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Tripmaster
03-05-2009, 12:07
I've just visited the local tip and couldn't believe my eyes when I saw a pristine Arcam Alpha 5 CDP in the electrical pile. It works well and doesn't sound to too bad...a little bit harsh I guess.

I opened the case and to my horror discovered it is fitted with an Alpha 6 DAC daughter board (SM5864AP). The motherboard is a Alpha 5

Is this DAC any good?

Thanks

Richard

DSJR
03-05-2009, 14:03
If you wish to convert back, the Alpha 6 board can be removed, but you'll need to get the shorting link for the pins thus exposed. I think there's a fuse to add too, but Arcam should be able to assist...

I rather liked the Alpha 6 (upgrade) and sold very many of these at 200 or so as upgrades to happy clients. It's up to you I suppose as to whether you'd like it.

Now the good news! Les at Avondale can apparently do some wondrous things to a standard A5 including refurbished mechs, so if you need help with it, get in touch with him. He's a lovely chap and does other wonders for old nail Naims.....


Now, regarding the harshness you hear. Bearing in mind the "trouble" I'm in regarding my views on CD and vinyl :oops: I'll leave you with this:-

Arcam were importers of Audioquest cables at the time, and it's my personal belief that their CD players of this period were "voiced" to work with these cables, specifically the Audioquest Quartz, which sold for about 120 for a 1m Phono-phono pair at the time IIRC. Used with this interconnect, the slightly rough "sting" was completely removed and the result was entertaining and listenable for long periods.

Having the deck "Avondaled" may remove the necessity for this particular range of wires and if any re-conversion is necessary, I'd recommend you give Les a ring and ask him about the "6" conversion and whether he feels that this should be removed...

Good luck! Let us know how the tale unfolds..

Tripmaster
03-05-2009, 20:10
Thanks Dave

Ive just switched between Arcam 5, or should I say 6, and my old 7....its quite interesting hearing the difference. The 6 seems to have a narrower sound stage, is crisper, very energetic but could sound fatiguing with time. The 7 has a softer tone and is altogether more laid back.

The CD drawer has also jammed once or twice this evening, this is apparently a weak point.

leo
03-05-2009, 21:12
Shame the boards been changed, A5's sound bloody nice once modified! I've done a few for mates in the past, unfortunately the A6 uses the NPC dac which is also found in some of the older mid priced Marantz cdp's.
Don't know what Arcam was thinking of ditching the TDA1541A to one of these :doh:

For 4 quid though, you can't moan at that!

Tripmaster
03-05-2009, 21:41
Shame the boards been changed, A5's sound bloody nice once modified! I've done a few for mates in the past, unfortunately the A6 uses the NPC dac which is also found in some of the older mid priced Marantz cdp's.
Don't know what Arcam was thinking of ditching the TDA1541A to one of these :doh:

For 4 quid though, you can't moan at that!

Yes, I really fancied modding a 1541. The NPCs got a real edginess to the sound, very forward too :( ...but cheap :)

aquapiranha
03-05-2009, 22:08
I have an Arcam Alpha 5 ready for modding. I have a few opamps to try and some Schottky diodes for the power supplies. I really need to pull my finger out and get it sorted!
Here it is...

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb256/aquapiranha/Various%20HIFI/CIMG3109.jpg

Tripmaster
03-05-2009, 22:27
Don't rub it in ;)

leo
03-05-2009, 22:31
I see its had the dac replaced;)

R1 is the cheapest TDA1541A, including standard A version

Should still sound great though once modded:smoking:

leo
03-05-2009, 22:33
Don't rub it in ;)

Keep your eye on ebay, the A5 audioboards can sometimes be had cheap

Tripmaster
03-05-2009, 22:37
Keep your eye on ebay, the A5 audioboards can sometimes be had cheap

I will...not at the momemt ;)

How are you getting on with your EC Designs 1543 mod?

Tripmaster
03-05-2009, 22:38
Do you think its worth replacing the power supply caps with FCs?

aquapiranha
03-05-2009, 22:44
I see its had the dac replaced;)

R1 is the cheapest TDA1541A, including standard A version

Should still sound great though once modded:smoking:

Not as far as I am aware...

more info re. 1541..

http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/showthread/t-14913.html

Posted....

"Rudolf, please see:

http://www.semiconductors.philips.c...ous/DIGITAL.pdf See page 17.

In degrading order :

TDA1541A-S2
TDA1541A-S1
TDA1541A-R1
TDA1541A
TDA1541

R1 specs are slightly better than A-only according to Philips and I think they should know what they produce(d).

I used to have a Sony cdplayer which had a TDA1541A-N5. Never found info on that one."


I should add that this is the general concensus I have found from doing quite a bit of googling, I am prepared to be proved wrong though!

leo
03-05-2009, 22:47
I will...not at the momemt ;)

How are you getting on with your EC Designs 1543 mod?


Not bad, it sounds nice, such a shame the outputs low, definitely the best I've heard the TDA1543

leo
03-05-2009, 23:13
Not as far as I am aware...

more info re. 1541..

http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/showthread/t-14913.html

Posted....

"Rudolf, please see:

http://www.semiconductors.philips.c...ous/DIGITAL.pdf See page 17.

In degrading order :

TDA1541A-S2
TDA1541A-S1
TDA1541A-R1
TDA1541A
TDA1541

R1 specs are slightly better than A-only according to Philips and I think they should know what they produce(d).

I used to have a Sony cdplayer which had a TDA1541A-N5. Never found info on that one."




A place I know used to stock TDA1541A's, the R1 was sold cheaper than standard A version, I know because I brought one of each

I've compared lots of these chips, the A's do vary in quality and sound, , I have S1 and S2 too

Measurements are important but my ears for me make the final decision;)

aquapiranha
03-05-2009, 23:18
Indeed. Like I said I did not write that post... I consider the arcam to be one of the best sounding CD players I have heard, regardless of the spec etc. So as you say, it is the sound that matters, and that is why we are here - to listen to music! :smoking:

leo
03-05-2009, 23:26
Indeed. Like I said I did not write that post... I consider the arcam to be one of the best sounding CD players I have heard, regardless of the spec etc. So as you say, it is the sound that matters, and that is why we are here - to listen to music! :smoking:

Some of us sad gits have even sat and compared a pile of these things:o not so bad when used with a quick release IC socket, still sad though:lol:

aquapiranha
03-05-2009, 23:32
Leo, it isn't sad, most people are passionate about something, it may be football for example, or it may be cars. For me, hifi is a means to an end, looks are unimportant to me, and specs too except where they are important to maintaining a good sound (for example the ability of an amp to drive speakers effectively) so no, not sad at all! and having read many of your posts, it is obvious to me you have an encyclopedic knowledge of a lot of things I wouldn't have a clue about! :scratch:

Tripmaster
03-05-2009, 23:41
Some of us sad gits have even sat and compared a pile of these things:o not so bad when used with a quick release IC socket, still sad though:lol:

Hmmm....Ive become far geekier during the past 18 months.

leo
03-05-2009, 23:41
If only the missus thought the same :eyebrows:

leo
03-05-2009, 23:50
Do you think its worth replacing the power supply caps with FCs?


Panny NHG work nice as main psu caps in these cdp's, I replace all the 1000uf with those
You can try FC's though, I find them to be a bit heavy and slow in the bass, some people like that effect though

FC may be a better for the A6 board, not sure tbh

Tripmaster
04-05-2009, 08:05
If only the missus thought the same :eyebrows:

Its the missus who thinks I am :( :kiss:

DSJR
04-05-2009, 10:23
Hey fella's - the Alpha 6 mod was an ADDITIONAL board piggy-backed on the old one, so the original bits should still be there ripe for the use of......... It really shouldn't be that difficult to restore the player to original spec. PLEASE contact Arcam or look on their site and try to get a copy of the conversion instructions. You can "reverse-engineer" from there - I can't remember if any resistors on the mother-board had to be cut in addition to the shorting link block being removed.



At the time of this machine's introduction, Philips were about to phase out the chipset you guys love so much (and I still use ;)..) and I suspect that other manufacturers were coming up with the "latest thing."


Finally, Arcam told me it was the digital filter chip that made all the difference, rather than the DAC which was "just" processing the 0's and 1's. Never having rolled these chips I can't confirm this though.

leo
04-05-2009, 19:02
I can't see how the original A5 riser board is in there too, no room and not enough connections to have both an A6 and A5 tbh

You unplug one and fit the other in its place

DSJR
04-05-2009, 19:10
IIRC you remove the A6 board and fit a shorting bus in its place. I thought the A5 circuit was still in place on the mother board but disconnected. I don't recall ditching any A5 bits, but memory fails me and I did quite a few A7 to A8 mods too. Apologies if I've got this one wrong...

leo
04-05-2009, 19:25
IIRC you remove the A6 board and fit a shorting bus in its place. I thought the A5 circuit was still in place on the mother board but disconnected. I don't recall ditching any A5 bits, but memory fails me and I did quite a few A7 to A8 mods too. Apologies if I've got this one wrong...

No probs mate, I think its the A7 to A8, A9 you maybe thinking of as the A7 dac is on the main board, it can get confusing :)

For the A5 the main pcb has the SAA7310 and bits for the transport. +/29v raw supply , a 5v supply, SAA7310 output etc goes to pin headers which supply the riser/audio board which contains the digital receiver, clocking, dac, output stage etc

I do like Arcams idea though for allowing these upgrades

DSJR
04-05-2009, 19:31
Apologies.

I still think it's worth a call to Arcam (and also Les at Avondale, who may have dismembered an Alpha 5 or three to get his stock of mechs, you never know :))

Tripmaster
04-05-2009, 19:32
IIRC you remove the A6 board and fit a shorting bus in its place. I thought the A5 circuit was still in place on the mother board but disconnected. I don't recall ditching any A5 bits, but memory fails me and I did quite a few A7 to A8 mods too. Apologies if I've got this one wrong...

I think you may be confusing the 5 with some of Arcam's later models...regrettably

http://i374.photobucket.com/albums/oo189/Tripmaster_photo/Top-4.jpg

http://i374.photobucket.com/albums/oo189/Tripmaster_photo/Dacboard.jpg

Tripmaster
04-05-2009, 19:45
I must have been typing the last post as you submitted yours. :)

The orange draw cog has definitely seen better days. I see there are quite a few replacements on ebay!

My dads got a Alpha 5 and love the sound in stock form, do you think he'll notice if I switch the boards when he is not looking? :eyebrows:

I don't think I'm going to spend much on this as I will probably go down the route a dedicated music server in the near future

http://photos.imageevent.com/cics/v03theartofbuildingcomputertrnsp/The%20art%20of%20building%20Computer%20Transports% 20v0.3.pdf

DSJR
04-05-2009, 19:53
You know, we really did regard the Alpha 6 as a better player and in those days I really wasn't as aware of extra profit as I never worked a commision based job. Just get some refined and polite sounding wires from it, such as QED Silver Spiral, or some used Audioquest Quartz and you'll do fine for now...

Tripmaster
04-05-2009, 20:26
You know, we really did regard the Alpha 6 as a better player and in those days I really wasn't as aware of extra profit as I never worked a commision based job. Just get some refined and polite sounding wires from it, such as QED Silver Spiral, or some used Audioquest Quartz and you'll do fine for now...

Now what are the chances of this?

http://i374.photobucket.com/albums/oo189/Tripmaster_photo/P1000849.jpg

I haven't tried them yet...but I'll give them a go :)

DSJR
14-05-2010, 15:57
It's a year on now - any updates????