ModWright Transporter

Has anybody here been exposed to the ModWright transporter?:

On paper (or pixels since this is the Internet) this is the reasonably priced all-in-one, file-based kind of solution I've been looking/hoping for. The 6moons review was positive, but short on detail.

Any feedback on this would be welcomed.
oops, just found the "next" button on the six moons review - several more pages of good info. Read it here:

Still, I'd love to hear from anyone here who has been able to audition one. If it does indeed deliver, it looks like I'll be giving up my Sonos network and PS Audio DAC III. Heck, I might even give up my integrated in favor of mono blocs if the volume control doesn't denigrate performance.
Stay tuned.. just dropped mine off there and will pick up modded unit probably Wednesday. I've had mine a month or so and I'll have a good perspective on the stock vs modded since I'll only be a couple days without it.
I want to follow if it acting as pre to amps is way to go.
I have had my unit for a couple of weeks. It is much better than my previous Cary 306 SACD (!), and very very close to my Burmester 001. If I run digital out from the Modwright and uses the Burmester 001 as DAC I am not able to tell the difference.

I live in Norway and D.Wright has been excellent to deal with. This player has my highest recommendations!
Do you use a preamp or run the Modwright Transporter direct to your amplifiers? If preamp, have you tried running direct to amp?
Cappuccino, by using an external DAC, are you saying you don't like the ModWright DAC that is part of the Transporter or was that just for A/B comparison?

Also curious if you are using a pre-amp or going straight to your amp and using the volume control on the Transporter.

Thanks for chiming in!
I prefer to use a good preamp. I have the latest Burmester 011 pre. I also have the latest Burmester 001 CD. I guess the Burmester 001 CD benefits from that (synergy), but the Modwright player is very very close in quality when I use the built in DACs. If I should perform a blind test I guess you wouldn't be able to tell the difference. That is quite an achievement when you compare the price. Burmester 001 is $22k, modwright <4k !

I will get the new Burmester 069 reference player soon so for future I guess I will not use the DACs in the Modwright player.

I also have the new Accuphase 700 player in my system right now. I use this for SACD. But on Redbook I find the Modwright player to equal this player!!
I considered this but could not find enough comparisons between the MW and stock to warrant belief that it is indeed better. Different, probably. But different does not equate to better, just different.

Unless updated since I read it, the 6moons review has one obvious hole in it, and that is they did not compare it to the stock TP. Obviously they liked it, and that's fine... but for a 2x premium I for one would like to know what the improvements are.

The SlimDevices forum has some extensive discussion on both sides of this coin. It would be worth a trip there IMO.

I have and enjoy the TP very much btw. No, I have not heard the MW and unless I can get an audition unit I am not about to spend $4K to find out it may or may not be better FOR ME than the stock TP. AFAIK Dan does not offer a money-back deal. Of course that is his prerogative and business model and that's fine.

But many other companies with bright ideas are open to home auditions... RedWine, Zu, NuForce come to mind right away, and I own equipment from all of these. Of course there are likely many others who supply free or low cost (say just shipping) home auditions. This very availability instills confidence in the buyer's mind and opens up a world of discussion possibilities.

To explain that last line above, it seems pretty much the only people who have heard the MW are current owners and maybe a reviewer here and there. Even these, we do not know if they have heard both but it seems unlikely. The nature of humans in general and us audiophiles in particular is that we will praise that which we have a vested interest in.

All of the above to say that I do not consider the MW TP to be a wise choice for someone who has not carefully heard both versions, unless finances are not much of an issue.
I agree with Kck,
The six moons review would have been much more valid had they compared a stock TP to the MW TP. This was not part of the plan.
Kck, I think you hit the nail on the head. I want to actually hear the differences myself, or at least hear from someone who has. I went to the Slim Devices boards and read enough to see that for many people there wasn't a significant difference between the SqueezeBox 3 and the Transporter - even on a good hi-fi. Which left me wondering if either would be an improvement over my Sonos (which is a little grainy and jittery). On paper, the all-in-one box appeals to me (no transport jitter) and becomes even more appealing if the DAC is nice enough to run other sources through it.

Which all begs the much better (if at all) is the mod versus the standard Transporter?
Shazam: "I went to the Slim Devices boards and read enough to see that for many people there wasn't a significant difference between the SqueezeBox 3 and the Transporter - even on a good hi-fi."

I own both the SB3 and TP. YES, the TP is better, and to me, it is worth the difference when you consider the ergonomics, the power supply, the digital inputs, the flexibility and last but not least, the sound. Keep in mind that people pay from $100 to omigod for a fancy power supply for the SB3 alone.

And then there is still the DAC to contend with. While the SB3 is a killer for the money and an easy recommendation for the impecunious audiophile, spending into TP territory does provide noticeably better performance. I generally try to avoid the audiophile vocabulary so I hope you won't ask me to use that, but accept that IMO there is enough difference. Both units are bone stock as I am not much of a believer in mods anyway. I do use a nice VH power cord with the TP though.

To round off the argument (in my mind anyway) about the comparison between mod and stock, and yes I will resort to the ubiquitous automobile analogy here, it's like C&D reviewing say a modded Corvette without much reference to the factory stock one. It just won't fly (or even take a corner!) I am a sometimes reader of 6moons, less frequent than I used to be but have picked up some great ideas from there (eg, Zu), but I do believe that this time old Srajan left something on the altar of journalistic integrity or at least standards.
I agree that not comparing the stock to the mod left the review missing something for me too. For component reviews, comparison to something that is a known is the only way a reader can have a frame of reference. Comparing the Transport to CD players only has so much value since the Transporter is an entirely different animal (file device vs. disk device). Any mod review should ALWAYS be compared to the stock.

For what it's worth, I don't doubt that the Transporter has advantages over the SB3. But for the price, the differences between them seem to be slimmer (no pun intended) than expected. My hope is that the ModWright widens that gap enough to justify the extra coin.
Well, I can say with complete confidence the Modwright is in a completely different league than the stock. I had the stock over a month before I had it modded. There was a 2 day turnaround dropping it off and picking it up, so I'm very familiar with the differences.

The stock is nice, but nothing special. Yes, it's really a great way to listen to music. I much preferred my Sony XA777ES, which was also modded by both Modwright and Richard Kern (parts only.. not tube stage). But I found myself preferring vinyl to the point that I was listening to records 90% of the time. The TP did have less of the digital glare, but tonally paled in comparison to the Sony. For me, there was still a fatigue factor I don't have with vinyl.

The modded is substantially better than stock. Tonally more resolving, better detail without the hard edges. More air around the instruments, which is what I really cherish in vinyl. Bass is well defined.. listening to Bill Evans Sunday at the Village Vanguard now. Instead of just throwing out all the usual audiophile phrases, I'll just say I feel a lot closer to the actual performance than ever before. This is very much like the best of vinyl.

I frankly can't imagine anyone hearing the stock vs Modwright preferring the stock.. no way, not even close. I could hear it the moment I fired it up. After about 2 hrs of warm up, seemed to really start revealing it's pedigree. I've only had it for a day now, and from past experience, I know the caps will need time to fully break in. I expect it to get even better. I won't be retiring my vinyl, but it won't be pulling double duty anymore. I'm even considering buying cd's again, which I haven't done the last couple of years.

I don't have any connection to Modwright other than living near him and being a repeat customer, in case anybody wonders.
Jamnperry - congratulations, you are the first reviewer I've read that actually compares the mod to the stock. If you would, please come back and write more after you've had time to sit with some of your favorite recordings. I'll be interested especially about your impressions of fatigue after several days with it.

Also, tell us a little about your accompanying equipment if you would. Are you running it with a pre-amp or direct?

Thanks for your input!
Jamnperry, congrats from me also. It is clear you are happy and I daresay anyone in your situation would be equally happy.

For someone like me though, I'd still want both units on hand for an even comparison, and I would want to not be financially pre-vested in the result (ie, whichever I prefer, it doesn't cost me more than simply the purchase of the preferred product).

By "your situation" above, I meant (1) you were already a MW customer (indicating you had belief in the concept) and (2) you had already spent the money on the TP mod, which *for some people* leads to an expectation that the result of spending the money is positive, and expectation leads to perception, correct or not.

I would love to be able to appear on this forum and say I compared the two in my room with my gear with plenty of opportunity to switch back and forth, without outlay and preferred the MW. Or preferred the stock TP, whichever. But the environment as it is allows one to evaluate the stock TP risk-free, but not the MW.

As a side comment, this audiophilia is a strange disease, in that it makes us want what our peer describes without any concrete reason to believe that it will work the same way for us. Of course, over the years I've been in this hobby, I have been plenty guilty of this myself, but I like to think I am a little more cognizant of my own emotions now, which hopefully leads to a more rational decision, one that is made based on MY environment. This includes but is not limited to: budget, tastes, room, gear, WAF, hearing acuity, type of music preferred, type of presentation preferred, and so on. A quick review and understanding of this list should make it clear that, given the possible permutations, NO ONE can be sure of what a given component will deliver based on someone else's description of it. As such, I read reviews nowadays as entertainment, not unlike light fiction.
Shazam.. I'm running it through my Modwright SWLP preamp. I may try it direct, but it would have to be quite a bit better to go through the hassle of switching since I'm spinning vinyl. But for the sake of the hobby, once it's broken in, I'll try it that way and let you know. That would sure simplify things if you only have one source.
Kck.. I totally understand your perspective. It wasn't an easy decision for me either even though I was familiar with Modwright's philosophy. My first foray was a simple parts upgrade on the XA777ES. I was very happy with that but stopped short of the full tube stage. Then when he came out with his first preamp, I was able to borrow it from a local dealer and audition it, comparing it to my Audible Illusions Modulas 3A, which I immediately bought. While I was confident I'd get a quality product again from them, this time it was more about salvaging a collection of music I'd built up for years. It just had lost appeal compared to vinyl.Budget wise, I came out about even after selling a few other things I wasn't using enough. Time will tell how much of my listening shifts back to the digital spectrum. At this point, overwhelming positive reaction.
While I agree in principal that what works for one won't necessarily work for another, quality issues are quantifiable. Meaning, I can say confidently that a Daiwoo/Sharp/Panasonic/whatever piece of crap will not be better or equal to the Modwright for anyone. It's not a matter of taste or system dependent components. While the stock Transporter is a quality product, it just can't compete in a qualitative sense. There's no area that I'd prefer the stock over the modded. It's not a simple tonal shift, or just more detail,etc, with other compromises. More like an overhaul. Personally, I put sources (CDP's, turntables) in a different category than cables, amps, speakers, tweaks, etc. You can say with some degree of confidence what will work. It's what follows that shape the sound, what's 'not limited to: budget, tastes, room, gear, WAF, hearing acuity, type of music preferred, type of presentation preferred, and so on' in our personal environments, as you said. I know it sounds dogmatic and opinionated. I really don't mean to be. I have bought things that really didn't work for me, and I don't presume my amps or speakers will work for everyone.. I know they won't and I hesitate to add them into the equation.
Anyway.. really good points, Kck.

What type of digital files do you play on your Transporter?

Wav files, Apple lossless, or Windows Media Lossless, MP3? Whis one sounds better, best to you?

Is the sound of music streamed from the web (I have a Rhapsody account) improved by the mods?

I just bought a Squeezebox and am just tickled to death.

I'm using flac. It's lossless and I can't tell a difference from cd's. Wav's are fine but take a lot more memory and can't accomodate song info and album art. I've read Apple's lossless is good too. Mp3's are a definite step down. I'm using this program from (hope it's ok to post the link) It's really easy, and very worth the money for me just in time saved.
Danny Kaey, from Sonicflare has an upcoming review on the MW TP and I believe he owned the stock TP prior.

Thank you for the heads up on the ripping software.

What speed do you use to rip? I've downloaded the trial version of the software you've listed above.

In the paid version that you're using, is there an automatic function whereby when you insert the cd into the drive that the software starts to burn the disc automatically? The trial version does not have it. I'd like the software that I choose to start to burn the cd upon insertion of the disk into the drive.

The sample songs that I've ripped so far sound pretty good at about 10x speed.
I just kept it at default. The amount of compression will vary the speed, which I set to 5. I just don't have the time to wait for higher compression but the file space saved is significant. I read a lot of people set compression to 8. Compression in this case is good. Doesn't affect sound, but does affect time it takes to rip. If it's at default, you'll see the speed go up and down, and on some slow way down and reread a section. I was able to rip a cd that I'd bought used but was never able to play in any of my various CDP's because it was so scratched up. Really surprised me.
I have the same version as you, and I don't think there's a way to get it to automatically rip. Also, if you want the album art, you have to ask for it.
I've used Poikosoft in addition to EAC and find it does a good job as well. The rip speed should be set to automatic and determined by the software based on quality settings.

As for compression, the amount of compression can also affect playback depending on the processor speed of the playback device. The more compressed, the more complex the math to "unzip" the file. Although there is no lossless compression going on, an extreme compression setting can cause the CPU to work harder than necessary. If you find that your system struggles on playback, the good news is you don't have to re-rip the tracks, just run them through a batch converter and re-compress to a different level.

Orjazzm, thanks for heads up on the Sonicflare review, I'll keep my eyes out for it.
I have just ordered the modwright transporter, should get it to me in 4weeks. I cant wait, dont know how the stock souded like. we let you know how the modded one sounds.
I have had my stock Transporter for about month and a half, and after a well break-in I find it very hard to tell the differences between my CD Player, which to my ears sounds very good and my Transporter. It’s only after hours of listening that The Transporter wins out only because it does go a little deeper in the bass and the highs do at times appear to be more extended. It also at times gives me the feeling that the mid-range is more detail, voices sound more fleshed out. But when I try to A & B them, they sound pretty much the same. I can’t see spending more money for the mod, maybe further down the road when I read more feedback on the difference between the two, but for now it sounds great as is.
I have had my Transporter now for almost one month. I am enjoying it immensely, good sound, great convenience, and easy for my my wife to use as well.
My Audio Research CD7 arrived on Thursday. With only 48 hours on it it smokes the Transporter. Not even close.
When multitasking the Transporter cannot be beat but for late night listening its the CD7 that gets the nod.
It will be interesting to see if others go for the Modwright mod. Hope people will post their results. I have read the review on six moons on the mod, but will wait for a bit until i go for the mod it is just a question of time...
Beam me up Scotty
I have listened to both extensively. I went with the MW and am very glad I did. The TP is teriffic, but the MW is to my ears more listenable. Warmer and much more musical. Sounds live, sometimes scarily so (as in I am startled by a sound that seems to come from something in the room as opposed to from a recording).

The mod makes this a pretty expensive source. However, it can be run directly from power to speaker w/no pre and sounds great that way. I suppose the stock can be used that way, but based on my listening a pre helps more with the stock. I assume because the stock is a tad cold and the pre helps with that.

Either way you go, digital streaming is the greatest. Most fun I have had with my music for ages.
I've borrowed a Transporter for the week-end from my local dealer to compare it to my current Sonos/PS Audio DAC combo. I have to say that I am underwhelmed thus far by the stock Transporter. While the sound is more 'analog' and better with listening fatigue than the Sonos combo, it lacks dynamics and presence - at least in what I've listened to so far (Porcupine Tree, Sting, Peter Gabriel, Steely Dan, Dave Brubeck). I ran the Transporter through my PS Audio DAC for awhile and it's closer to the sound I'm looking for but still not there. For my budget, the Transporter is not worth the extra $1650 (the cost difference between the Transporter and the Sonos ZP-80), let alone another $2,000 for what the ModWright "might" bring me. If I try a mod on faith, it will be the $500 Cullen Circuits mod for Sonos.

I still believe in the approach of the Transporter (and Sonos), but it's not there yet. I could be blown away by the ModWright, but hearing is believing and until I can hear it I remain skeptical. Besides, there will likely be many solutions in the coming months to compete on this front. I think most equipment manufacturers see the writing on the wall and are heading that direction. Until I hear something I really like (and can afford), I'll make due with my current setup and wait.
I've considered the transporter and the MW version, but I've been quite satisfied with my Apogee Duet.

I just got the info from Danny over at Sonicflare (Great site! btw.)

He got his review up for MW Transporter.
I have studied the mod upgrade and can assure you that the warm sound coloration is contributed from the pre-amp analog stage that Dan transfers from his Mod wright tube pre-amp to the Transporter upgrade. The DAC is untouched and original op-amps in the analog stage are eliminated in place for Mod wright pre-amp analog out put stage. Quite clever and does work effectively.

I have a stock transporter and have the analog out fed to my Melos 333 tube pre-amp through my unbalance 75 ohm coax, nicely cabled Straight wire Virtuoso, and than have the balance 110 ohm XLR Straight wire Virtuso cabled out to a proceed solid state pre-amp.

A/B I find the tube pre-amp with the description mentioned with air and present of the recording in the room and not from the equipment. The solid state very accurate almost clinical in presentation with more of the dry digital fatigue.

I conclude that if you have a nice tube pre-amp and fix your stock transporter volume 100% not lose bits/resolution and use the volume control of the analog pre-amp results will be similar or even better than the mod depending pre-amp selection and the trial/error of tube rolling of chosen pre-amp.

Enjoy Music.