July 16, 2021

 The Sony XDR-S3HD Radio

A long time ago I bought the Sony SRF-S84 pocket radio which got rave reviews from audio sites. I even used it with the Sony Fontopia earphones.

Fast forward to 2020, my interest with tuners was 'reactivated' due to the pandemic. Mostly working from home and got more time with my hobbies.

Got interested with its sibling - the SRF-M35 which some say sounds more 'audiophile' than the SRF-S84. I ordered one from ebay. I then confirmed I preferred it sound over the S84. S84 sounded like EQ'd while M35 sounded more natural.

After the M35 I googled tuners and encountered the Sony XDR-F1HD which I believe was introduced on 2008 and was then discontinued by 2012. Price was ~USD99.

Nowadays, the unit is fetching ~USD185 in ebay because its very famous among DXers. Not to mention common tuner-persons also like it due to its very good sound quality. I wasn't 'willing' to spend ~$185 for this unit based on the issues like 'overheating' and 'rolled-off treble' so I googled some more until I encountered its cousin: the XDR-S3HD. Actually there's one more which is the XDR-S10HDIP. It is commonly know that all 3 radios have the same internals but the heat and treble issues were already addressed on the newer cousins. The F1 had line out, the S10 had only line in and the S3 have line in and headphone out. Both S10 and S3 have built-in speakers. I'm just surprised Sony remove the line out in the S3. All three models are discontinued btw.

@ebay, the S10's average price is ~$45 while the S3 is ~$70. The S3 (plastic) is way heavier than the S10 (wood) but it really looked better and should sound way better. S3 didnt have a headphone or line out so I was really left with the S10 - I just have to bear with the shipping cost.

To cut the long story short, I am very pleased with the S10. The headphone out going through my passive attenuator (LDR) then to the power amp sounded good. I then had to try the power amp connected directly to the S10 thinking it should sound better. The Sony radios all come with remote controls (but rarely sold used with it). If I can use the S10's line in then the power amp connected to it - then I should be able to remotely adjust the volume control (VC). The S10's volume control is in the digital domain so I'm also assuming it should sound great. Unfortunately, there is quite a noise when the power amp is directly plugged in the headphone out. Not surprised here since the headphone out is already amplified.

Torn between "not giving up on the idea of remote controlled digital volume control" and "didn't want to open it up anymore" - I got curious what can I see from the bottom 'window' where the fan is sitting... it's fairly very easy to remove with just 4 screws and the 'window' is quite big.

Took a pic and downloaded the service manual.

And after some time going back and forth the picture and the manual... lo and behold - the pre amp chip is there staring at me :D The rest as they say is history :)

Reminds me very much of the Dared MP5 pre out mod.

Here are some pics on the mod.


June 05, 2021

Raspberry Pi with PI2AES


June 03, 2021

Olympus TG5

 Tried some of the TG5's features with this pest.

Using an LED ringlight in microscope mode (2.9x)

with maximum magnification at 11.6x. See those eyes!

this one in 5.8x magnification

and my favorite shot with available light


Current Moon Phase