I probably have more of the Upgrade Company products than anyone else at this point. Additionally, I am one of a small number of individuals that has taken a trip (3 times now) to the Upgrade Company facilities.
In July of 2008 I had the opportunity to listen to a number of upgraded versus stock players made by amongst others Denon, McIntosh, Esoteric at the Upgrade Company facilities. I found that the Denon's and the McIntosh upgraded machines sounded better to my ear than the stock and quite possibly upgraded Esoteric single and 2 box players.
Ultimately I ended up purchasing an upgraded Denon 5910 which had many subsequent upgrades by David. This machine was generally used with an upgraded Lavry DA10 DAC.
I subsequently had the opportunity to listen to machines, stock and upgraded in June of 2008. Players that I had an opportunity to hear included those again by Denon, Linn, and several other makers. Again, to my ear, I preferred the performance of my upgraded Denon 5910 (which we further upgraded at the time) along with my upgraded Lavry DA10 DAC. At the time David thought that I could write off the Denon 5910 and the Lavry, but we found out that we could breath more life into the units.
My last visit was to the Upgrade Company Facilities when I picked up some Prototype speakers in January. At the same time, I had the opportunity to hear more upgraded items including those by Denon, the 2 box EMM Labs 25,000 SE unit with a $3,000 upgrade and an upgraded OPPO BDP-83SE. While there, we did the latest upgrades to my Denon 5910 and my Lavry DA10. When we listened to my shock and dismay, the upgraded OPPO BDP-83SE outperformed my upgraded Denon 5910 both with and without the Lavry for both CD and SACD playback. In addition to my ears the upgraded OPPO BDP-83SE may have sounded better than the upgraded EMM Labs 2 Box SE unit on CD and without a question it sounded better than the EMM labs unit for SACD. My upgraded Denon 5910 both naked and with the Lavry were close to the upgraded EMM Labs unit for CD, but the Denon sounded better for SACD.
I decided during this session to place an order for an upgraded OPPO BDP-83SE NuForce Edition Blu-ray player. I have received the unit not that long ago and believe that it may be the best sounding CD/SACD?DVD-A player that I have ever heard to this point for 2 channel playback (stock or upgraded/modified). I am burning both this unit and the upgraded Lavry in but at this point I do not know whether the naked unit or the unit with the Lavry will sound better.
I have not had an opportunity to compare the performance of my upgraded OPPO BDP-83SE NuForce Edition with the modded Modwrght Oppo unit, but it would be an interesting comparison.
For those that think that what Dave Schulte does does not work, the only way to know is to hear it for yourself. If you do not wish to take a chance on an order, try to get together with someone that has a unit that has been upgraded and if you can, compare the performance with the same unit stock. You may also wish to compare the performance with many other more expensive stock or modified units if the opportunity exists.
For those that think that the work looks amateurish, that is a matter of opinion. I have a general idea of where David does his work in the machines and that the work is quite effective in improving the performance of the equipment. In addition, when using multiple upgraded components in the same system, there appears to be some sort of synergism where the equipment sounds better overall. This is much like the idea of using a system of components made by a single manufacturer.
I have a posted a photo of me in front of the EMM Labs 2 box unit, the upgraded Oppo, my upgraded Denon, my upgraded Lavry, and I believe a Linn unit that was taken when I last visited David in January.