ModWright SonyXA-5400ESModWright Sony XA-5400ES Truth ModsOur best digital offering, period! Also the best and last CD/SACD player that Sony will produce! THIS AD IS FOR A MODIFICATION ONLY. CUSTOMER MUST SUPPLY SONY XA-5400ES PLAYER. 120V OR 220V PLAYER...1995.00

ModWright Sony XA-5400ES Truth Mods [Expired]

no longer for sale

Our best digital offering, period! Also the best and last CD/SACD player that Sony will produce!



Price: $1995 (modification only).

Customer Feedback:

"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." - B. Fogel

"All I can say is that this player will stand as a watershed device for music playback going is THEE NEW BENCHMARK in digital playback" - D. Borda

Reviewer Quote:

"The MW's depth layering and portrayal of air are off the charts. You will notice each image is round and three-dimensional, occupying its own area of the soundstage in a very palpable manner. The air around and even inside instruments is rendered such that you can hear the air flowing from mouthpiece into the valves and out of the bell of a French horn, for example. Resolution is on par with the stock Sony, but micro dynamics have acquired a delicious tubey inner life."

Marshal Nack - Positive Feedback Online

ModWright XA-5400ES Full review in Positive Feedback by Marshal Nack

Reviewer Quote:

"This is ModWright's best work ever. This is an important watershed SACD/CD player that conveys the musical event like no other anywhere near its ridiculously low price. Involving, top to bottom clarity combined with utterly relaxed smoothness and reference quality definition make for a must own player. No other mod I've heard by any other manufacturer trumps this."

Bob Levi- Positive Feedback Online

ModWright XA-5400ES Full review in Positive Feedback by Bob Levi

ModWright XA-5400ES Ultimate Truth Mod And then there was music…

The 5400ES represents the pinnacle of our ‘Truth’ mods.

It simply allows music to ease and flow into the listening room.

Our previous SACD Vacuum tube stage mods have challenged and bettered $20K+ digital sources, according to reviewers and customers!

We have compared the modified 5400ES to the previous modified Sony 9100ES, modified Slim Devices Transporter and stock 5400ES.

We at ModWright have focused over a decade of engineering and listening experience into the Ultimate Truth mod for the Sony 5400ES. We Address Power, Vibration, Jitter and Vacuum Tube Analog Stage design, we have succeeded in transforming the Sony XA-5400ES CD/SACD player into a digital source that is the equal of any, regardless of price!

Our four-prong approach addresses weaknesses inherent in every digital source, based on sound engineering, listening and experience:

  • Power Supply.
  • Mechanical Vibration.
  • Jitter.
  • Analog Stage Design.
  • Dedicated tube-rectified external power supply for the Vacuum tube analog stage.

    Improvements to power supplies for DACs, digital processing and laser tracking/servo circuits.

    Mass damping of both transport and chassis to reduce vibration.

    Master clock replaced with Audiocom's Superclock 4, powered by our own dedicated clock power supply with heavy filtering, to significantly lower jitter levels.

    Stock op-amp based analog stage completely replaced direct-coupled 6SN7 triode-based differential tube gain/buffer stage.

    Fully Balanced XLR and RCA outs both fed from ModWright analog stage.

    Parts and design specifications:

  • MWI proprietary brand signal path and decoupling capacitors.
  • X7 Ceramic capacitors for digital decoupling.
  • Japanese carbon film (Takman) resisors used in all critical signal path applications.
  • Purely passive I-V converter stage with no op-amps.
  • Zero negative feedback designed tube driver stage.
  • Zero op-amps used in analog stage or analog power supply.
  • Single MWI film capacitor in signal path for output DC blocking.
  • External tube-rectified and dual discrete (SS) voltage regulated analog tube supply.
  • 300 ohm low output impedance tube driver stage.
  • 6SN7 driver tubes.
  • 5AR4 rectifier tube.
  • At ModWright, we bring the solid engineering of our manufactured products, to all of our modifications.

    Detailed Design Specifications:

    Digital power supplies are improved by the lowering of raw power supply noise and filtering high-frequency artifacts right at the critical pins of the DAC, laser, motor and servo/focus/tracking circuits.

    One source of jitter IS power supply noise and poor power supply quality. Because we provide our own analog stage and remove all op-amps from the signal path, the stock analog supplies are not used. There are however, separate supplies for the DAC, digital processing circuits, laser, and motor control.

    The internal clock circuits and, VERY importantly, integrated circuits that provide focus, servo and tracking functions for the laser, are also addressed. We painstakingly optimize all digital power circuits, to provide the best possible performance. This includes upgrading to fast recovery diodes and use of Nichicon and ceramic decoupling capacitors in critical locations.

    All of this has a profound effect on jitter levels and hence overall sonics.

    Mechanical vibration is yet another source of jitter, which we address by mass damping the transport itself as well as the stock lid and enclosure. We use sheet damping material on the lid and other resonant portions of the metal enclosure. At the drive itself, we use very-high mass damping modules to lower the resonant frequency of the drive to well below the effected frequencies.

    The greatest source of jitter however, is the master clock. In this case, after much testing and evaluation, we found the Superclock 4 from Audiocom to offer the best performance.

    In addition to extensive on-board voltage regulation and power filtering, we further isolate the clock by providing our own dedicated power source with heavy regulation and supply filtering.

    We began using the original Superclock 1 in our Absolute Truth Mods for the SCD-1, SCD-777ES and XA-777ES. Audiocom has also further honed their engineering skills and the Superclock 4 is representative of their years of experience in designing precise clock circuits.

    The clock, while critical, is but one essential area of improvement in the quest for ultimate sonic realization.

    Lastly and most importantly, we replace the stock feedback-inherent op-amp based analog stage and associated electrolytic coupling caps with our own Vacuum tube analog stage. Op-amps are used for active I-V conversion, gain, and buffering in the stock unit. Electrolytic coupling capacitors are also used for DC blocking, throughout the stock circuitry. We replace all of this with a fully balanced, pure passive I-V stage, direct-coupled into a differential 6SN7 triode gain/buffer stage with a single ModWright capacitor in the signal path. XLR outputs are fully balanced and RCA outputs receive the SE component of the balanced signal.

    All analog signal outputs are non-phase-inverting.This new tube circuit is an OTL (output transformer-less) 'mu'* stage variant, that is fully differential and optimized for the 6SN7 tube.

    The use of the highest quality Takman Carbon Film resistors in the passive I-V stage and other critical areas of the signal path offer the most natural and musical sound.

    This circuit represents significant breakthroughs in transparency and EXTREMELY low noise. The use of SS constant current source and buffer circuits, combined with a perfectly voiced 6SN7 Vacuum tube gain stage allow for the best of both tube and SS technologies, using devices according to their strengths.

    The Vacuum tube serves to amplify voltage, while SS devices provide current regulation and buffering.


    In a line-level circuit such as this, opposed to an amplifier, tubes require virtually no maintenance.

    We chose the 6SN7 for its sound and general popularity among people who love tubes. It ended up being the tube of choice for our Transporter mod, of which we sold hundreds of units!

    The tubes are purposely driven VERY conservatively to give 10,000-12,000+ hours of tube life.

    The circuit is fully auto-bias, therefore no maintenance required.

    We chose tube rectification simply because it SOUNDS BETTER!

    The only capacitors in the signal path, used for final DC blocking, are our own proprietary design, manufactured to our exacting standards. These are used extensively in our own products and modifications. The MWI (ModWright Instruments) capacitors are quite simply the best quality available, period. They provide the right balance of body and musicality without sacrificing detail or resolution.

    The XA5400ES follows the Sony SCD-1, SCD-777ES, XA-777ES, DVD-9000ES, 999ES and 9100ES, all of which have been in our family of ‘Truth’ mods.

    We have received numerous awards and reviews for all of them.

    If you are trying to decide which company to choose for your Sony XA-5400ES, consider the following:

    Engineering experience, service, quality, value and a holistic approach to the transformation of this fantastic player.


    Because our mods are sold factory direct, there is no dealer markup. As a result, we can use the best quality parts and produce a design that FAR surpasses the performance of comparably priced 'NEW' manufactured equipment. The performance of all of our mods simply speak for themselves!

    I thank you for taking the time to read this and I welcome your call or email with further questions. Our customers and their satisfaction come first. Our reputation for service and quality speaks for itself.

    Warranty: 5 years for all ModWright work.

    *Original mu stage design credited to Alan Kimmel.


    Dan WrightPresident, ModWright Instruments Inc.


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