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Think you are getting models confused, Audiocom Superclock 4 is same price on all RAM mods.........the newest Audiocom Ultraclock is more expensive.
I have an Eastsound E5 stock and for the $750 purchase price it sounds great and has nice build quality and stock parts list is impressive at this price. The guys at RAM do mods for Esoteric units and have opportunity to compare sound to other modded units in house like E5. I don't doubt that RAM honestly feel thier fully modded E5 sounds better than stock Esoteric unit, doesn't mean that everyone will agree however.
I have had 4-5 pieces of gear modded by them, I like thier flexibility to work within your budget on almost any type of audio gear.
Also I think someone who buys Eastsound E5 and then has it modded is not the same customer that buys very expensive stock Esoteric CD player, so you may not find someone who has actually owned both
Please don't take this as attacking but look at the price of the super clock 4 with PSU for the following, this is what I get from their website: Esound: $590, Marantz 8001: $700, Marantz SA-11: $750. You are correct, the Esoteric ones are the same.....it just seems the Marantz has the escalating pricing.
Thanks for the interest in our products.
The reason why the Superclock 4/PSU are different prices for those machines is the extra time (labor) and extra mounting and wiring that is needed for the different machines. What is not clearly defined in the description is that Audio Consulting Silver wire and Cotton tubing is used for the connections (some have more wiring than others), and we have to develop custom mounting apparatus per the different machine, this takes time and parts cost. The Esound is the easiest of them all, very simple (hence the lowest price of this group), the SA8001 requires special mounting (has to be mounted in a certain location to sound the best) and much more wiring and the SA-11 uses a special Superclock frequency that is special order per project, and there is also some special mounting and prepping done there too.
I hope this answers your questions, and please feel free to contact me privately for more info on this or for some on getting feedback from our Esound customers (with their consent first) on your original question of this thread. Most (if not all) of our Esound customers do not really post here on Audiogon, but they are out there.
Reference Audio Mods
It's as if everybody is modding CDP's, even those who are not very knowledgeable in the field of digital processing/electronics (many DIY's among us). It's as if you buy a stock unit with already a modification in mind. Why is this modification madness, this form of compulsory neurosis? It is a fact that some people are a bit disappointed after they got their CDP's modified, so it seems to me that a mod doesn't necessary mean an improvement in sound. So why taking this risk of screwing things up rather then getting some real improvements?
I will lend my 2 cents here for what it's worth. I sent my Esoteric P70 to RAM last week for an extensive mod,to include Ultraclock and Ultraclock PSU, etc. The unit is due back today. I will post feedback once the parts have had a 300 hour break in.
What confuses is me is how can anyone state that changing out the stock clock unit to an upgraded clock unit will not make a drastic difference, if this is the case then why does Esoteric sell seperate "Master Clock Units costing several thousands of dollars.
I realize I am in no way considered an "audiophile", however I do consider myself a lover of the music. So I will be able to tell if there is a drastic difference once I receive the unit back from RAM, and I will honestly post what I hear.
I will also mention, I had my D70 modded back in June07 and it was an eye/ear opening experience. I will wait until the P70 is mated to the D70 and as stated given at least 300 hours before I post my opinion. I will give the most honest feedback I possibly can. I am in no way tied to RAM, so I feel my feedback will help those boardering on making a decision of having a mod done.
More to come later
The problem with modded units is that it is difficult to have one for an audition or for an comparison with a non modded unit. Modifications could be fantastic on paper, but still it is the ear that is the judge. Even if a unit has all parts inside replaced with the most sophisticated and expensive capacitors, clocks, diodes, resistors, etc., there is no guarantee what so ever that these replacements would "bring the unit up to another level" sonically. There would be audible difference of course, but a difference is not synonimous with improvement.
Most people develop relationship with modder and know what thier abilities are, give them simple job first and if you like thier work give them more etc. I have had 5-6 pieces modded by RAM East so I know what to expect from Doug Jessie.
Also as each modder does more work over the years and hears more finished mods they become ever better at perfecting thier skills and knowing which replacement parts sound best giving each customer the improvements they seek.
Megasam, I was talking about modding in general. There are some audiophiles who think that their expensive unit even when it is spanking new sounds only good when it is modded. So why buying a $7,000 unit when it has to be modded first before it sounds good enough? This is madness! There are some units that are not to be modded (even when it could be improved on paper). Such a unit is the Wadia 7 or Accuphase DP-75V or Goldmund Mimesis 10c+.
On the Subject of the RAM mods per se, I had a 240V Marantz SA11S1 modified by Douglas Jesse including new clock etc. This was the Superclock 3. Following break in of several hundred hours I took the unit over to a very interested and obliging dealer who arranged for an AB with a stock demo unit. There were three of us present and we all heard the same things through a very revealing system. The RAM moded unit was clearly superior across every performance parameter. A slight harshness in the sound was banished and the placements of instruments in the soundstage was much more precise. It was also a much more natural and involving presentation. Very impressive performance. I would add, however that with the Marantz, the balanced connection was better than the SE. Customer service by Douglas was excellent also.