The original common diode rectifier.

The Schottky diode, manufactured by Fairchild Semiconductors. My phono stage requires 8 pcs of these very chunky diodes.

It's been a while since I held the soldering gun. I've been a little lazy lately and my DIY parts bin and half completed projects have been pilling up. I suddenly had the mood to do something about it today!

The idea was to fit all those stuff listed below in to my Pass ONO clone DIYed phono stage:

1) Furutech Inlet G, a chassis mount IEC socket for the quality conscious.

Furutech IEC Inlet G(what else?), available from Audiomatic, cost RM$52.00 per pc.

2) Schottky diode rectifiers, something which I've always wanted to try, as the DIY world has plenty of stories how this little diode transforms the sound of the humble "modded" Marantz CD63, AD 815 JRDG clone pre amp amongst other stuffs.

Schottky diode, available from Farnell Newark, part no.955-6770, cost RM$2.19 per pc.

3) Refit a proper grounding post, I could not find it when I started building the phono stage 2 years ago, but I recently manged to acquire the proper grounding post.

Grounding post(green coloured), available from an electronics store in Puchong. Cost RM$4.20 per pc. My Rega doesn't require grounding, but I'd just like to have it.

The work to remove the old parts took out and replace the new ones took about an hour. After which, I tested the phono stage again for function and sound. With the item confirmed to be working and sounding as per normal, I proceeded to put back the cover(top plate) of the phono stage. It was then I also decided to torque set all the chassis external screws. I set the torque to 4kgs as per my other "original" Pass X2.5 pre amp torqued earlier.

The mounted Furutech IEC chasis mount socket.

After all the work, I sat down to play a few LPs. But the moment I switched "on" the system and let it settle down, I was stunned by the relatively silenced back ground of the phono stage. Previously, when I left the system to settle down, with the phono stage on, and the pre amp volume setting at 12(my usual listening volume), I could hear a faint hiss emanating from the speaker's tweeter. Now, this hiss is no more, and free from all other electrical noises. I proceed to play Tsai Ching's Lou Ge 2008 re-issued 180gsm LP, with the silenced back ground noise, I also noticed that there is no more sibilance in female vocals. The high frequencies are also tidier and cleaner then before. More low level resolution is revealed now.

The innards of the Pass ONO clone DIYed phono stage, balance topology. All signal cabling(red/black) are vdH SCS18.

Is it the Furutech? or the Schottky making most of the sound improvement? I don't know, but what an excellent sonic up grade to spend almost RM$80 for parts cost and an hour's handy work.

Foot note: I did another Furutech IEC Inlet G install for a friend's CDP today(12/05/2009), but subjectively found it's contribution to the sound improvement, very minimal. Hence I can only speculate that in my case, most of the perceived sound improvements to be contributed by the Schottky diode high speed rectifiers. In the end I'll borrow my dear friend Ken's caveat again, YMMV!

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