Those of you looking for a lush sounding CD player can go ModWright...

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Steve Hoffman, May 17, 2005.

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  1. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Dan Wright of ModWright http://www.modwright.com/ sent me his new creation last week. It's a modded Denon 3910 universal player (which has received great reviews on its own) with vacuum tube and separate power supply upgrades. Lush ain't the word. It sounds really smooth yet powerful, with a lovely midrange and dynamics galore. I'm really enjoying breaking it in.

    Dan starts with the stock Denon 3910 and then optimizes it for two channel playback:

    Mods to stock player include:

    1) Upgrades to stock power supply - fast rectifiers and improved filtering.
    2) Revised/improved digital voltage regulation.
    3) Eliminate all op-amps from signal path, as well as all electrolytic coupling caps.
    4) Signal direct-coupled to tube stage right from DAC chip.
    5) Passive I-V conversion.
    6) Fixed bias Class A tube stage (Mu Stage circuit type) - cap coupled output. (2) NOS Tung-Sol 5687 tubes in tube stage.
    7) External power supply with discrete voltage regulation and choke input.

    Details of external supply:

    Single over-sized toroidal power transformer with choke input current regulation. Discrete MOSFET based voltage regulation for plate voltages and regulated DC heaters. HEXFRED and Schottky rectifiers in external supply. Chokes custom made for us by Electraprint Audio.

    Custom DC power umbilical by Revelation Audio Labs. Pure cryo-treated silver conductors with individual shielding.

    I admit at first I wanted to try out the DVD video player in there so I hooked it up to my home theater. Heh, that lasted about 4 minutes. When I saw those tubes light up under the screens at the top of the player I had to bring the thing upstairs and connect it to my studio playback system. Ah, that was more like it. Great tuneful sound; with such a relaxed presentation that I could actually hear things in "hard" sounding mixes (Donald Fagan, etc.) that I had never noticed before. Stress-free listening. The SACD section sounds great as well..

    As I'm breaking it in more and more, the better it is sounding.

    If you are in the market for a tubed digital playback system, check this one out.
     
  2. mcow1

    mcow1 Sommelier Gort

    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    I looked but I could not find anything about the 3910 player there. I must say that my phonostage was a Modwright creation from the Monolithic ps-1 and Dan did an outstanding job on it.
     
  3. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    It's not even on the website yet I guess. Brand new "mod". Give Dan an email buzz and tell him to get it up on his site!
     
  4. mcow1

    mcow1 Sommelier Gort

    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    Done :righton:
     
  5. thegage

    thegage Forum Currency Nerd

    You're making me jealous! My 3910 is currently at Tube Research Labs getting modded. Despite the name, no tubes are involved in the modifications. I debated going the tube route, but TRL fit my budget at this point. BTW, the 3910 does have a fantastic picture, too.

    John K.
     
  6. SamS

    SamS Forum Legend

    Location:
    Texas
    Interesting!

    I enjoy virtually every aspect of my stock DVD-3910. I'm curious to know how much this upgrade costs and if there are different levels available.

    Please do let us know how you like it in the long-haul Steve.
     
  7. Metralla

    Metralla Joined Jan 13, 2002

    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    Can you compare what you are hearing now to your memory of the APL 3910? You have the same CDs (of course ;)) and the same ESP speakers available.
     
  8. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    I can't. I wish AP would get on the ball but there is a long waiting list!
     
  9. SamS

    SamS Forum Legend

    Location:
    Texas
    Steve,

    If you have the mood or inclination, Denon has released several firmware upgrades to your player. The latest version (all inclusive) is known as ESS6609-B which you can get here.

    Alternately, contact me and I can email you the files and instructions. Improvements are mainly for video and compatibility with certain discs. Also for the IEEE1394/HDMI outputs. Unlikely that you will be using it in these types of applications, but the offer still stands.

    I also have a region-free firmware version should you want to play PAL discs on your regular TV and/or use alternate region DVDs.
     
  10. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Thanks, but it's not my machine; it belongs to ModWright. When Dan reads this he can respond if he needs to.

    Interesting that the machine can be upgraded without leaving the system.
     
  11. SamS

    SamS Forum Legend

    Location:
    Texas
    You betcha. Yes, Denon has a great record of support for many of their players, this one especially. By my count, they have offered at least 6 distinct updates to this machine to make minor improvements and adjustments. Just takes some know-how in creating the data disc files and loading it into the player's firmware ROM, and viola, you have an upgraded model without the player leaving your rack! :cool:
     
  12. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Cool. I asked them to send me a disc anyway, what the heck. I'll upgrade it for him..
     
  13. SamS

    SamS Forum Legend

    Location:
    Texas
    Excellent! Let me/us know if you run any obstacles upgrading when you get your discs (3!). Should be fairly straight-forward since they are sending you the discs already burned. They will send instructions too. I did my player last week.

    Even in stock form, this player does great with hi-rez. I'd say the best bang-for-the buck comes in the form of DVD-A, either stereo or 5.1. Then SACD, 5.1 is better than stereo, and finally redbook (needs the most improvement).

    Steve, is it strictly a two-channel player now? Or can you still use the 5.1 outputs?
     
  14. Carmantom

    Carmantom Primo Audioholic

    Location:
    Central Florida
    Comparisons w/ APL 3910

    Steve,

    Alex told me yesterday he is buried with orders. Seems it would be hard to be more on "the ball". He is putting in 18-20 hr. days trying to keep up with demand.

    I always like to remind folks that everything in his CDP is his design. Even the DAC is his design and build. also, there have been many threads on Audiogon with shootouts and comparisons to his machine, including Dan's 3910. I know Steve "smilin" owns both and prefers the APL.

    One thing for sure is both these players are considered better than some front end many times their price.

    I'd be curious to have your ears compare the two and your report of the comparison. :agree: :goodie: :agree:

    Tom
     
  15. Tullman

    Tullman Senior Member

    Location:
    Boston MA
    Here's what Alex P. had to say when I asked him about the Modwright on his forum.

    EDITED.
     
  16. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Thread crapping 101.

    Can you start a new thread please if you wish to speak of another player as "better" or "worse". Dan Wright kindly sent me a machine to play with and I gave my review. When the 20 other modded digital machines by 20 other modding companies come to me I'll review those in turn as well.

    Kindly respect the Forum rules please.
     
  17. Peter Harrar

    Peter Harrar Forum Resident

    Location:
    Connecticut
    Dan did a similar mod on my Denon 2900 (no external power supply,though), with great results (albeit at a somewhat more modest price (and presumably performance) level than the 3910). Highly recommended.
     
  18. Tort

    Tort Member

    Location:
    Northeast Oh.
    Wonder how much a fully modded 3910 would set me back?
     
  19. Peter Harrar

    Peter Harrar Forum Resident

    Location:
    Connecticut

    Last I checked, a new unit with the full mods was just under 4K.
     
  20. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    My invoice says $3,600.00 list.
     
  21. Tort

    Tort Member

    Location:
    Northeast Oh.
    Thanks for the response. I believe this to be one of (maybe the best of) the alternatives to have SACD, DVD-A and HDCD in one unit.
     
  22. pdenny

    pdenny 20-Year SHTV Participation Trophy Recipient

    Location:
    Hawthorne CA
    Call this a crap, but as much as I love my music there are about 367 things I'd rather do with $3600.00. Maybe if I had a superdooperhighendsystem I might be tempted but once my wife found out I dropped another batch of Jacksons on my stereo I'd be living out of my Mazda by nightfall! :D
     
  23. -=Rudy=-

    -=Rudy=- ♪♫♪♫♫♪♪♫♪♪ Staff

    Location:
    US
    I'm curious as well, only due to the fact that I'm starting to listen to more surround titles.
     
  24. Metralla

    Metralla Joined Jan 13, 2002

    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    Right - it was a crap. I know that the next piece of equipment I buy will probably cost a lot more than $3600. So?
     
  25. Jeffrey

    Jeffrey Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    South Texas
    Hi,

    I believe that Dan does what Alex does and spends his energy and resources creating the best 2 channel possible. In the past, they would connect up the MC outs upon request BUT you would not benefit from all their upgrades w/ the extra outs. I have plenty of speakers to make it happen, but i wouldn't consider doing it w/ any of my modded players.

    Take care,
    Jeffrey
     
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