Underwood HiFi Ultimate Mod Denon 3910

Has anyone had any experience with the Underwood HiFi Ultimate Mod Denon 3910?

Hi Ed,

I have a Underwood HiFi Ultimate modded Marantz SA-11S1, which is very impressive, though not a Denon 3910.

Hi John,

Please tell me about how it sounds in your system, especially as compared to other CD, SACD players you have heard.
I own one. It's a fine sounding player. I swapped the OE tubes (EH6922) for Amperex 7308 and this sweetened the sound. The EH tubes were ok but they were too lean in the mids. The 7302s added some warmth.

The only complaint I have is of a very, and I do mean very, slight PS hum that can be heard on quiet moments during play. This might just be my player as I haven't heard anyone else make this comment.

I would characterize its sound as neutral with a lean midrange (even with the Amperexes), great bass extension and detail. I play mostly acoustic, acoustic jazz, chamber music and vocals through it. I find it does not really "rock out", if that makes any sense but on acoustic music it really pulls the details and the intimacy out of the CDs.

I have a pair of Mullard 6922 I will swap in at some point. I think they may add a bit of bloom to the mids which might be nice.

As for working with Wally, Chris and Glen? These guys are great. My first player arrived DOA (shipping damage) but with a phone call and a few emails, I had a replacement in a week. The replacement has worked flawlessly since.
Thanks John and and Colopilot,

Your posts really help me to evaluate how the Ultimate Mod Denon 3910 would perform in my system.

I am not looking to replace my Ayre C-5xe which I love, but rather to replace my Pioneer DV-47A DVD player. The pioneer is not bad for movies, but I have a number of DVD videos of concerts that I like to play from time to time, especially for parties, and I would really like to improve the sound -- and perhaps have a high quality alternative to the Ayre for CDs and SACDs similar to having to different cartridges for analog.

The things is though that most of my DVD video concerts are rock bands and it sounds like maybe the Ultimate Mod Denon 3910 may not be the best choice for that kind of music. What do you guys think?

Hi Ed,
Regarding DVD-A, DVD-V and SACD multichannel performance, I find the 3910 does a tremendous job. It might just be the subwoofer that gives the player that added rock and roll umph it lacks on straight 2 channel CDs. Or maybe it's the added resolution as I do find SACD and DVD-A 2 channel more "meaty" than the usual CD sound.

Have you investigated the mods and how they work with MCH output? Only the front 2 channels are tubed. The remaining channels benefit only from the PS upgrades unless you opt for the additional "level 2" mods for them. I didn't go this far. Do I miss them? That's hard to say. I doubt my MCH speaker set up is likely to make these mods audible anyway.
Sounds, though, like you might want to go for the MCH mods too.

I have a non modded 3910 that I have in another HT system and I can say that for what ever reasons the modded player has better video performance too. I can only guess it's the upgraded PS at work here.

When my first player arrived DOA I was asked by Glenn to open the unit and do a bit of fault checking. With the top off you can really see the quality of the mods - they look OEM in every way. Whatever happened to the player to kill it you could tell it wasn't an issue with its build, it's all top notch work.
I would tend to agree Ed. Not to be too self serving, but I just posted an ad that may be right up you alley, a RAM modded Esoteric DV-60. The picture quality was much better than my previous Denon 5910, which was quite a surprise to me. The DV-60 upscales to 1080p.

Sonically, it's definitely more dynamic and powerful than my Underwood Marantz SA-11S1 as well. I would think it would be the perfect fit for rock videos.

Thanks for your update post. The other channels do not matter to me because I'm strictly a 2-channel guy even with video. The dynamics, base, soundstaging and tonal balance I get with this system doesn't surround sound, and I would not want to spend the money to make multiple channels equal the sonic quality of the left and right channels. So the mods to just first two-channels are fine with me. So I'm really only concerned with how Ultimate Mod Denon 3910 will do with rock videos. If does the job for them, it will do the job for movies as well.

If not, then I need to look at something like the Ayre D-1xe or an Esoteric or the latest Classe. I want to get it used and I don't want to spend too much because I cannot yet foresee what's going to happen over the next few years with the DVD technology.


Thanks for your update post. Your DV-60 with the RAM mods might be the better choice for me (and I can salivate a bit thinking about it), but I'm trying to stay under $4,000 and your modded DV-60 looks to be well worth what you're asking. Also, I'm stuck at the moment with these issues: (1) I don't have an available balance input on my Ayre K-1xe preamp because I bought it with the phono stage which takes up one of the 3 balanced inputs, then I bought the Aesthetix Io Signature which needs to stay balanced to provide its best sonics, and, of course, the Ayre C-5xe also needs to stay in balanced mode to provide its best. (2) My InFocus ScreenPlay 110 operates in 800 x 600 resolution so it can't take advantage of the 1080p performance and it does not have an HDMI input.

At some point in the future, maybe during my vacation in October I may return the K-1xe to Ayre to have the phono stage removed and give me the 3rd balanced input for another balanced source, but that is months away. At some point, I will replace the InFocus ScreenPlay with a 1080p projector, but probably not until late 2008 or early 2009.

I can get a used Ayre D-1xe for $3,300 to $3,500, which should do the job I need for movies and rock videos (although it won't give me a tube alternative to the C-5xe for CDs, SACDs and DVD-As), and I think I can stretch that far.

Thanks again to both of you,

Ed, no worries. That's a killer phono stage you have, I'm green with envy.

Though if I may suggest, the Ayre D-1xe is a bit dated video wise. You may be better off looking for a stock Esoteric DV-60. Especially if you can use the HDMI output. It's video section really is worlds ahead of the Esoteric DV-50S and Denon 5910's that I've seen. I haven't seen the picture of the D-1xe, but from what I understand, it's video section is about 5 years old.
My plasma display is not 1080p either, but the DV-60 PQ clearly looked superior, even just upscaled to 720p/1080i. The Denon 5910 also had a HDMI output, so I assume that the DV-60 had a better scaler.

Also, from my experiences, the Esoteric's are more dynamic than the Denon's, which would mate better with your rock videos. You should be able to grab a stock DV-60 for under $4K.