i'm waiting for a modded toshiba 4960 to return to me in the next week or so. feel free to contact me directly in a few weeks to get my impressions. the stock player smoothed out considerably during break-in, but is still decidedly untamed at the frequency extremes as well as having piss poor PRaT (but an IMPRESSSIVE amount of detail). these modded machines are by all accounts giant-killers, and those with machines that actually could kill a giant (if dropped from a suitable height) will likely stick with them for reasons of their own.
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I started the mods thread over at AudioCircle. Check it out on the Multichannel and Digital forum.
The mods smooth out any residual digital harshness and improve the palpability of the player. The presentation and PRAT and dynamics are improved dramatically. Well worth the effort and the small cost in parts and time.
I've moved on to other projects recently and have my modded unit up for sale on the Trading Circle over there. But I wouldn't be selling it if I had my choice (wife says something must go).
Check out www.tweakaudio.com. Ric Schultz at EVS does a $300 mod to either player. Look at info and testimonials there. Ric is a talented modder and a great guy to do business with. When I'm done with my Panny S47, I want to order a modded 4960. But by then, another more capable giant killer will have arrived. : )
There's more people jumping on it than you realize. Some just don't make public post. Some are also blinded by the notion that the more you spend on glam, the better it gets and all you have to do is plug and play. That works in some cases but not most of the time. If this were true you wouldn't have gear costing 20 grand up for sell.
I'm in the process of having my Modded Toshiba pushed to even further limits. Using multiple buffers inline and maybe even battery powering them from a separate unit. When it's done ..I doubt there will be a stock player that can touch it... on redbook play back.
There's so many ways to go it's mind boggling.
The fun is just beginning!
I have a HD841 with out mods and I like alright. To me it is not a great player at all. When I use it for DVD's with DTS tracks it sounds real bad. To me it does not really stand out in any aspect. But maybe I need a mod or something. I came into the Digital section to ask about getting a new player.
OK. Let me post my impression of RAM 4960. I just got my yesterday and I am still running it 24/7. I plan to run it 7 days continually.
First, the RAM 4960 has a kind of analog sound. No way it will touch 10K+ highend CDP. But for the money it is very good that you get kind of analog sound.
Second, the reason why you get analog sound. I think this mainly due to "SuperClock3". the high is much smooth than many CDPs. It is very smooth. Superclock greatly reduced Jitter and produced very smooth and enoyable high. Violin,piano and soprano now very listenable and enjoyable. This produced an overall enjoyable listening experience across the whole frequence band.
Upper low to mid seems a little congested(I will write an update after 7 days of running to see how much improvements it gets after break in). The sound stage and imaging is not as great as highend players. I think this may due to lack of break in now. But more likely due to lowend DAC used in 4960. More open,clear and analytical in this erea will greatly improve the overall performance of this player.
Overall, it is an great improvement over stock unit. Will it beat and $10K hignend CDP? I will wait to vote after a week.
Thank you for this update, Audiosu! Hope that the player continues to sound better and better as it breaks in. Wish you good luck with it for the long term.
One question I have, if you please? I have a stock Samsung HD-841 that I will eventually mod, and the low frequency performance of the machine leaves more than a lot to be desired. I was hoping that this would be a major focus of the modders and an area of significant improvement. Can you please let us know what you think of your player's bass performance?
Thank you in advance,
I think your experiences were better than mine, Musicdoc. With my Samsung in CD mode, I would have been happy were it wooly and untamed. It was more nonexistent for me. SACD is much better, though still not up to the level I consider acceptable. My hope is with a seriously beefed up power supply and output, it then competes with most digital players.
My RAM mod 4960 is getting better after a few days of break in, but the CD performance in terms of low to mid-low frequence range is still kind of soft compared to the CD player of thousands of dollars. The SACD performance is awesome, I think can be compared to some more expensive machines like someone said 'LINN Unidisk'.
Some important issues regarding 4960,
You must run audio setup first before you use it as CD player. Some may just use it as CDP and "plug and Play', like I did, that is why I got poor bass performance at first, because 4960 is setup for multi channel play. You need to disable other speakers and Sub(FLE) in "speaker setup" so that 4960 will send bass signals to your front speakers(L and R). You also need to select "L and R" speaker as "large". One more tirck, when play in SACD mode, the 4960 alway play in "Multi channel" mode at first, you need press "Audio or 'L & R cursor'" button to change to Stereo mode(In CD mode "Audio" button change play mode in: "R","L","Stereo"). That was why my 4960 sound so bad at first listen(no bass) that I wanted to return it. SACD/DVD-As are widely available and they are the future. I think for $870 you get a great sounding SACD player that also players CD well.
By using the Best CD player NAIM CDS2/XPS as refernece
, I would like to give 4960 scores
CD performance: 85
Pro: Refined sound,sweet high articulate mid and kind of analog sound.
Con: sound stage and bass could be better
SACD performance: 92
Pro: Pro: Refined sound,sweet high articulate mid and kind of analog sound, big 3D sound stage and imaging.
Con: bass could be better
This is a follow up review. After 120 hours of running the RAM mod 4960's performance is getting better, bass is getting stronger. Overall balance has improved quiet a bit. The low to mid0low range has improved so the sound is more balanced. Compared to mid to high range the mid-low to low range can not be said to be great but OK. Also, I am using B&W 704 speakers, you must take into account that it is not a big speaker, if you are using a large speaker the mid-low to low range may sound a lot better than my speakers.
i have to say that my modded toshiba, in addition to having excellent detail, bass response, and a much smoothed-yet-detailed treble, now shows superior timing and dynamic tension. listening to springsteen's "the ghost of tom joad" left me feeling genuinely unsettled after hearing several of the darker songs. a good sign.
Yes, we all are shocked at the results of the "evaluation" done by Doug Jesse of RAM that states that everything that RAM makes is better than the flagship APL modded unit.
Now Doug may believe that, and it would be fine if it is stated as advertising, but wanting anyone to believe that this was an objective comparision or "evaluation" is where this goes off the tracks.
Let me make no mistake-I could care less about APL, but this is not a credible "evaluation".
Well, I highly doubt Positive Feedback, or any reputable audio publication is going to line up three RAM units and say how unequivocally wonderful they are- and then also how the APL is just a fricking dog not deserving of being a doorstop. If the reviewer prefers one unit over another, they will state it in some semblance of professional objective comparision.
APL is also the last company that can play the vicitm, but the post is over the top IMHO.
Oh well, they will work it out.
You must have missed some of PF's reviews. Those guys don't hold back.The surely don't candy coat like some other publications.LOL
This is what I like about them as a whole. Positive Feedback has pissed off a many of audio equipment manufactures.Basically they tell it like it is..without worrying about tip toeing through the audiophile tulips.
Maybe we are not talking about the same publication.
I have read countless PF reviews over the years.
Here is their editorial policy.
I have even talked to David Robinson a bit about various gear over the years. Fine Reviewer.
Positive Feedback has little do to with the catfight now instigated with APL. I am sure there is more to the story, but again-it does little to advance the body of info for the end user making decisions.
Frankly, I would not be inclined to spend my money at either shop these days. Doug has also ignored a basic rule.......
something about getting into fights with black furry animals with white stripes on their backs can leave you smelling like that very same animal.
Nope we're talking about the same publication. No they don't get in the cat fights, but they do tell it like it is in most cases. I've talk to Doug in the past on the phone inquiring about some of his products.I hate to see people try to tar and feather a person without personal contact. I think he and the other modders have grown tired of APL's constant negative comments towards their products to promote his own..nothing more.
There's a thread some where on Agon.Where a few of the other well known modders speak out about his business practices. I think it's the "Anything Better than the Esoteric DV50" thread or something like that.So believe me.. Doug isn't alone in his feelings.
I for one am planning to try one of their custom job players. I just have to save a few more pennies before I ask them to build me a unit.Doug's thread shows me that the man has a pair of cahunas. Something that seems lacking around here IMHO.This is the reason I scan AA and AC forums more..just a little boring around these parts.
First, I am not a crock. Sounds you are.
Second, in the message I wrote today I did not say anything about 4960, it is about RAM's behavior, that upset you every much ?
I suspect you work for RAM, otherwise you won't jump out and get personal attack to me , but not attack what I said in my previous post regarding RAM's unprofessional behavoir.
No sir I do not work for RAM and I don't own any of their products. But I'm interested in them.I may be interested in the APL depending on that shoot out.I wish I could be there..but I'm in and out of the country too much to have the time.Your post just seem hypocritical to me.I wasn't calling you a crock.It was your phrasing on which I commented as a crock.
Bandwagons are easy to jump on and from what I see you feel a need to join that group of riders.
I see you have your unit up for sale ..how much you willing to let it go for? This may give me an idea of which way to go and how much to spend.
Have a great day!
I did not own any APL product yet. I had kept a eye on APL. I am not bias toward RAM just because I own their product. I am constant,actually, from What I experienced from RAM, I gave their shop 3 stars in my previous post.
"Your post just seem hypocritical to me", yeah! Let's see who is hypocritical ? It is you! First you claimed "Honestly I don't see what's so unfair." Then later claimed yourself "neutral". How can anyone to be "neutral" if he think what RAM did is "not Unfair".
First. RAM's test again APL 3910 is Self claimed.
Second, the APL 3910 machine used is questionable.
Third, it is even more ridicloius to claim their cheapest $700 better their competitor's $5000 machine.
Finally, anyone with an brain ought to know what is a fair test:
a.Independent council buy one of each machine from both company secretly just as an normal buyer so they don't know their machine is going to be test and won't overmod it to sky.
b.The council test A/B test the machine by using well know neutral sound reference gears in the setup, for example ,the Pre-amp& amp, Mark Levinson is well know for it neutrality and quality. For speakers there are chioces.
C, randomly choose an panel of listeners to blind do A/B test.
How can anyone claimed himself "neutral" yet said "Honestly I don't see what RAM did is so unfair." ,
one anwser: that man is HYPOCRITICAL.
i have to say that i am *very* pleased with the sound of my modded toshiba with every disc i throw at it. i had a modded jolida jd100 with smooth-plate teles that i sold about a year ago or so, and as of now i don't miss it a bit. i think the outlay was about 4 times that for the toshiba. i put a paperback book with a 3# weight on top to ensure that the chassis is adequately damped. ymmv.