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Pioneer LX800 with Signature Edition Upgrade
I am getting closer to where I want my 2ch Stereo and my Home Theater sound systems to be. For me they should give instant pleasure, putting an immediate smile on my face when I hear it play. All my life this hasn’t happened. Until I discovered The Upgrade Company.
With the addition of the recently SE upgraded Pioneer LX800 from David Schulte at The Upgrade Company I had discovered another astonishing level of pleasure frankly I didn’t find anywhere to date. Even at world class HiFi Shows including Munich 2019. And this was in my HT system, not my stereo system. Surprising to say the least.
Let me share where I’ve come from on my Home Theater journey. I’d first ordered and sent to Daniel Wright of ModWright a $4999 MSRP brand new flagship model Pioneer LX800 into the USA market from the UK. I was going to try and combine my HT and Stereo systems with a State of the Art universal player. Having tried Upgrade Co in years past, this time I asked Modwright to give me a quote and tell me what he planned to do. The owner Dan Wright of ModWright replied how much he was surprised by the sound and build quality of the stock LX800 Pioneer. He praised its stock performance. After complimenting the raw unit for quality of build parts and voicing on his Audio Circle forum online, Dan decided to mod it using his identical custom 2 tube ModWright circuitboard, Lundahl output transformers & ModWright 9.0 outboard tube power supply and blue umbilical cable he supplies in all his tube mods. Tried & true right? Well he proceeded to do the mods without quoting me. Ignored me for nearly two months. ModWright took his time then contacted me to say how great my Pioneer was now sounding even better then his Oppo modded unit’s. Cool. Then I got it and I plugged it in and was shocked to find what he did had resulted in a very poor sound. Much worse than anything in my systems to date. Seriously, the modded Pioneer LX800 sounded like a kids plastic MP3 player compared to my Oppo 103D Upgrade Co. modded 4 years ago. Wow. Sucked out bass, veiled hollow midrange, overall compressed & fuzzy sound. Holy heck. What a disaster. I was hoping the online reports of his work would make a positive result for this flagship player.
Even after many hours of burn in my Pioneer was nowhere near my Upgrade Co Oppo 103D I’ve been using for video duties. I noticed the IEC power inlet on the Pioneer was still the stock 2-prong ungrounded type, which Dan said he had changed to get the grounding of the player perfected. Heck it’s not even grounded. At that point l telephoned Modwright Danny and asked what he was going to do to get the player sounding good. He told me to send it back to him with no further discussion. No refund. No shipping reimbursement if I sent it back for him to look at. I stopped right there. I had lost complete trust in this guy. He had lied to me. He had ruined a perfectly good brand new $4999 player that ended up costing me nearly USD$6,000 with his “mods” and overseas shipping. I sent the unit to David Schulte at The Upgrade Company to inspect and he corroborated my listening test results. He said that’s how all ModWright players sound. So I was fed up. Dan ModWright said I just didn’t like the sound. “It was a personal thing”. That was a red flag for me. So I took up the challenge assembling two more LX-800 units from my supplier in the UK. One LX-800 I sent to be SE upgraded at The Upgrade Co. and another LX-800 left stock new in the box. I sent all 3 to a measurement lab in Canada to measure each Pioneer LX-800, review, and write a report. The lab isn’t equipped to measure any radio frequencies - no training nor instrumentation, on EMI RFI control unfortunately. However the lab does perform the usual gamut of electronic testing published in audio magazines, in fact, they’ve done this for several magazines. Their final comparison findings supported exactly my listening reports. Chiefly no bass and pure fuzz out of the ModWright which it turns out rolls off at 200Hz. The lab technician agreed with me that The Upgrade Company LX-800 sounded significantly better than both the untreated unit and the ModWrong unit. It’s not my listening preferences at all. It’s the poor modifications and poor workmanship specifically identified and photographed by the Independent Reviewer in their workshop in Canada. They also reported no evidence of tampering with the ModWright unit beyond Daniel’s poor workmanship. It’s clear that Daniel Wright, a self-proclaimed engineer who has openly reported on FaceBook of electrocuting himself with 400V hi-voltage and laughed is not to be taken as a serious engineer or even technician. Compared with David Schulte, a pioneering scientist & design engineer on USA nuclear warheads & nuclear energy, with world class 7x patents to his credit. David’s technologies are currently defending all western nations including my Homeland of Australia. My conclusion about Daniel Wright is that he is a charleton. A masquerader. Enough about him, I did not allow his poor design and workmanship to invade my pursuit of audio Hi-Fi excellence.
Finally, after months of letting the lab measure and compare the 3 units I received into my system what I wanted: a world class modified/upgraded Universal player to play all of my music and film collection.
What a revelation it is.
I have some pretty serious gear over in my stereo system which doesn’t compare any longer: a $10k Esoteric K-03Xs SACD/CD player fed by a $14k Esoteric G-0Rb Master Clock, feeding into an Esoteric F-05 Integrated amp. Against these units comprising my 2ch system are pretty decent but something simply astonishing occurred with the new Upgrade Co. SE upgraded Pioneer LX800, playing in my Home Theater system built around a new Marantz AV-8805 prepro. The SE Upgrade to the LX800 is phenomenal.
Let me try and detail what I heard.
Note there are no components changed by David in the Pioneer LX-800. It’s already got the best parts and most accurate digital clocks in it. The secret sauce in The Upgrade Company’s highly innovative and comprehensive “RFI EMI Riddance Technology” installed through-out every circuitboard every wire every passive part every active part, every single part and wire in the unit gets treated for collection of RF. Plus the addition of custom RFI EMI AC line filters. Many manufacturers today are now already using similar top shelf parts in their top end models.
Upgrade Co. has discovered that it is really only the constant collection of radio frequencies that’s the real root cause of less then perfect fidelity. RF is constantly collected from the units own clocks and outside the case where trillions of RF pulses are in the airwaves all around us. This immediately drains power supply storage and overloads all of the active parts while passive parts act as RF antennas. Now I believe it from this powerful personal experience. Because Upgrade Co. also transformed my Pioneer N70A top of the line music streamer & networking player this way too. It too already had top shelf parts in it from Pioneer and now it sounds amazing and is now equal to my earlier upgraded PS Audio DAC. It’s still burning in. I’ve sent the older SE Upgraded PS Audio DAC back in for the latest Upgrade Co. RFI EMI innovations based on the recent 2x Pioneer SE upgrades.
Now back to the SE Upgraded top of the line Pioneer LX-800. It’s bass response now is incredibly deeper weightier tighter and wider than I’ve ever heard in my system. It is truly 3-dimensional sounding now besting my vinyl LP’s. No flabby bass or digital sound at all. No digititus. No artifacts. Black background and pure music extracting more information then my vinyl rig does. Sound quality I’ve not heard before in any other system anywhere. The bass now provides a new foundation for the much larger soundstage now showing lifelike pristine organic midrange and crystalline high end in any music I played CD SACD Blu-ray etc. All my discs sound great now. Wonderful.
The sound signature of the stock LX800 and the crummy tubed version of the same LX-800 model are now replaced from sounding like heavy weight cotton fuzz, veils lifted to reveal light weight chiffon silk that blows in the wind all around the soundstage precisely accurate left to right & front to back. I know this is poetic yet I challenge you to come and listen or send your own unit for upgrading to David. Now, the highs are like silver linings wrapping the midrange in a delightful organic liquid extension. The soundstage went back 1 meter and wide another meter on either side. Hello, remember we are discussing a Universal Blu-ray player here not an $80,000 Esoteric P-02/D-02/G-0Rb set!
The Upgrade Company’s vastly improved latest technologies have totally transformed the Pioneer LX-800 into the most magical player I have ever experienced to date including at the most recent Munich HiFi Show which my wife and I attended. Soundstage, pace, rhythm, timing, the spectral balance, tonality, dynamics, enjoyability are now all vastly transformed and shockingly good.
I am truly surprised at these results after also having a few year old Upgrade Co. SE upgraded Pioneer LX-88 3D Blu-ray universal player and the ModWright LX-800 unit, as well as many other players here, including the Cambridge CXUHD.
I could not imagine such results were possible from a digital format let alone a commercial Blu-ray player. Did David install a Ferrari engine under the hood? Because this unit now purrs....
One of my favorite test disc of songs are on a demo CD for the Singapore Hi-Fi Show in 2014 I attended. I’ve played this disc all over the world and I’ve never heard this level of sound reproduction before anywhere. I am gobsmacked.
I recommend that you first start adopting The Upgrade Company’s technologies by having an excellent up to the minute source unit like the Pioneer LX-500 or LX-800. Not an Oppo they simply do not compare in build quality nor in performance. The LX-500 can be had new for just $795 and it beats Oppo UDP-205 stock vs stock on all formats hands down. A new LX-800 runs $2750. MSRP $4995. Or send in a Music Server/Networking player/DAC.
Send it to Upgrade Co. and invest in your happiness. You will not be disappointed. Based on my experience here I can assure you that you will be just as astonished as I was. They’ve turned a Blu-ray universal player into a true “world class” source that easily competes with anything I’ve heard including beating my ~$10k MSRP 1 year old Esoteric K03Xs CD/SACD player with outboard $14k G-0Rb Master Clock and my turntable setup. Enough said.
Apply to Upgrade Co. now and start enjoying. Send more of your system in for higher & higher levels of astonishment and audio-visual pleasure.
I’m going to send Upgrade Co. my Esoteric K03Xs player & G-0RB Master Clock now. I can’t listen to them any longer.
PS before I sent this review to Upgrade Co.
I watched 3-4 movies on the LX-800 SE through my Marantz AV-8805. Movies now sound so much better & vastly different. The vocals are much richer textured smooth articulate and realistic. The channel separation especially in Dolby Atmos movies is so much more agile and distinctive. Each channel stands out when called upon and I’m immersed in a sonic bubble that transports you into the movie itself. The overall sound on movies is warmer more natural yet with much better detail, more information, much better bass/ mids/highs, fantastic extension and definition, liquid velvet. The 4K UHD HDR Picture is now much better too.
I hope you seek and find your audio-nirvana as I have.”
Dr John Read
ModWright with Signature Edition Upgrade.
Page information last updated: 06/05/2020
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