The project DAC or something in that $500 price range is very interesting. To do what I would want to do, the mod would be in the $1K range. Now the question would be of course, at $1500 net investment, how good would it be?
Well, our $2500 mod to the $1300 Oppo UDP-205 blows people away with a net $3800 price tag. People telling us that it CLEARLY betters standalone sources at over $7600+!
So, the question is then, is a $1K tube mod for a $500 DAC of interest?
I am thinking of a mod that would include a completely separate box, including power supply and tube stage, ideally even an improved 5V digital supply for the DAC. I would expect there to be a simple 'bypass' mod to the DAC that would route the simplest and cleanest signal directly from the DAC to our new design, in a separate enclosure. Given the size of the Project DAC (small), I would anticipate a secondary enclosure that the DAC could sit directly ON, so as to not require extra shelf space. No outboard high voltage supply either. The mod enclosure would have RCA inputs (low level) from DAC and RCA/XLR outputs (line level) out from the mod stage. AC power cord in and a 5V supply output connector to match the stock project supply cable.
Ideally very short RCA cables would connect the DAC to our mod stage and these cables could be ANY design type. I.e. you could have your favorite cable mfr. make very short custom cables for you.
This concept is very interesting to me and, could be applied, in theory, to a number of different DACs of small form factor, with similar power needs. I.e. a minor change made to the DAC itself (possibly could be switched on/off - i.e. stock to modified output) and the bulk of the work would reside in the separate mod enclosure. In fact, in an ideal world, this DAC-Mod module, would be designed such that it could be inter-changed with other DACs...again in theory.
Let me know what you think of this idea! The possibilities here are endless, as is the sonic potential!