Bargain Priced SACD Giant Killer?

I think my SCD-1 is very good and beautifully made, but at the end of the day, I am listening to digital less and less, other than from my PC.

So I am thinking about recycling some of its resale value into a turntable, and building up a WAF file music server.

If I were to sell my SCD-1, is there anything that will give me 75% + of the sound on a budget, albeit without the gorgeous build quality?
how about a TRL modded sony 595? or another budget player wiht some mods? i've got a VSE level 5 modded 9000 and I am very happy with it.
Speaking of TRL, if you can get your hands on a Sony DVP-NS900V the new TRL mod will take you past the SCD-1. You're probably looking at an investment of $1000 including the mods. The news from CES on this player was very positive.
Philips 963sa. Get a modified one, and you'll be even better off! ....and closer, or as good as your stock Sony.
Good luck!
What news did you hear at the CES about the Sony unit?

The player was used with a Bruce Moore amp and preamp, as well as VMPS speakers. A $12,000 player that will remain un-named was also used in that set-up. I spoke to 4 people (3 of them in the industry) who were in that room and the news I received was that the TRL Sony was a giant killer. The word most utilized to describe it was "musical". I heard the line to get in the room was pretty long. Mine is on its way to TRL right now. I can't wait to hear it.

You can email me if you like.
Have you heard the machine on SACD? I only heard it on redbook and it was very good. Bob
i think $1000 for a sacd player is a bit much given the original intent of this thread....

cwlondon came up with a really good idea...put some money toward a differnt format that has a lot of software available(vinyl) rather than sacd that doesnt have alot of software...

would suggest a sony 9000,sony 999 (sony house sound and build quality).

I don't do SACD and I haven't listened to the stock redbook play back. I'll probbaly get my modded unit back in a couple of weeks and will post my thoughts then in a separate thread.
I have heard the TRL Sony 900, but have been having some trouble with my amp so did not get to listen to it a long time.
It is very very good from a short audition.
Will have things back to normal pretty soon and will give it a longer listen then.
Cwlondon, I don't know what to make of your statement that you are listening less to digital now and mainly from your PC. Is it because you only are listening to your PC that you are now listening less to digital? If so, stop doing that.

While the Sony SCD-1 has retained much of its value as modifiers covet it, you are probably talking about a far less expensive universal player as some have suggested. I don't think you will accomplish your goal with a $1000 sacd player. But if you like your pc playback, just sell the SCD-1 and your sacds and enjoy. I suspect that putting pcm on hard drives will be the wave of the future anyway.
Clio09: The line to get into the Vmps room at CES was very long due to the new Constant Directivity feature we have on our speakers(I'm a Vmps dealer). There have been waveguides in the past but none as effective as these being used with our planar ribbon hybrid speakers. There will be more on this in the future.

Brian will only use the best sounding sources so it's safe to say that the Sony cd player must be a killer. Vmps speakers are super transparent and if there had been something wrong in the front end you'd hear it.

Trust me, Brian was impressed alright, he was very impressed.
Line? Where? CES? When?

You boyz are tooo much! LOL!

With all due respect,
hace to agree with cwlondon on this.... why have big $$$$$ invested on sacd player with limited software ?

it is unfortunate that the high res formats didnt make ( why spend big $$$$ on a 2 channel multiformat player ? there is very, very limited software.. (the sony scd-1 is a fantastic sacd player but just okay on cd...)

what it boils down to....

-we are stuck with redbook cd's with the majority of digital
- a really good dac can be used with multiple playaback systems
-analog is here to stay and there is plenty of software ( a killer playback system can be had for cheap..vpi scout)
-sacd software is limited and will continue to be so (asking consumers to spend $$$ on multiformat players doesnt make sense.

I've had the TRL/Sony DVP-NS900V for over a month now and concur that it is incredibly musical, dynamic and natural ... in a very analog sense.

I spoke with Brian at TRL today and he said they recieved 9 Sony 900's in the past 2 days and were expecting another 3 by the end of the day. (one each belonging to all 3 exhibitors in the VMPS/Bruce Moore/Xtreme Cable room and one un-named reviewer).

Best wishes,

Jack wrote :

"It's also noteworthy that all 3 exhibitors in the VMPS/Bruce Moore/Xtreme Cables room already own a TRL/Sony 900, along with another reviewer."

And here is what that SAME Positive Feedback Online reviewer had to say, quote:

"Alex's room was a breath of fresh to speak. I would find my way back there after each foray into the many overly loud, non-musical rooms at CES and The Show. I overheard one well known recording engineer state that Alex's audio system was one of the few...or was it the only audio system at CES that actually had him wanting to listen to the entire song being played. I know the feeling; in most rooms I wanted to get up and leave after a few seconds. It just felt like everyone was trying to out muscle each other with overly loud, boomy bass. Perhaps it was just my ears being overly sensitive...but at this CES there were only a few rooms that I wanted to sit a spell, take my shoes off and enjoy the music being played."

You can also read it here:

Why not just take your SCD-1 and have it modified? It seems to me that you will gain more benefit from this than from trying to purchase something else.

Wonder where all the units came from ;)

UPS and I are getting pretty friendly.

BTW - each of the people in the VMPS room who purchased the unit had almost the exact same thoughts on the player. The consistency of their listening experiences were uncanny. Normally, you get a variety of opinions on the sonic signature of a unit, but not this one.

Hi Alex - sorry I haven't had time to respond to your private email to me disparaging the work of TRL, but it was nice of you to read my review on the TRL Audio Mirror. I feel somewhat flattered and if anything it shows you're literate.
Alex attacking people and other companies offline with unsolicited harassing emails to Audiogon members?????

C'mon Clio- he only communicates "With all due respect".
Having spend time in both the VMPS and APL rooms, I would have to say that Alex had the best sound. Of course, there are many differences other than the players.
Addressing the original question,

I went from a SCD-777ES to the Marantz SA8260 so I could have multichannel, and didn't feel like I lost much in sound quality. For what you're looking for I'd recommend almost any of the cheaper Sonys or Marantz' (and the 8260 is quite good at about $700+ new). Using a 'cheaper' digital source is like driving a budget(relative to the 'best' you could afford, which can be quite good) car. You get plenty of enjoyment from it and the enjoyment is multiplied by the fact you didn't break your wallet! That said, I do put my RB CD's into an Ayre CX-7 instead of the Marantz...
how did this thread get off track ?
this thread asked for a best bang for buck mod or player. i think the TRL mods are on the cheaper side, right? so i suggested it as a possibility. but if i had the dough, i'd go for APL's mod. Somewhere in the middle is where I ended up, very happy I might add. The VSE level 5 mod is really oustanding. Definitely betters many players I've had, including the BAT VK D5SE and the Wadia 860x.
The TRL mods are definitely on the less expensive side and provide significant bang for the buck, which fits in with the theme of the thread. However, I would not under estimate the amount of work that goes into the mods, especially with the DVP-NS900V. Based on my conversations with TRL there appears to be 25+ hours of work in modifying this player. Using $40/hr. as a base (it's $80/hr. where I live) thats $1000, for labor only, no parts. Already that is nearly twice the $550 standard mod fee TRL charges (BTW - a certain poster to this thread would lead you to believe that TRL mods are nothing more than dropping some magnetic material on the DAC chips and then covering it with epoxy - I don't think TRL would have been able to do over 600 digital mods with not one customer taking them up on their money back gurantee if this was the case).

While I respect what other mod shops charge for their services, it would be foolish as a buyer to equate price with quality. Like buying unmodded new or used audio, there are bargains (to me where benefit to cost ratio is extremely high), fair deals, and deals to good to be true (which is normally the case).

As a final note the suggestion to modify the SCD-1 is a very good one.
I have seen the inside of the TRL Sony 900 and know somewhat the amount of R&D that went into this by Paul and Brian and the required labor and parts for each unit mod.
Without discussing specifics it is a ridiculous bargain as are all of their mods.
Other more expensive modders also have major R&D time in their mods and they charge what the market will bear. I have no issue with that.
The unit that was in the room at CES with the TRL modded unit was a $12,000 modded unit I believe.
I will let others share what they heard about that comparision which does illustrate the point of price and outcome are not directly co-related.

With reagrd to the original poster-he wanted to sell the SCD-1 and use the money to get a TT steup and a less expensive digital unit if I undertsand correctly.

There are many fine choices of cheaper units stock and from all of the modders mentioned here that would meet your needs.
APL, Modwright, TRL, RAM, etc all can do moderate priced units and likely get you close to or even surpass the SCD-1.
There are also many fine used stock units out there that can be had reasonably that no doubt sound excellent.
Clio09: There has only been one person making said claim and his motive is transparent.

And I whole heartedly agree that digital audio playback is one arena which teaches you that price does not always equate to better performance.

It's sad that the various major CD and SACD player manufacturers use additional circuits and filtering, ("Bells and whistles" which can degrade the sound) as a marketing tool to ask more money for a player, rather than just put the additional money into making it sound better. I suppose that isn't the way it works, though. A corporate engineer has to design an elaborate circuit in order to keep his job. His boss probably doesn't listen to the player anyway ...

That's why it is my firm opinion that we as audiophiles can do better with their lower level players with their simple circuits and have them modified to achieve a higher level of performance.

So, to keep this aimed at the original poster, I would recommend a modification of a lower level player with fewer "bells and whistles".


"Clio09: There has only been one person making said claim and his motive is transparent."

as are yours...
I heard the Tube Research Labs modified Sony DVP-NS900V at the VMPS booth at THE Show '06.

I'm familiar with the $10k Wadia 27ix DAC & also a heavily modified SACD player ($5-7k range, owner didn't specify). Though I have not yet A-B'd the TRL against either, there are reasons to believe it's sound quality places it in the top echelon of digital sources, whether Red Book or any so-called hi-rez variety. I eagerly look forward to A-B-ing it against the Wadia & my engineer friend's hard-drive/Squeezebox combo, in a TacT-based system w/ 8' tall horn speakers (estimated $100k/pr).

My favorite test track at THE Show (don't be afraid to use that acronym in place of "CES") was a well-recorded grand piano with a beautiful orchestra that fades in halfway through then fades out, ending with the solo piano again. It's beautiful, yet less than about 4 minutes, so you can hear it all & keep the vendors happy.

We all know nothing can sound better than the weakest link in the equipment chain, & obviously from the almost universally favorable press (exceptions being competitors) the system & room was good, in spite of being a bit cramped.

The most memorable thing, & the thing that drove me to purchase a used Sony & send it to TRL for the mod, is the level of emotional involvement during my audition. I have heard that cut many times & in excellent venues, including the VAC/Von Schweikert room & the TAD/Pass Labs room. None caused the high level of emotional reaction in the TRL/VMPS room. The sweetness of the music was almost painful in its poignancy. My reaction bordered on embarrassing because of the public venue.

It's a nice benefit that TRL principals-brothers Brian & Paul Weitzel are two of the nicest people you will meet in the high end.

I look forward to its arrival ASAP. The performance level of the TRL-Sony & the VMPS Constant Directivity Waveguide RM30's have convinced me to invest in professional room analysis, remodeling, & upgraded acoustic treatments. It just makes no sense to have hardware at this level without getting the room as close to perfect as possible.
I wonder if Cwlondon even monitors this less than constructive discussion of the trl unit. Anytime you entertain a discussion of best buy in a component, one is opening a can of worms. Excellent sound is difficult enough to get agreement on and once you weigh in cost, I suspect agreement is impossible.

I am sure the TRL unit is excellent as are many other units at that price-point. I am equally sure that there are better unit at higher price-points. Certainly, Alex's TEAC is excellent and costly. This is the limits of any certainty that I have. How Alex handles himself in discussions is irrelevant to anything.
DTM: Yes my motive is transparent. It is to defend the good name of the manufacturer/mod shop whose amplifiers/pre-amplifiers/digital mods/cables/SACD's and CD's etc. that I've had the pleasure to own since the early 1990's.

And I stand by my statements above that additional circuits can harm the audio signal. Less is more, wouldn't you agree?


Amen Tbg.
Jes45, certainly in the case of linestages and amps, I would agree. I don't recall what additional circuits you are talking about, but most mods of players don't add circuits, they improve parts in power supplies or circuits, stiffen power supplies, add tube output stages, and/or upgrade clocks. None of these are adding circuits.

I have no idea which mod at any given moment would please me most, nor do I believe anyone has ever really had the opportunity to make that judgment. There is only one unit in my experience that stands above everything I have heard as to make it a benchmark, that is the Reimyo CDP777. It does not play sacds. Were it not so expensive I would keep it around.
There is only one unit in my experience that stands above everything I have heard as to make it a benchmark, that is the Reimyo CDP777.

Agree that there are many choices and every unit and manufacturer mentioned here is no doubt very very good.

I think TRL got mentioned early on in this thread due to the original poster looking for a reasonably priced unit.

FWIW-there is a veteran audiophile here on AG who recently sold his Reimyo CDP777 to replace with this very TRL SONY DVP NS900 modded unit. He can buy whatever he wants as far as I can tell.

You just never know in this hobby sometimes.
Lkdog, if someone did indeed sell a Reimyo because he preferred the TRL, I would say that I am shocked. Knowing what I do about the chip, transport, and sophicated circuit within the Reimyo, there would have to be something revolutionary within the TRL, which of course, I don't believe I have ever heard.
Well, it is true.
I have never heard a Reimyo, but for him in his system, with his biases about what his ideal sound is; he felt it was warranted.
I know him and he knows audio.
Of course, someone else may come to a different conclusion.
I also have dealt with the person that Lkdog knows. He introduced me to the TRL sound. While he preferred the Reimyo to the TRL SA-14, the TRL NS-900V was another story altogether, which was enough of a statement for me to make me find a used NS-900V player and send it to TRL.
Jes45, no comment. What I think about you, your posts and your attitude don't belong in this forum.

If there is one thing I've learned in all the buying and selling I've done over the years, it's that what is the best for one person is not necessarily the best for me. I'm sure the TRL is excellent, especially considering it's price point. The best, better than anything else out there? I doubt it, but it doesn't really matter. I've got excellent reproduction with what I've got, and I'm very happy (for now!). :)
DTM: That's an unfortunate risk I take standing by those who I admire and respect. I found out in the schoolyard that if you are outspoken, not everyone is going to like you ... I can live with that.

I base my statements on first hand experience, which, of course is the only method to know for sure whether or not a particular piece of gear integrates well into your system and suits your needs. Making comments or assumptions without discloses that person a fool.

Certainly, with the comments of others above, you can see that it isn't just me that has found TRL's Sony 900 mod outstanding. In fact, most guys are trying to keep it quiet until they sell off their more expensive players ... although the buzz since THE Show has been hard to stiffle.

"I've got excellent reproduction with what I've got, and I'm very happy (for now!). :)"

That's all any of us are after. I only pray that your journey brings you as much pleasure as mine has I.

Best wishes,

Jack Seaton
DTM: This thread is like the Hillbillies on their windy hillside spitting contest. You try not to be downwind and get it all over you. It sure looks like though the Alex vs TRL spitting contest. The winner is " TRL " hands down. Just take an objective count of positives at all the forums up to date on either side and well you can do the math. The rest is a bunch of useless, senseless hyperbole. Yeah, and that hyperbole is spitting all over me! Well gentelmen, may the best man win!
LOL! exactly Lithojoe.. well put!
Hi DTM: Please be clear that those I consider to be in the hills are ones that have not been able to see the light of day in regards to this current scenario. There are enough mitigating circumstances clearly demonstrated over the years to move forward with a very clear conclusion hear.This not being a court of law I found it interesting that those living in the hills could not ferret out the good guys here. Best regards, The Texas Rangers
I have a TRL modded Sony 900. I bought the player used for about $300 and the mod was $550. The best digital I have every heard!
Ecruz, what other digital systems have you heard? Could you describe the sonics of the TRL modded Sony 900 compared to the sonics of the others you have heard?
Tks in advance
Hi Ecruz: How many hours are on the mod ? At what point did you start to hear the break-in process? Thanks !
Welcome aboard, Proken, with your first Audiogon post.


I have the Sony CE595...and it's wonderful. And at only $ can you go wrong?
I just received my TRL Sony DVP NS 900V today. How long does this unit take to break-in and what changes should I expect? I am having trouble using the remote to change tracks. Has anyone else experienced this or is there a trick that I have not yet uncovered to change tracks remotely? Bob
I want to report that I received incredible service from TRL when I sent back my TRL modified Sony DVP NS900V because of the remote problems that I mentioned in my post above. Brian from TRL fixed the problem the very same day he received the unit and then sent it back to me THE SAME DAY. They sent it priority so I would get the unit back THE NEXT DAY. I continue to be amazed at their level of service and they also threw in a couple of their CD's for good measure. Brian called to tell me exactly what was going on and also told me that there is a new mod to this unit that even takes it to a higher level using battery power to certain parts of the unit. I am mulling over doing this to my other Sony unit that I bought for this mod. If anyone has heard this new battery mod, I would love to hear your thoughts on it. I believe it is an additional $750. I give TRL the highest marks for taking care of their customers. Bob
please not another sales TRL pitch....(gaging sound)

if i admit that TRL makes the best sony modded players in the entire world - can you stop the promotion????

how about a "seperate" TRL category under discussions so it can be contained ? i am starting to get acid reflux...
Bob: The battery power really does take the player to another level. :) (first hand experience)