Arcam Alpha Upgrades and Mods

Discussion in 'DIY Discussion' started by liquidsmoke, Apr 30, 2008.

  1. liquidsmoke

    liquidsmoke

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    Hi - I'm new here :)

    I have the following:
    Arcam Alpha 9 Integrated Amp
    Arcam Alpha 9 Power Amp
    Arcam Alpha 8SE CD Player

    What upgrades or mods can be done to my kit? Not looking to spend huge amounts, just something to breathe some life back into the amps (capacitors etc i have read a little about), and perhaps some kind of dac/clock upgrade on the alpha 8se cd – although i am tempted by alpha 9 cd players going cheap now on ebay...

    I can solder alright with larger components, but kind of looking for some kind of guide to show me what to replace with what. I know a capacitor from a transistor, but I couldn't look at the innards of my equipment and tell what needs replacing with what...

    Hope someone can help :)
     
    liquidsmoke, Apr 30, 2008
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  2. liquidsmoke

    Tenson Moderator

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    I think you will be best off getting an Alpha 9 from eBay, they are great players. Changing caps and such like will only take you so far, so to get real improvements I think you will have to do something more extreme that will (from what you said) be a bit more than your happy to do.

    As far as the amps go, you might get a noticeable improvement by changing the integrated to a dedicated pre-amp. Or are you bi-amping?
     
    Tenson, Apr 30, 2008
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  3. liquidsmoke

    liquidsmoke

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    Yeah, I have the amps in a bi-amp setup driving a pair of monitor audio silver 9 speakers...the 9 integrated is driving the treble and power amp the bass.

    I'd quite like to get my hands dirty with some capacitor upgrades. Also the volume control potentiometer is getting a bit crackly at low volumes; i thought a new one might solve this?
     
    liquidsmoke, Apr 30, 2008
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  4. liquidsmoke

    Tenson Moderator

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    I wouldn't bother about changing capacitors. Not unless they are old and leaky.

    The pot may be changed, but you will need to get one that fits, which may limit you on choosing a fancy thing. Best bet is to squirt a bit of contact cleaner in there and wiggle it around a few times. Works a charm.
     
    Tenson, Apr 30, 2008
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  5. liquidsmoke

    liquidsmoke

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    contact cleaner can be done! cheers for the advice...
     
    liquidsmoke, Apr 30, 2008
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  6. liquidsmoke

    zanash

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    Not wanting to tread too heavily on toes ....but my experience is the opposite.

    These older arcam units can shine brighter than they originally did with just a few simple and cheap mods ie less than £30/ unit

    As your posting on the diy section proposing to cap change then I'm assuming a level of technical ability ... please say if I'm assuming too much.

    In my past I've moded upward of 40 bits of kit so I feel I have a little experience ...

    off the top of my head

    6x Arcam A5's full blown recap schotkky dioded silver wired output cap replaced

    2 x lite dac ah's as above

    Thorens TD160 bc made up to the super variant including suspension modification, damping and new arm board to my own design

    3 x Nad 3020 's vol. pot replacement and a complete internal renewal of caps, resistors, and signal path.

    Nytech ca 252 as above
    Nytech ca 2o2 as above

    Incatech Claymore replacing the internal wiring with 4n silver, updating the op-amps and caps

    Sony MDS-JE520 building a digital output, PSU upgrades, IEC socket, res. and cap. changes.

    Denon DRM 12 HX PSU changes, RF/EMI isolation, IEC socket.

    Denon DCD 920 Clock upgrade, full RF/EMI isolation, op-amp swaps, chassis rebuild and damping, PSU upgrades, muting transistors removal, Cap. and Res. Swaps , full cap. bypass regime.

    Music Fidelity X-DAC New AC power supply, as above but without the clock.

    5 x Music Fidelity X-DACv3 as above

    2 x Music Fidelity 10x as above

    5 x Music Fidelity 10x v3 as above

    2 x Denon TU260L PSU upgrade, signal path changes, output stage replacement.

    3 x Dynavox vr70e

    2 x marantz cd 63

    2 x marantz cd67

    3 x behringer deq2496

    2 x behringer src 2496

    various sony cdp and thats not to mention any of the kits I've played with ....with the exception of a couple of units all were improved, many to the astonishment of there owners .

    I've added this ..just to show that I'm not talking b/s to you


    If you need any advice please feel free to pm me

    I've the schematics for the 8se

    and a quick scan shows me that its relay muted which is good ...but uses 4580 opamps followed by op27's ....which are a little passe by todays standards..

    oddly I can't imediately spot the psu section ..but if its anything like other arcams then swapping in schottky diodes will work wonders .....then follow that up with a liberal sprinkling of panny fc in the the main psu and then the analogue psu should help.
     
    zanash, May 12, 2008
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  7. liquidsmoke

    zanash

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    Oh and yes the pots will respond well to contact cleaner ...don't forget the input and output connections too...
     
    zanash, May 12, 2008
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  8. liquidsmoke

    jstap

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    Dare I ask if you have asked arcam themself for your options. I have contacted the spare parts division directly myself recently and got good advice from them. you can find their email address on their website.
     
    jstap, May 24, 2008
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