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Emu 1820m moded with a fully descrete output "WOW"
Old 23rd June 2011
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Emu 1820m moded with a fully descrete output "WOW"

This post is for those who have this card but is disappointed with sound quality and do not have 5k for a high-end audio card.

I was doing some research on a new audio card for my system and ran across a forum discussion on IC opamp vs. fully discrete opamps. After researching the difference further, I found numerous glowing reviews on the burson discrete opamp and the gd-audio opa-moon fully discrete opamp. With the gd-audio opamp being pretty cheap I decided to mod my emu 1820m monitor channels with gd-audio opa-moon modules and swap the dc filter caps with the equivalent elna silmic II caps since they got raving reviews as well. Now this mod removes all IC chips from the output audio path. Therefore, we have the DA converter to the dc filter caps to the fully discrete opa-moon opamps to the output connectors.


The sound went from a volcano ash filled sky to a crystal clear spring day with not a cloud insight. Now I am not a real technical person so I cannot tell you about specs but what I can tell you is there is no IC opamp based system that will produce sound this wide, deep, clean and accurate. The sound of these opamps are amazing. The sounds and instruments are all very individual, separated and extremely easy to sculpt. My mixes translate accurately from system to system. It is truly a 'what you hear is what you get' translation in my studio. There are always those that do not believe so stay in the dark but those of you that want true mastering grade sound without spending thousands getting it, this may be your answer. Now I’m working on a frontend to match and the fully discrete event opals. Just thought I would share this discovery with other 1820m owners.


Items needed:

2 opa-moon dual opamps with the 3" extensions $90
2 brown dawg dip to smd adaptors $12
The equivalent elna silmic II caps to replace the existing dc filtering caps in the 1820m $1.50
2 50v 220uf bypass caps $1
1 hot air soldering station $40-$160
1 15w soldering iron with a fine point tip $5-$15
Old 23rd June 2011
  #2
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by droopman076 View Post
This post is for those who have this card but is disappointed with sound quality and do not have 5k for a high-end audio card.

I was doing some research on a new audio card for my system and ran across a forum discussion on IC opamp vs. fully discrete opamps. After researching the difference further, I found numerous glowing reviews on the burson discrete opamp and the gd-audio opa-moon fully discrete opamp. With the gd-audio opamp being pretty cheap I decided to mod my emu 1820m monitor channels with gd-audio opa-moon modules and swap the dc filter caps with the equivalent elna silmic II caps since they got raving reviews as well. Now this mod removes all IC chips from the output audio path. Therefore, we have the DA converter to the dc filter caps to the fully discrete opa-moon opamps to the output connectors.


The sound went from a volcano ash filled sky to a crystal clear spring day with not a cloud insight. Now I am not a real technical person so I cannot tell you about specs but what I can tell you is there is no IC opamp based system that will produce sound this wide, deep, clean and accurate. The sound of these opamps are amazing. The sounds and instruments are all very individual, separated and extremely easy to sculpt. My mixes translate accurately from system to system. It is truly a 'what you hear is what you get' translation in my studio. There are always those that do not believe so stay in the dark but those of you that want true mastering grade sound without spending thousands getting it, this may be your answer. Now I’m working on a frontend to match and the fully discrete event opals. Just thought I would share this discovery with other 1820m owners.


Items needed:

2 opa-moon dual opamps with the 3" extensions $90
2 brown dawg dip to smd adaptors $12
The equivalent elna silmic II caps to replace the existing dc filtering caps in the 1820m $1.50
2 50v 220uf bypass caps $1
1 hot air soldering station $40-$160
1 15w soldering iron with a fine point tip $5-$15
I am feeling very jealous right now! Where did you buy the opamps? Digikey? Mouser?


Sent from my SPH-M920 using Gearslutz.com App
Old 23rd June 2011
  #3
Here for the gear
 

audio-gd.com is the site that sells them. Its definitely worth the trouble even if you have to pay someone to install them for you. Do a search on opa-moon.
Old 23rd June 2011
  #4
Lives for gear
Got a 1820m, will try this out. Though the 1616m might be worth considering due to its much better pre amps etc, but would rather do this mod, as the 1820m preamps are not good really.

Still the 1820m audio quality compared to other audio cards in this price range is very high. I've worked with the Apogee Duet, delta 1010 and others and the EMU M series audio interfaces just sound better, especially in terms of a clean and natural clear sound, not harsh, sharp or metallic like others under the £1000 price range.

Of course it can always be better but spending over £1000 to get better is a bit much for people like your self and I. So I am going to do some looking into this, will likely give this a go.

I did replace the caps on the 1820m couple months ago as the two known ones that blow blown ,quite an easy replacement though and this interface is worth keeping so doing a mod such as this makes sense instead of wishing you had over a grand to upgrade.

I think this topic is in the wrong forum section though, this can appeal to more then this sub forum.
Old 5th December 2011
  #5
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JLiRD808's Avatar
Noob question...but are the ADA converters on the 1010 card or in the breakout box?

I ask because I have a 1212m but want to upgrade to having dual inputs. There's a bunch of "breakout box only" deals on ebay etc. but I'm not sure if I should get the 1820m or if the 1820 is good enuff.

Sorry for the thread jack too :(
Old 5th December 2011
  #6
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Reggmail's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by droopman076 View Post
audio-gd.com is the site that sells them. Its definitely worth the trouble even if you have to pay someone to install them for you. Do a search on opa-moon.
droopman076

That sounds good, thanks for posting I glad I found this thread.

I just sold my 1616M because of the newer laptops, card slot if any, have Express Card and not PCM CIA slots, so I had to ditch it.
My 1818 just blew the caps, I was going to sell the unit as is or repair it then sell (sense fire wire seems to also be leaving computers I 've replaced it with a Hybrid MOTU 828mk3.)

I would love to hack that 1818 and put it back in play, reading your suggestions may be the way to go.
Thanks & blessings.
Old 5th December 2011
  #7
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jomox View Post

Still the 1820m audio quality compared to other audio cards in this price range is very high. I've worked with the Apogee Duet, delta 1010 and others and the EMU M series audio interfaces just sound better, especially in terms of a clean and natural clear sound, not harsh, sharp or metallic like others under the £1000 price range.
Exactly my thoughts, that's why I've been hanging on to mine since 2005.

I really had no clue people were MODing their 1820m, especially in that dept, since in my humble opinion it sounded amazing for the price, and for me was a definite upgrade at the time. (BTW the difference sonic between the 1820 and 1820m is blatant!)

My only hick up till now is the headphone pot slowly dying...

That and the fact that it's on PCI, and from what I understand there are no mobos out there with the same PCI slot, or is there?

Anyway thanks for the heads up OP!
Old 5th December 2011
  #8
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JLiRD808 View Post
Noob question...but are the ADA converters on the 1010 card or in the breakout box?

Sorry for the thread jack too :(
From what I understand, the ADA is in the breakoutboxes. Reason to believe that is that whole line of products m or not, include the same 1010 card (at least the first PCI models). Not 100% sure.
Old 5th December 2011
  #9
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PettyCash's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JLiRD808 View Post
Noob question...but are the ADA converters on the 1010 card or in the breakout box?

I ask because I have a 1212m but want to upgrade to having dual inputs. There's a bunch of "breakout box only" deals on ebay etc. but I'm not sure if I should get the 1820m or if the 1820 is good enuff.

Sorry for the thread jack too :(
Breakout box. Any box with digital I/O will work with the 1010 card and E-MU mixer software, so you aren't just limited to the 1820 boxes if you want to use that card.

Specs aside, the 1820M was clearly better than the 1820 when I compared the two many years ago. The 1820M was one of the top interfaces under $1000 during its time. There are lesser quality interfaces than the 1820 (not M) that people can call "good enough", so like anything else, your mileage with the device will depend on your knowledge and skill. Get the best you can afford if it isn't overkill for what you are doing.
Old 5th December 2011
  #10
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PettyCash's Avatar
 

Also, be aware that if you are buying a used 1820 (M or not), which you will since they don't manufacture them any more, that you may have to switch out some of the caps in the interface before it will work at its best. If you experience random static, pops, and clicks, chances are the caps that need changing are starting to go south.
Old 5th December 2011
  #11
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JLiRD808's Avatar
Thanks for the responses. Really glad to know FOR SURE that I should go with the 1820m.

Regarding other ada i/o's, I'm considering the Behringer ADA8000 as well. Its got 8 inputs so that'd be nice but I don't really even think I need that lol. I usually just record singer/songwriter stuff.

Are there other digital boxes I should look at?

I even considered swapping to an M-Audio dual channel interface so I could use Protools. But I've been with EMU for about 7yrs now, starting with 0404 PCI, USB, then 1212m...I know patchmix well, emu's customer svc has been ridiculously good to me (some 30-40 emails back n forth), and well....they just sound great to me.

Thanks 4 all the help!
Old 5th December 2011
  #12
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JLiRD808's Avatar
I just realized that the 1820m has 3 more TRS stereo inputs on the back...had no idea lol. Is it safe to assume they are DI inputs and ignore the preamps?

I run guitar/vocals thru a GAP Pre 73....would I wanna run that thru the back or front of the 1820m?

Thanks...sorry if I'm still thread jacking but its older equipment & u guys seem to really know ur stuff. maybe I'll just go start another thread.
Old 5th December 2011
  #13
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PettyCash's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JLiRD808 View Post
Thanks for the responses. Really glad to know FOR SURE that I should go with the 1820m.

Regarding other ada i/o's, I'm considering the Behringer ADA8000 as well. Its got 8 inputs so that'd be nice but I don't really even think I need that lol. I usually just record singer/songwriter stuff.

Are there other digital boxes I should look at?

I even considered swapping to an M-Audio dual channel interface so I could use Protools. But I've been with EMU for about 7yrs now, starting with 0404 PCI, USB, then 1212m...I know patchmix well, emu's customer svc has been ridiculously good to me (some 30-40 emails back n forth), and well....they just sound great to me.

Thanks 4 all the help!
Not really. It depends on your budget though. AFAIK, audio quality wise, to find a worthwhile upgrade over the 1820M, you will have to go above $1000 retail. Typically, for singer/songwriting stuff, an Apogee Rosetta 200 will get you far. You will probably never use more than 2 channels at a time when dealing with singer/songwriting material. If you do, you can always pick up or rent another more affordable box like the ADA8000. Benchmark converter units are also a good choice. You can find what I just mentioned for under or around $2000 retail.

If you must stay below $1000, you might as well stick to your plan and focus on securing the 1820M. As for Pro Tools, you can now buy the most recent version that isn't tied down to any particular hardware unit.

Patchmix was and probably still is one of the best mixer software programs out there. Only a small few allow you to do all that it is capable of. For guys who record on a smaller scale, it can easily replace the need to use an external mixing board for handling various things.
Old 5th December 2011
  #14
Lives for gear
 
PettyCash's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JLiRD808 View Post
I just realized that the 1820m has 3 more TRS stereo inputs on the back...had no idea lol. Is it safe to assume they are DI inputs and ignore the preamps?

I run guitar/vocals thru a GAP Pre 73....would I wanna run that thru the back or front of the 1820m?

Thanks...sorry if I'm still thread jacking but its older equipment & u guys seem to really know ur stuff. maybe I'll just go start another thread.
TRS connections on the back are separate from the preamp. You can pretty much ignore the connections on the front. The preamp quality of the 1820(M) is probably the weakest point about the box, besides the cheap caps they used when building the thing.

They had to make it affordable in some way.
Old 6th December 2011
  #15
Lives for gear
 
JLiRD808's Avatar
Oh and another thing...thanks a lot btw!!

By adding an ADA8000 would I still be able to use the stereo ins of the 1212m? Do they become obsolete?

Also...check this out:

e mu 1820 m Digital Audio System | eBay

He's advertising it as 1820M but there's no M on the breakout box. The pic is super small but I swear it says 1820, not 1820M. He's claiming bcz he's got two PCI cards (1010 and 0202) AND the box that that means it's an 1820M.

Is there any truth to what he's saying? I bet u he got duped by someone else and is now trying to flip it....what u think?
Old 6th December 2011
  #16
Lives for gear
 
PettyCash's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JLiRD808 View Post
Oh and another thing...thanks a lot btw!!

By adding an ADA8000 would I still be able to use the stereo ins of the 1212m? Do they become obsolete?

Also...check this out:

e mu 1820 m Digital Audio System | eBay

He's advertising it as 1820M but there's no M on the breakout box. The pic is super small but I swear it says 1820, not 1820M. He's claiming bcz he's got two PCI cards (1010 and 0202) AND the box that that means it's an 1820M.

Is there any truth to what he's saying? I bet u he got duped by someone else and is now trying to flip it....what u think?
Whether it comes with the 0202 daughter card or not, if the breakout box doesn't say "M" beside 1820, it will not have the same converter chips in use inside the box. The difference between the M and non-M versions that you should care about lay within the breakout box itself, not the type of package that comes with it.

If you want to use the 1820M and 1212M at the same time there are ways to accomplish that. You will have to look around on the internet to get more info though, I have no first hand experience trying to do that.
Old 6th December 2011
  #17
Lives for gear
 
JLiRD808's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by PettyCash View Post
Whether it comes with the 0202 daughter card or not, if the breakout box doesn't say "M" beside 1820, it will not have the same converter chips in use inside the box.
Ha! That's what I told him and he gave me attitude....like 'DONT BID IF U DONT WANT IT THEN. I KNOW ITS AN 1820M!'...I saw 2 probably unwitting people were already bidding so I reported the sale to ebay as 'wrongly advertised' (not usually my style)....mostly cuz he fkn gave me attitude!! > Anyways...he posted tiny little pics I think so no one would notice....I'm pretty certain he's tryin to dupe someone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PettyCash View Post
If you want to use the 1820M and 1212M at the same time there are ways to accomplish that.
I meant use the 1212m's TRS inputs and the ADA8000's at the same time for a total of 10 ins. I already found out though, it CAN be done.

THX
Old 27th July 2012
  #18
Here for the gear
 

hi all! Im italian, I have an 1820M and I want to mod, but here i don't see any scheme for this. who can help me? thanks!!
Old 27th July 2012
  #19
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by droopman076 View Post
This post is for those who have this card but is disappointed with sound quality and do not have 5k for a high-end audio card.

I was doing some research on a new audio card for my system and ran across a forum discussion on IC opamp vs. fully discrete opamps. After researching the difference further, I found numerous glowing reviews on the burson discrete opamp and the gd-audio opa-moon fully discrete opamp. With the gd-audio opamp being pretty cheap I decided to mod my emu 1820m monitor channels with gd-audio opa-moon modules and swap the dc filter caps with the equivalent elna silmic II caps since they got raving reviews as well. Now this mod removes all IC chips from the output audio path. Therefore, we have the DA converter to the dc filter caps to the fully discrete opa-moon opamps to the output connectors.


The sound went from a volcano ash filled sky to a crystal clear spring day with not a cloud insight. Now I am not a real technical person so I cannot tell you about specs but what I can tell you is there is no IC opamp based system that will produce sound this wide, deep, clean and accurate. The sound of these opamps are amazing. The sounds and instruments are all very individual, separated and extremely easy to sculpt. My mixes translate accurately from system to system. It is truly a 'what you hear is what you get' translation in my studio. There are always those that do not believe so stay in the dark but those of you that want true mastering grade sound without spending thousands getting it, this may be your answer. Now I’m working on a frontend to match and the fully discrete event opals. Just thought I would share this discovery with other 1820m owners.


Items needed:

2 opa-moon dual opamps with the 3" extensions $90
2 brown dawg dip to smd adaptors $12
The equivalent elna silmic II caps to replace the existing dc filtering caps in the 1820m $1.50
2 50v 220uf bypass caps $1
1 hot air soldering station $40-$160
1 15w soldering iron with a fine point tip $5-$15
what capacitor i have to replace?
c112
c101
c50
c59
c87

what of this??
Old 19th July 2013
  #20
Lives for gear
Humm..I've wondered about exactly where the converters are located..Seems that to me, they're on the 1010 card since the 1212m etc., will output signals without a breakoutbox ( Dock)..Probably just me tho'.
Old 19th July 2013
  #21
Gear Nut
 

So this is just modding the DA out for better monitoring.....right?

What about modding the pre-amps/AD/Inputs ???

I have used this box since 05 as well and have always been happy w/ it, so any mds to upgrade are up my alley
Old 21st July 2013
  #22
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Stitch333's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TVman View Post
What about modding the pre-amps/AD/Inputs ???
That's where the funk comes from.
Old 25th May 2015
  #23
Here for the gear
 

Does anyone have a schematic for the 1820m mod? Also is this mod on the PCI card or the breakout box?
Old 26th May 2015
  #24
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PettyCash's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoesPCAudio View Post
is this mod on the PCI card or the breakout box?
Breakout box. It was an 1820M mod. The difference between the 1820(non M) and 1820M was the breakout box that came with each respective package. The PCI card was the same for both M and non-M.
Old 26th May 2015
  #25
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AudioGaff's Avatar
Actually, the difference between the 1820 and 1820M is that the 1820M AudioDock has Mastering Grade converters (same as AVID/Digidesign 192 interfaces) and the 1820 AudioDock has Consumer Grade converters which were really much better than most of the converters used in digital audio interfaces and consumer devices at that time.

The 1010 PCI card with the Firewire connector was used for the 1212, 1212M, 1820,1820m
Old 26th May 2015
  #26
Lives for gear
Hello..So is there anyone up here that's currently doing this mod since this is an old thread..?..
Old 26th May 2015
  #27
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sounds slighly exaggerated to me what the op stated, "The sound went from a volcano ash filled sky to a crystal clear spring day with not a cloud insight"

I mean, I own this card since 2005 and compared it to some other converters like Motu, Alesis and the 1820m is nothing else than amazing! AND I connected it to my digital Yamaha stereo amp via SPDIF, sounds also great. No big difference! Even cheap Apple converters are good these days. No need for fancy, overpriced ****! I love my 1820m, never had a single problem within 10 years! And man, so much ins and outs, features and possibilities, awesome!
Old 26th May 2015
  #28
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by LonDonsen View Post
sounds slighly exaggerated to me what the op stated, "The sound went from a volcano ash filled sky to a crystal clear spring day with not a cloud insight"

I mean, I own this card since 2005 and compared it to some other converters like Motu, Alesis and the 1820m is nothing else than amazing! AND I connected it to my digital Yamaha stereo amp via SPDIF, sounds also great. No big difference! Even cheap Apple converters are good these days. No need for fancy, overpriced ****! I love my 1820m, never had a single problem within 10 years! And man, so much ins and outs, features and possibilities, awesome!
Well, I dunno..I've had quite a few pieces of gear modded with better components and can't deny hearing positive before/after results. You mention todays newer cheaper converters sounding good, I agree. I would contribute this to better components ( from R&D ) that's being made today. As far as a volcanic ash sky to spring clear sky, I guess depends on the beholder....If better performing components are implemented/installed correctly in the Emu, I could see it performing better..!..Maybe this is something Emu should consider themselves. An Emu 1820m MKII..!..It's a great featured interface and with better conversion/mic pres that meet todays specs, and an easier transition into that " mixer from hell ", PatchMix..., it could rank right there with the best of them..!
Old 27th May 2015
  #29
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AudioGaff's Avatar
If you can't make a good recording or record with the 1820M, then you problem(s) certainly are not because of the sound or lack of quality of the E-M 1820M as even to this day, it still specs and competes with current more modern audio interfaces.

E-MU came close to releasing a Firewire 800 1820M MKII before they imploded. When that happened, many hardware & software engineers from the E-MU design team walked down the street to work for UA and the result was that UAD-2 and the Apollo were designed & shipped. The Apollo is basically the next generation 1820M as well as the birth child from the marriage of E-MU & UA.
Old 27th May 2015
  #30
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JLiRD808's Avatar
Wondering how the converters on the 1820m/1212m sound compared to the new Tascam UH-7000 (Burr-Brown PCM4220 ADC, PCM1795 DAC)?

It's only $399 but lots of reviewers saying its conversion sounds better than the Apollo, RME, Apogee....even the $2500 Lynx Hilo!

Another giant slayer in our midst?
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