Wadia Upgrades

Has anyone had experience with Steve Huntley's Reference Upgrade for the Wadia 850?
F809ba52 0d38 4758 a773 35f07046dba7Ag insider logo xs@2xnathanu
Steve is a GOOD guy. Honest, trustworthy, etc. He works on all Wadia products,and use to work for Wadia a while ago.
I personally have not but I have seen many others at various times speak highly of the Great Northern Sound Company.
I emailed and called Great Northern twice to inquire and buy the upgrade for my Wadia 850. No response in either case. I'm nervous sending my 5K cd playing in to someone who won't return a phone call/email when someone is willing to spend money with them. Have you had any response?
WHILE WITH WADIA STEVE WAS ONE OF THE MOST CREDIBLE MFGS.THAT I had the pleasure of talking to his advice was always right on the money.I am about to send him my wadia 20 to be serviced
With full understanding that this forum is designed to be a place where participants can freely speak their minds, I ask your patience and understanding as I make one comment that I feel is in the best interest of all Wadia product owners. This is not a sales pitch, it's a one time clarification and then i'm done, this is YOUR forum. My name is Steve Huntley and I own/operate Great Northern Sound Company, and since the closing of Wadia on August 15th, I have been doing my absolute best to help the owners of Wadia products that have service related problems get them resolved. Unfortunatly in this process, I have not been able to get back with every single inquiry about the upgrades we offer. On behalf of the people who own Wadias assets and myself, I have been supporting dealers, distributors, and end-users all over the world with Wadia repair and support services, and the demands on my time have been beyond belief. I simply think that it's the right thing to do to take care of people first that I have made commitments to already, and then help people with units that dont work properly before moving on to upgrades. Beleive me, I would rather be doing upgrades. I just ask for your understanding during this time. The one piece of equipment I don't have is a time stretcher. If anyone has not received a reply from us (the vast majority of the hundreds of inquirys have been responded to), please give us the opportunity to respond again. You are important to us and deserve a reply. Thank You ! Steve Huntley
I, too, recently inquired about getting my Wadia 850 modified by Great Northern Sound. While Steve did not get ack to me the same day I had originally emailed, the following day I had an email waiting apologising for the delay in getting back to me. Not only was the email timely, but he offered additional information that I was unaware of, relative to another level of upgrade that he could offer. It gives one great comfort knowing while Wadia is having financial difficulties, that there is a consciencious professional who is more than willing to not only to offer advice, but also repair and modify expensive equipment. There is no doubt in my mind that my 850 will be sent off to Steve Huntley in the near future, knowing that it will be in good hands and that it will comeback sounding better than ever!!
I support UCmgr's post. I too have been in regular correspondence by e-mail with Steve. He has responded to each of my e-mails in a timely manner. I too fully intend to send my Wadia 850 to him. The purpose of my original post was not to seek comments on Steve's reliability or integrity, but rather on the sonic characteristics of the upgrade. I regret the resulting confusion.
Ok, I can understand that reason. I just wish someone would have called or sent a reply email and said we're busy because of Wadia's current financial situation. I love my 850, the biggest thing I'm mad about is that I didn't go ahead and buy the 860 2 years ago! I'll send another note and try again. Thanks for everyone for giving their opinions.
Nathanu, briefly, here are some characteristics of Huntley's mods, of which there are several levels available: Transparency and resolving power are improved top to bottom. There is a sense of greater extension at both frequency extremes, but especially in the bass. The low end performance from Huntley's "reference" mod is the best I have heard from any source. The space between the instruments is quieter, and the soundstage is broader and deeper. Overall, the sound is more analogue in quality, in my judgement approaching, but not quite equalling, the best analogue sources. I have been in love with analogue for 25 years, own 3000 records, and never thought I would invest significantly in CD. A visit to Huntley's shop changed my mind. Regards...
Part of what Steve is leaving unsaid is that he was the service manager and part of the design team for Wadia for quite a few years. He has knowledge of the products from both the design and execution points of view. He oversaw (at Wadia) the upgrade of my 16 to a 16i, and then later did the upgrade of the 16i to his ref. level. It was and is worth every penny. It extracts a ton of music from my CDs and is way above the stock upgrade in every facet of performance. I believe his upgrades are a tremendous value if you plan on playing and extracting the maximum music from your collection of CD's. Yes, other formats may get resolved, and there someday may exist enough software that we really want to listen to; however, for now and into the forseeable future, my GNS massaged Wadia 16i gives me musical satisfaction in the fullest sense of the word. I have known Steve Huntley for over a decade. He has upgraded and modified numerous components for me. All of them have been significant improvements, dead-on reliable and well worth the money spent. Steve is consistently conscientious about the work he does and therefore the demmand is often greater than "supply". It is one of those scenarios where patience will be rewarded. Best of luck to all.
Thanks to everyone for your help.
Sorry I didn't mean to bash Steve, I was just surprised by no response. We have traded a few emails now, and he is updating my 850 in 2 weeks. I can't wait to hear the diff. I went with the ref mod for $1500.
Hi Jfrech, I'll be sending my Wadia 850 out to Steve after the holidays. When you get yours back, please email me and tell me how the reference mod compares to your stock 850. I was wondering if the $1500. might be better spent upgrading to an 860x, or finding an 861 for a few bucks more? I'm sure the question has crossed your mind.
i have had steve do a mod on arc.sp 8 and was amazed 10 yrs. ago. I well be sending steve my 861 for the full ref. upgrade at 2000.00 and iam confident of his ability and professionalism. No one should ever give steve a bad rap. great work steve and hope things get a little easier on you and your staff.