Anybody have a problem buying modded units.

I was looking at a modded unit here on Audiogon, and i ultimately decided not to buy it. Firstly, the seller couldn't describe what the mods were and only said that "it blew me away", and secondly, a sense that they are hard to resll. What do people think?

I'd agree that modded units appeal to a much smaller group of buyers than stock equipment, and are therefore somewhat harder to re-sell. I can think of 4 factors that are relevant:

First, the mod invalidates the manufacturer's warranty (although the firm doing the mod may offer a warranty).

Second, all mods reflect, to a greater or lesser extent, the audio quality deemed "desirable" by the person doing the mod. This makes the mod a much more subjective process than sticking with a stock unit that sounds the same for the entire model line.

Third, some mods simply sound different, and not necessarily better, than the original unit.

Last is the question of whether the incremental improvement gained from a mod is worth the cost (which can often be quite high), or whether it simply makes sense to spend more money initially and get a much better piece of gear that is manufactured in large enough quantities to benefit from the cost savings of production runs.
IMHO I think I'd much rather put together a system as you have, by spending your money on high quality components in the first place than buy an inexpensive unit and have the passive parts upgraded.

I remain cynical, not so much about the final sound of some of the mod's where the modder has fully explained what they are doing and why, none of this mysterious crapola we sometime see, but as to the added value of the mod in dollars & cents compared to buying high quality in the first place, both sonically of resale wise. I'll pass.
therefore somewhat harder to re-sell
We recently sold our year-old modded player at a 10% loss. In some cases, as in ours, re-sale is quick (sold in less than 2 hours) and easy.
SdCampbell,obviously you have not own a good modded
cd player,they dont sound diferrent they are musical.
,I like my SonyModwrightDVP9000es than a DV50 Esoteric.
They also sell quickly like Boa2 said.
David probably the seller got too excited,or maybe
lost the paperwork of the player.I think you are not
sold with Mod,you did not tried enough.Why would you
need a mod? When you already have the Meitner, one of the
Well, for a different perspective-I wouldn't buy anything but a modded unit anymore. You do need to do your homework.
All "modded" units are not the same.
It depends:
On the unit.
On the reputation of the modifier.
On the mods that were done by that modifier.

My observations and IMHO, from having had 4 different modified pieces, is that money spent on the "right" mods (+ the original unit), gives you noticbly more improved performance, than the same combined amount of money spent on new/retail items.
Good Listening!

My Wadia and MFA amp sounds way better than stock,I think the only way to truly hear what a unit can do is to eliminate the safety issues (iec current limiting devices).With better i/c's and power cords one can hear how a component truly sounds,Steve at Great Nothern Sound Co. is a master tuner and has intimite knowledge of the unist he modds.He takes his time and actually listens to his work so that one doesn't get a quicky mod that doesn't feel or sound right.A good modd allows one to get better value before you get the upgrade bug,my MFA has had 16 year life and still has some original power tubes in it.After Steve's mod to the amp,I am still impressed with how it throws a huge soundstage with incredibles 3-d images and viceral dynamics.This amp competes very well in every catagory and I need to spend a small fortune to readily beat it.A mod is only as good as the modder,as Lkdog said " You need to do your homework " on what a modder has acomplished in the Agone community.Take care Dennis
I wouldn't say that I wouldn't buy anything but a modded unit, but if all things being equal, I would buy a second hand modded unit. I say all things being equal because sellers of modified units tend to be less flexible on their prices. I do think mods can help a units sound, but it would be hard for me to be the one paying to have the orignal mod performed.

I've been on both sides, the one paying for the original mod, and the one buying the modded unit on AudiogoN. The latter one works best for me. I recently had a choice to make that involved this scenerio. Buy a used Esoteric DV-50S, or a used Exemplar 3910. The 50S seller was much more flexible pricewise, which is probably why his item sold in two weeks while the Exemplar has been sitting there for months.

Now, I could have the DV-50S modded, and I am thinking about it, but I wouldn't spend a whole lot on the mod. I have had trouble selling my modded units (Howard, you got very lucky, you are the exception). I've taken a 70% price hit while selling the two digital players that I had modded. Granted, mods are more popular now than 15 years ago, but The Mod Squad and EAD were two big name modders in the early 90's, and reviewed in Stereophile.
OTOH, I scooped up a modded GNSC preamp for only $300 more than average re-sale at that time. The seller had paid $1300 for the mod. So he got back $300 for his $1300 investment....not good.

So I have no problems buying modded equipment, it's not easy though, because the person who had the mod done is usually not willing to take the 40-50% price hit that it takes to make a sale. Used items usually go for around 50% of retail, mods are no exception. So if the list price on the unit was $2K, and the mod was $2K, expect to get around $2K for your modded unit. Many mod sellers will be looking for $3K. Why do that when I could buy a used unit for $1K and have the mod/warranty done for $2K and have a newer/better unit?

There is no one right answer, but if you do have a modification done, I'd recommend you don't think about re-sale. You should buy it and plan to enjoy it for quite awhile.

There is no one right answer, but if you do have a modification done, I'd recommend you don't think about re-sale. You should buy it and plan to enjoy it for quite awhile.
Well put, John.
I just had a mod done. I did not think so much about resale. I just liked the unit. I think that certain units resale in a certain price range. You are not going get people to go out of that range by a large amount. If you are having a mod done it should be something you are in love with and plan to keep it for a while. In my case it was a dated design and I wanted to"freshen" it up.
I think modded units offer a huge bang for the buck and are tough to beat. Now, in saying that, I think you need to focus on those that have an excellent reputation for their mods, as well as their service and support. The modded units of these individuals are often very easy to sell.
I did not think of the resale value also, all I care
is to bring a good music to my room.
David if you want a taste of cd mod, I am willing to
bring my SonyModwright to your house and we can listen.
In this case you dont need to think about resale value.
I live close to you.There you can judge if my SonyMod
is worth the money I paid for the mod.
Just as an FYI, the "seller" may have not been able to describe the mod as some modders, like Steve at Great Northern Sound, do not divulge what components are part of the mod. Whereas, the Parts Connexion will email you an exact listing of all components that went into the mod.

I have had components modded by both of these companies (Resolution Audio and Sonic Frontiers) and sold the components on Audiogon within a week. I thought there was definite improvements in sound, and sold the items without losing hardly anything on the mods.

Like was stated in an earlier comment, it depends on who is doing the mod and what their expertise is in. For example, Chris Johnson with Parts Conn. once did R&D for Sonic Frontiers, so I felt more comfortable in utilizing his services on the SF preamp mod.
I don't really want to identify the piece and it's mods, since it is still for sale here. However, in the long run, I always think of resellability (if I can coin a word). After 7 years, i'm finally settling on pieces that give me a sound that I like, in conjunction with the rest of my system. Nevertheless, everything may eventually get sold. I would buy a modded piece if I knew what the mods were, and if i knew what the difference in the sound was. All too often on Audiogon, I buy a piece to audition it, and sell it if i don't like it. This particular purchase fits squarely in that category.

APL HiFi provides complete descriptions of their modifications on the website, although some of the information is now outdated, including pricing, as Alex has changed parts, and improved his design (which he does continuously). Besides Alex, the owners of his players have the most up to date information about what is current, but for a good idea of what's involved on the APL Denon 3910, I'd suggest looking at the website.

The great thing about APL is there are no mysteries about what you're buying. At least that's a great thing to me.
Grant the same with DanWright,Modwright, you get
a copy of what was done.I believe most of the
modders do the same.
Only mod I am planning on getting is on my McCormack amp and work is done by SMc. And I am only doing it because I plan to keep the amp for a long time. But in any case, when you try to sell a modded component, the resale value is mighty low. Not worth it if you are not sure you're keeping the unit long enough to justify the mod expenses. JMO.
To Jayctoy:

You are correct - I don't own any modded units, although I have in the past. My decision not to go this route is based on personal experience with having a number of mods done to my equipment (CD player; preamp; and amp) during the 1980's and early 1990's.

Having audio gear modified is an entirely legitimate road to changing (and hopefully improving) the sound of your equipment, but in retrospect I never heard a mod that sounded better than the collective cost of the equipment plus the cost of the mod. Hence, my comment that I think the better route for MOST audiophiles is to simply buy a better piece of equipment to start with. After 40+ years in the audio hobby, there's not much I haven't heard -- but I still remain open to new technology and new ideas.
A mod I have had consistent good luck with is taking a stock unit with a fixed AC cord and asking a reputable tech to put a good IEC socket so I can upgrade the power cord. The good news on this is a) it's a cheap mod and b) you can keep your favorite power cord or trade up. I did this to an old Mod Squad CD player and ended up keeping it much longer than I would have otherwise. I also got a Nakamichi Dragon Tape Deck overhauled by official Nakamichi techs who were willing to put the IEC in, and WOW what a difference!

BTW I use Tara Labs The One AC's, which often cost more than I pay to get the component.
if you bought a 4k unit or spent 2k on a used unit and spend $1500 the modded unit will destroy any stock unit ,
as long as it's a good digital person.
I totaly agree with Myrai: in regard to his post:

All "modded" units are not the same.
It depends:
On the unit.
On the reputation of the modifier.
On the mods that were done by that modifier.
I'm trying to find a esoteric dv50
About a month ago i purchased New a H.R.A.M Stage 3+ Jolida JD 100A and it by far exceeds the performance of my Audio Aero Prima MK II CDP. this player is reclocked using a Tent Labs XO2 Master clock and the clock is powered by a Tent Labs discrete power supply, it uses Blackgates and Fairchild ultrafast soft recovery diodes in the power supply. it uses Cardas Rhodium plated ouput RCA's with DH Labs silver wiring with foamed teflon insulation and Relcap Teflon capacitors and Pearl Cryrovalves 12AX7's in the output stage. if you Know what you are getting for your money i can see no problem whatsoever with buying Modded gear.thanks....WCW III
I've had a HRAM Denon 3910 "stage 2 mod" in my system for a couple of months. The output pcb and clock were designed by Alex at APL. The rest of the mods are the work of Mike Powell... HRAM lists all the changes on their website and offers three levels of modification.
Best player I have had in my system by a good margin. I am not at all worried about resale value.