My opinion is that the Sony SCD-1 is a classic piece of audio gear, and from a re-sale point of view you're better off keeping it in it's stock form.
Yes, there were (are) many folks who modified their SCD-1 players, and the results were supposedly really, really good. But, having the advantage now of looking back at the SCD-1's place in audio history, it seems a crime to mess with it.
To a certain degree, I agree with Tvad. In it's stock form, the SCD-1 is no slouch.
For the same money, I'd first look at possible line conditioners, new ics, new speaker cables, and vibration control for all your equipment and speakers.
Thus you are able to leave your SCD-1 in its stock form (for now) while potentially realizing some excellent sonic gains throughout your system.
If you must mod it Tube Research Lab is the place to go. If you like Sony you may want to check out the other Sony CD players they have modded. This way you can keep your existing Sony stock. The TRL Sony 595 has gotten a lot of notice and great reviews. This will set you back about $700 ($150 for the CD and $550 for the mods). By the way, all TRL mod packages are $550 and don't ask me what they do, I don't know and they won't tell, but there are some threads here that discuss TRL so you may want to check them out.
For what it is worth I don't have a TRL Sony, but they modified my Alesis Masterlink 9600 with great results.
Thanks guys. I agree that from a re-sale point of view an unmodded version will bring more in terms of money spent vs. money made. I'm by no means unhappy with the SCD-1, and there are definite improvements I could make in terms of line conditioners, power cords, ics, speaker cables, and vibration control. Another friend recommended getting an upsampling DAC to improve the redbook, which starts a whole nother search process (although a friend of mine has his sony mated with the tri-vista DAC and it's lovely!). So another question would be, what DAC to mate with the sony for between 1 and 2 grand?
I don't have any direct experience with these, but from user comments I've read, and from reviews I've seen, if I were looking for a DAC, I'd investigate the Benchmark DAC-1 ($975 new/$850 used), or a Stello DA-220
. The Stello gets no love from the Audiogon crowd, but take a look at the review...
These are both more cost effective than modifications, IMO, and allow you to maintain the SCD-1 in stock form. Of course, you won't be hearing the benefits of what mods could do to the SCD-1 transport, but the DAC is a good place to start, and you can probably experiment without taking a big hit upon re-sale.
I have the Vacuum State mod on my SCD-1 which is an Allan Wright mod. This mod is different than most in that it has a it's own connections for the mod. You can either run the stock connections for the stock sound or the mod connections for the modded sound. In this way I can hear the differences by A B comparison.
There really is no comparison. The VSEI mod just kills the stock sound. I do most of my listening to redbook also. The sound is much more extended top to bottom. The top end of the stock player is somewhat harsh sounding once you have heard the VSEI mod. This mod is very well regarded on Audio Asylum, as you can check for yourself. You can contact me if you want the names of the people that Allan Wright has to do the mods in the states.
Anyone else heard the Stello DA-220 with the SCD-1?
I just completed a modification of my SCD-1 with the Audiocom Superclock3/PSU3 upgrade by Reference Audio Mods.
The sonic improvements are superlative. the sound is much more analog-like (smoother more relaxed) with great retreival of detail, especially spatial cues and better definition across the audio spectrum. The upgraded SCD-1 closes the gap with my Oracle Delphi MKV SE, Graham Phantom tonearm and Helikon cartridge. The upgrade is a no-brainer. The only issue is the long term reliabilty of the clock.
Thanks for the input Gmorris. I haven't done much research on the mods other than what I've read on Agon and Audio Asylum (so I guess I have done some research, heh). I can't seem to find pricing for the Superclock3/PSU3 upgrade. What are your reservations about the clock's life? I think for the meantime I might go for the less intrusive upgrade, meaning, since I'm already upgrading my amp section, I'll need to get used to the new sound, which should already be an improvement. I'm guessing I'll go with an outboard DAC for redbook first, and if I'm still not happy I can always go the mod route, but maybe it makes sense to exhaust all my other options (DAC, ICs, PCs, vibration control) before doing something so drastic. I also don't think I'll sell the SCD-1 either way. It's jus too m'f'n good in most ways, and I can't see being as pleased with anything around it's price range, and doubt I can ever find something so well built. My friend's MF tri-vista SCD is nice, and quite a bit faster, but I don't think it's still up to snuff. So now I guess it's off to find a DAC?
Both the Audiocom Superclock3 and Superclock3 PSU are priced at about $295 each. The mod gives the biggest bang for the buck according to Positive Feedback magazine and Reference Audio Mods.
I am happy with the current level of performance from the SCD-1 with the Superclock3/PSU3 mod. I plan no further mods in the near future.
"There really is no comparison. The VSEI mod just kills the stock sound."
I could not agree more. I did the level 4.5 VSEI mod (2 months ago) and the player is at another level. I actually ended up buying 15 more SACD's immediately after I heard the modded player. The reddbook and SACD sonics are improved greatly.
I had the level 4.5 VSEI mod done to my stock SCD-1 several months ago. I did this based on many reviews I had read. I picked the VSEI mod precisely because it allowed to keep the stock sound if I wanted it.
I agree that the performance on redbook CD is very much improved. I had been using an Electrocompaniet ECD-1 as an external DAC for redbook. I still like it's sound, but almost always listen to redbook CDs using the VSEI mod.
I am of two minds on the performance on SACDs. It is deeper, broader and richer, but there is also a tad less "air" between the instruments and also hint of edginess/sharpness in the strings (basically I listen only to classical music) that is not there when I use the stock SACD outputs. Still, I listen mostly to the modded SACD outputs
These are prelimiary impressions, as I haven't had all tha tmuch time to listen to my machine lately.