DVD-3910

Denon 3900Denon DVD-3910 Level-1 mod is $1050 retro-fit to your machine, add $600 for center-channel, add $1,900 for channels 3-6, add $480 for Audiocom Superclock II/LC Audio upgrade when purchased together with the Level-1 mod package, add $180 for a pair of Bybee Slipstream Quantum Purifiers installed in the power supply right behind the AC inlet)

Level 1

Our Level-1 mod installs:

  • We upgrade the hypercritical I-V, analog filter and output buiffer op amps to replace the cheap stock "surface mount" parts (currently about 50 cents each from JRC) with AD8620, the very best dual op amps offered by Analog Devices, mounted to special smt-to-smt vertical adapters (this opamp is 30 times more expensive than the stock part). This part dramatically enhances both the unit's technical and subjective audio performance. The 3910 Level 1 Mod uses 4 of these dual op amp upgrade modules. For comparison purposes, op amps of this quality are usually found in 2-channel products retailing for $3000 to $5,000 USD + ! This upgrade alone is analogous to hotrodding a car from a 4 cylinder to a V8 twin-turbo!
  • The output stage is biased into Class A. to provide added tonal purity and effortlessness of presentation. This is an improvement over the older 2900/5900 mod.
  • One pair of output RCA jacks is changed from the cheap stamped nickel-plated brass and plastic types to precious machined Vampire RCA jacks, using a base material of OFC-Copper (3.5 times more conductive than brass) and direct gold plating with no intermediate nickel plating (which is magnetic and not desirable)
  • The output signal currently exits via a minuscule tin/lead plated PCB trace. Our mod uses 4 legs of pure 99.999% 23-awg solid-core silver DH Labs wire with foamed Teflon tape-wrap dielectric (the very best).
  • 22 critical signal resistors are changed to precision Japanese-made Riken Ohm Carbon Comp types with gold-plated copper leads (replacing cheap, magnetic, China-sourced metal-film resistors).
  • All critical caps are replaced with the best Electrolytic types - 2 x Auricap metallized polypropylene coupling caps + 2 x paralleled Black Gate FK-Series coupling caps, eliminating the cheapest-quality generic electrolytic caps in the stock unit. This bypassed coupling cap hybrid gives us the bass and dynamics provided by a "quality" high value electrolytic and the tonal purity of a world-class film cap.
  • 14 precision 1% polystyrene film and tin foil caps enter the analog filter to replace cheap tantalum caps in the stock unit.
  • The power supply and digital stages are upgraded with 15 Black Gate FK, NX, STD series electrolytic caps replacing cheap ceramic and/or generic electrolytics and all critical analog supply diodes (currently generic quality) are replaced with ultra-fast soft-recovery Fred type diodes - 4 x Vishay-Telefunken and 5 x) International Rectifier Hexfreds.
  • The chassis resonances are damped with 2 sheets of 1squ.ft SoundCoat )
  • External vibrations are isolated via 4 large compliant Ear Sorbothane feet.
  • We use WBT 4% silver solder throughout.
  • The mod takes approximately 7 hours to complete.

We are glad to introduce our Level-1 and 2 modifications for the new Denon DVD-3910progressive scan multi-Format SACD/DVD-A/Redbook CD player with DVI & HDMI digital outputs. The modified unit sets a new standard as the modified unit sounds a little better than the older 5900 - for $600 less. We have received superb reviews on our modified 5900 and 2900. This new unit offers an amazingly high number of features and world class sonics at a much lower price than the older 5900.

The base Level-1 modification is a 2-channel mod to the front left and right channels. It is designed to improve the 2- channel audio performance. It is very similar to that of the older top-of-the-line DVD-5900 but incorporates a few upgrades due to a superior layout, slightly revised topology and further mod refinements. In total, we add or replace 82 passive and active parts, requiring the complete disassembly, rework, reassembly and thorough retesting of the unit.

The 2-channel mod is performed on thefront L and R channels only to improve critical stereo reproduction whether the source material is Redbook CD, DVD-Audio, SACD or any other format! All formats are equally effected/improved since the dominant portion of the mod is to the analog output stage and the signal for any/all of these formats passes through both the very same digital chip sets and analog output stage. To reiterate, the same circuitry handles all formats, thus the mod won't improve one format more than any other. They all are greatly improved! We can also perform this upgrade to the center channel and the surrounds for an additional charge.
 

Level 2

The 2-channel Level-2 mod is $1250 retrofit to your player.

"All I can say is this is the best SACD and DVD-A reproduction I have heard in my room. It is so good that I have brought my Walker Proscenium turntable ($30,000) with Kondo IO-J cartridge and wire ($15,000) for updating, asking Lloyd Walker to take his time as I am happy with pure digital for the first time. That, my friends, is how good this unit is. So far this unit is lining up as my product of the year."

Dr. Bill Gaw, Enjoy The Music.com (for full review of modified DVD-2900, click here)

Our Level-2 mod improves the DVD-3910 even further by adding:

  • Burr Brown OPA-627 Opamps in custom surface mounting boards to add the best dynamics and midrange performance closest to tube performance. These are the same opamps used in $10,000 machines. They are sonically the best made.
  • Two REL-Cap Teflon TFT-Exotica bypass caps. This double-bypassed coupling cap hybrid gives us the best of all worlds - improved bass and dynamics provided by a "quality" high value electrolytic; the tonal purity of a world-class film cap;and the speed, delicacy and high frequency sparkle achieved by adding a Teflon bypass cap!

The 2-channel Level-2 mod is $1250 retrofit to your player.

"All I can say is this is the best SACD and DVD-A reproduction I have heard in my room. It is so good that I have brought my Walker Proscenium turntable ($30,000) with Kondo IO-J cartridge and wire ($15,000) for updating, asking Lloyd Walker to take his time as I am happy with pure digital for the first time. That, my friends, is how good this unit is. So far this unit is lining up as my product of the year."

Dr. Bill Gaw, Enjoy The Music.com (for full review of modified DVD-2900, click here)

Our Level-2 mod improves the DVD-3910 even further by adding:

  • Burr Brown OPA-627 Opamps in custom surface mounting boards to add the best dynamics and midrange performance closest to tube performance. These are the same opamps used in $10,000 machines. They are sonically the best made.
  • Two REL-Cap Teflon TFT-Exotica bypass caps. This double-bypassed coupling cap hybrid gives us the best of all worlds - improved bass and dynamics provided by a "quality" high value electrolytic; the tonal purity of a world-class film cap;and the speed, delicacy and high frequency sparkle achieved by adding a Teflon bypass cap!

 



DVD-3910

Ultimate Modification



Our brand-new Ultimate Modification, first offered on the Denon DVD-3910

Our fully balanced Ultimate tube output stage for the Denon DVD-3910 has been in development for one year. We decided to pursue it because the DACs in the Denon as well as in many other players are internally fully balanced. However, virtually all manufacturers take these balanced DAC and run them through cheap opamps to convert them to single-ended. This drastically compromises the performance potential. To take advantage of a balanced DAC, a fully balanced output stage is required to follow it. This is what the Ultimate mod is about: to truly optimize the performance of today's best state-of-the-art converters.

 



Part B: Our Level-2 mod is added to the first two (the 3rd is replaced by the tube output stage) stages of the Denon's combined analog output stage: the I-V current-to-voltage stage, the analog filter stage and the associated Denon power supply, which supplies these two stages.

  • We upgrade the hypercritical I-V and analog filter op amps by replacing the cheap stock surface-mount parts (currently about 50 cents each from JRC) with the very best dual op amps offered by Burr-Brown. These OPA-627-AUs are mounted to special smt-to-smt vertical adapters (which are 50 times more expensive than the stock part). These parts dramatically enhance both the unit's technical and subjective audio performance. The 3910 Ultimate mod still uses 4 of these dual op-amp modules (not 6 as used in the Level 2 since two are replaced by the tube output stage). For comparison purposes, op amps of this quality are usually found in 2-channel products retailing for $5,000 to $10,000. This upgrade alone is analogous to replacing a V4 engine with a V12 twin-turbo.
  • The output signal currently exits these stages via a minuscule tin/lead plated printed circuit board trace. We replace that withshielded interconnect and hookup wire which contains 99.999% pure, long-grain 23-awg solid-core silver DH Labs wire with the very best foamed Teflon tape-wrap insulation.
  • The critical signal path resistors (22 in all) are changed to precision Japanese made Riken Ohm carbon comp types with gold-plated copper leads to eliminate the cheap magnetic China-sourced metal-film resistors.
  • All critical caps are changed to the best film and electrolytic types:
  • 5 x BlackGate FK and N Series caps replace the cheapest-qualityelectrolytic caps in the stock unit
  • 14 x precision 1% polystyrene film and tin foil caps are installed in the analog filter stage, replacing the cheap tantalum caps in the stock unit
  • The power supply receives 9 x BlackGate FK, NX andSTD series electrolytic caps. These replace the cheap ceramic and/or generic electrolytics. All critical analog supply diodes (currently generic quality) are upgraded with ultra-fast soft-recovery Fred type diodes. We use 4 x Vishay-Telefunken and 5 x International Rectifier Hexfreds.


Part C: We install a new state-of-the-art "reference quality" Master Clock module and associated power supply. The Ultimate Mod incorporates the LC Audio X03 Master Clock module featuring over 93 discrete parts (many surface mounts) on a multilayer pcb. This new state of the art clock replaces a single cheap VCXO chip. We also add a custom-designed dedicated power supply for this module. The result is state-of-the-art jitter performance which improves the sonic performance of both the 2-channel analog output the and digital S/PDIF output! The clock makes all 6 channels of the unit perform better.

Part D: We perform chassis upgrades to add the necessary ventilation, damp chassis resonances, isolate the unit from external and internal vibrations and shield it from both RFI and EMI.

We add 2 sheets of SoundCoat to damp chassis resonance.

External vibrations are isolated via 4 x large compliant EAR Sorbothane feet

ERS EMI/RFI cloth is attached to critical locations to suppress stray EMI &RFI fields within the unit

Numerous ventilation holes are punched into the chassis and top cover to provide adequate airflow for the tubes, additional power transformer and additional power supply regulators for the new tube output stage. These vent holes are then covered with an expanded aluminum mesh for safety reasons.

We used WBT 4% lead-free silver solder throughout

The upgrade mod and custom tube stage installation takes upwards of 14 hours to complete. This includes unpacking, disassembly, chassis remanufacturing, PCB module assembly, component part upgrading, reassembly, testing & repacking.

Options:

  • Perform a center channel Level-2 mod adds $600
  • To perform a Level-2 upgrade mod on all 4 additional channels (3 thru 6) adds $1900
  • To add a pair of Bybee Slipstream Quantum Purifiers to the power supply, just after the AC line input, adds $190/pr installed

Warranty:

Modified units carry a 1-year warranty on all work performed. We also warranty the untouched portions of new units for 90 days for parts & labor.

Due to size constraints, the Ultimate mod is performed on the two front Cchannels only. We can add our solid-state Level-2 mod to any of the remaining 4 channels. The Ultimate mod was designed to optimize critical stereo reproduction. It works on all sources, Redbook CD, DVD-A, SAC, or any other format! All formats are equally improved. T reiterate, the same circuitry handles all formats, thus the mod won't improve one format more than another. They are all greatly improved! All 5.1 channels are fully operational in our mod and its plays multichannel software just as it was designed to.

The mod was designed by Chris Johnson, the founder and former president of Sonic Frontiers. The finished product is the best-sounding player we have everoffered. It will comfortably compete with any player, at any price!

The Denon DVD-3910 Ultimate mod ($2,790 retrofit + freight to your machine) breaks down into 4 parts:

  • Part A: The new PCX-designed fully differential/balanced tube output buffer stage is installed, offering concurrent output via both RCAs and XLRs and its very own dedicated power supply pcb,and toroidal power transformer - three modules in total.
  • The tube output stage contains the following:
  • Two-tube capacitor-coupled circuit, which can use a variety of tubes including 6DJ8s, 6922s, 7308s or any of their derivatives. (The mod ships with Electro-Harmonix EH-6922s). It can also be used with the Russian super tube, the 6H30made famous by both BAT and then ARC.
  • Parts quality: 5uf Auricap output coupling caps with Rel-Cap TFT Teflon bypasses; premium Azuma gold-plated ceramic pcb tube sockets; Riken precision carbon comp resistors; Audio Note tantalum resistors; Cardas PCB-mount RCA jacks; Neutrik gold-plated XLR connectors
  • Multiple fully regulated power supplies all on their own distinct power supply pcb featuring BlackGate electrolytic caps in critical locations and International Rectifier Hexfred ultra-fast soft recovery diodes.
  • Custom-made 200% duty cycle, low noise, low stray field toroidal power transformer

This module was conceptually designed by Chris Johnson, Sonic Frontier's founder and former president. The actual circuit design and electromechanical integration was developed by two of SFI's former senior designers,Glenn Dolick and Zdenko Zivkovic.This vacuum tube-based output buffer stage can be installed into any player which has the physical space for all 3 component parts. Although it was designed to be used with DACs with differential output per channel, we can install it into units which have traditional single-ended outputs.