esoteric x-01, ux-1 etc reliable?

I am considering buying a used Esoteric CD/SACD player, and I have heard a lot of praises heaped on top the VRDS-NEO transport. But what worries me is that I read somewhere that Teac Esoteric has discontinued the laser assembly used for the VRDS-NEO transport. Is there any owner or users willing to share their experience regarding the reliability as well as the lifespan rating of the laser head. Also, it gets even more complicated for modded units as the manufacturer warranty is likely void. I am hoping owners of the best modders like RAM, APL etc can shed some light on this.
I cannot comment on what happens with mod'ed units' laser assemblies but can tell you that Esoteric has told me any mods would void the warranty so I stay away from them. I've owned a DV-50s, UX-1 LE and P-03U (1.5 years, 1.5 years and 2.5 years and still going respectively) and have no problems with any of these units ability read any kind of discs that they support reliably.
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You also might want to do a search in the forums. Several of us (including me) have sent in our Esoteric's for a issue (not under warranty) and Esoteric fixed for free, put it in brand new boxes (umm tripped boxed) fedex'd back on their nickel.

In my case I had moved and a little spring on the transport had jiggled loose during the move.

Incredible service in my opinion.
Agree 100% with Jfrech! I had various non-transport issues on my DV-50s, UX-1LE and P-03U (1 each) and Esoteric's technical support and customer service is world-class.
Thanks for the feedback. It does seem like Esoteric provides good technical support and service on unmodded units. Based on your advice, it is probably good to stay away from modded units because of the void warranty issue. Not sure how the modders handle their warranty, and how they can get their hands on spare parts.
On 6moons you can find the following:

Esoteric comments
Mark Gurvey of Esoteric USA who kindly submitted the above images had this to say about the NWO 3.0-GO: "During the recent CES 2008, we heard this unit in a presentation by Alex. Yes, we were all very impressed. Reminds me of the AMG version step ups from Mercedes-Benz or the M series step ups from BMW. It is certainly a lot more than just supercharging the old Camaro. As you know, any product can be modified in the after market. If this is done, then our warranty no longer applies."

Alex Peychev comments
"We have signed a mutual non-disclosure agreement with Esoteric a few years ago. Although it is true that the original warranty is voided, both Esoteric Japan and USA have provided me with a level of support that is truly exemplary. I am authorized to purchase any part I might eventually need for supporting the NWO line. APL Hi-Fi offers a 3-year warranty for the NWO players. After the warranty period, repairs will be performed at the actual parts cost and modest labor charge. Very special thanks to Esoteric for their tremendous help throughout the years!"
I now have two (2) APL modified NWO-3.0GO-SE with transport problems.
One: the disc tray will not extend out for disc loading although the display shows "open". The player operated properly before.
Two: the disc tray will not extend when Open/Close button is pressed. The display shows nothing (is blank). Operation of the transport was erratic before. It stopped itself sometimes during playback.
Could Alex kindly help?
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>>Could Alex kindly help?<<

Good luck with that.

The Esoteric based NWO players come with 3 years warranty by APL Hi-Fi. This covers not only our re-design but also mechanical problems, as well as laser pick-up. We have enough laser pick-up assemblies enough not only to cover all our NWO players out there, but also many more NWO players in the future.

Chungted, this is the first time I hear about the problems you have with your NWO players. Please send me email with detailed description of the problems and we'll take it from there. Don't worry, we can fix any problem you might have with the NWOs.

>we can fix any problem you might have with the NWOs<

He probably wants it back before this decade ends.
Get an Accuphase. No problems. The reason d'etre of the esoteric is the transport. If it's not reliable then what's the point?
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TVAD being the honorable audiophile you are you should first reveal your involvement with APL. If there is any?

"Have you ever read of anyone having a problem with an Esoteric transport, other than this owner of two APL modded Esoteric UX-1 players? I have not." TVAD

No one has reported anything to me. I too have never heard of any problems with the Accuphase player that IMO does not need tweaking.

The failure of those 2 $20k player is significant. Given the price Alex, should come out to his home and make the repair himself.
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I have a UX-1 upgraded to a UX-1pi by Esoteric - great to work with and no transport problems whatsoever. The Esoteric support has been great and their transports are pretty solid and bulletproof, which is why so many other manufacturers covet and use them in their products and have in the past.

Chungted - I'm confident Alex will take care of your problems to your satisfaction, and do so in a timely manner.

As far as a "modded" unit, Alex has fixed the laser on my APL-modded Denon a number of times - quickly, inexpensively and without any problems or drama. The laser is a known problem area with the Denon.

My involvement with APL is solely as a long-time APL customer.
Regarding Audiofeil - Someone recently posted that Bill has been "nasty lately". I noticed that too but not just lately. Mocking, disdainful comments and sardonic humor can't hide an innate bitterness. These frequent attacks upon forum members are a self serving effort to pump up the ole ego and feel good. Chill Bill and have more fun.
I am contacting Alex for transport problems.
In my opinion, the fist generation VRDS-NEO is so far the best transport ever produced. Combined with Alex's modification, the NWO-3.0GO-SE makes the sound so natural that one just feels every penny spent is worthwhile and more than satisfying.
Wondering why a company with vast resources and great engineers like Esoteric could not spend a little more effort to improve sound quality when a small company as APL HiFi has already shown a good example. Anyone who is willing to spend over $10,000 for a player must be critical about sound of music. Esoteric stands in a best position to meet this requirement. Thus, people do not have to spend time and effort to go for modification and risk for losing the warranty.
Chungted - I asked Esoteric that exact question - the response I got is that it would be too expensive to do this on a large enough scale to be profitable, according to the bosses, both for the customer and for Esoteric. There also other complicating factors, since production and new product decisions apparently come out of Japan. Alex, on the other hand, has the freedom and flexibility to produce what sounds best to him. IMO, Alex is a one-of-a-kind.

I agree with you on the transport - happily that's what I have as well.
Fplanner2000 - Thanks for your information. But I think it's a very poor excuse for not improving the sound quality. Not only they are using cheaper transports on newer models, also in many people's opinion the sound of X-01 D1 is not to the level of older X-01 Limited.
>>06-06-09: Chungted
Not only they are using cheaper transports on newer models<<

Perhaps less expensive is more appropriate as cheaper connotes poor quality to most people.

To set the record straight even Esoteric's lesser expensive transports are superior to anything else currently available in other players.

I hope you understand better know.
Oops typo.

"know" should be now.

Pass the coffee please.
"The tone of your question is odd.
I apologize.