A Windows Control Utility for the Sony XDP-4000X Digital Preamplifier

By Matronics

WEBPAGE UPDATED: September 27, 2003!

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    The Sony XDP-4000X

    Matronics' 4kControl Application Overview

  • Matronics' 4kControl EQ and XO Adjustment Dialog

    Current Project Status

    UPDATE: September 27, 2003

    UPDATE: November 19, 2002

    UPDATE: October 20, 2002

    UPDATE: June 2, 2002

    UPDATE: May 20, 2002

    UPDATE: January 8, 2002

    UPDATE: December 22, 2001

    UPDATE: September 10, 2001

    UPDATE: February 13, 2001

    UPDATE: January 31, 2001

    UPDATE: November 18, 2000

    UPDATE: November 11, 2000

    UPDATE: October 28, 2000

    UPDATE: September 27, 2000

    4kControl Version 1.0 Beta 2

    This is a beta version of the 4kControl Utility. Includes EQ controls, but no XOver functions. Currently no experiation date since development is on hold.

    XDP-4000X Email List Forum

    I have setup a Majordomo-style email list forum for discussions on the Sony XDP-4000X and the 4kControl Application. Please feel free to subsubscribe and communicate with others that own the Sony XDP-4000X Digital Preamplifier. I will post information on updates to the 4kControl application to this Email List. To subscribe, follow the directions found at:

    XDP-4000X Control Protocol Reverse Engineered

    This document details all of the known control sequences involved in controlling the Sony XDP-4000X Digital Preamplifier via the RS232 serial port. All of the sequences were obtained using DSC, a serial breakout box and an analyzer. Information was determined by adjusting each parameter between its full range and documenting the affected data byte(s). Information is accurate to the best of the author's knowledge. Additional information or corrections are welcomed.

    "Special" XDP-4000X RS232 Cable Sources

    Belkin Null-Modem Cable
    IOGear USB/Serial Adapter

    There's some confusion over what kind of cable to use when connecting a Laptop PC to the XDP-4000X via the RS232 port. The cable required is a "DB9 Female to Female, PC to PC File Transfer Cable". This is essentially a NULL modem RS232 cable with female connectors on each end. Below are a number of sources for the correct cable type.

    Also, a number of people have complained that their new laptop doesn't have any traditional DB9 serial ports. As long as it has a USB 1.0 or 2.0 port, there shouldn't be problem. You'll need a USB-to-Serial adapter and there are a number of these on the market. I have personally tested the IOGear Model # GUC232A and have had great success with it. Below is a link to the Best Buy website where they can be had for about $30.

    NOTE: Best Buy no longer seems to carry the IOGear version of this USB to RS232 adapter. CompUSA has a very similar product by Keyspan. This part is listed below and is functionally the same as the IOGear part.

    Special Null-Modem Serial Cable
  • Belkin - Pro Series, 6 ft:
  • Serial Direct Cable - 6 ft - Belkin Part #: F3B207-06
  • Belkin - Pro Series, 10 ft:
  • Serial Direct Cable - 10 ft - Belkin Part #: F3B207-10
    USB to Serial Adapter
  • Keyspan USB/Serial Adapter:
  • Keyspan USB Serial Adapter - MFG # USA-19HS

    Misc. Information on the Sony XDP-4000X

    XDP-4000X Block and Schematic Diagrams

    The following links provide Block and Schematic Diagrams of the XDP-4000X. Note that there are two different "Hardware Revs" of the XDP-4000X and you need to get the proper set of diagrams for your unit. Here's how you tell which one you have. On the Each PC Board there is a part number in one corner. The revision and part number for each assembly are detailed below:

    XDP-4000X Revisions

    Revision 1 XDP-4000X - Main Board Part Number: 1-671-416-11
    Revision 2 XDP-4000X - Main Board Part Number: 1-671-416-13
    Revision 1 XDP-4000X - DAC Board Part Number: 1-671-417-11
    Revision 2 XDP-4000X - DAC Board Part Number: 1-671-417-13
    Revision 1 XDP-4000X - Indicator Board Part Number: 1-671-415-11
    Revision 2 XDP-4000X - Indicator Board Part Number: 1-671-415-13

    Each bitmap below is scanned at 150 DPI which should print nicely on a single sheet of 8.5" x 11" paper. You will have to use some appication like MS Paint to print them, however, as web browser's convert the image to 75 DPI and the image won't fit on a single page (and the resolution will be poor). You can click on each page below, or download the ZIP file that contains all of the images.

    Note 1: Only pages containing Block or Schematic Diagrams are included above.
    Note 2: Revision 2 file only contain pages that differ from Revision 1.

    Service Manuals

    The following links provide access to the Sony Service Manuals for the XDP-4000x, CDX-C90, CDX-C910, and XDP-210EQ units. Use either the HTML or FTP links to download the PDF files.

    XDP-4000x Service Manual (5.33MB)    HTML    FTP
    CDX-C90 Service Manual (10MB)    HTML    FTP
    CDX-C910 Service Manual (12.4MB)    HTML    FTP
    XDP-210EQ Service Manual (6.1MB)    HTML    FTP

    Sony's Digital Sound Creator (DSC)

    For those curious about Sony's Digital Sound Creator (DSC), below are a couple of screen shots of the EQ and Crossover dialogs from that application. Someone recently emailed me a PDF of the setup manual for DSC and there is a link below for it. I found DSC extremely hard to use and difficult to satisfactorily adjust the XDP-4000X. I spent hours tweaking parameters and was still unsatisfied with the sound, not to mention frustrated with the interface. Out of this frustration, I was inspired to create the utility 4kControl as described above.

    * This is available here only for evaluation purposes. You should contact Sony to purchase this software, user's guide, and the necessary cabling.

    Building an Active Fiber Optic Combiner/Splitter...

    In my latest 2001 Corvette System Installation, I utilized Sony's XA-C30 UniLink splitter which allows you to connect up to 3 UniLink CD Changers to a single deck. The XA-C30 works well, but when combined with a CD Changer such as the CDX-848x with optical output, it poses an interesting problem. While trying to combine the three fiber optic outputs from the three Sony CDX-848x changers, I quickly found that using the passive optic splitters available at Radio Shack and other sources didn't work well at all. The light level from the Sony changers is on the low side and when using two of the RS splitters, there wasn't enough light left to reliably drive the XDP-4000x fiber optic input. I was also using two XDP-4000x units in the installation, one for the front, and another for the rear. This would require that the light be split again to go to the respective XDP-4000x and would drop the light level even further.

    Radio Shack sells a "TOSLINK Fiber Optic Amplifier", but I quickly found that the Optic Receiver Modules used in these devices are very poor quality and would "glitch" quite often even when no signal was present and this would cause very noticeable dropouts and glitches in the audio.

    I did some research and located some extremely high quality TOSLINK Receiver/Transmitter modules from Toshiba (TORX176 and TOTX176). These modules are of excellent design and do not glitch, even under very noisy conditions. I've included the technical specification documents for each of these units below. They are in PDF format.

    NEW INFO: I have discovered a newer part called the TORX179 and TOTX179. These are just as good as the -176 parts, but are somewhat cheaper at about $3.00US Qty 1. Best of all you can get them from Digikey!! Here is a link to the Digikey website: http://www.digikey.com.

  • Toshiba TOTX176 Transmitter Module (PDF Format)

  • Toshiba TORX176 Receiver Module (PDF Format)

  • I prototyped a logical combiner/splitter circuit using standard 74HCxx CMOS logic chips. The circuit can be seen in the PDF diagram link below. I used a large 1000uf filter capacitor along with a generous number of .1uf decoupling capacitors and an LM7805 3-pin regulator in the circuit and have had absolutely no problems with glitching. Both the PC board and the plastic enclosure are available at Radio Shack and with the proper placement of the various components, makes a very tidy custom fit housing for the unit.

  • Active Fiber Optic Combiner/Splitter Schematic (PDF Format)

  • Prototype PC Board - Top

  • Prototype PC Board - Top Closeup

  • Prototype PC Board - Bottom Wiring

  • Prototype PC Board - Bottom Wiring Closeup

  • Both the PC board and the plastic enclosure are available at Radio Shack and with the proper placement of the various components, makes a very tidy custom fit housing for the unit.

  • Prototype Enclosure - Triple Inputs

  • Prototype Enclosure - Triple Inputs

  • Prototype Enclosure - Dual Outputs

  • The reason the combiner circuit works in this particular TOSLINK environment is due to the fact that the Fiber Optic Outputs on the Sony CD Changers are switched off when they are not playing. Normal TOSLINK output devices such as a DVD player or a Satellite receiver do not switch off the LED when there is no audio present but rather leave it on with a carrier signal all the time. Thanks to Sony's insight in turning the LED off when the Changer is not selected and playing, it enables the Combiner/Splitter circuit to work quite nicely.

    Having dual TOSLINK outputs to drive the front and rear XDP-4000xs simplifies the wiring and increases reliability by not splitting the optic signal. The combiner/splitter circuit dropped my fiber optic patch cable count from six to five. The money saved on the extra fiber cable, three passive splitters, and at least one or two optic amplifiers way more than pays for all the parts used in the Active Combiner/Splitter! And its just so much cooler! So get out your soldering iron and have at it!

    If you have any questions on the circuit, please feel free to contact me via email at:

    Matt Dralle - dralle@matronics.com