After building ModWright Instruments' reputation as a quality source for equipment mods, Dan Wright has expanded his business to include manufacturing his own components. Perhaps because his gear was called into play in a number of rooms, his own room was mobbed until Sunday, when crowds traditionally lighten up.
Finally making my way inside the door unimpeded, I encountered a slew of Dan's own products: ModWright KWA 100SE solid-state power amplifier ($3995), KWA 150 solid-state power amp ($5995), LS 100 Tube preamplifier ($3295, or $3995 with phono upgrade), and LS 100 tube preamp with internal phono stage ($750yes, I know the math doesn't add up, but we strive to report what's printed). I'm not sure which amp was playing while I was there, but the rest of the system consisted of a Truth Tube Mod modified Sony XA5400ES ($2000 for the mod) and Oppo BDP-83 and BDP-83SE Stereo Truth Tube Mod (mod only costs $1500 stereo RCA, $2000 stereo fully balanced); VPI Classic turntable ($2750 with Shelter 901 cartridge (price not supplied); Daedalus DA-RMa Reference monitors with all poly cap crossovers ($8595), and Soundstring Cable Technologies throughout.
This was only one of two rooms in which I auditioned the Channel Classics hybrid SACD of Ebony Band Amsterdam performing a wind and percussion arrangement of Silvestre Revueltas' jarring Sensemaya. It sounded less jarring that usual, with tubbiness on bottom and a somewhat gray presentation offset by a very accurate and listenable top. I wonder if there was any power treatment in the room. Clearly, the ASC Tube Traps could do only so much to control the bottom end.
Then Dan let me listen to the effect of his tube mods to the Sony XA5400ES and Oppo BDP-83SE players. I thought the difference was like night and day, with the Oppo sounding more three-dimensional, further extended and open on top, and more colorful.