I haven't heard it, but I'm interested to know your impressions, especially compared to vinyl
11 responses Add your response
Well, it's a long story, so bear with me...
I was probably one of the last audiophiles to buy a CD player. Didn't own one until the mid-90's when I wanted new music that wasn't available on LP. So all my comparisons are vs. LP's!
About 5 years ago, I bought a DAC, and began using my CDP as a transport only. I figured that after 20 years, digital technology must have improved. The DAC I bought was a Perpetual Technologies P3a, and I wasn't totally thrilled with it. I then sent to Dan Wright to mod. I was extremely impressed with the transformation with the sound. Everything was much more coherent, with less digital glare. Nevertheless, it was still digital. So about 80% of my listening was still LP's (mostly classical).
Last fall, I tried the Slim Devices Transporter, and at the end of the free 30-day trial, I gave up on it. But I really love the concept of having all of your music collection at your fingertips. Until I ripped my CD's, I didn't even realize that I had 5 different versions of Dvorak's Cello Concerto, and now it's trivial to compare Jacqueline du Pre and Yo-yo Ma versions, at a moment's notice. Cool!
But the original Transporter, as delivered, came across to me as detailed, accurate, and extended (like an Ortofon Jubilee on steroids), and very much in-your-face. I'd listen for maybe an hour, then go back to my TT.
Over the holidays, I heard about Dan Wright's mods for the Transporter, so I went to the AudioCircle ModWright web pages and read up on the development process he went through. I got a nice little Christmas bonus and decided to invest in my own pleasure ;-)
My vinyl rig is a Scoutmaster with a Shelter 501-II cartridge. I've been pretty happy with it for the last 4 years (the cart is 2 yrs old). I probably play 3-4 hours every evening, often more. But now, the MW Transporter steals 75% of my listening time. It's really compelling and fun to listen to. So how's it compare, you asked?
It is both more extended, and more dynamic than my TT. In particular, the bass drive is much more insistent, and the highs more natural (c.f. cymbals!!). I think the analog rig does a better job on female vocalists, and has a slightly better sense of instrumental timbre. But what impresses me most about the MW Transporter is the sense of "aliveness" which was clearly missing with the Slim Devices original Transporter. I keep being startled by ambience noises that I think are in the room with me (did someone sneeze?). I love it! I treasure that "you are there" feeling, especially with large scale symphonic works, which are clearly better reproduced by the MW. It's easier to follow orchestral lines and development. For instance, Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No.1 should be played with the piano treated as a percussion instrument, sharp, metallic-almost, hammered. The ModWright does a terrific job of delivering this sound, and the DRIVE as played by Martha Argerich.
It could be that everyone else's digital is now this good too. I don't have enough experience with other gear to know. Certainly this is the best sound I've ever heard from my system, so I'm a happy camper. In fact, it's leading me to question my analog rig... maybe there's something wrong with it because it's so thoroughly outclassed. In fact, I'm actively exploring upgrading my vinyl, because the ModWright has revealed there's more to be had!
Hope this helps!
Thanks for the in depth response. I recently got into vinyl which so far tops all digital sources I've compared, excepting 24/96 DVD, which comes very close when done right. Anyway I'm currently researching digital sources and music servers that can bring me closer to that vinyl sound and feel. Thanks again.
Hey. I have had my MW TP for about a month now.
I too liked, but did not love, the unmodded TP. I agree that it is a tad analytical sounding. Pretty good still, but not great.
The MW TP, however, is probably the best source I have heard. I cannot compare it to a high end TT, because I play my vinyl on a mid-fi system w/an old and mediocre TT. On my hi-fi (Aerial Model 9s, Classe Cam-350s, TP into amps w/no pre), it is just great and is dramatically better than the Classe cdp it replaced and any other cdp I have heard (w/ the possible exception of an Esoteric Universal). Except for the vinyl comparison, Orjazzm's experience is similar to mine. I also find it very real and live sounding. Details are so real that I too have been startled by something in the music.
Great product. Highly recommended.
I am currently running a Mullard GZ-32 Rectifier and 6H30DRs for the signal tubes. Also have changed both standard fuses to HIFI Tuning Fuses and am using a Black Sands MKV PC. Everyone has there own preferences for sound quality but all I can say is this expensive piece of gear delivers. If you take the plunge plan on buying some NOS tubes as they truly improve over what is delivered by the stock supplied tubes. My plans are to try a Tung-Sol 5U4G and Mullard GZ-34 as rectifiers before settling on my favorite combinations.
Good day to you.
I hope you don't mind me asking the following.
What are the HIFI Tuning Fuses that you purchased, have you noticed an improvement in sound and if so, where can I purchase them?
As for the original post:
When I first received the ModWright Transporter I did not like the sound at all. It took a little work and some time to change that. Now it sounds quite amazing and nothing I have used as a source component prior to this, including the Audio Research CD-7, can compare to what I am now hearing.
The changes involved simply giving it time to burn in and switching out the stock tubes.
So far the best sounding tubes are NOS 1950's 5ar4's / gz34's. I will be trying a variety tubes over the next few weeks to see if some of the more affordable tubes can compete.
I really love the Mullard 1957 5ar4/gz34 metal base tube with the 5h30p-dr's. The problem with this selection of tubes is that they are hard to come by. If anyone can recommend an affordable source to purchase these from please email me. The current prices on these tubes are outrageous, if you can even find them.
I am currently using the Classe' CAM 400 monoblocks and the new H-Cat preamp. Upgrading to the Shunyata Taipan Alpha Helix power cords on the preamps with a little better Shunyata PC on the source and preamp also has improved the sound.
When I say that I love the sound that I have finally obtained I am understating my satisfaction with this setup. Many components have come and gone over the past 8 years but none of them have given me the quality of sound that my current components are providing, ModWright Transporter included.
The NOS Mullard gz34 Metal Base as the rectifier has been an eye opener as to how important the rectifier tube really is. The 5h30p-dr's are unbeatable as output tubes.
Any tips, tweaks or suggestions that can be offered on what has worked for others with the ModWright Transporter is appreciated.
To everyone here, take care and have a great day.