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Thread: Belcanto CD-2 ABCDE modification ?

  1. #1
    Join Date: Apr 2009

    Location: Ayrshire, Scotland

    Posts: 155
    I'm Ian.

    Default Belcanto CD-2 ABCDE modification ?

    I was looking through my stash of old CD's in my loft today to find an oldie and came across a unit I must have bought around 1980.
    Its an A.B.C.D.E. Compact disc enhancer (A Better Compact Disc Enhancer) made by a French company Sicomin. Its a Woven Carbon Fibre matt with a Kevlar gasket that sits on top of the CD. The theory is that it dampens vibrations on the rotating CD which they translate into benefits to bass, soundstage and a more natural musical reproduction.

    In my book if it does dampen vibrations the benefits are gained from the electronic error correction in the CD electronics not having to work as hard!

    I remember it worked well and gave a noticeable improvement in reproduction. The problem was that it would only work reliably on certain CD players.
    In operation a plastic ring was stuck onto the CD around the "hole".The enhancer sat on the CD held in position, and centred, by the plastic ring. This ring on the CD fouled some loading mechanisms so it was not a great success. CDs could often not be used across a mix of CD decks.
    I recently bought a "New to me " CD player and since I wanted a quality no fuss transport,I searched out a Belcanto CD-2 which uses the Philips pro deck with manual loading. The CD is held in position by a magnetic puck.
    My reaction to my find was try it on my Belcanto. Loaded the cd onto the centre spindle placed the enhancer on top then the puck with the matt centred.
    Played a few CDs with a before and after test run.
    As I remembered it all those years ago, smoother treble and a more natural musical reproduction.

    I was using the Analogue output from the CD-2 internal DAC fed balanced directly to my NCore amps.

    I want to take this further .
    Looking at the issues.
    I have to make the magnetic puck's plastic insert such that it fits exactly into the hole in the enhancer to ensure it is perfectly centred and remove 20 thousandths " to a 0.800" dia from part of its base to let it accomodate the thickness of the enhancer. and ensure the puck fits in the correct position on the CD rotor shaft.
    I need a puck to do this and have contacted a Belcanto dealer to get one. It should be possible to remove the required plastic in an accurate Lathe, Ive plenty of experience of in doing this with metal, plastic may open other issues but Im confident I can do it.

    I had a quick look on Ebay to see if any CD Enhancers were avilable but no luck so far. There must be some out there.
    If this works , and Im sure it will,its a good lift to the CD-2 SQ and may be of interest to others who have a CD model that has a manual or a semi manual loading operation with a magnetic puck
    I attach two photos of the ABCDE- surely someone will recollect it
    [IMG][/IMG]

    [IMG][/IMG]
    Last edited by Ianmac; 13-03-2019 at 16:36. Reason: typos
    Technics 1200 tweaked,Ianmac Bearing,DACT DIY Phono Pre, Belcanto CD-2, Engineered Switzerland DIY streamer, Benchmark DAC2, Hypex NCore, ATC SCM40
    2nd system --Engineered Switzerland DIY streamer, Sony CDP11,Topping D50 DAC, Hypex NCore. Kef 1point2 speakers. Ianmac Filters

  2. #2
    Join Date: Feb 2010

    Location: Berkshire, UK

    Posts: 3,791
    I'm Tom.

    Default

    There are still some pricey CD mats around from the likes of Marigo ($200 or so) for people with a serious case of audophilia nervosa (other wise know as shun mook-itis). I had a Herbies Grungebuster (about $15) at one point but lost it along the line as I kept forgetting to use it.

    I think the theory is essentially that these mats block or absorb stray light that can confuse the laser - but IMO a decently designed cd player should be able to handle that.

    Personally I think reported benefits are placebo effect but then again I'm a huge cable skeptic as well, believing that cables can only stuff things up (a little or a lot), and that after a certain quality point is reached there are no more gains to be had except in the imagination of the hearer. (But don't knock that if it works for you).


    Main: Speakers 'RFC' Tannoy Canterburys / custom crossovers with Tannoy ST50 supertweeters; Amp - Silvercore 833C monoblocks; Pre EAR 912; Vinyl: Thorens TD124 MkII + Ikeda IT345-CR1 9 inch and Ikeda IT-407 12 inch tonearms; Cartridges Stereo - Miyajima Madake, Miyajima Takumi, Ikeda 9TT, vintage Ortofon SPU GE; Mono - Miyajimas - Zero 0.7, Premium 1.0, Miyajima/Edison '78' 4.0 conical, and Shure M44 strapped for mono with several Expert Stylus conicals for different eras of 78s; Phono stage and SUT from EAR 912 + Miyajima ETR-Mono SUT; Esoteric Sound Re-Equalizer for equalisation of early mono and 78, switchable in from tape loop; Digital: Audio Note CDT2/II transport, heavily modded AN Kit DAC + Mutec MC3+USB.

    Study: Speakers - Tannoy DC6; Amp: Sony TA-F3000ES; Digital: CDP Sony CDP-X3000ES & Arcam rBlink; Vinyl: Technics SL10 with Pickering TL-3.

  3. #3
    Join Date: Apr 2009

    Location: Ayrshire, Scotland

    Posts: 155
    I'm Ian.

    Default

    Nice to know there are still mats available.
    Anything that affects the accuracy of the laser reading the disc data (Stray light ,vibration or whatever) is corrected in the electronics by a error correction sytem. The data replacing that lost due to eroneous reading may not be exactly identical to what was lost. Many people can hear this but bottom line is you can interogate the CD electronics and see this.
    The effect of the mat I am using is not placebo.

    Ive gone further to day.
    I first tried to place a small spacer on the BC magnetic puck to ensure the Puck and Carbon disc were concentric This worked but operationally it was a fiddle and no use for day to day operation
    [IMG][/IMG]
    The white area shows where the spacer should fit
    [IMG][/IMG]
    The white image shows the spacer stuck to the BC puck for a trial run.

    As mentioned earlier this was successfull sonically but far to much of a fiddle for operational use
    I revisited the issue , initially thinking I could mod the puck undersurface slightly as mentioned in my first post.
    The undersurface is plastic and holds the magnet. I was not sure how thick the plastic base was and reluctant to attempt to remove 20 thou" from it
    Back to the drawing board.
    I had to ensure the concentricity of the puck, CD and matt with a system that was easy to use.
    I decided that the best place to use on the matt was a ring around the outer edge of the BC Puck but this had to be placed exactly in the correct position to ensure concentricity across all 3 components
    Referenced to the centre of the mat hole (0.800") I made a spacer to fit this hole and refer to the outside dia of the BC puck ( 1.735") Nylon rings were made to match the BC puck outer.
    [IMG][/IMG]
    This photo show the BC Puck, nylon rings and the spacer used to align the position of the nylon ring.
    The ring was glued to the topside of the carbon fibre mat. The BC puck fitted exactly into it and was exactly concentric with the matt centre hole and the BC puck centre
    [IMG][/IMG]
    This photo shows the finished assembly on my BC CD-2
    Its easy to put on - CD then matt, roughly centered drop the puck on and it all aligns perfectly.
    The inner surface of the nylon ring is tapered very slightly to allow easy alignment.
    [IMG][/IMG]

    Works fine. Very happy with the SQ improvement, lifts the CD-2 to another level and its not my imagination or placebo effect.
    Last edited by Ianmac; 14-03-2019 at 19:43. Reason: typo
    Technics 1200 tweaked,Ianmac Bearing,DACT DIY Phono Pre, Belcanto CD-2, Engineered Switzerland DIY streamer, Benchmark DAC2, Hypex NCore, ATC SCM40
    2nd system --Engineered Switzerland DIY streamer, Sony CDP11,Topping D50 DAC, Hypex NCore. Kef 1point2 speakers. Ianmac Filters

  4. #4
    Join Date: Apr 2009

    Location: Ayrshire, Scotland

    Posts: 155
    I'm Ian.

    Default

    Nice to know there are still mats available.
    Anything that affects the accuracy of the laser reading the disc data (Stray light ,vibration or whatever) is corrected in the electronics by a error correction sytem. The data replacing that lost due to eroneous reading may not be exactly identical to what was lost. Many people can hear this but bottom line is you can interogate the CD electronics and see this.
    The effect of the mat I am using is not placebo.

    Ive gone further to day.
    I first tried to place a small spacer on the BC magnetic puck to ensure the Puck and Carbon disc were concentric This worked but operationally it was a fiddle and no use for day to day operation
    [IMG][/IMG]
    The white area shows where the spacer should fit
    [IMG][/IMG]
    The white image shows the spacer stuck to the BC puck for a trial run.

    As mentioned earlier this was successfull sonically but far to much of a fiddle for operational use
    I revisited the issue , initially thinking I could mod the puck undersurface slightly as mentioned in my first post.
    The undersurface is plastic and holds the magnet. I was not sure how thick the plastic base was and reluctant to attempt to remove 20 thou" from it
    Back to the drawing board.
    I had to ensure the concentricity of the puck, CD and matt with a system that was easy to use.
    I decided that the best place to use on the matt was a ring around the outer edge of the BC Puck but this had to be placed exactly in the correct position to ensure concentricity across all 3 components
    Referenced to the centre of the mat hole (0.800") I made a spacer to fit this hole and refer to the outside dia of the BC puck ( 1.735") Nylon rings were made to match the BC puck outer.
    [IMG][/IMG]
    This photo show the BC Puch, nylon rings and the spacer used to align the position of the nylon ring.
    The ring was glued to the topside of the carbon fibre mat. The BC puck fitted exactly into it and was exactly concentric with the matt centre hole and the BC puck centre
    [IMG][/IMG]
    This photo shows the finished assembly on my BC CD-2
    Its easy to put on - CD then matt, roughly centered drop the puck on and it all aligns perfectly.
    The inner surface of the nylon ring is tapered very slightly to allow easy alignment.
    [IMG][/IMG]

    Works fine. Very happy with the SQ improvement, lifts the CD-2 to another level and its not my imagination or placebo effect.
    Technics 1200 tweaked,Ianmac Bearing,DACT DIY Phono Pre, Belcanto CD-2, Engineered Switzerland DIY streamer, Benchmark DAC2, Hypex NCore, ATC SCM40
    2nd system --Engineered Switzerland DIY streamer, Sony CDP11,Topping D50 DAC, Hypex NCore. Kef 1point2 speakers. Ianmac Filters

  5. #5
    Join Date: Oct 2011

    Location: Glasgow/Italy

    Posts: 657
    I'm Drew.

    Default

    Interesting findings Ian, I'd like to try this on my BC CD2 too....

  6. #6
    Join Date: Feb 2010

    Location: Berkshire, UK

    Posts: 3,791
    I'm Tom.

    Default

    Presumably the Bel Canto shown uses the Phillips CDPro2LF mechanism which is a pretty good one (I think the same as the one in my Audio Note). It seems to me highly unlikely that they've implemented it in such a way as to ensure that it puts out a bitstream so crap that it can be improved so dramatically in such a straightforward way. If they have then it's a pretty poor show.
    Main: Speakers 'RFC' Tannoy Canterburys / custom crossovers with Tannoy ST50 supertweeters; Amp - Silvercore 833C monoblocks; Pre EAR 912; Vinyl: Thorens TD124 MkII + Ikeda IT345-CR1 9 inch and Ikeda IT-407 12 inch tonearms; Cartridges Stereo - Miyajima Madake, Miyajima Takumi, Ikeda 9TT, vintage Ortofon SPU GE; Mono - Miyajimas - Zero 0.7, Premium 1.0, Miyajima/Edison '78' 4.0 conical, and Shure M44 strapped for mono with several Expert Stylus conicals for different eras of 78s; Phono stage and SUT from EAR 912 + Miyajima ETR-Mono SUT; Esoteric Sound Re-Equalizer for equalisation of early mono and 78, switchable in from tape loop; Digital: Audio Note CDT2/II transport, heavily modded AN Kit DAC + Mutec MC3+USB.

    Study: Speakers - Tannoy DC6; Amp: Sony TA-F3000ES; Digital: CDP Sony CDP-X3000ES & Arcam rBlink; Vinyl: Technics SL10 with Pickering TL-3.

  7. #7
    Join Date: Apr 2009

    Location: Ayrshire, Scotland

    Posts: 155
    I'm Ian.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by montesquieu View Post
    Presumably the Bel Canto shown uses the Phillips CDPro2LF mechanism which is a pretty good one (I think the same as the one in my Audio Note). It seems to me highly unlikely that they've implemented it in such a way as to ensure that it puts out a bitstream so crap that it can be improved so dramatically in such a straightforward way. If they have then it's a pretty poor show.
    If I could find another Sicomin disc and the CD mech in your top loader CD matches the one used by Bel canto, which I think it does. If the puck is standard across the the Phillips CDPro2LF mechanism - a lot of ifs - but someone on the forum could probably provide the accurate info.
    Does your puck look like the one in my picture ?
    I have made the jig to fit the ring to a Sicomin matt and made two rings.
    I would be pleased to assemble another matt with my spare ring for you so you could form your own opinion as to whether its a worthwhile mod or not.
    Technics 1200 tweaked,Ianmac Bearing,DACT DIY Phono Pre, Belcanto CD-2, Engineered Switzerland DIY streamer, Benchmark DAC2, Hypex NCore, ATC SCM40
    2nd system --Engineered Switzerland DIY streamer, Sony CDP11,Topping D50 DAC, Hypex NCore. Kef 1point2 speakers. Ianmac Filters

  8. #8
    Join Date: Oct 2011

    Location: Glasgow/Italy

    Posts: 657
    I'm Drew.

    Default

    Hi Ian, I'd be very curious to try this out on my BC CD2 to see if I get similar results...


    Quote Originally Posted by Ianmac View Post
    If I could find another Sicomin disc and the CD mech in your top loader CD matches the one used by Bel canto, which I think it does. If the puck is standard across the the Phillips CDPro2LF mechanism - a lot of ifs - but someone on the forum could probably provide the accurate info.
    Does your puck look like the one in my picture ?
    I have made the jig to fit the ring to a Sicomin matt and made two rings.
    I would be pleased to assemble another matt with my spare ring for you so you could form your own opinion as to whether its a worthwhile mod or not.

  9. #9
    Join Date: Apr 2009

    Location: Ayrshire, Scotland

    Posts: 155
    I'm Ian.

    Default

    No problem
    Im near you (Kilmarnock area) bottom line you can borrow mine.
    Ideally I need another Sicomin disc,as mentioned, I made two rings would not take long to mod another matt for you.
    Im looking on ebay and have a contact in France whose also going to look
    Technics 1200 tweaked,Ianmac Bearing,DACT DIY Phono Pre, Belcanto CD-2, Engineered Switzerland DIY streamer, Benchmark DAC2, Hypex NCore, ATC SCM40
    2nd system --Engineered Switzerland DIY streamer, Sony CDP11,Topping D50 DAC, Hypex NCore. Kef 1point2 speakers. Ianmac Filters

  10. #10
    Join Date: Apr 2009

    Location: Ayrshire, Scotland

    Posts: 155
    I'm Ian.

    Default

    I have found one reference to the Sicomin mat
    Its in hungarian and Google translation helped me a bit.
    http://longkft.hu/audioblog/marigo-a...at-a-varazslo/
    Technics 1200 tweaked,Ianmac Bearing,DACT DIY Phono Pre, Belcanto CD-2, Engineered Switzerland DIY streamer, Benchmark DAC2, Hypex NCore, ATC SCM40
    2nd system --Engineered Switzerland DIY streamer, Sony CDP11,Topping D50 DAC, Hypex NCore. Kef 1point2 speakers. Ianmac Filters

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