My only concern would be whether it is as good. Can he give you any referals? Also, not sure how this would affect resale value vs. a GNSC modded unit. Last time I spoke with Steve at GNSC he was going to be raising his price for this mod. and possibly even discontinuing it for units not purchased from him. I heard the price has gone up to $2,000. I have the GNSC mods and this is a great player with the mods. Do you already own the Opus 21? Where do you live, ie. what part of the country?
The GNSC mods to the Opus 21 are well documented here and on other sites and have received almost universal praise. Is there a particular reason that you feel compelled to search out a different moodder? Do you know if TRL has any experience modding this player?
I owned the Opus 21 and now own a TRL modified Sony NS900. It is his best mod with battery powered digital to analog section. The TRL unit is so much better you would sell the Opus 21 after listening for 10 minutes.
TRL modified units are stunning and I say to you - go for it with Paul/Brian at TRL.
I have never heard digital sound as wonderful as my TRL Sony player.
because of the comments above...it seems this TRL is amazing...GNSC get a lot of the same though. I just want to do it right the first time. GNSC does a lot more of the Opus 21 mods then Paul. He said that he's only done one of the Opus 21's. I don't know...
Tvad makes a good point about resale value of modded units. Like Grannyring I can attest to the TRL Sony 900 player as one of the better CDPs I have heard. For the price it's a no brainer. Never heard GNSC mods to the Opus, but Robert at Ridge Street Audio has a GNSC modded Opus and I trust his ears.
Why don't you call Resolution Audio and ask them what the think of GNSC mods? Personally, while I trust Paul and respect his work (I own a few of his pieces), I wouldn't send the Opus to him, just get the modded Sony instead.
I have a Resolution Audio Opus 21 that I bought from GNSC and used for about a year before asking Steve to perform the Reference level modification. I felt that the Opus 21 "fights above its weight" in that it sounds lots better than other comparably priced players. I wasn't dissatisfied with the stock unit but after talking through the reference mods with Steve, I trusted him to proceed. I also knew that Resolution Audio supports Steve's efforts. GNSC and Jeff Kalt have a good relationship and I was persuaded to have GNSC modify the unit understanding that if something went wrong, I was unlikely to face Resolution Audio blaming GNSC and vice versa; those guys would cooperate and get any problem solved. Add to that GNSC's reputation for customer service; I plunged in.
The modified unit sounds great. I noted particular improvements in deep bass performance and dynamics. There were other improvements across the spectrum, including improved midrange. In short, it sounds more like real music.
Having no experience with TRL, I do not want to discourage anyone from dealing with an outfit that might be great. GNSC is, however, a well known quantity. I have absolute confidence in Steve and have had great experiences with him. You won't go wrong with a GNSC Opus 21 purchase and mod.
I've had mods done by TRL on a DAC and Steve at GNSC on the Opus 21....no knock on Paul or TRL at all, but Steve is the man when it comes to the Opus, don't think twice about having him mod your unit...
Could be guys that Steve won't mod his Opus 21! Couple months ago I bought from Steve an new 21 with reference mods and waited for the unit to be completed. Steve informed me that he was likely, in the very near future (this was late Dec. early Jan 08) that he would only be doing mods on new units purchased from him due to a couple parts he uses where becoming too difficult to get. So maybe the search is on for an alternative company to mod his unit. If this is the case, I would honestly wait til a GNSC modded unit becomes available and buy that over going with another mod company that does not have a developed reputation on a specific unit. Again, nothing against TRL or the Upgrade Co., both have good reps, but I personally don't want to be the test rabbit with a product that may not have any more value after the mods. vs. before. Unless the mods are great and many, many people use the same company there won't be any or much perceived value for a "no-name" modification. My guess is that either TRL or Upgrade would have to mod 50-100 units before they became well recognized on the Opus 21!
Just to clarify. We do still mod Opus 21's that have not been purchased through GNSC. There are some distinct advantages (warranty coverage and mod cost) in working through us on the whole package but we do still mod them if someone sends a unit. Parts to properly do these mods are indeed in short supply though, and understandably priority goes to units bought from GNSC.
I can't speak to how it compares to what anyone else does, but I'm certainly happy to supply details on what we do.
The modifications first and foremost are not to correct anything that is in any way lacking in the stock unit from a design standpoint. Our approach is simply to give that excellent circuit design the best environment to do it's thing. It simply would not have been possible to incorporate these kinds of things into a CD player at anywhere near the price of the Opus.
In our best mod (the Reference level upgrade) this means extremely exhaustive vibration control of the transport (trust me, nobody can damp a transport the way we do it through Allison Dynamics who has been working with us on damping CD mechanisms for I think 7 or 8 years now), we also damp key components, transformers, both chassis, etc. Also it means adding local energy reservoirs and filtering right where you need it in the circuit for the greatest dynamic capabilities and cleanest power. We employ noise reduction techniques, power filtering on the AC input, upgrade the AC power buss, etc.
Our less costly Standard mod is a subset of this upgrade but if you asked me, the better value is the Reference mod because with that additional budget, we can simply accomplish a lot more.
We really don't think an approach that changes the basic design of the unit would be beneficial. We decided to put some of our focus and resources on developing these mods because it is such a good platform to begin with. Our approach was to spend an awful lot of time developing a modification that accomplished the exact sonic results we were trying to acheive (and offers a great value in the process). I think there is plenty that's been said in this forum and elsewhere about the results we acheive. We also provide full support for the units we modify...an extremely important part of the equation.
Hope this provides some clarification of our approach and what is unique about what we offer.
I had my player modded by GNSC earlier this year. The first thing I noticed when I got it back was how quiet and silky smooth the transport was compared to the stock player. The transport damping part of the mod is immediately evident. The benefit of GNSC's mods to this player have been discussed ad nauseum, but suffice it to say it's an excellent player.
Ditto to Cruz's statements and Steve at GNSC is a truly wonderful person who does not hesitate to give his opinions when asked and always seemed very honest to me in this regard, not just promoting products he sells.