SONY 5400ES

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horn150

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SONY 5400ES
« on: 3 Nov 2010, 12:51 pm »
hi

some of you own the Sony 5400 ES modified by Dan : could they give their first-hand impressions? does it really compare to $10000+ units?

thanks for your advice

gilles

Eric

Re: SONY 5400ES
« Reply #1 on: 3 Nov 2010, 03:28 pm »
It absolutely does. I have owned 2 of Dan's units now (the Denon 3910 and the Sony XA-5400 ES) both with ultimate truth mods and the tubed PS. The Sony is very musical (almost analogue like). The closest player I can compare it to is a Metronome CD-2V I owned several years ago. You get all of the detail, but it is not analytical. The thing I really like is you can tube roll and adjust the sound to your liking.

For me a huge issue in the integrity of the person you buy from. That is what drew me to ACI speakers and Mike Dzurko. Dan is cut frm that same cloth (high integrity). When I received my modded unit back from Dan, it did not play. He took it back at his expense and we found that a Sony part (unrelated to Dan's work) had come disconnected during shipping. Dan repaired it and shipped it back to me.

All of Dan's work is high quality. I highly recommend the Sny. I like it so much, I will be selling my Denon (which I love)

horn150

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Re: SONY 5400ES
« Reply #2 on: 4 Nov 2010, 07:30 pm »
hi

any other opinions??

thanks

gilles

rfogel8

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Re: SONY 5400ES
« Reply #3 on: 6 Nov 2010, 07:00 am »
OK, here's another "opinion".  I just took delivery on Dan's Ultimate Truth Mod XA-5400ES about a week ago. Though it's been left on spinning discs 24/7 since it arrived, actual play time with music flowing out of my speakers is maybe 40 hours.

First, a little background info; I've been a 'phile for more than 25 years, have worked with a local "hi-end" audio dealer/friend for several years and have heard my fair share of good and bad equipment. Much of the bad stuff had been praised and "recommended" by some audio rag. This January will be my eleventh trip to CES with my dealer friend and believe me, I hear plenty of bad sound there as well. So...., when I hear good sound, or in the case of Dan's XA-5400, great sound(I'm getting ahead of myself), it's a real treat!

A few components in my current rig(no changes anticipated) include Atma-Sphere MP-1 Mk3 pre w/phono and their MA-1 Mk3 monos, both with all upgrades. I'm basically a vinyl kinda guy and love my Galibier Gavia table, current Tri-Planar and Dyna XV-1s cartridge. I could go on but you get the gist; I own decent equipment. 

While my last one box player wasn't all that expensive, approx. half the modified Sony, it did provide many enjoyable late night listening sessions over the past year or so. Though it had obvious flaws, it sounded way better than it should have for it's price and was fairly easy on the ears.

Prior to my current player(soon to make an appearance on the 'Gon), I had gone about two years without digital(remember, I'm a vinyl kinda guy). I had pretty much given up on digital after a stint with an APL Denon 3910. It had all the latest updates, including the AKM dacs, but it never offered up the magic I'm already getting from the Modwright. I don't mean to disparage Alex's work(I spent a lot of time in his room listening at CES two years in a row and he's a super nice guy) and I suspect his new products are better sonically, but at what price? Why spend $15, $20 or even $30K to play cd's? Especially when, you can have a Modwright for around $3300 that is far and away, the best player I've heard. EMM's and others may offer up a smidgen more detail, though I wouldn't bet on that, but they all sound so dry and sterile. Why do you think people spend so much money on interconnects trying to tame their digital sources?   

So, on to the Modwright Sony; fresh out of the box, stone cold, I knew I'd made a good decision. Tonally, it was very smooth with a nice balance of warmth and high resolution. Right from the get go, the music had more weight and power than what I'd been used to. OK, nothing's even warmed up yet so take a break, let the Sony and the rest of my system cook for an hour or so then come back for a more serious, early evaluation.

When I returned and started listening(Redbook initially), my first thought was, the sound is much more refined than previous digital gear I've owned or heard. Everything seemed more coherent and balanced. No more edginess to the music, more like what I get from vinyl. That first listen began at 11:00pm and ended at 5:00am. Back and forth between Redbook and SACD, into the wee hours, everything sounded wonderful.

This morning, a week later, with the Modwright/Sony far from being fully broken in, I listened for about three hours before trudging off to work. My, how things have improved in such a short period of time! You'd never guess the player is still relatively new and already sounding so wonderful(there's that word again). Big, open, spacious soundstage. Exceptional layering front to back with palpable images(I mean performers) in their place. Great extension in both directions with lots of air on top and believable power and weight in the bottom. I should note, my speaker system is good from 18Hz-20Khz so I know bass when I hear it. Though a tubed player, the noise floor is extremely low, solid state like, so the music emerges from a black background offering up little nuances and spacial cues that again make things sound oh so believable.               

The usual audiophile terms and phrases used by the typical reviewer don't adequately describe what, to my ears, the Modwright player offers up. It's so enjoyable and believable, you just forget about the time and keep playing one disc after the other. 

The very first disc I played this morning was a well recorded redbook cd of Ella & Louis. If a player can't do vocals, piano too for that matter, then nothing else is gonna matter. All I can say is, Ella's voice never sounded lovelier. It just floated, with a presence that was uncanny. When Louis came in with his gravelly voice, the pair seemed to be right there in the room with me. As he picked up his horn and started playing, everything sounded right. The leading edge/transients were spot on. It sounded so much like the real thing.

Well, I could go on but I think I'm starting to gush and by now you probably already have a pretty good idea of how I feel about Dan's player. Besides, I have an early morning tee time and I need my sleep.

Oh yah, one last thing, I have a nice stash of about 60 NOS 6SN7s so after I get a couple hundred hours on this thing, I'm losing the Russian tubes. That rectifier's gonna get rolled as well with either an old Mullard or Philips. As good as it already sounds, NOS should take it up a notch or two. Can't wait!

Happy Listening 



   

   

modwright

Re: SONY 5400ES
« Reply #4 on: 7 Nov 2010, 03:43 am »
Thank you for the positive feedback.  I can say without reservation that it is our best digital mod to date.  I worked VERY hard on the development and as many of you know, it took some time.

I believe this is the Best and Last SACD player that Sony will ever produce.  SACD aside, it is a FANTASTIC CD player!

Sincerely,

Dan W.

Cacophonix

Re: SONY 5400ES
« Reply #5 on: 7 Nov 2010, 03:48 am »
Thank you for the positive feedback.  I can say without reservation that it is our best digital mod to date.  I worked VERY hard on the development and as many of you know, it took some time.

I believe this is the Best and Last SACD player that Sony will ever produce.  SACD aside, it is a FANTASTIC CD player!

Sincerely,

Dan W.

Agreed. 5400ES is a wonderful wonderful CD player, and is the best SACD player i've owned till date.

Eric

Re: SONY 5400ES
« Reply #6 on: 8 Nov 2010, 04:45 pm »
I went with Sylvania NOS Chrome tops (1957) 6SN7GTB. They improved the sound dramatically. I also upgraded the PS tube to GZ34 Mullard 1972. Also use Herbies tube dampers and the purple embilical cord from the Denon 3910. I don't know if those are still obtainable

mystabg

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Re: SONY 5400ES
« Reply #7 on: 3 Mar 2011, 07:34 pm »
Hi dan if I get my 5400se modded by you I know you stand behind your work but the Sony warranty is no longer valid correct?

So if somethig stops working which is not related to your Mod can you repair any of those potential problems at your hourly rate?
If noy would Sony? And would that require I send the player and power supply to Sony?
Thanks Gary

hrcapers

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Re: SONY 5400ES
« Reply #8 on: 3 Mar 2011, 09:21 pm »
Hi dan if I get my 5400se modded by you I know you stand behind your work but the Sony warranty is no longer valid correct?

So if somethig stops working which is not related to your Mod can you repair any of those potential problems at your hourly rate?
If noy would Sony? And would that require I send the player and power supply to Sony?
Thanks Gary

Dan fixed my modded XA-777ES a couple of times for his hourly rate plus the cost of parts. These were not problems with the mod, but Sony problems. And he was very helpful in tracking down some of the parts required.

modwright

Re: SONY 5400ES
« Reply #9 on: 6 Mar 2011, 09:00 pm »
The most common failure, if any, is that the laser/drive may need to be replaced over time.  The parts are readily sourced and we typically do such a repair for $200+/-, depending on the cost of the part.

We have had no such failures with the XA-5400ES units to date that I am aware of.

We do stand behind the entire product, to the extent that we are able to fix it.  Sony is very good about making parts available and accessible.

Thanks,

Dan

modwright

Re: SONY 5400ES
« Reply #10 on: 10 Mar 2011, 08:03 am »
Continuing thread on A'gon forum, pertinent to what has been said above:

http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?ddgtl&1262881641&openflup&198&4#198

Thanks!

Dan