Excerpts from a review by StereoMojo.com:
Modified Pioneer Elite DV-46AV Universal Player
Mike “MusikMike” Peskin - Reviewer
“…I wish I could say my beloved Audio Alchemy deck beat the Pioneer half to death but I can't. I mean, it's about twice the Pioneer's size…The difference was more than I'd expected, in almost every parameter….The overall power and majesty of the music; bass, let alone bass control; midrange smoothness; extended treble response; soundstage width and depth; imaging of instruments and singers…let's face it, one expects some things to be different but should never see or hear a difference and a rather significant difference from a small guy. The big guy should, at the very least, hold his ground in some of the respective parameters, shouldn't it?...I certainly do not want a player that has a cost as low as the Pioneer bettering my $1599 (in 90's money) Audio Alchemy…
Earlier, I had listened to Arcadi Volodos plating the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3 with James Levine Conducting the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra (Sony SACD SS64384). Since it is a multi-layered CD, I was able to play the disc on the Audio Alchemy CD player. I've never been a huge Rachmaninoff fan, but this disc had me enthralled with the quality of the sound and the performance. Simply put, the Alchemy couldn't throw as wide or as deep of a stage as the Pioneer.
The same held true when comparing the two units playing Holst's Planets (Telarc CD-80133). I knew exactly where the tympani were; further, the Pioneer presented the tympani as a series of beats rather than the wall of sound the Alchemy produced; a reminder that more bass is quite often not better bass. Venus, the bringer of Peace begins with tranquility, an airiness if you please that the Alchemy presents merely as quietness….It was not that the Alchemy presents one-note bass, but the Pioneer just seemed to do the bass thing better, more like real music.
The RCA SACD Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition (82876-61394-2)…. enjoying the dynamic sound and the power of Fritz Reiner and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra…..If you are a power orchestra fiend, get this recording, you'll enjoy it tremendously. And, while you're at it, you may as well listen to the modded Pioneer DV-46AV. But don't do it unless you intend to buy…I think you just might wish to do so.
I had begun my time with the Pioneer loving my Audio Alchemy CD player and while I still consider the Alchemy a damned fine unit, the length of time I spent with the Pioneer proved to me that for the price admission, the Pioneer is a no-brain decision.
James Darby - Editor of Stereo Mojo
The Stereo Dave version of the Pioneer Elite DV46AV does not look any different than the stock model from the outside. No upgraded jacks or terminals on the rear that I noticed. I should say that the stock unit is not a bad player to begin with, but this unit absolutely sounds better than a stock unit. I also compared it to my Oppo DV 970HD. If you spend any time at all on internet audio discussion boards, you know the Oppo’s reputation as an audio player is outstanding. In my opinion, the Stereo Dave’s modded Pioneer bests the stock Oppo 970HD, mainly in the area of soundstage and overall definition. It’s cleaner, to be sure.
…this unit absolutely sounds better than a stock unit….
So let me get to the real bottom line: Based on what Musikmike and Art said as well as my own experience, would I buy Stereo Dave’s modded Pioneer as a music only universal player for $600? In a heartbeat. In fact, I am planning on asking Stereo Dave if I can keep it…..
If you are looking for a player that can play virtually any type of audio or video disk to a very competent degree of musicality in stereo or multichannel, the Pioneer DV46 AV as modified by Stereo Dave’s Audio Alternative represents an outstanding value at its price….
Stereo Dave’s also makes some very fine speakers that were a buzz item at Rocky Mountain Audio Fest in 2006.”