Apartment system designed for listening at low levels.

Components Toggle details

    • Sony SCD-XA777ES (modified)
    Modified by Ric Schultz (EVS). Super Clock II plus power supply, custom fully-balanced output stage with multi-channel disabled, modified power supply with disabled power switch, nude Black Gates, Vishays, disabled headphone amp. Power cord: TG Audio SVLR
    • Grover Huffman Balanced Silver Reference II
    3' interconnect with Switchcraft XLRs
    • Balanced Audio Technology VK-50SE
    linestage, 6H30, remote control, 38 lbs. Power cord: TG Audio Lab SLVR
    • Grover Huffman Silver Reference II
    3' XLR-RCA for preamp to power amp
    • Welborne Labs Laurel MkII
    8w SET monoblocks. Ultimate Upgrade kit. Full Music mesh-anode 300B output valves, NOS (1945) JAN Sylvania 6SL7GT VT-229 drivers, Mullard GZ37 rectifiers. Power cord: TG Audio Lab HSR-A Gen II
    • DIY silver foil
    6' DIY silver foil (99.99% pure, 1.25 inches wide, 0.008 inches thick) using the simplest construction. Each foil mummy-wrapped with wide Teflon tape, then placed together and mummy-wrapped with two layers of Teflon tape. Ends folded and cut-outs made to fit binding posts - no connectors.
    • Coincident Speaker Technology Super Eclipse II
    pair, 2-8in woofers, 3way, Revelator tweeter, TSR internal wire, black finish, extender feet with large brass cones
    • PolyCrystal 2 shelf
    18 inches high, two Ultra High Density shelves, light oak
    • Bright Star Air Mass II Reference
    Pneumatic base for SACD player

Comments 7


The modifications Ric made to the XA-777ES disabled the multichannel capabilities. I was asked before these mods were performed if that would be OK, and I gave the go-ahead. I don't want surround sound at this point in time.



Stereo only--is that because of lack of space, or lack of good recordings, or ...?


System edited: Replaced the Coincident CST-ICs between the BAT preamp and the SETs with balanced-unbalanced interconnects from Grover - the Silver Reference II. A good match for the system, removing a little darkness in the top end and opening up the sound somewhat. No "silver brightness" problems here, and I have all silver in the interconnects and speaker cables.


System edited: Added the new extender feet with the large brass cones to the Coincidents. Expanded the footprint of these tall speakers to firm up the way they sit on the carpet over concreted floor. No wobble at all now. Slight improvement.

Added the Bright Star Air Mass 2 Reference base. The XA777ES sits on this, and the Air Mass sits on the PolyCrystal shelf.

Upgraded Grover's interconnect to his latest model.


System edited.

I've had my modified XA777ES for almost 12 months now, and figured I'd better update my system. SACD sound is glorious and mind-boggling, but the improvement in CD sound has been staggering. This customized player is so open and dynamic on digital it is a real thrill to listen to.

This player is not perfect however, as there are 30 hybrid SACDs out of my 670 SACDs that the Sony does not play correctly - some dropouts or problems reading the table of contents.

This is not an issue with the modifications - it's something to do with the alignment of the laser system. No problems on non-hybrid SACDs or CDs.

Because the player has been modified I can't have it attended to under warranty, though I do believe I could send it to Sony and pay to have it looked at. It's odd how some SACDs upset the drive mechanism - I wish I knew why.

I had a used pair of balanced Coincident CST-IC between the Sony and the BAT for about 10 months, and recently replaced them with the Grover ribbon-based interconnects. There was a darkness and slightly-shutdown aspect to the sound that has been removed with Grover's hand-made interconnects.

Of course, I wasn't aware of this until a friend came over with a couple of special interconnects (not Grover's) to audition, and I could hear the improvement. I could hear how the Coincidents were homogenizing the presentation slightly and not allowing all the dynamics to expand. My player is particularly revealing of micro-dynamics and the CST-ICs were holding it back a bit.

Grover makes the interconnects for folks on Steve Hoffman's forum, and doesn't advertise. Steve recently replaced the cables in his mastering system with Grover's wires.

I should have the Air Mass 3 Reference from Bright Star Audio soon to place under the SACD player. I ordered this a couple of weeks ago, and my timing was good because Barry was just manufacturing a new batch. They take a little while to cure, but I've heard that they have been shipped. I'm planning to pick this up today and see what isolation does in my system.

Should be interesting.


I have to agree with TWL on this one. Add a BAT VKp5 phono stage and pick your TT and cartridge of choice.


To paraphrase a line from the film,"The Graduate", I have one word for you: Analog.

Your whole system is perfectly assembled for it. Just plug in an analog front end.

I had a Sony 9000ES CD/SACD, and it was good, but not in the same galaxy with analog. I'm sure that the mods on the 777 will make it very good, but the difference will not be overcome.

I am firmly convinced, by my own experiences, that analog will give the best source that is currently possible, and thus give the best sound from your system.

Try a good quality TT on your system, even if you just borrow one from a friend for auditioning purposes. You will see(hear).


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