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Positive Feedback ISSUE 34


Update on the ModWright Sony 9100 SACD/DVD/CD Player: Signature Truth Mod with Vacuum Tube
by Robert H. Levi


It's been a year since I acquired a Mullard GZ 34 rectifier tube from VTV for $86 excellent used! I replaced the Sovtek 5AR4, which was supplied with the unit and which was the best of the other tubes tried in the original review. Initially I found the Mullard was not as clearly detailed as the Sovtek. However, with the addition of a used Townshend Seismic Sink and top power cords, the Mullard became focused and the ModWright became a tour de force in music playback. For only $4300, you get superb CD, SACD, and DAD sound not easily surpassed.

The Mullard was richer, lit from within, and beautifully focused than the very good but somewhat less detailed Sovtek. Want to spend less but approach the Mullard sound? Buy a Japanese copy of the Mullard for $40 from Upscale Audio, Upland. These are new, carefully checked, and are 90% of the Mullard sound. If you have deep pockets, go to VTV for your new or used Mullard. They last a reported 40,000 hours so I wouldn't worry about buying good used stock.

It's hard to believe what a good isolation base will do for digital. Nevertheless, I also heard an increase in front to back depth with the Mullard. I like rock solid images in space and the Mullard delivered. I still think the 9100 was voiced around the Sovtek so the stock tube is more than acceptable.

I've also added the superbly musical Kubala-Sosna Emotion Power Cord to both the power supply and transport. With the added Mullard and Townshend Sink, the sound is outstanding! I'd grade it a 9 out of 10 for CD and SACD, it's that good. The word bargain is over used, particularly by me. But where oh where can you spend $4300 all in and enjoy such astounding digital performance plus get tubes, too? By the way, in an earlier review, I tried two replacement 5687s including a $250 Bendix. The replacement tubes reduced musicality and added a brightness which was not very listenable. The supplied Tungsol 5687s are excellent and all you need.

The ModWright Sony 9100 comes very close to recreating the performance of the live acoustic event in your listening room. I love the fleshy imaging and big, broad soundstage. Vocal reproduction is superb and accurate. The sound is organized and mellifluous, always. Etch is vanishingly low.

Recently I compared the ModWright Sony to the best Universal Player I've heard to date from Luxman. It cost more that twice the ModWright player and is more flexible. Only one problem, it did not sound as good as the ModWright on any comparable sources. Dan Wright is a wonderkind and he just astounds me. It takes two to tango and it takes both Sony and ModWright to fix the 9100. Hey, it took Arcam plus E.A.R. to make the Acute. Could be these digital players are so complicated, it takes more cooks in the kitchen. The ModWright Sony 9100 is done and it's all ready to enjoy. Send in yours or buy it all packaged up and ready for the holidays.

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