Cambridge DVD89
April 1 2008

This simple cambridge player is a multi-format DVD with 6 channel output. Circa 250 Eu when new.
It was brought to me in a hope, that I can do something about it's not so good sound.
I took the challenge, hoping for an easy snipit mod, which would end in a success and I could walk around in glory.
Upon close inspection, I found the main board of "laptop style" of tracks, parts, look and feel. I mean VERY modern and VERY VERY esemde. SMD. Read - very small print.

The DAC is a promising chip from Crystal - the same family as in Lampucera, Zhaolu and of course in the Meridian - meaning - a damn good line of DACS. Namely the CS43XX line. And in particular - a CS4360.
Is it just a 6 channel version of at least the fabulous 4327 ? Lets find out.


cambridge DVD snip-it

A typical DVD mechanism (100% plastic) , one main PCB and a switching mode power supply on the left, covered by a plastic lid.
Looks like a supermarket DVD but who knows ....

The computer style board, and main DSP (the big black square thing) must have 200 legs or even more !

I am tapping the signal from the L and R front outputs of the DAC via the first decoupling capacitor (the black lytic 10uF/16V). This cap removes the DC component from the DAC output. Of course - the cap could be a better one, like a 2 uF MKP foil or something. For the record - I am tapping to NEGATIVE legs of these capacitors.
For lampization - I would tap in same way.
If you want to upgrade the cap - connect the new cap one leg to the POSITIVE leg of the old cap, and the new cap - to RCA or tube grids.

Of course I drilled new 10 mm holes and I installed proper new RCA's. This way both old and new outputs are active at the same time.


The resulting sound is lower in volume, kind of "shy" but the QUALITY increased dramatically. Even, if originally the signal just went through one opamp per channel, one more cap, and one HF filter and one muting transistor.
After the snipit bypass - the sound became really high end. Everybody commented how it opened up, how the voices became natural and live, the microdetails explode, there is space, there is air, there is feeling of "them being here" etc etc.
This is not the Grundig killer, but I could live with it really. I can only imagine how good it could be with lampization, not just mere snipit.
This player would rank easily in the upper half of the machines list which I tried at home. Or even in top 25 %.
Of course the snipit could be done for all 5+1 channels in the same way.


camberidge DVD lampizator
New transformer found its place in left front corner.

camberidge DVD lampizator
Two power supply CRC filters glued behind the mechanism.

camberidge DVD lampizator

This is finished job:
Tube 6H6P (because I needed low gain - tac loud enough) The tube arrangement is stereo triode single ended class A anode follower
Anode resistor 5 k
Cathode resistor 40 Ohms
No cathode capacitor
Input via 1 uF capacitor from DAC directly (other - old - circuits cut-off from the signal lines)
Output via 2,8 capacitors to new RCA's

Power 160 V DC via 220 + 220 + 220 uf  filter - CRC with a resistor of 1K

The sound of lampized DVD has improved much compared to bypass. Clean and transparent like the bypass, but depth, power, width,   energy and slam - are without any comparison.
It is now a high end player without a doubt.
But the 5.1 TV sound is strange - front is stronger than rear channels. This has to be adjusted by amplifier settings for TV, but for stereo - it will beat most CD players available from shop.

Very much recommended.