Rather than focus on modification nightmares, perhaps it might be helpful to break down your request into specific categories, and rate each service provider on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the best?
Some categories might include:
Quality of workmanship
Quality of sound
Description of modification to be performed
You cannot go wrong with Modwright. Disclaimer: They are a client, but I have been dealing with Dan long before he ever became a client. He is talented, honest and I have experienced him only as a person of tremendous integrity, both before and since I've started doing some work for him. I've owned many of his components over perhaps ten years, and none have failed to please me or justify the expense (I did purchase some used, and others new). On Grant's suggested scales I cannot think of any instance where I would not rate his work at the top. Given my connection you can take this however you like, but that's my .02 cents. As far as mods go, I have also had one very positive experience with Great Northern Sound and felt that mod was worth the money (ARC LS2B).
jax2 is correct. Mods done well are a very worthwhile improvement. If you can not do them yourself, then the aftermarket folks are a good way to go. the only word of caution I will offer, is you usually won't get your money back out if you mod a cheap piece and then try to sell it.
More expensive gear will usually give you a better return.
Also depends on what mods were done.
As an example, I have cheapie Parasound Zpre1. Sound quality is so-so in stock form. Add 400 dollars worth of vishay resistors to it, upgrade the coupling caps; and another 150 bucks for an oversized outboard power supply, and all of a sudden you have a reference quality line stage pre amp, that will compete with some really serious gear.
Now if I were to decide to sell the mod'ed zpre, I doubt I would get much of my money in parts back out of it, since everyone thinks its just a in house music piece.
To further Tvad's point, you need to 1st ask yourself
* why are you wanting to modify your equipment? i.e. what is wrong w/ it? or, what is deficient?
* when the equipment is modified, what do you expect to achieve sonically? (this is of course related to the question above).
* if the piece of gear is flawed, is it flawed sufficiently, is it better for you to sell it off & get a better model or switch to another manuf?
You can search the archives here & you'll find many names of modification houses depending which piece of gear you are interested in. Read their comments & find out what they think of the overall experience.
Modwright (Dan Wright) has been top notch in quality and service before and after the sale. He provides fair pricing and excellent service. As already said, if you decide to sell equipment you've had modified, you will not likely recoup the cost of the modification. You're much better off to buy used gear that has already been modified.
I had a ARC CA50 modified by Great Northern Sound. Steve is a great guy to deal with. Modifications were done in timely manner and there was great communication. I wouldn't hesitate to use or recommend GNSC.
I can 2nd GNSC. I also had a good experience with Bolder Cable.
I am putting in a vote for VSE-modded Sony CD/SACD players. Excellent sound/value. Warren G. in CA and Bill T. in VA are a pleasure to deal with.
I used to own a Sony 777es with the VSE Level 5+ mod that I sold a couple of years ago when "downsizing" my system. One of the most stupid things I've done in the 30-plus years I've been in this hobby. I just picked up another 777es with the Level 6+ mod and Terra Firma Lite clock. All is well once again.
Ti sounds like maybe you've been burned? I love modifying vintage equipment 1)because there's generally good design there, 2)it's cheap to do, and generally reversible if it doesn't work, 3)I learn a tremendous amount about circuit design and the effects of different parts on sound, 4)I don't have anyone else to blame if I f*ck it up. Having done my share of modding, I have a lot more respect for people who do this and can accomplish consistent improvements over factory-stock production. After a while you learn who the good guys really are. It's hard to hide for long in an internet world ;)
If I buy a modern piece of gear that has been modded, I want to know that there's a track record of success, a sound engineering basis for mods, and someone who stands behind his work. I've bought several pieces of Modwright gear and as mentioned by others, Dan is fantastic, a stand-up guy who knows what he is doing and doesn't just throw parts at a design expecting it to sound better.
The time it takes to perform mods can be significant, as is the cost of premium piece parts. I envy the pros who can do this work well at a profit. As an amateur modder with limited time to give to the hobby, the only way for me to justify time spent is to work with top quality components. There is more room for improvement inside these than their high price would suggest, and any given improvement is usually revealing.
In addition to obtaining superlative equipment, modding can get you off the merry-go-round of equipment swaps. Of course resale value is a problem. This probably reflects the negligible prestige factor that modded equipment has among high-enders, more than it does any experience with or understanding of quality. In terms of quality, mods can be great value, but this value is not transferable into common currency.
My cd player was modified by Dan for seven years now,no
problem,He does a good job.Honest man.
it has been almost 100 days since i sent my player out for a mod and i will now by this wknd how to evaluate the whole story
I would classify "modders" into 2 groups:
1. Low-tech: primarily changes the parts
2. High-tech: re-clocks, adds a tube output stage etc...
As you can guess, the skill and end result, sonic performance is most likely greater with 2. than 1.
As a modder, the first thing I tell people is if you are not happy with what you have, upgradding or modifying it will not turn in into something it's not.
I also recommend people spend some time with a product in stock form before investing in what can be expensive mods.
Modifications/upgrades can usually bring out more of the hidden potential a unit has.
My issue with modding is simple-shipping and having my product in modders care, custody and control.
Not worth the hassle to me. Once my gear gets in my sound room safely - it stays there.
Insurance in shipping is very difficult to recover after a loss-ACV (actual cash value-value is depreciated, etc-and tough to just plain collect). And, never seen a modder offer to give customer a certificate of insurance showing they are covering component fully while on thier premises. If they did have coverage, it would still suffer depreciation. Imagine having an MR78, cost new - a few hundred dollars - value today maybe a grand and 20 years old. You would receive the original cost less 20 years worth of depreciation.
Just my thoughts.
well on the May 24 wknd i sent a Marantz DV-9600(new)aross the boader for a mod and got it back 6wks later not working....i did not send it back for the modders warranty because i lost trust due to email accusations.
It is thanks giving here in ontario and I still have no player.....
this is a MODIFICATION NIGHTMARE!
Mclsound, if a company offers a warranty I wouldn't think they could do anything but either have it fixed or fix it themselves especially if the warranty is in writing somewhere. I had a shipping issue on a modified unit which turned into a transport replacement. Took a little time but it was taken care of in the end. Your player not working for this long also does not make sense. I know I would have taken it to a shop somewhere and had someone at least see what the problem may be.
Why not explain what the problem is and maybe someone here could help you? Does it power on? Are the settings all correct? Sound in one channel? No analog,digital,video? Is there any other reason why you would not take it to a repair center? 3 months is a long time to have a unit sitting there and wondering what to do.
it is with a valid fully authorized warranty repair shop,and the parts needed are a bugger to get,not sure what caused the problem yet
Try Dan Wright at Modwright.
He is not only a modder but a builder and knows what makes a component sound better. He isn't just a tech replacing parts to replace parts.
Mclsound, It is with a Marantz warranty service center and they are having a hard time getting parts? Boy, if you paid with a credit card or through pay pal I think I would have sent the player back to the company who did the mods and sent in for a dispute until resolved. If you had a guarantee or warranty then they are required by law to take care of you unless there is shipping damage and that is very hard to prove. Money back guarantees and warrantees should be considered next time. Now you will have to pay someone else to get it fixed. Maybe everything will work out and you find to have an excellent sounding player one day.
There may be another side to this story regarding possible "hot" goods. Will be interesting to see how this one turns out. I was informed today that this is not the only forum site where this has been talked about. I am just glad it's not me. I can see why a lot of questions are not answered or answered very vaguely.
I have had several pieces modded / upgraded / and custom built. In all cases, there were definite improvements and I have been very satisfied.
Except, for one issue -- it has been my experience that several modders / custom builders have frustratingly long, long, long turnover times. I've waited 6 months one time for a CD player clock to be swapped with a new one and I'm currently looking well into the 7th month of waiting for a custom build.
I know, there is a multitude of factors (one man shop, supplier issues, etc) but dog-on, the state just finished a bridge rebuild were I live in 4 months (with the lowest bidder)...
Mclsound, please report back on how it sounds once you get it back. Hopefully that full warranty center can finally find parts. I bet it will sound fantastic!
first off:That was what i had in mind,a good SACD,DVD and 2ch player,since the player was new(not hot as the modifier states,he was pulled off of audiogon years ago and recently shut down at audio circle for repeated threats..and me also(by the way if you read this DS,my lawyer is Denny Crane of Crane,Poole,and Schmit)
So far i have learned that there is no,absolutely no difference in any digital(audio and video) relm and for the few hours i had it hooked up the anolog did sound more forward(but the left side was distorted)and i was comparing to a Denon 2930ci,not exactly fair.I have also learned that unless you buy a new out this year model of marantz and denon,good luck with parts.
I am sure you will hear a blaze of words ahead but it is typical.
i do hope it is worth the wait????????
PS...oh yes lets blame shipping for everything and then try filing a claim with the postal service to a totaly physically undamaged player?
Mclsound, I am sure it will eventually work out.
It depends on who does it no doubt.A lot of mods raise the price up so much,it might be better to just upgrade.A friend sent an amp back to the factory for their upgrade mod.After the mod,it sounded like it had enhanced the original flaws. I've heard good and bad.One thing for sure,make sure they give you at least the same down time extension on the warranty.
Results, with his CD Modifications.
I was very reluctant, to say the least, at the thought of
a tool going inside this Awesome Brand New Player.
Actually my wife did the whole order for me.
She got a new Marantz SA-11S2 SACD player, and they did the
Level 2 Mod. and I have NEVER been more satisfied with
my musical experience.
He explained what they would do, after I explained what
kind of sound I was trying to achieve.
I told him what I was currently using.
And to my HUGE Surprise! In a very timely fashion,it arrived, and the fact that I can't even tell that the player
has been open, speaks to the level of care given to each
Kyle in Riverside (RAM Mods)is also excellent but I have not had work done by him yet.
Walter is not after a sale, he is after a "Customer",
the latter, keeps on coming back for ALL their needs.
The confidence, and TRUST has been proven.
I wanted a sound like a "Sony Dash Master Tape player",
but the convenience of a CD.
Somehow, that is EXACTLY what I now enjoy!
Believe it or not, sometimes You DO get what You ask for.
Oh, the stock Marantz is nothing to frown at, the Mods.
done, take a Great player, and make it just the way I
Like it.One of the Absolute Best! IMHO that is.
Thank You Walter, for the gift of Great Music, and a
fine education on the in's and out's of what does what
to make changes in the sound of a player.
Considering a Mod to a CD player, give Walter a call, and
tell him Mr. Broadway, told You to call because you want to enjoy your music, at it's Finest.
He will ask what you have, and perhaps he can Mod. what you
own, or he will find a way, to more than satisfy your
Love for Music.
Walter has True Passion for Music.
Love Your Music!
I sure am...