NOTE: This auction is for the modification of a Cambridge Audio CXU blu-ray player, which includes free shipping and handling in the continental USA back to you once the modification is complete. It does NOT include the unmodified purchase price of the Cambridge Audio blu-ray player. Players often sell unmodified for $1299 from various retailers. You may send your player to us to modify and have it shipped back to you once it is modified. Or you may have us purchase and modify the unit for you.
In the words of The Absolute Sound’s Robert Harley, Stereo Dave's Audio Alternative is a “small, but passionate” (TAS #229, Feb 2007) audio company in Gresham, OR (near Portland). We make our own custom-made, crossoverless single-driver speakers (that really work), subwoofers, interconnects, and speaker cables. We have also been modifying audio components of different makes and models for more than a decade.]
We have been searching for more players that we could recommend to customers for modification that would have excellent performance in both movies and music. Many blu-ray players have great video, but not many, at this time, have a priority on good sound performance. Over the last decade, many of the players that used to have a tradition for excellent audio quality, due to cost cutting in a poor economy, no longer produce excellent musical sound. The Cambridge Audio CXU Blu-ray Player is a rare exception to many of today's players currently available. Before Modification:
The video on this blu-ray player, like many other players we have seen, is quite excellent; in fact, quite exceptional. It appears to have better black levels and a more natural color pallet in comparison to many blu-ray players of similar price.
The audio had a slight "British" sound, which on a sticker on the front, the manufacturer makes sure that you know that has a "British" sound. To our ears, it had a slightly warm, easy to listen to, smooth, comforting sound. But it lacked some dynamics, transient response, and a little bit of definition. The bass was also a bit one dimensional . But overall, it was a very good sounding player stock, one of the better ones, we have heard prior to modification. After Modification:
In terms of the video improvement,
contrast was improved, as well as the black levels. And the detail was very much noticeable improved. In our testing, we could see details in road surfaces, paint finishes, facial details, and far away shots quite a bit better. The colors were also very much improved. Car paint having a much deeper, correct tone to it, as well as the fine details of the finish being much more discernible. The improvement in detail in contrast resulted in a much more three dimensional quality just on blu-ray playback alone.
Audio playback was improved greatly. The bass tone became more nuanced and improved in depth and texture. No longer did you feel like it was a "one note bass" sound, but it had natural sounding under tones and over tones, and sounded much more life-like. The sound stage became much bigger, and the instruments themselves were much larger, richer, rounder and far better located. The over all detail of the unit improved as well as transient response. The unit was still very easy to listen, but it was now a lot more precise, powerful and dynamic, without being fatiguing to your ears. The high treble at the top retained its large, full quality, while it never become strident. The brass frequency was rich and full, yet became more larger and immediate without being harsh or obnoxious, even at high listening levels with big band music. After modification, tonal accuracy became impeccable and "just right." Although, the stock machine was very good, we did not have this impression of perfect tonal accuracy, and large stage with great location on the stock unit. In short, with modification, this became a much more impressive machine in sound performance. This machine is a perfect example of when you start out with a higher level of machine to begin with, you end up with a better modification than if you start out with a lower level of sound performance in a stock machine. About the Modification:
We have developed a proprietary modification over the past 12 yrs that utilizes a field modification similar to what is explained by Shakti, which is often paraphrased by Absolute Sound as, "We don't know how they work, but work they do." Much of the work that we do on machines involves optimization of the signal flow in the power supply and other signal paths in the machine. Utilizing this special method, we able to modify units and speakers to increase in bandwidth (frequency range), improve in transient response, with increased clarity, tonal accuracy, depth and texture. Those who have bought our products and modifications have written us and have frequency expressed their surprise at the improvement of sound performance and how much more sound they heard compared to prior to modification. We have a number of repeat customers who know how much the sound has improved from our modification based on their experience over the years with us. Modification Price: $375 (Includes free shipping and handling back to you once modification is completed)
Original Unmodified Stock Unit: $1299 (Typically)
FREE SHIPPING AND HANDLING BACK TO YOU IS INCLUDED IN THE MODIFICATION PRICE
We also modify most makes and models of receivers, players and other pieces. Inquire upon a specific model and pricing. We can also modify such subwoofer brands as Velodyne, JL Audio, REL, and others. We also modify Rotel, Harman Kardon, Pioneer Elite, Peach Tree, Mark Levinson, Parasound, and other pieces.
We also modify DACS, floorstanders and bookshelve speakers on a regular basis. Please call for pricing.
Here are a few excerpts of the new review online on Home Theater Review by Terry London:
"Excited to contact Sean Scoggin of Stereo Dave's Audio Alternative, I called him to discuss what his modifications were to the Pioneer SW-8MK2 and discovered that they use a proprietary method to influence and speed up the electron flow of the subwoofer's amplifier. Modifying the driver allows the subwoofer to move faster and have better freedom in its excursions for accuracy and speed in its ability to track the low frequencies it is replicating. All the modifications successfully work to quicken the subwoofer and increase its bandwidth/frequency range, making the subwoofer sound faster, more powerful, and deeper while still maintaining bass texture and detail.
When I got the pair of modified SW-8MK2 subwoofers from Sean, I set them up exactly as the stock pair had been set up in my system. To my amazement, I heard the sonic improvements in the first few moments of auditioning the modified pair. The modified SW-8MK2 subwoofers truly were much faster and more dynamic, they created deeper/flatter bass extension, and they had more accurate tonality in a natural way, making their integration with my Mandolins even more seamless. With this modification, the SW-8MK2 significantly outperformed my T-7.
...The modified version of the Pioneer SW-8MK2 subwoofer takes this already excellent performing unit to another sonic level across the board in speed, power, bass extension, and accurate bass tonality.
...if you choose to have the SW-8MK2 modification done by Sean Scoggin's company for an additional $150 (plus shipping and handling costs), you have a subwoofer that performs at a sonic level that normally would cost you at least a couple thousand dollars. "
Stereo Dave's Audio Alternative
Every once in a while, we get emails back from customers that take the time to let us know how they liked their modified units. Below is one of the recent ones referring to a Modified Pioneer Player:
I had a chance to do some listening to the modified Oppo (103) player and was not prepared for the difference in sound I heard compared to the stock unit. Most noticeably, the sound stage has hugely expanded, which, upon first hearing, made me shake my head in disbelief. The location of the instruments is more precise and the low end frequency much more palpable. There is just "more" of everything in the presentation of the music. I have had many mods done to my audio equipment over the years and your mod ranks near the top of the list for the degree for sonic improvement for the investment. You mod is a huge improvement over the already fine stock unit. Thanks a million!"
Mark from California
I love the sound of the modified player. I have it hooked up using the analog inputs. I didn’t change anything in my set up except to swap players. It sounds way different than the Denon 2900: better in every way. The biggest difference for me was how the player made the speakers disappear. Does that make sense? Music sounded ok with the Denon, but it was just a source to play cd’s, nothing special.
I listen to all types of music: swing music from the 30’s and 40’s, Latin or Salsa music for dancing, smooth jazz for night time listening, 70’s soft rock and classic rock. I’m all over the board. The player did make a difference in the presentation of the music. One example is the bass: the Denon’s bass was rather bloated. I didn’t notice this until i had the chance to listen to the Pioneer. The Pioneer’s bass was more natural. The bass blended better with the music and didn’t sound like it was “in your face”.
The vocals sound great as well. Even my 14 year old commented on how the voices sounded smoother and more natural. He even mentioned that it sounded like there was a center channel speaker hidden somewhere for the voices to come out of and “float in the air”. Nope, just my Tekton Lore speakers.
The Pioneer has taken my listening enjoyment to a new level. Kudos to whoever designed the mod because it does sound awesome!
Here is feedback from one of our modified HK 990 units from a customer:
Forgive the late feedback, but just to say I absolutely love the amp. This is just the sound I was looking for.