several routes to take to digital heaven?

I'm trying to coax (pun intended) out of transport the best digital signal one can get, without paying the big bucks; I thought buying used transports several years aged would be the most cost effective, but now considering modded cd or dvd modded transports; does anyone have experience with modded units done by the likes of Modwright and similar companies? One company claims that after it gets through modding units made by phillips, sony or pioneer, the sound will rival that coming from $10,000 unmodded units.
I can't speak to the modifications your referring to,
but my own admittedly biased opinion is that you'll
be unlikely to recoup the investment you make in an
expensive modification. Whenever I purchase high-end
equipment, I always look at the resaleability of the
item. That is why my system is almost exclusively Mark
Levinson, which has a ready resale market and holds its
value well. Additionally, I like the sound and the
construction. I formerly owned an EAD T-1000 transport and
a Wadia 2000 DAC. The EAD was decent for a modestly
priced transport but not in the same league as the Levinson
#37 I have now. The Wadia was excellent, but still not as
good as my Levinson #360. Particularly in digital, quality
of sound is (unfortunately) usually linked to cost.
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Viridian, it's not too hard to discern what camp you come from, especially after looking at the active threads you have participated in, but I did at one time make an honest attempt to go 'pure' and had a very good analog front end, but determined that tracking (another one of those intended puns)down the holy grail took way too much valuable time. I will not proselytise you on the benefits of digital, but recommend you read the comments of Bob Stuart of Meridian fame that have appeared recently in several mags as to his reply to you vinylatics.
I had a Pioneer DV-525 DVD player modified by Daniel Wright some time ago. Replaced a ton of stuff from input caps, to rectifier diodes, ac receptacle, power supply capacitors etc. I went the whole 9 yards. Big improvement. Sounds pretty sweet and provides a great picture. Worth every penny to me and then some.

But ... I would not compare it to a $10,000 system. Last year, I was able to purchase the Perpetual Technologies gear here on Audiogon for under $2,000. That includes the P-1A (stock), P-3A (modified by Wright) and a custom Modwright power supply. This is attached to a Cal Tech CL-10 CD changer. That system, even with upgraded cables, is well below $4,000 and the modified Pioneer is not as good. It is very good, but not nearly that good.

Based on this admittedly limited experience, I believe you can dramatically improve equipment with modifications. But, you still have the base platform design as the limiting factor. You might be able to skip a tier or two in price through mods, but not much more than that. If you plan to keep the equipment, I think it's worth it. Get as good a base unit as you can afford/justify. If there are two or three that you like equally well, pick the one that can be modified down the road for a relatively cheap major upgrade in performance. My two cents. Good luck.

P.S. I compared the Cal Tech/Perpetual combo against the Pioneer alone and with the Pioneer/Perpetual combo and my comments hold for either case.
Ozfly, thanks for your input; i recently visited the site,, where it discussed its mods of several good transports (in their time), and how its mods moves them into the $10,000 range, particularly the meridian and philips transports.