Hi, Steve at GNS is wonderful to work with. If he tells you something you can count on it. He recently modified an ARC SP9 MKIII for me and the results were spectacular. You can count on good results. Richard
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Yes, Steve can be a tough one to reach once in a while. He is taking care of Wadia's service related issues as well as still managing to dish out the upgrade goods to us. I had been speaking with Steve for about 6-8 mo. before ever sending my player to him. I had an 860 upgraded to an 861 by Wadia just before their departure. I broke the unit in and was very pleased with the 861 performance. I then sent it immediately to Steve for a major rework. We discussed the proposed mods and in the process came up with a few more to add to the "grocery list". Let me tell you this. This reworked player is amazingly good for 16 bit digital! I run my player using algorithm (B). Partnered with the new Rowland 12's, King Cobras and Silversmith cables and N801 speakers my system elicits performance that I have not experienced yet in the high end. Performance aspect that are important to me are a systems' ability to be very musical, delicate and detailed and exhibit coloration free music and at the same time unleash heartstopping bass transients. That describes my system to a "T". The rythym and pacing is up with the fastest systems that I have heard. Keep in mind I am the Wadia 861 directly into the Rowland 12's. The results I am getting are only possible because of the mods that Steve did. You know the old saying... Garbage in, etc... My next equipment move will be to a new format high rez. player and yes Steve will once again have to work some of his magic.
Larry, I am also looking for Steve and would appreciate greatly, if you are speaking to Steve again, about my looking for him urgently. You see, I will be making a trip to the US in about 2 weeks time and would like to take the opportunity to send the CDp for modification. Please ask him to check his mails under sender: chRis ; subject: modification and if he (Steve) could be so kind to send me a reply.
I have done business with Great Northern Sound and Steve Huntley(spelling?). I purchased a modified Wadia 850 from him. I am VERY pleased with the performance of the 850. It is very musical and sounds like live music in my system (Linn Klout amp and Magnaplanar 3.6R speakers). Steve helped me with a small problem I had with the player (my fault, not the 850's or Steve's) and was very friendly and knowledgeable. Steve is great to deal with and know's his stuff. The quality of his work is tops. The Wadia 850 CD player I purchased from his is the best sounding player I have heard. I recommend him without reservation. His prices are not cheap, neither are his modifications ("sonic-improvement-wise"). I have yet to hear or read of a complaint about Great Northern Sound.
I am not sure if it is worth the trouble ie the modification of the Wadia 850 when there are already superior technologies waiting at the sidelines such as the upsamplers and oversamplers that sound so much better. Modifying the red book format would only give you give you a different sound, it doesn't guarantee more musicality.
I have had Steve Huntley modify 5 pieces of audio gear in the last year--three for me and two for my brother. The results have been nothing short of spectacular. This is especially true of his mod to my Wadia 830, which has been the largest single improvement in my system in recent memory. Furthermore, he is one of the more likeable and trustworthy individuals I have met in the audio business. Regarding some of the above comments, several things must be kept in mind. Steve is essentially a one man operation. He has been inundated with service requests for Wadia equipment. Prior to Wadia's demise, Steve usually would respond to e-mails the same day. Recently, some of mine have gone unanswered too. I finally called him yesterday, and he confirmed the issues I have mentioned, and apologised more than was necessary. As far as other CD formats are concerned, no one knows where this one is going to land, and the issue of available media must be given due consideration. If some are content to confine their listening to a dozen sonic spectaculars, so be it, but if I had a stock Wadia player, I would have Huntley modify it in a heartbeat. I remain truly amazed at how much better my 830 sounds, and it's been over 4 months. (It's so good I'm about ready to throw caution to the winds and go visit Carl Eber for a shootout with his RA 50...oops, just kidding Carl!)
Just corresponded with Steve and did ask him about the 24/96 upgrade. He said, however, that he did not see the value of the upgrade and it would be a patent infringement should he tries to do it with the 850. He prefers to work on areas such as the analog section & power supplies (amongst other things) that would yield more tangible sonic benefits. As it stands right now, there are a few who has vouched those improvements. Talk to him; he seems like a nice guy!