If my Modwright LS100 was any indication, I'd say Dan's designs are not meant to sound like the traditional tube warmth, similar to the way the new Conrad Johnson and Audio Research gear are. They all have a bit of midrange lushness and 3 dimensionality but they are fast and dynamic and detailed.
The Modwright IMHO is the warmest of the 3 preamps I compared (CJ GAT and ARC Ref5SE)
Interesting in that if the preamp MW is using when tweaking the 105 is on the warm side of neutral, it makes sense the 105 might come out a little lean. I'm not saying that's the "answer," but it could be.
I am beginning to think something is wired out-of-phase in my 105. Volume (output) is very low; bass is weak; center images are "diffuse"/difficult to locate.
This does not sound right at all. I'd be talking to Dan. This is not even close to the kind of performance you would expect. Sounds like far more that a little impatience with burn in. You might expect it to be a little sub optimal, but nothing like this.
i have a modwright modded 83 se, including the tube circuit (2 6sn7s) and the tube rectified outboard power supply,
the unit is very tube sensitive. i have tried several 6sn7 tubes from different manufactureres.
i find the rca brown base gives a very-full bodied presentation.
perhaps you may be using ge or sylvania tubes which are not as warm as say, rca, mullard or brimar.
if you think that there is a problem, as you have described, make sure you get a competent tech to evaluate it, or send it back to modwright.
Thank you. I will call Dan on Monday. I'm sure the out-of-phase issue is part of the problem, though. I reversed the connections on one speaker, and that corrected volume and soundstage/imaging. It helped the bass some too, but I still need more/deeper bass, and a warmer mid-range.
It's very helpful to hear about specific tubes, Mrtennis. I am using the Electro-Harmonix that came with the 105.
Does anyone else have tube suggestions? Or other ideas?
Hi, this is Dan Wright. I know exactly what is wrong, as I sent out two units on the same day, your unit and one that went to Seattle. I DID wire them both out of phase in one channel and this is EXACTLY what you are hearing.
I guess I was having a bad day...sorry, human after all... ;).
I will arrange to have the Player Only, brought back to our shop IMMEDIATELY, on our account, and resolved for you promptly. The way to prove that this is the case, and hear the player as it SHOULD sound, is to reverse the polarity in ONE of your speaker cables. Either amp or speaker end, just swap black and red leads. TURN OFF AMP FIRST!
I am certain that this is the case, as the two units were worked on by me PERSONALLY and shipped on the same day! I didn't catch it as I was listening for something else and it was a VERY busy week.
I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and I assure you that this will be resolved promptly and completely at our expense.
The NOS Mullard GZ34, if you can find a good one, is a nice rectifier. It is a nice tubey rectifier. I actually prefer the current production Synergy 5AR4s to the old Mullards. Lower noise, even better dynamics with the synergy.
Also, I suspect the new power supply that Dan designed for the 105 is similar to the older power supply in being very responsive to changes in power cords. I have a VooDoo vector dragon in this application and it made a big improvement over the cord I was using previously. When you talk to Dan on Monday, ask him for a PC recommendation.
I use Sophias for the 6sn7 tubes, but you may well prefer the nos tubes suggested by MrTennis.
All of these are important but should be icing on the cake. Talk to Dan. This never should have left his shop.
Warm Sound? Guys, these mods, no matter what tubes your are using, just shape the sound to some ones definition of 'warm', nothing 'natural' about it. Best to return to equalizers.
The Oppo's are more on the lean side for starters and the Denon 3910's lean towards a warmer mid. I think the Oppo's are much more musical and revealing vs. 3910, 5910 Denon's which I own.
A couple of very good RCA Grey glass 6NS7's will warm up the mids but won't do too much for the bottom end. If you have a lean mid and not much low end snap and punch you may want to look at a polarity problem on the Oppo as well. Just a guess here but it can't hurt to have Dan look into this.
Buconero, I'm curious. Which ModWright do you own?
in my response , i mentioned some suggestions. i have tried several sylvanias, of different vintage, audio aero, ge, tungsol, brimar and rca.
as i said,if you want warmth get a brown base rca.
consult a tube seller to ascertain the propper vintage. older tubes (50's and 40's) are generally warmer than later tubes (late 60's and beyond).
i am very pleased with the use of the brown bas rcas. i also liked an early tungsol.
the brimar, although not as warm, is balanced as to frequency response, with enough resolution for my taste, but not hot in the treble. it has extension in the base, but i find the rcas give me more bloom and have a more classic tube sound.
try experimenting with tubes. if i were you i would stay away from ge and sylvania. i have not tried mullard (very pricey), but they have an excellent reputation.
I'm not too keen on having to spend more money on different tubes just yet. I need to talk to Dan first, for one thing. Could people suggest tube sellers, so I'll have that info when I'm ready, though? I have no idea where to get them.
It might be a good idea to wait until you have logged about 100 hours on the Oppo before making any decisions about sound quality, which can vary considerably beforehand. I ran my modded Oppo 103 in on the XLO Test CD burn in track for a few days before listening to anything. noto bene - The Oppo responds very well to WA Quantum Chips - capacitor chips, fuse chips, semiconductor chips.
I have the MW Oppo 83 and I have to say that what you are describing sounds like a technical issue. My Oppo sounded very full, warm, and robust with killer bass right at the start. I think you are on the right track with calling Dan as your first step. In the mean time, see if you can isolate the problem by trying different sources and seeing if there is a difference. Try different cables (both IC's and speaker cables), try different tubes, etc. Double check the initial settings in Oppo set up screen. Make sure the latest firmware is installed.
For tube rolling options, I tried the Mullard and found it to be a big improvement over the stock Russian tube it came with. The Sophia Electric had a better synergistic match with my rig because it sounded more open, extended and clear with some loss of warmth. You can buy these direct from Sophia Electric- I think they were $200 for the pair. The nos Mullards are more difficult to find, but they pop up on Audiogon regularly. They can be spendy depending one which ones you get.
Jfz I have the Modwright Sony 5400 and am using the Sophia tubes in the player and the Create Audio 5AR4 in the power supply. I replaced a RCA (Mullard) with the Create tube in the power supplay and like it a little better than the RCA. I have used Vingage Tube Services in Rockford, MI. in the past for tubes with excellent results. It sounds like there is an issue with the player.
I will second Andy with VTS for tubes! He is not only a square shooter, but will spend TIME on the phone with you and give you several options.
Tube World has some great tubes, the real deal, and, yes pretty high prices, BUT you will get what is advertised with TW.
Thank you, Dan. I will call you on Monday.
Dan`s response confirmed my suspicion that this was simply a faulty unit. I`ve heard this ModWright 105 for extended sessions and it is a marvelous sounding player.You`ll find out soon enough once your problem is corrected. You made an excellent choice.
Congrats - you have good ears. Many people would not pick up on the fact that something was out of phase. I expect you will be much happier once this is corrected, as it can be extremely annoying to listen to.
This a good example of solving the core problem.I`d always start with contacting the builder and going from there. Chasing different tubes,cables etc. would cost unnecesary money and increased frustration with no resolution to the problem.
Good news: After what I estimate to be about 110 hours of total burn-in (72 hours before shipment, 40 hours by me), I have "real" bass - more full and textured; better tonality, etc. I also have natural mid-range richness, much better dynamic range, and improved high frequency articulation and smoothness. I am much happier!!
Thank you everyone.
p.s. This is after both the extra burn-in AND switching the leads (connections) on one spsaker.(fixing the out-of-phase brought immediate improvement).
Hi, I'm the other customer in Seattle that received a
ModWright OPPO out of phase. I noticed immediately that
something was not right. After trying different tubes I had on
hand and letting it burn in overnight it still sounded very
diffuse and well out of phase. I tried the unmoded outputs and
they sounded normal so I knew it had something to do with the
mod. I called Dan the next day and explained what I was
hearing and he instructed me to swap speaker leads on one
speaker and report back. Sure enough that did the trick. Now
it sounds very good. I'm sending it back tomorrow to be
repaired. Dan has been a pleasure to work with and is covering
all the costs of shipping. We all make mistakes. The sign of a
good business person is how they handle solving them when they
I'm surprise the problem wasn't caught in the 72 hours burn-in or QC if so obvious.
Thank you for your post! I have complete faith this will be taken care of promptly. In the meantime, I have been enjoying the sound since changing the speaker leads and putting more time on the player.
From one imperfect human to another,
I'm getting mine back Monday. I wonder if anyone has tried the Sophia rectifiers in the ModWright power supply? I really like the Sophia 6SN7's and wonder if their rectifier is as good? Right now my favorite rectifier is a RCA 5U4G from the 50's.
Dan this is Bon in Illinois after 8 years or maybe more,I have not even think of replacing the sony 9000es you modded,its unbelievably good and musical,thanks again.
I received my Oppo 105 from Modwright after Dan fixed the out-of-phase problem I had. The turn-around time was short, and I am very appreciative of Dan's response to the issue.
I believe he put more hours on my unit to QC it one more time, but in any case it sounded better to me almost immediately. You may remember that I took care of the out-of-phase issue in the short term, so I'm not talking about comparing the player out-of-phase to in-phase.
I have put several hours on the player now myself, and the player is sounding terrific!! So open and detailed, yet so smooth and easy to listen to. So dynamic. It's a very good sign when a component reveals differences in recordings, and this does it in spades. It's also a great sign when the results of making even small tweaks are so easy to hear. After making a few very small ones in my room, I was rewarded in a big way for my minimal effort. I believe this player is very, very neutral, not in the sense some people use the word (lean and super "revealing"). In the purest sense of the word.
Someone called the Modwright 105 close to the best analog. I was very surprised and very skeptical when I read that. I certainly have not heard the best analog in a very long time (although I did own a Basis Debut once upon a time), but this player is simply amazing!!!
Thank you, Dan!
Dan is a stand up guy for sure. His customer service is the best in the industry.
Glad you are enjoying your new Oppo. Have fun rolling tubes and tweaking it.
Dan and his customer support team is "Outstanding"! I'm still loving my MW 5400;the best digital playback I've ever heard and I've owned many...
JFZ...I am curious to know if you had listened to your 105 prior to having Dan modify the unit. If so, how much better is the upgrade musically etc??? This is a big jump in $$$...While I own a 105 and LOVE IT, I am cuirous to know some others feelings about this upgrade and its worth...Now I do own one of Dan's first units ..the SWL 9.0 and did have that upgraded with the rectified power supply etc and once again completely HAPPY not only with the end result but also with Modwright and Dan and his team. This is a great company and they have a great customer relationship with each of us...Give me some feedback on the 105 upgrade, thanks...
Why would you "modify" the 105?
I'm afraid I did not hear the 105 before Dan modified it, Shakedown. If it's any help, I did hear the 95 a few years ago in my main system. It had about 500 hours on it, and was not close at all to the modified 105. Apples and oranges, of course, but maybe that will help a little if you've heard a 95 pre and post modification.
I have to agree with everyone. Dan and his ModWright staff (Kristin) are outstanding! I also have the tubed ModWright 105 and love it (sold my GNSC Wadia S7i and Burmester 089).
Can you elaborate on the sonic differences between the 089 and Dan's 105?
I had the 95 for some time before it was modded and was very familiar with it. I used it really only for SACD's. I had a Modwright Transporter that was my main digital player. It was more musical than the stock Oppo but lacked the delicacy and detail revealed in the Oppo. I had it modded in stages because I wasn't convinced that it could replace the Transporter (or it's exceptional convenience). I first got the SS mod. The immediate difference was a less clinical sound and more robust comparing to the unmodified 95. Dynamics were improved. It did still have that touch of digital edginess but was much better than the detailed yet clinical sounding unmodified player, without losing the detail. At that point, I preferred the Oppo over the Transporter. So sold the Transporter to pay for the Oppo mod. The tube mod brought back that subtle warmth, organic fluidity, and spacious sound stage that I enjoy with vinyl. As it is, it now shares an equal place with the turntable. That I could never totally say before.
The turnaround for me is very fast because I live within easy driving distance to Modwright. My impressions weren't clouded by time.
I am planning to get the new power supply simply because I've never been disappointed with any of the upgrades. When Dan emphatically says it's a major upgrade, I believe it.
Yea.. the 95 and 105 are 2 different players. Thought I'd chime in anyway..
I'm really curious about the Modwright modded 105 as a replacement for my Ayon CD-1.Seems like there is potential to match (or exceed?) the Ayon's performance plus the added benefits of BluRay and high-res audio capability using the Oppo's DAC.
I guess one way to go without being able to hear the modded version is to order the standard 105 with 30-day return policy just to see how good the 105 sounds without mods as a baseline. If it's anywhere close to my current player, then the mods sounds like the logical next step.
Did you unload Wadia and Burmester because the Modwright was better to your ears and, if so, how so?
Jwm and Rfogel8: just wondering if you have any thoughts about tube favorites with the 105. I'd like to begin experimenting a little bit, but I'm not sure where to start; I'm not sure if favorites with the 95 necessarily apply to the 105.
This player has my pretty excited. I was dreading the possibility of setting up a computer audio system as I am no good with computers. If this player is as good as everyone is saying then I will probably purchase one. I am just waiting for one to show up used on the gon. because a brand new one is out of the budget, Kent
Kedoads...You won't find one on this site for much less of a new one...These Oppo units tend to hold their value...I sold my 93 to get the 105 and got my money back over the few years I owned it...So far the 105 is worth the $$$ IMHO...my curiosity is going to the next level with the upgraded mods since Oppo provides that allowance of a really good base unit to be expanded if desired..
Jfz, Lately I've been using RCA red base 5692's. They're oldies and hard to find ones that aren't microphonic but they last upwards of 10,000 hours and really sound sweet.
One of my all time favorites is the black glass Tung Sol 6SN7 from the 40's. They're quite expensive and also hard to find ones that are quiet and measure well.
A sleeper that JWM and I both like is the GE coin base 6SN7. I use a couple of them in my Atma-Sphere MA-1's and really like them a lot. Last time I was at JWM's, he was using them in his MW/Oppo 105.
By the way, I'm still enjoying the Modwright/Sony 5400 while JWM has gone from the MW/5400 to the MW/Oppo 95 and more recently the MW/Oppo 105. I always preferred the MW/Sony over the MW/Oppo 95 but have yet to compare my MW/Sony to JWM's MW/105. I suspect the MW/105 is a nice improvement over the MW/95 which I found to be less open, transparent and detailed than the MW/Sony.
As for the rectifier, I've been using a Mullard/Blackburn GZ34/5AR4 which I'm quite happy with. I also have a Philips/Holland for back up; another really nice tube.
I have both Modwright Oppo BDP-95 & 105. They are both phenomenal players. I swear that I did not think it could get better than the modified 95, but the 105 IS better. Modwright is a company I would compare to Decware. Top notch service and support. I don't know either of them personally, but my dealings with both were what I would call above and beyond service and support.
Sorry it took me so long to respond. I have a sick family member. At first I sold my Burmester 089 because in my system (Venture speakers, Concert Fidelity tube pre., Magnus MA-300 amp and Jena Labs Pathfinder speaker cables, Prana Wire interconnects and Purist Audio power cords) I wanted more mid-bass slam. I heard about the Great Northern Sound Company modded Wadia S7i and bought one. One great cdp, but the dac section has just ok. I sold that and decided to go tube cdp. I bought the Oppo 93 as a stand in until I decided which way to go, and that is when I heard about the Oppo 105 and that ModWright would be tube modding it. I was the first to sent to Dan, and did so by his reputation. To me in my system it is the best I have heard. I went from a $28K player to a $18K player, to a $3500 player, and I could not be happier. Digital just keeps getting better and less expensive each year. The ModWright with tube rolling has that "special" tube quality. Pristine highs, plenty of slam and smooth, silky vocals with beautiful decay of notes. It also let's your hear more detail/resolution of the recordings.
I went from a $28K player to a $18K player, to a $3500 player, and I could not be happier. Digital just keeps getting better and less expensive each year.
Like computers, this is precisely the reason I don't chase the latest or greatest digital. I rather waste/invest my $$ on matured areas of the system.
Any one tried/using this player as stand alone DAC? Can you compare to other Hi End DAC's? How the DAC react, if I feed Hi Rez/DSD audio files? Appreciated your opinion which can help me to build computer based audio server. Also suggest the route like usb or any other digital inputs.
Still looking for the suggestion from who is using this player as a DAC !!
Can anyone suggest 'darker' tubes for the Modwright Oppo 105D?
...not warmer, darker. I also wouldn't mind suggestions on tubes that produce a bit more rounded sound, more space between instruments, something that has less of that false 1khz digital 'air' sound, almost clinical but absolutely NOT HARSH...or cutting or piercing or brassy.
I know pretty odd....something with less 1khz and less of that woody 250hz feel. Punctuated I guess like when you throw on a good piece of non-sibilant vinyl.
I have the MW5400ES and found the biggest improvements in the areas of sound quality you mention to be, in order:
1) Philips 5R4GYS rectifier tube in the MW power supply.
2) Shu Guang Treasure CV181-Z tubes in the player.
I would think these will perform similarly in the MW 105. The Philips 5R4GYS rectifier tube was a game changer.
I tried the Sophia and Sylvania 6N7's prior to the CV-181Z. The Sophias are very good tubes, bettering the Sylvanias, but more forward sounding with less soundstage dimensionality than the CV-181Z to my ears.
Adding Symposium Rollerblock 2+'s under the player on top of a Symposium Svelte Plus platform yielded significant improvement in sound quality as well.