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Modifying CD players

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BigH's picture
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I have come across cd players that have been modified by companies such as Fidelity Audio, CPT Acoustics and JS Audio Repairs. Does anyone have any experience of this?

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RE: Modifying CD players

BigH wrote:

I have come across cd players that have been modified by companies such as Fidelity Audio, CPT Acoustics and JS Audio Repairs. Does anyone have any experience of this?

Not CDPs, but I'm currently having a Sonos ZP90 modified by Fidelity Audio. The mods are similar in kind, I think: replacing clocks, capacitors etc. I don't know whether this will be worth the (not inconsiderable) expense, but I'm so attached to Sonos that it seemed worthwhile as an experiment. Once I get it back, I'll test it alongside an unmodded version and let you know what I think.

Matt

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RE: Modifying CD players

Fidelity Audio are currently upgrading my Arcam Alpha 9 CDP and 9 & 9P amps. Will post in a couple of weeks.

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RE: Modifying CD players

12Designs wrote:

Fidelity Audio are currently upgrading my Arcam Alpha 9 CDP and 9 & 9P amps. Will post in a couple of weeks.

Great let me know how it sounds. Is that a Level 1 upgrade on the cdp?

 

The price is not cheap but then DACs can be £500. 

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RE: Modifying CD players

BigH wrote:

12Designs wrote:

Fidelity Audio are currently upgrading my Arcam Alpha 9 CDP and 9 & 9P amps. Will post in a couple of weeks.

Great let me know how it sounds. Is that a Level 1 upgrade on the cdp?

 

The price is not cheap but then DACs can be £500. 

 

Having a level 3 upgrade on the CDP Smile

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RE: Modifying CD players

I've often wondered about this too. They do a 'stage 3' modification for my CD63 KI which easily surpasses the cost of a damn good new CDP. Can't help but wonder what it would sound like, just out of curiosity's sake. But there's not exactly a way to demo it!

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RE: Modifying CD players

My CD63 apparently has some decent mods, although I can't currently find the spec list from the previous owner. I'll email him as I'm curious now

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RE: Modifying CD players

BigH wrote:

I have come across cd players that have been modified by companies such as Fidelity Audio, CPT Acoustics and JS Audio Repairs. Does anyone have any experience of this?

Consider the original cost of the equipment and then add the cost of the mod.

A lot of the mods that I have seen advertised, charge exorbitant prices for essentially basic and cheap components.

Would your money not be spent more wisely on better equipment to begin with and still maintain a better residual value and warranty?

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RE: Modifying CD players

Overdose wrote:

BigH wrote:

I have come across cd players that have been modified by companies such as Fidelity Audio, CPT Acoustics and JS Audio Repairs. Does anyone have any experience of this?

Consider the original cost of the equipment and then add the cost of the mod.

A lot of the mods that I have seen advertised, charge exorbitant prices for essentially basic and cheap components.

Would your money not be spent more wisely on better equipment to begin with and still maintain a better residual value and warranty?

Maybe thats why I'm asking. However a lot of the new price is going in dealers and tax so I'm not sure say a £1,000 cdp is better than a say a £100 cdp modified one.

 

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RE: Modifying CD players

BigH wrote:

Overdose wrote:

BigH wrote:

I have come across cd players that have been modified by companies such as Fidelity Audio, CPT Acoustics and JS Audio Repairs. Does anyone have any experience of this?

Consider the original cost of the equipment and then add the cost of the mod.

A lot of the mods that I have seen advertised, charge exorbitant prices for essentially basic and cheap components.

Would your money not be spent more wisely on better equipment to begin with and still maintain a better residual value and warranty?

Maybe thats why I'm asking. However a lot of the new price is going in dealers and tax so I'm not sure say a £1,000 cdp is better than a say a £100 cdp modified one.

 

In some cases it may be that the cheaper CD player is no better or worse, with or without mod. Most digital sources have so little in the way of differences in sound it's not worth considering as a factor. Time, energy and money would be better spent elsewhere in the system.

Opinions will always vary on a forum, so the only real way to know is to try, but then you've already spent your money.

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RE: Modifying CD players

12Designs wrote:

BigH wrote:

12Designs wrote:

Fidelity Audio are currently upgrading my Arcam Alpha 9 CDP and 9 & 9P amps. Will post in a couple of weeks.

Great let me know how it sounds. Is that a Level 1 upgrade on the cdp?

 

The price is not cheap but then DACs can be £500. 

 

Having a level 3 upgrade on the CDP Smile

My Sonos ZP90 just arrived back from Fidelity. Level 2 mod including new outboard power supply. Sounds fine out of the box but it may need some running in time. Proper testing next week ...

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RE: Modifying CD players

Great stuff, I look forward to hearing about your upgrade.

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RE: Modifying CD players

12Designs wrote:

Great stuff, I look forward to hearing about your upgrade.

I've been running the modded ZP90 (Fidelity Audio level II) alongside an unmodded one, both going into the optical digital inputs in my MDAC, playing the same music from the same bitperfect source. Using the selector on the MDAC remote I can switch instananeously between the two ZP90s.

The most obvious difference is that the modded ZP90 has a smoother and more 'analogue' presentation. In comparison the unmodded ZP90 sounds grainy and edgy, especially in the high and upper middle frequencies. The modded version also has more space around the music and better separation. Base is a fraction tighter.

But the mod is expensive, and if I was starting with a blank canvas and wasn't already committed to the functionality of Sonos, I'm not sure I'd go down this route. Still, I'm satisfied with what the mod has done for my study system. Job done.

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RE: Modifying CD players

Sounds like it was worthwhile doing. Expensive yes, but in the long run the pleasure of better SQ with less chance of listening fatigue over longer peroids can only be a plus. Congrats!

 

beauty, eh

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RE: Modifying CD players

matt49 wrote:

12Designs wrote:

Great stuff, I look forward to hearing about your upgrade.

I've been running the modded ZP90 (Fidelity Audio level II) alongside an unmodded one, both going into the optical digital inputs in my MDAC, playing the same music from the same bitperfect source. Using the selector on the MDAC remote I can switch instananeously between the two ZP90s.

The most obvious difference is that the modded ZP90 has a smoother and more 'analogue' presentation. In comparison the unmodded ZP90 sounds grainy and edgy, especially in the high and upper middle frequencies. The modded version also has more space around the music and better separation. Base is a fraction tighter.

But the mod is expensive, and if I was starting with a blank canvas and wasn't already committed to the functionality of Sonos, I'm not sure I'd go down this route. Still, I'm satisfied with what the mod has done for my study system. Job done.

 

£750? For a new PSU and new clock? What effect is the power supply supposed to have on the digital out? Or do you just put this down to reduced jitter? I'd expect the MDAC to be able to cope with jitter. 

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RE: Modifying CD players

matt49 wrote:

12Designs wrote:

Great stuff, I look forward to hearing about your upgrade.

I've been running the modded ZP90 (Fidelity Audio level II) alongside an unmodded one, both going into the optical digital inputs in my MDAC, playing the same music from the same bitperfect source. Using the selector on the MDAC remote I can switch instananeously between the two ZP90s.

The most obvious difference is that the modded ZP90 has a smoother and more 'analogue' presentation. In comparison the unmodded ZP90 sounds grainy and edgy, especially in the high and upper middle frequencies. The modded version also has more space around the music and better separation. Base is a fraction tighter.

But the mod is expensive, and if I was starting with a blank canvas and wasn't already committed to the functionality of Sonos, I'm not sure I'd go down this route. Still, I'm satisfied with what the mod has done for my study system. Job done.

The ZP90 has poor jitter performance. If the mods have improved the jitter, then possibly that would explain the improvement you perceive. 

If this is the case, it is disappointing to hear that the MDAC is so sensitive to input jitter.  I recall reading that the MDAC employed an async / sample rate conversion approach, but maybe that is only for USB.

If the MDAC is very sensitive to jitter, try using coax rather than optical. Some optical interfaces have poor bandwidth and can introduce jitter themselves.

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