It is human nature. Brand new Porsches, Mercedes and Corvettes are modified by RUF, AMG and Callaway respectively right out of the factory and all of those cars certainly are no slouches in original form. Few of us modify our Tag Hueur watches or Armani suits (alterations yes). Certain things lend themselves to "mods" or, maybe more appropriately, present to much temptation to those of us who can't resist the urge to push the envelope. Or maybe the "Mod Offerers" have just been very good at creating a secondary marketplace.
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The modder can experiment and find a better set of newer components which would be too expensive for a mass produced product. Whether or not it's worth it is all in the ear of the beholder.
I should mention I am on my 5th mod. 4 to my SCD-1 and one big one to my preamp. Did I feel each was worth it? Mostly.
The potential value of any modification has to be evaluated on a case by case basis. I have a Parasound R-EQ 150, which is a small, 5 band equalizer with a bypass switch. We got it because my wife wanted the equivalent of a loudness button for our new system (because she likes extra bass). So the settings on the unit were configured to her liking, and all she had to do to get it to "equalize" was to disengage the bypass switch with a little button.
The problem: Even in the bypass position, the unit constricted the soundstage. The solution: Modify the bypass circuitry by upgrading it to emulate a hard wire connection. Cardas posts were also put on the back. Now there's no significant degradation that I can perceive, IF the unit's in the bypass mode.
The cost of the mod was almost certainly more than that of the unit at full original retail. I know it can't be recovered if the unit's ever sold. I don't care. It worked and I'm happy with it.
Wasn't Sting a Mod in Quadraphenia???? (BTW his Vespa in the movie had his real intials:G.S. for Gordon Summner-got "Sting " from black and yellow sripped shirts).
Seriously look at guys like Underwoodwally and others see thier prices and ask those doing a search or those who have coughed up.Most of what I have read hear folks glow about results but to me a lot of the mod "packages" are expensive and you might want to pair them down to essential or most cost efficient.You can lookm at gear that is in the lists and some times on sites like 6mooons.com (and many others) get reveiws of mdded CD's players or integrateds and hopefully they have original to compare it to.Some folks buy a oood CD/DVD player like a Sony and later when they want to have fun or simply have the funds they might not have for original purchase get the mods done.For instance denon and Sony DVD players get good DVD and redd book marks stock but a number of them have been sold since so many folks do the mods.Fall in love wioth a car and you might want to just keep it up.If hough your into a few extra horse you'll add free flow exhaust,air cleaner or go more redical with a turbo.You can take a stock 110 VW and if you spend enpough bread get it up to 360 or more horse.Some of the hop ups will gte more than others what you choose partial or (pardon the pun) "full bore" is up to you.Study the issue before grabiong it or dismissing it.Others will tell you spend more out of the gate for beter gear.Bothe have their reasoning which is sound.
P.S. the reason some car makers don't hop up performance is that the after,arket mods burn engine pout sooner.Now they have tough job of balancing engine life with overall markets craving for more power.At least this isn't the case in Hifi though you may void warranty repair and with some mod companies you don't which means manufacturer has confidence of modifier which is nice.The reason companies don't use Vishay resistors,Hovland caps,fast diodes by one manucaturer or another is were not talking runs of cars so buying in bulk does not bring down cost of these higher quality parts so the choose (in most every sub $2K speaker) drivers which cost $4.No kidding most kevalr drioverrs cost less than two beers.but if you want an after market Fostex it might run $65.Whne they are making 10,000 speakers it ads up
Chazzbo - Since you brought up cars, I'd have to say you're a Rambler. What I was trying to address in my initial question is the matter of whether or not all mods are improvements. And whether or not many of these aftermarket improvements are just creating gold plated turds that are really still sh-t on the inside.
Macrojack, the answer to your questions are; no, not all mods are improvements, but most are, and most mods make significant improvements to the components, but not all do.
Your best bet is to go with the modders who have established strong track records as evidenced by feedback here and on other audio websites. Also, stay with components that have a history of successful mods. IMO, a certain path to dissatisfaction is being the beta tester of a new modification and/or a rookie modder.
If you stick with established professionals, you should hear excellent results.