Best SACD Player in the $2000 Range

My set up is Quad electrostatics, with Thor Linestage,
Thor 150 watt monoblocks, Stibbert By Blue Note Cd player and a Cary 306/200 with a Thor Dac. Listen to a lot of classical and want to hear the difference between SACD and redbook. What SACD player would anyone on the site that has one in his system recommend at or close to my price range? Any help appreciated.
The Sony XA5400 is probably the best player in its price range ($1500). It can be gotten cheaper, but I don't know what the deal is if the thing tanks. In any case, I wouldn't expect miracles out of every SACD. Some, like Yo Yo MA Solo (Sony) are really exquisite and you can really hear the high resolution. Some, I don't think you can. As with all media, it's on a case-by-case basis.

The Sony is great if you want to get your feet wet and build up an SACD collection. Plus, if you sell, you won't take a ridiculous bath like on some other products. Plus, it's OK on CD too.
I would nab one of the Marantz SA-11 S1 units on the 'gon right now. Fantastic performance, beautiful and built like a tank.
I can recommend the Sony SCD-XA5400ES also. It does take a while to give of its best, but it is a very articulate and alive-sounding player. Nice balanced outputs if you can use them. Useful remote functions, fast reading of SACDs.

I got mine from Crutchfield, an authorized dealer so a 5 year warranty.


Modright did some very good things with the Dennon 3910 series players, including tube rectifycation, and other audiophile upgrades throughout. It playes everthing.

A really nice one should run no more than what is in your budget now, and equal or surpass many new units just out in the stand alone one box categories.

Look for one of those 3910 from an orig owner in great shape!
Maybe it is too early to jump. Sony will intoduce a new player at the CES in January that will do SACD and Blu-Ray. The 54oo will be dropped. Apparently Sony is going to use Blu-Ray to take SACD to the next level in audio. Gives them the chance to re-issue the SACD catalog all over again. The new player will be about $2K.
a Turntable that plays vinyl.
Will Blue Ray take SACD to the next level.
My understanding is that SACD has a higher resolution than
Blu-Ray. It might make sense to wait until January to see if Sony is seeking to raise the bar on the quality of sound.
My personal opinion is that Sony is interested in mainstream, feels that the SACD experiment was a failure and that Blue Ray will only be for the video and sound purely secondary. Any thoughts?
Marantz SA-15S2, it also has an optical input in case you decide to hook up a Squeezebox/Music Server.
Is Sony going to use the Blu-ray disc (rather than the SACD disc) for new DSD recordings? Is this DSD-music on a Blu-ray disc? or is Sony incorporating SACD playback on all their Blu-ray players?

In one scenario they replace SACD and in the other they keep SACD and include SACD playback on Bluray players.
I have yet to see any evidence that Sony (or anyone else) is planning on putting DSD on BluRay discs. There are a number of high resolution, lossless formats for BR and there have, already, been several audio-only offerings of high quality in addition to audio/video releases.

I was told, way back when, that there was no technological reason why DSD could not be one of the CODECs on BR but, apparently, it is not to be.

"Maybe it is too early to jump. Sony will intoduce a new player at the CES in January that will do SACD and Blu-Ray. "

Will it be a an audio only machine? a 3.0 Super Audio/Blu Ray player?
OK folks your posts are very informative! So I want my new SACD player to equal fedelity on SACD's.
Question is which oneof the folowing excels on RedBook CD's.
Marantz SA-15S2 or,
Sony SCD-XA5400ES or,
Marantz SA-11 S1

I can find any of these at my price point but I am sooo confused as two which one will be the best!
A note on my listening preferences. I Like
Great clerity
Great imaging and staging
Full, rich and tight bottom end.

Sorry ladies (grin)

Please yall help me ok?

You can't go wrong with any of those - if any are local purchase that might sway my decision.

I have the Marantz SA-15s1 (one step below the SAs1 and replaced by the 15s2) and it's out of this world. It plays everything and is built like a tank.
Great! do you know what was changed from the 15S1 to the 15S2?
I should be able to ghrab an S1 at a real great price.
OK just FYI I pulled the trigger on the Sony. Lets hope it performs up to expectations! I have read that it can take up to 500 hours to burn in! Gees Louise, I suppose sometime next year I will be enjoying the full benefits LOL!
You will enjoy it from the start, but it definitely improves over time. The bass is very nicely done, and the tonal qualities are spot on. I think it is a little more alive than the Marantz SACD players I've listened to.

I'm listening to Joe Henderson "Lush Life" on SACD at the moment, and the sax is very nice indeed.

Where did you order yours from?

linn sc is the one. this player is king it will play anything but bluray but is also a dac for another input an can also be a preamp. read alvin gold's review. the vid section will also impress. used it creams all other players in the $2000 range don't worry about hdmi output the comp. outs are better . we should do a shootout this player rocks 'em all
Lexicon RT20 under $1000 and buy excellent power conditioning/isolation with the savings.
I have had the 5400 for 2 weeks, I have owned Marantz SA11-S1, S2, NAD M5 most recently. The Sony in my opinion beats all of them, it is more honest in it's representation, the NAD is the closest to the sound of the Sony but the Sony beats in detail and low end responce. The Marantz are great players if you have brighter components since they do add a liile warmth.
hi jtsnead:

are you saying the sony has more reolution than the marantz 11s2 ? i owned the marantz 11s2 and found it anything but subtractive or warm.

warmth is a slight dip in the upper mid/lower treble accompanied by a slight peak in the upper bass/lower mids.

i did not find the marantz 11s2 anything like that.

is the sony warm as i have defined it ? if not have you heard any sacd players that are very listenable, non fatiguing and warm, as i have defined it ?

thanks, in advance.
The Sony 5400ES is great. Here's my short-take.
It doesn't have the palpability or texture or detail-retrieval of the my EMM CDSD-SE/DCC2-SE, and the bass is a bit warmish and smoothed-over (but very pleasant and well integrated), but it really walks that fine line between too-much-info and glazed-over perfectly, and I just listen and don't feel that I'm missing anything important, or that I'm being punched around by some hyped-up part of the sound spectrum. Percussion is just right, with nice boundaries but fine decay and just the right degree of softening that keeps it from digital abuse. I can really just listen deep into its sound and want to keep listening. It is a significantly more refined and enjoyable sound than my former low-priced players from the past: Meridian 508.24 (ill-defined bass), Sony CD777ES (boring with grainy vocals), CAL Icon II (little pace, but an old-time favorite as I remember it).
I recently acquired the Sony XA5400.
It turned my system upside down, gave me a completely new sound I didn't realize was possible. The soundstage is phenomenal, it's like attending a live concert in an intimate acoustic setting. It stretches the octave range up and down and makes the middle come alive with incredible vibrancy.
I am listening to all my CDs anew and as if I hear the tracks for the first time, they sound that different. I am hearing instruments that were previously masked, little details like the bench groaning as Oscar Peterson was slightly shifting his weight during a live recording. At times I am holding my breath, waiting for what comes out next.
This is the single best invetment I have ever made, like I got a completely new system.
The funniset part is that I am using Snell K7 monitors. They are tiny bookshelf monitors, but very precise and neutral. I have a matched Snell Basis 150 hidden in a corner. When my friends hear the system they think all this grand soundstaging is coming out of these tiny cans only.
I have a 24 bit recording of Copland's Third Symphony, and when the big drums kick in people are almost falling out of their chairs. The realism is such that it is almost frightening.
Thanks to Sony for introducing this amazing sleeper product. If there are better sources out there I hope they are as affordable as this unit. Otherwise I urge everyone to have a good listen.
My former unit was a Sony S9000ES. No slouch, but compared to the 5400 it's like an old relic from college.
My other gear is Cary, Modwright and Simaudio.
I recently acquired this CD player, previously owned Jolida JD 100, as far as CD playback is concerned its really an improvedment, but when I compared same CD and SACD using either Hybrid SACD or CD and SACD, CD sounds way better than SACD, here are some of the SACD/CDs I tried

O Brother Where are THOU ? (differet CD and SACD)
The look of Love (Hybrid)
Sacred Love (Hybrid)

CD playpack is louder and clear with more depth as opposed to SACD

Just wondering whether anyone else has the same experience or is it just me and my CD player (It has just 30-40 hours of playtime) on it.
The Yamaha CD S 1000 is quite good on its own. Can be taken to greater heights with VSE mods. Better build quality than the Sony, two channel only.
Kjl, to be able to give you advise on a player you need to specify is you are looking for a 2 channel SACD player, or if you have a multi channel system. Then, if you are looking for multi channel you need to specify is you are looking for an analog setup, or if you are planning to do MCH digital SACD over HDMI.

My personal experience is that a good MCH system takes things to a new level, while going from good 2 channel CD to 2 channel SACD is an incremental improvement. That's just me though.

If you are into classical, there is enough content out there on multi channel SACD to justify the investment in a good multi channel SACD player and system, eventhoug the format is dead (as are most classical composers fortunately).

Finally, based on my experience comparing the exact same classical high resolution recordings on the 2L label on BR audio and SACD respectively, I prefer the SACD version.