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REVIEW: Vacuum State Electronics DVP-9000ES Level 7 SACD Player (Modded)

220.255.7.208

Posted on January 15, 2009 at 04:13:42
Mark Hoepfl
Audiophile

Posts: 54
Joined: July 11, 2007
Model: DVP-9000ES Level 7
Category: SACD Player (Modded)
Suggested Retail Price: Contact VSE
Description: VSE Level 7
Manufacturer URL: Vacuum State Electronics

Review by Mark Hoepfl on January 15, 2009 at 04:13:42
IP Address: 220.255.7.208
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for the DVP-9000ES Level 7


I had my Sony DVP-9000ES SACD/CD/DVD player modded to Vacuum State Level 5 (balanced) status, by one of their agents, TT Yap at Octave Electronics in Malaysia approximately 2 years ago.

Needless to say the upgrade made a major significant improvement over the stock machine.

Around 6 months ago I had the player modded to Level 6 and this added a further significant improvement to the sound.

Nothing could prepare me for what was coming next though. I was fortunate enough to have Vacuum State's Chief Designer and Director, Mr. Allen Wright as a guest at my apartment for a few days on his travels to and from Australia.

Upon arriving from the airport he pulled out a diminutive silver box from his haversack. It was akin to Yoda pulling out some sort of magical box containing some mystical secrets of the universe...little did I know then the power of "The Uber Clock"! I was also fortunate enough to have the first one in existence!

First we had an extensive listening session of my system and Allen was very, very impressed with the sound the 9000ES player was already producing, as well as my associated equipment.

We listened to a mixture of SACD's as well as standard CD's. One morning I was listening to the lovely RBCD of Shelby Lynn's, "Just a Little Lovin'" (superbly performed and an excellent recording - mastered by Doug Sax) and Allen was on his Mac with his back to my system and commented, "Sounds "vinyl" like" as well as singing high praises for Shelby's sultry performance. Allen has since taken Shelby home to listen to (unfortunately the CD, not Shelby...).

Another morning I was playing one of the best SACD's in my collection, Rachel Podger - Vivaldi: La Stravaganza and Allen came from another room, sat down and proceeded to get totally lost in the performance.

When Allen left to continue his journey to Australia I then shipped the player to one of his agents, TT Yap of Octave Electronics in Malaysia to get the latest mod installed.

Five days later I spoke to TT and he said that he wouldn't return the player to me as he wanted to keep it for a week to listen to more music! He told me he was hearing things he had never heard before on discs - and this from a man that has upgraded many a player in his time.

After persuading TT to send the player back to me I had very high expectations and all I can say is that nothing, I mean NOTHING could prepare me for this.

Just some background: the upgrade is a clock which also contains a new clock power supply. The box requires separate power and connects with a BNC cable to the back of the player and has a small light that indicates the clock is "warming up" and then changes colour once the clock is operational. The purpose of the mod is to GREATLY reduce jitter - the bane of the little silver discs. The box is finished in a very attractive silver finish. There will be more information about this mod and its function on Allen's website in the near future.

Now back to the good stuff....I reeled off disc after disc, SACD's and even the much maligned RBCD's and was shocked at what I was hearing.

More weight, much greater clarity and an expanded sound stage that brought me far further into the recording space than I had ever heard before in my system (and any other system I have heard). On one RBCD I clearly heard the very faint voice of the singer before she actually sang...I was hearing her voice from a previous take that was still there that had "bled" onto the master tape!! I had never heard this before with this disc.

People talking in the distance, background noises, just so many little things that I had never heard before on a mixture of recordings. Recordings sounded very "analog like" with no hint of "digi-itis"....

Recordings had more "liquidity", PRAT was also significantly improved.

Once Allen came back from Australia we first listened to his reference SACD, the brilliant, The Steve Davis Project's, Quality of Silence. Cued up track 2 and the electric guitar sounded, well, JUST like a guitar.

Allen's comment was that before the Level 7 mod my system sounded like a bloody good hi-fi system but now it sounded like "something else"....

More listening followed and time just lost all meaning as we listened to disc after disc. Reference discs to just plain ol' vanilla regular ho hum recordings (including RBCD's) all now sounded far more "you are there".

Other listeners have since come and gone and are also flabbergasted. A mate of mine has duly bought a used Sony 777 and will be getting it modded immediately. We also heard a new stock player (I won't mention the brand) that costs around USD5.5K playing a SACD in a hi-fi dealers shop and couldn't get out of the place quickly enough, it gave us a headache.

I can go on and on and all I can say is this:

If you have a player that has been modded by VSE then it is an absolute no brainer to get this mod done. I understand we are in hard times but save your pennies, curtail your spending and save hard for this one..it's worth every penny!

If you have a player that you are considering modding or considering buying a player full stop then I implore you to get a VSE mod.

Talk is talk and talk is cheap: don't take my word for it, try and listen to a modded player and if you can't, then take a leap of faith - I can guarantee you will not be disappointed.

A modded level 7 player will outperform players at many, many times its price.

I have had a few major upgrades in my system over the years and this is the biggest (and cheapest) one so far and has provided the biggest single improvement by a very considerable margin.






Product Weakness: That some people won't get the chance to hear it!
Product Strengths: See review.


Associated Equipment for this Review:

Amplifier: On application
Preamplifier (or None if Integrated): On application
Sources (CDP/Turntable): On application
Speakers: On application
Cables/Interconnects: On application
Music Used (Genre/Selections): All sorts!
Type of Audition/Review: Product Owner


 

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Finally! Been waiting for somebody to mention Level 7 Level 7 SACD Player (Modded), posted on January 15, 2009 at 05:53:44
Joe Rasmussen
Manufacturer

Posts: 134
Location: Sydney Australia
Joined: October 25, 2005
Finally! Been waiting for somebody to mention Level 7

 

RE: REVIEW: Vacuum State Electronics DVP-9000ES Level 7 SACD Player (Modded), posted on January 15, 2009 at 18:38:35
Rob F


 
Good review Mark. I was fortunate enough to beta test what is probably a much cruder implementation of this modification and loved (and continue to love)what it has done for my sound.I have the old Sony XB940 machine which despite its mechanical issues sounds just fabulous.

 

Been waiting for Allen to officially announce it as Level 7 - codename "Terra Firma", posted on January 16, 2009 at 01:27:07
Joe Rasmussen
Manufacturer

Posts: 134
Location: Sydney Australia
Joined: October 25, 2005
Hi Rob.

How is Kiwiland? Thanks Mark for the email. I think there are still some details to be worked out, the final format(s) and presentation, but again will let team leader Allen do that. Right now I suspect he is on a flight from Singapore to Zurich, as I type this, and soon home. He will, I am sure, make his presence felt here after a bit of a rest.

I can say this much, much of the "road testing" has been done down here in Australia, and some players also sent to New Zealand, over the last six months. Not just to first generation Sony SACD players, but also other players from different brands, from Samsung to Harman Kardon, Oppo and Marantz plus more. The working title for the development has been "Terra Firma" - that the ultimate jitter control requires ultimate stability. There has now been more than thirty player that Terra Firma has been installed into. Bill Thalmann is also doing some initial 1st G Sony players now. TT in KL has done Mark's. So things are starting to happen. But I always let it be known that this was not official Level 7 yet and that Allen would be the one to decide and when to announce it.

It seems that came via Mark's player been done by TT in KL. Not the way I had suspected it would happen. Mark, you have captured the essentials very well in your REVIEW, your descriptions are spot on. Thank you very much. I can now be the one to announce I have the first Level 7+ player, SCD-555ES. Finally! :-)

Been in contact with Bill T recently and looking seriously at Sony's new surprise packet, SCD-XA5400ES. No, not compatible with 1st G players and thus the upgrade path will be very different. We have also developed a very novel high performance I/V Converter (something we have wanted to have up our sleeve for a long time), also been extensively road tested Down Under and is now a mature 'product' and sonically up to standards as confirmed by what effectively has become our beta testers. This is a no negative feedback solution, NO opamps! And Terra Firma. Also, this will have full 2V RMS outputs unlike -11dB we've been used to. Some will like that, others not be bothered one way or the other. The upgrade to the 5400ES will be like the Harman Kardon HD-970 (now obsolete) Terra Firma , ten were done down here. One went to Richard Wong, President of the Audiophile Society of NSW (ASoN - of which I am a member). He also has a Linn CD12 with the most recent spec (know the price he paid?). I asked him in lieu of he now owns the Terra Firma HK, how did the Linn fit in? His answer was succinct, "it doesn't."

Clearly, when this 'Level 7' is applied to OTHER players, it cannot be called such, but the name I hope will stick is "Terra Firma." This will enhance a lot of other players suitable out there. The scope is HUGE!

Joe R.

 

I'd be very interested if Allen designed an external clock for my Marantz SA-7S1. nt, posted on January 16, 2009 at 09:11:18
jkm
Audiophile

Posts: 605
Joined: July 20, 2001
.

 

RE: Been waiting for Allen to officially announce it as Level 7 - codename "Terra Firma", posted on January 16, 2009 at 15:02:52
stvnharr
Audiophile

Posts: 617
Joined: November 6, 2003
Hi Joe,
I've been following the Terra Firma since I first learned of it in a browse of your site several months ago. I also passed some emails with Allen about Terra Firma 2-3 months ago as well. My hope is that Terra Firma will be available as a standalone product for diy install at some point.
Fascinating product this Terra Firma!

Steve

 

RE: Been waiting for Allen to officially announce it as Level 7 - codename "Terra Firma", posted on January 16, 2009 at 23:51:49
Allen Wright
Manufacturer

Posts: 5652
Location: Schaffhausen
Joined: January 31, 2002
>my hope is that Terra Firma will be available as a standalone product for diy install at some point.<

The Terra Firma clock is a stand alone product that is intended to improve the quality of any player it is used with, not just Vacuum State Upgraded SONY players.

To use a Terra Firma "UberClock" with your player, either you, or a tech, will need to install a BNC 75 ohm connector on the rear panel and run a coax cable from this BMC socket to the point on the player's pcb where it's clock signal is currently generated.

This should be a simple task and take at a maximum, one hour of the tech's time.

Then the UberClock is simply attached to this new BNC socket, powered from your line voltage, and presto, your player will have the new clock signal with all of it's advantages.

Mark rather beat me to the gun, he was posting his review while I was on the flight back home, and after a 12 hour sleep I am now just surfacing.

More info on our website this week, including photos etc.- but there is nothing there just yet.

Regards, Allen (Vacuum State)

 

RE: I'd be very interested if Allen designed an external clock for my Marantz SA-7S1. nt, posted on January 17, 2009 at 00:19:44
Joe Rasmussen
Manufacturer

Posts: 134
Location: Sydney Australia
Joined: October 25, 2005
This is what needs to be worked out and in consultation with Allen and VSE installers around the world. I think you guys who haven't heard it (you may be surprised that quite a number has) but has read Mark's Level 7 REVIEW will realise by his description that we believe this Terra Firma development is a BIG DEAL. It has a very wide application and not just Sony 1st G SACD players, and in theory can be applied to almost any player, whether internal or external solution(s) will be adopted and in what determines which is chosen. We need a structure. If external, the interface will need to be fitted to the player and may possibly have multi-purpose uses, not just one player or DAC, master clock for both transport and external DAC. There are potentially many possibilities. Internal installation will be dedicated to the player itself. BTW, some have pointed out that this also has application to ADCs in recording studios. Don't think we have already thought of that.

So, as far as your Marantz SA-7S1 is concerned, it is imminently doable. It's a nice looking player and it's internals are quite beautiful in their neatness.

http://images.google.com.au/imgres?imgurl=http://www.avland.co.uk/marantz/sa7s1/insideblrg.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.avland.co.uk/marantz/sa7s1/sa7s1.htm&usg=__rMTsS9EdmCBbUUXDeiddEAQNaFg=&h=711&w=783&sz=105&hl=en&start=3&tbnid=RE-muuURVphQfM:&tbnh=130&tbnw=143&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dmarantz%2Bsa-7s1%26gbv%3D2%26hl%3Den%26safe%3Doff%26sa%3DG

 

Welcome back Allen (nt), posted on January 17, 2009 at 00:21:23
Joe Rasmussen
Manufacturer

Posts: 134
Location: Sydney Australia
Joined: October 25, 2005
Welcome back Allen (nt)

 

Can this be done to a SCD-1 without an external box? (nt), posted on January 17, 2009 at 03:37:22
JCS
Audiophile

Posts: 1322
Joined: November 3, 2000
(nt)

 

RE: Been waiting for Allen to officially announce it as Level 7 - codename "Terra Firma", posted on January 17, 2009 at 06:21:10
Gerry E.
Audiophile

Posts: 2069
Location: Saratoga Springs, NY
Joined: February 19, 2000
"To use a Terra Firma "UberClock" with your player, either you, or a tech, will need to install a BNC 75 ohm connector on the rear panel and run a coax cable from this BMC socket to the point on the player's pcb where it's clock signal is currently generated."

Alan:

Since the Marantz SA-7S1 already has a BNC Master Clock input (see link below), can you confirm that the Terra Firma "UberClock" can be used with it without modification? Also, any hints as to the price of the Terra Firma (in USD)? Thank you.

Gerry

 

RE: I'd be very interested if Allen designed an external clock for my Marantz SA-7S1. nt, posted on January 17, 2009 at 15:31:08
Allen Wright
Manufacturer

Posts: 5652
Location: Schaffhausen
Joined: January 31, 2002
The Terra Firma "UberClock" can be easily made in the correct frequency for your big Marantz.

Unfortunately, Marantz fit a "Word Clock" extra input on the rear panel but that is not something we can currently supply, and don't believe a better word clock would make much, if any, sonic improvement any way.

Our clock is that of the primary DAC clock frequency (known as the "bit clock") that totally influences the jitter and therefor the sound of the player - a word clock is just for syncronisation of sevearl digital devices if used in a chain, like in a recording studio.

Why Marantz choosew to provide a Word Clock input and not the very much higher frequency "bit clock" I do not know - but we can sell you the UberClock directly, and the correct input can be easily added by any competent rech, he doesn't have to be a rocket scientist, he doesn't even have to be one of our officail agents.

Please contact me privately for pricing and ordering.

Regards, Allen (Vacuum State)

 

RE: Been waiting for Allen to officially announce it as Level 7 - codename "Terra Firma", posted on January 17, 2009 at 15:44:57
Allen Wright
Manufacturer

Posts: 5652
Location: Schaffhausen
Joined: January 31, 2002
>ince the Marantz SA-7S1 already has a BNC Master Clock input (see link below), can you confirm that the Terra Firma "UberClock" can be used with it without modification? Also, any hints as to the price of the Terra Firma (in USD)? Thank you. <

As I answered to someone else, that input is for a low frequency "word clock" and no matter what Marantz write in their user manual, I do not believe it will make a significant IMPROVEMENT to the sound in the way that a superior "bit clock" running at the prime high frequency "bit clock" frequency will do, such as our "UberClock".

Marantz say different word clocks will make tonal differences, but to that I say, so what?

I work to provide major sonic improvement, not minor tonal changes.

We expect to sell the UberClock for around $1750, but that is our Swiss price converted to $US and does not include US taxes, shipping etc etc etc. Please contact your closest Vacuum State agent for a accurate US pricing.

Regards, Allen (Vacuum State)

 

RE: Can this be done to a SCD-1 without an external box? (nt), posted on January 18, 2009 at 02:43:05
Allen Wright
Manufacturer

Posts: 5652
Location: Schaffhausen
Joined: January 31, 2002
We have two options, either a Terra Firma "light" which will fit inside a player that has some extra space, such as your SCD-1.

Or the full Terra Firma "UberClock" which has to be outside as it's just too large to fit inside any player.

The difference between the two versions is their respective powersupplies, the full UberClock using an extremely sophisicated powersupply that is on a wholedifferent level to that of the Terra Firma light. Although the Terra Firma light is still lightyears ahead of any previous clock, from us or any other alternative clock manufacturer.

Regards, Allen (Vacuum State)

 

RE: Been waiting for Allen to officially announce it as Level 7 - codename "Terra Firma", posted on January 18, 2009 at 05:51:10
Gerry E.
Audiophile

Posts: 2069
Location: Saratoga Springs, NY
Joined: February 19, 2000
OK Allen, I get it now, thank you. Well, if nothing else, it would seem like that BNC connector could be disconnected from whatever Marantz was using it for and be used for your Terra Firma "UberClock". This would make the mod/installation of your external clock even more simple, yes?

Gerry

 

RE: Been waiting for Allen to officially announce it as Level 7 - codename "Terra Firma", posted on January 18, 2009 at 13:25:58
Allen Wright
Manufacturer

Posts: 5652
Location: Schaffhausen
Joined: January 31, 2002
>t would seem like that BNC connector could be disconnected from whatever Marantz was using it for and be used for your Terra Firma "UberClock". This would make the mod/installation of your external clock even more simple, yes? <

Yes, would save having to drill an extra hole in the back panel, which can be a bitch of a job sometimes.

And if you were to sell the Marantz, it could be easily rewired.

REgards, Allen (Vacuum State)

 

RE: Been waiting for Allen to officially announce it as Level 7 - codename "Terra Firma", posted on January 18, 2009 at 22:52:15
nreddy


 
How does the VSEI TMS-1 compare to the Level 7?

 

REHow does the VSEI TMS-1 compare to the Level 7?, posted on January 19, 2009 at 01:35:04
Allen Wright
Manufacturer

Posts: 5652
Location: Schaffhausen
Joined: January 31, 2002
I can't tell you, because I don't have my TMS yet.

It's being developed by our digital associate, and 1/ he recently got a job that takes him 60-80 hours a week, and 2/ he keeps updating/improveing it.

I expect/hope/pray to have my TMS demonstrater mid Febuary, then I can report. But they are very differnt machines, Level 7 applies to Upgraded SACD/CD players, the Vacuum State TMS (True Music Server) is a hard disc music server using non oversampling technology and will be available with solid state or tube output stages. It is planned that it hadles hi-rez PCM formats, but at this time, not DSD/SACD.

Regards, Allen (Vacuum State)

 

RE: REHow does the VSEI TMS-1 compare to the Level 7?, posted on January 19, 2009 at 01:36:53
Allen Wright
Manufacturer

Posts: 5652
Location: Schaffhausen
Joined: January 31, 2002
Further, the TMS will of course have a full house Terra Firma UberClock installed.

Regards, Allen (Vacuum State)

 

RE: Finally! Been waiting for somebody to mention Level 7 Level 7 SACD Player (Modded), posted on January 23, 2009 at 10:00:41
Roy Boy
Audiophile

Posts: 7
Location: Dallas, TX
Joined: April 23, 2008
I have a VSE Mod 4 Sony 9000ES that I use for two channel SACD/CD and an Oppo 980H that I use for MCH SACD over HDMI in my hybrid stereo-surround sound system. I understand from looking at Joe Rasmussen's site that the Oppo can be modded with the Terra Firma mod. Would I be better off modding the Sony or Oppo at this point? If I mod the Oppo I could us it for both Stereo and surround duties. Not sure if that is feasible or if there would be a performance difference between the Sony and Oppo with the terra firma mod. Thanks for your insights

Roy

 

RE: REVIEW: Vacuum State Electronics DVP-9000ES Level 7 SACD Player (Modded), posted on January 23, 2009 at 21:16:16
finnman500@hotmail.com
Distributor or Rep

Posts: 234
Location: Southern Ontario
Joined: January 17, 2009
This is slightly off topic but I have a copy of the Shelby Lynne album you mentioned and I have a question as you preport to be on the cutting edge of digital perfection.
The vocals on the first track are distorted early on into the tune. They break up a few times which sounds to my experienced ears as input overload at the mixing console. I have heard this album on other peoples gear with their copy and the same distortion in the same location of the song is exposed.
Do you hear what I'm referring to on your system?

 

RE: REVIEW: Vacuum State Electronics DVP-9000ES Level 7 SACD Player (Modded), posted on January 24, 2009 at 00:44:00
Mark Hoepfl
Audiophile

Posts: 54
Joined: July 11, 2007
finmann500,

I agree with your comments. I think overall it is an excellent recording as I mentioned, but I would not say that it is cutting edge.

And, yes, I can easily hear the break up on the first track.

It's a great disc to listen to though....

Cheers
Mark

 

RE: Finally! Been waiting for somebody to mention Level 7 Level 7 SACD Player (Modded), posted on January 24, 2009 at 02:41:41
Allen Wright
Manufacturer

Posts: 5652
Location: Schaffhausen
Joined: January 31, 2002
Roy,
If you compare your Upgraded SONY with the stock OPPO, I'm sure you prefer the sound of the SONY.

We can add a Terra Firma clock to both units, and both will gain similar performance, but because the SONY is starting from a higher place, it will still sound better.

Your SONY has quite a few possibilities to be even further improved, as well as the Terra Firma clock. Take a look at the linked review for Karl's take on the possible improvements.

Regards, Allen

 

RE: REVIEW: Vacuum State Electronics DVP-9000ES Level 7 SACD Player (Modded), posted on January 24, 2009 at 06:24:13
finnman500@hotmail.com
Distributor or Rep

Posts: 234
Location: Southern Ontario
Joined: January 17, 2009
It is a nice album. I guess they (producers) went with this take as it was probably the best performance even with the slight glitches. It does make it feel more real.
I'm very curious about the upgrades to your SONY. I've been out of touch with consumer electronics and don't really understand 'modded'. I do understand and appreciate separate DACs
and isolating the 'clock' from the transport.
Would you mind enlightening me, please. I'm being quite serious, I really would like to know as I'm inching my way back into the industry.

BTW: My amplifiers are 300B SETs which when fed excellent recordings provide a holographic image so real it's almost palpable. 'Naked Songs' by R.L. Jones sounds so 'there' that I can pin-point her mouth and the guitar she is holding which 'appears' about 18 inches below her mouth and just slightly to the right. It's amazing. Digitally stored sound and playback have really improved the past ten years.

 

RE: Finally! Been waiting for somebody to mention Level 7 Level 7 SACD Player (Modded), posted on January 24, 2009 at 07:39:44
Roy Boy
Audiophile

Posts: 7
Location: Dallas, TX
Joined: April 23, 2008
Allen,
Thanks so much for that quick response. One follow-up question. Base on an prior post about the content of VSE Mod level 5:
Basically Level 5 comprises:

1/ the same Level 4 analog Upgrade module as has been available for over a year now - but with the Clock section removed.

2/ the same now well proven 'Very Low Noise' (VLN) clock 5 volt regulator that was the addition to Level 4 to make Level 4.5

3/ a completely new and seperate module that contains the TENT clock, the VLN regulator and the 'piece de resistance' : it's own AC transformer/diodes/capacitor assembly to independantly power the VLN regulator (& hence the clock) without taking any DC power from the analog module or the player itself.

Does the terra firma mod replace what is done in going from Mod 4 to 5? I guess what I am really asking is if I really want to go all the way with modding the Sony...do I skip over Mod 5 and just do Mod 6 and Terra Firma? Thanks


Roy

 

RE: REVIEW: Vacuum State Electronics DVP-9000ES Level 7 SACD Player (Modded), posted on January 24, 2009 at 08:01:30
Mark Hoepfl
Audiophile

Posts: 54
Joined: July 11, 2007
In regards to considering a modded player it's best you look over the Vacuum State website and read up on it. There are plenty of review links there as well.

The reason that Allen mods the players is that the players are simply not designed the best way in the first instance, for many reasons. His mods greatly, greatly, greatly improve the sound to a standard that would cost you many, many, many more dollars from an off the shelf player.

 

RE: REVIEW: Vacuum State Electronics DVP-9000ES Level 7 SACD Player (Modded), posted on January 24, 2009 at 08:22:41
finnman500@hotmail.com
Distributor or Rep

Posts: 234
Location: Southern Ontario
Joined: January 17, 2009
Hi Mark
Thanks for the info. I get it now. Modded is slang for modified. Duh! Silly me. I often overlook the obvious. As for my SACD player: I'm very pleased with it as is. On well produced SACDs, the sound is very, very close to vinyl without the extraneous noise. I haven't heard any player under $5000. that sounds better and most much worse.

Cheers.

 

RE: Finally! Been waiting for somebody to mention Level 7 Level 7 SACD Player (Modded), posted on January 25, 2009 at 04:00:32
Allen Wright
Manufacturer

Posts: 5652
Location: Schaffhausen
Joined: January 31, 2002
Roy,
>if I really want to go all the way with modding the Sony...do I skip over Mod 5 and just do Mod 6 and Terra Firma?<

Level 5 included a lot more than just the RCM clock, such as replacing all the signal (analog and difgital) wiring with silver wire, and a lot of small changes to couplig caps etc.

Did you install your own Upgrade from a kit or did you have one of our agents do it. If an agent, give them a call and work out the best path for your machine.

If DIY, private email me.

Regards, Allen (Vacuum State)

 

Vacuum State Electronics DVP-9000ES Level 7 SACD - modding or upgrade?, posted on January 26, 2009 at 14:06:44
Joe Rasmussen
Manufacturer

Posts: 134
Location: Sydney Australia
Joined: October 25, 2005
I much prefer to use "upgrade" than modding. Anybody can change a few caps, throw in an additional part or two, or swap the odd IC here or there. That's modding (more like way to sell pricey parts). Almost anybody with minimum effort can do a mod. But a real "upgrade" is a far more arduous proposition, one that can take many months and even years to develop. One is just changes to an existing design, often minimally, the other stretches the limits of what can be done. At least it does in this case. "Terra Firma" isn't a mod, it's a totally different solution that challenges the status quo. The Vacuum State module completely replaces both DACs and all subsequent IC based circuitry. That's more like upgrading your computer by replacing and adding a super-duper state-of-the-art Video Card to feed your monitor. They don't call that a mod, that's called an upgrade.

 

RE: Finally! Been waiting for somebody to mention Level 7 Level 7 SACD Player (Modded), posted on January 27, 2009 at 05:38:50
Joe Rasmussen
Manufacturer

Posts: 134
Location: Sydney Australia
Joined: October 25, 2005
> the SONY is starting from a higher place, it will still sound better.

I can confirm that. I have a Sony SCD-555ES (not sold in the US) Level 7+ (Terra Firma Lite) and an Oppo DV-980H (also with Terra Firma Lite upgrade) side by side right here. The Oppo's output stage by-passes the post DAC audio, has the same type of digital noise treatment as the classic Sony players. The Terra Firma Oppo is a steal and the TF benefits are VERY obvious. Is it better than the 555ES? No, it is certainly not! But what a bargain!!!

I sold a TF Oppo to a certain importer of a SACD/CD player from the UK. This player sells for four thousand pounds and makes claims to redefine high end digital playback etc. He has asked me not to name it, but the TF Oppo is not just a bit better, the difference is in another league.

BTW, for those into NOS-DACS, the Terra Firma makes a superb transport. But the Oppo must be the master and the NOS-DAC the slave (no clock). But this is only RBCD. Mind you, it's very easy to fool visitors they are listening to hirez. ;-)

 

RE: REVIEW: Vacuum State Electronics DVP-9000ES Level 7 SACD Player (Modded), posted on February 6, 2009 at 18:06:30
Mark Hoepfl
Audiophile

Posts: 54
Joined: July 11, 2007
All,

Vacuum State have updated their website and have more information on the Uber Clock.

http://www.vacuumstate.com/

 

Nice product, nice review, why no price?, posted on February 10, 2009 at 16:41:15
Awe-d-o-file
Manufacturer

Posts: 16887
Location: 100 miles west of DC
Joined: January 10, 2004
Contributor
  Since:
October 31, 2005
I realize there are different levels, we know what you got.


ET

Question "Authority", the mainstream media sucks - Go Independent and hold BOTH parties accountable instead of just the other guys!






I need music to help forget the reality of today

 

Prices?, posted on February 11, 2009 at 03:23:58
Allen Wright
Manufacturer

Posts: 5652
Location: Schaffhausen
Joined: January 31, 2002
Prices are listed in the Feb 2009 newletter, now on our site.

When Mark got his unit, prices had not been finalised.

Regards, Allen (Vacuum State)

 

RE: Finally! Been waiting for somebody to mention Level 7 Level 7 SACD Player (Modded), posted on May 13, 2009 at 03:16:43
Telstar
Audiophile

Posts: 250
Joined: November 17, 2007
BTW, for those into NOS-DACS, the Terra Firma makes a superb transport. But the Oppo must be the master and the NOS-DAC the slave (no clock). But this is only RBCD. Mind you, it's very easy to fool visitors they are listening to hirez. ;-)

I dont understand this.
_

"The midrange is where we live." - Paul Klipsch

 

RE: Finally! Been waiting for somebody to mention Level 7 Level 7 SACD Player (Modded), posted on May 13, 2009 at 07:09:35
Allen Wright
Manufacturer

Posts: 5652
Location: Schaffhausen
Joined: January 31, 2002
Joe is allowing his terminolgy to get a little confusing, I agree.

He makes a DAC he calls the NOS-DAC, NOS in this case meanining Non-Over-Sampling.

He also Upgrades OPPO players with a TerraFirma Lite clcok, which he seems to be calling a "TerraFirma" in itself.

I understand why you didn't understand.

Regards, Allen (Vacuum State)

 

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