Oppo Sonica DAC mods

02-25-2018   I have done several new things lately and including and introducing the "Megamod".  This secret thang has transformed my room to a concert hall.  The price of the mods has always been hundreds under what it should be so I am no raising the price $100.  This is goosebump city!

Prices are: $800 for single ended only and $1000 for balanced and single ended.

Here is a partial list of mods done:
1. Cleaned up noise from fuse.
2. Eliminated a distortion producing part from the AC line.
3. Eliminated the 110/220 Volt switch and connector.
4. Hardwired wires from input of transformer and twisted them.
5. Mounted the toroidal transformer on hardwood (glued down) and secured with plastic screw and nut and eliminating the steel bolt, nut and cover and isolating it from the steel chassis.
6. Hardwire the secondaries of transformer to custom hand made damped diode bridges eliminating cheap diode bridges.
7. Damped power supply caps and regulator heat sinks.
8. Changed cheap regulators to modified super low noise discrete low impedance regulators.
9.  Changed caps on output of above regulators to much better ones.
10. Eliminated inductors from the power supply lines.
11. Changed caps on output of 3.3V power supplies for the DAC.
12. Installed better sounding heatsinking on DAC chip.
13. Remove entire output stage and replace with modified discrete output stage using state of the art resistors and filter caps......this stage is direct coupled....no coupling caps. If you want single ended output only then I parallel all DAC channels for best sound (SSE.....Super Single Ended).
14. All wire for output stage power supplies and inputs and outputs are hand made pure copper in damped cotton.....and installed in the correct sonic direction (very, very important).
15. Modified Wima .33 poly prop caps used as bypass caps in output stage power supply.  See here for pics: 
16. Change clock on DAC to low jitter "femto" clock.
17. Digital input board completely isolated from steel chassis and only grounded through its ribbon cable.
18. Ribbon cable from the digital input board damped with cotton braiding.
19. Digital input board and brass struts damped.
20. Eliminated a distortion producing part on the coax digital input and changed the coupling cap on the coax input to a modified Wima. 

All mods 1-16  affect all modes of playback.  17-20 only effect spdif and usb playback.

The modded Sonica has all the features of stock....nothing changed there.  However, t I set the output voltage to 2.1V (same a s stock).  If you want less or more voltage then let me know.  For instance, I can make the output 3-4 volts and lower the output impedance to 10 ohms and you could drive high impedance headphones directly. The standared output impedance per phase is 100 ohms.  If you have single ended only done then there will never be balanced outputs.  However, single ended only will give the best sound for coax as I parallel all DACs in this "Super Single Ended" mode.

If you want to keep the 120/240 volt switching then let me know and I will leave it in.  It does sound slightly better with it removed.


Below is a pic of the Super Single Ended discrete output stage board.  Obviously, very, very hand made.  The modified discrete stage is on the underside of the board along with 2 more Wima poly prop filter caps and 4 modified Wima .33 poly poly prop bypass caps.  More pics to follow.
I'm in love, and her name is Sonica.... Just don't tell my wife.
Thank you for your hard work and persistence in making this DAC the best it can be.
You have taken this already outstanding DAC to the next level.
It now sounds more detailed than before, with more separation, and you pumped in a lot more analog sound. I am very impressed.
7-28-2017:  Received this email yesterday.  He sent in his stock Sonica for the mod. 
Pics above show balanced output stage.....yes, a lot of work.  All wires hand made and direction of wire is determined by ear.
Damping of ribbon cable
Calling it an upgrade is an understatement. This is a whole new DAC. The openness and improved soundstage is the the first thing I noticed. The highs are crisp and clear, the midrange, especially the piano is as if I am in the same room with incredible clarity. I can hear fingers on strings. The bass is extended clean and accurate. The upgrade was worth every penny. Many thanks for making this available. Incredible. 
9-5-2017   More customer feedback
"Noticeable increase in clarity and decrease in background haze.  Everything is thusly enhanced. Wow!
Just easier to hear everything." 
 He added these comments on the sound of the upgraded Sonica:  

If you are using the Sonica as a coax DAC or usb DAC only and are not using the Wifi app then disconnecting the Wifi board inside will give better sound.  There is a Sonica remote control you can buy to control the volume/mute/dimmer.  Below is a comment from a customer who disconnected the Wifi board himself:
One thing that really floors me about your mod is the massive dynamics and substantial improvement in PRAT.  Soundstage is immense deep and wonderfully layered!
I just added a page discussing the differences between my mod and the Modwight mod.  Click here for info:
Hi Ric,
The Oppo has been burning in for about 100 hours and it's sounding really good.
 I'm amazed how much more open it is every dimension than my old Assemblage DAC ( which was heavily over engineered for its day).
I'm mostly playing standard "redbook" CD data that is coming over the Ethernet interface.  It is hard to believe it's the same source material.   Of course the HD stuff is excellent but most of what's available doesn't suit my normal listening preferences.

The biggest impact ( so to speak) is the bass.  I have a subwoofer but I'm not even turning it on because I'm getting so much more out of the Mains ( Dunlavy SC-V).
9-21-2017  another comment via email:

The EVS modded Sonica is the first digital piece I've owned that with good CDs (no hope for the bad ones, the vast majority of digital for folks that actually listen to real music as apposed to audiophile crap) I'm not wanting to go straight to my vinyl only main system. Well done and thanks for the quick turn around.

3-28-2018:  What!?!  The Sonica is discontinued.  Even used they are hard to come by.  No replacement in sight.  But, the same great sound I have in the Sonica will be available in two weeks in the 205 player .