Modded Cambridge Audio 550C player. Rating??

Need some info from members who bought and still have a Cambridge 550C player MODDED BY MAPLESHADE AUDIO

Howlong does it take to burn in and reach peak performance?(supposedly outperforming CDP that are 3K and 4K in price.

The Mapleshade website did suggest that it might need one or two tweeks to reach that level( e.g. MSA's isolation platform) (Later, the seller strongly advised plugging the PC directly into the wall, not a power line conditioner)

I bought one of these units from a third party to upgrade from a Rega Apollo. Its bigger and better brother,the Rega Saturn was too much money as were several other players, even used. So, I opted for this modded CDP, so far I am somewhat disappointed in its performance, though it does have some merits over the Rega; for example, quicker transient response, and dead silence between the musical notes and without congestion in the highs Actually,the highs are much cleaner and more transparent than the Apollo.

However there seems to be LESS DETAIL ACROSS MOST OF THE midrange band. Therefore, Need some advice about getting this CDP prima donna to its A game level, before I blow a gasket. Jim
Are you perhaps expecting a silk purse from a sow's ear?

I might suggest that claims of this player (modded or otherwise) besting products 10X its price are a bit exagerated.

I have an 840C that is considerably more sophisticated and better built than the 550C, with its digital output being fed to a CLASS A analog output stage equipped Bryston BDA-1. That combination compared to a $4000 PWT from PS Audio still did not best the PWT by any margin (although close).

The IC OP amp output stages in the CA just will not compare with any $4000 transport/DA no matter how many 4" thick maple plinths you mount it on. In my experience, they tend to sound bright, sometimes really over emphasizing the upper midrange. Symbols and bells get a nice space and presentation, but high pitch female vocals, microphonics, and syllibance can drive you out of the room.

I might suggest you try feeding the digital outputs to a good D/A with a class A discrete analog output stage. You then circumvent the opamps in the 550. This may change your perception considerably. But I still doubt if it will best $4000 equipment.
Mapleshade speaker wire, ICs and power strip sound very bright, so it's no wonder that Pierre Sprey likes a less-forward CD player to balance them out. That said, I would try putting the unit on some hard footers or cones, which Mapleshade also recommends. I've found that you usually get what you pay for - there ain't no player for a few hundred bucks that sounds like 5K. People wish it were true, but it isn't good luck.
I agree with DHL. I have a heavily modded 740c. Although the the opamps have been changed to discrete burson opamps, the basic characteristic of the 740c is still there which is a little bright and thin sounding. U may say it's revealing but it's quite nasty when poor recorded female vocals cds are played.
Thanks to all who responded.

To DHL 93449, The full story is not as simple as I explained it before; but I will give you the short version.

Last September, I became interested in "improving" the playback sound quality of the Rega Apollo which I still have. I considered an outboarded DAC, and looked or read all the reviews and comments on each one to determine which would be compatible with the Rega, and with my price range. To my great surprise, and contrary to what I had originally understood about the purpose of a stand alone DAC, I was told by several members that it would probably only provide marginal improvement. The more I read, the more I became convinced that DACS had become an important tool of computer audio and to hell with CD playback. Computer Audio was here. The more expensive DAC like the PS Audio, Rega, Peachtree Sim Audio...all at about $1000 retail had features on them I would never use because I little to know interest in computer audio, or music files. So, I shelved "Project DAC", and decided on looking for a very good to excellent upgrade to the Rega Apollo. The Rega Saturn was my first choice; Rega dropped the retail to $1795, but I still could not find one used that was in my price range. I then considered expanding the budget, and almost bought the highly regarded and rated Ayre CX-7 mp2. No go!!! the least expensive used one was $1800, and I just did not want to pay that kind of money for an upgraded player

So I then began the quest of looking for a vintage and very highly rated used, but discontinued CD players, like the Meridian 508, and a few of the better Musical Fidleity players. That was a no go also because manufacturers told me flat out, they had either no parts, lasers, or transports should the unit in question need service.

The comment about buying a DAC to improve the sound of the modded Cambridge 550C seems counter-productive. Even a Rega top of the line DAC is at least $750 to 800 used; the Peachtree about the same. The cheapo Peachtree I-DAC, I am told would be a waste of money offering no improvement in sound quality hooked to the Rega Apollo, and is a piece of jumk with reliability problems.

Therefore, either the Cambridge modded 550C stays and struts its stuff as its makers and sellers claim, or I go back to the Rega Apollo, and try to return the 550C to the private buyer. At this time, there is about 82 hours of burn-in logged, and some sonic improvement. I may experiment with a few different IC's I own and my only PC ---Shunyata Diamondhead PC. MapleShade claims CD's are particularly sensitive to the type of PC used.....of course, that could be just a load of crap in defense of the bombastic and exaggerated claims made about the 550C player. Jimbo
I would suggest a much longer break-in before you decide.
To JL35. I am probably going to take your advice and work the player another 60 hours. To date, my major complaint after additional careful listening yesterday is the mid highs sound bleached, thin, unmusical similar to what DHL 93449 described. Also, midrange lacks body or substance

However, this modded 550C is amazingly undistorted or congested on complex musical rock crescendos, and remains virtually silent in those passages. It is possible, the highs have been rolled off and smoothed out to provide a sense of transparency, but at the same time they have no bite, and the lower mids lack slam power. The sound often comes across as too polite and distant

In some ways, the more controlled highs reduce listening fatigue to a minimum. The larger issue is whether I can live with this type of sound. As a consequence, I am not running to dig out my favorite CD's for replay because the sound is neither musical nor engaging

Looks like I made a wrong turn somewhere on the audiophile highway. The problem could be the "modded" Cambridge player, or stupidly downgrading my speaker cable( though I never thought any of this cheap wonder wire would be acceptable.) At this point, I will give the 550C somemore time, and continue to look for quality speaker cable to replace the Audio Arts cheapo wire with something comparable or hopefully better than the Acoustic Zen Hologram 2 speaker cable I sold

I found out yesterday that Kimber Kable has an interim speaker cable (12tcVS) that is jacketed differently, with different dialetics and is almost half the price of standard 12tc which is $840.00 for a 12 ft pair. It "supposedly" delivers almost 90% of the same sound as the 12tc( which makes me suspicious that it is just a tad better than average, and no more) The good news is I can have one single wire side that only is 7FT OR 8FT, and save a few bucks. Interestingly, he claimed the major audio rags don't want to waste their time preparing reviews of mid to lower high-end speaker cables; I guess they are too busy writing reviews of $45,000 amps, and $25,000 turntables armed with an $8000 to $10,000 phono cartridge, and of course, DAC's and music servers ad infinitum.
I own several Mapleshade products including the modded Cambridge Audio 640c. As with all audio components, it’s open to interpretation of what sounds good (or great) the ear of the beholder. I personally believe that my modded CD player sounds better than much more expensive CD players I’ve owned. That being said, this mod may not be for everyone. To my ears, it sounds closer to my Pro-ject RPM-5 turntable than it does to a CD player. It has lost the harshness that seems to haunt many (but not all) digital sources. I’m still burning the CD player in but, even after only a few hours of play, it has already exceeded my expectations. Many of Mapleshade’s products will cause an immediate improvement in your stereo and others have a more cumulative effect. In short, I would recommend this modification...but, that’s me.