TRL Sony 2000es or RAM Toshiba 3960

These two highly achieving players are similiarly priced with mods.
How do they compare?
Is one better?
I've read great things about them both.
If I like a detailed, fast, open, neutral, transparent sound, which one is for me?
Or maybe I'll get a Benchmark DAC 1!
Thanks for any comments or experiences.
For detailed, open, neutral and transparent with the best HF reproduction available, you want the Benchmark Dac 1, no question. It's a stunning dac if you appreciate hearing what the artists and recording engineers actually inteded you to hear on the disc. IF you like colorations, ripened, warm and romantic, this dac, however, is not for you....
I haven't heard the RAM Toshiba 3960, but do know that the TRL C2000ES is a great sounding player. It is very neutral, extended and full with no digititus. Think of good vinyl playback. If that is what you are looking for, you might want to go the TRL.
Vinyl playback is my holy grail. Where do I find out more about this? is their website. Do a search both here at A'Gon and at in the Hi-Rez Asylum. There is plenty in the Archives.

There are also 2 reviews of TRL mods at
TRL is also modifying Marantz.
I know. I'm going to have TRL mod an SA-11 as soon as the new units hit the dock.
I recently referred a friend to TRL for the rework of his Toshiba 3960, he's had it back a couple of days now. I'm surprised that such a cheap little player can have such good video. I'd say picture is nearly as good as my DV50s. I think it may be a little thinner than the Sony TRL/2000, but otherwise has good air and resolution and depth. It may change during break-in and get close to my (trl) DV 50 in the bass?
I had a stock SA11 and it was a big ZERO in my system. Ironic though that I also placed an order for a TRL SA11. Why?? Because of my conversation with Paul. I let Paul speak first about what needs to be improved. Every thing he mentioned that the stock unit lacked in regards to sound quality was exactly the way my ears heard it. We shall find out in a few weeks.
Paul and Brian at TRL have an amazing ear and I think it is due to their live field recording and audio engineering work.
Yes, they are evaluating different units and are very impressed with Marantz units as platforms if one wishes to spend a bit more than the Sony units they have been doing.
I am trying to sort out which one to try next.
I'm quite curious about how the TRL 3960 will turn out... I had been in touch with Paul re the 2000ES but I'd prefer to mod a unit that plays DVD as well. That said, I'm not too confident about the durability of the 3960.
The SA11 is more than just "a bit more" than the Sony. And I can't imagine that the two, after mods- would sound anything alike.

Yes, it is quite a bit more. Could become their reference unit to mod at this point.


They really like the overall sound of the 3960.
It gives up some things in bass to the 595/2000, if I recall Paul's comments-but has turned out very nice.

Thanks for the input re the 3960.

Any idea if TRL has modded the Marantz 8400 universal player. What would be really useful is if they published comments on the various modded players on their website, or at least a list of the players they have modded.
I've had the TRL sony 595 now for about 4 months id ont want to listen to anything else, but being a person who is always looking for better sound. I ordered the TRL scd-2000es, i've heard a lot of great things about this unit, if it sounds anyhting like the 595, which from what i've heard it definitly goes above and beyond the 595. i'll give my opinion of it when i get it in and give it a chance to break in.

You might email or call Paul about the different Marantz units they have assessed and are evaluating.
When I mentioned above about MArantz units that cost a "bit more", I should have stated that they are going to evaluate the 8260, as well as the reference players (SA11,and older SA14). The 8260 is really not too much more expensive than the Sony ES2000 and might have more potential. The SA 11's and SA14's are much more expensive of course.
To put in perspective, though, the TRL 595/2000 units are truly excellent and may be tough to beat for basic price/performance ratio.
With this hobby, as we all know, sometimes the incremental changes or improvements we seek are not a straight corelation with money spent. But no one ever claimed we are rationale:)

I don't know about the 8400, or if they have looked at that one. Chat with him about the build quality of the 3960. He is very impressed with how it turned out.
Have the RAM Tosh,EVS Panasonic S47 and the Stan Warren Aiwa X37c and they are all close.Will report back in 2 weeks after the Tosh breaks.Have not heard the Sony you speak of,but it sure is fun to be connected,Bob
The Sony 2000ES cost around $249-300 and the Marantz SA-8260 is a $1,000-$1,200 unit, so , it is a lot more. I own a Toshiba SD-3960 and compared to the 2000ES, the construction difference is HUGE. The Sony is much better in every respect. I would think it twice ( or more) to invest my money on the Toshiba rather than the 2000ES. But that it just my opinion!!

I have never seen nor heard a Toshiba 3960. I had heard they were going for like 60 bucks somewhere lately.
When I suggested that Jsala talk to Paul about the build quality I did not mean to imply anything good or bad about it. What I meant is that they might have a valuable opinion- I have no idea.

As far as the Marantz 8260 - they are all over Agon for between $675 on up used and $800+ new. Yes, retail is high, but no one pays retail.
I have no idea if it will mod out well for TRL.
They certainly like the Marantz higher end units and seem fond of Marantz build quality. We will see what they have to say.
Sorry if my words were confusing Lkdog, I don't mean it. I just want to state that both units are in a different price range ( Sony/Marantz). The Toshiba is a big achiever but nothing spectacular. Here "" you can see pictures and a long thread about the Toshiba Sd-3950 which is about the same unit as the 3960. I have to admit that I was into the 3960 mods before I bought my 2000ES. After I heard both unit on my system, I took the Toshiba to video duties and the 2000Es to my main rig.

The 8260 was another unit I was looking for about a year or so ago but the related built quality issues posted here and at Audio Asylum keep me away from it. Like you said, Paul is the guy and he is the one who can best express which unit deserve consideration.

Hasta luego!!
I'm sending Paul a Marantz SA14. Paul said that after mods, the only competition it has, is TRL's own $30K machine. Here's hoping! :-)
No worries bro..
I just wanted to make clear that I sure am no expert at the build quality of these various units.
I would guess that the Sony 2000 is a big step up overall in build quality and that usually translates into sound.
I maybe should have been more careful in how I related Paul's comment. He really just thought the 3960 turned out nicely in many ways. Thanks for the link on it.

As for the 8260, I am wondering actually how it will turn out being a unit with a slightly older technology-but we will see what they think.
These are exciting times in digital.