I believe that Dan Wright of Modwright does mods to the Pioneer PD65. Check him out at modwright.com
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The PD-65 works better as a transport than it does as a player. The limitation as a player is due to the fact that it makes use of Pioneer's proprietary DAC's. These are not as good of performers as some other DAC's that are available.
As to doing upgrades to the PD-65, i know that most of the well known modifiers have messed around with them quite a bit. This would include but not be limited to Stan Warren, John Hillig, Ric Schulz, Dan Wright, etc... I would look into having someone upgrade the clock circuitry, replace some caps, damp the transport and play around with the power supply on these. If i was going to run it strictly as a transport, i would disconnect the DAC circuitry but do it in a fashion that was easily reversible. Sean
If you can get your hands on a 5 disc Aiwa XM-35 or XM-37 changer, it will soundly beat the Pioneer as a transport, and cost much less. Addtionally Stan Warren offers a very unique mod to it for a little over $100. Even with this mod, this transport is still dirt cheap. (FYI: The Aiwa is virtually identical in sound as compared to the multi thousand dollar Wadia transport! This is NOT an exageration).
Unfortunatly, this cheapo Aiwa anomoly is not easy to find, being that it was discontinued 6 months ago. It was sold at places like Best Buy for around $100. It soundly defeated my Pioneer PD93 transport, which was superior to the PD65 model. Good luck on your quest.
I have modded a number of PD-65's. I perform a number of digital and power mods to improve the S/PDIF output as well as installing a modded Superclock3. It becomes a pretty good transport with these mods, and it has the stable platter, which is a plus.
However, even with all of these mods, the Sony DVP-S7700, Pioneer DV-47 and several other current players, such as the Denon 2900 and 5900 are still better as transports, after being modded of course. The Pd-65 is an old design and the newer players are much better. Make sure to select a modder that knows digital.
Some older CD units may be better mechanically, but the lasers go out or out of alignment more easily, and the digital electronics is just not as good, including the servos. The DVD players actually have more precise tracking and laser focus mechanisms, but not all of them have decent lasers for reading CD's. You have to pick the right one. I like the Sony DVP-S7700 and 7000 because they have separate DVD and CD lasers.