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modifying ss equipment


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I have read many acticles and comments in this forum over the past three months on tube amps, preamps and the modifications that people have made to them. I have learned a lot and have a large binder full of comments and advice I check regularly.

Given that many here have changed capacitors, wiring, and transformers on their existing tube amps to "improve" the quality of the sound, would the same thing work for a ss amp or preamp? Is it worth considering, or is the gain limited to a 88 - 89 improvement (not a lot of bang for the buck).?

If this is a resonable fix, improvement vs. $, what would be the best change for an SS amp/preamp?

I have an Acurus A-150 amp and an Acurus RL-11 preamp.

Any opinions/recommendations/comments based on past experience?


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Even the mods to "improve" tube amps fall into the category of a hobby. Most people wouldn't want to pay a professional electronics tech the $$ he'd want to do it for them. The same thing would apply to SS gear. Still, many of the same things can be done to SS amps. Parasound unofficially told me I could "sweeten" the sound of my 1203A and 1000A by biasing it deeper into Class A (raising the power level where it transitions into Class AB). Different signal caps, bigger PS caps, bigger heat sinks (fan?), could all improve a SS amp's performance.

You really need to know what you're doing before modifying an amp.


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I can confirm Mdeneen statements first hand. While I've never tried to mod SS gear. I have tried to fix it and its a royal pain in the A$$ compared to Tube gear !




HH Scott 299 Amp

HH Scott LT-110B Tuner

HH Scott P-87 Turn Table

JVC JL-F50 Turn Table

Sony CDP-CA7ES CD Drive

1985 Walnut Heresey I W/Layne Audio Woofers

KSW-15 Subs>c>

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What is it about the sound of the Acurus amp and pre that you feel should be improved upon?

It's really tough to improve upon one's design, especially a newer SS amp or pre design.

You'll need a schematic, because figuring out SS circuits without one can be a challenge.

(A scope would real nice, also.)

Biasing is pretty easy, you can use voltmeter.

Some are fixed with a resistor, some have pots.

You can rebias your amp and get a little more oomph, but you don't want to go over the transitors spec and roast them.

A older SS amp with more or less obsolete designs can be improved upon, power supply upgrades, Hexfred diodes, higher quality caps, resistors, etc...

But unless you are pretty good at voicing SS amplifiers it's gonna be a hit or miss thing, more than likely miss.

I would either look into listening to some different SS designs, or check into the amplifier kits that solid state has to offer.

You can learn the basics, and if you botch it, you didn't destroy a commercial amp.

I liked the AKSA kitset myself, Hugh is real helpful.

(I was interested in one once, he has a 50 watt and 100 watt version.)

The Tripath module amplifier, Tom Brennan's bud Kurt Chang has made these, and they get lots of praise on horns.

This Tripath sounds interesting as well.

Tons of Gaincard clone recipes too.

And they are not really that spendy.

My 2 cents.

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Thanks for the responses, gentlemen. It sounds like I am out of my league with modifying my ss amp.

I am quite happy with the Acurus amp, lots of bass and it is very tight. I have made a number of mods to the speaker cables, silver interconnects, black diamond racing cones and things, and I replaced the inductors and capacitors in the Cornwalls. The inductors took a very long time to burn in, but the Cornwalls now have the bass kick without an equalizer.

I have been told a tube preamp would really improve the sound. I tried an ASL preamp and it made a little improvement, but that was before the solid wire inductors. They made the bass come alive and tight. The sound is now crisp, sharp and I think pretty accurate. What it seems to lack is what Kelly, Mobile Homeless, calls soul. It is great hi-fi at the moment with a little vitality, but not quite what I would love to hear. I am looking for that magic when guitar strings are plucked by Shaun Colvin, Vanessa Williams belts out her vocals and Diana Krall's piano with some "soul".

Maybe I am looking for the Holy Grail?

I am not sure I can do without the remote control for the Acurus.


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If you've got the skills, and the guts, I have read about people changing out the power transformers and power cables in there SS. The conflict I see with this though is that you would have to be pretty handy with a soldering iron because you would probably need to scale up several other things like resistors and capacitors to go along with the change in the power transformer.



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