Doh! Modding vs. Selling

How many times have you modified a piece of gear with new caps, or new wiring, etc. only to find yourself selling it in a couple of months?

Personally I have learned, that except for my DIY work, if I get an itch to mod a piece of gear, I am better of trading it in.


I would never modify anything I owned, as it will ruin the resale value.

I've even found that the work of professional modifiers only gets back about 20-30% on the dollar. Any non-professional DIY work normally decreases the value from a stock unit.

Much better trading it in on something different, more cost effective way to change a system's sound, IMHO.

(I’m a manufacturer, so I should probably not be saying that)

As for resale value ~I Don’t Care~.

If making the music pound requires swallowing a grenade, then I’ll swallow a grenade.

Whatever it takes.

Best bang for the buck is mods.

Stock is for losers. (humor!)(jk!)

Modified gear is the last stage a hardcore music fanatic (that requires the best gear) goes through.

And they find it to be the best thing they ever did, even if it sometimes does not work out.

The sooner you get there, the better off you’ll be.

And you’ll stop swapping out gear, and stop buying stuff that is only a hair better than the last.

So it’s resale price means nothing in the context of serving the music. has to have the will and the drive..and the skills to do so.

Ie,a while back... I changed the back struts on my car, by myself, with a broken arm, in a cast. there was no way I was going to pay some guy x times as much as was deserved for the job, for something I could do just as well myself. Even if, due to the broken arm, It took me 4 times as long as it should have.

Stubborn as F...beat on it until it works, not satisfied unless it is world class or better. That kinda attitude. Modifying is for that kind of person. It is a very long drawn out process to get to the right spot, with mods, so the dedication must be complete.

Essentially, modifying gear is valid but is is a rarefied space and then the finished items, if ever resold, require the right buyer.

The essential point, is that modified gear is generally not like a Honda civic where a kid strapped a turbo on a stock Honda motor ...and it's destined to explode soon...but it can be. The mods have to be done by the right person in the right way, for the right reasons. And that takes decades of experience to get to. So, Jim is correct, the resale value plummets.

But, if the difference, for you... is crap sound vs sound that makes your butt swing, then the equation is complete. If the music really means something to you... ie, music, not audio nervosa, then modded gear can make sense.
I buy only the best Audia Flight Stremento preamp and amp you cant improve on the best!!
Finally a thread on a topic I really care about.  Thanks Erik!  

For the life of me I am amazed at how many A'goners seem to swap out equipment on a regular basis. It seems to me that for them it's about the gear not the music.  Nothing necessarily wrong with that if that is your thing and evaluating gear is your purpose or brings you satisfaction.

My goal is to put together a system that recreates the music I love as accurately and enjoyably as possible.  My route to that end has been to buy well built pieces at prices I can afford and then look for modification avenues as funds permit.  It IS critical to know where and with whom to have your gear modified.  I count myself as very fortunate to have had only great experiences doing so.  

I always make sure to have several conversations with a potential modder to properly vet them.  This has paid off every time.  I have eliminated some potential candidates based on these essential conversations.  In the same way, I have selected and confirmed my modding choices in this way.  During those conversations, it affords you the opportunity to express your sonic goals and where you want the sound of your system to go.  The best modders will pay attention to that and craft the modification around what you, the customer, are trying to achieve.  

I don't care about how modifying my gear might affect its future price on the used market.  I don't buy any gear ever with the idea of selling it to get another piece of gear which I will, after tiring of it, sell yet again.  

Don't get me wrong, I know the appeal of opening the box for the first time and taking out a new/used piece of gear.  It's like that new car smell.  Who doesn't love that?

For me, the modification of well built, well designed pieces of gear that retail at a price I can afford all the while pre planning to have its performance enhanced as the cash becomes available has successfully brought me closer to my ideal system.  This may not be the route to sonic satisfaction for everyone but it has worked well for me.

I have been modding equipment for many years and don't worry about resale as I rarely sell, in fact I usually purchase used so the previous owner has already taken the depreciation 'hit'.

In most cases I do the mods in steps rather than all at once, this way I can understand what each does.  It also keeps me from flipping equipment as with most mods you get a new and generally better sound.  Of course there are risks if your mod isn't implemented correctly and you then have repairs to do, but that is part of the 'fun'.

I love the smell of solder in the morning...
@ddzstereo   Do you perform the modifications yourself?  If so, I envy you your circuit knowledge and soldering skills.  Regarding doing mods in stages, that's kind of what I did with my power amp.  I had it modded modestly the first time, upgraded 2 years later and then just had a major rebuild done 18 years after that.  The latest mods. have just burned in after a month of almost constant use.  Things have come along way in the last two decades!
I mod everything I have owned or will own for better sound to me. The parts quality in our high end gear would shock most of you. Not commensurate with the price. Not even close. I can think of no better way to greatly improve your existing SQ for the money.

No problem selling for me. I have sold lots of modified gear over the years. Many informed folks know that well executed upgrades can really improve the sound of an already good piece of gear.

I can see why some are nervous as this is certainly something only a minority of us would feel comfortable with. Good news is there are plenty open minded enough to buy. In addition, it seems DIY interest is growing in this hobby as folks are realizing they can save money and achieve great sound. Many of my audio friends have learned how to make great sounding cables for reasonable money.
Part of the fun!

@ddzstereo.  I also love the smell of solder in the morning! 
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Hifiman5 - yes I do my own mods.  Although I have an electronics background my first significant learnings came in the late 80s from Audio Amateur.  The learning process never ends and there are plenty of enthusiasts at or 

"Personally I have learned, that except for my DIY work, if I get an itch to mod a piece of gear, I am better of trading it in."

Personally, if I get an itch to mod a piece of gear, it had better be worth modding to begin with, or I’d trade it in. I’ve usually owned it for a few years already.

As you can see from my system, I’ll mod just about anything, but generally draw the line at 5 figure stuff. Most of the work I’ve had done for me for the following reasons: I didn’t have the time; have the schematics; the unit has double sided circuit boards; or I planned massive parts changes (Danger Will Robinson!). Always choose the parts to be used since it is possible my tastes may not be the same as a professional modder. I’ve done lots of mods and kit building myself. Thankfully, after 40 years or so of tinkering, my system is done.