Charles often participates over at the 'asylum, and I'm sure he'd personnally weigh in on this.
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Nrenter, the quote from Charles came from a thread I posted at Audio Asylum regarding differences between CX-7e and the C-5xe. As the manufacturer, Charles would probably (and understandably) not be inclined to endorse modifications. I was hoping I could get some feedback from a user who has upgraded the CX-7e.
As good as the CX7e is, what are you upgrading to improve upon? The CX7e is a truly balanced cd player and sounds better run balanced to other balanced components. It's level of performnce is very close to the C5xe on CD. You can change caps, resistors, etc. but you've got to ask yourself, since the circuit was designed to work together, are you making it better or just making it different. Big chance IMO. Even Ayre's lower priced component parts are excellent and of higher quality than most use.
With CD being the flawed source it is, why do we spend so much effort trying to reproduce a flawed source to start with?
Steve McCormack is an example of a designer who does endorse modifications. The reason I suggest asking Charles directly is 1) he is a straight shooter and will have (and probably provide) a better perspective than anyone else, and 2) unless Charles himself would recommend a mod to an Ayre component, I personally wouldn't be inclined to do it. What are you looking to change about the CX-7e?
Nrenter, a couple of thoughts; I owned the CX-7e and thought it was quite good, but ultimately a little lacking in richness and dimensionality compared to my current Lector CDP 7TL MkIII, which is maybe just a shade behind the CX-7e in resolution. Therefore, since Charles himself posted that one of the reasons he believes the C-5xe sounds better is because of the higher quality capacitors and resistors, and the double regulation (all things the modders commonly change out), I thought that might be an opportunity to take a very good player even further. I do not need SACD or DVD-A and I typically like redbook only players best for redbook, so the CX-7e would work well for me if it could be improved in the two areas mentioned. Otherwise, I am content to stay with my Lector until I find something around $4K or less that clearly betters it (although I am still considering the C-5xe). Your point is well taken about asking Charles directly, but I do not like to bother manufacturers with questions about changing their products, even if they must design to a price point. However, since he did post on the Audio Asylum thread, maybe I will follow up with a quick question about improved capacitors, resistors, and double regulation on the CX-7e. Who knows, maybe he tried those things during product development.