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Old 03-08-2011   #1
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Default Getting amps refurbed. Burr-Brown upgrades worthwhile or not?

Got in contact with Steve Mantz to get some old Hifonics amps refurbished/upgraded. There's a 20 dollar fee for any of the amps to upgrade/modify the Power supply. A 65 dollar fee for the larger amps to replace all the capacitors, 50 for the smaller amps. Then Burr-Brown upgrades are 45 bucks for a 4 channel, 15 for a 2 channel.

So, got an old Europa and Olympus VIII. Gonna pick up an Olympus VII, and a Zeus VIII.

Anyway, probably not gonna do anything to the Europa since whatever I do to it would just be 15 more bucks to do to a more BAMF amp like the Olympus. Does anyone think the Burr-Brown upgrades (I assume op-amps) would be worth the extra 105 it'd take to perform them on a pair of Olympuses and a Zeus? With that done I'm sure the amps could run 20 years without a problem, but would the Burr-Brown upgrades do anything worthwhile? Lower distortion, increase SNR ratio or anything else? I honestly have no idea what it means, I just don't wanna waste the money on something I literally have no idea about.

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Old 03-08-2011   #2
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Default Re: Getting amps refurbed. Burr-Brown upgrades worthwhile or not?

I vote yes. All 4 of the amps in my current on going install are modded with upgraded opamps among numerous other mods and I don't regret it. I don't have an a b comparison but I'm happy with it. Mine aren't burr brown and kinda wish I had gone that route but if for some reason I feel the need to upgrade later on I'll go that route

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Old 03-09-2011   #3
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Default Re: Getting amps refurbed. Burr-Brown upgrades worthwhile or not?

Its up to you, if you hear a difference that is real and not in your mind...it will be small. Unless those particular amps had a really bad op amp in them which is unlikely. You might ask them about it, or even ask about a newer normal op amp. It can change the sound some say a little warmer. It kind of comes down to if you have the cash and want to try it, then do it. I doubt you would be able to tell on sub amps for sure. It is more important to replace the old caps and possibly the differential amplifiers to get the amp back to new spec, not much else gets old really. The PS mod may be worth doing especially if you plan to play them hard. Since it is likely a durability mod I would do that for $20.

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Old 03-09-2011   #4
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Default Re: Getting amps refurbed. Burr-Brown upgrades worthwhile or not?

Mantz said they always do the Power supply mod, because it makes them more reliable, that, which is why I intended to do the Power supply. I found this out since I initially contacted him about the old caps.
I would assume that new standard op-amps wouldn't be much cheaper than the Burr Brown upgrades, since a decent part of the cost is normally labor I just use the best stuff.
I should ask him about the differential amplifiers though. Heck, as far as I know the Burr-Brown upgrades were referring to the differential amplifiers.
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Old 03-09-2011   #5
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Default Re: Getting amps refurbed. Burr-Brown upgrades worthwhile or not?

For me, if want to change, better change all together....
This is just like you are driving a Toyota Camry with Honda Accord engine....

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Old 03-09-2011   #6
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Default Re: Getting amps refurbed. Burr-Brown upgrades worthwhile or not?

Not worth it. What sort of distortion does your amp have that you intend to get rid of? If you can't measure it, you can't hear it. If you can measure it, you likely still can't hear it.

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Old 03-09-2011   #7
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Default Re: Getting amps refurbed. Burr-Brown upgrades worthwhile or not?

By which I assume you mean go buy a brand new amp?

Bad. No. Go lay down by your dish.
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Old 03-09-2011   #8
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Default Re: Getting amps refurbed. Burr-Brown upgrades worthwhile or not?

The op amps are in the pre amp section with the xovers and filters. The diff amps run the outputs and can cause DC on the outputs, most amps have diff amps. Most op amps are very perfect, a cheap one you would buy today is of very high quality. The ones in the amp are likely to be similar but slight possibility they are not as good I don't know. BB op amps can be very expensive depending, I've seen them $2 for an op amp and 25 for a BB or similar difference.

You can also have him, if room, put a holder in so you can plug different op amps in if you know the right ones that will work ok and really want to.

The diff amps might be fine in those amps, I only know I've had to replace them on lots of cheap amps they run hot and go bad. They are just little transistors, and not all amps use them but many do.

He is said to be a good guy, he should be able to tell you what the amps needs and what will make a difference. Many people just want to put in BB because they want to, they think it sounds better or it changes the sound in a tiny way and they think they have something. Fact is unless they are faulty, your speakers will change the sound and make 100X more distortion in your Car than the entire amplifier. You are messing with that last .5% more or less. If you have the coin to blow its fun to find out I guess, nothing wrong with that, just saying don't expect much unless the originals are somehow not very good which is unusual and he should be able to tell you that. Op amps made the first computer possible, they been around a long time and are used in all kinds of things. They are the best way to deal with an analog signal.

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Old 03-09-2011   #9
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Default Re: Getting amps refurbed. Burr-Brown upgrades worthwhile or not?

You realize that Burr-brown makes many different types op amps, right? They, like most companies, range from 'meh' to 'awesome' when it comes to distortion and SNR. The distortion we won't hear within their nominal range, though the SNR can make a difference.

That is to say that BB is nothing special. Analog Devices and National Semiconductor also make op amps that are arguably even better than anything BB has. Some are: AD8620, AD8599, LM4562. But none of those are necessary to switch to.

BB is good, too, though. OPA[2]134, OPA637, OPA627... OPA[2]620... Good stuff. Their Power op amps are pretty good as well e.g. OPA541

Audio is just, honestly, not that stressful to amplifiers. The frequency ranges are easy to deal with. As long as it's not a 741, it's probably fine.

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Old 03-09-2011   #10
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Default Re: Getting amps refurbed. Burr-Brown upgrades worthwhile or not?

i asked the same question on diyma when i was about to send my Zed Deuce for repair, and the majority said that I wouldn't be able to hear the difference in a Car environment.

i believe Mr. Mantz offers the BB upgrade so people have that peace of mind knowing that they have the BB, whether or not it actually does make an audible difference. btw, i spoke w/him several times and he is a great guy...he took his time to answer all of my questions.
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Old 03-09-2011   #11
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Default Re: Getting amps refurbed. Burr-Brown upgrades worthwhile or not?

Yeah Burr Brown has some history behind it, I don't recall exactly what all it was. Dragonrage said it, audio is easy for amplifiers....even a plain-jane op amp can do the job well.

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Old 03-09-2011   #12
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Default Re: Getting amps refurbed. Burr-Brown upgrades worthwhile or not?

That was sorta my thought. I mean a lot of headunits and crossovers and EQs and stuff say "Burr-Brown 24 bit DAC, it's Burr-Brown ZOMG!!!!!1one!!1". I Didn't think it would honestly make any significant difference though.

I could always just have him put the Burr-Brown upgrade in one amp. Either the one going to mids and midbass or mids and tweets, not sure which. Give me a good way to compare and not too much cost.
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Old 03-09-2011   #13
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Default Re: Getting amps refurbed. Burr-Brown upgrades worthwhile or not?

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I could always just have him put the Burr-Brown upgrade in one amp. Either the one going to mids and midbass or mids and tweets, not sure which. Give me a good way to compare and not too much cost.
I still don't think it'll be worth it, but if you want to do one, the higher frequency ranges should be changed.

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Old 03-09-2011   #14
 
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Default Re: Getting amps refurbed. Burr-Brown upgrades worthwhile or not?

Well, the amp probably has ba4560's (or equivalent), which are not much better than the 741's. Pretty much the best we had 20+ years ago.

If you took the time to track down those old amps, and are going to have Steve Mantz work on them, I would have him upgrade the opamps without any hesitation. Just my opinion.
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Old 03-09-2011   #15
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Default Re: Getting amps refurbed. Burr-Brown upgrades worthwhile or not?

I use OPA627 in all my amps and it made a definite difference in detail and clarity of image size and definition. also added a bit of warmth to the sound.

I also used LM4562 which are very transparent/Neutral sounding. LM4562 I think are awesome opamps and will prob use them in an upcoming install

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Old 03-09-2011   #16
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Default Re: Getting amps refurbed. Burr-Brown upgrades worthwhile or not?

BB is so yesterday anyways, its all about AD and NS nowadays
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Old 03-09-2011   #17
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Default Re: Getting amps refurbed. Burr-Brown upgrades worthwhile or not?

If anything, dont get BB chips put in, get IC sockets put in so you can change the chip at will. IC sockets are like 2 bucks apiece, chips ranging from 5-10, some even cheaper. If you have some basic soldering skills you can do it yourself easily. I changed all my own out on my PG MS amps I had.
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Old 03-09-2011   #18
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Default Re: Getting amps refurbed. Burr-Brown upgrades worthwhile or not?

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Originally Posted by BeatsDownLow View Post
If anything, dont get BB chips put in, get IC sockets put in so you can change the chip at will. IC sockets are like 2 bucks apiece, chips ranging from 5-10, some even cheaper. If you have some basic soldering skills you can do it yourself easily. I changed all my own out on my PG MS amps I had.
def agree with using sockets. allows you to easily roll opamps and pick what you like.
all my amps are socketed so I can test and find what works best.
for me it was OPA627 on browndog adaptors

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Old 03-09-2011   #19
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Default Re: Getting amps refurbed. Burr-Brown upgrades worthwhile or not?

I could possibly do that, and even possibly even replace the old caps but I really don't wanna risk screwing it up.

I'll ask him about the IC sockets. See what he says, I like that idea. The op-amps are about 20 years old, if they were newer it wouldn't be any question at all, but high end 20 year old op-amps aren't really better than cheap ones nowadays.
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Old 03-09-2011   #20
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Default Re: Getting amps refurbed. Burr-Brown upgrades worthwhile or not?

Ut oh, this thread has been taken over by golden ears.

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Old 03-09-2011   #21
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Default Re: Getting amps refurbed. Burr-Brown upgrades worthwhile or not?

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Ut oh, this thread has been taken over by golden ears.
Or by some people that must not know how to use Q-tips

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Old 03-09-2011   #22
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Default Re: Getting amps refurbed. Burr-Brown upgrades worthwhile or not?

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Originally Posted by Sarthos View Post
I could possibly do that, and even possibly even replace the old caps but I really don't wanna risk screwing it up.

I'll ask him about the IC sockets. See what he says, I like that idea. The op-amps are about 20 years old, if they were newer it wouldn't be any question at all, but high end 20 year old op-amps aren't really better than cheap ones nowadays.
If they are just regular leaded caps, they are a piece of cake, snap in caps are the hardest thing to do, I guess besides SMD's. But if Zed is quoting 60 or 80 for OP amps, especially when the board is out of the case getting the Power supply worked on, that is awfully high IMO, we are talking maybe 15-20 bucks tops in part and 5 minutes since the board is already out the case.
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Old 03-09-2011   #23
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Default Re: Getting amps refurbed. Burr-Brown upgrades worthwhile or not?

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def agree with using sockets. allows you to easily roll opamps and pick what you like.
all my amps are socketed so I can test and find what works best.
for me it was OPA627 on browndog adaptors
That's what they did with my amps isn't it? I can't remember but you know more about my amps than I do haha

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Old 03-09-2011   #24
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Default Re: Getting amps refurbed. Burr-Brown upgrades worthwhile or not?

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If they are just regular leaded caps, they are a piece of cake, snap in caps are the hardest thing to do, I guess besides SMD's. But if Zed is quoting 60 or 80 for OP amps, especially when the board is out of the case getting the Power supply worked on, that is awfully high IMO, we are talking maybe 15-20 bucks tops in part and 5 minutes since the board is already out the case.
They're quoting 15 on a 2 channel, 45 on a 4 channel. Where are you getting 60 or 80? The three boards together would be 105, the Burr Brown op amps I assume are not cheap on their own.
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Old 03-09-2011   #25
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Default Re: Getting amps refurbed. Burr-Brown upgrades worthwhile or not?

$60 for both, 60-80 was right then, I didnt feel like reading the OP again.

If you want to do it, just let him do it them. If this is your amp

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I dont see any 8 pin OP's in there, I didnt know you could get the "standard model" BB chips in that pin configuration.
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