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  1. #1

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    Default Finally modded the 3960! PICS

    Here is the 3960 all apart.
    Attached Images  
    Vinyl, the final frontier...

    Avantgarde horns, 300b tubes, thats the kinda crap I want... :D

  2. #2

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    Yep, it comes apart further!
    Attached Images  
    Vinyl, the final frontier...

    Avantgarde horns, 300b tubes, thats the kinda crap I want... :D

  3. #3

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    On the 3950 I had to put the dynamat on the bottom. The 3960 has a nice little pocket between the plastic and RF shield which allows you to hide the dynamat inside the unit.
    Attached Images  
    Vinyl, the final frontier...

    Avantgarde horns, 300b tubes, thats the kinda crap I want... :D

  4. #4

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    There is a lot more dynamat on the drive that you cannot see. Under the tray, on the motor, on the sides etc. Notice the new power connector. All of the electronic changes are made as well. The boards are different than the 3950 but most of the parts are the same.
    Attached Images  
    Vinyl, the final frontier...

    Avantgarde horns, 300b tubes, thats the kinda crap I want... :D

  5. #5

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    Here is the completed unit. All went very smoothly and took a total of 8 hours to complete. About 4 hours for the electronics and 4 hours for the mechanical changes.
    Attached Images  
    Vinyl, the final frontier...

    Avantgarde horns, 300b tubes, thats the kinda crap I want... :D

  6. #6

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    Now to clean up this freakin mess so the boss won't think I did it during work hours!
    Attached Images  
    Vinyl, the final frontier...

    Avantgarde horns, 300b tubes, thats the kinda crap I want... :D

  7. #7

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    So why did you do this? My guess is to isolate the player from any vibrations and be able to deliver the cleanest undisturbed response.... am I even somewhat close to being right? Nice job btw.

  8. #8

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    I took the 3960 home with me Saturday and left playing overnight. I watched movies on it all day to help burn in. Sunday evening I did some serious A-B comparisons with my Theta/AudioNote setup. I have both units set up so I can turn one knob to switch between them. Of course they are set up with the levels matched and stuff.

    This is the part that is blowing me away right now. Neither unit sounds better than the other!!! They don't even sound different! I kept thinking I heard differences but upon switching back and forth again they sounded the same.

    If you read my previous posts on the 3950 unit I did you know there were differences which made me prefer the Theta over the 3950. Small differences for sure but they were there.

    The modded 3960 has really turned into greatness. I just don't know what else to say. It has truely exceeded every expectation I had.
    madmax
    Vinyl, the final frontier...

    Avantgarde horns, 300b tubes, thats the kinda crap I want... :D

  9. #9

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    Do you have any preference when it comes to solder? Does solder make much of a difference? Kester, WBT, Cardas...

  10. #10

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    Originally posted by michael_w
    So why did you do this? My guess is to isolate the player from any vibrations and be able to deliver the cleanest undisturbed response....
    That is one way to look at the mechanical mods. I didn't want any part of the player resonating and getting back into the electronics where it could be amplified. I also didn't want it getting into the spinning disc or transport assembly causing more jitter. You cannot get rid of all the resonances but you can weight them down and make them lower in frequency.
    madmax
    Vinyl, the final frontier...

    Avantgarde horns, 300b tubes, thats the kinda crap I want... :D

  11. #11

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    Originally posted by dcarlson
    Do you have any preference when it comes to solder? Does solder make much of a difference? Kester, WBT, Cardas...
    I like the idea of using solder with some amount of silver in it. I haven't really played with different mixtures but I hear that 3 to 4% silver is what you want. I don't have any real life experience though. On future projects I am going to experiment.
    madmax
    Vinyl, the final frontier...

    Avantgarde horns, 300b tubes, thats the kinda crap I want... :D

  12. #12

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    Interesting.... makes me want to start ripping apart my dvd player and throw some of that dynamat in it since my player could really use an upgrade in quality...... bah I'll just buy something better instead of upgrading crap.

  13. #13

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    Keep in mind this Toshiba is the essence of crap. :)
    madmax
    Vinyl, the final frontier...

    Avantgarde horns, 300b tubes, thats the kinda crap I want... :D

  14. #14

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    The only problem with silver solder is that it requires higher iron temps--this can be bad for the components being soldered.

    Transport: Oppo BDP-103/USB HDD (flac)
    DAC/Preamp: Benchmark DAC/PRE
    Power Amp: Parasound HCA-1500A
    Speakers: Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 Monitor
    Cables: Kimber Hero/8TC; DH Labs D-75

  15. #15

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    Default Need some help, here. . .

    Madmax - very nice job with the visible "tweaks" on the 3960! You obviously took time and care. But I've got two questions: what sort of "electronic" changes did you make? And does this "Dynamat" make obvious sound differences, especially in a unit that you, yourself, term as "crap?" I might add this product, if I thought it would, indeed, make an audible difference. Meanwhile, I'll look it up in Google. Nice - - - Larry R.

  16. #16

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    Good sound comes from many little tweaks which work together. One of them alone may or may not be audible. The 3960 is good out of the box. The mods turn it into something unbelievable.



    Top on the list is changing most of the capacitors on the power supply board to quality low ESR caps and in some cases raising their values. This way when high current spikes are needed the power is there.

    Next is the power supply caps on the audio board. Same reason as above.

    Next is the caps in the audio path and replacing the crappy op-amp. The op-amp is very limited in quality.

    After that:

    Dynamat to the case for resonance control.

    Dynamat to the drive for resonance control.

    Power connector to allow you to use a quality power cord.


    And for reliability:

    Heat sink on the main processor to get the heat away from other components. Of course to get the heat out of the unit you need some holes above the heat sink. That way when the heat rises out of the holes it pulls in cool air from the factory vents. These units get too hot from the factory. Many complain about the plasic smell they produce from being too hot.


    madmax
    Last edited by madmax; 07-12-2004 at 02:36 PM.
    Vinyl, the final frontier...

    Avantgarde horns, 300b tubes, thats the kinda crap I want... :D

  17. #17

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    Default Too much for me, but. . .

    . . .it sure seems to work for you! I'll have to leave all the electronics tweaks to you guyz who actually know the difference between a, uh, "capacitor" and a "heat sink." I don't - so obviously should never attempt your kind of changes at home!
    Always curious, so thought I'd ask. Thanx! Larry R.

  18. #18

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    The dynamat alone should have helped this unit by a reasonable amount. It is so light and flimsy in stock form that it really needed something in the way of weight. A good display I saw in a store one time had two big bells. One you could tap and it would ring for a long time. The other had a little piece of dynamat attached and when tapped it only gave a little thump. Normally if you can tap a panel on your equipment and it rings at all then dynamat could be of help. Not all ringing surfaces get into the sound but it is certainly a possibility.
    madmax
    Vinyl, the final frontier...

    Avantgarde horns, 300b tubes, thats the kinda crap I want... :D

  19. #19
    Stronzo
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    Madmax,

    Wow, EXCELLENT work. Making me wish I should have sent the unit to you for mods! hahah

    Looks great bud, congrats.

  20. #20

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    ATC,
    Did you ever get your op-amp problem resolved? I believe you removed the wrong one? :D
    madmax
    Vinyl, the final frontier...

    Avantgarde horns, 300b tubes, thats the kinda crap I want... :D

  21. #21
    Stronzo
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    Thanks for reminding me. Just when I thought I could take the dunce-cap OFF. haha My dad will be coming home in a few weeks, we will probably get that taken care of.

    Im wanting, at some point, to take home the 4960 and do a comparison before I commit to a balls-to-the-wall mod.

  22. #22

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    I've finally got the 3960 sounding exactly like my reference setup. You have to admit that it doesn't matter that much about the SACD or DVD-A. After all, those technologies on my Pioneer Elite DV-47Ai suck compared to standard redbook on either the Theta or 3960. I think it is time to put those balls against that wall. :D

    madmax
    Vinyl, the final frontier...

    Avantgarde horns, 300b tubes, thats the kinda crap I want... :D

  23. #23

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    Madmax,
    Great job! Is your 3960 better sounding then the 3950? Im waiting for the blackgate caps than Ill have everything to mod my 3950. Did you install a ground to the case from the IEC, or just the hot & neutral. I cant wait for the caps to come in than its to the workbench!
    Thanks,
    Ace

  24. #24

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    You put me in a tough position here. Not only do you own a 3950 but I also sold one to a good friend before modifying the 3960.

    Well, this is tough but yea, the 3960 sounds better than the 3950. Sorry. It is close though. I've given it a lot of thought this evening to try and think what is different. The difference is that the 3950 has a bit (only a small bit) of lower treble harshness. When you hear a cymbal it seems a little less real than a live one. If you do not compare directly you will never hear it and it will not bother you. Comparatively the unmodded 3950 is horible in this respect. After the mods it is no longer noticeable unless you do a direct A-B comparison. If you can stand the unmodded 3950 at all then you will never hear the harshness once it is modified. It is a slight difference but after direct a-b comparison you will know it is there. If you can ignore what I just said then you nor anyone else listening to it will ever hear the difference.
    madmax
    Vinyl, the final frontier...

    Avantgarde horns, 300b tubes, thats the kinda crap I want... :D

  25. #25

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    Madmax,
    Great job! Is your 3960 better sounding then the 3950? Im waiting for the blackgate caps than Ill have everything to mod my 3950. Did you install a ground to the case from the IEC, or just the hot & neutral. I cant wait for the caps to come in than its to the workbench!
    Thanks,
    Ace

  26. #26

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    You double posted somehow but I realized I didn't answer your grounding question. I grounded it to the metal chassis.


    A few tips on modding.

    The Blackgate caps are not marked well for polarity and you must get polarity correct, otherwise it won't perform well and the smoke could come out. The short lead is the negative lead. On the board the negatives are marked.

    Also, on the opamp look closely at pin one before you remove it and make sure you orient the new one the same way.
    Vinyl, the final frontier...

    Avantgarde horns, 300b tubes, thats the kinda crap I want... :D

  27. #27

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    with madmax's suggestions i upgraded to an IEC power cord... heres a pic for encouragement for you guys
    Attached Images  
    MY HT RIG:
    Sherwood p-965
    Sherwood sd871 dvd
    Rotel 1075 amp x5
    LSI15 mains
    LsiC center
    LSIfx surround backs
    Lsi7 side surrounds
    SVS pb12/plus2


    2 Channel Rig:

    nad 1020 Pre-amp
    Rotel 1080 stereo amp
    Polk sda 2B
    kenwood grunt Tuner
    realistic lab 450 TT
    Signal cable IC

  28. #28

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    Here are two other parts you will want to order from digikey.

    Heat sink HS319-ND
    Ceramic fuse 283-2395-ND

    On the fuse I changed from a 1.6A glass fuse to a 2A ceramic fuse for better sound. I went with 2A because it may use a little more power now. There may be a larger spike when you power up also.
    Vinyl, the final frontier...

    Avantgarde horns, 300b tubes, thats the kinda crap I want... :D

  29. #29

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    Originally posted by madmax
    Keep in mind this Toshiba is the essence of crap. :)
    madmax
    Lol I would waste your dvd player on the crap scale with my $30 (cdn) electrohome dvd player :D .

  30. #30

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    Originally posted by madmax
    Here are two other parts you will want to order from digikey.

    Heat sink HS319-ND
    Ceramic fuse 283-2395-ND
    also.
    I just modded a heatsink from a larger one i had , and installed it just a few mins ago ... looks nice.. will post a pic shortly
    MY HT RIG:
    Sherwood p-965
    Sherwood sd871 dvd
    Rotel 1075 amp x5
    LSI15 mains
    LsiC center
    LSIfx surround backs
    Lsi7 side surrounds
    SVS pb12/plus2


    2 Channel Rig:

    nad 1020 Pre-amp
    Rotel 1080 stereo amp
    Polk sda 2B
    kenwood grunt Tuner
    realistic lab 450 TT
    Signal cable IC

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