I certainly agree with you that the art aspect is likely one reason why so many do claim that all high-end equipment has a distinct sound. But, for my money, I find that modding can actually increase the 'art factor' in equipment that already has a pretense to being high-end or has the opportunity to, on occasion, introduce it even to more humble gear (provided it, too, proves to be suitable to modding). In that sense, I actually feel that modding is a good thing. BUT!!...all that ONLY holds true if the person doing the mod is indeed knowledgeable, experienced and, possibly above all, value-oriented! There's a world of difference between a modder who knows his craft and can increase both the objective and subjective value of a piece of gear and one of those glorified parts swappers who charges you many more times than the cost of your original unit, all for the sake of attaining performance 'heretofore undreamed of' and all that blather. In that last sense, I'm with you, except that in my mind, that's not just a detour on the road to the holy grail, but actually the road going straight to hell(!). So all the positives that I'm speaking of, here and in my post above, only apply to a truly ethical modder, and in my own experience, that narrows the field CONSIDERABLY! (I can count them on one hand and still have fingers left over). Yes, buyer beware, by all means! Thanks for your kind words. Cheers.