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REVIEW: ModWright Sony XA5400ES SACD Player (Modded)

69.253.103.168

Posted on September 2, 2010 at 04:41:52
Model: Sony XA5400ES
Category: SACD Player (Modded)
Suggested Retail Price: $3500
Description: Modwright Signature Truth Modification
Manufacturer URL: ModWright

Review by thebordas on September 02, 2010 at 04:41:52
IP Address: 69.253.103.168
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for the Sony XA5400ES


This is the ONE!! Dan Wright should be hailed as the savior of all us audiophiles who grew up during the heyday of vinyl, but whom for conveniences sake, adopted the Compact Disc Format as our medium for music playback. For many too many a year, we have endured the shackles of digititus my fellow audiophiles, awaiting that day when technology would finally catch up with our much beloved "Vinyl Sound". That day has dawned and ironically, it required a bit of a retro design to accomplish the task...more specifically, a Tube based design from Alan Kimmel, implemented by Dan at Modwright. All I can say is that this player will stand as a watershed device for music playback going forward...it is THEE NEW BENCHMARK in digital playback IMHO (ok, not so humble). From the outboard power supply, to the OTL Mu stage variant analog output stage to the Audiocom 4 master clock...to say it is well thought out would be to severely understate the situation. The Modwrighted XA5400ES is simply a direct connection to the moment of creation of each disc in your library with no artifice, odd harmonics or nary a digital nasty! If you dare to fall in love again wih your favorite music and maybe even re-visit that childhood thrill of hearing that first really great stereo you wish you could afford one day...well, that day has arrived and it has come in the form of the Modwrigt XA5400ES Signature Truth Mod.


Product Weakness: I'll keep looking fo some but so far there are none on the horizon.
Product Strengths: Stunning bass extension, texture and power. Midrange that is so sexy and palpable that you will melt. Brassy and complex highs with a 3D quality to the huge/deep soundstage. This is the new record player for the here and now.


Associated Equipment for this Review:

Amplifier: Krell 400xi wt Upgrade Co.Sig.Upgrade
Preamplifier (or None if Integrated): none
Sources (CDP/Turntable): SonyXA5400ESModwrighteSigTruthMod
Speakers: Magnepan 3.6R
Cables/Interconnects: MIT Magnum Gen 3
Music Used (Genre/Selections): Classical, jazz
Room Size (LxWxH): 20 x 16 x 7
Room Comments/Treatments: acoustical ceiling, soft furnishings, wood and assymetrica decor
Time Period/Length of Audition: 2 weeks
Other (Power Conditioner etc.): Wattgate Duplex's
Type of Audition/Review: Product Owner


 

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RE: REVIEW: ModWright Sony XA5400ES SACD Player (Modded), posted on September 2, 2010 at 07:36:59
Karltoo
Reviewer

Posts: 211
Location: South Florida
Joined: November 25, 2005
I am curious. Is this the most flowery hyped review ever on the Asylum?
Somehow I thought we are to try to be objective on this site.
What would anyone new to the site think after reading all that
hyperbole-after rolling over in laughter.I would guess this
mod is one of the very best.The asylum members should make
every effort to compare this one versus the popular and high
performing VSE upgrade by Allen Wright.Allen Wright for many
years has designed tubed electronics of outstanding repute.
However in the digital world his upgrades are only solid state.
Wonder why? I have owned players with tubed outputs and sadly
with seperate boxed power supplies and connections.I still like
the K I S S designs if the remainder is comparable. Let's compare.

 

RE: REVIEW: ModWright Sony XA5400ES SACD Player (Modded), posted on September 2, 2010 at 09:56:09
I've gladly left my constipated, slide rule carrying killjoy part of my personality outside my listening room....finally!! Why? Because the Modwrighted XA5400ES sounds so F__king GLORIOUS that the usual dissection of subtle differences between components and wire fail in comparison. Anyone who wants more substance as to my experiences and or audio priorities can ask away and I'll be more than happy to reply in detail. I've had the Levinson, Krell, Wadia and ARC reference players and they were all stellar performers and may or may not be preffered by any one individual, but when taken within the context of this Mod's affordability and comprehensive design...it just kills!! I've been a tube guy, a SS guy and a hybrid guy and one thing has become obvious to me over the years and that is "ya needs the tubes somewhere in the pre-amplification stage" to achieve a truly lifelike sound. I'm not debating with you or any other pseudo scientific wind bag with delusions of indifference...I'M ONE COMPLETELY HAPPY CAMPER:O)

 

You are the perfect audiophile!!, posted on September 2, 2010 at 10:42:21
jazz1
Audiophile

Posts: 2861
Joined: October 30, 2000
nt.

 

RE: You are the perfect audiophile!!, posted on September 2, 2010 at 11:30:17
And you are the perfect self confident zen master!! So....?

 

Wait...you are a completely happy audiophile?, posted on September 2, 2010 at 11:40:30
Doug Otte
Audiophile

Posts: 236
Location: Washington, D.C.
Joined: June 23, 2003
We can't have that around here. I suggest you seek counselling...stat!

(LOL, obviously)
Thanks for the review, and enjoy.
Doug

 

It was intended as a compliment!!, posted on September 2, 2010 at 12:19:01
jazz1
Audiophile

Posts: 2861
Joined: October 30, 2000
nt

 

"""ya needs the tubes somewhere in the pre-amplification stage"", posted on September 2, 2010 at 12:49:36
Sordidman
Audiophile

Posts: 13254
Location: San Francisco
Joined: May 14, 2001
As much as I've heard many great solid state systems, and many crappy tube systems... I gotta say that I totally agree with what you're saying. It just doesn't sound "totally right" to me until you involve tubes, - somewhere.


"Asylums with doors open wide,
Where people had paid to see inside,
For entertainment they watch his body twist
Behind his eyes he says, 'I still exist.'"

 

RE: Wait...you are a completely happy audiophile?, posted on September 2, 2010 at 13:04:33
Guilty as charged:O(

 

RE: It was intended as a compliment!!, posted on September 2, 2010 at 13:07:37
That will show you to go throwing out cryptic compliments to a total stranger....let's do lunch sometime then, okay?

 

Objectivity, posted on September 2, 2010 at 13:15:09
sbrians
Audiophile

Posts: 1420
Joined: March 4, 2002
I agree w/ much of your post. But I must say that total objectivity could result in a statement like this:
Humans have survived for thousands of years without stereos and therefore do not need them.
It hurt to type that. I do not agree with that statement - I'm just saying...

 

Somewhere yes, everywhere no!!!!, posted on September 2, 2010 at 23:40:16
jazz1
Audiophile

Posts: 2861
Joined: October 30, 2000
nt.

 

RE: REVIEW: ModWright Sony XA5400ES SACD Player (Modded), posted on September 3, 2010 at 08:04:01
zako
Audiophile

Posts: 935
Location: Mo.
Joined: March 29, 2004
Define ODD harmonics,,,

 

Agree, - my tubed remote control is a bit OTT! :-) -t, posted on September 3, 2010 at 08:55:23
Sordidman
Audiophile

Posts: 13254
Location: San Francisco
Joined: May 14, 2001
t


"Asylums with doors open wide,
Where people had paid to see inside,
For entertainment they watch his body twist
Behind his eyes he says, 'I still exist.'"

 

Please tell us how much it costs., posted on September 3, 2010 at 22:59:27
Mali
Audiophile

Posts: 1745
Location: Wyoming
Joined: June 12, 2003
A simple request.

 

Pretty simple to do a search..., posted on September 3, 2010 at 23:35:02
rich121
Audiophile

Posts: 5356
Location: Washington State
Joined: March 8, 2003
Took me a whole 10 seconds...

Dan Wright is one of the best.


Rick
It's all about the music!
Support Asylum Trader

 

Good value!!, posted on September 4, 2010 at 05:24:01
jazz1
Audiophile

Posts: 2861
Joined: October 30, 2000
At 1995$ it looks quite good value especially with the valves output stage, and the external power supply, in actual fact it looks extremely good value.

 

RE: Pretty simple to do a search..., posted on September 4, 2010 at 12:12:31
Mali
Audiophile

Posts: 1745
Location: Wyoming
Joined: June 12, 2003
Yea, I found it in about 20 seconds via AudioCircle, but it's the principal of the thing.Why review it and not state the cost? (BTW, I reviewed the VSE mods here and didn't post the price since I got it for free and still don't know what Allen Wright's co. agents charge for it. That's MY excuse and I'm sticking to it.) As for myself, I am not interested in tube components of any kind. Been there, done that. Was never very impressed with the "tube sound" and if you don't get the tube sound with tubes, why bother?

 

RE: REVIEW: ModWright Sony XA5400ES SACD Player (Modded), posted on September 6, 2010 at 15:28:51
Frank I
Reviewer

Posts: 1757
Joined: December 9, 2001
pom pom for the cheerleader

 

RE: Please tell us how much it costs., posted on September 7, 2010 at 10:50:41
Sorry for the deay in answering...I was on Vacation! My Mod cost $2250 wt the optional Bybee Quantum purifiers.

 

RE: REVIEW: ModWright Sony XA5400ES SACD Player (Modded), posted on September 7, 2010 at 10:56:23
Harmonics that sound Odd, as in not sounding like music i.e...a lack of sonority or pleasing tone. In other words, with 'em music sounds like shit!

 

RE: Pretty simple to do a search..., posted on September 7, 2010 at 11:00:19
Modwright is so upfront on posting the cost that I assumed anyone interested would already be aware of the financials. I also owned many tube products over the years and gladly abandoned them, but this Mod does not sound like a typical tube output stage...if you didn't see the tubes you might not know they were inside!

 

RE: Please tell us how much it costs., posted on September 8, 2010 at 16:19:11
Mali
Audiophile

Posts: 1745
Location: Wyoming
Joined: June 12, 2003
Not a problem. Thanks. As one or two pointed out, I was able to find the price by making a search on the web.

 

RE: REVIEW: ModWright Sony XA5400ES SACD Player (Modded), posted on September 8, 2010 at 16:56:05
Yay! Yay! Sis Boom Bah! Modwright, Modwright Rah Rah Rah!!!!!

How's that for you Mr. Objective?? Why don't you like fun?

 

But only if it sounds as good as the specs and advertsing says..., posted on September 8, 2010 at 21:05:43
Allen Wright
Manufacturer

Posts: 5652
Location: Schaffhausen
Joined: January 31, 2002
...it should.

Tubes are NOT always the ultimate answer. Some things can be done better in solid state.

Regards, Allen

 

RE: But only if it sounds as good as the specs and advertsing says..., posted on September 8, 2010 at 23:18:33
jazz1
Audiophile

Posts: 2861
Joined: October 30, 2000
The review does sound positive thus my statement, and as far as I know not all things can be done better with SS

 

RE: But only if it sounds as good as the specs and advertsing says..., posted on September 9, 2010 at 09:43:01
Dan tries to utilize SS and Tube circuits where they are most beneficial. Allen is correct in his statement and also has a long history of doing the same according to his own design sensibilities. Both companies do great work!!

 

did you not say you would be comparing your 5400 to a VSE 777?, posted on September 9, 2010 at 19:41:21
Metralla
Audiophile

Posts: 7741
Location: San Jose, California
Joined: January 30, 2001
Did I imagine this?
Regards,
Geoff

 

RE: did you not say you would be comparing your 5400 to a VSE 777?, posted on September 9, 2010 at 20:10:16
Not unless someone sends me theirs to compare....imagination I'm afraid! The Sony is still breaking at 400hrs, of course I have new interconnects, a new fuse, a new power conditioner, and a new PC for my amp. Tommorrow I get a new custom umbilical for my PS9.0. After another 2 weeks I should know just how good it get's. Right now it competes with the $10K players I've owned.

 

"imagination I'm afraid", posted on September 9, 2010 at 21:44:19
Metralla
Audiophile

Posts: 7741
Location: San Jose, California
Joined: January 30, 2001
Correct. I recall now it was Quint and his Jena Labs modified Oppo 83 that said he would be doing the comparison.

What power conditioner did you get?
Regards,
Geoff

 

RE: "imagination I'm afraid", posted on September 10, 2010 at 02:55:28
I'll tell you if you promise not to laugh:O) Ok, I got a Monster HTS 1650 and I LOVE IT!!!

 

RE: REVIEW: ModWright Sony XA5400ES SACD Player (Modded), posted on September 14, 2010 at 19:44:41
Just thought I'd pop in to let everyone know that my Modwrighted XA5400ES has blossomed even further into the most incomprehensibly great payer I've ever owned, heard or dreamed about! It simply sounds like the real thing and will definately go down as one of the best digital players ever made...it MUST BE EXPERIENCED TO BE BELIEVED:O) How's that for Gushing!!

 

RE: REVIEW: ModWright Sony XA5400ES SACD Player (Modded), posted on October 26, 2010 at 12:09:35
123go


 
I just threw up

 

RE: Please tell us how much it costs., posted on February 1, 2011 at 01:38:07
Posts: 43
Location: New England -USA
Joined: February 23, 2008
The Sony 5400 was a great cd player before all these modifications .
Dan not only improved upon the design Dan went through this unit top to bottom and looked for all flaws and having the seperate power supply is icing on the cake,It is now better than any $10k unit I can throw at it. One thing I will mention though is there are several things you can do to make this cd player even better .I have spent well over a $1000 experimenting . Dan has a Pulse generator that is an option that really destroys low level digital noise around $450.
The Umbilical cord from the seperate power supply to the cd player is a weak point in absolute terms. And the best I have found by far is by Audio Magic Their new Liquid air power cords are the quietest I have ever came across .since they have Just a liquid conductor and No metal
which is a first, they are immune to RFI and EMI and are dead quiet.
This also apllies to the power supply power cord for around $350 each.The detail it provides is outstanding .I compared these with several $500+ power cords
this was a clear winner.I now have one on my preamp the detail these cables pull out of the recording I did not know was there is superb. One more thing Isolation under the cd player is very important The $350 Silent Running Audio platform is very good. also Hifi tunings 1A slow Black fuses do make a difference, as well as Herbies tube dampers-Buy the better ones.
These work for me, check it out .

 

RE: REVIEW: ModWright Sony XA5400ES SACD Player (Modded), posted on February 4, 2011 at 09:55:53
CBernardino
Audiophile

Posts: 44
Location: Nation's Capital
Joined: June 7, 2010
My experience supports the rave reviews of this unit. I have owned each of the Modwright Sony players - 999Es, 9100ES, and now the 5400ES. Each has been a significant upgrade over its predecessor. I can find nothing lacking in the 5400ES, and in comparisons with club members' higher priced units the Modwright 5400ES has come out on top every time.

Note that I am using the Revelation Audio Labs Cryo-Silver umbilical, and Sophia "A" grade and 1960's Sylvania NOS 6SN7's. The player is on a Townshend Seismic Sink.

 

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