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sacdmods.com:OPINIONS???

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Kelly Scott Rickards, Jul 8, 2002.

  1. Kelly Scott Rickards

    Kelly Scott Rickards Stunt Coordinator

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    I was wondering if anyone has delt with sacdmods.com before.

    The wait for the "perfect" universal players is wearing me down and I think I might just say *screw it* and get a Panny RP-82 and one of those modified SACD players (the scd-c222ES + mods is currently tickling my fancy)..

    Thoughts?

    Opinions?

    Comments?


    P.S. Are sacdmods.com the way to go for this or are there other/better choices?
     
  2. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    I've read pretty good reviews of the unmodded versions, personally I'd rather have my hardware player just plain jsne stock, except perhaps all-region for DVD.
     
  3. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Kelly, have you tried the stock 'C222ES in your system yet? It is very possible that a modded version would be better, but determine if there is anything you don't like about the 'C222ES before messing around with mods. Have you considered having a 'CE775 modded? The 'C222ES in stock form beats a stock 'CE775, but a modded 'CE775 could very well outperform a stock 'C222ES. I think there is too much to be lost in modding the 'C222ES instead of the 'CE775. Namely, the 'C222ES comes with a five-year warranty, while the 'CE775 only comes with a one-year warranty. I would hate to lose a five-year warranty by having an ES component modded. However, I could live with giving up a one-year warranty to have the 'CE775 modded. That's just me. Of course, the mods offered on the 'CE775 do nothing to address the build quality, which is lacking in comparison to the 'C222ES.
    Another option you ought to consider before having a 'C222ES modded is simply getting a 'C555ES and sticking with it in stock form. You should be able to get the 'C555ES by mail for $550-600, which is about what a modded 'C222ES will run you in total. I am not so sure that a modded 'C222ES will best a stock 'C555ES. The 'C555ES originally retailed for $1700 and is a wonderful component. The 'C222ES mods do not address every area where the stock unit lags behind the 'C555ES. For example, the 'C555ES uses better DACs, and mods to the 'C222ES do not involved a DAC upgrade. Furthermore, the build quality of the 'C555ES is significantly better than the 'C222ES, and just with the 'CE775, the mods to the 'C222ES do not address build quality. For $550-600, you can get a stock 'C555ES that is an excellent component in every way, complete with a five-year warranty.
    As for you questions regarding folks that do mods, sacdmods.com is certainly one avenue to consider. I have only come across a handful of folks who have gone that route, but all reviews have been positive. Other folks to consider for mods are as follows:
    * Ric Schultz of Evolutionary Visionary Systems (EVS; www.tweakaudio.com): Ric has a very good reputation in the field. He posts occasionally to the Hi-Rez Highway board on www.audioasylum.com .
    * Richard Kern: Richard posts from time to time on Audio Asylum under the moniker "Audiocrazed". I do not know if he has a web site. He has garnered a good reputation on Audio Asylum for modding SACD players.
    * Dan Wright of ModWright, LLC (www.modwright.com): Dan is very well known in field of modded audio components. He has his own message board as part of www.harmonicdiscord.com .
    * Stan Warren: Stan has won high praise on Audio Asylum, particularly for his mods to budget Pioneer DVD players -- at least that is what I see him lauded for most often. I do not know if he has a web site.
    Let me state that I have not used any of these individual's services. Furthermore, I do not know if any of them besides sacdmods.com is performing mods to Sony SACD changers at present.
    Best of luck in your search for the right SACD player.
     
  4. Robert Franklin

    Robert Franklin Stunt Coordinator

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    I will say that Keith is right on target with what he says. I will also say that I just bought a modified Sony SCD-555ES from Oade Brothers. Just the unit alone is $575, but the modified version of this fine player is only $175 additional. Now, I could have stuck with the player 'as is', but modifications to the sound quality of SACD to sound more smooth is nothing new. Obviously, or we wouldn't be having this conversation. All in all, look at what you want the player to do and how much detail you want to be able to hear in your collection of SACD's and regular cds. I have chosen to go with a modified 555ES, and the reason is this: if I could afford the $3,000 version without it breaking my back, than that is what I would purchase. But because the Oade Brothers are Authorized Sony ES dealers, and the fact is that these guys know what true, pure, and clean sound like, and they can make modifications to these units without violating the warranty, and I can buy this unit at a reasonable cost; why not. If I can get a machine that sounds like the $3,000 model for $775, you tell me who is the smart consumer?
    Happy hunting! [​IMG] You will ultimately make the right decision for yourself.
     
  5. Eujin

    Eujin Supporting Actor

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    Big Thumbs Up for Sacdmods.com!

    Kelly, if you're considering mods, I wouldn't go with the 222ES. I was in the same position you are right now and decided to go with a modded 775 from Sacdmods.com. Basically, it was a toss up between the modded 775 and a stock 555ES. I'd heard the 555ES and really liked the sound. In the end, I decided to chance it with the modded 775, based on one or two positive reviews on Audio Asylum and many emails with Matt Anker who runs Sacdmods. The 222ES sounds, in my opinion, too close to the 775 to be worth the extra cash. Plus, modifying it basically voids the ES warranty. A brand new modded 775 costs about the same as a 555ES, so I think that's where some real comparisons can be made.

    I've never done a side-by-side, but I can tell you that ever since I had my 775 modded, I've stopped lusting after the 555ES or any other player under $1000. Good luck with your decision!
     
  6. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Robert, I wasn't considering a modded 'C555ES as an option, but I should have mentioned Oade Bros.' work with this player for the sake of being complete. I have not heard one of their modded units, but if it sounds like the 'XA777ES, they have really done some great work. Out of curiosity, how long do they guarantee their work? It would be nice if they would somehow compensate for the lost five-year warranty. I could see that since Oade Bros. is a friendly organization. However, I don't know if they are able to fix many of the problems that could arise with the unit. I assume they only guarantee their own work for a certain period. I am really only asking out of curiosity because I don't want to give up the five-year warranty. Also, from what I have always read, Oade Bros. only modifies players at the time of purchase. I bought one 'C555ES from OneCall and the other from J&R Music World.
     
  7. Matthew Anker

    Matthew Anker Stunt Coordinator

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    Keith, you've brought this up a lot, and I think you should be the one to tell me how to improve build quality. I'm clueless. Should I weld a steel plate to the bottom of the player?
    Perhaps the simple, yet extremely effective transport in the CE775/222ES is able to do everything your "overkill" players can do, just with less materials and costs.
    I can't improve the build quality. I usually suggest putting a heavy book on top of the unit and enjoy. Works for me[​IMG]
    Enjoy the music!
     
  8. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    For those who came in middle of the movie: what does the "mod" for these players do?
     
  9. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Matthew, you have a way of getting a bit defensive in these discussion of mods. I want to leave the vested interest out of the discussion. Certainly, I don't have one.

    I said:

     
  10. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Patrick, several people are offering modifications to Sony SACD players that involve upgrades to certain parts. For example, capacitors are often upgraded. See Matthew's web site, www.sacdmods.com , for details on the modifications he performs. Also, see www.modwright.com for details on the work that Dan Wright does with SACD players. In any event, many people have commented here and on Audio Asylum that the mods offered by various people improve the overall performance of these players with both CDs and SACDs. Just note that these mods, as you might expect, void the Sony warranty.
     
  11. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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  12. Matthew Anker

    Matthew Anker Stunt Coordinator

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    Forgive me if sound a little defensive, I just want to get my point across. I also have a tendancy to bash high-priced equipment, so I'm just going to let you know in advance.
    That's probably true, but you should hear a DSD1702 type player when the DAC can actually operate properly (free from electrical jitter).
     
  13. Matthew Anker

    Matthew Anker Stunt Coordinator

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    I think you might really want to look at pages 22 and 23 of the PCM1738 datasheet with the output stage schematic.

    This DAC needs 3 op-amps per channel, while the DSD1702 only has 1, and it is just there to protect your preamp from high frequency and to buffer the output.

    Just FYI.
     
  14. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Matthew,

    It's late in my neck of the woods, so I will not look over the info. on DACs you posted now, but I appreciate you posting the links.

    Regarding build quality, the Ah! tube players are popular for tweaking in this area (and others). Some people on Audio Asylum have reported improving the sound (bass response, for example), by adding a compound to the inside top of the chassis. I believe the material is called Dynamat or something like that. This sort of tweak is akin to putting external dampening devices on top of the player. I don't know if Dynamat or whatever it is called would benefit the sound of the SACD players and I am not suggesting that you use it. It's just something that some people have used.


    Lewis,

    Sorry if my post was not clear, but I did not have the 'CE775, 'C222ES, and 'C555ES in my second system at the same time. I had the 'CE775 first, then the 'C222ES, and finally the 'C555ES. I exchanged one for the next and stuck with the 'C555ES. All the while, I had a 'C555ES in my main system, but did not compare it to the 'CE775 or 'C222ES. However, I did, and still do, have a 'C333ES in the second system. I should have mentioned that in my previous post. Overall, I felt the 'C333ES and 'CE775 were close on SACD. The 'C333ES was slightly better, but the difference was not night and day by any means. Also, while the 'CE775 was brand new, the 'C333ES was a year old at the time. Perhaps break-in had something to do with my observations, though I have not noticed break-in on my components. I did not compare the 'CE775 and 'C333ES with CDs.

    I felt the 'C222ES was better than the 'C333ES with CDs and SACDs. I was surprised by my observations with SACDs. Again, the difference was not night and day, but it was noticeable. I guess we can throw out the break-in theory since the 'C222ES was brand new. Finally, I found the new 'C555ES (not the one in the main system) beat the 'C333ES with CDs and SACDs. Again, we can throw out break-in. My second system is not nearly as transparent as my main system, and a comparison of various players would have been interesting in the main system. Still, I heard differences in the second system between these players.
     
  15. Eujin

    Eujin Supporting Actor

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    KeithH and Matthew,
    The two of you are among the members of this board that I pay most attention to--especially as regards SACD equipment. I'll take the time here to make a couple of observations that will hopefully sort out what I see as a small but dramatic difference in opinion:
    KeithH, you seem to me, at heart, not a "mod" kinda guy. This is not a knock--mods are not for everyone, and you obviously place real value in the validity of your ES warranty, as is true for a good number of people who invest in ES equipment. I think you've been more than fair in your dissemination of info regarding mod options (including Matthew's). In many ways, mods are a difficult proposition: you have no way of evaluating how the player will sound, and if you don't like it, you're up the proverbial creek.
    Matthew, you're obviously going to be a little defensive of the work you do on the players. To me, you perform an invaluable service. I have neither the technical skill nor the engineering/tinkering expertise to implement any of the work you do--but thanks to your efforts, I now have a completely satisfying (build quality issues aside) 775. I think you just have to recognize that KeithH is merely making other members aware of the potential pitfalls of modded cheaper players--I don't think he's actually said anything against the work you do (certainly nothing like the negativity that's been hurled your way by some inmates of the Asylum).
    And just for the benefit of anyone else following this thread, I've actively solicited much good advice from KeithH on this board AND been a very happy Matthew Anker customer as well. [​IMG]
     
  16. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Eujin, thanks for the kind words. Mods to SACD players certainly have me intrigued. However, you are right in that they are not my cup of tea, especially when it comes to modding ES players. I know that there are a handful of highly capable folks out there, including Matthew, that are doing excellent work in this area. I have yet to encounter a reviewer of a modded player that is anything but ecstatic over the results. Believe me, these reviews get my attention. However, I am happy with the performance of the stock units, and as I have made abundantly clear by now ([​IMG]), I don't want to give up the five-year ES warranty. If I had infinite sums of money -- I have other priorities, not the least of which is a wedding I am in the midst of planning -- I would invest in a modded 'CE775. As I said, I wouldn't mind giving up the one-year warranty. However, I am not going to spend $300-400 on yet another SACD player. I have four right now, and that's enough for now. [​IMG]
     
  17. Chas_T

    Chas_T Supporting Actor

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  18. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Charles,
    Thanks for the information. I greatly appreciate it. It's nice to know that Oade Bros. will take care of you repairs if Sony won't. I'd like to see that in writing when they sent the modded player, but Oade Bros. is a very legitimate organization.
    There is no question in my mind that a stock 'C555ES will alleviate the brightness observed with a stock 'CE775. I wholeheartedly agree with the person at Oade Bros.
    By the way, I know I owe you an e-mail reply. I am behind on my e-mail right now. [​IMG]
    Lewis,
    One more thing about comparing changers. I have compared the three models at various times in stores, but most of the time I compared just the 'C222ES and 'C555ES.
     
  19. Mike Matheson

    Mike Matheson Second Unit

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    Charles or anyone else,

    Any ideas specifically WHAT specifically gets modded in the 555 by Oade for that extra $175? I could never quite get this info out of them (I went ahead and got the mods anyway--and haven't compared the player to a stock 555 yet sound-wise).

    KeithH,

    Given your experience with so many players, it'd be fun if someone could get a modded player to you to compare. What part of the country do you live in?
     
  20. Chas_T

    Chas_T Supporting Actor

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    Mike...

    NO details on what components are replaced. I assume those are the details you are asking for.

    I sent an email to the tech a Oade and he responded with some real good generic comments, but nothing about components. That is all I wanted anyway. I went to a tech school for electronics many years ago, but that seems like another lifetime to me.

    Highlights of the mail.

    1. Replace inferior parts with better ones.

    2. Does not cut any traces or add any jumpers so the upgraded unit looks very much like a stock one to a service tech.

    3. Tech uses the SCD-XA777ES as a reference and managed to get the 555 to sound very close to it. It is still NOT a 777, but is the next best thing.

    4. The mod reduces the "transistor" sound of the unit.

    5. The upgraded unit also has better depth and detail than the stock unit.

    I have para-phrased the writer's comments. If he agrees, I'll post and quote the entire mail he sent to me. There is some more information there, but again, no componenets or anything earth shattering. Just good solid information for me personally.

    I will NOT post the mail unless it's OK with the writer. I think that is only fair.

    Keith,

    You are welcome on the information. Also, do not be concerned about "I know I owe you an e-mail reply." If you have the time, fine. It sounds like you have bigger fish to fry with planning for a wedding and other items in your life.

    Cheers....
     

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