I decided that it is time to post a few lines on my experience with the modded Hiface that I got from John, hoping it might be helpful to someone. It's been quite a while now since I bought it and I believe I was one of the first to send the money to Ireland but time was not much and I actually do not like to post reviews on hifi equipment as this usually sparks a war. But here is my experience.
John has been generous enough to share his mods on diyaudio and no matter what people say on forums he has always told the things he has done and everyone can try and do what he does, in my book if you share your experience on forums freely you can ask as much as you want, I am very happy that I know him. His posts actually made me look at the Hiface, I have never thought that I would use a computer as source but all the modds he did to the Musiland and the Hiface made a lot of sense to me and I did not even bother to try the original but decided to start with the battery powered straight from him.
Once the small package arrived I was very curios to see what's inside the Hiface and I had asked John to leave it open so I can see what he has done and man, that is one fine surgery he has performed on it, I am a surgeon myself and to be honest I will not try to do that no matter how good I feel with the iron, I have soldered enough to think I am good but this is not something I would attempt - so I do think the money is well spent even if he offered just that. But I have to thank him for the LiFeO4 batteries too - I would have never discovered them myself, fantastic little devices these are too, I am planning to order probably 10 more, 4 for my Buffalo II and some to be able to recharge in the meantime, I am really in love with them! So a second big THANK YOU to John.
And how does it sound? It is very very good. It has been compared (and everyone wants to know what it has been compared to, right?) to my Exemplar 3910 Denon which was used as transport and this is one serious machine as it has a very fine SPDIF out, it has been compared also to a friend's modded Sony ESD338 CDP that has been stripped of everything unneccessary and SPDIF out optimized seriously - a very fine machine too, feeding a modded EAD DSP7000 Mk3 with Y grade PCM63 chips inside , my personal DAC at that time was an Audio Synthesis DAX-2 with the same grade of PCM63 and the JK Hiface was very close to both. Very close translates to that it had better separation of instruments and vocals, the stage was wider but a little less deep, the general impression was of a "smoother" source that was a little lean in the bass department. I wouldn't say anything more as the time of the test was just to see if it works and we were using just a laptop with high resolution files plus some cds that were extracted in wav format to compare to the CDPs, no optimization or anything. I do believe that this could be taken care of as I have heard systems being transformed just by adding different feet to equipment ( I am serious when I write this, don't want to start a fight but I have witnesses).
I will just add something else - the Hiface has allowed me to hear so much more new music that it is one of the great things I have done for my love/thirst to listen to music and this is the thing that makes this device so valuable to me that I would buy another one just to help John and M2Tech spread the word. I admit that I don't have an original Hiface to compare John's to but I do not care about that, I just wanted to share how happy I am with the one I have, it is up to everyone to decide whether it is worth the money to get it modded. But having a PnP box that will allow you to discover a whole new world of music is simply fantastic, thanks John, for everything.