Review: TRL/Sony DVP-NS900V SACD/CDP CD Player

Category: Digital

Looking for a reference quality digital source that is MUSICAL can be eXtremely challenging… a digital source that you can enjoy all day long without becoming fatiguing??? A common audiophile goal is to find a digital front end that sounds natural… emotionally pulling you into the musical performance; one that doesn’t sound analytical or “digital”… characterized b having excessive soundstage compression and an “edge” or overly aggressive top end. Most of us want our digital playback to sound like a very good analog vinyl rig… very open and natural sounding… with a correct tonal balance and PRAT (pace, rhythm and timing) – but perhaps with a bit more dynamic punch.

After auditioning many digital sources in my system… I am excited to say that I have found a very special SACD/CDP… the Tube Research Labs (TRL) modified Sony DVP-NS900V… that excels in dynamics, resolution, soundstage height, width and depth, 3-Dimensionality, air and overall musicality… serving up a natural presentation with a neutral tonal balance… IMO getting us much closer to analog. The best news is that the TRL/Sony is affordable and within reach of most all audiophiles… and can be obtained… with a little searching… for approximately $1,150 ($750 for the TRL mod and $300 – $400 on the used marketplace).

I have had the opportunity to listen to some very fine sounding tweaked CDPs in my reference system… modified players that included the following:

· APL modified Denon 3910
· Reference Audio Mods modified Ah Tjoeb
· Reference Audio Mods modified Marantz SA-11S1
· Reference Audio Mods modified Denon 3910
· Reference Audio Mods modified Esoteric DV50
· Reference Audio Mods modified Samsung

While I have owned the RAM modified Ah Tjoeb silver transformer coupled CDP for years... the other above players spent only a very brief time in my system... long enough for me to get an initial impression. As with any CDP… each of the above players has its individual strengths and weaknesses… where some players were not suited tonally for my system… others didn’t provide the utmost in transparency to make my Dunlavy SCIV speakers (which I previously owned) completely disappear… which is usually indicative of a soundstaging limitation (not throwing a huge, tall, wide and DEEP soundstage).

Overall, after very brief listening sessions with the above players (although I have had extended sessions with the modified transformer coupled Ah Tjoeb which I own), I was left with the impression that I was listening to a very good hi-fi system… and they did not recreate the illusion of a live event. I was left wanting. The TRL/Sony is a whole different animal.

IMPORTANT NOTE: I intentionally wrote the review to describe my satisfaction with the xtremely musical and affordable TRL/Sony DVP-NS900V... and not to criticize players I have had in my system for a brief listening session many months ago. The modified players from RAM and APL... as I have mentioned in several prior forum posts... are great players in their own right.

I just decided to purchase the TRL/Sony as it dramatically bettered my silver transformer coupled Ah Tjoeb... sounded exceptional at our CES room... did everything right for me on my current system... especially with respect to tonal balance, dynamics, resolution, soundstaging, openness and musicality. And the fact that one can get that type of sound for $1,200 or less was the clincher... a no-brainer if you will. Thanks Paul and Brian Weitzel of TRL!!! :)

2006 CES Show…

I first learned about the TRL/Sony by calling Paul and Brian Weitzel of Tube Research Labs when we were looking for a reference quality digital source for our VMPS/Bruce Moore/Xtreme Cables/Xtreme AV 2006 CES listening room. He told me that they had just completed a new mod… the Sony DVP-NS900V SACD player… that had become their best sounding digital player to date beating their regarded TRL/Marantz SA-14 reference player.

Brian agreed to loan me his own TRL/Sony… and I received it 2 days before I was to drive out to Las Vegas for the CES. He mentioned that the mod was relatively new… and still needed 100 – 200 hours more for break-in. So I hooked it up and ran it 24/7 on repeat for the next 48 hours… knowing that I still needed quite a bit more break-in time to sound optimal. Oh well, we would have to get as much time on it as we could once our room was set up.

Suffice to say that our room sounded very well… as it was standing room only for most of the show. We had many visitors… and repeat visitors… who just sat back and enjoyed the music! In addition, we had many reviewers stop buy (Dave and Carol Clark, Roger Gordon, Clement Perry, Frank Alles and Dick Olsher) that commented favorably in person about our overall sound… and you can read their 2006 CES show report about our room by visiting the following link:

To view a detailed list of Audio Components used in our 2006 CES room… please visit the following link:

In addition, our room did have an analog playback system… consisting of a very good sounding Michell Engineering Gyro SE MKII turntable with a Michell Techno arm and Sumiko Blackbird cartridge… all going into the excellent Bruce Moore Phono Stage of their new Nomad Preamplifier. In most all direct A/B comparisons in our room that day…the analog rig was slightly more open and a bit smoother… but the TRL/Sony player held its own and was a bit more dynamic. In the end, one wasn’t disappointed at all with the analog and digital presentations… and could easily be pulled into the music by either setup.

And it wasn’t just me or the audio reviewers who were impressed with the TRL/Sony’s performance… as all of our CES room co-exhibitors… Brian Cheney of VMPS Audio, Bob Bergner of Bruce Moore Audio Designs and myself of Xtreme Cables and Xtreme AV all purchased a TRL modified Sony DVP-NS900V for our own reference systems… and so did Positive Feedback reviewer John Beavers!

And over the past few weeks… three local audiophiles came over to the house at different times to audition my cables, QuickSilver GOLD™ and reference system… and each of them commented that “it doesn’t get much better” than what they were experiencing. And during the beginning of a listening session… one person even asked “where is your turntable”? To which I responded “the source is not analog… but digital… and this TRL modified Sony is the closest thing I have found to vinyl… all for less than $1,200!!!” And to think some people feel you need digital rigs in the $10k – $20k ranges to get this type of sound. I now know better.

Listening Evaluation & Material…

I am a big fan of huge, open airy soundstages with exceptional depth (front to back image layering), but at the same time, I need life-like dynamics and instrument weight… where there is also an immediacy or instrument-in-the-room quality to the presentation to make one believe they are listening to a live event in the comfort of home. And yes, depending on the recording, it is possible to have awesome soundstage depth, dynamic immediacy and exceptional transparency at the same time… provided that the source, cabling and associated electronic components are resolving enough and can accurately transfer the low level information throughout the chain.

I am also a believer in using only very well recorded material when I do critical listening and evaluation… to see how close to “live” a system and recording can get. From the following list… you can see that I really am into Hawaiian surfer singer/songwriter, guitarist Jack Johnson… and would recommend it to anyone looking for EXCEPTIONAL recordings; fresh, uplifting melodic music; and clever lyrics – and each of his CDs is packed with so many amazing songs!!! IMO, Jack Johnson is one of the most talented singer/songwriters to arrive on the scene in years… and it is hard to find such exceptional recordings.

Inaddition, all of my listening has been with Redbook... as I had no need to own any SACDs as my previous player (the Ah Tjoeb) was Redbook only. I am in the process of getting a couple of Patricia Barber CDs so I can do A/B comparisons to my Redbook originals... and will update the review when this is completed. Suffice to say that the TRL/Sony sounds phenomenal with Redbook CDs. And with SACDs... please give me a week to comment... although owners of the TRL/Sony DVP-NS900V perhaps can share their experiences until I can do the evaluation.

Please keep in mind that I am not by any means a professional reviewer… but I have a vast amount of experience developing reference grade audio cables and the universally loved QuickSilver GOLD Contact Enhancer. That being said, I do believe that I have an accurate and revealing system… very good ears… and an elevated reference point enough to know what is bad, good, great… and realistic sound.

1.) Jack Johnson “Brushfire Fairytales”: I like to listen to Track 5, “Flake” to listen to Tommy Jordan’s steel drum hits in the opening 18 seconds. What is amazing is the TRL/Sony’s ability to throw an expansive soundstage with exceptional front-to-back image layering. Also noteworthy is the dynamics of the snare hits throughout. Track 11, “F-Stop Blues”, is a wonderful song to hear male vocals… as the TRL/Sony makes it sound so real… so lifelike. And Track 13, “It’s All Understood” is one of my favorites showing how tight and articulate the snare hits sound… with also such a pure and natural piano. Also, prepare to be blown away when you listen to Track 8… “The News”.

2.) Jack Johnson “On and On”: The recording quality is amazing… and is one of my favorite Jack Johnson recordings!!! Track 16 titled “Symbol in My Driveway” brings the ocean surf into your listening room… demonstrating once again the TRL/Son’s ability to throw a huge expansive soundstage… with amazing front-to-back image layering. Prepare to get wet!!! I also use Track 12 titled “Cookie Jar” for the interesting guitar strum-work throughout… and I have never heard decay coming off of a Tom drum that sounds so real. And the reverb and decay sounds awesome as well.

3.) Jack Johnson “In Between Dreams”: I like to listen to Track 3, “Banana Pancakes”, to evaluate soundstage openness and soundstage depth. In the opening 20 seconds… the music is layered over a background of rain hitting the pavement… so natural and real that I feel I’m getting wet!!! With the TRL/Sony… be sure to wear your galoshes when listening to this cut!

4.) Patricia Barber “Modern Cool”: While there are many great cuts on this CD, I like to use track Number 7, Autumn Leaves, as a reference that allows me to evaluate how holographic and 3-Dimensional a CDP can be. All I can say is that with the TRL/Sony, the stand-up bass solo of this track was presented in a manner that was spookily real… the air around the musician… the sound of the creaking wood… the finger work on the neck and strings… the difficult breathing of bassist Michael Arnopol. All I can say is that the TRL/Sony did the most holographic and convincing job of any player I have ever heard… bringing Michael Arnopol into my living room!

5.) Diana Krall “Live in Paris”: Of course no evaluation would be complete without listening to some sultry female vocals, and exceptional tickling of the ivories, such as that displayed on Diana Krall’s popular “Live in Paris” audiophile recording. Audiophiles know that piano is one of the most difficult instruments to get right… with all of the complex harmonic overtones, note decays, sustain pedals, etc.

Piano doesn’t get much better than this… and the TRL/Sony takes Diana Krall to a whole new level. Her sexy and often deep vocal performance, combined with the tight bass, drums and percussive musical delights… is a feast for the ears. Prepare to be transformed to the small club in Paris (no French fries served here), as the ambient retrieval of this recording played on the TRL/Sony is so real… it is scary.

Diana Krall’s solo of Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You”, Track 11, is sure to send you body into “goose bump city”. Track 4, “The Look of Love”, is one of my all-time favorites… as Diana’s seductive and dynamic vocals, combined with her brilliant piano performance, and John Pisano’s beautiful acoustical guitar work… makes me a Burt Bacharach convert (at least for this song). And Track 12, Billy Joel’s “Just the Way Your Are” is a romantic delight… as Diana’s sexy voice and skilled piano playing… interesting percussive treats… with a beautiful tenor saxophone accompaniment and solo – so natural, warm and full. I must admit that my spirit gets transformed and dreams of the days of courting my wife over 20 years ago… and then I wake up to reality. At least I can still dream about it. And of course one must listen to Track 10, “Fly Me to the Moon”, and take in everything… Diana’s masterful vocals and piano playing; the accompanying drums, bass and guitar work in an exceptional recording that captures the ambience of the club.

All I can say is that if you don’t have this CD… buy it today!!! The TRL/Sony is definitely an extraordinary top performing CDP that will do this recording justice… and will make Diana come alive in your listening room (although I personally would prefer that she came alive in a different room of the house). :)

6.) Jazz in the Pawnshop: I have the FIM XRCD version… and use Track Number 1 on Disc 2 titled “Lady Be Good” for evaluation. The TRL/Sony provides such spectacular ambient retrieval and realism… transporting you to the actual venue or club setting. The background conversation, coughs, phone call, and drink-making sounds are so real and in the correct dimensional perspective that you listening room gets transformed into a bar. The saxophone sounds dynamic and real… with proper weight… and not exceedingly bright or screechy. The xylophone solo is also a treat… and the key strikes, impact and note decay sound correct… as if someone was playing a xylophone in you home.

In Conclusion…

The TRL/Sony DVP-NS900V is one exceptionally fine sounding MUSICAL player – getting us much closer to analog. It is excels in most all of the audiophile categories… resolution, neutrality, soundstaging, dynamics, transparency, instrument weight, ambience, image placement and separation, etc. Listening to your reference system will be a treat… as it emotionally pulls you into the music… allowing you to see past your stereo and enjoy the musicians’ performance. I strongly recommend this special player! And at $1,200 or less… it’s a no-brainer!!!

The bottom line… if you find a Sony DVP-NS900V… buy it!!! Then get it modified by the folks at TRL. You will not be disappointed. And if you find two… please call me… as I want another one. I am being serious here!!!

I ended up purchasing Brian Weitzel’s personal TRL/Sony that we used in our CES room.… and sent him another Sony DVP-NS900V so he could modify one for himself (I wouldn’t give his loaner back to him). The only problem is that once I gave it a home in my system… I became so engrossed in the music … wanting to listen to all of my reference CDs again and again… that I didn’t get back to work building cables for nearly 2 weeks!!!

And it gets even better… as Brian and Paul shared with me that they developed an upgraded AC and battery powered version of this Sony player (add another $750 mod cost for the battery version) – which takes the player that I now love to a whole new level!!! I can’t wait to hear it… and am going to have mine upgraded soon. The only problem is that I hate to be without my musical TRL/Sony… but Brian Weitzel assured me that he could turn it around in a week. Will keep you posted as to when I get my newly modified AC/Battery powered version… and will definitely update this review over the next 4 weeks or so.

TRL/Sony DVP-NS900V Modification Information:
Tube Research Labs
Brian Weitzel or Paul Weitzel
Phone: (509) 263-9177

Brian Kyle’s Xtreme Audio Reference System Components:
· Digital Source: TRL modified Sony DVP-NS900V SACD/CDP
· Preamp: Atma-Sphere MP3 with all current updates
· Amplifiers: Atma-Sphere MA1 Mk II.3 Silver Edition OTL Monoblock Amplifiers
· Speakers: VMPS RM-40s… tricked out with all the VMPS options… plus Xtreme Cables hook-up wire and Cryo treatment… the best RM40s Brian Cheney has ever built!
· Power Conditioning: Richard Gray Power Company 400 in parallel on one AC circuit
· AC Receptacles: Oyaide SWO-GX Cryo Treated Gold Plated Receptacles
· Accessories: Xtreme AV’s QuickSilver GOLD™ Audio & Video Contact Enhancer… an essential for all cable connections, fuses and tube pins; Ultra Systems Silver Filament Ceramic Fuses; and Xtreme AV’s Maple Cable Supports.
· Isolation: Acoustic Dreams Dead Balls on the TRL/Sony. Black Diamond Racing Cones under the Preamp and Amplifiers.
· Audio Cables: Xtreme Cables throughout! X5 Gold/Silver Hybrid RCA IC set from TRL/Sony SACD to Preamp; X2 Copper/Silver Hybrid XLR IC set from Preamps to Amps; X4 9.25 AWG Copper/Silver Speaker Cables; X2 11.75 AWG Copper/Silver Hybrid Speaker Cables; X2 Silver/Copper Hybrid 9.75 AWG Front-End Power Cable on the TRL/Sony SACD/CDP; X3 Copper/Silver Hybrid 10.0 AWG Universal Power Cable on Preamp; X4 Copper/Silver Hybrid 8.5 AWG Back-End Power Cables on Amplifiers and RGPC 400.

If in the Southern California area… we invite fellow audiophiles to come over and listen to this extraordinary TRL/Sony in my VMPS/Atma-Sphere/Xtreme Cables/QuickSilver GOLD system. Prepare to be amazed.

Enjoy the Music… and Video!!!

Brian Kyle
Xtreme Cables
Xtreme AV QuickSilver & QuickSilver GOLD
Dana Point, CA 92629

Enjoy the Music... and Video!!!

Associated gear
Click to view my Virtual System
Thanks for the in depth review. I have the same unit that is breaking in. The treble has arrived and I am still awaiting the bass and the dynamics. Your review is dead-on about the tonality of the unit. I can't wait for the rest of the package to take shape. Bob
Nice review Brian. Having heard the 900 in your system, I agree with many of the points you made. I'm looking forward to our visit today to hear the unit again.

When I get mine back I'll post my thoughts as well since I will have the version with the battery power supply.
So, what you are really saying is that the TRL is better than your AH Tjoeb, and infact did not directly compare with the RAM, or APL in this system, right?

here is what you stated on AA

Thanks fellow Audio Asylum members for commenting on my TRL/Sony review.

I wanted to add a few comments and clarifications to the review... and possibly answer some questions several of you have asked.

First, I have heard many fine CDPs at my house... with many thanks to Kyle Takenaga and Doug Jesse of Reference Audio Mods (RAM). A player I have kept for years is a RAM modified silver transformer coupled Ah Tjoeb... which I still own.

Last summer, I was able to listen to several RAM CDPs, along with an APL Denon 3910, only for a brief time on my system (which at that time was a bit different than my present system... as I had at that time a Metaxas Marquis Mark II Preamp and modified Dunlavy SCIV loudspeakers). I was in error when I was describing my brief experience with these CDPs and wrote "others didn’t provide the utmost in transparency to make my VMPS RM40s completely disappear"... as I should have said my Dunlavy SCIVs instead of the VMPS RM40s... which I now own. I apologize for this oversight.

I intentionally wrote the review to describe my satisfaction with the xtremely musical and affordable TRL/Sony DVP-NS900V... and not to criticize players I have had in my system for a brief listening session many months ago. The modified players from RAM and APL... as I have mentioned in several prior forum posts... are great players in their own right.

I just decided to go with the TRL/Sony as it bettered my Ah Tjoeb... sounded exceptional at our CES room... did everything right for me on my current system... especially with respect to tonal balance, dynamics, resolution, soundstaging, openness and musicality. And the fact that one can get that type of sound for $1,200 or less was the clincher... a no-brainer if you will (Thanks Paul and Brian Weitzel of TRL -

Secondly, all of my listening has been with Redbook... as I had no need to own any SACDs as my previous player (the Ah Tjoeb) was Redbook only. I am in the process of getting a couple of Patricia Barber CDs so I can do A/B comparisons to my Redbook originals... and will update the review when this is completed. Suffice to say that the TRL/Sony sounds phenomenal with Redbook CDs. And with SACDs... please give me a week to comment... although owners of the TRL/Sony DVP-NS900V perhaps can share their experiences until I can do the evaluation.

And last, if anyone is in Southern California (South Orange County between LA and San Diego), you are welcome to come by and hear the TRL/Sony and draw your own conclusions.

Enjoy the Music...

I think what he is saying is he likes it better than the other modded players he has heard in his system, or had. Not too hard to understand.

Brian- Nice review.
I will share my thoughts about it after break in.

Let us know your thoughts about it on SACD as well.

Making a mountain out of a mole hill aren't you. It's pretty clear to me that Brian likes the TRL unit as a result of his experience with it at CES, where a RAM player was present in the same system (not his as you point out, but all things being equal the same system). In addition, he likes the way it sounds in his system. I happen to agree that it sounds good in his system because I heard it myself, twice in fact.

If you have any comments on the TRL DVP-NS900 based on your own personal experience with the player, in your system or another system, let's here it. Otherwise your comments appear to have an agenda behind them.

Lkdog has it right. I like the TRL/Sony better than any other player I have tried in my reference system to date.

For clarification, I did not A/B each of the modified CDPs mentioned in the review with the TRL/Sony. I never stated in the review that I did. The fact is that I really didn't need to... as my highly modified RAM silver transformer coupled Ah Tjoeb bested the other players from RAM and APL. That is my opinion... and shared with another audiophile friend who was over at the house at that time.

Now I know that each of these players has undergone more extensive and expensive mods by RAM and APL since I had the listed players in my system... so perhaps the newer versions may fair better.

But for me, the TRL/Sony just sounds more "right"... more tonally balanced... more transparent... and more musical than what I had previously heard.

And I might add that my present system... with my new VMPS RM-40 Speakers, Atma-Sphere MP3 Preamp and room treatments... is quite a synergistic combination... and is easily TWICE as good as the sound we had at the CES show.

As I have already mentioned... anyone is welcome to come over and hear my system for themselves.

With regards to SACDs... I have played a few tonight... and quite honestly... the Redbook version of the CD copied with my tweaked CD duplicator sounds dramatically better than the SACD version... and it isn't even that close. I am getting some more SACDs to try and elaborate on these preliminary findings.

I hope this helps...

Brian Kyle
Dana Point, CA

PS. 711smilin: I really did not appreciate your AA post... and your personal attack. Audiogon members can read the post and my response at the following link:
Guy's you are taking this oh, just too seriously. I have owned the 900, and sold the 900. It has good value for the money. It is an older, obselete model. It is very musical, in an analog way, slightly rolling off the high frequency, bring real nice upper mids, mids, and lower mids, almost tubular sound, with slight weak mid bass, and slightly tubby lower bass. The 900 is very easy to live with, and listen too. SACD sucks IMHO, DVD-A is not an option, nor is HDCD. It really reminds me of the Eastern Electric minimax, with upgraded nos tubes, which BTW is in the same price range, available with warrantee. It also does not play SACD, BUT, if you are a DEADHEAD, HDCD sounds like SACD, and there are more remasters, in HDCD, than you realize.

I do NOT profit from my suggestion's. I am not involved in ANY audio business. I just tell it like I hear it.

I finally have what I consider the most accurate amps I have heard in trh LAMM ML2's, nand do a lot of fun CRITICAL listening. My speakers are well reviewed form TAS Epiphany 12/12's, In fact, I am damn pround of my system today. I have great hearing, and I try to help other audiophools, like you, and myself get grounded with reality.

Best of luck in your journey


Good point about the Redbook versus SACD. We both heard it the same way today. I'll be sure to do the same comparisons in my system with the CDs you burned for me.
I, too own a TRL Sony 900v and am extremely happy with its sound. I can't think of any modded players that sound this good for under $1500. BTW, the folks at TRL are very wonderful to deal with.
What, yet another satisfied TRL/Sony 900 owner ... ???(However, this one battery powered. :)

It is on another level guys and worth the price of admittion. It takes a player which is fantastic and makes it much, much more dynamic, gives it an even quieter noise floor, more detail retrieval, better stage depth layering and stage width, tighter image focus, and overall it is much higher resolution ... it sounds even more like real music.

APL, Tvad, 711shilin, slbenz, guidocorona, (I'm sure that I left a few of you APL guys out): There are many flavors of ice cream, folks. Please allow me to enjoy my ice cream and I'll be happy to allow you to enjoy yours.


I've owned a 900V for about 4 years now and have hardly used it at all. It has been used very sparingly as a SACD player and DVD player.

Would it be worthwhile for me to send this thing in for a mod? I have always liked the way this player sounds so will it really sound much better 750 bucks later?

This SACD player only cost around 600 dollars 4 years ago so I am somewhat pessimistic here, it isn't exactly a 777es or a high end Marantz. You're right, stock the DVP-NS900V isn't very impressive.

Should you decide it isn't worth the money, you won't have any problem selling it here on Audiogon.


"so I am somewhat pessimistic here, it isn't exactly a 777es or a high end Marantz."


I might be able to help clarify this for you, as I've been evaluating the TRL mod for some time now. I will be receiving a stock 900V shortly to help me in wrapping up the review I'm doing on this mod. I'll also have my Marantz SA11S1 RAM modified player back shortly so that I can do a comparison to a high end mod. Hopefully with these last two pieces to the puzzle in place I can finally offer a decent perspective on just where this moddeed player rates in regards to stock vs mod, and TRL Sony mod vs a high end current gen modifed unit.
I would love to hear your thoughts on the comparison. Bob

Nice ad ;)


The comparison was most interesting. What I learned is you simply cannot get "effortlessnes" from a source unit without a good power supply...batteries being the best in that area. The RAM Marantz SA11S1 with next generation superclock and outboard battery box was simply stunning in it's ability to create a life like presentation of the music. The TRL Sony wasn't too shabby either, but it was not an apples to apples comparison. The TRL Sony did a superb job with the ACI Sapphire XL monitors, in fact the a/b there was much closer than the a/b done with the VMPS 626R-CD monitors. The VMPS speakers responded more synergistically to the RAM Marantz player. So there you have it, two great source units, one very pricey, one very affordable. Now it's time to send in the TRL Sony for it's outboard battery supply mod, and some other improvements that just may make a round two comparison a/b even more interesting :-)
"The message really is that people need to look hard at upgrading or modding equipment because it does make a dramatic improvement over stock units."


What is your mod-design philosophy? Do you believe it's all about parts replacement, shortening the signal path... anything different than the other modders are doing?

So far the most bang for the buck mod I've experienced is the TRL Sony. The RAM Marantz though spectacular sounding is a bit on the pricey side. Though if you've got the bucks why not :)
Dear Jp,

I am glad you are happy with your mods. That is the whole point. Shootout you say...bring it on! RAM would love to participate. Send John a player and let the show begin. By the way, Dave's website does mention there are NO circuit or clock changes thus we must assume it consists of "part swapping" only. Possibly cryoing, RFI/EMI shielding? Do the research? Where? No info is given but what's on the front page. By the way,the person who modded the CD-12 e-mailed me as well...I must believe our price was much higher?? I know what, let's do the shoot-out at the RMAF as we will have a fully modified Reimyo there. Silver Rock transformer output stage, Invisus regulation, and battery power, etc... What do you think?

Best regards,

where do i begin.... i am always amazed at how often men like to say that their... is bigger the others. audio is all about personal prefs.

DC power is important!!!!! you may not like the sound that i am getting from the complete battery front end that i have been working on with the help of RAM. I have very little circuit knowledge but if i am correct all audio circuits optimized to run on DC. Which means that the AC from the wall needs to be converted to DC. No conversion is perfect; there will always be artifacts or approximations in the conversion. So, Logically the way to get pure power is to go DC. Roland has been doing it for years. The folk at Teres, Redpoint and others have found tremendous benefit in using batteries. Batteries are a point in their development that their use in an audio circuit can really be useful. And this is only the beginning. With the development of alternate fuel sources batteries will only be getting smaller and more powerful. It is because of Kyle’s willingness to experiment that we have been able to achieve stunning results.

my goal in audio has been to keep things simple as to increase their accuracy. This has informed my component choices and has led me to RAM. I have had conversations with other modifiers who thought all batteries are created equal. We all know that in audio nothing is created equal. That with all the component possibilities it is a delicate recipe one must put together to improve the sound. It is not just a matter of replacing stock caps with blackgates. EVERYTHING makes a difference. And even though everything makes a difference it does not mean that any system can differentiate that change. What often happens is that there are other things in the audio chain that act as a mask. With Kyle’s willingness to try new things he has advanced what redbook CD is capable of. What I appreciate most is his willingness to call and say that he has found a better way to pull more information from the silver disc. I think that most would be surprised as to how much information is lost by plugging into the mains. The only way to know is directly compare. If you have not had a battery experience I would invite you to my home in Los Angeles for a listen. Most people would have you believe that batteries lack power and dynamic drive. That could not be further from the truth. In years past with old battery technology that would have been true, but the use of the proper batteries will allow you system to do things with easy that it would have to fight to do and do only 50% as well.

a shoot out at RMAF would be great fun. But it really would need to be thought out. I would recommend that at least 3 different systems (one per evening) be tried with a neutral group of judges to evaluate. Again you may not be able to relate to the sound of digital on batteries, as this sound may be unlike any sound that you may be failure with. But it is with open ears that one can advance the black art of audio. Those that move the art forward are willing to risk it all and try ideas that most people think are crazy. Ideas like “all natural materials, cotton over silver, no Teflon, removing plastic from caps, old paper n oil technology” the list could go on. Because this industry can so easily get wrapped up in specs we lose the sound. And the longer that this goes on we forget what REAL sound sounded like. Because of the advances of battery technology and its implementation by RAM I not longer have the need to pursue vinyl. This is coming from a true vinyl lover with 2000 pieces. If thought through logically I would think it hard to deny the POSSIBILITY that battery power can unlock the digital key.

Regarding customers…. One can always find a dissatisfied customer. Any one of the modifiers has had them. But to make that statement as if to say that all of RAM’s customers are dissatisfied would be nothing more then a lie. If this were true RAM would no longer have customers. To site those dissatisfied with their RAM avoids the thousands of satisfied customers who come back. I am one of those who has had Kyle do mods on all of my equipment (list to follow). It takes intellectual honesty to earn my respect. And that rarely comes from those who boast about how far they can piss.

“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new” Albert Einstein


Equipment List:

Heavily modified 47 labs Flatfish (Battery plus many other tweaks… ebony top, clock, caps, etc.)

Heavily modified Ack dAck (battery plus…)

Bent audio TVC (not modified yet)

Heavily modified Aleph 3

Cain & Cain single Ben horn (little bit modified more work to come)

pair of baily subs
Dave's website does mention there are NO circuit or clock changes thus we must assume it consists of "part swapping" only. Possibly cryoing, RFI/EMI shielding? Do the research? Where? No info is given but what's on the front page
Hi Ya Flye
David did a mod on my 3910 and I don’t know what he did but it sounds better.
That’s it! It sounds better. Who cares what you guys do, switch clocks, caps, wires, dofers whatever.
The people who hand over their cash just want a better sounding component than before we sent it to ya.

As I do not intend to start a career in hotrodding components my concern is not what was changed but does the end result justify the cost, TO ME AND ME ALONE, as I don’t have a multitude of audiophile wannabes coming over this weekend I am the one (and the wife) that criticizes my sound .

So I would like to see a little constructive advice from you guys, the professional ones, the ones that take our money and do whatever you do to make it sound better.
I have the TRL modified Sony DVP-NS900V SACD/CDP CD Player for a month now. I also own SCD-777 and SACD XA-777, and have also owned Meridian Reference 808 (priced at $13,000), and before that meridian 588.

All I can say is that I could not agree more with Briankyle's review. This player outperforms all other players I have owned. And I have not even received the batter-powered supply yet, which I am planning to do.

Paul: You are a genius, man!!!!!!! Thank you.
So far the most bang for the buck mod I've experienced is the TRL Sony. The RAM Marantz though spectacular sounding is a bit on the pricey side. Though if you've got the bucks why not :)

Mr. Beavers you should hear and compare an Upgrade Company upgraded player next time.
Galliant Diva: Quite an impressive system. Have you recieved your battery powered 900 yet?

Hi Jack:

Thank you.

I have not received the battery power yet. But I like this player so much that I have bought another one as a backup.

I have another friend who owns an expensive Mark Levinson player and has been auditioning Wadia. After he listened to this player and compared with others, he wants to buy it. But it is hard to find. He asked if he could buy mine and I have said that he can borrow one from me after I get the second one back from TRL. He can keep it until he can find one for himself.

By the way, I looked at your system and it is staggering.
Paul Weitzel highly regards the Magico speakers, arousing my curiosity. I must here yoru system one day. Where do you live?
regarding: mrhighends post;
""Mr. Beavers you should hear and compare an Upgrade Company upgraded player next time""

AGREE!, and when you do, you will apreciate Trl, and Ram more.
I just got the TRL 900V with Batt. mod today and all I can say is WOW! It's better than the stock mod (no noise, tighter bass, more transparent, etc) in every ways. It's definitely worth the extra $750. You don't have to plug the battery into the wall once it's charged up. Again, the folks at TRL are extremely wonderful to deal with. Just a quick note to let you guys know that the battery mod is worth every penney.
Mine keeps getting better!

I met Paul and Brian (TRL) at an "audio party" at the late Terry Cain's speaker factory in Walla Walla. It was my first time to attend such an event, but I went there in search of knowledge. I had just built my first pair of speakers, and learned that there was a lot more to know than I had imagined. I left there overwhelmed by new ideas. Paul had "bent" my mind the most, and I was skeptical. He spoke of a customer of his, who had replaced an MBL transport and Audio Logic 24MXL, worth $22k with a TRL modded Sony 775. Paul said I could buy a Sony 595, and it could be made to sound better than that Sony 775. A TRL modded Sony 2000 would be even better.

I had never had any great CD player, and when a good friend loaned me a Rega Planet, with the option to buy it from him, it blew away my $50 Toshiba DVD/CD player. I shared my excitment with 6moons audio reviewer, Stephaen Harrell, whom I had also met at Terry Cain's, and who had recomended the TRL's mods. Stephaen offered to let me compare his TRL modded Sony DVP-NS900V player to the Rega Planet. Stephaen's reference CD player was, and is still another TRL modded Sony. I did compare the two players in my own system for several days. I ended up returning the Rega Planet to my friend, and buying the TRL modded Sony from Stephaen. Although I had several days to compare, the choice was easy. I was smitten by the wonderful mid-range of the TRL modded Sony 900. I did mention to Stephaen that I thought the Rega did do some things better, even though choosing the TRL/Sony above it, was not hard to decide.

I got an unsolicited email from Paul. He told me that the unit I had purchased, had been number 25 for them. TRL had done some 300 since then, and had discovered ways to make them sound better. Paul exteneded me an invitation to have them do some more modding on it, with no charge. What did I have to loose? I drove to the TRL shop to pick up my Sony DVP-NS900V with its second round of mods. Paul and Brian handed it to me with big smiles. All my skepticism fadded when I got home and fired it up in my system. I had been careful not to make any other changes in my system, and the improvment was HUGE! There was way more bass. The treble was more extended. Resolution was increased. I could understand the words to songs like never before. The mid-range was just as wonderful as before, even better. I thought it was good enough that I would never buy another player, even if a got into a much better financial situation.

A couple years ago, we had another audio party, and Brian informed me that they have another worthwhile mod, converting to battery power. It has taken me up until about a month ago to get the mod.

I did compare my player to a couple others, but not since this very last (TRL) mod, which I will get to in a moment. I could mention hear, than I never heard the Sony before it got its very first mod.

I spent several hours by myself, comparing my player to a Cary 303. I thought the Cary was better at first. The Cary had tighter bass, more dynamics, more (but IMHO NOT better) mid-range, and more extended treble. I was surprised that the TRL Sony did have MORE bass. In the end, I would have liked for all that bass to be a little more tight, but I was still GLAD that the TRL/Sony was mine, and not the Cary. I just found the TRL/Sony to pull me into the music more.

I had a similar experience when I took my TRL/Sony over to my brother's house, and compared it to his Krell KPS 20i. The TRL/Sony had a lot more bass, but not as tight. The Krell was a little more extended in the treble. My brother was happy that his was the Krell. I was still happy that mine was the TRL/Sony, for the same reasons as before. I thought I did not care about the extended treble. I knew about the battery mod, and hoped that someday when I got it, that it would tighten the bass. Kind of like comparing tubes to transistors, I thought the TRL/Sony kept winning in the mid-range.

Finally, I got my player to Paul for its third time. In the meantime, I looked for Paul on the internet. I had been to his web-site a few times, but I think the pictures are to small to show off his work all that well. I want to list a few sites that I think may show off his work better.

This site has pictures of some of Paul's amps.

More pictures of Paul's amps.

The Audio Brain Bank, which lists Richard Sequerra, Christopher Moon, Albert Von Schweikert, Michael Leader, and of course, Paul Weitzel.

I got my player back about a month ago. Paul informed me that in April, he discovered a way make a linear power supply that will work about as well as the battey, without having to have two chassis. I was hoping that the bass would be "fixed". It is in spades. There is tons, but it is punchy and very tuneful, not boomy or loose at all. I got a lot more than I expected, however. I would have to say that this time, it is like a new animal! I never thought cymbols would sound so real and "in the room" as they do now. The player is so dynamic now, that I can't imagine a player being better, but I will have to compare it with something else to know. I have a lot more resolution than before. Everything is better, and it continues to improve.

Like Brian Kyle suggested, a person can get a TRL modded Sony DVP-NS900V SACD/CDP for less than $1500. I like mine, and I don't plan to get anything different. I do not mean to offend anyone in mentioning the players I have compared my evolving player to. I would have posted this sooner if I had been able to drag myself away from the thing. I hate to do anything else other than listen to good music whenever I do have any free time.

I am another satisfied customer. This last round has made by far the biggest difference! My only complaint now, is that I have not gotten nearly enough sleep since I got my player back this last time.


Benjamin Webber
I see that I had a typo on the first link I mentioned, and forgot to put the third one in. They are as follows:


Benjamin Webber