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  1. #1
    AR Newbie Registered Member iZimbra's Avatar
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    $120 or $400 Sony SACD Player?

    I am using Sonyís entry level SACD player (SCDCE595). Just upgraded to Axiom M80v2 speakers (Iím strictly 2-Channel). As Sony offers only 3 basic price points for SACD players ($120, $400 and $3000) I wonder if there is a clear bang-for-the-buck SACD upgrade for me. Iím not going to drop 3K (at least not now) and Iím doubtful that there is a significant improvement in sound by going to the $400 SCDC2000ES. Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    Forum Regular N. Abstentia's Avatar
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    The first upgrade would be to get away from Sony...anything would be better than that.

  3. #3
    AR Newbie Registered Member iZimbra's Avatar
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    LOL! an Opinion anyway...

    I'll wait to see what Marantz brings to the table with the SA8001 (at about 1/2 the street of the Sony SCD-XA9000ES).

    Thanks for the 'warning' N.Abs! ;-)

  4. #4
    Forum Regular N. Abstentia's Avatar
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    Yep. I like Marantz myself. You're just asking for trouble (or a pile of crap) by buying a Sony.

  5. #5
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by N. Abstentia
    The first upgrade would be to get away from Sony...anything would be better than that.
    Not many choices with audio-only SACD players, and nothing remotely close to the $120 model that Sony offers. The only other options in that price class are universal players, and the ones at this price point typically convert the DSD bitstream to PCM.
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  6. #6
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iZimbra
    I am using Sonyís entry level SACD player (SCDCE595). Just upgraded to Axiom M80v2 speakers (Iím strictly 2-Channel). As Sony offers only 3 basic price points for SACD players ($120, $400 and $3000) I wonder if there is a clear bang-for-the-buck SACD upgrade for me. Iím not going to drop 3K (at least not now) and Iím doubtful that there is a significant improvement in sound by going to the $400 SCDC2000ES. Any thoughts?
    If you already own the SCD-CE595, you're probably not going to get a huge performance upgrade by going to the ES model, which I own. Both models use identical transports and DACs, and the features are also very similar. The ES version adds a headphone jack, separate two-channel and multichannel outputs, a coaxial digital output, a dual power supply, a brushed aluminum fascia, some upgraded circuitry, and a five-year warranty. I got mine for $240, and I've seen similar prices offered through other authorized vendors. My listening impressions of the SCD-C2000ES are linked below.

    I've gone SACD! (And I like it!)
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  7. #7
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by N. Abstentia
    The first upgrade would be to get away from Sony...anything would be better than that.
    I'd stack mine up against a few in my price range. Its not the best but its pretty good.
    Look & Listen

  8. #8
    test the blind blindly emorphien's Avatar
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    I don't know how those Sonys sound, but if you don't mind an older model I've been very happy with my Pioneer Elite DV45A which I bought new (sealed in box) off Audiogon for $240 with shipping. Video quality is fine (nothing fancy but looks better than many a generic player) but I bought it mainly for DVD-A and SACD and it's pretty good at that. Just another option within your price range to consider, there's also a newer/better model but I don't recall the model #.

  9. #9
    AR Newbie Registered Member iZimbra's Avatar
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    Thanks Wooch, shok & em!
    Really appreciate the comparison on the low and mid Sonys, Woochifer - was hoping for this. I may one day consider a universal - for DVD-A play - so appreciate the Pioneer nod, emorphien. Really just got the Sony on a lark - to check out SACD and must say I'm impressed. I'm also toying with the idea of simply modding the current box - the Audience guy doesn't seem to feel the box is too low-end to fool with. ~$625 would do the following:

    Primary Digital Disc Player/DA Converter Modification by Audience

    Original AC input power wiring and filter components are removed and replaced with Audience components including new Auricaps and Auric hookup wire. This includes proprietary inductors made with Auric hook-up wire.
    Power supply rectifier is replaced with higher rated type.
    The power supply is further improved within the analog output stage with special attention to the DAC supplies.
    An IEC power inlet receptacle is installed if necessary.
    The power supply circuit board is removed, inspected and re-soldered.
    All signal path electrolytic capacitors are removed and replaced with jumper wires or Auricaps as appropriate.
    Current limiting parts are eliminated and the fuse and fuse holder are replaced if necessary.
    All critical signal filter capacitors are replaced with precision 1% Auricap capacitors.
    Critical op amp ICís are replaced with selected OPA2132 Burr Brown units.
    Electrolytic filtering caps for analog stage power supply section are replaced with high temperature rated, low ESR, low impedance, larger value units.
    Output signal resistors are replaced with high quality Dale 1% nonmagnetic units.
    RCA output jacks are replaced with upgraded units.
    13) Power supply rails are bypassed with multiple value Auricaps.
    14) A complete diagnostic scan and adjustment procedure is performed.
    15) Listening evaluation and burn in is performed.

    Upshot: a $750 unit that I'd most likely enjoy for years. The last (CDP-491 - cheap!) Sony (single disc) CD player I bought ~15 years ago is still going strong - but, I don't know Sony's current track record.

    For now I'm gonna sit tight...and just enjoy the music.

  10. #10
    test the blind blindly emorphien's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iZimbra
    Upshot: a $750 unit that I'd most likely enjoy for years. The last (CDP-491 - cheap!) Sony (single disc) CD player I bought ~15 years ago is still going strong - but, I don't know Sony's current track record.
    I've not been as enamored with Sony as of late. Much of their hardware just doesn't seem to last like it used to. Some of their SACD players are supposed to be quite nice, but I would recommend considering a dual format/universal player so you can enjoy DVD-A as well. It's quite worth it IMO

    Good luck!

  11. #11
    AR Newbie Registered Member iZimbra's Avatar
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    Costco just added the Denon 2910 to their inventory. I'll check it out - I won't use the video (don't even have/want a monitor/TV in my listening room) - so hope I can set it up and use it via on-board display. Per the reviews, it has impressive audio...

  12. #12
    Forum Regular hifitommy's Avatar
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    i snagged a low line sony

    ns500v and have never been sorry. sony doesnt dumb down the dsd stream to pcm which would defeat the advantage of sacd at the start. nothing wrong with sonys.
    ...regards...tr

  13. #13
    Suspended superpanavision70mm's Avatar
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    Once again people forget that high-end does exist even in names like Sony. They make some pretty awesome high-end SACD Players. Keep in mind that SACD is Sony's baby anyway...even their entry level players are pretty decent. I would say that if you are planning to upgrade...going only a few hundred dollars more woulnd't necessarily improve as much as you might hope. Now if you were thinking of upgrading to Marantz's flagship SACD player...then that would be a different story.

  14. #14
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    Marantz SA8001

    Don't know about Sonys but the new Marantz SA8001 is fantastic. My unit hasn't fully broken in (only 20 hours) but so far I can't find anything to complain about. I believe the player addresses basically all of the shortcomings of the 8260 without adding any drawbacks - bass and dynamics are vastly improved; low end sounds deeper, tighter and more tuneful without sounding too tightfisted; and the overall balance is more natural - the midrange is now fully fleshed out without the occasional leanness. The SA8001 is made in China but the quality appears top notch. The interior looks just like the European SA8400/SA7001 but with an upgraded transformer shared with the SA7001 KI Signature. It no longer has the surround audio board of the 8260 so less loading on the power supply. The new toroidal transformer is huge for a CD player - I guesstimate the same size as the one in the SA14 but without shielding. I think this is the definitive $1K player everybody's been waiting for.

  15. #15
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Most of the universal players have DACs of 192kHz/24 bit. I thought SACD was supposed to played in 1 bit 2.83mHz +/-. For that confusion, I am still reluctant to try out that format.

  16. #16
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrhymeammo
    Most of the universal players have DACs of 192kHz/24 bit. I thought SACD was supposed to played in 1 bit 2.83mHz +/-. For that confusion, I am still reluctant to try out that format.
    That would depend on which universal player you're looking at. A lot of newer universal players incorporate DACs that natively decode both PCM and DSD signals on the same chip. Burr-Brown came out with this design about three years ago, and it's been widely used. (Even Sony's dedicated SACD players use these Burr-Brown combo DACs) Previously, universal players either had to build two separate signal decoding paths into one player (which added to the costs) or convert the 1-bit DSD signal into PCM.
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  17. #17
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    That would depend on which universal player you're looking at. A lot of newer universal players incorporate DACs that natively decode both PCM and DSD signals on the same chip. Burr-Brown came out with this design about three years ago, and it's been widely used. (Even Sony's dedicated SACD players use these Burr-Brown combo DACs) Previously, universal players either had to build two separate signal decoding paths into one player (which added to the costs) or convert the 1-bit DSD signal into PCM.
    How about DVD87 by Cambridge Audio ($269.00). This player sounds pretty impressive, but it uses CS4360 DAC. http://www.cirrus.com/en/products/pro/detail/P150.html

    This site says that its dynamic range is 102db. I thought SACD format was supposed to be 120db of DR.

    Help me out here Wooch since you know best.

  18. #18
    Forum Regular Florian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by N. Abstentia
    The first upgrade would be to get away from Sony...anything would be better than that.
    I am not a Sony fan myself, but the 9000ES is very good and so is the SCD1 !! Well, in their class respectfully.

    -Flo

    PS: I am usually very brutal to judge electronics but Sony makes some good stuff, unfortunatly most people look for deals and buy 100$ speakers and then complain.
    Lots of music but not enough time for it all

  19. #19
    Forum Regular PAT.P's Avatar
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    I prefer my Yamaha DVD-C750 DVD Audio/SA-CD 5 disc player .It takes most format and I tried this week a CD-G (karaoke) and it plays it . To bad they did'nt have input for mics.

  20. #20
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    So this thread go t me curious. I got SCD-CE595 on friday. Dynamics on SACD is incredible, but I still prefer my hi-res music on black discs. I think 40+ hours of break-in-period is sufficient. Thank goodness for return policy.

  21. #21
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrhymeammo
    So this thread go t me curious. I got SCD-CE595 on friday. Dynamics on SACD is incredible, but I still prefer my hi-res music on black discs. I think 40+ hours of break-in-period is sufficient. Thank goodness for return policy.
    Try that player with CDs as well -- Sony's entry level SACD players deliver surprisingly good sound quality for the price. The SCD-CE595 and SCD-C2000ES both use the Burr-Brown 1791 DAC, which is the same DAC that Arcam used in the CD72.

    In general, I found that SACD can render a highly dynamic yet smooth and relaxed sound. IMO, the biggest benefit with SACD is the multichannel option. The better multichannel recordings out there can render imaging and depth that's beyond anything that two channels can deliver. Plus, the process of remixing the original multitrack masters often has the side benefit of greatly improving the sound quality compared to the original two-channel mix, by using high resolution DSD equipment rather than older analog recorders that produce signal losses with each successive mixdown.

    You'll also really hear what SACD is capable of if you look for recordings that were originally recorded in DSD. The SF Symphony's 5.1 DSD Mahler recordings are about as close to Davies Hall as you can get without actually getting up onto the conductor's podium (I was just there on Saturday for Mahler's massive Symphony of a Thousand). The two-channel CD and SACD layers are already stellar, but the 5.1 SACD layer sounds incredible.
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  22. #22
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    The SF Symphony's 5.1 DSD Mahler recordings are about as close to Davies Hall as you can get without actually getting up onto the conductor's podium (I was just there on Saturday for Mahler's massive Symphony of a Thousand). The two-channel CD and SACD layers are already stellar, but the 5.1 SACD layer sounds incredible.
    I think this part is where SACD may turns me off. If material was recorded for 5.1 system, I dont think it would sounds as good in my stereo. I understand that on SACD, there are 2 sections. One for 2 and other for MC. Are there codes on back of SACD case that states how music was recorded? I am not so certain that I would be able to tell such a huge difference, but it makes me think....... I think I should just enjoy it though.

  23. #23
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrhymeammo
    I think this part is where SACD may turns me off. If material was recorded for 5.1 system, I dont think it would sounds as good in my stereo. I understand that on SACD, there are 2 sections. One for 2 and other for MC. Are there codes on back of SACD case that states how music was recorded? I am not so certain that I would be able to tell such a huge difference, but it makes me think....... I think I should just enjoy it though.

    Yes, there are markings on the back of SACDs which display the recording techniques.

    I am a strong supporter of hi-rez and MC, however, I heard a turn table the other day which I liked quite a lot. Might be tempted to pick one up,but even if I did I wouldn't abandon the other formats. With the staggering amount of quality titles available I can't imagine limiting myself to a single playback method. Just an opinion.

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  24. #24
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrhymeammo
    I think this part is where SACD may turns me off. If material was recorded for 5.1 system, I dont think it would sounds as good in my stereo. I understand that on SACD, there are 2 sections. One for 2 and other for MC. Are there codes on back of SACD case that states how music was recorded? I am not so certain that I would be able to tell such a huge difference, but it makes me think....... I think I should just enjoy it though.
    Just over half of the SACDs available contain multichannel tracks. All of the multichannel SACDs also include a dedicated two-channel soundtrack. The quality of the multichannel mixes will vary, but having that option is probably the best feature of SACD. With a good multichannel mix, it adds an entirely different dimension to the music and greatly enhances the enjoyment.

    The advantage with SACDs that were originally recorded in DSD is that the SACD represents a bit-for-bit full resolution transfer of the master recording. No compression, no dithering, no downsampling. Even LPs have to be EQ'd and are typically mastered with dynamic range compression.

    The SACD reference site documents whether a title is recorded in DSD, whether it has a multichannel layer, and whether it's a hybrid disc with a CD-compatible layer.

    http://www.sa-cd.net/
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  25. #25
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Question SA8001 is stereo only??

    Quote Originally Posted by johnjohn
    Don't know about Sonys but the new Marantz SA8001 is fantastic. My unit hasn't fully broken in (only 20 hours) but so far I can't find anything to complain about. ....
    Looks like this unit is stereo only, right? Frankly the SA8001 would have to be superb CD player in its price range to interest me, since I believe the real strength of SACD is the multichannel capability.

    I'm old and deaf, at least above 10kHz. Perhaps for that reason I find SACD sound is not significantly better than the very best CDs -- admittedly the latter are rare. Typically SACDs are better than CD but I'm not convinced this is the DSD medium rather than just the producer's and engineer's recording approach. And I don't fine that the CD layer on the SACDs typically give up much to the stereo DSD layer, and least using my equipment including my ears.

    However I do seek out SACD performances for orchestral and choral works because MC adds a whole new dimension of realism to theses sorts of works.

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