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Old October 24, 2008, 07:57 AM
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Default Opamps and Modding thread

Hey sound freaks. Opamps swapping and soundcard modding have become more prevalent and easier to do with the release of some of the newer modern soundcards which contain opamp sockets instead of hard wired chips.
This gives the end user the ability either improve the signal/sound quality or change the cards sonic signature more to their personal preference or both.
The HWC audio Lab has built up quite a collection of audio opamps through testing and newer products being released, as we are always trying to improve our reference systems and cards.
If you have performed some modifications to your card, DAC or other audio devices or changed some opamps and want to tell others about your new and improved sound quality or curious about how to change the opamps or what to change them with, this is the place to do it.
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Old October 24, 2008, 08:10 AM
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Hey, do you think you could toss up some links where people can purchase OPAMPS from, to maybe give the thread a kick in the butt?
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Old October 24, 2008, 08:22 AM
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Some of the better audio opamps are either surface mount (SOIC) or single channel units and on their own incompatible with a soundcard with a DIP8 socket. They will need to be soldered into a adapter mopdule by you or by the company you are purchasing them from. Here is a Link to the Auzentech opamps line up: OPAMPS
There are a few of the higher end models that are SOIC or TO-99 -both types needs adapters but Auzentech has built them into boards for use on their cards with replacable opamps such as the X-Plosion,X-Meridian, Prelude and upcoming HTHD. The newer HDAV 1.3 soundcard from ASUS also has replacable opamps.
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Old October 24, 2008, 08:54 AM
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Well, I'm game for some modding...what card do you think I should try? I'm not concerned about soldering any surface-mount parts...
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Old October 24, 2008, 09:19 AM
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Then you require a card with DIP8 sockets. Such as a X-Meridian, Prelude...or other..
The X-Meridian is a great card for modding as you can change all 4 opamps....
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Old October 24, 2008, 09:25 AM
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lolmaybe you mis-understood..I WANT to be soldering. Cap replacement, etc, I'm all game for...I mean, alot fo the Auzen cards have good opamp on L/R, but lower OPAMPS on other channels, so each card would probably benefit from some mods...nevermind signal dropoff can be improved jsut by replacing caps...lots of way to have fun here!
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Old October 24, 2008, 09:29 AM
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Again, the X-Meridian has been one of the most extensively modified cards around. The opamps are easy enough to replace but you can also change out the caps and there are other modifications performed and discussed between owners of the cards. Power supply caps changed and improved, DC couling of the outputs...the cap mod helps but the DC coupling is said to help considerbly.
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Old October 24, 2008, 09:52 AM
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I'll be watching this thread. I just got a Razer AC-1... I know low low end stuff but wanted to compare to onboard sound to get a feel for the difference. It is an audible difference but not major, but being a low-end card and having a cheap 2.1 speaker setup are obviously very limiting.

I've started piecing out the parts for a 5.1 amp I'm going to make and will probably work on the speakers at the same time, just have to figure out what it is exactly I want first.
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Old October 24, 2008, 10:09 AM
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The AC-1 will definitely give you better sound quality then your onboard. Many PC audio systems are limited by their speakers. Going with higher end amps/receivers and speakers will give you superior sonic gains when compared to a "PC" speaker system. This is why many of us modify our soundcards, to further improve the output quality...
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Old October 24, 2008, 05:20 PM
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Question: Got an Auzen Prelude, been thinking about taking advantage of the easy opamp swap. The process is entirely a matter of swapping the chips, right? No need to reinstall drivers afterwards? And aside from the sound character, does the output level get affected one way or another? For now, I'm still giving myself a chance to get fully used to my new headphones, but once I'm comfortable with them, looking hard at the OPA 627AU unit.
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