First off, I wanted to let everyone know that I plan to publish part 1 tomorrow night/Sunday morning instead of tonight. This was mainly because of the amount of time that I put into making the site more visually appealing. I knew it wasn’t exactly “polished”, some people like that, but it just wasn’t my top priority rolling out the gate. As time has gone on it has become more important. I took the best photos I knew how at the time, made my site background and headers out of photos taken on the spot around the time I launched the site. The header was changed multiple times and will be changed again soon, probably tonight (it was!) so that you can at least see the H in Hallman, haha. Okay enough on that note.
I had this project on the assembly line for a while now and this lead to actually getting components BEFORE I was writing my articles/reviews. I will be able to show a quick video of me soldering. I got identical rating Vishay BC capcitors to replace the Sanyos ones, an obvious swap, to me anyway.
For the record, tonight I lost an op-amp. It was my mistake though, sadly it was a Sparkos SS3602. I would much rather have a Dual-DIP go than any of my Single-DIP ones. I only have 2-3 models (pairs) of Single-DIP total for my discrete collection. I have had an op-amp backwards more than this time, but never in an analog front end like this. I literally saw a mini fire (maybe a repetitive short) explode between the two PCBs of the Sparkos Labs SS3602 and I slapped it right off the the DAC/board with my hand. I knew time was against me for the rest of the HW’s safety. I just got everything working again a week ago, I got lucky here. Sure enough, one backwards op-amp isn’t going to stop us now! Even if it does end in a spectacular mini fireball that I have never before seen anything remotely similar in my 15 years of soldering and building.
It goes without saying, the lesson here for the reader is to keep your op-amps well light when installing and don’t try working too late into the night trying to meet your own deadline! I would also say that companies could easily take some white/black paint and paint a half circle on the DIP end so it’s clearly visible, even from 2 feet away. This is sneak peak article that will eventually go away after Part 1 is published. Let this be a lesson to everyone out there, keep your op-amp in the correct orientation or get the fire extinguisher if you are using this combo! Craziest part of all, the op-amp looks completely fine no burns or anything. It makes me wonder if I just saw a short that was more than once. Hell, is the op-amp even dead?
The good news is the music still sounds great with the other op-amps and nothing seems changed at all except for the light show we experienced for roughly 1 second earlier when I tried to run an Orange Amp Dual-DIP w/ the Sparkos SS3602 that was already suspect from being backwards. Had the headphones on during this “mini fireball”, never even heard any distortion, haha. This is the stuff you don’t always get to come back from, hardware wise. Luckily, Burson Audio made sure I had plenty of V5 series op-amp models! Which I use in more than just my DAC and ZXR. Also use the V5i in the RCA to XLR converter I posted about and more hardware I have yet to show.
Stay tuned and I will try not to blow up anymore op-amps before the review is published. I am definitely double checking all configurations before inserting the power plug from now on. I haven’t seen an analog front end put out fire/sparks like that, ever. The fact nothing else was damaged is a miracle. Oh well, on to the review we go! (Note: this is why I wanted to use a 1A fuse, but already lost a 1A ceramic HiFI fuse so I am using a 3A, far more than this should need. Keep in mind it shipped with a 3A…)
Also I wanted to point out that I have a single V6-OPA-D that Burson Audio sent me for some reason, that has nothing else to pair it with, so I’ll pair it with the SS3602 and see which channel I think is the best! This may even be a better way to distinguish between such high end parts, having one on one ear and vice versa. All isn’t lost after all for our lonely SS3602! The Vishay capacitor are doing their jobs on the Amanero and everything is right in the ES9038 DAC land once again.
Electrical Engineering student (Jr year) with a background in IT. Such as dealing with large scale network infrastructure upgrades at Lowe's HQ and former lead hardware tech for the NC Government.