+ 30 Day In Home 100% Refund Period
+ 5 Year Parts & Labor Warranty with Every Signature Edition Upgrade
+ 100% GUARANTEED to beat ANYTHING else on the market!
Nothing we sell ever comes back.
We don't even have to advertise. Once our clients experience for themselves the extreme high performance & "bang for the buck" we deliver, they keep coming back as funds permit.
The Upgrade Company would not continue to be A+ rated on the nationwide BBB algorithm month after month unless we were delivering on our promises.
Unsolicited Testimonials sent to David J. Schulte and The Upgrade Company LLC
Every client has paid The Upgrade Company LLC in full. No kickbacks, no commissions, no fees of any kind for recommending our products and services.
Onkyo PR-SC 5509 AV Controller Signature Edition Upgrade
A Believer Turned Into A True Believer!!
First I want to put this in its proper context:
I am NOT a hype guy nor one that likes to sell the “sizzle”. I surely don’t even like to write about this stuff but given certain recent events, I feel compelled to write this unsolicited testimony. Should you wish to contact me directly, please contact The Upgrade Co, they will provide you with my contact info.
I've been a customer of The Upgrade Company since 2006, when I purchased my 1stRotel RMB 1095 and had it SE upgraded.
Subsequently, pleased with the Rotel RMB-1095 results versus a stock 1095, I had other SE upgrades performed as well: a satellite receiver box, OPPO 95, OPPO 103, and most importantly in 2011, my Onkyo PR-SC 5509 AV Controller. I'd read the testimonies, talked with Dave ad nauseum, and then decided under their 100% money back guarantee to see if this whole upgrade “thing” was real. Well in “theory” I guess you can say I became a believer in 2006 because this stuff is definitely for real and MUCH better then in years past.
Recently just a couple of days ago – Nov 1st 2017, I got to see firsthand how far along and how much more advanced The Upgrade Company SE Upgrade has evolved today.
My unintended consequence was that, over all these years, I never had a reference point in which to truly judge/understand what factory stock mass produced “naked” unshielded chipsets unshielded unattenuated RFI contaminated factory HiFi/Video components were truly like vs SE upgraded RFI EMI RIDDED components.
No ready available A/B comparison capability before as I did not have a stock Oppo or Onkyo unit to directly compare.
Fast forward to the present. On Nov 1st 2017, I became a true believer and a true die hard fan of The Upgrade Company’s SE Upgrade & RFI EMI RIDDANCE technology. Biggtime.
My Home Theater Room is 18x26. I decided to plunge into the new Dolby Atmos realm and go from a 7.1 to a 7.1.4. So I use a total of 16 Vandersteen speakers for my Dolby Atmos setup: Vandersteen 3As, w/ 4 matching Vandersteen subwoofers w/filters, Vandersteen Center Channel, Vandersteen VSM Surrounds, and 1 LFE Vandersteen sub.
Given the detailed musical accurate nature of these speakers, I can hear audible differences easily between components.
Regardless, the room has just rocked with 7.1 for years. My family guests and friends are always highly impressed. Can’t wait to hear Atmos so I ordered an SE Upgraded OPPO 205, which is currently still backordered and awaiting its arrival after SE upgrade.
In the meantime I purchased a new AV Controller. Chose Onkyo again as the stock Marantz AV-8802A sounded veiled mushy slow not as detailed open and accurate tight and musical as Onkyo. So I chose the latest ONKYO PR-RZ5100 AV Controller which is 3 generations new & improved over my Onkyo PR-SC 5509 AV Controller.
Here is where I was literally stunned by Upgrade Co's SE Upgrade/RFI EMI Ridding technology. I swapped out the 3 generations older Onkyo 5509 processor from 2011 that was SE upgraded and swapped in the new Onkyo RZ5100 prepro.
I ran the setup microphone and Room EQ’ed everything/etc. let it warm up playing for half a day. Came back to spin my favorite demo discs and I was utterly shocked. There was no bass, picture was fuzzy n grainy not saturated, small hazy thin sound. Nothing to do with EQ settings & levels, I did all that already very carefully. Unit was playing for some time and warmed up.
Without being dramatic, that was the most painful, crappy, listening experience I have had with music & movies. I could hardly believe my ears. I played my reference disks like Transformers & Tron, and it was like all the bass was sucked out of the room. That’s with 5 powered subs, it sounded like I had ½ of ONE SUB. Details of the media were gone. TIDAL sounded like mono. Yes it was that bad. I was quite unnerved as I didn’t expect the new & improved Onkyo Reference AV Controller to actually sound worse. So I checked my connections carefully and found I had my main fronts on the stock Rotel 1095 amp, put my main speakers back to the 2006 SE upgraded Rotel 1095 & the sound got much better, in the mids and highs -but the bass was say only 10% better as the subs were coming straight off the new Onkyo. Still a far cry from what I had been used to with the SE Upgraded Onkyo 5509.
Next, I swapped out the Onkyo processors. This was BEYOND night & day. Its like fisher price vs the real deal! My system was back on line. Sound & Video MASSIVELY transformed immediately.
Here is the most important take away so please don’t miss this: My 5509 is 3 generations older than the new Onkyo 5100. The "specs" on the new Onkyo dictate it ought to perform better then the old one. Steaming on the lower resolution older 5509 KILLS the new Onkyo. Solely because it's not SE Upgraded nor RFI EMI RIDDED. It's BUCK NAKED INSIDE alll over. All chipsets all voltage regulators all opamps all wiring etc etc are left buck naked in all brands highly saturated with reproducing RFI/EMI which gobbles up power supply storage faster then actual signal content making the unit perform horribly next to Upgrade Company SE Upgrade. No bass small sound tinny grainy forward hard irritating crappy. I was shocked.
On Nov 1st 2017, I became a TRUE believer.
So I'm gonna toot my horn so to speak.
I refused to put myself through that bad/traumatic listening experience any further: I just shipped off the new Onkyo to Upgrade Co to be SE Upgraded.
General consensus among magazine gurus seems to be that having a good pre-amp or processor is 80% of getting the right sound. Well that may be true but without your gear SE Upgraded, it sucks! My system beats anyting I've heard in stores or shows.
Stock or other modded gear sounds & looks awful in comparison. Big difference on video too. Sorry to be harsh but it's a fact. Your stuff is performing pretty awful if it doesn't
have the unique RFI EMI RIDDANCE in it.
Onkyo 5509 & 5501 AV Controller / Power amp combo Signature Upgrade
I've been watching my stock Apple TV and the SE Upgraded Apple TV was a huge jump in image and sound quality that I can hardly describe. Simply put, the SE Upgraded Apple TV looks stunning on the Sony 350ES SE Upgraded 4k projector. The picture we're getting is really clear and amazing. The SE Upgraded RFI EMI shielded Sony projector is WAY better looking then my LucasFilm installed former top of the line Runco 3-chip projector with top line Faroudja line quadrupler that was $93,000 back in '01. In fact, I spent $350,000 on my media system between 1995 and 2001 and what you've done with what most high-end audiophiles wouldn’t even consider is simply mind-blowing. Beyond description better then my $350k system was. People you are missing out.
The SE Upgraded Onkyo 5509 AV Controller that started all these purchases with you guys just killed my JBL Synthesis processor. Then true to your word, the SE Upgraded ONKYO 5501 9-channel amp truly far surpassed my top of the line JBL Synthesis power amps likely due to the unique RFI EMI ridding stuff you guys do to the innards. The Onkyo amp runs cool and packs a BIG punch! Cranked way up loud it still sounds velvety smooth, crystal clear with punchy deep bass response. My system sounds amazing.
Almost forgot to mention the TimePortal power cords, XLR & HDMI cables also worked wonders, too - I don't know how you guys do it.
You are the best!! I love working with you and your team.
Onkyo TX-NR5010THX Ultra 2+ A/V Receiver with Signature Edition upgrade mods
Hello again Dave,
I wanted to take a few minutes to follow-up of my review back in May after having the system burn-in for 2000+ hours. We really never shut it down completely…ever!
All I can say is, thank you for allowing me to make your acquaintance and taking the time bring me in as a client of your company’s’ products. Home entertainment in the Dalton household has never been better. The sights and sounds in our Home Theater continue to impress all who experience it.
As for the value received…fantastic! I admit that your claims of a 10X return on my investment was met with…cautious optimism…I’ve heard it all before. But the truth of the matter is that you did it Dave!
Top of the line McIntosh etc. doesn’t sound or look this good and it costs more than 10x my investment.
You have exceeded my expectations beyond words. Suffice it to say that my Panasonic Plasma has never looked better and my M&K speakers and subs are giving stellar performances at every opportunity.
BTW, even at sustained THX reference levels, the upgraded Onkyo AV receive has yet to trip my Elan ZFan2 component rack cooling fan. Not having to work overtime reproducing all that RFI regenerated by the numerous clocks inside has really reduced the heat.
So let’s recap and compare our observations from my initial SE upgrade review on the Onkyo, Oppo, and TimePortal Cables:
- The soundstage is always wide open and transparent; totally jet black backgrounds, liquid velvety, punchy, sparkling crystal clear. No grain or glare or hardness like you’d expect with an A/V receiver. None!
- Far better performance than my high priced separates were able to deliver…huge difference!
- The noise floor…jet black…I’m still impressed. After auditioning other AVR’s (Anthem, Integra, Onkyo, Denon, and Emotiva) and having had listening opportunities to compare several “mega-dollar” separate component systems from EMM Labs, Audio Research, Mark Levinson and McIntosh…All great big-name, hi-end and big-buck separates, but… we all like our new system’s sound quality better at a fraction of the cost!
- The video output from the RFI/EMI ridded Oppo player to my Panasonic plasma looks even more amazing. Blacker blacks, colors unusually fleshed out & brilliant. Images now appear like a veil of fog has been lifted, obviously by your upgrades…really!
- Even when running Comcast cable feeds through our new Oppo SE upgraded shielded/attenuated/dissipated HDMI input…it looks simply fantastic on HD!
The bottom line is that my family and I are still being blown away with the level of performance of this system when compared to the previous systems I’ve owned & really expensive stuff we’ve auditioned. Head and shoulders above the rest!.
I just re-queued up the Re-Mastered SACD of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon…Wow!
Still a believer!
Dave Dalton, Indiana
Rob Gallos Testimonial
I have the Onkyo PR SC5509 SE, but it is sonically about the same as the new SC5530 minus a few updated features. From a sonic point of view WOW!!... the 5509SE has the elegance of a triode tube preamp. Having owned triode preamps before, I can only say this is a step up. Smooth and warm as the glass bottles without the glass tube glare. No excessive euphonic veiling, just a wide open, crystal clear sound stage and a huge life-like imaging. Totally silent backgrounds with utter transparency brings all those low level details into play rendering a very musical presentation. Huge solid tight bass with slam. My turntable has never sounded better with the upgraded phono section. Having said that, my Oppo-105 SE sounds spectacular through this preamp via XLR analog or HDMI digital (yes HDMI now sounds AWESOME once SE upgraded and all that RF extracted out) and competes directly against my turntable. In most instances my Oppo 105SE surpasses my vinyl collection in sound quality.
The Audyssey MultEQ XT 32w/ Dynamic EQ & Dynamic Volume to correct room acoustics is something I tried recently. Coming from a 2 channel analog purist philosphy, I was taken back by how well it works. I have to admit, it makes a profound improvement to the sound. It has surpassed all my expectations. All that RFI/EMI Riddance and other modifications have taken my system to whole new level I did not think was possible at this price point. Having heard expensive systems in the local hi-end audio stores makes feel like I couldn't do better unless I purchased more SE Upgrade components.
Back to the Integra DTA-70.1 SE upgraded 9ch power amplifier, I have to admit that when you recommended selling my Bryston 14BSST power amp and purchasing the INTEGRA DTA-70.1 SE would provide me with not only much better sound quality, but also play just as loud as the Bryston I was a little skeptical. I could not imagine how a 150 watt/ch multichannel amp could compete against a 600 watt/ch(over 900 watts/ch at 4 ohms) amp with a much bigger power supply. This defied logic until I understood what your RFI EMI Riddance technology does to increase available power supply storage up to 100x in any given millisecond. Through many emails you reassured me that (with SE upgrade) this would be the case and it was much to my surprise.
With amazing success of your Oppo 105 SE, ONKYO PRO PR SC5509 SE A/V Controller and the FURMAN ELITE 20PFi Discrete Symmetrical 20A Power Conditioner with SE upgrades, I decided to take a leap of faith and once again you were right.
Not only does it play just as loud as the Bryston 14BSST, but it sounds much better at higher volumes allowing me to listen at much higher volumes than I ever could with the Bryston. When I turn up the volume the sound just gets bigger and eventually over powers the room rather than becoming irritable. This all made sense after you pointed out the fact the Integra SE Power supply does not have to work as hard as the Bryston's power supply due to extensive shielding that stops RFI/EMI from infiltrating the power supply and causing it to produce an additional signal band of unwanted noise and distortion along with the music. I've read this info on your website, but did not appreciate this and underestimated the positive impact this could have on a power amp.
I still think Bryston (Class A rated by Stereophile) makes great amps, but having an SE upgraded Integra amp has brought my system up to a whole new level of musicality. Gone are the irritants at high volume listening. The Bryston sounds colored,thin and tinny compared to the Integra SE. It has the warmth of tubes without the bloat. Bass is full sounding while remaining tight with slam and pitch definition. I listened to the bass solo on Patricia Barber's Modern Cool(Post Modern blues) at 96 decibels reading with Scosche decibel reader( much louder than my normal listening levels) and the bass was rendered with more realism, musicality and control than with the Bryston. I could have easily turned it up louder, but my neighbors may have objected.
The rest of the audio spectrum is simply amazing. So-o-o musical and smooth. Greatly improved micro dynamics, PRAT, liquidity, smoothness, depth, imaging. Voices and instruments are presented at a much larger scale...really big sound. A much larger overall sound stage is heard. Huge presence factor without sounding forward. Delineation of multiple voices is remarkable. I can pick out each voice individually, as opposed to everything smeared together. So much inner detail, air and transparency. The 3D factor has gone way up. I find myself trying albums which in the past that were slightly irritating to my ears and end up getting so drawn in I listen to the complete album with immense pleasure along with head bobbing and toe tapping.
With all those extra channels, I am now able to take full advantage of biamp capabilities of the Onkyo 5509 SE controller and bring the system up to another level of musicality. I'm a 2 stereo channel kind of listener, but running movies through this amp brought far more excitement to movies. Having exceeded 105 decibels without any change in sound quality proved to me this amp can handle huge demands. My speakers are mid efficient and run at 4 ohms. I have checked the top cover of the amp and it never gets hot even when pushing this amp.
Incidentally, my shipment of the amp did not come intact. The shipping box was damaged. The chassis was unscathed, but some very minor internal repairs where needed. David Schulte did not hesitate to rectify the situation. He backs up what he sells.
I now understand the importance of having the entire component chain SE upgraded. The synergism catapults the system to a much higher level of musicality then the sum of the parts alone and allows each component to perform at its full potential. The RFI EMI RIDDANCE TECHNOLOGY and SE Upgrades have taken my system to whole new level I did not think was possible at this price point. Having heard expensive systems in the local hi-end audio stores makes feel like I couldn't do better unless I purchased more SE Upgraded components.
Thanks again for bringing music to my ears!
I wanted to take a few minutes to thank you for walking me through the process of what it “is” that you do to extract every bit of the potential out of components utilizing your Signature Edition upgrade modifications.
Bottom line, my family and I were just blown away…simply flabbergasted with the performance increases realized with this system when compared to previous systems I have owned which included several big-name mid-and hi-end separate components.
Given that we do not have a dedicated “HomeTheater” space, we have the system installed in our Great Room, a rather large 6800+ cubic foot challenge for the SE upgraded Onkyo TX-NX5010 AV Receiver’s Audessey set-up.Adding the SE upgraded Oppo BDP-103D Universal Blu- ray player with the Bybee Slipstream Quantum Purifiers installed provided the video and SACD source to anchor the system.Tying it all together were the WireWorld Silver Starlight® 6 HDMI cables and TimePortal Reference Power Cords which by-the-way are both the most robustly constructed I’ve ever used.
Well David, after a 200 hour burn in, last night we decided to do some critical listening and viewing to get a sense of the weight and balance of the new additions to the family through our Panasonic plasma (ISF calibrated) and Miller & Kreisel 5.2 system consisting of (3) S-150, (2) SS-150 , (1) MX-350 and (1) MX-150 (corner loaded) subs.
I started the audio portion of my review with the Re-Mastered SACD of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon…OMG!
That first minute of listening at THX Reference level was…Extraordinary!!!
I realized that until that very moment, I had never even come close to realizing the potential of the Miller & Kreisel monitors and, for the first time finally heard what I’ve been missing all these years…reaffirming my belief in the accuracy of the M&K system. Affirmation in the acoustic engineering genius of Ken Kreisel now demonstrated by my new hero, wizard of sound... the brilliant, David Schulte.; You my friend, are a genius! Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, and his shop is not at the North Pole. It’s in Harbor Springs, Michigan!
David, my wife has cursed me for the last 23 years about my “ugly black boxes” (M&K’s) and now, all I could see was her glassy eyed stare and her repeating…”Wow, wow and wow”. And remember this at THX reference levels! She was amazed at how the sound “came alive in the room”, as if she were there in the studio feeling it in the first person …clear, warm, inviting and being right there. You my friend have made a new convert, one with a new found appreciation for the quality of the sound in her music and movies.
My observation: the soundstage is always wide open and transparent; totally jet black backgrounds, liquid velvety, punchy, sparkling crystal clear. No grain or glare or hardness like you’d expect with an A/V receiver. None!
Far better performance than my high priced separates were able to deliver…huge difference!
The noise floor… I’ve auditioned other AVR’s (Anthem, Integra, Onkyo, Denon, Emotiva) and had the pleasure of listening to some “mega-dollar” separate component systems from EMM Labs, Audio Research, Mark Levinson and McIntosh. All great big-name, hi-end and big-buck separates, but, we all like our new system’s sound quality better.
Your point that the higher priced, hi-end audio manufacturers are spending most of their time and power supply storage reproducing RFI & EMI contamination, just add up the pulse rates of the RFI vs the music, it’s a no brainer. And really not hard at all to wrap ones head around.
Stock gear even at the highest price levels like I’ve owned for years really has no bass or dynamics, it sounds flat, grainy, veiled and thin in comparison to this upgraded A/V receiver. You truly have to hear it to believe it.
The video output from the Oppo player to my Panasonic plasma looks amazing. Blackest blacks, colors unusually fleshed out & brilliant. Images now appear like a veil of fog has been lifted, obviously by your upgrades…really! Even when running Comcast cable feeds through our new Oppo SE upgraded shielded/attenuated/dissipated HDMI input…simply fantastic!
I have not seen better video anywhere.
I would like to check back with you in a couple months and revisit this review when the system has a chance to “marinate” and give you a true “A-B” comparison after 500 -750 hours. At our present viewing and listening schedule, that might be in just 3 more weeks!
More audiophiles need to find out about this.
Thank you for all you do,
Dave Dalton, Indiana
Rob Gallos on his new Signature Edition upgraded ONKYO 5509 AV Controller and TimePortal Reference XLR interconnects and power cords.
I have had The Upgrade Company's Onkyo PR SC 5509 AV Controller/Prepro Signature Edition for about 3 months now and still listen with amazement. It presents itself with such an elegant sound, only a ultra expensive preamp could possibly do, although I haven't hear any preamps in the local hi-end shops that sound this good. Huge airy sound stage, smoother than tubes (I know because just sold my locally modified Counterpoint tube preamp), realistic timbres, gobs of low level detail and ambiance, big solid detailed tight bass are only a few characteristics that come to mind. So musical and warm all due to The Upgrade Company's proprietary RFI & EMI technologies. These innovations have also allowed my Oppo 105 Signature Edition to show what it can really do. All I can say is Wow it really sounds (and looks) great. It just occurred to me that I haven`t spun any vinyl in 6 weeks. Enough said.
While I`m at it the TimePortal interconnects and power cords are truly remarkable in getting everything right. I've owned some really good cables from some very highly regarded companies, but they pale in comparison to the TimePortal cables. All the graininess and irritants just vanish, leaving me with smooth relaxed tones with PRAT and proper dynamics and utter transparency.
Prior to purchasing the Onkyo 5509 Signature Edition, my wife said how could it possibly sound any better than this with the Oppo 105 Signature Edition in the system. After hearing both the Oppo 105 SE and the Onkyo 5509 SE in the system, she now keeps asking me when I am going to upgrade the power amp and I'm thinking very soon. My stock Bryston 14bsst is now the weakest link in my component chain because it is stock and naked internally amplifying RFI collected right out of the airwaves.
Thanks again for bringing my system another level closer to live music.
resolution totally opened up like an open window. My SE upgraded Oppo 95
Stephen Miller from Canada
Thanks for saving me big $$$$. I almost bought another stock naked/unshielded AV Controller at a much higher cost!
Oppo BDP-95 Signature Edition upgraded & Onkyo PR SC 5508 Signature Edition upgraded feedback:
Dear Mr. Schulte,
I would like to thank you for the upgrades you have provided to my Oppo BDP-95 and Onkyo PR-SC5508.
Your Signature Edition upgrade on the Oppo 95 has taken it to a new level that is truly exemplary. The bass slam is impeccable and betters my Rega P9/Dynavector turntable combination that I used to think blew away the Oppo 95. The imaging and reality from the Oppo 95 Signature Edition are truly phenomenal, pulling you into the music like a never knew possible. My B&W 802D's have never sounded so good.
As for the Onkyo 5508... holy &@%*! It's awesome. Side-by-side with a stock 5508, it is so much more warm, flavorful and inviting and musical - it sounds like the perfect tubed preamp, but without the tubes. It betters my Audio Research tubed preamp with expensive top of the line NOS military 7308 tubes - absolutely blows it to smitherines! The richness and warmth of the SE upgraded 5508 betters the majority of 2-channel high end preamps that I've heard.
Many many thanks!
B. Silverman, M.D.
Onkyo prepro Signature Edition upgrade
My neighbor and I have been audio enthusiasts for many years now. We are always striving to get that sound that makes you feel as if "you are there" or at least realistic enough to have a pleasing soundstage with tonal accuracy and precise imaging. After years of buying and selling gear, we had never achieved it.
It was time to try something new.
However, it was not until recently that I had a piece of gear that finally created that "live experience" for us.
I had my Onkyo prepro upgraded by The Upgrade Company with their Signature Edition upgrade.
My system finally reached a plateau that made us both say ahhhhh, that's it!
I have had many years of listening to very high end gear at dealers and friends systems, some in mine.
To sum it up, the "Signature Edition upgrade" made the entire system extremely coherent & lifelike.
The micro details blossomed, the dynamics were there like live, and especially bass heft & precision came out like crazy over the stock Onkyo. I no longer even need my subwoofers, the left & right mains are just awesome and better at keeping up with the speed of the new prepro. The sound is very balanced now.
Vocals are eerie, they portray such realism. We both agreed that the listening experience had an uncanny feel of being at the venue as we watched DVD's and enjoyed the visuals through the Onkyo's internal ISF certified "Signature Edition upgraded" HDMI video scaler. There was a big increase in video depth, color saturation, detail, much more 3D and live looking after the SE upgrade shielding & upgrades.
I am very satisfied. I was skeptical about having this mod done, but now hearing & seeing the results, I would not hesitate in the future with any other gear. Attached is a photo of my system with custom Legacy
Please confirm you've received the photo of my system and review and any thoughts. Thanks!
The following letter is unsolicited and is written to David Schulte, founder of The Upgrade Company, out of the sheer joy of now having a system that has restored music to my home. As a retired college professor turned businessman, my time is limited and the available leisure I fill with music.
For the last forty minutes, I have been seated in front of my stereo system listening to Rossini overtures. This was one of the first SACDs I purchased when SACD first hit the market. Frankly, I never liked the way it sounded. No sound stage, little differentiation between instruments—everything seemed to run together. Now, on the system that The Upgrade Company has fundamentally built for me, the disk sounds glorious with a great soundstage and wonderful differentiation between instruments. What depth, what tonality, what precision.
For some time, I had contemplated upgrading my system. My dedicated SACD player was Sony’s first, and while it was an outstanding piece of equipment in its time, it created a soundstage that was less than satisfying. Reviews of more recent Sony products and products by others told me, now is the time to step up. Furthermore, my Sony blu ray player was an entry level machine and while good, was not great. Then I came across a review of the Oppo 95. I spent time on the web reading reviews of the Oppo and also talking to folks from a couple of independent A/V stores who of course did not sell the Oppo but had solid opinions based on years of experience in the industry. Everything pointed to replacing my two pieces with the Oppo 95. My only concern was not its delivery of blu ray material but its ability to deliver high quality audio for my extensive SACD collection. Well, I purchased the Oppo, and was delighted but still desired more.
One of the web sites that I read that helped convince me to purchase the Oppo was The Upgrade Company. This site also talked about turning the Oppo into a machine that could rival the reproduction of music of machines costing $70,000. Wow. Bold statement. But was it a reckless statement? Was this snake oil or the real McCoy? A couple of reviews of The Upgrade Company accused its founder, David Schulte, of being a charlatan. There was only one way to learn for myself: I called The Upgrade Company and spoke to Schulte directly.
What I learned after numerous conversations with Schulte—and does this guy make himself available—is that he knows his industry, he knows the equipment he sells and upgrades intimately—who needs the manual when you have Schulte--and, most important, that he is a person of integrity. When a small but rare problem occurred to my Onkyo 5508, before I could finish describing the problem to him, he told me that he was shipping me a fresh 5508 and that he would cover the cost of shipping the new one to me and the cost of returning the damaged one to him. That deserves another Wow. Schulte does business the way I do—quality before profit. With Schulte, you not only get his outstanding upgraded equipment—the Onyko and the Oppo are what he said they would be after his upgrade--but also his guarantee. It is as if his personal integrity is found in every box that that he sends to you.
One last point before I give Schulte a swelled head. I also purchased TimePortal power cords, speaker cables and interconnects. What a difference these make, truly make. I had good cables before, but TimePortals are truly as good as the most costly cords on the market today. These make a huge difference even if you do nothing more to your present equipment.
Alfred Balitzer, Ph.D.
A brief bio on Dr. Balitzer can be found on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Balitzer
Onkyo TX-NR5008 A/V receiver "Signature Edition" upgrade
I’ve had my Onkyo TX-NR5008 A/V receiver back from your up-grade mod & now it’s broken-in about 750 hours. I can say I’m a Happy Camper: the mod has far surpassed my expectation .
I really enjoy the improved picture quality & sound quality.
Onkyo Pro 5508 processor & Pioneer Bluray player upgrade
I've been a customer of yours for a couple of years, and I've been quietly enjoying my upgrades. I think it's time for me to provide you with an honest history - both the good and the bad - which will hopefully help others who may be considering The Upgrade Company.
Once upon a time...
I was extremely happy with my expensive Arcam AV8 processor and Arcam DV27A DVD player, until Blu Ray and HDMI arrived on the scene. At that time, my local dealer felt the Pioneer Elite BDP-05FD Blu Ray player would work well for my system. It had good video for the component outputs, which I needed for my beloved Pioneer Elite tubed rear projection TV, which lacked HDMI inputs but puts out a fabulous picture. I soon learned that the Pioneer BDP-F05's audio/video performance was not as good as my much more expensive Arcam DV27A player. Unfortunately, my dealer had to close down, after being in business for 20 years. I was ready to scrap the whole Blu Ray idea and just stick with my Arcam equipment and purchase DVD's - if anything, it would be less expensive. I went looking for any online forums discussing Pioneer Blu Ray players to see what other folks thought of theirs. That's when I found out that some folks had their Pioneer players successfully upgraded by The Upgrade Company.
I then looked for posts about The Upgrade Company. I found mostly good ones and a couple of negatives. The negatives were just anonymous posts who put down the upgrades out of pure speculation and lack of measurement data, having never even seen or heard your work. I called you and found out all about your upgrades and decided to give it a shot.
Unfortunately, the Pioneer did not perform as well as I would have liked. You mentioned that something must have become damaged in shipping so I sent it back per your request. It did get damaged during shipping, so you quickly replaced it with a brand new unit with your SE upgrade. I knew about Upgrade Company's "100% Satisfaction Guarantee", but I was quite surprised when you mentioned that you would quickly be sending me a brand new upgraded Pioneer BDP-F05 - after all, I had sent in a used unit I'd purchased from my local dealer. The new unit took some time to settle in being brand new with no burn-in time, but WOW, what a difference. I then compared it to my Arcam DV27A, and I was very happy with the picture improvements the new Pioneer showed. The sound had also improved over the Arcam player. The less expensive upgraded Pioneer player performs much better on everything including regular DVD's, CD's, and of course Bluray's over the much more expensive Arcam.
As time went on, I wondered if I should get a more updated processor - one with HDMI. At that time, you had an upgraded Marantz AV8003 processor for sale, so I bought it. I'm very picky and have desired a highly refined sound and with burn-in, it got there.
During this time, I was considering some consolidation by going the receiver route, so I wanted to try the Arcam AVR600 and bought one. I absolutely loved this receiver and I thought that it's better than several of the pre/pro configurations I've had in my system. Kudos to Arcam. However, the fan was noisy and came on a lot, so I decided not to go that route. The Marantz processor was clearer than the new Arcam, and even though it was not bright or brittle, I liked the Arcam AVR600 bass and midbass quality a little better when used as a prepro. I called you to discuss this, and you mentioned that the Onkyo PR-SC5508 processor would be perfect for my preferences, in part due to Onkyo's over built transformer based power supplies the Marantz AV-7005 and AV-8003 are weak on. You indicated that in your experience when directly A-B'g upgraded Onkyo Pro 5508's against a wide variety of highest cost prepro's that are out now, that it held it's own for pennies on the dollar. No point in spending more on a prepro.
Well, I've had some time with this processor, and WOW (again) - this one is definitely a home run! It's like I have all the great qualities of the expensive Arcam AVR-888 prepro (which I've had in my system) combined with the great qualities of the upgraded Marantz AV8003, with all the latest features and HDMI 1.4.
For a price that's about 1/3 the cost of the Arcam AVR888 processor.
You had always mentioned that with the Onkyo Pro 5508 in my system, I would then need to focus on the other weak parts of the system to witness what it can truly deliver- and you were right. Every time I make a improvement to cabling or isolation or another component, I can immediately tell the difference. For me, the sound is the most important thing, and this processor has the bass, midbass, detail/clarity, black background, refinement/smoothness, musicality, ease - everything I've been looking for.
The bottom line David is that I'm very satisfied and very happy with the products that I've purchased from you. Your customer support and customer service are top notch - in fact, I don't know of anyone that does as much for their customers as you do. Thanks for making my home theater journey a great experience. It's really nice to go home from work and be excited to sit down with my family and enjoy our home theater system - it's a lot of fun!
I was very hesitant to jump in and do these upgrades, but I can now say that I'm really glad that I did.
Here are two true stories from my experience:
1) I purchased 100 RCA protective jack covers with the idea they might help contain outgoing RF emissions from the digital Onkyo Prep/Pro and help prevent airborn RF emissions from coming into the Pre/Pro and my B&K mutli-channel power amplifier via unused open RCA jacks since I'm running all balanced interconects. The other idea was that the RCA covers would keep the connection clean from dust and grime and also prevent any small critters from nesting there. I installed the RCA covers on all of the unused RCA jacks. I left town without even listening.
The following weekend my musician friend Eric came over to listen to a brand new Scott Walker album. We opened it up just wiped it with an anti-static brush and put it on the turntable. I'm not familiar with Scott Walker and we listened to the entire Side A. I didn't like it and didn't even want to play side B. The sound was very homogenized with compressed dyanmics, a non-existent bottom end and loss of high end. We both agreed it didn't sound very good. After he left I decided to listen to my favorite SACD. It also didn't sound right and there is a point on the disc where the guitarist makes a noticeable finger skid on the chords. When that point hit it came from totally the wrong place, the imaging and soundstage was totally thrown off in addition to weaker bass and highs. Something was wrong! I started thinking did I change something? Well yes, but only those RCA jack covers. Surely that can't be the cause. They're just covers sitting over unused RCA jacks. So I started by removing the covers on the B&K amp then I took all of them off the Onkyo Pre/Pro. I then replayed the track: the sound was back, the skid was back in its proper place, great lows and highs. I pulled the throughly criticised Scot Walker album and bang what a difference: the sonics were several magnitutdes of order better. So I invited my musician friend over and didn't tell him anything. I said we never listened to the B side. He immediately said OMG can there be that much difference between sides?? Me still not saying anything said "Let's compare to side A". Started it and he said "OK what did you do??" "This sounds fabulous." I handed him a handful of RCA jack covers and told him I took these off.
In my mind both of these stories confirm that tweaks and seemingly insignificant things can cause real change in the quality of the sound. In both of my stories there was no motive to justify an upgrade, closing the windows was free and the 100 RCA covers was a relatively inexpensive lesson learned. In the case of the first story, I had even forgotten that I had placed the RCA jack covers on the week before. Eric and I both heard the intial issues with the brand new album and he didn't know anychanges were made on the follow up session.
But I am sure you know that. It's the online forum crowd that thinks "hey you could use a coat hanger for speaker wire!" that doesn't understand high quality because they've never heard your work or high end cabling. They are so emotionally invested in their system and their online posting community that they convince themselves no one hears any difference. Maybe its their hearing aid batteries? You would not have a "14 Day In Home 100% Money Back Guarantee" if it were not true! I'm not sending my upgrades back:)
The Upgrade Company´s products and services are truly a "Best Buy" in the High-End Audio market. Especially today when so much of the advertising and reviews of products is just pure magazine or chat forum hype.
Your products and upgrades speak for themselves. Prepro's especially. Your guarrantee? What can I say "It's the best you can get". It's a win-win scenario.
Rick and I are thrilled with the actual quality of your Signature Edition upgrade to our Onkyo prepro's.
Page information last updated: 06/05/2020
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