DAC10H/ST10 w/ TDSS mods

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jonbee

DAC10H/ST10 w/ TDSS mods
« on: 4 Aug 2016, 11:42 pm »
I just got my modded stack back from TDSS.
Before I start, let me say I've used several dozen good SS or Class D amps, not tubes, so these reflections are on that basis.
My audio friends have several very good tube amps, but comparisons with them would not be valid.
From the first notes I knew the mods were a great success.
I loved my stock 10H,ST10 units for all they did so very well, but felt they could use a tad more air and openness on top compared to my favorite amps. Well, that one caveat, not a showstopper before, is now gone, gone, gone.  From Bach fugues to Alison Krause to Ahmad Jamal and Dimeola/Dilucia/Mclaughlin Live to Andy Summers' power fusion, the modded units put me in the venue in as convincing fashion as I have ever experienced from 2 channel. The overall sonic signature and balanced tonality is much the same as stock units, but the soundstage, noise floor, very low level detail and airiness is greatly enhanced. Separation, width, depth and most notably the sense of performance space is the best I've ever had in any system of mine. Images often float in the air far away from the speakers on well recorded material. It is very cool to experience this 3D presentation.
This is the best amplification I've owned, and up there with the best non-tube gear I've heard anywhere. A friend has a big $ Spectral stack, and this reminds me of that for its speed, transparency and low coloration.
Note that these are very, very clean and focused; they add nothing I can tell, neither warmth nor brightness nor any euphonic editing. As in all matters, this may or may not match your tastes and system.
Kudos to Nuprime and Bob Smith.
Bob tells me they take a while to fully break in, and I can hardly wait. They are worth every penny and then some as is, if SOTA transparency is the goal.
If you already like the sound of your Nuprime and you've been thinking about the TDSS mods, for my money this is the real deal. It really shows off what these awesome pieces can do at their best.
If you don't own Nuprime, I think you'd have to pay far North of $10k for a HP amp, DAC, remote preamp and power amp to match these, and much more to better them. On top of that, they are very small, energy efficient, well built and look cool. Am I in love? You bet!
« Last Edit: 5 Aug 2016, 01:45 am by jonbee »

Early B.

Re: DAC10H/ST10 w/ TDSS mods
« Reply #1 on: 5 Aug 2016, 12:08 am »
Great to hear that you're enjoying those mods!

Kenobi

  • Jr. Member
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Re: DAC10H/ST10 w/ TDSS mods
« Reply #2 on: 9 Aug 2016, 05:38 pm »
Jonbee,

Please provide an update once you feel you have had some burn-in time logged in for your Nuprimes.  Curious if performance further improves and to what extent.

Thanks in advance!

Kenobi

jonbee

Re: DAC10H/ST10 w/ TDSS mods
« Reply #3 on: 10 Aug 2016, 03:12 am »
Sure thing. I've been out of town for a few days, so it will be a while.

audioguy213

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 203
Re: DAC10H/ST10 w/ TDSS mods
« Reply #4 on: 12 Aug 2016, 10:38 pm »
I have a ST-10 Dac-10 modified from TDSS just arrived and am burning them in now.
I will keep you posted.

jonbee

Re: DAC10H/ST10 w/ TDSS mods
« Reply #5 on: 26 Aug 2016, 04:42 pm »
I've put about 80 hours on the stack now, so here's an update.
The big story with the mods continues to be the enormous expansion of the soundstage in 3 dimensions compared to the stock units, which are already pretty good in this area. WAY outside and above the speakers, with the space of the venue clearly and accurately portrayed. Easily the best I've ever had in a system here, and not far from the best I've heard in high 6 figure systems.
No downsides I've found; in fact I can't identify any sonic weaknesses at all.
I think the soundstage has improved very gradually during break in. Not dramatically so, I suppose. I'm told 200 hours is the expected break in; if they get better, so much the better, but I already feel I've drawn an Aces-high full house. A very nearly state of the art remote controlled preamp, headphone amp, DAC and power amp in a small, integrated package for under $5k new, including mods? I wouldn't have thought it possible.

audioguy213

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  • Posts: 203
Re: DAC10H/ST10 w/ TDSS mods
« Reply #6 on: 27 Aug 2016, 02:42 pm »
mine sounded ok for the first ten days,

but now the amp has stopped working entirely. Seeing about a return or replacement from Bob.

jonbee

Re: DAC10H/ST10 w/ TDSS mods
« Reply #7 on: 27 Aug 2016, 03:13 pm »
mine sounded ok for the first ten days,

but now the amp has stopped working entirely. Seeing about a return or replacement from Bob.
That's a bummer!
Is the problem the amp or preamp?

audioguy213

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 203
Re: DAC10H/ST10 w/ TDSS mods
« Reply #8 on: 27 Aug 2016, 09:23 pm »
amp,
this morning it just made no sound, blue lights go on and off, but no sound.
The Pre seems fine, it sees incoming signals at different bitrates, etc.
but no sound from the amp.

unfortunately I dont have a lot of spare stuff to troubleshoot.
  The amp was on (though not playing overnight) and felt warm, but nothing unusual.
When I turn it on, it does the blue light and I hear the clicks as it turns "on" but no sound...

I am going to ask Bob to ship me a STA-9 maybe to listen to while he fixes the ST-10

Randy Myers

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Re: DAC10H/ST10 w/ TDSS mods
« Reply #9 on: 28 Aug 2016, 12:20 am »
What are the TDSS mods.... I mean what do they do and how much do they cost.  I see a link on NuPrime's website but I can't find any information on them.  Also are the mods mainly for the amplifier or are there improvements to be had for the DAC-10H?

Thank you for bearing with me.  I have not previously heard of these mods....

audioguy213

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 203
Re: DAC10H/ST10 w/ TDSS mods
« Reply #10 on: 28 Aug 2016, 01:19 am »
The US service center is here:
http://www.mytdss.com/

They also perform mods for all Nuprime gear,
you can inquire directly on pricing,

Mods are done to the Dac
mods are also done to the amps.

jonbee

Re: DAC10H/ST10 w/ TDSS mods
« Reply #11 on: 28 Aug 2016, 02:07 am »
What are the TDSS mods.... I mean what do they do and how much do they cost.  I see a link on NuPrime's website but I can't find any information on them.  Also are the mods mainly for the amplifier or are there improvements to be had for the DAC-10H?

Thank you for bearing with me.  I have not previously heard of these mods....
The mods target EM radiation and mechanical resonance and microphonics inside the units. I know a couple of the details which seem plausible.
Cost is about $6-700 per unit. I had my ST-10 and 10H done.
As I said, they sound terrific, but keep in mind I'm not a tube amp guy, and I wouldn't presume that they are the be all and end all for every listener and system.   

rustydoglim

Re: DAC10H/ST10 w/ TDSS mods
« Reply #12 on: 30 Aug 2016, 07:39 pm »
Just to be clear:  we authorise Bob to do the mod but we don't endorse any mod. We have never seen or listened to a modified unit.

audioguy213

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 203
Re: DAC10H/ST10 w/ TDSS mods
« Reply #13 on: 30 Aug 2016, 08:22 pm »
Just to be clear:  we authorise Bob to do the mod but we don't endorse any mod. We have never seen or listened to a modified unit.

Aren't you curious to?
Why not listen to them?

Perhaps you can incorporate some ideas into your product line and benefit from economies of scale.


I want to add that my comments on the ST-10 not working are NOT a criticism of the mods or of Nuprime.
Who knows what may have gotten bumped in shipping (though Nuprime has excellent packaging!)
anyhow TDSS gave me a support ticket, a return FedEx, and lots of email support within minutes, and my items will shortly be repaired.

In the meantime I bought a pair of STA-9 amps to try and I will be able to compare them to the modded ST-10 when it returns in a weeks or two.


rustydoglim

Re: DAC10H/ST10 w/ TDSS mods
« Reply #14 on: 31 Aug 2016, 06:13 am »
Bob is a good friend and I am afraid that if we start looking into what he has done, we will might end up copying his ideas.
Or we might independently come up with similar implementation later and be accused of copying.
So we rather not know. And if Bob can make some profit doing a few mod, we support that. 

Bob Stark

Nuforce Ref 9 V3 SE mono amps/ TDSS Level 3 mods
« Reply #15 on: 8 Dec 2017, 09:21 pm »
I had Bob Smith at TDSS do his  Level 3 mods to my Nuforce Ref 9 V3 SE mono amps.  I really liked the sound of the amps prior to the mods, but after reading the customer comments about the TDSS mods, I felt that the reliability of the amps would be raised and the sound as Bob described it, would be WAY better.  I picked up the finished amps at Thanksgiving at his place and had them running the next day. 

Initially, they sounded very good on CDs.  Every single CD I played sounded significantly better in all ways compared to the stock Ref 9s.  After a couple days, the sound went a tad bright and continued this way for 3-4 days.  Then, it started to vastly improve.  It has been 2 weeks since the work was done.  The sound is now beyond good--the music just sounds beautiful, with startling dynamics at times, with rock solid bass.  It is hard to quit listening, especially late at night.  The music has much more available power now and absolutely does not show any signs of clipping--basically sounds like the power goes on infinitely.

The mods consisted of a vastly improved power supply in each amp, chassis dampening in key areas, improved wiring in key areas, nice binding posts replacing the cheap stock ones, bus bars behind the posts, CAREFUL wiring to avoid noise, very careful soldering, and other things I don't remember.  It is a time consuming effort as I got to watch some of the work being done on one amp.

Anyone with a Nuforce or Nuprime amp/s would be very excited at the end result from one of Bob's mods.  The original Ref 9s were very good sounding, but the modded ones are at a much higher level. 

They are driving VMPS RM40 BCSE speakers that like a high power amp on the bass and need a very transparent, dynamic amp at all frequencies.  The rest of my system is:

TRL DUDE preamp
Modwright 5400 Signature Truth CD/SACD
Lenco TT with most of JTN's mods or parts upgrades
Trans-Fi Terminator arm w/ all upgrades
Benz Micro Ruby 3
Whest .30RDT SE phono pre
Star Sound Sistrum 101 rack
Sistrum SP-101 platforms for speakers
RTS couplers to clamp each component to the platform
Harmon-Kardon TD-120 cassette
Cerious Technologies Graphene Extreme SCs
Teo Audio Game Changer ICs
JW Reference IC
Amadi Maddie Signature IC
Core Power Technology Equi=Core 150 PC
TRL Silver PC
Amadi Phil Harmonic PC
Mojo Enigma PC
WyWires Juice II PCs
Synergistic Research QLS-6 power strip
Synergistic Research PHT (2)
Synergistic Research UEF panels & dots
Room is in the basement and is theater shaped with angled walls and ceiling
80% of angled ceiling is Armstrong high articulation tiles
Other DIY room treatment with diffusors and some absorption

I loved the sound of the system before and I really love it now.  I don't feel a need to change anything and hope to keep it that way.