As to the question of getting together for those in the area, it is something that might be considered however, my other half is always reticent to visitors that I do not know.
Originally Posted by pepar
My apologies, Rich. I think we might all agree that there are things in the A/V hobby that are bogus and many things that are real. Sometimes what one person puts into the first category is not agreed upon by all. I have seen you on another forum (WBF) and know that you are not a shill. So, again, please accept my apologies for tarring you with a brush that was way too wide.
I really did/do want to limit the point of contention to his claim that the stock 5508 was superior to the stock 80.2 .... when all evidence points to them being identical.
That is OK, some of us have been called worse.
In any case, there is no question that Onkyo has been making improvements in the designs of their Pre/Pros since the introduction of the stock 885 so it is no surprise that your newer stock 5508 unit did sound better than the stock 885.
I may have exaggerated slightly as to the improvements since 2009, but probably not by much. There is no question that the performance did sound better, but I no longer had that unit or a stock 885 available to compare with after the later modifications.
I think many do not understand about what David and the Upgrade Company is doing to the units. Many DIYers and people that get inside of their equipment like Tony and Roger on WBF is to replace "weak" component parts particularly caps and resistors. In fact Roger and I are working on upgrading 2 Ampex R2R 440C/B Hybrid tape decks using much of these practices.
So, David is replacing parts in specific portions of the circuitry that do make changes to the sound. The key here though is having an understanding of what is changing and having a keen ear for voicing the changes in the sound. Additionally, like Roger of WBF, David has found that many of our components are losing information (or being masked- so we are removing veils) due to noise in the system including RFI and EMI. David has his own methods of dealing with this including damping materials, adding shielding, usage of filters, etc. Some of this is the usage of shielded tape, and sometimes the AVR fluid that many do not like or believe in. Also, and part of the reason that equipment may be worked on with time is the fact that David learns new ways to improve performance as he experiments with changes. There is more than 1 way to skin a cat. So, machines that have been worked on previously can sound still better with additional attention at a later date.
I also know that many may not like the appearance of the finished work, but that is another question entirely. Not everything in life is "pretty"