Starting some minor DS tweaks today

Finally at 345 hours of burn in I have all my ducks in a row to perform the afore-mentioned modifications. I parted some .250" thick 7075 billet aluminum discs off some 1" rod stock on the lathe. Will mount them to the DS chassis floor with JB Weld at the new coupling feet location. Already pre-drilled and tapped them for #6-32 brass threaded adapters that are 1/4X20TPI at opposite end for threading into the Rollerblock top cup. Once cured after 24 hours I’ll be able to get the Rollerblocks neatly installed .010" inset from the drop-down case protrusions that are just outside the OEM rubber feet. I’m looking forward to significant improvement once the fuses and coupling feet are installed! Not to mention it will now match every other component fuse and coupling feet in my system! If all goes according to plan today/tomorrow I’ll top the 500 hour burn on the DS a week from tomorrow, Sunday. May 3rd. I’m swapping a used 1A SR Red T fuse from the 12V ULN power supply I use with my DSPeaker Anti-Mode I seldom use so no need to break a new one in. Threw the new SR Red into the DSPeaker. Sometimes ya just get lucky! Enough rambling… time to put the DS on ‘stilts’ and get after it!

Update Pre-drilling and tapping the discs was a bad idea due to some clearance issues with the aluminum angle that holds the walls/floor together not being equi-distant at their ends (shoulda seen that one coming!). Good thing I parted an additional 20 or so discs that haven’t been pre-drilled/tapped! I’ll just epoxy them to the floor overnight and tomorrow drill thru the DirectStream floor & discs simultaneously after epoxy cures then tap their threads. Fuse has been replaced and that’s an altogether easy project!

Sweet! I’d love to see pics of your project.

woot said Sweet! I'd love to see pics of your project.
Good idea! I've never posted pics here and know sometimes for me pic-posting can be a bear but I'll take some then see if I can figure out in the next few days. Also forgot to mention I'm using the tiny WA Quantum fuse stickers on the SR Reds as I have them on ALL my others in all the other equipment. I forgot as it was already attached to the burned-in fuse I robbed from the DSPeaker to use in the DirectStream. So went back and put a new one on the SR Red fuse I installed in that just now.

The benefits of the SR Red fuses are well documented here in the DirectStream forum by several, if not many. If you have an interest you might seek those posts out for vetting. Isolation/coupling/de-coupling systems are nothing new as I’ve personally experimented with them for decades. I’ve stayed with Symposium Acoustics since '07 after finding them in most, but not all cases to be the best sounding for equipment I own or audition. Additionally I find them to provide the most dynamic improvement. That is to say they sound best (to me) over a broad spectrum of equipment and are less ‘finicky’ about what they’re placed under. Stillpoints are another good option that I prefer on some gear tho not by any large percentage and I’m not in love with their aesthetics but the SA’s again, to me are simply the more/most dynamic and sound better under more equipment right outta-the-box. I’ve used them long enough to know they’ll bring a favorable audible enhancement to anything I bring in here. And I have plenty around to test or use under several speakers, amps, mono blocks, pre’s, DACs, servers & transports simultaneously. Its easy to acquire many of one thing over the years when you find it works best for most things. I personally have 28 assembled SA coupling sets in-house tho currently I’m only using 16, some in sets of 3 and some in sets of 4 (depending on component weight/weight distribution), counting the DirectStream.

Interested to hear your results. Component physical isolation has been a big deal for me here. I still haven’t sprung the $ for Stillpoints but have messed with some rollerball type devices with limited success. The PowerBase was an enormous improvement under my PWD then DS.

There are a number of serious tweakers here who I expect to be interested in your efforts.

Stillpoints appear to be the most popular for vibration isolation.

When I get the DS back online later today I should be able to glean the net benefit of the fuse replacement immediately since its previously broken in. Tho I’ll likely give it a day or two to settle in in its new home before offering up any extensive critique. It was/is crucial to me to not compromise the original mounting location of the OEM rubber feet and for several reasons, 1. to never make more than one change at a time and 2. to reattach OEM feet if I decide to sell. Since '07 I’ve managed to keep every high end power cord, cable, interconnect in RCA, banana, S/PDIF & XLR after spending over $40k that year cables alone and everything I got was used but pristine. I’m no longer even tempted by cables/cords. I still feel what I have blows away most everything out there tho I did purchase a new SuperNova Toslink and a pair of AQ Diamond ethernet cables this year in Feb for curiosity sake. I was delighted with the new Toslink and what’s occurred technology-wise since I last shopped them but still prefer a good coax connection. But the I was blown away by the Diamond ethernets!

For me Stillpoints have run hot/cold. They either provide GREAT or no discernible benefit. With that said however the best result I’ve ever heard was with 4 stillpoints. My current Rollerblock Jr HDSE’s with tungsten balls provide 90% of the Stillpoint results under the same component but a significantly higher result on many many other devices and I’m too OCD to live with the look & height differences of the 2 products side-by-side. My search for “the best” only goes so far on a purely sonic basis before aesthetics are considered. I’ll take a +/- 10% hit for looks.

When I finish up today I’ll provide a brief, initial finding on fuse/fuse chip then isolation a few hours later. Later, a more detailed, in-depth follow-up.

Manoet said My current Rollerblock Jr HDSE's with tungsten balls provide 90% of the Stillpoint results . . .
And much cheaper.

Ok, everything’s back together and playing wonderfully. However, since its been unplugged for 25 hours I’ll reserve critical impressions until its been powered up and playing for 3-5 hours. But I will say this; GAWD I love those fuses!! Kinda funny since I’m uhhh… ummm… cough… more than a tad suspicious of some of the other little widgets SR markets. (Can I say that?). Feel free to delete if it steps on any toes.

Left the OEM rubber feet on for now and will audition the Rollerblocks tomorrow or Tuesday.

While I had the DS apart I also trimmed the static cling plastic protective cover on top with an X-acto so it can remain in place but not noticed to help prevent future marring/scratches. Easier to do that when you can place the top upside down on a slightly larger piece of MDF or Masonite and trim flush to the painted HDF edge. Can’t even tell its there!

One other helpful hint I learned on a previous component that uses similar little spring friction fingers that tend to fall or go flying on disassembly. A little cyanoacrylate adhesive (super glue) placed on their flat backside, opposite the spring fingers makes future R&R’s a snap! Takes under 60 seconds and once done it NEVER happens again that you go chasing and/or reinstalling/realigning them every time the cover is removed.

More a little later…

No need to put this off any longer as its painfully obvious the SR Red is simply flat-out better. Maybe even the best there is. Certainly the best I’ve heard… in EVERYTHING! I could hear it today immediately upon reinitializing the DS after a 24+ hour shut-down. Of course it got lots better once warmed up. If I had to describe what these add in a word it would be ‘smooth’, no I mean REALLY s-m-o-o-o-o-t-h! How it can be at once so much smoother without smearing I’ll leave for others to articulate. The second word would be ‘natural’… its a wholly natural presentation. Smooth & Natural… smoother lows, highs and lows-to-highs frequency extension. Expansive sound stage, in breadth, width and depth. Increased texture and enhanced clarity. And no one is more aware that some things I’m describing have been considered heretofore mutually exclusive but there it is. YMMV but don’t try to convince me until after you’ve tried it. Regardless this tweak is many many things but I wouldn’t count ‘subtle’ among them. Its impressive and immediately so!

Since this is far from my 1st rodeo SR Red-wise I will say there’s no easy way to establish correct fuse orientation. I already knew which way to install the one I put in the DS this morning as it was in another component for the past 6-8 months. And the markings on the outside of the fuse have little-to-nothing to do with its correct orientation. However when you find the correct orientation you’ll know it… summarily and on the spot! I’ve not found installing it backwards to sound awful… just unremarkable, less initially impressive. My kingdom for a fuse-phase switch! 41_gif The DS makes swapping orientation a PITA due to the disassembly procedure but do yourself a favor and take the time. Its not hard in any way… just time consuming. You’ll be glad you did! Or install it in another easier-to-service device of same fuse spec to establish orientation then mark it for current direction and swap it over the DS. My bet is once you remove it from the easier-to-service device you’ll hear its presentation collapse. Hide & watch!

These may well be the first tweak I’ve seen that you can’t seem to find a bad review on. From pro reviewers to end-users there’s not a bad review to be found. Perhaps that’s why these are the only fuse I know of that come with a 30-day satisfaction guarantee. You don’t like it, return it. Bet ya don’t!

Tuesday/Wednesday I’ll be back with the follow-up on the Rollerblock Jr HDSE’s under the DS I did side-by-side with the fuse conversion.

Manoet said Feel free to delete if it steps on any toes
No way. Opinions, fairly expressed, are more than welcome here.

We are populated with both tweakers and non-tweakers. Both are wholly correct.


I cannot say I would undertake any part of a major modification exercise, but please count me in the list really interested to read about it.

I’ve already had some expectations / prejudices shown to be wildly inaccurate, by me to me, at the prompting and with the help of others, so I’m very interested in seeing what pathways more experienced and more … dedicated (?) … people follow in pursuit of upgrading their systems.

Because I can already tell there is enough to keep this an interesting hobby for quite some time.

Per the nickname, at this point, I’m extremely Green with all this, but keen to learn from anything you care to share.

Thanks !

Elk said

We are populated with both tweakers and non-tweakers.

Yeah its kinda hard for me to imagine the likes of McGowan, Smith, King & Udell being intolerant of a smidgen of tweak here & there21_gif

Please bear with me if this doesn’t work. I always hate 1st time pic posting at a new site. If these work it’ll be as follows:

  1. Pics of drilled/tapped coupling retainers epoxied to DS floor

  2. DS bottom indexed, drilled & tapped

  3. Adhesive pads cut and peeled away with all parts for this project and OEM rubber feet

  4. Top cups threaded into DS floor from underside.

I sure hope these get smaller when uploaded but “sorry” if not. I’ll try to do better next time.

Edit I got lucky!


brodricj said I was going to say, couldn't you have just bought a PS Audio Power Base to sit the DS on? But then I realized that doesn't relieve the itch of a DIY tweaker. Fortunately I don't itch in that way.
I'll simply leave you with this: I'm glad the likes of Paul, Ted, Bascom, Arnie and a horde of others don't share your exceedingly narrow & limited view! Tweakers by nature and any other name are innovators. No technology was ever improved or advanced thru complacency!. If it weren't for tweakers we'd all be listening to gramophones and espousing "its good enough for me."

You’ve made your feelings regarding tweaking patently clear via passive-aggressive observations throughout this entire thread. I get that! Sad you can’t have a greater level of tolerance regarding audio diversity and celebrate the differences rather than finding fault at every turn.

Green Machine said

…Per the nickname, at this point, I’m extremely Green with all this, but keen to learn from anything you care to share.

Oh, I thought you might have been the Champ, Danny Green, a.k.a. the Green Machine. Anyway, Green or not, all welcome here!
brodricj said

I was going to say, couldn’t you have just bought a PS Audio Power Base to sit the DS on?

Not nearly as interesting a project and may well not work as well as a customized, tuned solution. Or it may work better. One never knows until you experiment and try.
But then I realized that doesn't relieve the itch of a DIY tweaker. Fortunately I don't itch in that way.
Neither fortunate or unfortunate; tweak or not are equally valid options for this indescribably silly activity of high end audio. It is a hobby. It's entire purpose is to waste time and money.

It is perfectly reasonable to not find these experiments of interest, or to express having tried similar tweaks with negative results. But why so demeaning and dismissive in all your posts in this thread?

I was going to tell him if he’d read my posts as thoroughly as he’d peppered them with sarcasm he’d know I already have Rollerblocks around, have used them for nigh on a decade and with great success. Why indeed would I buy something new rather than use what I have around and know to work, at least initially!?! But then I realized he’s not really interested in any reason and his question was purely rhetorical and caustic.

But thank you for trying tho I’ve come to the conclusion he’s an audio bigot by definition: “a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion” with no tolerance for diversity in this hobby/pursuit and I’m too old and weary to take him on as some kind of character tweak! Tho in his case I would run out and buy a new one giggle_gif

I have a foot in both camps, tweaking and non-tweaking. For me I’m uncomfortable taking apart boxes which are covered under warranty where if I mess-up I will lose that or if I’m clumsy might cosmetically or operationally damage the product. It doesn’t matter how much “is on the 'net”.

In an ideal world for me we’d have regional “workshops” where the fainthearted could take their units and some knowledgeable individual(s) would guide you through a mod/tweak.

Nothing wrong with your approach. No one was born knowing how to go “in” the box. Whether that box is a faucet, toilet, door lock or an audio component. Many will experiment/dabble at home/audio repairs. Some never will. However, you mentioned “workshops” and I think PS Audio is great at giving them on video. They are not simply another what you referenced as; “on the 'net” how-to. They are product specific and painstakingly complete right down to tools needed, preparing work surface, grounding strap et al. PSA’s video tutorials are a workshop by any other name. The forum provides backup Q&A. Their vids are step-by-step and exceedingly comprehensive and complete start-to-finish. They have to be! They’ve sent a lot of widgets around the world to people no more confident or adept at installing them or converting/upgrading equipment than you probably view yourself. PSA is incredibly reasonable/tolerant on ‘mindful’ box intrusion especially as compared to others in the industry. And its a lot faster to simply install a fuse once the tutorial for a major conversion upgrade has got you in the box than the rest of the workshop covering board replacement while inside. But no one was born knowing this and no one has done one until they do their first one. We were ALL there once!