To Mod Denon DVD-5900 or not?


It looks like there are a bunch of people here who have modded Denon DVD-2900, 3910, and 5910. I hardly see anyone who have modded their Denon DVD-5900 from all these available mod shops. Why is this? I currently have a stock Denon DVD-5900 and was wondering if it is worth modding? Would like real owners/past owners to respond and share their expereinces good or bad about their modded Denon 5900 player and what they compared it to. Mods can cost from $1500 - $3000 plus, so this can get pricey and is it worth it?

Would I be better off selling my Denon (recoup some money back), and buying a (stock/un-modified) used Ayre C-5xe, Cary SACD 306, Classe CDP 202, Esoteric SA-60, or Marantz SA-1, SA11, SA-7, etc? Which way will I get more bang for my buck? Most interested in strong redbook CD playback and SACD as an added plus.

Thanks in advance.
It appears many audiophiles are using mod player of some sort. This really make me wonder if the mod is really superior over stock of higher price units: a) Is it cheaper with the mod? b) Is the sound really better. I too would appreciate if someone could comments on the sound of their mod unit as compared to the stock of higher price players.
I have a modded SCD-1 and it is far superior to the stock unit. Depth of sound stage and the placement of the instruments in that sound stage is incredible as is the transparency (speakers disappear). The timbre, texture and tempo of the instruments is also vastly improved.

Some high priced players are very good while others are not. I have heard a couple of higher priced units 10kUSD and 13K+USD. The 10K unit was very good, but I did not hear it in my system and would need to do so to give it a fair evaluation. The 13K+ player was directly compared to my modded unit and it fell far short.

It really comes down to the quality of the componests used in the construction of the unit as well as circuit design and execution.

I modify/upgrade speaker crossover networks with better parts and was amazed at the sonic improvement. I took this approach when I modified/upgraded my EAD CD-1000 mkIII. I replaced 28 critical caps with much better Rubycon caps, 4 power supply diodes with soft recovery Stealth diodes, replaced all internal wiring with teflon coated silver wiring, and the Auricap tweak right after the IEC inlet.

These are very basic mods/upgrades, I did not alter the circuit design at all, I just put in better quality parts. The results were again amazing. More musical, more air and space around voices and instruments, quieter blacker background, wider soundstage, better imaging, and details within the music were even more noticable. Everything became that much better, highs, mids, and lows.

If you have a decent CDP, it's going to respond well with better parts and is worth it because the source is so important.
Well I would say that you don't see modded Denon 5900's because the mod fad is relatively new. It has been picking up steam, but really only goes back a year or so. I know that mod companies have always been out there, but the Denon line really only became fashionable lately. I have heard of modded Denon 2900's though. I heard a Exemplar modded 2900. By the time mod companies became real fashionable the 2910/3910/5910 series was the established line from Denon. FWIW, I would think that a modded 5910 and 5900 would sound very similar, the difference would be the video performance.

As for the value of mods, this has been discussed here before and is a topic of hot debate. You may want to search the archives. Yes, I agree with Vman71, it does improve the sonics. However, make sure you plan to keep the unit, as you will never come close to re-couping your investment. You'll find that when selling modded equipment, even from a reputable mod company, you will have little interest and lose a bunch of money.

I do like listening to equipment from different mod companies, but I prefer to buy them with the mod already done, it's much cheaper this way. I currenly have two machines from different mod services. One had a $2800 mod that I paid about $500 more than a stock used one for, and the other has two mods totally $3600 that I paid about $700 more than a used one for. So figure if you pay for the mod yourself, if you ever sell it you'll get about 20-25 cents back on the dollar. Not a good investment IMHO.

I think modded units can easily compete with the more expensive stock units, however, the more expensive stock units will hold their value better and be easier to re-sell. So I personally wouldn't even consider modding your 5900. I would sell it and buy a already modded unit or a more expensive stock unit. This of course is just my opinion. I've been told before that it is wrong, mostly from folks who have paid top $$$ to have the original mod done themselves. Of course if you are handy like Vman71 and can do the mod yourself you can save a bunch of $$$, but just know that when selling, most people won't touch a modified unit. I notice that the views on my ads are cut by two-thirds if I even mention a mod was done. Even if the mod was done by a reputable service. Most folks won't touch a modified unit.

That is my experience anyway. You are free to do what you wish.


I would put a slightly different spin on the value/attractiveness of modded gear. I would say that once a person understands the tremendous amount of sonic improvement that modifications offer, especially to gear that is not the "latest and greatest" or was not the "top of the line" offering when that model was being sold, then the modified gear will become more attractive and hold more value.

The fact that I know how good modified gear can perform/sound, I try to exclusively buy only modified/customized gear. The value/attractiveness to me goes way up when I know it's not stock.

Your points are well taken though.

Thanks to all who responded, I appreciate the honest feedback so I can make a better decision.

Sounds like the safer way would be to look for already used modified players or higherend stock players. My question is, if you go with the higherend stock units, where do I start? What level retail should I be looking at to compete favorably with modded Denons? Would for an example, a used modded Denon 3910/5900/5910 compete with stock units costing in the retail $5k-$7K, or would I have to look higher or lower to get an equal increase in performance? You know what I mean? Where do I draw the line to start? I am assuming that the modded Denons would beat the stock players ranging from $3k - $5k, or am I wrong to assume that? This is where it gets confusing and too many choices, if i can weed out most and isolate a shorter list of possible candidates, that would help. To clarify, if I spent (hypothetically) $2,500 on a used stock unit that costs in the $5k -$7k msrp, would that same $2,500 amount spent on a used modded Denon give me better performance? Or would that stock player be on the same level if not better than the used modded Denon? Or do I have to look at used stock units costing more in msrp say from $7k-10k to have an equivalent level of performance as the used modded Denon?
I agree with all concerning the value of modded gear as it really depends on who modded it. But for the most part what I have seen is that modded units do not hold their value well. However, when I compare the sound of my unit to other high end units, as I mentioned above, my player turns into a great value (IMO). My player plus mods cost me less than the depreciation on most of those high end players assuming one buys new.

And I agree with Mike you simply can not believe the sonic improvements, at least in my experience, over the stock unit. This is especially true when you compare the sonics of the modded unit...mine in particular.... to the cost of the higher end units. The higher end units are priced to point and also bear the burden of marketing and distribution plus retail mark-ups.

In the end one has to be satisfied with ones own decision whether or not the cost to mod justifies the end result.

Chuck, if indeed that is your real name, do you mind if I call you ce168@h.c for short?

I think I know what you're asking. Since I currently own two highly modded players, I guess I would recommend you look for a used modded player. I think the modded units represent a good value. To use your example, I just bought a modded cd player for $2600. It is a unit that listed for $3500 in stock form and had $3600 worth of modifications. IMHO, I would have had to spend over $4-5K on a used $8-10K stock player to equal or top it. Does that make sense? Don't get me wrong, I do think that modded units perform very well, at least the mods that I've heard. Better than stock units and better than many more expensive units. Stock units have other associated costs that drive up their list price, as Chuck states.

As Mike says, since I know how much a mod adds sonically, and how much it depreciates on the used market, I spend my money on used modified units. To get a $3000 worth of mods for $500 is too good to pass up.

That being said, I'd never be the one to originally purchase the mod. If you plan on keeping your unit for a very long time, this may be a worthwhile investment. However, I know myself, not much lasts longer than 2 years in my system. I'd take a beating if I was only getting back 20-25 cents on the investment dollar. Then again, it might force me to keep gear longer.....

FWIW ce168@h.c, why are you only interested in modded Denon's? There are many modded Esoteric's, Marantz's, Sony's and others out there too. One word of warning, make sure it is a reputable modifier, someone who can repair the unit if there are any problems, since most mods will void any factory warranty and some manufacturers have balked at even repairing a modded unit. Perhaps that's one reason that re-sale on a modded unit is so tough.


Can you email me, or what's your email address? I would like to ask you some stuff offline.

Second the comment concerning only purchasing a modded unit from a reputable modder; this is an absolute must do. Also agree that there are many other models and manufacturers to chose from.

I went the modification route once and I would not do it again. The sound of the modified player was better in terms of individual audiophile parameters that so many of us talk about but in the end the overall sound was less musical to my ears and I didn't like it. If it had been a different player or a different modification company maybe I would have been extremely happy but you don't know what you are going to get and once you get it back its yours. I don't think any of these modification guys are going to return your player back to its original condition and return your money if you don't like what they did to it.