Modding my ARC Ref Anniversary

bonzo75

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Feb 26, 2014
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#41
Looks very nicely done in there. Are the Audyns your favourite caps of all? I would like to hear the True Copper. Think Barry uses that in his 45 amps.
I think Mark of audio detail/universum uses Audyn in his DIY iirc
 

Audiophile Bill

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Mar 23, 2015
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#42
I think Mark of audio detail/universum uses Audyn in his DIY iirc
Do you know which ones Ked? The MKP are fairly cheap but True Copper are a lot more. Not like Dueland silver cast or V Cap but expensive for sure.
 

bonzo75

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Feb 26, 2014
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#43
Do you know which ones Ked? The MKP are fairly cheap but True Copper are a lot more. Not like Dueland silver cast or V Cap but expensive for sure.
Nope
 

ayreman

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Jan 2, 2017
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#44
Preamp bottom view. All the Nichicon went into the trash can and Mundorf was soldered in. WIMA was replaced with Audyn TCM. The teeny white bypass caps were replaced with Jupiter Copper Foil and Duelund Precision Bypass caps.
 

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ayreman

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Jan 2, 2017
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#45
Factory input & output XLR jacks were replaced with Cardas. Crappy multistrand hook-up wire connecting these jacks with PCB was replaced with solid-core PSS (perfect surface silver) conductors taken from Audioquest Fire interconnect cables.
 

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the sound of Tao

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Jul 18, 2014
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#46
The biggest problem I with this hobby is that everyone seems a bit weird. No normal people on this forum
Cracked me up Ked, weird is a pre-req in this game.

As they say... let he who is without weird cast the first stone.
 
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the sound of Tao

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Jul 18, 2014
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#47
Ayreman,
Epic effort, must be great to have finally hit your goal with regards to the upgrade after all these years.

Had you done the cap mods in stages and had you been able to in any way evaluate the big picture returns on the various different cap mods. Eg the Duelund Casts v Jupiter v Audyns?

Will you also have some potential down the track to compare your modded ARC anni to some other equivalent preamps once all the new caps have settled in and formed up. Ideally another Anni and a ARC ref 10 but also maybe even a Gat 2 or a Thomas Mayer 10Y.

Not suggesting a showdown and shootout session as these things are always coloured by the system and the pressure of needing an absolute outcome and nominating a winner... but it would however be fascinating to do some well considered compare at some point to a more generic benchmark preamp for reference.

Also not wanting to be at all invasive or graceless is it also possible to give some even ballpark indication in the cost of the upgrades? There is certainly plenty of copper and silver sporting in that beast now... and while the naked pics are doing a fantastic job of flexing the hefty sonic muscle of the new parts but it would also be great to then get down to the actual arm wrestle at some point and give some qualification about specifically what you are hearing and what all this heroic adventure has actually bought in terms of reshaping the sound and or the nature of the ARC Anni.

Very looking forward to hearing how it’s all sounding. Congratulations. Cheers
Tao
 
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Folsom

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Oct 26, 2015
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#49
A lot of modding is butchering. Here he stuck with the same values where it mattered, and doesn’t appear to be making any silliness like excessive leads on electrolytic caps.
 

ayreman

Well-Known Member
Jan 2, 2017
190
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Ukraine
#50
Ayreman,
Epic effort, must be great to have finally hit your goal with regards to the upgrade after all these years.

Had you done the cap mods in stages and had you been able to in any way evaluate the big picture returns on the various different cap mods. Eg the Duelund Casts v Jupiter v Audyns?

Will you also have some potential down the track to compare your modded ARC anni to some other equivalent preamps once all the new caps have settled in and formed up. Ideally another Anni and a ARC ref 10 but also maybe even a Gat 2 or a Thomas Mayer 10Y.

Not suggesting a showdown and shootout session as these things are always coloured by the system and the pressure of needing an absolute outcome and nominating a winner... but it would however be fascinating to do some well considered compare at some point to a more generic benchmark preamp for reference.

Also not wanting to be at all invasive or graceless is it also possible to give some even ballpark indication in the cost of the upgrades? There is certainly plenty of copper and silver sporting in that beast now... and while the naked pics are doing a fantastic job of flexing the hefty sonic muscle of the new parts but it would also be great to then get down to the actual arm wrestle at some point and give some qualification about specifically what you are hearing and what all this heroic adventure has actually bought in terms of reshaping the sound and or the nature of the ARC Anni.

Very looking forward to hearing how it’s all sounding. Congratulations. Cheers
Tao
To answer your questions... Yes, cap mods were done in stages. Many stages indeed. The first coupling caps I used (for about a year) were Mundorf Supreme SGO. Then I tried Audyns and realised film can not compete with foil. Ended up using CAST Silver Foil Duelunds as my main coupling caps, which I first bypassed with Audyns and 0.01uF precision Duelunds. Eventually, I replaced the Audyns in that position with the Jupiters. That trio will stay there for ever. Splendid! Remove CAST Duelunds and we've lost top end agility and liveliness. Remove the Jupiters - and we've lost fabulous mid range. Top copper and silver foil really complement each other well.

No more comparisons will be done in my system. Stock gear does not excite me any more. With any price tag. These days I prefer to enjoy what I have here...

Cost of mods... I never kept any financial records. You can see it all on the pics. Just grab a calculator and do your maths. I never cared what it cost because I am addicted to best:cool:

I find attempts to describe the sound futile. Words are pretty much meaningless because everyone will interpret those words based on his own scale of reference. All I can say is that resolution has gone up tenfold. The sound is natural, organic and utterly addictive. Music plays here, right in front of my nose, not there in a distance and I find it very hard to stop listening to it. Taking vacations is a problem. 3 days go by and I already want to go home to listen to some music. I sopped attending live concerts with amplification. Everything here sounds so much better...
 

the sound of Tao

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Jul 18, 2014
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#51
Thanks Ayreman, the info on the different caps is very interesting.
Happy listening
 

Vienna

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Oct 14, 2018
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#52
To answer your questions... Yes, cap mods were done in stages. Many stages indeed. The first coupling caps I used (for about a year) were Mundorf Supreme SGO. Then I tried Audyns and realised film can not compete with foil. Ended up using CAST Silver Foil Duelunds as my main coupling caps, which I first bypassed with Audyns and 0.01uF precision Duelunds. Eventually, I replaced the Audyns in that position with the Jupiters. That trio will stay there for ever. Splendid! Remove CAST Duelunds and we've lost top end agility and liveliness. Remove the Jupiters - and we've lost fabulous mid range. Top copper and silver foil really complement each other well.

No more comparisons will be done in my system. Stock gear does not excite me any more. With any price tag. These days I prefer to enjoy what I have here...

Cost of mods... I never kept any financial records. You can see it all on the pics. Just grab a calculator and do your maths. I never cared what it cost because I am addicted to best:cool:

I find attempts to describe the sound futile. Words are pretty much meaningless because everyone will interpret those words based on his own scale of reference. All I can say is that resolution has gone up tenfold. The sound is natural, organic and utterly addictive. Music plays here, right in front of my nose, not there in a distance and I find it very hard to stop listening to it. Taking vacations is a problem. 3 days go by and I already want to go home to listen to some music. I sopped attending live concerts with amplification. Everything here sounds so much better...
Congratulations
I would love to hear the difference
 
Apr 30, 2018
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Germantown, WI
#53
Ayreman,
Amazing attention to detail with the mounting plates for the caps and the running of the wire!
On your power supply did you increase the capacitance or just maintain overall factory capacitance?
Same question for the output caps of the preamp did did you modify the values based on the input impedance of your power amp?
I may borrow your idea of using an AQ power cord for internal wiring on my ARC PH-3, LS 25 and VT 100. I just replaced some of the power supply caps in my PH 3 with the Mundorf M Lytic HV and the improvement is unreal.
 

Barry

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Jan 8, 2012
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#54
Wow. Beautiful work! Pretty extensive, time consuming and looks like several $$$$ of work. I'm sure it sounds nice. I love my Ref40, but will never mod it. 3 years of work on my Pass Labs XVR-1-3 XO and 200 parts later was enough to make me quit. Love the results, but requires more patience than I have now. Who did the tech work? wouldn't trust this to just anyone.

Too bad they still don't make Black Gates - still my favorite. Sadly, the Silmic IIs and AN Kaiseis aren't even close.

Thanks for sharing. Enjoy!!!
 

ayreman

Well-Known Member
Jan 2, 2017
190
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Ukraine
#55
Ayreman,
On your power supply did you increase the capacitance or just maintain overall factory capacitance?
I had to decrease overall factory capacitance. If you want decent copper foil caps in there (like Audyn TCM) and no film, that's the only way. In the copper foil league everything is 5 times larger in size and space is very limited. But in this case quality turned out to be a lot more important than quantity. I had conducted a series of tests before decreasing capacitance. Wasn't sure initially but the test results were right in your face.
 

Sablon Audio

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May 22, 2015
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#56
I had the psu of my Border Patrol preamp upgraded to film capacitors. They were the size of a can of coca cola.
 

ayreman

Well-Known Member
Jan 2, 2017
190
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93
Ukraine
#57
Ayreman,
Same question for the output caps of the preamp did did you modify the values based on the input impedance of your power amp?
That's exactly right.
 

ayreman

Well-Known Member
Jan 2, 2017
190
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93
Ukraine
#58
I had the psu of my Border Patrol preamp upgraded to film capacitors. They were the size of a can of coca cola.
Foil capacitors would've been double, if not triple the size! That's why I mostly went with Audyn TCM - they are the smallest in the copper foil camp.
 
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spiritofmusic

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Jun 13, 2013
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#59
The biggest problem I have with this hobby is that everyone seems a bit weird. No normal people on this forum
Ked, are you talking to your mirror again?
 
Jun 11, 2020
6
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56
Hamburg / Germany
#60
Hello Ayreman,
this is one of the really few good documented modifications of ARC gear and so to see in pictures is valuable. I think the most aficionados would rather not touch there Reference preciosities. ARC is at first a business company and has to earn money. William Z. Johnson was a genius engineer but also a rather good businessman and so there was no need to spend a lot of money in amp parts if the circuit is convincing.That is also my experience that the parts in the ARC products are in best case midfield.
Nice to see that you choose a German brand like Audyn. http://www.humblehomemadehifi.com/Cap.html rated this cap with 12,5, like Rike 12,5, Mundorf 12,3, Jupiter 12,0 within the required voltage. I could imagine that the Duelund and Audio Note caps sound a tick better but not tested in this loudspeaker cap testing.
But let me ask you some questions. First, if I count the uF of your coupling caps they sum up to nearly 13 uF in total (1 x Duelund 0,22uF, 8 x Audyn 0,68uF, 4 x 1,50uF, 2 x 0,22uF and some minor Jupiter also estimated with 4 x 0,22uF). ARC designed the coupling caps in total with uF 40, (4 x 10uF, the big Teflon ones) so there is a big difference. Question: Are the many smaller ones so fast that they could compensate the size or do like a more relaxed sound?
Second: The behavior of all caps depend on the resistor bevor and after the cap. This is what makes a elaborated amp design. There you have to calculate a lot, nearly all major Herz frequencies. And after that you have to hear and change resistor by resistor and cap by cap. This will be the job of Warren Gehl, I think. Question: Will you do the resistor matching in the next project step and when will it be?
I although own the Ref 40 and the first step I have done was to replace all the electrolytic capacitors an add it up to 11.300uF in total, the very best and super fast screening capacity with Mundorf MLGO 680u/450V. Second improvement is of course (!) to get all the important (not all) Rectifier-Diodes (20) and capacitors (8 x Panasonic FM) and resistors (24 x Dale) in the PSU to the same fast and precise level. The effect is a dark silent, super super super fast and precise sound with more details.
The next step I will go is to replace the four big coupling caps by more smaller ones to keep up the speed and precision I gained up in the PSU.
Third Question: Did you change the bypass cap of original 0,0024 uF cause I can’t see or is it the black one which seems bigger?
Sorry for this long and perhaps boring contribute, but you are the only one who shared his project to the public and I am at the start of modding my Ref 40.
Chears
 

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