Philips 963 Sound Modifications

I have read enough threads here and Audio Asylum to realized there are a lot of modifications going on with this model. Could someone recommend a modifier who concentrates on the CD/SACD sound rather than video. No interest in video or surround sound. Primary system is all tubes, Aronov amp, CJ preamp,etc. feeding Swans Allures speakers. Thanks in advance for any recommendations!

Ric Schultz is able to be reached at
He discusses his mods to Philips 963 which you are looking for, and can be reached by using the email address provided on his website.
I also listen to an Aronov amplifier in one of my systems, as you do. Surely one of the overlooked top performers in audio.
Please post your experience, after mods are completed by the man of your choice.
Like Listener57 (how have you been?), I second Ric Shultz. His mod's to my Sony and Pioneer units have been awesome.

I hear good things about Modwright (Dan Wright) as well.

Do a search on AudioAsylum, probably lots of remarks there, for these gents and more.

Good luck, and enjoy !

The question should probably be...who doesn't mod the Philips 963sa?

I've contacted with Dan Wright about modding the 963 and at least at the time I wrote him, he said that he had no plans to offer mods for this unit.

If you haven't purchased a 963a yet, I would look at the Pioneer 563a. I just got one modded by Alex Peychev (

Wow, what a unit...all for under $700 and it includes the player. It still isn't broken in but the sound is incredibley transparent and smooth....unlike the XA777ES and Consonance SACD 2.0 I had. Another thing I noticed is there is NO sibilance to my SACDs. This was a problem which I heard with the other two players (more or less).

Alex told me the player is actually is a better unit then the Phillips 963a. It offers a REALLY NICE transport/DSP assembly that is important for building on.

By the way, Alex couples the DAC with Lundahl transformers and replaces the opamp output stage with his discrete "no feedback" circuitry.
In Holland we have an exellent mod for the 963 SA, done by Audioart, the producer of the (high end) Van Meedevoort audio products.
They replace about a 100 electronic parts and dampen the lid with bitumen for 200 euro's. I have had the original 963 for about a year and I have listened to the modified version for about 4 months now.
The differences are subtle and that's no disgrace because the original 963 is (judged by the sacd soundquality) a very good machine.
What do I hear? More fine details, more definition. For instance, in Ana Caram's "Blue Bossa", I couldn't identify a certain complex sound in a certain track, and only after the mod I clearly heard that the sound consisted of two instruments playing exactly the same notes. Also, Ana Caram's voice was a lot clearer after the mod. Another highlight: all Chesky recordings done in e certain church in New York couldn't grab my attention before the mod. I found the praise for Chesky highly overrated. After the mod, I wasn't standing all the way back in the church, but found myself in the front and the musicians were placed further apart and the "airy" accoustics were certainly not lost.
Worth the money? Absolutely!

greetings from Zwolle,


p.s. The aforementioned Ana Caram is the SACD version. The mentioned Chesky discs are both SACD and cd. Yes, the quality of the cd reproduction also greatly improved. Cd reproduction quality was not really good before the mod. A bit flat and uninspiring, but after the mod certainly comparable to the better mid class cd-players!