I wouldn't blame you at all for wanting to mod the MH. I still do, but now I'm concerned as I really don't know that I want any part of the sound to change. Although, sometimes you just don't know until you hear the difference. I may want what I don't know I could have kind of thing.
My comments on the vendors you listed are as follows:
Affordable Audio: I emailed the guy a few times and he could not have been more short with me. I'm surprised he took the little time he did to respond to my emails. I wrote him emails that were concise and intelligent. What I got back was one sentence responses. This is not someone I'm going to do business with when I have questions.
Parts Connexion: I don't know much about them, but I have read many good things around the internet.
Underwood: Pricey, pricey, and PRICEY!!! I'll pass thanks. There is no way there high priced mods can be worth the difference. We're talking subtle differences here as this DAC sounds freaking awesome to me. There is no way their mods are worth the prices they charge. There are many other high dollar DACs I'd buy long before sticking that kind of money in a $595.00 MSRP DAC.
I've heard discrete output gear and I think opamps are just fine. If the circuit is properly designed, opamps perform perfectly. I'm not saying there isn't room for improvement, but I just don't hear the commonly known issues of opamps sounding bright or whatever...
I found a guy that modified his MH with part recommendations from Parts Connexion. I'm trying to get all of the information so that I can consider the changes as well. I have a guy that can do the soldering work, so that part isn't and issue for me. I'll keep you informed if I can get decent information.
All things said, YES, MOD THAT DAC!! Then you need to tell me in great detail what changed and how it changed. That way I can decide whether or not I want to make similar changes.
One advantage I have now is that a friend has a stock MH that I'd be able to compare any changes made to mine against his. This way I'd know for certain that there truly are differences.
I have to say that I really enjoy my DAC every time I get to sit and just listen. I can't say I'm really missing anything. Everything I play just sounds so good, I want to just keep listening to everything I can find. I've been listening to mine in non-oversampling mode for the last few days. I can't say whether or not I like it better than 96k or 192k oversampling modes or not, but it does create a deeper sound stage with just a tiny bit smoother sound.
Are your priorities messed up? YES!!! I wouldn't invest a penny in any audio gear until you know what speakers you will have for the long run. Tweaking the front end should only happen AFTER this, otherwise you may be wasting your money!! Get the Salk's first if that's the way you think you want to go.
TJ, OK I'm convinced! see my reply to Nuance's comment on this thread. But I loved the idea of at least replacing the opamps with the Burson Modules. According to 'omclive' on another blog:http://www.canuckaudiomart.com/forum/
(follow the General Audio then DIY)
one can just plug them. This sounds like the guy that you found as he was talking to partsconnection.