Modding the DirectStream DAC

Hey @jkrichards , @Turbotk , @dvorak , @vkennedy61 or others…

It would be great if you can support me with some pictures and infos.

My modder did everything now except the tantal caps over R6.



Are those the right parts to fit over another?

He says it would be quite tricky to fixate the SMD Tantal while soldering it sideways, especially as it shouldn’t get too hot and that an axial version would be way easier to solder.

Could you give me some hints for him how you did it and provide a close up picture of a built in one also from the sides?

He also said the Tantals usually don’t sound the best, but have to be used here due to the high value, correct?

Thanks a lot!

Old school hdmi cable shootout, @scotte1 !

It isn’t fair to judge when coupling a few different changes at the same time (i.e. cable change and the hdmi plug), but my intuition last night was that the ral feels slightly louder and more energized, but that might also be the blacker black with the plug. Listened to the ral + mods again this morning for a good hour or so…two different recordings. Just put the ww back on the pst. I like it better. It feels warmer and less forward to me. It’s the WW Platinum Starlight 7…to be specific. Again, old school hand-me-downs.

So now I will focus on the i2s plug and its impact. I’m going to only compare streaming on i2s #2 vs. plugged #2. Has anybody had better results with #2, or is it, by stock design, always going to be noisier?

Edit: Mine mk1 isn’t stock, but is in regards to these input devices.

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My experience with the R6 and C704 mod: Soldering SMD´s by hand is not my cup of tea. Similar to your modder´s point of view, I guess. So initially I ordered the Vishay SMDs (T58W9476M6R3C0150) AND the Nichicon Muse Caps (UES1A470MEM1TD) just to try both options. During work on the first R6 I was just not sure, if piggybacking the Tantalum caps to R6 was successful. There was not enough confidence in my own soldering skills. So I took the Nichicons instead, much easier to solder.
And for the C704 I avoided the SMD caps as well and took the Wima Film Caps (FKP2C021501I00JI00). Also quite an easy job to do.
And together with the Lundahl´s it is a magic combination!


Thanks much, also for the link to the Nichicon!

Anyway I’d still be interested in hints of others for the SMD use and if my parts choices were correct for the backpacking job.

I have a lot of appreciation for you gentlemen, because I have it much easier. Currently, service work is a small part of my professional activity, but I am equipped with quite good tools. I have too many soldering irons, but they are such men’s toys. To speed up the work and not change the soldering tips, I bought 3 Weller double soldering stations. The thinnest tip has a diameter of 0.1 mm, I often need it when servicing wireless microphones.




Can anyone aside of JK (with whom I wrote over PM) maybe make a close sharp picture of a tantal over R6 from the side so that the soldering and the whole pack can be seen?

Ok, my modder now did everything except the tantal (or Nichcon) over R6, as in his opinion the risk of damage is too big compared to the benefit, which I have to accept without again looking for another modder I’d trust, taking the risk.

My question to @tedsmith , @jkrichards or others now just is:

Is the cap over R6 mandatory in combination with the other mods (Lundahl, C704 and R5,R6 exchange), is it just important in a major way or what did you experience or do you expect as its main benefit in relation to the other mods?


Nothing is mandatory however I feel the VOCM (cap on R6) makes the biggest improvement in sound quality over the other mods.

Bigger than the Lundahl? Or just bigger than the resistor and C704 changes…

After getting the Lundauls and doing the R6 and C704 I can attest it sounds great. I do also have one usb plug. Getting my new plugs for Jeff today. Also have the external power supply. Did not do shielding as I was not sure where to place. I will say the sound is fantastic. It did take over 100 hours for the mods to settle in and with out the R6 and c704 they transformers were shrilly. But now all settled in loving it.

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Thanks much, very interesting!

When you mention VOCM you always mean the resistor replacements and the cap over R6 together, correct?

You can’t tell the effect of the R5/R6 resistor change and the R6 cap separately, right?

Thanks again JK, so I might have to look out for an add. modder to trust.

Hi @jkrichards, please describe what pins you shorted for the spdif plugs, did you use resistors? Thanks

XLR short is interesting - best way to describe is - all the improvements from USB,I2S,Coax, but a massive tidying up of image and focus is better. All my inputs shorted except Toslink. Overall way to go.


@jkrichards please this is how you did XLR shorting plug - e.g. Shield not connected (shorted)?

@tedsmith please is it safe to short DS DAC Spdif and AES outputs without the need for resistor?

Yes, it’s safe. Shorting is better than a resistor on the digital inputs. For that matter you can short the outputs too, but then you can’t hear much :slight_smile:


:laughing: :1st_place_medal:

Ideal for lowering the noise floor.

A little hash with your eggs so to speak?

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