Can anyone make my Modwright XA777ES play SACD?

My sad tale is that I bought a used Modwright Sony XA777ES with full platinum mods, and it stopped playing SACDs about 18 months ago. It plays CDs beautifully.

Dan Wright, while a very nice guy, is too busy making new gear and doing new mods to fix it himself.

So I took it to a local audio repair place here in Portland Oregon, and they were useless. They kept it for four months, telling me the laser was backordered, then when I finally got it, it played CD's but not SACD's. After profuse apologies they kept it for another two months. This time it played SACDs for one day then it stopped playing them.

Now, when I put in an SACD, it does the following: It reads SACDs (takes forever) and plays them, but there's no audible output. The clock runs, the track display works, but there's no sound out the speakers or the headphones. Of course, it still plays CDs and sounds great playing them.

I'm not going back to Inner-so..(oops, almost mentioned the name of the local place that couldn't figure out in two tries over six months how to make it work...), and it still nags me that I have a handful of SACDs that I can't play, and it bothers me to walk past the SACD section of my local store (especially when people rave so hard about the medium).

So...anyone out there have any advice? Anyone know someplace that will fix a previously modded player without charging me an arm and a leg? I'm willing to ship it if I can get some sort of reasonable guarantee that it will work when I get it back. It has (I'm told) a new laser, but that didn't seem to be enough to make it work.

Two other options:

1. Forget SACD (I'm almost there. While the player was being held hostage, I re-surged into vinyl.)
2. Buy a new player - candidly, I'd rather upgrade my phono preamp from my current Tom Evans Groove to an ASR Basis Exclusive if I were going to invest bucks in the system.

Your thoughts?

Thanks in advance,

I have to agree with Fishing716. I would cut my loss and purchase the Sony XA or call Modwright one more time and ask him if you ship the unit will he at least look at it? Now there are a few people who do mod these players very successfully so you might want to look them up as well.The best with the player and don't despair we all go through it.
I know that when I owned the Audio Aero Prestige, the manual suggested that I leave it "on", and with the "no disc" message when not in use. When I bought a Steelhead, and no longer needed the pre function of the Prestige, I went to a Cary Pro.
Having had a first gen 306 a few years ago, I knew that the SACD function (Sony, I'm pretty sure) was touchy; so I used the Audio Aero's recommendation on the Cary (Pro), and never turned it off either.
I know the Modwright is a tube rectified player (once upgraded); but those are some long hour tubes.
My question is: When you got it to work the last time, and then it worked for an hour and then went out again, was it after being shut down and then turned on again? My problems with the early 306 were never during play; but only when re-booting the player. Occasionally I had to re-re-boot; but it was always just the right channel that wasn't playing.
I would try turning it off and on; re-plugging it again and again, to see if I could get a good read. If I got one? I'd keep it.
This is one of those postings that I'm pretty confident won't help; but on the outside chance that it might, I'll put it up.
Good luck!
Hi Rbirke,
I feel your pain. I too have a Modwright modded XA-777. It began having your problem years ago. At first only occasionally, then more often. I've put 2 new lasers in it then sent it to Dan for repair. He is very busy and it took a long time, but he replaced the laser again then found a damaged ribbon cable inside. We thought that was the problem, and it IS working better, but I still have to "prime" it with a CD before playing an SACD, and some of my SACDs still won't play at all. I wish I had just abandoned it and bought one of Dan's newer efforts, either the XA-5400 or the BDP-83. If you find the solution to our problem, please let me know!
Disc are DEAD, upgrade the phono preamp and enjoy all of the music instead of just "Samples". Or buy a really good DAC instead, think Berkeley, Bryston, PS Audio Perfectwave.

If you still want to play SACD's sometimes, buy an Oppo BD-83se, not near what your old player was, but every once in while to play the odd SACD you have, it's fine, and it plays every disc you could imagine.

Vinyl or digital files, that's the present, and the future.
Discs are dead? My room must be a graveyard. I will let that comment go at the risk of getting drawn into an argument ... I digress.


Sorry to hear of your problems with your player. Did you give Kurt a call at Echo HiFi? He knows most of the better repair places in Portland and he has a really skilled tech working for him now. He used to work for Dan and fixed my sick SWL 9.0 SE good as new. Good repair shops are like priests and auto mechanics - when you find a good one your life gets a whole lot easier. Given the quality of player I would seek out the repairs - maybe get a backup unit for the mean time. (Oppo BluRay?) I am still sitting in a Levinson No. 37 that will make it to Pyramid someday for the $700 laser replacement. In the mean time I picked up a Wadia 23 and a Sony NS9100ES - I couldnt be happier.

Yes, I have the 360S DAC with over 30,000 FLAC files available. I also have a turntable ... I still prefer my CD and SACD collection. Wonder where all those computer files came from anyway?