to mod or not to mod.........

Pedro2

Well-known member
Nov 29, 2010
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New to the forum but not so new to hi fi, I wonder what are peoples views / experiences of modifications to their kit (mods rather than tweaks if there is a distinction - which I think there is).

I recently had my squeezebox receiver modified and am currently considering going down a similar route with my Beresford DAC. The receiver had various bits changed and upgraded by Brent at Fidelity Audio (as you may have guessed, I am no technical wizard myself) and the results so far have been quite impressive.

Benefits of modifications appear to be -

- An audible improvement from a piece of kit which saves it from a complete upgrade / replacement
- Possible money saving route (again compared to replacement)

Drawbacks -

- Usually renders any guarantees invalid
- Sometimes can disturb other parts inside with possible problematic results
- Usually not possible to audition before purchase so it can be an act of faith which is reliant on comments from others who have gone down similar route.

Anyone had experiences of modifications that they would like to share?
 

drummerman

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Jan 18, 2008
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I'm sure it's worth bringing older equipment such as Iggleberts Quad amps back up to date by replacing possible worn out components with new ones. Similar with speakers, which is something I consider now; Replacing internal wiring with something different, easily reversible if not wanted.

I am not so sure about modding cd players and the like for the reasons you mention, there is no provision for listening to the modified product unless you know someone that has done it already plus it's not easily reversible so, if dissatisfied, the money has been spent. That and the availability of relatively cheap players and DAC's which now use technology that only a few years back would have firmly put them in the 'high end' would make me cautious about choosing that route.
 

pete321

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Aug 20, 2008
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Brent has modded my DacMagic in 2 stages, it's now up to Level 4 with Burson's standard and probably far exceeds anything I could buy for the equivalent outlay. I'm more than happy with massive improvement in sound. I'd definately recommend having your DAC getting it's guts ripped out and upgraded, it's something that will stand the test of time. With regard to other components, e.g. CD player, it's going to be the DAC your most likely to upgrade within it, I'd advocate buying a cheaper external DAC and having that modded instead. Although aparently having the master clock in disc players can produce big improvemants. I might look into a clock upgrade when I eventually get my hands on the Marantz UD5005 I've ordered.

Yes the warranty is a bit of a risk, but one I'm willing to take, other than the single most expensive piece of kit I ever bought, an Arcam AVR600 which never worked properly, they all seem to keep going past their warranty period.
 

audioaffair

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Feb 21, 2009
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I used to have the bug to upgrade back in the 90s when upgradable clocks for CD players were introduced in greater numbers. Now though, there are so many effective DACs at lower and lower prices (think the Musical Fidelity VDAC) that it's worth retaining the warranty and upgrading the DAC IMHO.

it's worth bearing in mind also that "modding" is almost the same as "tweaking" - adding proper isolation platforms/supports, better cables and properly considering room acoustics can go a very long way to improving the sound of your system
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Pedro2:

New to the forum but not so new to hi fi, I wonder what are peoples views / experiences of modifications to their kit (mods rather than tweaks if there is a distinction - which I think there is).

I recently had my squeezebox receiver modified and am currently considering going down a similar route with my Beresford DAC. The receiver had various bits changed and upgraded by Brent at Fidelity Audio (as you may have guessed, I am no technical wizard myself) and the results so far have been quite impressive.

Benefits of modifications appear to be -

- An audible improvement from a piece of kit which saves it from a complete upgrade / replacement
- Possible money saving route (again compared to replacement)

Drawbacks -

- Usually renders any guarantees invalid
- Sometimes can disturb other parts inside with possible problematic results
- Usually not possible to audition before purchase so it can be an act of faith which is reliant on comments from others who have gone down similar route.

Anyone had experiences of modifications that they would like to share?

A number of manufactuers do offer upgrades to CDPs - Cyrus, Arcam spring to mind - but if you're looking to turn a Ford Escort into a Ferrari, then we are talking serious upgrades and, usually, money.

In saying that, I've had my Leema upgraded by having a new circuit board and isolation and earthing, which brings it little closer to the new MKIII Pulse.
 

idc

Well-known member
Jan 2, 2008
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To keep Musical Fidelity warranties intact you can use their expensive Fine Tuning service. Otherwise some of their products are suitable for DIY modding, google 'Rock Grotto'.

I think that modding is more useful adding extra years to kit or getting stuff repaired than it is improving sound.
 

pete321

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Aug 20, 2008
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idc: I think that modding is more useful adding extra years to kit or getting stuff repaired than it is improving sound.

I don't think you'd say that if you heard the before & after with my DacMagic and Yamaha DSP-Z7, both of which have been modified. The improvements haven't been subtle.

I sent my DacMagic off within a few weeks of buying it. It was my plan to get a modestly priced DAC and get it modified. For a fraction of the outlay, you get a DAC with quality as good as, or better than a £1000+ DAC.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I agree with pete, the mod on my DAC magic has brought greater improvements than the same cash could have on upgrading to a new unit.

Just out of interest pete, when you upgraded from level 1-4 did you pay a intermediate amount? Obviously you already had part of the mods used in the level 4-upgrade already, from the level 1 upgrade. Interested in the new PSU now, you tried this?
 

pete321

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Aug 20, 2008
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Yes, I only paid for the additional components, and as you already know, Brent is a fair man to deal with. Haven't seen the PSU upgrade, I'm using the Maplin transformer. Is it something that Fidelity Audio (previously Audioupgrades) are doing? I have to say that when I upgraded to Level 4, the improvements were more subtle than the intial Level 1 + Bursons. I think the Burson opamps make the biggest difference as you'd expect from their cost. Probably a Level 2 + Bursons would be the ideal between cost and performance gains.
 

pete321

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Aug 20, 2008
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Brisk:Interested in the new PSU now, you tried this?

I've found it now, it's a bit expensive at £185 by comparison to the cost of the DAC itself. I suppose if you've spent a lot on upgrades for it already as I have, it's the next logical step. It's a shame they don't sell it on a 30 day money back guarantee as they do the more expensive mains filtering devices. I guess a decent power supply was the only thing that held back a modded DacMagic from competing with the big boys.

With the exception of the Cyrus PSX-R power supplies for Cyrus kit, all the other mains accessories (power leads, mains filtering) I've used don't seem to produce particularly spectacular results. If this could achieve PSX-R type results, then it'd be worth it in my book.


I think the next £200 I spend at Fidelity Auido will be having the
master clock upgraded on my Marantz UD5005 which I should be getting
within the next few weeks, but I'd definately consider this for the future.
 

Pedro2

Well-known member
Nov 29, 2010
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On the subject of upgraded power supplies, I bought a Teddy Pardo unit for a squeezebox receiver. It too was expensive (more than the Fidelity Audio units) ; it made a definite improvement to the sound although it's debatable whether it represented true value for money (very subjective issue always!).

I now have a modified squeezebox receiver with new linear power supply (approx £750 in total). I hope to compare it at some point with a friend's Cyrus CDP. Should prove interesting!
 

fidelity audio

New member
Dec 6, 2010
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Hi

We do offer a 2 year warranty plus a 30 day money back guarantee on the power supplies, I just forgot to add it


Our Ultra psu for the Squeezebox is more expensive than the Teddy one but does offer a larger psu using a bigger toroidal transformer, our own low esr capacitors and our superb low noise SPower voltage regulator.
 

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