Is it really possible?

I have been watching the ART D I/O craze going around. The inmates at the Asylum, the Yahoo group, the TNT guys in Europe--and Brian Cheney of VMPS using it in his "Best of Show" rig. Is it really possible that a $120 AD/DA unit with another $100 worth of upgrade parts outperforms $3,000 DAC's?
1. That certainly depends on the $3k DAC or CD player. Not everything out there at this price range is the most wonderful thing in the world...

2. The stock DI/O at around $120 really is pretty impressive for its price. It is not a giant killer though.

3. The DI/O with mods/power supply can get pretty impressive and does end up leaving a lot of people with a perplexed look when they see what it can do compared to other items at much higher price points. There's some folks doing the same sort of typical mods. If you read through the dio_mods group on Yahoo, there are also folks doing and trying all sorts of stuff with this little box... I'd really, really love to see what some of these hightly, highly tweaked boxes do for a system and for comparison... Hopefully someone out there with one can chime in and provide comparison details.

For me, breakin was a definite big help for the little box, with significant improvement.

The best thing are this though -- at $120, its probably one of the lowest priced changes you can take on audio equipment, and if you are a DIY person, there's so many people that have done work on them, and documented it, that you can make significant changes to it with low parts price.

If you do buy one, and you're not a DIY person, go to if you want interconnects and digital cables that work specifically well for the DI/O, and if I remember correctly, he also does a complete mod package + replacement power supply, or at least is planning on it in the future.
Thanks. I understand Sedond is nuts about this unit and has compared it to $3,000 USD DAC's. If so, this is a major blow to all those expensive DAC's out there!

Wonder how one of these modded ART DI/O would fare against Van Alstine's DAC.
I cant speak specifically for that comparison but I have found that, for the most part, you get what you pay for. Thats not to say that there arent great deals or that they are all equal.
I owned a stock ART for redbook on my Sony 333ES player. Found it offered slightly more detail. I hummed and hawed over which unit to have modded. In the end I chose to get my Sony "Kerned" and upon its return and without break -in (for those of us who believe in it) it stomped all over the stock ART. The DI/O went down the road in a hurry but I still wonder how a modded DI/O might have performed against the modded Sony. No way to tell now but I'm happy with the choices I made.

My opinion on the DI/O - not too sure its a "giant killer" but even in its stock form its a helluva buy for $130 - don't think you can get that sound for that inexpensive a price anywhere else...
I bought the ART about a month ago for $121.00 from Full I sent it to an audio tech who did a new power supply transformer and installed two IC sockets, making future IC upgrades consumer installable. He also replaced nine rectifiers in the power circuit, using high quality 90 volt Shottky's. Then changed the 100 ohm (digital) load resistor to a true 75 ohm load, using a precision Vishay. The output was resistor padded to 2.5 volts, down from the factory 10 volt recording studio setting.

The four electrolytic caps at the analog out were bridge bypassed using OFC copper. All the quarter inch input and output jacks were replaced with gold plated RCA's.

The power supply jack, which stock is a battery eliminator type plug, was replaced with a speaker binding post. The supply can feed bare copper wire leads directly into the circuit, eliminating a major source of noise. The 12 AX7 tube was removed and returned to me with the old parts.

I supplied Vampire solid OFC direct gold plated RCA jacks for the analog "out" in place of his part. I had these premium jacks in a drawer and choose to put them to use.

The unit has only a few days on it, and has been compared only against the Sony ES9000 SACD player. My first impression is that I prefer the ART, but I want to hear it on another system and after more hours. My own system is probably still two or three weeks away from being put back into service with my construction down to paint and acoustic workers (thank goodness).

I will say that for $121.00 purchase price, and $130.00 for all the mods (INCLUDING shipping), it is a small miracle. Accuphase or other high converters may roast it ( I really don't know), but I am happy to have it just to play with and enjoy.

To put the ART project into perspective, the power cord on my television cost quite a bit more than I have invested.
Ok, what is this a/d converter that costs $130? I need a cheap and good one for my system since I wanna connect my analog tuner to my digital preamp. where do i find more info?