There's something to be cautious about regarding mod's: You like it now, but what happens if you don't like the sonic signature after the tweak-up? Pay more to restore it back again - or sell it off & buy another like the one you just had. I have some equipmemt myself that could be hot-rodded, but I like it as-is so I really hesitate to "fix" it. I'd be asking the same questions myself.
You can find a few people who've done the mod on the SACD discussion on AudioAsylum. They all seem quite pleased with it. One nice thing about the 777 is the 5 year warranty, so if you bought yours with a warranty, that's a consideration (it'd be out the window).
I've just sent mine to the Audience people to be modified.
Shall report here in due course, when I have it back and its broken in.
hey detlof, what mods are they making? caps? new soldering? do you know?
please do write a review when you get the machine back.
btw, why'd you decide to mod it and which options did you look into?
I'm opting for a complete mod of the analog stage, would actually have prefered an all tube stage, like RcPrince has reported about, but could not hunt up the man in question .
(cannot think of his name right now). The reasons why were twofold, one obvious, the other one more subtle. I found it lacked in dynamics, compared to other top CD combos I had the occasion to try out and more subtle, I found the resolving power regarding subtle time related cues, you know, those splitseconds when the bow of say a violin hits the string and the tone forms and swells from what is first a minute, somewhat scratchy discord, well, I found that somewhat lacking. That is with rb CD's.
If you want to know about the mods they do, go have a look. Their website is at www.audience-av.com
Detloff, ya shoulda contacted me, I would've given you Jerry's number; hope the Audience mod is to your liking, it's gotten good feedback. I had the same feelings about the 777ES, that's why I went for my mod; it was nice sounding but lacked that "aliveness" I get from the Audio Logic. Kubla, Musicslug's advice is worth emphasizing, you'll void the warranty with any mod. Ozment's is reversible fairly easily, but I'm harboring no false expectations about warranty repairs. As it is, given Sony's customer service reputation, maybe I'm not giving up that much after all......
Hi: The best you can do is to search AudioAsylum for this name. In brief, there were about a dosen highly positive reports of modifications of SA-14, SCD-1, 777es and 333es.
I also planning to give his some component (other then 9000es which was already modifyed by Stan Warren excelently). Richard's mod do not change the sonic signature of the equipment, they preserve it but makes it much better. This is my impression after all these positive reports. Simon (If you speak with him again - my regards)
Good luck with whatever you decide!
thanks guys! and as far as sony's 'warranty' goes i'm with you rcprince. and since i bought mine used i'm probably screwed anyway. but let's not scare anyone off this little darling. i love the 777 but there's always room for growth in a relationship.
I had Richard Kern (Audiomod) do a $480-plus-shipping upgrade of the audio board caps (to Rels) and resistors (to Vishays) and the power supply caps (to Black Gates). After a 300-hour burn-in, both SACD and Redbook performance was significantly improved (broader, deeper, and better-defined soundstage all the way to the rear corners, sweeter top, more authoritave bass, more nuanced timbre)...Redbook to the point where I moved my modified Counterpoint/Alta Vista Audio 24/96 DAC to another system.
Note that the mod will invalidate your warranty. If you're comfortable with that, I think you'll find the mod an extremely cost-effective enhancement of the 777's performance. The workmanship is top-notch.
I sent my 777es to Richard at Audience in March. Mines the first they've done (doing). They couldn't get the Sony people to give them a service manual of this unit, apparently Sony doesn't do this on new models, ergo Audience has had to trace out all the circuits on their own without the aid of the service manual. This is more than a mod, they are essentially rebuilding/replacing much of the unit where they deem necessary, including a new analog output stage. The initial estimate of around $1600 for the full monty is actually $2800, it went up after they got into the process and saw how difficult it was, particularly sans service manual. I've been told this modification/re-engineering will put this unit on par with any player out there at any price. We'll see. I hope so. It's been a loooong process, and costly. However, given what I'll have in the unit with the original price of the unit(good deal on A'gon) plus mod fees, it could still potentially be a reasonable bang for the buck if it's as good as Audience says it will be. I'll soon find out, mine is supposed (supposed) to be done any time now. If you're considering this process, you may want to wait a tad and I'll let you know what I think. Or you may have already sent yours, or you may not care what I think. Whatever, I'd be happy to relate my experience to whomever is interested. I'm hoping for the best, and will be cursing anything less.
Rcprince, thanks for your kind offer. I actually did try to contact you, but obviously my mail didn't get through and Mes, we must compare notes, once we have the units back.
Regards to all,
mes, detlof, dont leave us all hanging. PLEASE remember to post and compare when you guys get your boxes back. i can't wait to read the results!
God, i love this stuff.
I own the SCD-1. I am extremely happy with the SACD/CD playback performance. I have no interest in "upgrading" my unit. Without the original configuration on hand, how can you be sure that there is "improvement" vs changes in the tonal balance. In addition, after spending $1500 on an "upgrade" there is a predisposition to assume that it was an improvement.
welp,that's the end of *that* party!
I am very happy with my '777ES as is, so I won't send it out for an upgrade. I'm just not into that. The point of the placebo effect is relevant. I'm sure if I spent $1500 to have my $1500 player "upgraded", I could convince myself that it were better than the stock unit. Would it really be better? Maybe it would, but maybe it wouldn't.
With that kind of reasoning how do you know whether you like your stock model or not (maybe you'r just kidding yourself)?
9fold: Mes & Detlof are trying the mod -- so we'll know (if it's "...really.. better", as you post). I agree that many of us are suggestible -- but not THAT predisposed, surely!
I know about this suggestibility thing. I am too long in this game not to have fallen into this trap and hence tried to learn a few lessons from it. I think I can (almost)trust my ears. I've made very careful notes about the music listened to with the 777 in its original state after about 350 hours of being broken in. I think I have a sufficient number of parameters to listen to, when it comes back. Just to put your minds a bit at ease: I've spent a large sum of money to have my Goldmund table and arm modified, so that, amongst other things, I can change VTA from the listening positionand finally get the bass rendering, soundstage, silence etc.etc.. the way I wanted it. After having spent the equivalent of about 1500 bucks, I gave it all back for redesign, because the sound seemed somewhat pinched and the voicing of the table had shifted up in emphasis. (bearing and the tip of the plinth were of a material (special ceramic) which was not suitable. I WANTED it to sound better, because it had cost me lots and would cost me more, if not satisfied, but those damned ears, with their absolute pitch ( a curse, not a blessing by the way ) just would not be cheated. Still, you can never be sure of course. Our capacity for selfdeslusion is not to be underestimated. At any rate, I'll try to be careful. By the way I just had a mail from Richard and got the same news as Mes did. So I'll have to settle down for a long wait. Cheers to all!
You boys happy with your stock units or living in fear of the "placebo effect", that's cool by me. No need to justify why you would not attempt said mod on this or any other unit. Your life, your gear, do what you like, no skin off my arse. The stock units are very good, no argument from me. My posts re this matter are an attempt to inform those who have or are considering this process, not to convince anybody it should be done or needs to be done. As far as the assertion re the lack of reference point in the comparison of stock vs. modified unit, I amazingly thought of that beforehand. I have a stock 777 and SCD-1 on hand, each of which had nearly identical sonic signitures to my stock 777. I think I'll actually A/B them when is all said and done. In fact, when I do, I'm swearing off sugar pills for the duration of the audition period. I'd be happy to share my findings to those of you interested, and am interested in what fellow mod-aholics find when you get your units back. Respectfully, Mes
Actually, Mes, I pretty much did that before I decided to go with the mod. After breaking in the Sony, I felt that, while it was very good, I wasn't getting quite the resolution and life I got from my admittedly more expensive Forsell/Audio Logic combo. So I ran the Sony with Redbook CDs both as a player and as a transport through the Audio Logic DAC, using the same interconnects, and came to the conclusion that there was an improvement to be had, probably minor in overall objective terms but major from my subjective point of view. Originally I had wanted Jerry to rig me up a DSD digital out so I could run the Sony's DSD signal through my DAC (the Audio Logic can theoretically decode a DSD signal); he wasn't willing to do that until a standard industry interface was established, but he did offer me the option of his outboard analog stage, which in my typical impatience I took and have been happy with ever since. So I was fortunate to have a pretty good idea of what the modified unit would sound like. If I hadn't, I might have hesitated, at least till I could have heard a modified unit, but the mod I've got convinces me that, as good as the stock units are, there are improvements that can be made if you want them. Whether they're worth the cost is your call, obviously. Just my two cents...
Mes, have you got your unit back already?
No Detlof, I'm in interminable wait mode. It's been "2 weeks" for the last 6. I'm hoping this week. New problems seem to come out of the void each week. When I get it I'll burn it in and A/B it with a couple of stock units I have access to, and let you know what my humble opinion is, if anyones interested. I really think it has significant potential, and possibly worth the wait. We'll see. The critical factor in my mind is that anyone can plop new parts in a given component, it's voicing it that is paramount. Given mines the first they've done, those that follow, such as yours, may actually have a better shot at the target having benefitted from the trails and tribulations of the harbinger unit.Mark
Richard from Audience just called me, my 777 mod is done and I should get it back Fri. He says it's great. Of course. I'll burn it in and A/B it with a couple of stock units and let you know. Detlof, get used to wait mode. Hopefully what I have to report back will make it worth your wait. Mark
Hello Mark, just struck on your post. Too busy recently to log on . Hope you're burning in your unit by now. I am in the wait-mode and very curious. Regards,
Hello Mark: Just let you know that I am too waiting for your (detailed-hopefully) report. Best wishes. Simon
My modified 777 arrived Fri night. It's FAR too early to give a detailed impression, and frankly I don't consider myself qualified to do so. I don't have a golden ear and my vernacular is sorely lacking in describing what I hear. But I can tell you if I like it or not, and why.Right out of the box it is a tad bright and tight, expected, given all the new parts and soldering etc. In the time it's taken to do the mod, seemingly years, I've been listening to a phenomenal transport/DAC combo that was far better to my ear than the stock 777. Even on SACD. And better than other units I've had in my system including upsamplers/dacs such as dCS. Right out of the box, the modified 777 is at the very least competetive with this combo in direct A/B comparisons. At the very least. I'm pleasantly surprised, and my expectations were high. I'll elaborate to the best of my ability after I give it some time. And to reiterate, this is not my only front end, and in fact not my only digital front end, so I have nothing to prove other than what I think sounds best to me. Placebo schmeebo, if it sounds better or worse, it sounds better or worse. To me.I do have access to stock units and I do plan on comparing them to the mod. But again, my current transport/dac is unequivically better sounding than the stock 777. And right out of the box the mod is at least right there with this combo. You do the math.
Mes, pray tell, what is the "phenomenal transport/DAC combo" you had while the 777 was being modified?
Mes: thank you for preliminary report. I will be waiting for the nest one. When you do it, please describe your system. Thanks a lot, again. Simon
Mark, thanks for your clear cut words. Forget about the vocab and the ears, just tell us what you hear. You are experienced enough to be trustworthy. At least that's what I think. I myself haven't contacted Audience yet. I think I'll give them about six weeks until I'll start probing a bit. Eager to hear your next report and yes, what is that gear you are talking about, which seems to sound so good? Regards,
Demian Martin, Tony DiGiovine and I formed DDR Mfg to build a fancy DAC and Transport....These are called the Number Cruncher and Number Server and are in boxes to match the Blowtorch preamp I build with Curl and Thompson and Mark has the updated versions of the older production units made by Entec and G&D Transforms.....The DDR units are built to order and are very expensive, but updates are available on the older production units......
TG Audio/Curl Thompson Crump (CTC) Builders/DDR Mfg
Bob would be correct, my present digital front end is a G&D Transport and modified Entec Number Cruncher, both with the latest upgrades. These are top shelf units which thus far have been the best I've had in my system.
hey mes, any new opinions on the 777es?
also you mentioned price above but stated that it kept changing. is it too personal to ask what you ultimately paid for the mod?
after listening to your unit are you able to infer what kind of benefit the cheapo mod would provide? i have a feeling your mod might be over my head right now - and in the distant future.
anyone else get another modded 777es back yet? detlof?
No, haven't heard of anyone else, Kubla. Mailed them yesterday for a progess report about mine.
hey detlof, light a fire under their butts or something. let us know if they give you an ETA. i think i'm more excited about it than you are.
Hey Kubla, what in your opinion, what is the audiophile word on the modded 777es, does it sound better than a turntable and lastly is ther any way to put a tube inline someplace to make it warmer and less harsh and more liquid in the midrange? Thanks for your consistency.
Samcard, take a look at my posts here and on other SACD threads. In short, Jerry Ozment can add his tubed output stage from the Audio Logic DAC to the 777ES, with a separate analog power supply, and bypass its analog stage. I'm very happy with the result. SACD sounds "different" from a good turntable to me in that it lacks analog's warmth, but it sounds similar to a turntable in terms of openness and ease of presentation (something I never felt CD gets right), and better than a turntable in ultimate dynamics and fidelity to the source. I still ultimately prefer my turntable when I want to relax and get lost in the music, but SACD is very close. I don't know if it will ever be more than a niche product, which is a shame as it is a step forward from CD, in my book.
Kubla, yesterday they told me three weeks or so, which translated probably means five and yes I'm not particularly exited, I just rediscovered my stash of old "shady dawgs" and living presences and I am having (a) field day(s)...and nights.
Samcard, Rcprince has said it all, though my experience so far has been only with the unaltered 777. It has a nice soundspace with SACD and big orchestral works are indeed better than with redbook cds, but so far, even as far as ultimate dynamics are concerned, nothing comes close to my modified Goldmund/Jadis/Jadis/and Spectral/Spectral/electrostats combination. But then stators generally are not the last word in overall dynamics, though as far as speed and risetimes are concerend, they will beat the living hell out of practically anything else. ( The Jadis 200 preamp together with the Jadis 500 monoblocks, which are not as resolving as the wonderful Jadis 80 monos alas, give you dynamics from say pp to fff, which you must experience to believe. The 80 to my mind/ear will go from ppp to about ff) Try the shaded dog with the Viennese Walzes with Reiner and his Chicago Symphony. Especially the last cut on side two.
Detloff, you're right about the differences between the 80s vs. the 500s. Did you spring for the JP200???? I saw one for sale on the 'Gon but couldn't pull the trigger and look my wife in the eye! On the question of dynamics, I doubt if many of us really have the systems that can take full advantage of the theoretical dynamic range of SACD, but for what it's worth, (a) I've always felt vinyl's dynamics were better than Cd's, probably because of the harshness of CD's at loud levels which makes it tough for me to listen to them at the loudest levels, and (b) SACD's dynamics can outdo vinyl's, on my system, because that harshness is gone.
www.audiocom-uk.com offers DIY multistage upgrade for SCD-1/777es, probably best in the world. Richard Kern (www.audiomod.com) became the authorized installation agent in USA for most of us who cannot do it on our own. I owned 777 half-years ago and sold it and I am very sorry. This upgrade (in full) sounds similar to dCS and like! Too late for me
This thread is getting better as it progresses and I think Rcprince echoed my sentiment when he suggested that SACD is differnt than analogue -- superior in some areas, but lacking in others.
Hopefully, more niche manufactures will improve upon the Sony format, widening the appeal and bringing it past the 'tweaker's domain'so that format continues to improve.
Rcprince, no I did not spring for the one which was offered here. I bought one locally. Just could not resist. I found your latest post very helpful, because that will be an essential paramter to listen for, once I have my unit back: the harshness at fff+ levels with SACD playback. By the way, what turntable/arm/pickup combination are you using?
Detloff, kindly let me know when you tire of the JP200 (although I could break down at some point too and get one)! My analog front end is a Basis Ovation, using a Walker Motor Drive for speed control, a Graham 2.2 Deluxe arm and a Koetsu Rosewood Signature Platinum cartridge. Right now the Koetsu is having slight hum problems, I think it's before the preamp (I got a Koetsu step-up to try to increase the output to get over the hum, which only amplified the hum) so I'm trying to move things around to get rid of it. Sorry to go off topic... By the way, the JP200 should be able to hold up extremely well to those fff passages, its greatest strength in my mind was that it was rock solid no matter how complex the music got. Try the Delos Mahler 2 when you get your SACD player back, it may only be a 20-bit master but it is one of the best SACD's out there of a full orchestra letting loose.
RC, I doubt that I will ever tire of that one! That Koetsu together with your Jadis gear must be heaven! Have you ever tried the Jadis Pre-Pre...I don't recall its proper designation, right now, not being at home. Its a two chassis job with a very hefty separate power supply and using four ECC83s ( two per channel) ( I use Telefunken NOS) for signal amplification. In comparison with the IO, it does not layer the soundstage as well, and the resolving power of the IO is overall a tad better, but as far as dynamics are concerned... and of course the Jadis magic, euphonic as it may be...and I don't care.....for pure musical enjoyment, the Aesthetix is left switched off.
For those who wish to know, I am now installing the
Audiocom mods from Great Britain along with my own mods.
I am the american installation agent for Audiocom.
See their web site at www.audiocom-uk.com they go into
great detail about their Sony SCD-1/777ES mods.
I am going to be doing the full audiocom mod for one of
my customers in two weeks. He will be posting a review
of the mod as soon as it breaks in. I will list the cost
of the installation on my web site, once the mod is done.
www.audiomod.com Richard Kern.
I guess to be expected, some rather ignorant and disparaging remarks were made on Audio Asylum, a usually intelligent and cogent forum unfortunately peppered with paroxysms of assininity, regarding the sale of my modded 777. To clarify, this is a top shelf mod by what I experienced as professional and intelligent people, and the sound is extremely good, much better(IMOP) than units in the same price range, including mod costs, and on or nearly on par with most of the much higher priced players I've heard or had in my system. I loved the player, and although the wait seemed interminable, it was well worth it. I put it and most of my gear up for sale for the simple reason that I'm in the midst of getting divorced and a) needed the $$ and b) moved to a much smaller place and don't have a dedicated, large room any longer. So I have basicaly sold off nearly ALL my gear, not just the 777. Anyway, my point isn't to bore you with my personal turmoil, but to squelch the bullshit, reckless statements to the effect that the mod isn't any good and one should refrain from considering it JUST because my unit was up for sale. The inane nature of such thinking is irresponsible at best. Whether or not the mod is worth the cost is another issue altogether, that's subjective depending on ones price point, I have no problem with that. But to make blanket statements denigrating a product or the people who who modded it, after making the incredibly ignorant leap of "it's for sale, ergo must be no good", is nonsense, and the product of shallow thinking. The gentleman I sold it to ( Oh yea, I forgot, somehow in the midst of my idiocy I managed to sell it at about what I asked) is happy as hell with it, and loves the sound better than the higher priced player he sold to buy it. So, Detlof and those who have or are considering the Audience mod, it's well worth it, and, if you have the pecunia, I highly recommend it. Divorce on the other hand.............
Mes, greetings to you and sorry to hear about your plight. Well, may your system rise again, like the phoenix from its proverbial ashes. From the exchanges we had, I KNOW that you liked the modded 777 very much and I think your post is excellent in setting things straight. I should have my unit back within the next ten days or so and I'll report here, as promised. Hope you will stay on with us here at Audiogon and good luck for the near and more distant future, with sufficient "pecunia" to spare and to get things rolling again!
Danke, Detlof. When I get rolling, I'd do the same thing again. Hopefully Audience will have expedited the process by then. Tschub, Mark
I am a big fan of "pecunia".
Detlof: After having extensive conversations with Mes I can assure you that your modded unit will be absolutely top notch and tough to beat. SimonTJU stated that the Audiocom UK mod is the best, but I doubt he has heard it or even compared many of the mods. My guess is that after the long break-in period, you will have what is probably the best sounding 777 in the world and it should compete with almost anything on Redbook. If you like it half as much as Mes did you will be a happy camper.
Best of Luck!
Thanks Jtinn---yes pecunia---you can never have enough of it, can you. Your post has made me even more impatient for the unit, besides I don't care what is "best". As long as it comes close or betters my vinyl front end, I'll be happy. The stock unit certainly did not, neiter my greenbook CD setup, with upsampler and all. How long do you expect the thing to break in? 300 to 400 hours?