Quick listening test: 205 tube mod vs. Pioneer LX-500 tube mod:
Both players use a pair of 6dj8/6922/7308 driver tubes.
Both mods use Lundahl transformers for signal coupling to analog stage from DAC.
205 uses outboard tube rectified PS 9.0 supply.
Pioneer uses inboard SS rectified supply.
205 uses SABRE DAC.
Pioneer uses AKM chip.
Tube circuits are different: 205 uses fully balanced circuit; Pioneer uses SE circuit.
So how do they sound?
The answer is VERY CLOSE! My VP Kristin just listened with me to a great recording and I asked her just for her gut first impression. The Pioneer has been burning in since last night and the 205 has been burning in for weeks.
Kristin replied that they were VERY close and that she would have to hear more music that she was familiar with to really tell the differences. We both agreed that bass response and soundstage are excellent on both. Tube rectification makes the Oppo a bit different tonally. The Pioneer sounds perhaps a bit more resolving with SS rectification.
The SABRE DAC is also more forward sounding, while the AKM DAC is smoother and richer in its presentation. To be honest, I would be hard pressed to declare a winner, and I am not finished with the Pioneer yet!
Pioneer mod will be about $1K cheaper! Also, the new Pioneer is about $1K stock!
No outboard supply, umbilical and less labor with everything installed inside the Pioneer.
I am very excited about this!
I am taking two of these to Axpona that will be discounted further as fully modified units. I have one sold already and two others waiting to hear my impressions.
If you are interested, please let us know!
We do have a list of people to contact once the mod is finalized and in production! This will be soon!