- - - QUICK FAQ - - -
The "skinny" on D.R.R.T.
Q: What kind of real-world sonic improvements should I expect from a standard D.R.R.T. Upgrade"?
A: Dynamic Resolution Recovery Technology (D.R.R.T.) commonly delivers significant Improvements in the following areas of performance:
Reduced noise levels resulting in a "blacker" background
Channel Separation in Stereo & Multichannel Components
Micro-dynamic detail with no increase in brightness or "edginess"
Presentation and audibility of the component's intrinsic "sonic signature"
Sound stage width, depth & height
Imaging and instrument/voice localization
Accuracy in the rendering of fine harmonic detail and tonal structure
Reduced listening fatigue
Realism & naturalness of the overall presentation
Reliability and lifespan
Q: What exactly is D.R.R.T. from a "pieces & parts" standpoint?
A: D.R.R.T. is comprised of nothing more than a collection of passive treatments. It does not involve any fundamental circuit board or part changes, etc. whatsoever. We're talking things like the shielding and grounding of internal wires and cables using materials commonly employed in critical electronic devices - such as those found in the fields of aerospace and medicine. In addition, we use magnetic shielding materials in critical circuit locations as well.
Then to address micro-phonic mechanical vibrations, we apply special vibration damping polymers to critical areas of the circuit boards & chassis, and in certain cases, anti-vibration component encapsulation techniques. In all such treatments special precautions are taken to make sure that the damping materials used do not interfere with (and possibly even augment) the heat-shedding properties (i.e., the thermal time-constants) of any thermally sensitive components (like transformers, transistors, & ICs, etc.)
Finally, where applicable and of a benefit to do so, we replace certain wires and cables with those of our own construction. In many cases this involves the use of copper-foil or copper bar stock to fabricate the equivalent of high current/low inductance "bus-bars" and the like. On occasion we may also use "Litz" wire construction where the underlying physics indicates that there would be a benefit to do so.
Q: Frankly, none of the above sounds all that complicated. In fact, upon cursory review it all seems a relatively simple enough undertaking that even a reasonably well-informed DIY person could pretty much do the same if they wanted. After all, you guys even admit to the fact that your techniques and methods are nothing particularly proprietary, and that they are commonly known and used in the electronics industry.
In light of all this, how do you justify the PRICES you charge? While they certainly aren't "exorbitant" compared to a lot of other "tweaks" and modification services offered by others, they aren't exactly "cheap" either. At least with the upgrade and/or modification services offered by others a person is actually getting new parts and/or hardware, like better ICs and supreme quality capacitors, etc. Maybe I'm missing something, but the whole thing sounds like one is paying for little more than maybe a bit of labor, some inexpensive copper tape and other relatively cheap materials. Please explain?
A: Well... you are quite correct - at least to a point. For certain, the materials we use aren't particularly expensive, and the techniques are relatively simple enough that any decent DIY person *could* ostensibly do the same work themselves, and in the process save a good bit of money. Then again, a lot depends on their knowledge base and experience in electronics. While linear analog circuits are pretty straight-forward with respect to using simple "STAR" grounding techniques and such, when it comes to addressing the parasitic artifacts generated by modern high-speed digital circuits and Class-D/switching amplifier technology, now we're talking a "horse of a different color."
You see, in those cases things get a whole lot more complicated, and that's because now we are forced to apply the engineering principles and techniques originally developed in the Radio Frequency (RF) engineering field. Just ask any digital engineer... in many aspects RF Engineering is more akin to a "Black Art" than it is a science. One primary example would be the case of... "WHERE" to ground the shield that you just applied to a given wire or cable? If you pick the wrong ground point, instead of actually shielding the wire from external RF contamination, you have now "saturated" it with RF energy because you inadvertently turned your nice, new shield into a transmitting antenna... and then surrounded the entire length of wire with it??? DOH - Not Good!!! In fact, in such a case you would have been far better off to just leave the darn thing alone. So this level of knowledge is part of what you are paying for, and unless you hang around in RF engineering circles, it's not very common in other fields of the electronics either.
Also, we don't just "slap" the materials in post-haste with sloppy workmanship practices like it appears some are known to do either. Audiophiles tend to "obsess" over the aesthetic aspects of their gear, both on the inside as well as the outside. Therefore, whether or not it makes any difference in the end-performance of the product, we do out best to make our Upgrades appear neat, clean & professional looking. In addition, we use expensive and complicated test equipment like distortion analyzers, oscilloscopes and (for micro-phonic treatments) computer-based acoustic analyzers combined with accelerometer probes to locate troublesome areas, and then again to verify the results of our treatments.
So then, let's take a closer look at the "DIY guy" argument. If you are of such a persuasion or you have a friend that is, then maybe that's the way to go... assuming that your (or their) TIME to do the work is considered to be free? How much money do you make per hour at your occupation? If you can even begin to afford participating in the high-end audio hobby, then we suspect that it's a bit more than $10.00/hour or thereabouts. Try doing the same work that we do for a living and charge your customers what you "think" we should be charging for the service. Maybe you're willing to work for the poverty-level wages that would result, but we're not - not to serve in helping to fulfill the desires of other folk's luxury anyway.
Or maybe you think the work involved should only take an hour or so to complete? Wrong. Even the D.R.R.T. Upgrade of a modest DAC takes several hours to complete, from start to finish. And then there is the shipping & handling involved, both opening and then repackaging the item for its return to the customer - not to mention the emails, phone calls and all of the other "intangible" business-related expenses. In fact, it is for the labor cost alone that the manufacturer hasn't already done the same work that we do in our D.R.R.T. Upgrades, because if they did, you would have certainly paid substantially more for the product in the first place... and that's EVERY person that purchases the same make and model, mind you. While we admit our prices aren't cheap by most standards, they represent a very fair price for a service that offers quite extreme VALUE, especially when considering the results that they yield. In many cases we're talking a level of performance that rivals the very best products in the world, but for only a fraction of the total component + upgrade price. So there... :-)