And while I'm asking, has anyone modified Sony ss-cs5 speakers with a GR Research kit?

I've seen these rather pedestrian looking speakers reviewed  by countless YouTubers. GR claims to be able to turn them into great speakers.  I just looked on the GR website and see that the kit costs $480.00, plus shipping and tax, not to mention the work involved in building them, making it a rather expensive proposition for a speaker that I can by on CL for sixty-five bucks, doesn't have much more than 85dB peaks and bass that takes a dive at 90hz.  The kit for the ATC 19's costs less but I guess the Sony's really need a lot of parts.  


I haven’t. I’ve looked at some of his stuff, not this one specifically. My impression is that most of his stuff is good. I wouldn’t be surprised if his kit really does make this speaker perform well. Unfortunately, many speaker OEMs spend more on looks than sound becasue subconsciously, that’s what many people who buy consumer grade speakers make their decisions on.

So if you take a speaker box, premade that you can buy on craigslist for $60, put components in it that are better than the originals, partly because technology marches on and partly beccause you are spending more than the oem did, you can make a nice speaker. GR does the research for you to see what components sound good together. That is the theory. I haven’t tried much of his stuff but I did build speaker cables somewhat based on his design, I modified it quite a bit, and they are superb.

I think he does a good job helping the modder/bulider like myself, but his prices are not cheap. He has to make a living and it looks like his volume isn’t very high.


Yes but Gr doesn’t replace the drivers. Have you seen these speakers? I have designed and built speakers, I even rebuilt a pair of Sonys. They were smallish with reasonable cabinets and that was about it.  I had on hand about 99% of everything I needed and the cabinets were just the right size for this project. I gutted them of everything; the cheap drivers, x-overs and started from scratch by cutting new openings for the new drivers, bracing the cabinets front to back and constraining the sides together, then dampening the interior with heavy material, plus porting the cabinet. Even the grilles were removed and I made better looking/functioning grilles. Plus the spring speaker connectors and that whole crappy cup replaced, finally a new x-over with polyprop caps, air core inductors, good quality resistors and a black semi gloss paintjob. It weighs 3-4 times as much and basically a whole new speaker. My point of all of this is that $500.00 worth of x-over parts on something with drivers that look less robust than than my Sony’s (Fun?) project originally had. Also it seems like for six or seven hundred bucks you can by some nice used speakers. I guess what I have been getting atis that it was an odd choice of a speaker to choose to rebuild. What next, Radio Shack Minimus 7’s or Zenith allegros?

In my opinion, spending about $500 on a $100 speaker to improve it is just too cost-prohibitive.  I’d much rather buy a set of used $500-$600 speakers that when I need to sell them, I can get my money back.  When you try to sell a set of those highly-modified Sony’s, what is someone willing to pay?  $200, maybe, if you’re lucky?  $150 realistically?  No thanks. 

I own a pair of Wilson Audio Duette... and just ordered the upgrade for the Sony SS-CS5 from Danny at GR Research.

Why did I order the upgrade, when I already own Wilson Audio Duette?...🧐

The thought processes I’ve read about the cost equation for the upgrade are interesting - and likely moot / based on conjecture. "I can get XYZ for the cost of the upgrade". Well, how do you know whether that is better? If you examine the measurements on the GR Research site, including and in particular, the decay plot... these are extremely fast drivers with minimal ringing.

Many people make the mistake of thinking a certain price range is going to buy a certain level of performance relative to another product. It seems to me, this hobby is the wrong one to be barking up that tree!

Below are measurements of the Duette with the upgraded Sony overlayed... the Sony is in Red. If the Duette were in Red, would people not be saying "Oh, but of course, the cubic dollars spent will deliver that kind of performance, etc." The measurements are... "uncomfortable".  The Duette measurements are from the review done on Soundstage Audio. Folks should read the review. 

It is what it is... and I expect it to be a revelation. Again, there’s a reason why I ordered the upgrade... even already owning the Duette. A key factor is that I already own dual subwoofers - SVS SB16-Ultra. Without subs, this would not be a comparison. With subs... we’ll see how it shakes out and I am very much looking forward to it!

So... plotting more responses with GIMP... this is the measured Sony response in RED. The Sony measurement is what’s posted as "Frequency Response Before" on the GR-Research site. This is the speaker out of the box, no changes. It’s overlayed on top of the same measurements for the Wilson Audio Duette.

You can choose to believe me, or not... but I am telling ya’ll very directly... pairing this Sony speaker with subs is unbelievable. They are tipped up in detail, much like the Duette. I bought my pair of CS5 from Amazon in "Used / Like New" condition for $66.36 for the pair, delivered to my door.  They arrived in original packaging without a scratch. Indistinguishable from New condition. 

Believe me... don’t believe me... I can afford to buy nice speakers - buy these and they will bend your brain in terms of what to expect for dollar spent.

You need to use them with subs. I have mine on 28" Monolith stands and you can see relative to what Wilson things is a good height... the 28" height works out well for my ear height while seated.


(jim2) Still have not seen a single review from a customer on Gr update for the Sony's so let the people know when you're finished with them and run them through their paces.  Don't get me wrong about Danny, I have spoken with him and an employee and I found him honest, and knowledgeable, and firmly believe that he truly believes in his work.  I may not agree with all of his notions, Tube Connectors for one, but his prices are very fair for the parts he specs.  

    And since I wrote this a year ago, the sarcastic comment (I make a lot of them) I made about modifying Minimus 7's, Zenith Allegro's, I modified a pair of clean Minimus 7's that were sitting in a closet because of blown mid/bass drivers based on a video I saw on YouTube.  A much improved x-over; Jantzen(Denmark) Metallized polypropylene caps plus Audyn(Germany) MKP metalized polypropylene foil caps, high quality resistors plus wire, and five-way binding posts. Drivers were a huge improvement that with some shaving were drop in replacements.  Remarkably clean clear detailed sound.  Now these could work well with a subwoofer.  

@vitussl101 Will do. There’s some discussion about them in the GR Research circle on Audio Circle. How do you know I’m not a moron? Relatively speaking, this is cheeeep to try. The thing about what Danny is doing... he shows the measurements. Look very closely at the spectral decay plots. The one for this Sony speaker is exceptional. Maybe you have already, but there is a video on YouTube where he goes thru what was done, and you see the plots.

I have sent Danny a speaker that he measured and did a video on. The speaker formed the top half of the "Speaker of the Year" in Stereophile. I can tell you this... the speaker sounded like junk. Completely out of phase... yet "reviewed" as "Speaker of the Year". It’s like Tommy Boy.... "I can take a dump in a box and mark it guaranteed". 😁. More often than not, I suspect reviews are useful for advertising dollars, maybe not so much for reality.

As for the tube connectors... I have not used them yet, but I’m sure they won’t hurt. Among other things, he’s going after stuff with magnetism. On that note, on my Ayre VX-5 Twenty and KX-5 Twenty (all Ayre equipment of late I think) they eliminated the push tabs on the balanced inputs for the same was ferrous metal. So, others are of similar thinking...🤷‍♂️

Glad you reached out!