Experiences with ModWright Sony 999ES


I'm in the market for a new CD/SACD player. A short
list of my top contenders are the following

Musical Fidelity Tri-Vista SACD
Wadia 302
Audio Aero Prima
McCormack UDP1
Krell SACD Standard(Not really sure about this one though)

On a recommendation I got from my previous post I called
Frank Stuppel at fsaudio.com. Franks a nice guy and was
extremely helpful with his opinions and suggestion. One
option he said I should consider is the ModWright Signature
Truth Sony 999ES for about $2700.

After doing a little research here and on AudioAsylum it seems that Dan Wright and Richard Kern really do some impressive work. I do admitt to being a little more that
curious now. I was hoping to get some feedback from anyone
who has a Modwright Sony. Have you had any reliablity issues? Do you feel that the ModWright Sony is in the
same league sonically as my other contenders? I would
certainly appreciate your experiences and advice.

the tri-vista sacd is one heck of a player, very nice sound. another fantastic sacd player for the same amount of money is the esoteric sacd. i have heard a few of dan's modded sacd players. i just heard his tubed modded sony 9000es sacd, which sounded very nice. i'm not sure about the modded 999es, but an option would be to purchase a good used sony 9000es on audiogon and have dan apply his mod's on top of that. i would be less than 1/2 the price of the tri-vista or esoteric.
good luck
Hi Rbstehno,

Thanks for your response. I plan on calling Dan today.
If I could ask you for a quick opinion. Did you feel
the Modwright Sony was competitive to the Tri-Vista in performance?
The Tri-Vista was actually my first choice but the price
is really pushing my budget. I would appreciate your

I was going to buy a modded NS999ES from Dan, but after talking to him for a while, I asked him about the Denon 2900, which he thought was not as good as the Sony in stock form, but which exceeded the Sony after similar mods. This led to me revisiting the Denon products, and ultimately I chose to have Dan mod a 5900 for me. It is absolutely phenomenal. I don't have another tubed output digital source to compare it to, but it certainly gives my FMJ CD23T a run for its money (and in some ways exceeds it) on Redbook. I am thrilled with the sound of my modded 5900 from ModWright.
I have a Modwright Sony 999ES. It's a fabulous player. I would highly recommend it. Very musical, lots of detail, black background, very involving. No problems after a couple of months. Seems to be very well done.
I agree GLreno, Ihave the 9000es done also by Dan
very very nice guy.
I was forced due to medical bills to sell my Linn sondk CD12 player. I longed to own that player for over 3 years since I first heard it in my system one evening. Last year I had the opportunity to buy one and it was everything I had hope for.
Well, while searching of what I thought would be a "poor" substitute for my Linn, a friend lent me his Modwright Sony DVP NS999es with all the mods (except the latest clock mod), and I was simply blown away. This player kept me up night after night listening to CD after CD, not to mention SACD's which my beloved Linn didn'ty play.
I immeidately found a unit for sale on AudioGon and have sent it to Modwright to have all the mods done. I have owned the dcs Elgar, Spectral 2000/3000 combo, Ayre CX7, and Lindd CD12 and I do not hesitate to state that what i am experiencing right now through my friends Modwright/Sony 999es (he isn't getting back unitl my shows up!) is as muscially enjoyable as I can remember. Is it the most accurate? What is accurate? All I know is that after 30+ years for following the Wholly Grail of audio, I've come to the conclusion that one should pay attention to often his toe is tapping!
I've had my Modwright 999ES for a few days and am amazed at how it sounds. When broken in it will be phenomenal. Previous CDP was a VSE modified 9000ES which was very good but this is better, noticeably better in my system. So much so that I feel a little uncomfortable having $7000 invested in turntable, arm and cartridge. But I'm not yet prepared to say it sounds as good as vinyl, not yet anyway. I'm just saying that last night I wondered about that.
You took the words right out of my mouth.

The bottom line is I find myself engrossed in the music with the Modwright DVP-9000ES. The music just seems to have more emotion.

A fellow A'gon member led me in the right direction regarding the Modwright and I have not looked back since. The only regret that I have is the lack of sleep at night. It is 2:00-3:00 a.m. before I shut it down.
Modwright 999es beats trivista dac (stock) in my system in almost all aspects. Have not tried trivista player. I prefer it to cx 7, and wadia 861 in my sys.

In shootout from audio circle, some prefer audio logic dac and dodson 218.
What level VSE mod did you have?

Ditto the above.

I discovered a Modwright Sony 999ES player while going to audition an Audio Aero Capitole. The Sony was splendid with voices and a dud with Beethoven's "Eroica." But it was using a poor stock power cord. Anyway, poor PC and all, it was the sweetest and smoothest of all players except for the Audio Aero and Electrocompaniet lines, which were actually too smooth for me. The Modwright Sony was thrilling on operatic voices--Fleming, Callejas, Villazon--beautiful up the scale and great micro-dynamics all the way. No noticeable rolloff, but instead a kind of blooming of the voices in the high frequencies. The smooth players rounded them off too much. I called Dan Wright, the modifier, who told me the reason may be because the unit has Bybee filters installed in the analog section. I couldn't quite figure that out, as it should lower noise floor, but the voices? I guess it also dampens high-frequency distortion. Wright was surprised, though, that I liked the Sony better than his modded Denon 3910 as the Sony is thought by most to be more "forward" than the Denon, which he feels can be said to be slightly more neutral. I found my auditioning to prove the opposite, but perhaps the Modwright Denon unit I heard previously was "tuned" to play more rock and roll in terms of its companion components (Antique Sound Labs monoblocks, Modwright SWL preamp). For me, with my music, the Modwright Sony 999ES has a much sweeter and thrilling sound.

The Modwright Sony, by the way, has 2 TungSol output tubes, very cheap to replace.

For romantic opera and Renaissance choral music, the Modwright Sony is one of the two the best players I have auditioned (14 different redbook and modified universal players, with the APL Denon 3910 being excellent as well). I hope to improve its lack of dynamics on orchestral pieces by trying various powercords--Shunyata Diamondback, Acoustic Zen Tsunami, PS Audio Plus.
Bblilikoi try using VD nite pc from the cd to the
transformer then Top gun cpc from the transformer
to the PSaudio 300 if you have one.The audience24
is a good choice also.
Yes, I talked to Dan Wright and he also like the Audience PC as well as the Acoustic Zen El Nino and Tsunami PCs. I don't know the other ones you recommended, though. Thanks!
The best power cord combo I have heard on two separate Modwright Sony 999ES machines, and in two different systems, is a Purist Audio Dominus Fluid on the Sony 999ES player, and a Purist Audio Dominus Ferrox on the Modwright power supply. Nothing else has come close among the many cords auditioned by the two owners.
I would be more cautious towards the Tri-Visita. This MF player seems to have some reliability issue. I owned a unit in the past. Purchased new and start to have disc reading problem not long thereafter. Since then I have learnt of four other users having similar problem, two of them are reviewers including Michael Fremer of Stereophile.
I had a Modwright Sony 999 with all of the mods and just sold it to upgrade to Dan's new player the Sony 9100es. I think that the 999 is one of the most musical players out there. I had a Cary 306/200 before the Sony and liked the Sony better. The Cary was a $5000.00 machine and the the Sony was about $3500.00 totally modded, so the value felt good too. Dan is a great guy, excellent to do biz with I highly recommend his products.
In my systems, the Modwright Sony 999ES sounded brightish with some amplifiers--PrimaLuna One, Electrocompaniet ECI 3, Aragon 8008ST/Rotel RC 995--but mostly warm and sweet with others--Cary SLI-80 and Edge NL-10/Modwright SWL 9.0. On operatic voices and some choral, it could be glassy at volume and high frequencies, though it was wonderful in combo with the Edge/Modwright separates. Finally, it could lack dynamic drive with some orchestral music like Beethoven's "Eroica" symphony (Dohnanyi/Cleveland), while being very good with others (Brahms #1, von Karajan/Berlin, 60s). A good PC helps it a lot (Shunyata, Audience). It is glorious on SACD. I found it sounded best with a big, smooth power amp like the Edge NL-10 in combo with almost any kind of preamp of some quality.


I think some of that brightness and hardness may have to
do with the stock Tung Sols. I have replaced the Tung
Sols on my Modwright with a pair of Sylvanias and they
made a big difference. They have all the extension of the
Tung Sols without any of the hardness.

I agree about the powercords. The best I have heard in my
system so far is the Purist Audio Dominus.

I can't stress enough about the importance of having the "right" tubes in these Modwright players, as well as the "right" power cords, and the "right" umbilical.

I found that I did not like the T-S tubes, and have replaced them with the GE 7044s. I did not like the silver umbilical, which I replaced with a custom made Jena Labs cryo'ed copper umbilical, and I use a Poiema !!! power cord on the power supply, VD Nite II or Xindak on the cdp itself.

These changes transformed a good player to an immensely satisfying one. BTW, I am not the only one to make these changes for the better.
Yes i have done the exact same thing as 1markr regarding the umbilical and the GE's and all for the much better.I do use VHAudio Flavor 4 Gold Wattgates for the power supply and unit itself however.I found the tung sols and the silver umbilical to be to bright for me and lacking mids.