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Superaudio clock mods for Rotel 1072 CD player?

5213 Views 15 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  AlieniceT
Hello everyone,

Has anyone heard of reference audio mods or modded their CD player out there? I'm looking to get some better sound from what I have now and was wondering if any of these mods would be worthwhile. http://www.referenceaudiomods.com Here is an email from Doug over at the company explaining what he can do for my player. He is suggesting doing #4 first as he said would be the biggest improvement over what I have. What do you guys think?

Quoted from Doug at Reference Mods in his email to me:

"The Rotel RCD 1072 mods and possibilities are as follows:

(please contact me for any questions)

1. Power Supply upgrade/rebuild for Digita and Analog circuits ($250 installed)

Replace all diodes/capacitors in these circuits.

Install RAM Exotic ulra high speed diode bridges to

replace the stock, slow, noisy/ringy silicon diodes,

add Jensen 4-pole electrolytic capacitor to superiorly

block noise from the diode circuit and add addional

capacitance, replace all voltage rail capacitors with

Rubycon ZA/ZL ultra low impedance capacitors. This

eilimates grain/glare, adds bass depth and defintion

and overall resolution. Also, I will replace

capacitors local to the servo and DSP circuits in the

transport section with the ultra low impdeance Rubycon

ZA series for increased performance

2. Audiocom Superclock 3 upgrade ($295 installed):

Replace stock clock in 1072 player with the

Superclock 3 for drastic improvements. Improves

soundstage width/height/depth/inner resolution,

detail, focus and clarity.

3. Digital section upgrades: $100 installed

Replace signal resistor with caddock series, replace

coaxial output RCA connector to the eddy-current free

WBT Nextgen RCA connector. Also, elminate LONG CIRCUIT

BOARD TRACES from servo/dsp circuit to the digital

output with Point-To-Point silver wire hardwire from

that portion of the board to the digital output


Audiocom Invisus PPR2 Voltage Regulation Upgrade Option ($225 Installed)-

The New Audiocom Invisus PPR2 is the absolute best sounding voltage regulation circuit to be ever used in an audio component. It replaces the stock noisy regualtion circuit that feeds the very critical TRANSPORT and DAC chips sections of the player. These brand new ULTRA HIGH PERFORMANCE voltage regulation circuits provide ULTRA LOW NOISE and ULTRA HIGH SPEED voltage regulation, giving your music the absolute striking SPEED, Dynamics and Stunning resolution that was never before present no matter what unit you have owned, whether it be new or modified. The topolgy is an ultra fast circuit with a propeitary ultra low noise cancelling circuit to make the output noise and harmonics and little as possible. There is no absolute match for this type of performance, this has been designed to be the best!

Improvement: This brings much more resolution, better definition and much more slam into the music. There is a sense of ultimate natural openess and music flows out into the room.

4. Single Ended Output stage complete Rebuild ($750 Installed )

Completely REMOVE the stock Rotel discrete analog output stage (many many active parts) and replace with passive very high quality Audio Consulting Signal Coupling Transformers.

Tech notes and sonic Improvement: The stock rotel output stage is mediorce in build and rather decent in sound quality. However, there are MANY ACTIVE parts in the signal path, such as op-amps and transistors. There are also many resistors in the signal path as well. This is not the most optimal topology for signal coupling and HF filtering. In the stock design it uses capacitors in the signal path. Capacitors in the signal path "smear" the sound or (change the timing of the music). Active parts rely on voltages from the power supply. Power supplys produce noises (from diodes and voltage regulators). In Additon, active parts produce a type of noise by themselves (ie: transistors produce a high frequency noise or commonly known as "shot noise"). This is not optimal for the best sonic resolution and noise floor. The RAM Approach is simple: Completely remove the entire active analog output stage, and replace it with a set of very high quality Audio Consulting Signal Coupling transformers. NO ACTIVE PARTS! NO OP-AMPS! NO CAPACITORS IN THE SIGNAL PATH! NO TRANSISTORS,ETC!! Now with the transformers we can now effectively and inherently provide galvanic isolation from other components in your system. The transformer stops High Frequency noises that occur from other components in your system. Since there are no active parts, the noise floor in your music drops to a complete dark and black level. More detail comes out of the music. The soudnstage appears much larger, wider deeper with a bold lifelike stance. Our approach is considered "state of the art" and this mod will easily alone take the performance of this machine alone to a level that is unattainable by just about any stock player in existance.

The final results would be a Rotel 1072 with extremely

low jitter, great resolution, great bass, detail,

extreme clarity and vividness, no glare/no grain and accurate sounding

soundstaging and musicality. You will hear subtle details and information that may have never been picked up before in your music. "

What do you guys think about these mods suggested by Doug at Reference Audio MOds?


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Is it money back if not completely satisfied (i.e. perceived value of improvement not worth the cost of the upgrades) or is it all sales final?

If this is the type of thing you want to play around with, I would suggest trying an external DAC such as the Lavry Engineering DA-10 or Benchmark DAC1. At least these outfits have a 15-day or 30-day money back policy if you are not satisfied for any reason. Both are just under $1000.
I'm looking at an upgrade for my Music Hall MMF CD-25, the analog Op-Amp output stage from these guys.

Hard to say if you'll hear a difference with the digital and power supply upgrades, but I think an analog output stage would make somewhat of a difference. I'll probably do the update in a month or two and post my findings...I'm thinking about replacing just one channel and trying an AB with the balance control. I know it's not very scientific, but it should be entertaining if anything.

I'm very curious if this upgrade is worth the money. I'll be watching your posts!

For about the same price as "all" the mods listed, you can get this player from VSE


Some very good impressions on this unit (no I have not heard it myself)......Just another idea for you...
I modified my 1072 as follows:

1.- The original operational amplifiers were replaced by four much better Burr Brown OPA627 op-amps.

2.- The original diodes were replaced by IXYS 11A diodes.

3.- A larger 4,7000 uF ELNA capacitor replaced the original PSU cap (3,300 uF).

4.- New Blackgate caps at the output stage replaced the original caps.

The OPA627s used can be seen here: http://www.referenceaudiomods.com/M...ory_Code=OPAMPS

In all honesty I must say the audible differences are slight, but the mod cost me only 250 bucks and allowed me to obtain an equipment that can beat the performance of a separated Benchmark DAC (using the coax connection) :eek:
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Well, that's quite a bit of mods!

The player you have lists for about $700. Maybe you get it at some kind of discount. If you go with all the modifications, you're talking about $1600 in costs. To that you need to add s/h plus the time you'll be without your player. Now that's an awful lot of money, well I think it is, to sink into a player. If you were to sell your player, I'm sure you could find something pretty damned nice in and around the $2K range.

But I'd like you to ponder a few things here.

1) If you run analog out, it's not unusual after a period time for the coupling capacitors to start losing their rated values. It's an iffy thing and it can depend on things like temperature, age, or it's just your turn for this kind of thing to happen. Well, when that occurs, what happens is that you start to lose the bottom end of your frequency response. It's a gradual thing so many people don't even notice it happening. Until! Until, one day they bring in a new player, run analog out, and magically exlaim how much better it is because now you hear the bass that wasn't there before. Well, if you'd known that, you could've just taken it into a shop and had them replace the coupling capacitors. Or until they have their player modded so that the FR is restored. The thing is, in the former case, maybe you're out a $100 or so. In your scenario, you're out 16x that.

2) I want you to also consider the final thing that this Ken person wrote. Read it very carefully.
The final results would be a Rotel 1072 with extremely low jitter, great resolution, great bass, detail, extreme clarity and vividness, no glare/no grain and accurate sounding soundstaging and musicality. You will hear subtle details and information that may have never been picked up before in your music.
After your player is modded, you've got no way to do an A/B comparison to really tell if it now sounds better or different. You could try to remember what it sounded like, but human hearing, especially when it comes to subtle details is very fleeting. If you've ever listened to something relatively complex like say certain Pink Floyd tunes, or classical pieces, or even something like a Firesign Theater comedic satire album, then you know that the more you listen, the more stuff you pick out. So, it may be the reason that you're now picking up subtle details is because you're once again listening to certain things in a far more critical fashion than you ever did. Indeed, after spending over 200% more than your player originally cost, I'll bet you will!

Now,let's read the other stuff in that quote in a more critical fashion. After all, this is largely advertising and not a technical proposal. Let's say you were to find out that the jitter, channel separation, distortion, resolution, and frequency response of your player was the same after it was modded. Nothing changed. Would that first sentence in the above quote be a lie? Well, no it wouldn't. It wouldn't because this guy Ken never said it. If your player already possesses these attributes and it still has those same attributes after you get it back, Ken has not fibbed. You, on the other hand, probably read something entirely different into it.

3) Now I could say don't bother. But let me propose something fairly reasonable. Consider contacting this Ken, who must have something more than a soldering iron, parts, screwdrivers, a multimeter, and some wrenches. Tell him you're interested, but you'd like to have proof that your Rotel is now truly signficantly better. After all, you're spending over 200% of the unit's original cost. Ask him if he'll give you measurements, pre and post mods, of things like THD (after all he's put in quieter parts, right), frequency response (you want to make sure all was well before and now it's not mucked up), output levels (you want to know if the player is now outputting signficantly more or less, than the CD spec of 2 volts), and jitter. See what he says. Hopefully he won't say something like, "Well, I can give you testimonials." If he balks tell him you'd consider spending a reasonable amount extra for this. See what he says.

4) Not too far from where I live is a pretty nice automotive transmission place. The guy who runs it, Pat, has patents (some licenced to GM), has written in various automotive trade magazines, and sponsors a couple of cars. Now Pat also does other things. Recently, he started advertising that he'll do mods on cars that'll increase the HP and torque by minimally defined amounts while still meeting emissions. He's got 3 levels of Mods if you will. Each more costly, but each providing greater benefits. I stopped by to talk with him and asked him how the owner knows his car is performing according to the guarantees. Pat said, part of what he does also involves dyno tuning. He give the customer printouts of the car before anything was done and then after the work is completed. If desired, the customer could also get the intermediate printouts. Now, no way do these mods approach the cost of the car. So, if Pat can give the customer hard proof, don't you think Ken can too?
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the final thing that this Ken person wrote
The explanation of the modifications in the original post was not from me but from Doug over at Reference Audio Mods. I forgot to make the quote clear in my original post.

After help and insight from people on this board I'm going to hold off on modifying the CDP. I'm pretty happy with the sound now that the unit is fully broken in now.

Thanks again,

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The differences between CD players are so miniscule as it is that any "improvements" resulting from mods, being even smaller than differences between the players themselves, are going to be imperceptible. I believe that those who think they hear such improvements are experiencing pure placebo effect. (It is your money, though.)
and there's no money back either!
The reasons I was hesitant was because of the no money back policy, not being able to A/B test it, and voiding the warranty. I did hear a noticeable difference (when critically listening, and only with well recorded CDs) between my cheap transport and new Rotel 1072 when doing the A/B switch. Even my wife noticed the difference (when I got her to sit down and listen). Just about all transports will sound about the same when casually listening to music doing chores throughout the house. There comes a point though where eventually you have diminishing returns and I've come to the conclusion that I'm happy where the sound is now.

I agree with the other posters. The mods are pretty expensive - enough such that you could buy an entirely new cd player at better quality than your Rotel anyways. The mods costing more than the player itself - reminds me of modifying a honda civic with 30k$ parts.

Why not buy a 44k$ car? The only reason not to is if you are doing the modifications yourself and you have fun doing so.

I think my analog applies to your case as well.
When chosen carefully, and installed by the component owner who has a good working knowledge of electronics and DIY work, mods to CD players can produce noticeable improvements to the analog output provided that the rest of the system is of sufficient quality to reveal any increased performance. For this reason alone there is an active mod community. Generally, however, these improvements are often subtle on well engineered players and typically address part selection compromises made by manufacturers to reach specific price points. The logic in spending $1K or more in modifications on a sub $1K player requires that a mod "salesman" use extravagant claims in order to encourage the prospective customer into ignoring the price/value ratio and to generate a sense of exclusivity by owning a "hot-rodded" player. :rolleyes:

Doing my own mods allows me to spend as little or as much as I like on a CD mod project, and decide when I think the player has maxed out its' potential. With no sales hype to cloud my judgement. My rule of thumb is not to exceed 50% of the players original purchase price, and even that is a bit on the high side. In my case, the full mod investment takes place over several weeks or months, so it is more hobby/fun oriented than anything else. :)

I would tend to not recommend paying someone else to do mods on CD players as the cost for the labor required offsets the small improvements gained compared to just buying a better CDP in the first place. Or upgrading to better speakers. ;)
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This is an interesting thread. Chu Gai has some excellent points that all prospective customers should seriously consider before spending their money chasing the last 0.05% in performance by pursuing these aftermarket modifications regardless if it pertains to audio or not. I should know because I tried this detour a few years ago and I wound up angry, bitter, and cynical as a result.

Let me explain. I owned a Pioneer Elite DV-59AVi universal DVD player. I sent it to ModWright LLC ( http://www.modwright.com ) for top of the line modifications including the installation of a SuperClock X03 with separate Clock Power Supply Unit, Power Supply Upgrade including Black Gates NX Power Tank, rectifiers, diodes, and resistors, Level II Transport mod including the installation of a coaxial digital output RCA jack, and 8.1 surround sound analog stage output "upgrade."

I was promised that these modifications would make it an Esoteric, Linn, Accuphase, Meridian, Wadia killer at a fraction of the costs. Audio writers, most of them that write for online audio magazines only since this crap is not allowed to be reviewed in print audio magazines for the most part, modification companies like ModWright LLC, and Internet discussion forums such as The Audio Circles, AVS Forum, Head-Fi, AudioAsylum, etc. all said the same thing: these modifications are giant killers.

Then, I visited a few local audio dealers in New Jersey when I was searching for a CD player only upgrade. I harshly learned that I was lied to and it was all my fault for believing the hype. These modifications do not outperform the established high end brands like Wadia or Meridian, Esoteric, Linn, etc. They have nothing to worry from these private venture startup companies.

You can only take an existing design so far before you must start with a blank computer CAD/CAM screen and design from scratch to get maximum audio performance. None of these modification companies can offer the same proprietary technological innovations that the established high end brands offer. All they do is slap on a low jitter clock, replace some capacitors, rectifiers, diodes, resistors, tweak here and there and charge you more than the original cost of the product while voiding the original manufacturer's warranty. They promise, and promise, and promise, and they don't deliver. Modifications are a great marketing tool: inject the seed of discontent and unhappiness, promise big and fail to deliver, and void the original warranty all the while making it very difficult for the owner to verify the claims for accuracy, integrity, honesty, and devalue the product when it is time to sell and buy something else.

Don't make the same mistake that I did. There is so much ******** in audio and modifications reek of diarrehea.

To make a long story short, I wound up buying a real high end CD player - Ayre Acoustics CX-7 Evolution. It absolutely sounds different from my previous ModWright LLC Pioneer Elite DV-59AVi and it is far more accurate, neutral, transparent, and with ultra resolution. I got a 5 year warranty on it and a good resale value of approximately 2/3 - 3/4 MSRP when I decide to upgrade to a different manufacturer's CD player.

My reply isn't meant to attack anyone who has had these modifications done to their products. If you like it, so be happy and enjoy it. To paraphrase Joda, "cautious must you be before proceeding!"
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Originally Posted by Welly Wu
To make a long story short, I wound up buying a real high end CD player - Ayre Acoustics CX-7 Evolution.
No mods required there. :)

Even the cost of "superior" caps, diodes, op amps, etc. include nice profit margins for the suppliers to the DIY audio hobbyist.

It should also be noted that not all modifications made to CD players result in improved sound. It is actually easy to screw up a good CD player with poorly chosen modifications.

To paraphrase Welly Wu, there's a reason the products from Ayre, Wadia, Linn, Meridian, Naim, etc. are priced as they are and do not find themselves subject to the hands of the mod companies out there. :p
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