Review: Sony SCD-1 Audiocom-UK upgrade

Category: Digital

This is the first part of a weekly update/review of the Audiocom-uk modifications made to my Sony SCD-1 by Audiomod (Richard Kern). This was the full six part upgrade as outlined at The six parts include Audio board electrolytic capacitors, Audio board resistors, Audio board regulators' Audio board op-amp modules, Power board electrolytic capacitors and Power board regulators.
I sent out my player two day Fed-Ex on Monday, 13 Aug. ‘01. The unit was received by Richard on Wednesday and he began the 16 hour modification right away. We decided to have him do the initial burn-in through the weekend to see if any problems arose. On Sunday he ran a series of tests and found that the power regulators on the power board had a problem and were running hot. On Monday Richard ordered a replacement set that he installed Tuesday, The problem seems to potentially be more of a voltage matching with the Audiomod replacement parts, so the three original regulators were reinstalled. Richard kept the player playing until Thursday, 23 Aug. to be safe that no other issues arose. ( I have asked Richard to give a brief description of his findings and some thoughts on the modification, I hope he will post those ideas here) The player was overnighted to me and I received it yesterday, Friday, 24 Aug. ‘01.
The package arrived safely, double boxed like I had sent it. Opening the box, I found a listing of the work done, a brief personal note and a bag full of parts. The player had been cleaned off on the outside, looking better than any other time the past year and a half. After placing the SCD-1 back on its throne, I opened the cd tray and found it too was sparkling clean, all the fine dust I'd been collecting was gone, I guess I'll have to start a new collection. It was clear to me that Richard takes his business very seriously. The checking and double checking on his bench and the cleaning all made an impression on me.
I ran the unit for about three hours before giving it a short initial listen. It was clear on the "red book" playback ( I did not try SACD) that the definition, and sound stage were vastly improved. The reason I had chose this upgrade was because after two weeks with the Audiomeca Enkianthus up-sampling DAC I felt the improvements were not great enough to justify the cost. Here with just one disk the improvement to the entire presentation blew away the Audiomeca, and in every way. The transparency, definition, detail, dynamics, timing and sound stage were all improved. Not a subtle improvement, this is night and day, like a different player. I have NEVER heard any "red book" playback sounding this good on my system. It's easy to see this will be a great investment. In that the electrolytic capacitors require a full 400 hours to fully burn-in, the final sound quality will not be realized for a couple more weeks. So far the timbre is a bit off and the treble is slightly etched. The bass is completely gone at this point, I listened to Emmylou Harris "Spyboy" cut # two, this bass will generally shake my walls, this time I got up and turned off the mid/ high frequency amp to see if the bass amp was working. Sadly it was, I pray this is just a temporary setback.
So for week one, I would say this is looking very promising. I will update this post next Saturday, please stand by.
j.d.: EXCELLENT post. don't wanna' be too pushy, but do you mind telling us the cost of the mods? _kelly
Excellent review. Thank you and happy listening. Simon
Sorry I forgot pricing. I also forgot to say that Richard called or wrote daily to update me, very good service.
Pricing below is UK, The final numbers are U.S.
Audio board electrolytic capacitors - 135.77UK
Audio board resistors 621.00UK
Audio board regulators 199.75UK
Audio board op-amp modules 130.00UK
Power board electrolytic capacitors 287.26UK
power board regulators 119.85UK

Total parts costing 1493.63UK - $2123.40US

Labor to install $ 450.00US
Shipping both ways additional (aprox. $400)

Total upgrade cost aprox. $3000
Cost of SCD-1 new $2500-3000

Total cost invested for my unit $5500.
Just to clarify for those interested. The problems I
experienced while modifying Jadem6's sony were traced to
several bad Audiocom regulator's that I had installed.
The Audiocom regulators are very static sensative and can
be damaged easily. While I took precautions concerning
static, a defective soldering iron caused 2 to fail on
the power supply board. I replaced these parts only to
find one more regulator that had failed on the Audio board.
The original regulators on the power supply board were
put back in, because they were able to run even with a
defective regulator on the audio board and the audiocom
regulators were over heating and shutting down.
The audiocom regulators can only supply 330 ma of current
and the sony regulators can supply over 1 amp of current.
The bad regulator on the audio board was causing the
overheating, but I saw no reason to take a chance on using
the audiocom regulators on the power supply board. I
replaced the bad regulator on the audio board and made sure
all of the regulators worked properly.
Will this situation be a problem for you, I can not say.
The first full Audiocom mod kit I did, worked perfectly
and is still working perfectly. My advise to anyone doing
this mod is to be sure and check each audiocom regulator
after it is installed to make sure it is working properly.

Richard Kern
Thank you, Richard for clarifications. I am waiting for my SA-14 you modded a few days ago. When I will get it I will burn-in for a couple of weeks (I do natural burn-in and not "24/7") and will post my sonic impressions here.

I've been asked why would I chose to upgrade a first generation SACD player (made by Sony) with all the new "better" products on the horizon. The answer seems simple to me, first off the Sony SCD-1 was the prototype SACD player and was conceived as the flagship reference machine to which lesser mass market products would be introduced. The marketing strategy was to present the new format to those who would most benefit, the Audiophile high-end consumer. For Sony to pull off this lofty goal they had to produce a machine second to none, better than Sony had ever produced, including there highly thought of BETA machines of the ‘70s. They retained outside consultants to help them with the digital circuitry and the revolutionary digital filters along with the transport/drive mechanism and the elaborate isolation system. They then went about redesigning and custom building a large number of circuits and components that were to be used in the SCD-1. The build quality is unapproachable by any standard. I believe Sony created a unit with a quality that even suppressed there own expectations. As the project evolved my guess is the costs were well over the projected price point of $5000. The standard audio circuits were finished using "off the shelf" product that has long been paid for. The result is a machine with some parts, drive, laser pick-up, isolation, digital filters/circuitry, and build quality that have set new standards. The new "designer" machines are incorporating many of the components that were designed by Sony and there outside consultants. The capacitors, resistors, op-amps and power regulators incorporated in the SCD-1 were not of the quality standard set by this machine, and are the major differences between the Sony and the "designer" models. For me to spend $27,000 for an Acuphase in order to upgrade the quality by some percent (and still own a first generation design) seemed silly when I could in theory receive most or all of the higher quality for the cost of the upgrade. For my budget this was a better choice (actually the only choice). If I was right, I'd be way ahead, if I was wrong and the improvement was only minor, well I was still ahead in that I got marginal improvement for less cost than the "designer" units. It is my opinion that SACD is here to stay and over the next three to five years the evolution will be very exciting. I have enjoyed the quality improvement to both "redbook" cd and SACD for two years now, and my thought was this upgrade will keep me on the leading edge of what digital can offer for at least two more years. Thus the upgrade was on, and the second parts of my findings are as follows:

I've been taking notes as the days have passed and will begin with a review of those notes. I will follow that with my overall opinions so far. (NOTE: the below findings are all in reference to "redbook" cd playback).
120 hours No bass, edgy highs, improved depth and much more transparent.
170 hours- AMAZING pace and rhythm. Very exciting, great detail, less edgy. Sound stage is ok.
200 hours- Bass came back, very boomy, thick and congested. The entire presentation has become compressed, dark and slow. The edginess has left.
250 hours- Transparent, smooth, silky highs. Deep and open sound stage, well balanced tonally. Bass is tight and the pace is natural.
300 hours- DYNAMIC!!!! Atmosphere of the room is full and energetic, great pace and speed. There is a presence to every instrument. Highs are a bit forward for my taste.
When I sent the SCD-1 in for this modification, my hope was to bring the "redbook" performance closer to the SACD standard set by the machine. So far my expectations have been completely realized, but it doesn't stop there. I'm more than 200% satisfied with what I've gotten back, even if nothing further developed in the final one-third of the burn-in.
The Sony SCD-1's performance has been expensively reviewed in the magazines with roughly the same findings. The SACD playback has bettered all digital playback systems I've seen compared to the SACD. The "redbook" is good but most feel it was bettered by the Mark Levinson No. 30.6/31.5 combo. $17,000 and/or the dCS Elgar/dCS 972 D/D $ 19,000. The new Accuphase DP-100/ DC-101 SACD combo. $27,000 has now raised the bar still higher in SACD playback . . .
SO!!!!! So I don't have $17,000- $27,000 to spend just to "maybe" beat out my Sony.
With the modifications made, the "redbook" playback in most cases has now surpassed that of the original SACD playback. I pulled out a very long time reference disk, Lyle Lovett "and the Large Band" 1989. This disk has great transparency along with complex passages. The cd played through with no effort, leaving the finest of detail (slight cymbal tapping) during extremely congested passages. I used to play this disk at all the audio shops to test their reference systems and hear what was possible. NEVER has this disk been so dynamic and full, it's just amazing! The transparency, sound stage and definition of "redbook" playback has far exceeded that of the original SACD player, but not to a fault. DYNAMICS! The pace, speed, impact is all above any I've heard. Much more like the electrostatic reference systems that I've heard in audio shops, but the feeling is not clinical or etched in the least. With 150 hours left before final burn-in the only thing lacking is the three-dimensional realism, the final timbre, color and tonal softening that was present in the original SACD playback. (I'm not saying the sound stage is not three-dimensional. No that's far from accurate, I'm talking about the inner detail that brings a face to a voice). As I recall, the original burn-in had much the same issue at 300 hours. The toning became more tame and natural as the days passed, with fingers crossed I push on.
With "redbook" playback alone I would highly recommend this modification. I can only interpolate how it would perform against the $ 20,000 "reference" systems, but I'm guessing it's at a minimum a draw.
Now what about SACD you ask. HOLLY COW! AMAZING! DYNAMIC! HOLOGRAPHIC! I'm completely blown away. How the heck could anything become so much better that it was? Every facet of my stereo's performance has been brought up to levels I only dreamed were possible, and never did I think I'd get this far with the relatively affordable components I use. I played a great deal with the new Tchaikovsky 1812 from Telarc directly recorded in the DSD format. When I first listened to the disk with the original SCD-1 in SACD mode, the presentation was big, dynamic and the sound stage adequately placed the elements of this recording. The presentation has matched the description of what was intended by the Engineer, completely and quite convincingly. The recording incorporates five separate elements into one single recording. The orchestra is expected to gently arc in front of the listener. The two choral events are to appear in an arc and in front of the orchestra. The Civil War cannons were recorded in a circle with a central microphone set on a 45' pole and seven other microphones set around the parameter. The final element was the church bells. Here the 150' high bell tower was recorded in multiple locations and at multiple heights to give the illusion of church bells ringing all around the city. In that it would be impossible to record all these elements together, the mixing became the challenge. How do you place five recordings into one space without the layers appearing as in multi-channel recordings? The solution was to take an old recording technique, "sound-on-sound" and blend each recording by using DSD mixing, layer by layer, but retaining one single track. The result was to have created a seamless fluid event that would appear to be a single event.
The modified SACD player was able to handle the multi complex, extremely dynamic recording with incredible inner detail. During the climax of the symphony, all of the components are playing at once. The orchestra, when playing alone appears natural and extremely refined in a well-defined space with a perspective is maybe 15-20 rows back. The choir has an immediacy and fine detail that you would find sitting in the tenth row. When the two are combined, the choir is easily placed in front of the orchestra, but a bit transparent and thin, like I'm able to look through them. Adding the church bells was incredible. The perceptive of the orchestra/ choir did not change, but an added dimension of the entire city appears behind and around them. It's now as if the event is in the canyons of the church steeples. Now let's add a few cannon fires for good measure, still in the streets, but with huge blasts happening around me. Twice the blast is so intense it's as if a hole was blown right through the picture panted in front of me. (This must be some experience on a multi channel system)
Never was I longing for more or better. I believe any playback medium will have difficulty bettering this demonstration. The realism of vinyl has been matched (for my taste) with this modification, but the clarity, dynamics, pace could not be met by any vinyl system I've heard. The musicality and timbre are equal in my opinion. This was simply the best sounding presentation of audio I have ever heard (There are a lot of systems I have not heard, so take it for what it is, my limited opinion). For the cost invested I can't imagine how this modification is not a great value.
During the next week I will continue the final 150 hours of burn-in using the XLO burn in track. I will continue to update the progress and write my final thoughts next weekend. The weekend following, I am going to take the player down to a friend and again compare the Audiomece up-sampling DAC I've referred to before. This will be conducted with his new Pipedream speakers. I will let you know those results too.

Thank-you for the support I've received writing this, and I thank all of you for taking the time to muddle through this rather long post.


P.S. I should have noted this modification is for the SCD-1 and the 777ES
Thanks for letting us know what the Audiocom mod sounds
like after 300 hours. I am glad it has worked so well for
you. It looks like I am going to have to put this mod kit
in my SCD-1.
Just so everyone knows, I install REL polystyrene capacitors
in the low pass filter section of every sony I modify. This
is something even Audiocom does not do and it contributes to
the wide deep sound stage and smoother and sweeter tonality
you are hearing. I look forward to your further reports.

Richard Kern
This is the final report from 300 hours to 450 hours of burn in after the modification made to my Sony SCD-1, SACD player.
At hour 340 the timbre had tamed enough for me to replace my "Orchard Bay" Titanium cones under the pre amp and amps. This tightened up the focus another percentage, but brought too much detail and transparency for my taste. I chose to leave the cones on with hopes the timber would continue to improve.
At 390 hours the timber had continued to tame, now at the point I've found the audio shops prefer their reference systems to be. Still a bit aggressive for my personal taste, but a great presentation none the less. The major draw back of the SCD-1 in the reviews I've read is that the presentation was too polite and willing to please. The Marantz on the other hand has almost too much transparency and detail for some reviewer's tastes. The modified Sony stands somewhere in between, maybe closer to the Marantz than the non modified SCD-1.
At hour 450 the timber was pleasing, I than began to play with speaker toeing. My speakers were set up with 16 degrees of toe-in. I've now opened them up to 12 ½ degrees at 76" centerline to centerline. The newly modified SCD-1 lost no center imaging ( I was unable to open the speakers beyond this point prior to the modification) and the sound stage opened up an apparent six more feet. The distance and clarity between instruments within the sound stage have increased substantially. Sounds that were only inches apart now appear with a good foot of separation. This is an amazing benefit I had not anticipated with the modification, but is worth the price of admission it's self.
Musical impressions of "redbook" cd playback:
PACE! SPEED! RHYTHM! All are so vastly improved, I can't find a single disk that my foot isn't moving to. It's put an energy into the music that simply was not there before. Piano is in my opinion the hardest instrument for digital reproduction. It can sound harsh or electric and glary. I spent my childhood with both grandfathers and a mother who played piano every spare moment they had. In collage I dated a student of classical piano for three years and went to hear many concerts and recitals. The SCD-1 has finally gotten the piano right. It still allows for the attack and excitement of the strings being struck and in full transparency, but the edginess and glare are not present. The timbre seems very natural. The sound through the full set of octaves is smooth and yet quite immediate. Each key hitting sounds like a string ringing, a tingling vibration is felt throughout the room. Even to the highest notes, that has a bell like tone. The lowest notes have a bite or growl that is very convincing.
Cymbals have a shimmer and space around them, and the decay of value are real and lingering. The clarinet, which is often scratchy and electrical sounds sweet, smooth and very real. The vibraphone on the John Cocuzzi Quintet's "Swingin' and Burnin'" cd is filled with life and energy. The ringing of the steel tubes is extremely inviting without a touch of digital glare. The violin shows the texture of the bow against the strings, again without the scratchy electronic sound often found with digital. All and all, I have no complaints, only amazement and accolades. Every instrument I tried to play was realistic in tone and timber with terrifically natural decay.
So how about the SACD vs. "redbook" cd? Is redbook as good as SACD with the modified player? Well, no. "Redbook" has now been brought up to the point of where the SACD playback was before the modification, but the SACD playback has also been brought up a notch, so SACD still edges out ""redbook," but not by as large a margin. I played Rebecca Pidgon's "Raven" which I have in the original "redbook" and in SACD. The "redbook" is amazingly clear and far better than the experience prior to the modification. If I never heard anything else of this disk, I'd say it was a ten. SACD is better, fuller, richer, more refined and lifelike. The presentation just breathes with a realism I've never heard before. I was able to match the toning and timber with use of the filters, but not the presence or realism. It's only a tinny factor, but it's there.
For me this modification is a must if you own a player already. If your looking to buy an SACD player that can produce state of the art, you must consider this package before looking at the "designer" systems.

In two weeks I will write a brief review of how the up-sampling DAC performs compared to the Modified "redbook" playback.
Check out the Audio Asylum, SACD section. Jim Treanor has
posted his review of the Audiocom mod I did for him.

Richard Kern
Excellent review overall, in particular your explanation for doing a relatively expensive upgrade on a highly engineered product. It doesn't sound as if the timbre and tone quality have quite met your expectations. In particular it seems that you find there is too much presence (to use an old term)- also did the bass ever really return to its desired style? Would you kindly tell us about the other components in your system. You appear to prefer a sound quality that is on the polite side.-Thanks
Hi Mechans,

Thank you for your question. Looking back at this particular review I find it a bit overwhelming and somewhat confusing. Let me explain.

My original intent was to help explain the entire process of what to expect from this modification, particularly during the very long break in process. What the review fails to do is conclude my impressions properly, and thus I feel you became confused with my impressions. I apologize for the confusion and will attempt to clarify.

Over the past few years I’ve made some significant and some minor alterations to my system, but through the entire time I’ve continued to feel my Sony SCD-1 modified player is the best component in my system. This is true for SACD and redbook playback. As I’ve continued improving other aspects of my system the true strength of the SCD-1 has come to light.

In answer to your specific question, I believe the timber and tone are literally perfect in respect to a natural and neutral sound quality. In my mind the SCD-1 simply has it right, with no electronic feel to its tone. The “presence” if you will, has improved with the alterations I’ve made over time. At this point my system creates a three dimensional image of a solo singer for example that is clearly defined on the sound stage, to the degree that it feels as if I can walk right up to the singer and place my arms around her torso. It is amazing how real and accurate the image is.

Another example is on Bob Dylan’s “Blood on the Tracks” which was recorded in Minneapolis. I went to an acoustics seminar that was held in the studio space that album was recorded in. The layout of the studio was “L” shaped, with one leg having a much higher ceiling than the other narrower leg. Listening to the SACD of “Blood on the Tracks” I am able to sense the space as I know it to be. This is not necessarily a good thing, but I use it to demonstrate the ability of my system to resolve very finite detail that remains on the master tapes.

Lastly I’ll address the issues of bass. Again, much of the improvement in the bass was with cabling, isolation and room treatment. Today the bass is very tight, extremely focused and never muddy or thick. Again the three dimensional effects are so natural and life like. The pluck of the strings of a stand up base, are not only easily “seen” but the resonance of the body of the base is defined and again natural.

As far as my system, the SCD-1 is fed through a Great Northern Sound “Passive Audio Signal Isolator” to an Aesthetix Calypso pre-amp using NOS Mullard 10M gold pin 12AX7 tubes and NOS Russian Type 3, 6922 tubes. I then have two Plinius SA-102 amplifiers bi-amped vertically. Meaning one amp drives the bass and the second amp the mid-range and tweeters. Both amps are played in class A. The speakers remain Dunlavy IV-A. All of the interconnects and speaker wires are Nordost Valhalla. Power cables include Nordost Valhalla, David Elrod and NBS Statement. I use two dedicated circuits, one for the amps and one to a Shunyata Research Hydra power conditioner with an Anaconda power cord. Both Circuits use Wattgate 381 outlets. My system sits on a 4” sandstone slab that rests on Aurios Pro isolators. The Mana (SCD-1) and Apollo racks are spiked to the slab. Each unit sits on a shelf “sandwich” comprised of 3/8” Aluminum shelves resting on upturned spikes from the rack. I then use a sheet of anti-static bubble wrap with a Neuance shelf supported by the bubble rap. The Hydra uses EAR feet that support it on the Neuance shelf. The SCD-1 and both anps are supported by three Orchard Bay titanium cones (no longer available) and Aurios Pro isolators. The Pre-amp sit of a “string” suspension product (name unknown) that in turn sits on a Neuance shelf “sandwich” The Dunlavy IVa speakers sit on #3 black Diamond racing pucks and cones that then sit on Aurios Pros. Both the base and midrange/tweeter binding posts use Walker Audio High Definition Links II.

I use AudioPrism Quite-line system on the refrigerator, computer and T.V. outlets to cancel line noise at the source. I have home made acoustic panels in the vertical corners with triangle panels at the ceiling corners. I have one round home made acoustic column between me and an untreated window. All glass surfaces are treated with wool curtains and the wood floors have thick wool rugs. I use an assortment of Walker Audio brass and lead pucks on much of the equipment and on two wood furniture pieces in the room.

As for my next move, I plan to send my SCD-1 back to Kern for the latest modifications, both from Audiocom and his own. My understanding this again will bring my SCD-1 to equal any player on the market today. Am I crazy? Yes, but the SCD-1 is so well built I feel it worthy of another $2000 invested.
Great to see you posting again, JD. Don't be a stranger!
Thank-you Drubin. It felt good to be back with something constructive to add. This site is so well run, and has so many amazing members I have not felt I had much more to offer. I still look in alot, but my health has kept me from posting much. Just now I have some real energy and so I'm working on a review of my newest addition to my system. The Aesthetix Calypso pre-amp. I'll be posting it soon God willing.
I've just read your entire post and have to comment on this passage;

"As far as my system, the SCD-1 is fed through a Great Northern Sound “Passive Audio Signal Isolator” to an Aesthetix Calypso pre-amp using NOS Mullard 10M gold pin 12AX7 tubes and NOS Russian Type 3, 6922 tubes. I then have two Plinius SA-102 amplifiers bi-amped vertically. Meaning one amp drives the bass and the second amp the mid-range and tweeters. Both amps are played in class A. The speakers remain Dunlavy IV-A. All of the interconnects and speaker wires are Nordost Valhalla. Power cables include Nordost Valhalla, David Elrod and NBS Statement. I use two dedicated circuits, one for the amps and one to a Shunyata Research Hydra power conditioner with an Anaconda power cord. Both Circuits use Wattgate 381 outlets. My system sits on a 4” sandstone slab that rests on Aurios Pro isolators. The Mana (SCD-1) and Apollo racks are spiked to the slab. Each unit sits on a shelf “sandwich” comprised of 3/8” Aluminum shelves resting on upturned spikes from the rack. I then use a sheet of anti-static bubble wrap with a Neuance shelf supported by the bubble rap. The Hydra uses EAR feet that support it on the Neuance shelf. The SCD-1 and both anps are supported by three Orchard Bay titanium cones (no longer available) and Aurios Pro isolators. The Pre-amp sit of a “string” suspension product (name unknown) that in turn sits on a Neuance shelf “sandwich” The Dunlavy IVa speakers sit on #3 black Diamond racing pucks and cones that then sit on Aurios Pros. Both the base and midrange/tweeter binding posts use Walker Audio High Definition Links II."

-Unfortunately the magazines, audio web sites and "up graders for profit groups" have gotten to you. Your system has great bones, to bad with all that great equipment you were still not happy with its organic sound making you seek silly over-priced extras. Just goes to show you...more money doesn't necessarily lead you to better sound...One has to think before we spend! We need to end this vicious cycle to help others from falling into these marketing ploys. Why do you think hi-end is dieing?

My point...What's the cost of your entire system?

Not a sermoned, just something to think about from an audiophile that has gone thru it all and back....
Except that in the case of this particular audiophile (Jadem6), the "silly, overpriced extras" were chosen after diligent, careful evaluation. At least that has been his approach in the past.

A bit harsh, daytrader.

Sorry you took it as harsh, not meant so.

As I said his core is well done, the extras("silly/overpriced") is subjective. I enjoyed Jadem6's enthusiasm! It's the wolves in sheep's clothing I have problems with!
Mr. Daytrader

I appreciate your concern for my spending habits, but coming from a person who ….

Stop, take two deep breaths….

I appreciate your concern for my spending habits, and I assume you only make your comments with the best of intensions. I do wish you could be constructive by sharing some fact or experience rather than coming in and simply dismissing my personal experiences and commenting as if I were naive and ill informed. I tried to gleam some insight into who you are, and what type of sharing you have made here at Audiogon, but you only have been involved in one other thread, so I have a real hard time knowing what your intentions are. What exactly are you concerned about? Is it the cost of isolation and vibration control? Are you saying vibration is hype and not to be considered when setting up a system? Is it power cords and cabling? If so please turn and walk away now, I will not go down that road ever again. Is it the Walker links, or the bubble wrap that concerns you? Is it the home made acoustic treatments? I simply can not tell from your comments.

As per the cost of my system, well you figure that out, it really has no bearing on the discussion. As for the cost of “overpriced hype” it adds up to less than 5%, and actually less than that; most of it was bought used or discounted. If you feel 2.5% is a waste, fine I’ll give you that, it’s your opinion and your entitled.

Now in an attempt to make this at least somewhat of a constructive discussion, I assure you each tweak I have made has been carefully evaluated. Each time an addition was made, the quality of the sound was altered in some way. Often times to the worse. I could name ten times the products I settled with, that caused some degradation to the sound quality. Mass loading products for example for the most part had ill effects on the pace and tempo along with bloating and smearing of the bass. So many cone products I tried had very significant sonic signatures. BDR cones for example are highly regarded and heavily used, but on my components the added warmth and tempo change was unacceptable. Air batters, inner tubes, sand boxes, the shelving products are endless, and in my experience again the sonic signature was unacceptable. As I say, power cords and cabling is off the table, if you really care to learn anything from Audiogon, or myself, than I suggest you do a search on these topics. I have spent more than enough time expressing my experiences. Heck, we shut down this entire site over that topic some years back. The cables I have are the ones I chose from three years of testing almost every cable on the market. The fact they are expensive was not a consideration, only the musical quality of my system is considered.

I had a local audiophile over one night that I met through Audiogon. He made the same comments you have regarding all the tweaks. He too felt they were too much, in that he too had used some of them on his system. So I agreed to spend two hours removing all the tweaks and using just Neuance shelves on the existing racks. We did leave the sandstone base on Aurios to eliminate the need to dismantle the entire system. We also took the speakers off the BDR and Aurios products and reassembled the big square platform base as is standard for the Dunlavy speakers. (I had removed the platform footer when I began using the Aurios) The result was striking! The system was lifeless and the tempo was lost. It was not musical, the bass definition was gone, the entire system sounded horrible (in comparison to what I have been listening to) and the audiophile went home with a new understanding of why we use these products you claim are destroying the audiophile market. The only reason for your comments is because you do not understand where and how to use the product correctly. This FACT is evident from your ignorant comments above.

One more thing, the only reason I share my experiences, and to such detail is to help educate through explaining how and what I’ve learned. Comments like yours are simply that, comments. You have no credibility and you have no foundation from which to stand. If you care to actually be helpful than please do.

Somewhere my point has been lost...Pitty!

Only wish you the best...

I have owned and been happy a Richerd Kern modified SC D-1 for two years. It has had to go out for repairs once, but that had nothing to do with the Super Clock 2 and transport mods. Last week a friend of mine brought over a Sonic Frontiers processor 3 DAC and a high end COAX cable and my reaction was why bother? After being impressed with what and heard and listening to the DAC for the past week my attitude is very different. I was very surprised by how much more musical things got. The sound stage grew especially front to back and drew me into the music. My Audiogon purchased Processor 3 is now in transit.
Interesting. Do you think this is tubes vs. SS thing or that the modified SCD-1 is not all you thought it was, or what?

I have a Kern-modified 777, by the way, but it's the only digital I've had in the system since I got the mod, so I have been curious.
The Kern modifications did improve the redbook performance, but the tube DAC has taken it to a new level. It was a $7000 DAC brought to the market at approximately the same time as the SCD-1. It go rave reviews at the time. Yes, I'm sure the well designed tube DAC was responsible for the improvements. The sale price on Audiogon a few days ago was $1800 on auction. I see many adds and posts about taking $1000 players and doing $1000-$3000 upgrades which void any manufacturer obligations. Is this the best bang for the performance buck?
It would have costed you about the same amount to receive Kerns latest updates that bring the SCD-1 to above the Meiter, which has been called the best digitial avalible today. I'm just wondering out loud, I too feel the front to back could be better, and I've been concidering sending my SCD-1 back to Kern for his latest modifications. I wonder if Richard is seeing this if he could add some insight.
JD, I have the transport mod and the output transformers on mine. Not sure if he has added anything in the past year, but I also yearn for greater front-to-back depth.
So Drubin, the big question, is it worth the additional $2000 I would need to spend for the latest upgrade, and why?
Thanks, J.D.
I can't answer that. $2000 is about what I spent for the one mod I had done. I like the way it sounds, but I have no idea how it compares to your unit or to the digital SOTA these days. (If we weren't a couple of thousand miles from one another, we could answer the first part of that.) Of course, Richard has his opinion about the newer mods, but we can put only so much stock in any one individual's opinion when it comes to audiophilia.
Drubin, that's what I paid too, Kern apperently has a new set of modifications sense you and I had ours modified.
I had my work done about a year ago and I think I was one of the first to get the transformer mod. I was kind of nervouse about it and bascially took it on faith from Richard that it was a good thing to do. Of course, I have no idea if it really was a good idea.