Honestly would suggest doing a search as there are many options. Yes, they can produce extraordinary results.
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Ric Schultz of EVS used to do extensive modifications of these players a while back, but later dropped them in favor of much less expensive Panasoncic DVD players and later Samsung/ Toshiba DVD-A/SACD players, which he described to sound much better than the Phillips with much less mods. Given that the Phillips 963sa has some reliability problems as well, I recommend that you move on to something else. Ric is no longer doing mods, but RAM is doing mods on newer Samsung DVD players that I think would be worth to check out. They have a current ad on Audiogon right now. I had Ric modify a Samsung for me, and will never look back. Transformed my system, where I had a transport, upsampler DIP, and DAC setup before.
Krelldog, I had my Marantz sa12s1 player done by the Upgrade company and it turned out great! But the shocker was when David Schulte owner of the Upgrade company sent me a moddest JVC player and told me to try this against the Upgraded Marantz and it was hard to tell which was better. About 2 weeks later he told me to send the JVC back to him and he was going to send another JVC (same model different unit) to try again. This time the JVC beat the Marantz and I was stunned. He did the same thing with a guy that has a Ayre CX7 and the JVC played just as well.
If this makes you feel any better he Upgrades Reimyo units and a lot of Esoteric's. I have never asked him about any Phillips units but I have heard good reviews on that 963sa. You are definetly headed in the right direction with modifications and actually the unit will not be totally modified. Bad parts will be taken out and good parts put in which is easier on the pocket book. Just look at his testimonials and then call him. He is very knowledgable and trust worthy. He could have easily took my money and upgraded my Proceed HPA-3 amp. Instead he told me to go and buy the Nuforce 9.02 amps because he is that impressed with those amps and now so am I.
The two players I have now beat out the Krell DVD Standard, Arcam FMJ DV27a and that was with the first JVC unit. Schulte has compared a ton more units against each other even after the upgrades are done. I was told the Denon 2900 was a great player after the upgrades. Easily better than his upgraded JVC he has now. It is better than his upgraded transport and dac unit which I dont get into.
I do not have one regret with these moddifications and plan to do more. I hope this helps.
Sony DVN-900S, modded by TRL (Tube Research Labs). Blows away any digital I have ever heard. I'm looking for another one to send to Paul.
Shoot him an email, he'll tell you if it's worth modding or not. I was going to send him my Marantz 8260, he said it can sound good but if you want something amazing find a Sony 900. I had my doubts, but man am I glad I listened to him.
Flat $550 for all mods. It really is amazing.
I was looking to spend up to about $3000, couldn't find anything that came close. I have talked to people who say the Sony 900 mod betters their $12,000 separates.
Thinking I would try cheap rather than expensive transports first time around,I bought an Aiwa modded by Stan W.Then a Panasonic modded by EVS,then a Toshiba modded by RAM.All are similiar,all are good,though I cannot give a comparisan to any mutli-K$ players out there,because I havent heard them.But I hope to as I'm very curious,good luck,Bob
Thanks for all the responses. Myraj- I agree with your assesment. Thats why I'm looking into upgrading/modding my player. Lkdog-Your response is the reason for my post. If I can achieve more by finding a different player to mod rather than my current one-thats the route I'd rather go. Arni- I familiar with Rick Shultz's work-I had one of his DAC processors. It was an exceptional piece for the money. He quit that to do the mods. It figures he's not doing mods anymore. Thanks for all the insight and advice. I'm aware of all the threads on AA-But I usually like the Audigon elders opinions more.
TRL has done 600+ players in the past year and has done about anything you can think of including very very high priced units.
Like most modders, they can improve any unit. Like most modders they have their favorites.
They have had the best results with the Marantz SA14 and the Sony dvp ns900. Both units are out of production but can be found used. The Marantz for around $1100 and the Sony for $3-400. I have had both in my system. Very nice.
The price of the mod is $550 on the Marantz and I think $750 on the Sony now.
Modwright does some work on SOnys adding a tube stage that is very well liked by many people.
Look around-you don't have to spend a fortune to get great sound. Also digital is the worst investment in audio so spending several thousand dollars is not only not necessary-it is crazy unless you have to have a certain model for some reason.
Thanks for all the advice. I decided to go with a level 2 modded Denon 2910 with a superclock. I made my purchase with Underwood Wally. I should have it in 2 weeks. The 3 main reasons were 1. I wanted a universal player. 2. The 2910 has an HDMI and a DVI out.3. Underwood Wally's reputation is very solid. I hope I made the right choice.
Krelldog, It will play better than anything stock! Or should I say most anything stock. There are stock players that beat the little JVC, one being the reimyo. I dont think the reimyo would stand a chance with your Denon. After the Reimyo is upgraded though, no chance.
I would love to hear all these modded players but there is no way that is going to happen. Let us know what you think after it breaks in a little.
Krelldog, It is amazing how many parts can be changed out in these units. Top players still have weak parts in them, just not as many. The Marantz and JVC I have took about 200-300 hours to fully break in. I used a Purist audio cd enhancer to help them along. Also another critical part of setup will be vibration control. Black diamond racing works well. I just ordered some vibra killers from L A T International so we will see how those fair.
One major thing that was missing in your setup was the cdp, it will make those amps shine.
Krelldog, how is the 2910 sounding? I see that Underwood uses the soft feet under the player for vibration control.
I used the vibra killers for about a day and took them off. The highs seemed to roll off and made the sound to soft or had less air. If your system plays on the bright side these would be good. Vibra killers are nice for that reason. I went back to the BDR racing cones and the sound opened up again. The cones also sit on top of maple wood.