BelCanto CD2- SQ tweak

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BelCanto CD2- SQ tweak

Postby Ianmac » Fri Mar 15, 2019 4:28 pm

This is a bit of a blast from the past catching me up again.
I had to search through my CD stock the other day looking for an old CD and came across a CD Enhancement Mat I had bought way back in 1980.
Its a Sicomin ABCDE ( a better C D enhancer) manufactured in France. Its a carbon Fibre mat with Kevlar felt. Sitting on top of the CD as it rotated it was claimed it reduced vibration of the actual CD.
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In my book.-- improving the accuracy of the data read and minimising the work being done by the cd electronic error concealment ?
To use this, one had to stick a small plastic ring around the hole in the CD and the mat sat over the ring holding it in position as the CD rotated. I remembered it worked well, improved the treble and made the music more relaxing to listen to.
The big problem with it was the plastic ring only worked on certain CD player mechanisms. Different rings were eventually offered but loading unreliabilty was high and CD's with rings fitted could only be played on certain CDPs.

Given I now have a "manual" top loading CD I wondered if this mat could be used again.
I tried it on my CD2 with the Magnetic Puck that holds the cd onto the rotor holding both the mat and CD. The results were very good but the concentricity of mat to CD was poor. I had to reference the mat central hole to the CD and Magnetic Puck centre. Initially I placed a thin paper disc onto the base of the puck this fitted into the hole on the Mat. This worked well but operationally it was far to much of a fiddle to set it up.
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Revisiting the issue indicated that the best way to ensure accurate and repeatable concentric alignment of all components was to place a ring on the matt that was in precisely the correct position, the puck aligned from this was correct for the CD and transport motor shaft
I made a jig that would ensure a plastic ring could be precisely fitted to the mat , made the appropriate ring from plastic then used the jig to glue it onto the matt. The hole in the mat is 0.800", the puck outside dia is 1.735", ring inside dia 1.737".
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Loading the CD was now easy and repeatable. Load CD, place matt on top roughly centred, place the puck into the new ring and all 3 align.
full testing was very pleasing, more natural sound with an obvious improvement in treble.
Lifted the CD2 up a level.
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At one stage I though of turning 20thou" off the outer edge of the puck base to form an alignment ring and tried two sources to buy a Puck , Coherent audio( Mr C) and then Bel Canto themselves to find out who was their importer in the UK. Neither have replied !! A little concerned Bel Canto havent replied
Caine gave me the info on Belcanto suppliers about a year ago but I was out of comission for some months with a health issue and I have misplaced it or wiped it from my PC in the many hassles I had with W10.

Anyone old enough to have a Sicomin CD Enhancer lying around -- and a CD2-- I made 2 rings as well as the jig.
Seriously looking for an old Sicomin --made in France --where is Maro?
Last edited by Ianmac on Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Engineered SA-NMR Renderer (Ianmac PSU) :BelCanto CD-2: Technics 1200 (Ianmac Bearing + Ianmac PSU+Ianmac arm): DACT-Ianmac phono pre >Benchmark DAC2 HGC>2*Ianmac-Hypex NCore monos> ATCSCM40 : Ianmac filters
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Re: BelCanto CD2- SQ tweak

Postby callen24 » Fri Mar 15, 2019 5:45 pm

do you think this cd player sounds better than your streamer?
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Re: BelCanto CD2- SQ tweak

Postby Ianmac » Fri Mar 15, 2019 6:48 pm

My instant answer is yes - but I need to do some more tests to check like with like.
My CD2 is connected balanced via a passive switch to my NCore amps. This uses the CD2 inbuilt DAC and its own Volume control.
My Streamer is connected balanced via the pasive switch from Benchmark DAC2 to the NCores
I need to listen again to my CD2 with its SPDIF output via my Benchmark DAC2
Ill get back when Ive done the above.
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Engineered SA-NMR Renderer (Ianmac PSU) :BelCanto CD-2: Technics 1200 (Ianmac Bearing + Ianmac PSU+Ianmac arm): DACT-Ianmac phono pre >Benchmark DAC2 HGC>2*Ianmac-Hypex NCore monos> ATCSCM40 : Ianmac filters
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Re: BelCanto CD2- SQ tweak

Postby hifinutt » Sat Mar 16, 2019 2:57 pm

thanks for write up, i remember happy days with my cd2
1]bc pre 3 vbs
msb s200 power amp
/vbs1 FM1 tuner
rotel cd /teac ud-ho1 , tannoy eaton legacy 2] arcam a75 , jolida modwright dac marantz sa8005 RFC impulse ta`us horns

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Re: BelCanto CD2- SQ tweak

Postby Ianmac » Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:40 pm

I have been doing more delving into why these dampers work. This stereophile atricle makes interesting reading, if your head doesnt nip before you get through the 8 pages. Having read it today Ill re read in 24 hrs!
My original comment re "error correction" should read "error concealment" ill change the initial post.
https://www.stereophile.com/reference/5 ... index.html
Sytem 1.
Engineered SA-NMR Renderer (Ianmac PSU) :BelCanto CD-2: Technics 1200 (Ianmac Bearing + Ianmac PSU+Ianmac arm): DACT-Ianmac phono pre >Benchmark DAC2 HGC>2*Ianmac-Hypex NCore monos> ATCSCM40 : Ianmac filters
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Re: BelCanto CD2- SQ tweak

Postby STodd » Sat Mar 23, 2019 10:23 am

^^^ that's a 'tough' read Ian... :o
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Re: BelCanto CD2- SQ tweak

Postby Ianmac » Sat Mar 23, 2019 7:44 pm

I did say your head might nip ?
It certainly has me thinking.
My current conclusion is that we are back to an issue with timing as/if the disc moves in the vertical plane as it rotates i.e. a variant of our old friend "Jitter "
I have now done comparisons with bit perfect ripped CD played via my streamer against CD replay using a Matt. The CD with the Matt is better to my ears!
Not surprising as one would imagine a ripped CD in a PC transport mech would be similar or worse than an Audio CD mech. One is ripping with built in jitter errors ? never to be removed ?
Sytem 1.
Engineered SA-NMR Renderer (Ianmac PSU) :BelCanto CD-2: Technics 1200 (Ianmac Bearing + Ianmac PSU+Ianmac arm): DACT-Ianmac phono pre >Benchmark DAC2 HGC>2*Ianmac-Hypex NCore monos> ATCSCM40 : Ianmac filters
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Re: BelCanto CD2- SQ tweak

Postby zippy » Sun Mar 24, 2019 9:46 am

I venture to suggest that today's transport mechanisms, lasers, and electronics are far superior to those back in 'the days' .
That being so I'd think that any 'add-on' would actually degrade the read process on a current CD player rather than improve it.
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Re: BelCanto CD2- SQ tweak

Postby mojo » Sun Mar 24, 2019 7:17 pm

Surely that should be easy to test, though? Just get a WAV file, burn it to CD, rip it from CD, bit-for-bit compare the two.

I've done tests of that type in the past, and have always been surprised at how robust and error free the process is (or at least was in the case of the very ordinary kit that I used then).

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Re: BelCanto CD2- SQ tweak

Postby Ianmac » Mon Mar 25, 2019 8:30 pm

From my reading I consider the the error correction on a CD reader to be very robust. Error concealment is not as robust.
The tests I have done used bit perfect rips from Exact Audio Copy and CD poweramp.
I think the issue is bit to bit timing accuracy caused by the varying ( minute) vertical distance between the laser head and the disc land area so we are back in the general area of timing "Jitter" as we commonly call it.?
Like putting a Puck on my vinyl record the mat is dampening the CD.
The SQ improvement on my CD-2 is very similatr to that achieved when we switched from SMPS supplies to linear PSU on Squeezebox.

The CD-2 uses the Pro version of Philips mech range, the vertical mechanical movement of the rotating disc supporting shaft will be to an extremely tight tolerance, likewise the laser.

To try and satisfy myself on this issue it would seem to me that my best course of action would be to rip some CD's from a Computer based CD transport with and without a CD mat in position. The two bit pefect rips could then be compared both from listening tests and PC based analysis from software like Audio Diffmaker.
My problem now is finding a second CD mat and getting someone with some knowledge of PC based CD/DVD transports that will advise me as likely models that will allow a CD matt to be installed.
There must be mats out there lying with CD collections. Ill use the wanted ads on the forums.
Sytem 1.
Engineered SA-NMR Renderer (Ianmac PSU) :BelCanto CD-2: Technics 1200 (Ianmac Bearing + Ianmac PSU+Ianmac arm): DACT-Ianmac phono pre >Benchmark DAC2 HGC>2*Ianmac-Hypex NCore monos> ATCSCM40 : Ianmac filters
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Engineered SA-NMR Renderer (Ianmac PSU) :Topping D50 DAC.Sony CDP D11 pro: 2*-Hypex Ncore monos: Kef ref1-2.
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Re: BelCanto CD2- SQ tweak

Postby zippy » Tue Mar 26, 2019 8:10 am

mojo wrote:Surely that should be easy to test, though? Just get a WAV file, burn it to CD, rip it from CD, bit-for-bit compare the two.

I've done tests of that type in the past, and have always been surprised at how robust and error free the process is (or at least was in the case of the very ordinary kit that I used then).


You have to be careful here - an audio CD that you burn yourself onto a standard CD-R is a very different animal to a factory produced audio cd.
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Re: BelCanto CD2- SQ tweak

Postby mojo » Tue Mar 26, 2019 11:14 am

zippy wrote:You have to be careful here - an audio CD that you burn yourself onto a standard CD-R is a very different animal to a factory produced audio cd.


In what way?

(other than the fact that CD-R's have lower reflectivity)

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Re: BelCanto CD2- SQ tweak

Postby zippy » Tue Mar 26, 2019 11:53 am

mojo wrote:
zippy wrote:You have to be careful here - an audio CD that you burn yourself onto a standard CD-R is a very different animal to a factory produced audio cd.


In what way?

(other than the fact that CD-R's have lower reflectivity)


Physical differences, e.g. the way that they are 'burned' - I believe commercial audio CD's are actually moulded not burned.
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Re: BelCanto CD2- SQ tweak

Postby mojo » Tue Mar 26, 2019 1:32 pm

Of course, yes, the way in which the less-reflective parts are created is different, but I thought you were implying that the way in which the data is formatted is different. If so, you would be right, in that commercially-made CDs sometimes stretch/break the boundaries of the standards in their efforts to prevent copying and/or "improve" the user experience with non-audio content.

Personally I would think of these as relatively subtle differences, rather considering it to be completely different, but I guess we all have our own perspectives on these things!

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Re: BelCanto CD2- SQ tweak

Postby maro73 » Fri Apr 19, 2019 8:23 am

Hello Ian
I'm searching for the CD Mat
Nothing found at this date