IMHO and finite experience. First, there is no substitute for common sense...
If you want to control costs and get a guaranteed outcome, the best bet is to go with an established "name" modder and mod a unit he already has experience with or has "productized".
There are three problems this helps to overcome:
1) Since most manufacturers don't put up their circuit diagrams etc, there can be a long period of discovery with a new unit as the modder figures out what the guy ahead of him did and didn't do - and why. That can get expensive
2) In theory, modding involves a certain amount of critical listening and fine tuning. When a modder does the same mod on an ongoing basis, you gain the benefit of his experience and evolution, as well as all the other owners feedback. This gets you a better unit faster.
3) Resale of a known shops established product is likely to be easier - that said, forget about recouping your money... Warranty varies and falls in this category.
As far as the obvious mods, there seem to be two: first improve the power supply - doesn't seem to matter what kind of product it is, there is always room to make it quieter, stiffer and more stable. Second, change some combination of caps (coupling usually).
Have fun - the best advice I can give you is enjoy the process.
I would add to Ckrody's advice that, depending on the player, upgrading the opamps can be a simple, relatively inexpensive way to get dramatically improved sound.
Thanks, Ckorody and Sfar, good points.
I´m listening a lot of vinyl that why I thought to invest in a universal DVD player 2/3K to use for Video too and find a good modder that could really improve it.But the tech. progress is so fast that my unit after one year is obsolete, Blue Ray and HD Dvd are now coming to the market.
It´s better to buy a modded Oppo and invest in software not in technology if the money that i invest, in one year worth nothing.
My personal opinion.
FWIW - I don't think the new HD-DVD or Blu-Ray players will play CD, SACD, and/or DVD-A. The HD-DVD may play CD, I am not sure.
For video, perhaps one of these new technologies will do a good job with the old DVDs, but who knows if the old DVDs will even be that important to you in a year or two.
Here's my experience so far - I had a Sony Blu-Ray for demo, it outputted video and audio with pretty much no adjustability. In the store, the big improvement with this player was definitely the movie audio - by a long-shot - even over the video improvement. But this improvement is only realizable by using the analog outputs of the player due to the higher resolution of this audio.
Because of this, I think a legitimate question is: Will they begin to release Audio [2-channel] versions of Blu-Ray or HD-DVD? If not, then there will still be a use for a CD, SACD, and DVD-A player
provided you like those formats.
my player is an Esoteric DV-50 that has been to The Upgrade Company. It also has an SDI output to feed my DVDO VP30 [the SDI is unecessary overkill BTW]. The video with this set-up was pretty darned close when comparing the old DVD Superbit version of The Fifth Element to the HD version playing from the Sony. However, the video from the same Superbit disc playing on the Sony was not so nice at all. It lacked detail and was washed out.
For audio, Dave Schulte at The Upgrade Company [TUC] has done just amazing work. The improvement is very easily noticeable. My player is considered by many to be a dinosaur, but I just cannot believe how well it performs after TUCs work. I dont know what he did, and because of the crystal clear result I dont care. I do know a lot of work has gone into it, with a lot of real parts.
I have tried other modded machines, and wont bother anymore. Ckrody makes some good points, so my advice would be to ask Dave Schulte what he recommends depending on what you want for a result, and just get it done. If you are in the Philadelphia area, then you can try to stop by sometime for a listen.
One more thing regarding warranty I had a video problem once with my player after I got it back from TUC. I returned it and he went through the whole thing. We had a lot of conversations trying to get it sorted out. It ended up being a bad SDI connection inside my Video processor not the DV-50. My point is that TUC went to bat and did everything possible to make sure the player was right without me demanding it. I was out the shipping [not inconsequential for a 55 lb player], but it was all my own doing anyway. I cannot complain.
Lastly - forget resale. This is a big minus to modding. You pretty much eat any investment in modding. Just accept that going in. Thankfully, I am more than satisfied with my decision. Actually, I am amazed more than anything else.
- sorry for the length
I am pretty much sold on modifications of good sounding equipment. With the caveat that maybe I have never spent enough retail to get to the point that I can't benefit from modifications.
Thus far, I have had the following pieces of equipment modded with very good to fantastic results: Audio Van Alstine Hybrid Fet-valve 250 w/ch amp, Airtight ATC-1 tube preamp (power supply was also removed from the chassis and put into a separate chassis among other things), Rega Planet (the original) CD players that I use as a transport to feed my dacs, and a EAD (?) transport. All of my work has been performed by Joseph Chow at Audiohorizons. I have yet to be disappointed. My system(s) clearly reproduce musical in a much more satisfying, spacious, and involving manner after mods.
I don't think though that you can modify bad sounding equipment and make it sound great - at least not in gereral.
Hi Dave, also very good points,it confort me that you are happy with your wonderful Modded unit and you had only positive exp. with modders.
Unfortunatly I´m Italian, it would be a pleasure to listen some music together.
I have a friend in Padova with no TV/radio who listen only to LP´s, Pre/Amp 211 based and a pair of DIY Goto Speakers.He´s really happy, the sound if terrific but he´s living in the past, I like the future that why I try to stay up to date...and buy some more lps!!
thanks for the good reply.
If you want to try a modded unit, I would suggest looking for an already modified by a reputable modder used unit. This to me is more logical because the resale value of the modded components is terrible. If you buy 2/3k player and spend about $1k to modify it, the money spent on the mods will be lost for the most part when you sell the player.
If you are not one of those who likes to change things frequently, this may not apply, given the fact that you will like the sound and overall performance of the modded unit to begin with.
Thus far, I have had the following pieces of equipment modded with very good to fantastic results: Audio Van Alstine Hybrid Fet-valve 250 w/ch amp
Jay, wondering if you could expalin what was done to your FetValve, and how it improved the sound.
I have a modded Pioneer from Audiocom UK,I waited 9 months!! and when the baby arrived back i opened it only to discover that I payed 1800 and I got a 100 half mods.
I´m really disgusted from that but It´s my fault to trust the people,I asked my money back but you can imagine the reply, I´ll go to the court against Mr. Bartlett from Audiocom.
That´s why I´m trying to share experiences, never make the same mistake twice.
IMO: If you keep pieces for a long time like I do then mods make more sense. If you're an audiophile who changes equipment frequently then I think modding might not make much sense since you might find what you're looking for with your next acquisition. I don't think either method is superior to the other so no value judgement being made here. If you've found a component that you like a lot and plan to hang on to it for a long time, fine tuning through mods might be the way to go. No worries about recouping investment etc. One caveat however, mods should be done by reputable technicians with a track record. Most Gon'ers know who they are.
I´m not all alone in a sea full of shark-modders.
we are so different in tastes and preferences but with one great common passion.... Music!
Rja & Tubin's words are words of wisdom from experience, but Audphile1 makes a great point if you want to try a modded piece...buy it used and already modded. Like I said above...as the one paying for the mods, you pretty much eat that part of it. Probably not the case if you buy it used and already modded.
FWIW, Rja hits the nail on the head with me. I was changing CDPs like crazy and just got tired of it [as well as my wife]. I hope to keep this player for a long time, and from the way it sounds, I think I will.
I had my Shanling CDT 100 modded with good results. I agree with much that has been said
1. It needs to be a keeper, don't expect to get your money back on resale
2. Look at feedback on the various companies
3. Start with what is a top, recommended unit in the first place.
4. Try and audition first, even better, compare a modded and unmodded unit, but thats hard in practice.
5. Speak to the modder, does he seem a straight shooter.
My next step, a Great Northern sound Co modded Resolutio Audio opus 21., when I can get the cash together.