronic architecture along with other associated components in the chain.
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Re: Tube Marantz CD63 KI

Post by Wikin on Fri Dec 28, 2012 6:30 pm

cmboy wrote:
me personally don't want to mess around more than I feel I should be doing.

This is where we differ in our hi-fi journey.

cheers.
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Re: Tube Marantz CD63 KI

Post by chin66 on Sat Dec 29, 2012 4:11 am

Hi Guys,

Can't help reading on all these differences of opinions. Let me first qualify myself as one of Wikin's customer who gave him to mod my Marantz CD63 stock. I am not 'sideing' anyone or 'promoting' anything but I must say Wikin did a fantastic job on my CDP. (Wikin, sorry did not post my accolades in your earlier post on the job u did on my CDP but hey it's never to late!)

My story goes like this :

I bought the CD63 second hand from another forummer. Initially I pair it with my Onkyo AVR (which has since been sold and upgraded to Marantz SR5006 AVR) which in turn drive a pair of Mission MX5 speakers for front with a centre speaker, two surround and one sub (for HT use). The original sound from the CD63 was 'musical' & clear but lacks smoothness and bass. At that time, I didn't realise the treble was a bit bright and mids was so-so.

After the mod, when Wikin tested it the first time at his place I could immediately hear the difference being the treble was very smooth and warm. Even the mids became very pronounce and there appears to have a sense of depth or 3D effect when running on just front speakers. I was told by him this is part of the effect of putting a tube in the CDP. Well as a budding audiophile, i like the overall improvement but i will not know how it compares to higher end system. Anyway i still feel the bass was not punchy enough.

After i brought it home and connected it up, I could hear the SQ was definately very much better than previously. Not only the treble and mids improved, i find that the sound was crispy and clear with good staging and imaging of various instruments. One thing though, previously I use the AVR stereo mode to listen to music but after the mod, I found that the stereo mode produces too boomee sound. After I switch to 'direct' mode, the boomee sound dissappear and the overall sound was more 'natural' and warm.

Since I wanted to get more punch in the music (and remembering what Wikin told me that the sound will be even better if I run the CDP to an amp instead of AVR), I set out to look for a power amp to match it with my AVR which i intend to maintain as a pre-amp. I am happy to say that I jz found today the power amp I looking for in the form of AMC 2445. I have linked all the gears up as follow: CDP > AVR (as preamp) > Power Amp > Speakers

I must say my mod CD63 now truly sings. I could hear the expansive sound and wider staging which previously the sound was a little constrained. I must confess my music liking towards smooth jazz and vocals. The saxophone from Kenny G music is so natural and smooth to the effect I can hear the reverbration from his instrument filling my entire hall as though he is 'right there'. Female vocals also sounded so warm and pronouced with a feel of airyness and depth.

I realise it all goes to show that everthing must work in harmony and match well to get beautiful music. I believe the source (CDP) must first be good (thanks again Wikin for the wonderful job u did on my CDP) before we push it to the AVR and then to a powerful Power Amp and lastly to a good pair of speakers.

I am attaching here a photo of my modded CDP sitting 'proudly' in its own compartment in my TV/Audio console...Rolling Eyes

Btw: Cmboy, mayb u may want to come and listen to my system playing and tell me how it compares to higher end system.



Cheers...Laughing
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