Musical Fidelity Tri-Vista SACD Player Restoration & Modification

I have just finished the restoration and modification of a Musical Fidelity Trivista SACD Player for a client in Alice Springs.

This particular Musical Fidelity Trivista SACD Player was to receive an update of critical signal path and DAC electronics and involved changing many dozens of parts, including eight op-amps and what seemed like hundreds of electrolytic and ceramic capacitors!

I always pay special attention to decoupling of the power supply rails and ground returns around the DAC chips and op-amps, as well as optimising the 5703 tube output stage in this case. Getting rid of crappy 5 cent bipolar electrolytics in the signal path is a really good idea and something I always do with these Musical Fidelity designs that always seem to have them.

The result? My client was absolutely wrapped and described how his supercharged DAC performed better than new DACs costing many thousands. It should do – with that level of engineering built-in, some added attention to detail and new mil-spec parts, this SACD player will provide many more years of enjoyment.

It is worth noting that the transport section of these players will eventually fail. All Trivista SACD transports, without exception, will fail, leaving you with a VERY good DAC, but no player. I replaced the laser in this player as an experiment, with some success, but then the transport again stopped reading discs. It is difficult to ascertain what exactly has happened here with Musical Fidelity and these players, but there was without doubt a serious stuff up in the design itself, or the parts procurement phase of the design.

MF no longer supply replacement parts, they will not repair the player, they will not discuss the repair of the player and they will not tell us why the players are not repairable. This potentially leaves owners with a very expensive paperweight, unless they want to use the player as a DAC, which I certainly recommend, as it is very good even now.

 

030 (2)
Upgraded and modified output buffer board. The board is very similar to that used in my Trivista 21 Tube DAC. Main improvement here is to remove the awful bipolar electrolytic capacitors in the signal path and replace them with the Sprague film parts you see that look like grey cylinders. There are further modifications I would do to this board based on the knowledge I have gained improving my own Trivista 21 in stages.

 

036
DAC board, with 5532 op amps removed, but still sporting the original 0.1uF ceramic capacitors…

 

040
IC sockets are now in place, ready to receive 4562 replacement parts that are much higher spec.

 

 

 

L-07D and TrivVista SACD 036
Here we see the new op amps in place, installed in the sockets, making future changes easy.

 

L-07D and TrivVista SACD 039
Close-up on new LM4562 op amps, and you can see I have already upgraded the board-mounted electrolytic capacitors with high-spec replacements.

 

L-07D and TrivVista SACD 033
Close-up of my use of Siemens mil-spec 0.1uF film capacitors in place of the original ceramic decoupling and bypass types around all the digital circuits.

 

L-07D and TrivVista SACD 041
More of the gorgeous Siemens MKT film capacitors.

 

 

L-07D and TrivVista SACD 042
Overall view of DAC board with new chips, film and electrolytic capacitors.

 

048
Just working on the main power supply board here, placing bypass film capacitors on the underside of the board, parallel with the large reservoir capacitors.

 

11 thoughts on “Musical Fidelity Tri-Vista SACD Player Restoration & Modification”

  1. Hi Mike, thanks for getting back to me. If you have the schematics, I was wondering if you could email the relevant sections so that I modify the dac board. I was an electronics test and repair engineer so I believe I have the skills to do what is required.
    Regards
    Kev.

    1. Hi Kev, no problem at all and yes it sounds like you would have no trouble doing this work. I’d love to be able to assist with schematics, but given the fact that I’m not permitted to share such factory service data with third parties, there’s not much I can do here unfortunately. This is true for much of the factory data I have from various manufacturers, who share it with the understanding that it remains private. Thanks for your understanding on this one!

  2. Hi, I have a Trivista SACD with the same problem. What I am wondering is if the transport and Phillips servo board can be removed and the dac hot wired if you like, to run without the servo board. At the moment all but one cable from the servo board has to be connected to use the dac section.
    Any ideas

    1. Hi Kev, yes I think this is likely possible. I don’t have one here with me at the moment to experiment on. I do have the schematics, but this problem would require time and effort to solve. Sadly this is a very flawed machine, but there is potential to run it as you describe.

  3. Hi

    My Phillips transport mechanism is die now
    Can we mod to use as dac.. for example connect i2s to dac boad.. where can we find a service manual to find a schematic and pin out of conection

    Regards
    Evil

    1. Hi Evil, you can use this as a DAC, or modify it as you like. You will need to try your luck with MF re schematics, I am not permitted to release the service data. Real shame that the drives in these units die like this. Regards, Mike

  4. Mike
    Are you interested in looking at my Musical Fidelity Tri Vista CD Player ?
    The transport still works.Thanks Rupert

    1. Hi Rupert, thanks for your message, is there an issue with your player and if so, what?! You might be best replying through my contact form with details etc, regards, Mike.

  5. Very interested to read this. Your work gives me hope that I might get some support in UK too. I am UK-based owner of Tri-Vista SACD and the Tri-Vista Amp. it was designed to pair with. The SACD has done what you said it would do re Transporter – I read that there was a critical design flaw in a Philips sub-component – and that this is the killer. Apparently a couple of other manufacturers suffered too, not just Musical Fidelity here. I am pleased to see that the DAC at least could be used again, and I might look at servicing the amp. aswell (giving noise and clicks, and one channel sometimes cuts out now). For such high quality hi-fi I would far rather service, than hunt for new, which would never do justice (on much reduced free cash now!), than this hi-fi that was awesome for its first few years! Do reply, if you get a moment.

    1. Hi Robin, thanks for your comment and I’m glad that the piece may have given you some hope. I would be following up with MF on this as the reliability of some of their gear, especially the gear you own, is appalling. Granted they could not control the quality of the Philips board they used for the SACD mechanism, but they should do something about it now. Let me know if you have any particular questions I might be able to help with. Kind regards, Mike.

Thanks for reading, leave a comment and let me know what you think!