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The new unit is $1500 and getting excellent reviews. BUT, it still doesn't play DVD-A. Typical Sony. These are the same people that brought you The Betamax. Just cause the format may be better does not guarantee its commercial success. There are still no titles to choose from two years after its introduction. This is the basic reason so many SACD players are sold from the first units that came out. You can get pretty tired of listening to your 10 favorite SACD's since most people can not find more than this unless you are a classical listener. I would wait and see what happens before I poured $1500.00 down the drain and found out the format is dead. In a year there will probably be some Universal transports that play all formats and maybe even have a Digital out for the DVD-A and SACD for future upgradability.
I have the SCD1 and have found it's quality of sound on standard cd's to be better than anything under $10,000! There are almost 200 SACD titles out so far and this year another 5 manufactures picked up the formatt. Given the reviews of the first DVD-A units you'll be waiting a very long time. I do think somewhere down the road (5 years) we'll see a unit that upsamples, DVD-A, SACD, and the rest come along. I bought the Sony because it allows me to play my present collection on a better cd player than I had thanks to the multiple digital filter options it provides. We may find it has nothing to do with the formats, it's just an improvement in digital filters. For my money the SACD is the best buy around as a standard cd player, it's a hell of a bargain when a SACD you want comes along! Don't forget it was also Sony/Phillips that introduced the CD!
Some people have no fear about buying into a new technology that may or may not make it, but the fact that you've posted this question suggests that you are not one of them. In that case, my advice would be this: Do not buy into any new technology until there is enough software out there that it would be worth it to you even if the market didn't grow anymore. In other words, if you're comfortable buying SACD even if only 1% of new releases come out on SACD, buy a machine when 1% of new releases come out on SACD. There's no guarantee that either of these technologies is going to take off. If you buy in expectation that they will, you run the risk of a very expensive disappointment.
i owned expensive SACD and now "cheap" one 9000ES Sony (I paid $1,075). To begin with, its bass and midrange are much improved, highs can be imroved as well (need to elliminate junky 50kHz low pass filter, there are, indeed about 200 titles: classical (ain't nothin' wrong with them), jazz and pop/rock. There are may be three on DVD-A. The SACD sound is much much better then vinil and DVD-Audio I auditioned its second to live event only. It also has DVD allowing to listen 24/96; digital out for 16/44.1 allows you to connect it to upsample unit, right now - if you have money, but CD sound on this unit is also extremely good. I ain't know nothin' about multi-channel (I prefer to have for the same budget 2 best speakers then 5 .... )I know people who spend $60k for good multi-channel but they have these $60. At any rate DSM has multi-channel CDs and Phillips introducing multi-channel SACD (MSRP about $2k). What format will win? My prediction is simple: MP3, ask any mass-consumer. You wanna wait? Wait, and later enjoy "digital sound forever"
Simontju, could you comment on the difference between the stand-alone SACD player vs. the 9000ES? I'm thinking about taking the plunge (I also need a progressive player to replace my Sony S7000). I am however fairly happy with the line-doubler in my tv, so would I be better off with the cheap 5-disc SACD player, or the 9000ES, strictly from an SACD only point of view.
To Jfkeith and Kthomas: Cheapest SACD Players today are Sony 9000ES ($1,075) and Sony 777ES ($1,500) both at "www.oade.com" Cheapest SACD discs ($18) are at www.HMV.com". Excellent service both. There is also multi-tray SACD Sony player with MSRP of $1,2k. Phillips is introducing now, or already introduced multi-channel, MSRP about $2k. Sony 9000ES has also DVD with progressive scan, I understand first on market. True,I am not in video and never tested it with TV, however all 24/96 CDs (e.g. Chesky, Classic Records etc) can be played. DVD, for me, is more insurance for re-sale. Firther, I owned 777ES, the 9000ES is much better, transport is much better, may be the chip is of 2nd generation (it has "magic" midrange, midrange I hear in best tube amps, timbrally rich and very very natural not to confuse with euphonic bad tube sound, bass is excellent). Thus, as a stand alone CD player only - forget everything else - its bargain. Highs are not so airy and soundstage is not so huge as on 777 because this player uses low quality 50kHz low pass filter. When we"ll figure how to turn it off (777 has such option, externally), sound great and fantastic as it is will be only better. However,bonus, SACD sound is extraordinary, second only to live event. As for gentelment who opined to wait -> wait.
Simontju, I am not so clear about your post, is the CD aspect of the 9000ES better than the 777ES even with the 50kHz filter on? Have you been able to turn off the filter yet? I am very interested in the cd playing aspect of the 9000ES. I use my DVD player for cd playback. I have a Pioneer DV37, and it just happens to have excellent cd playback quality. I would like to get the 9000 ES for the SACD feature as long the cd playback is comparable. In the past I have owned three Sony CD players, and they all had a grainy hardness that I did not like. I am hoping that has been remedied in the 9000 ES.
To: Bmpnyc. Sony 9000ES is fantastic CD player by itself. It is not so airy as 777 without filter but still its highs are silky. Midrange is comprable to the best tube amps I owned or heard. Not euthonic, mind you, but if you know sound of LAMM II thats it (I compare midrange truthness of timbre). Bass is also similar to the best tubes. Not mooshy, tight, very articulated. This is tonal balance. Next, detail: 777ES is more resolved, but as you know detail is high frequency info. I am sure after 50kHz filter removal it will play with much more detail. Next, we all know that Japanese analog stages, as a rule, is junk Example? oh oh how about SC-1 and 777ES. Jerry Osmet of AudioLogic(he also designed DACs for Jadis, Thor and few others) said about 777 "cheapest possible junk". For couple hundred dollars Stan Warren of SuperMode (Stan the GREAT!!) not only will change passive parts in 9000ES but also will re-design entire analog stage. I send him my 9000ES two days ago and in month or two or week or two (Never push Stan Warren) I will have, hopefully, one of the best CD Players around regardless of the price. This is about potential. Comparing stock 777ES and 9000ES both hve pluses and minuses. Overall, however, 9000ES is MUCH BETTER. It is my personal subjestive opinion. Everybody has diffirent tast. For me the most important by far is timbral accuracy, and then macro/micro dynamic range. Sorry for long reply, however, then one says "A" is better then "B" we must define what do we mean by that. I worked as evaluator for many designers (e.g. Ken Stevens of CAT etc) and the most important thing in hi-fidelity communication to know when we say word "lush" its for one person euphonic and nosiating for another Stradivarius violin. This why professional reviewers always state CDs and LPs they used. This reply is really long,long. SORRY... Simon
Thanks Simontju, for taking the time to post such a thorough response. I will certainly think more seriously about the 9000ES now, I just need a little time to recover from the post holiday cash flow shortage! Does anyone have an opinion on how important 5 channel SACD will be, in relation to 2 channel SACD?
Simontju: Jerry Ozment modified my 777ES by adding his tubed output stage, and as modified it is a superb player, comparable with the best out there. The digital side of these players seems to be where Sony spent the bulk of its time and money; they put in a servicable, fairly good-sounding (if you like smooth sound), analog stage, but that's where you can wring a lot better performance out of these machines. Don't know if Jerry's decided to keep doing the mods, and they may be more expensive than Stan's if he does, but you are correct about potential of these machines, and there are plenty of talented modifiers out there if you want better resolution than the stock units.
Simontju - thanks for all the helpful info. As for waiting, I think anyone who wants a great DVD player and also values great 2-channel audio has no reason to wait at this point. I will certainly admit that if the DVD aspect holds no real interest that this may be a closer call, with many new products right around the corner (and hopefully a lot more software), but I paid $900 for my current Sony DVD player and wouldn't think twice about upgrading to a progressive scan ES model from Sony for that price as well, especially if I get to experience SACD as part of the bargain.
To RcPrince: lets be accurate. jerry did not modified 777ES . He bypass entire Sony analog stage and added external analog (tube) stage of Audiologic 2400 ($5.k retail) for $1,200. It was faster and cheaper for him rather then re-design new analog stage for 777ES. Stan Warren, hopefully, will re-design analog stage of 9000ES (he is not "resistor and capacitor" type of guy. He is one of the best audio engineers in this country, He is "S" in PS Audio ("P" is Paul McGowen, designer of PS Plant 300,600 and 1200) also quality parts such as black gate capacitors, appropriate op-amps etc will be added. However, I wish to point out that people who do not like modifications can instead buy better interconnects and speaker cable. Good wire always improve resolution, soundstage etc. Be careful; you can do it with 9000ES because it shows superb accuracy of timbre whereas 777ES exebit non-natural timbre. and it will be emphesized with better wire and will be extremely annoying. Ad you know butter was produced by "bitting" the milk. As much you will "bit" the shit no butter will result. With respect - Simon
All the junk I have read from audiophiles in this forum and in AudioAsylum (ugh) about SACD make me wonder about this hobby. It is unbelievably clear that most SACD players suck because their analog stages are complete junk, as a poster above highlited. Regular well recorded CDs on a good redbook CD player from Muse (also plays DAD/DVD), Metronome, Ayre, Wadia, etc sound 100x better than SACDs on the pithy Sony SCD1 with its fake balanced outputs. Not to mention that there are genuine question marks about SACD technology. I for one do not intend to take even a passing look at SACDs until some decent players are produced.
Joe, I too would welcome a "high end " manufacturers SACD product, but have you sat down and listed to a SACD player on a decent system for an hour or so yet? When I did, the SACD quality made me wish all my favorite recordings were available in the SACD format. I appreciate the sound of vinyl, and found SACD to be a worthy challenger. It is also early in its development. We will probably see many improvements over time, if the format survives.
Bmpnyc, BRAVO!!! - you are THE ONE (expression is not mine, from movie Matrix) who has the EARS! (and I betcha lots of acoustic music listening. Perhaps, you agree with the statement that SACD dynamic range is much superior to the best vinil and few available DVD-Audio or 24/96 CDs. irs breathtaking, and emotional experience of Sony 9000ES/SACD mode as is, 777ES w/Jerry Ozment upgrade or Maranz SC-1 as is, is second to live concert only. Regarding the future winner it will be MP3 format (improved with wider acceptance of high bandwidth Internet connection, eg DSL)
Look, don't get me wrong, dynamic range is a great thing... but I wonder which one of you has a speaker with a dynamic range over 110 dB ? Or a room that can handle the difference between ppp and fff ? Probably none. On the other hand the analog stages in these players make them sound like muck. Yes, you can catch a glimpse of greatness lying around the corner, but you can never reach it. wITH NEW PLAYERS...PERHAPS. fOR NOW, THE BEST DIGITAL SOUND i CAN ACHIEVE IN MY SYSTEM IS WITH A 24/96 RECORDED dvd-a FROM cHESKY. bY THE WAY, i AM PRETY DISSAPOINTED THAT cHESKY IS JUMPING INTO THE HYPE BANDWAGON AND BOTH (I) ENDORSING AUDIOASYLUM AND (II) PRODUCING SACDS.. (Sorry about the caps, but I'm too tired to fix it now).
Dear Joe_Coherent: in your first remarks you stated that SACD format has problem, in the second, doubts if our speaker can do this and room do that and clearly proclaim Chesky 24/96 to be superior. I am sure you measured speakers and you understand SACD limitation very very well. I have only one question. Have you EVER listen to SACD sound in typical hi-fidelity (as opposed to mid-fidelity or even low-fidelity)environment? I am tired out of this discussion, good luck Mellowman! - Simon
Simontju, thanks for the kind words. I will probably get a 9000ES in a month or two. If I do, I will take it to my friends house with very high end system and compare it to the DCS upsampling gear. Keep us posted on any further developments regarding the SACD player. Joe, with all due respect, I didn't hear anything close to "muck" when listening to SACD. Granted there will be improvements when high end manufacturers get to it, but it is quite exceptional right now!
Thank-you Simontju for stating my thoughts. I too am tierd of guys like Joe_ who know everything and listen 8 tracks because of the great sound quality. If he had spent any time listening rather than preaching he would have learned of what he speaks. The "bad anolog" output stage sure sounds good to me. Compare the SCD1 to ANY standard cd player with standard cd's and it's a worthy competiter. Use SACD and it's amazing. The Jacintha "Autumn Leaves" SACD from Groove note is as good as I've ever heard including vinyl. I must say I haven't invested the required $20,000 for the vinyl system that will beat this SACD player, and I can promise that give this format, I NEVER WILL.
don't get me wrong - i don't disagree w/ewe about the superior sound & deep pockets by sony. but these facts alone don't ensure the success of this medium. betamax was far superior to its competition, & the same deep pockets backed it. mebbe not as deep as today, but proportionally, not much different.
I am an oldtime Audio magazine subscriber who got switched to Sound + Vision (ugh!) after its demise. The latest issue has a very insightful interview with Neil Young. He talks about digital/analog and CDvsSACDvsDVD-A. Please no comments on the magazine or its contents until you read the article. Probably the only article ever in this magazine's history worth reading. You will not be disappointed. You may not agree with Neil but you will not be disappointed. Neil is to the point and very pointed. I will not spoil you with the contents. Buy it read it then comment. Have a Rave Up kind of day!!
Yes, most audiophiles are going to find that SACD's sound great. But so far I haven't read any specific, detailed accounts of comparing 16/44 CD's played on a SACD player versus on a very good CD player (or transport + upsampler-DAC). For those of us with huge libraries of CD's this is critical question: Would we get a superior sonic performance using a SACD player for CDs, just based on the way it processes 16/44, rather than one of the highly-rated $3000+ CDPs or DAC's? If you answer yes, please give specific examples of the players used, what system you listened to, and the differences you heard (granted, this is subjective).
I think a position has been overlooked. I am basically a very high end analog guy that plays my CD's on a Sony 7700 DVD/CD player. The reason I bought this unit in the first place was to watch movies. The CD player is a bonus, and although it will not match some of the high end units discussed here by other posters, it is a super movie machine, and quite good as a CD player. Now Sony has the 9000ES, and my understanding is that it will do progressive scan DVD, CD, and SACD. Others have commented that it may be purchased for less than $1200.00. I am not exactly a huge fan of Sony, but this unit, even without the ability to play SACD, is a pretty good deal (progressive scan). I think I am going to buy one, play the software I own, maybe even purchase a few of the new SACD titles, and see how it goes. I have stated in other posts, that I would LOVE for some EASY format to sound decent on my system. However, if it turns out that the SACD format is a disappointment performance wise, this new machine will certainly defeat my current unit as my movie standard. Hopefully, it will be equal in standard CD play, and then the SACD format is a freebee. If the CD playback is better than what I am currently using, and SACD is ANY better than standard CD, then this would turn out to be the deal of the decade. I hope some of you that favor this format are correct, my listening experiences at CES has been less than wonderful. So far as software goes, since the 9000 ES plays regular CD, there is already a huge library available. As far as new music on the SACD format, Sony owns a huge library that they can pull from to supply future releases. Should this entire idea "bomb, " the movies available for rent at Blockbusters will eventually wear this unit out, and get me a decent return for my investment. I think it is worth a risk.
whil i basically agree w/your position, i feel i can still wait a few months, because i believe that there will soon be decent ~$1200 retail digital-disc players that will do *all* formats. i can wait a few more months. but i also admit that i don't watch movies, either at home or in the theatre, so the audio capability is a little more important to me. (well, i *have* seen things like toy story, a bugs' life, small soldiers, etc...)
Jadem6: Yes, those SACD reviews do compare CD-playback with a that on a few CDP's/DAC's, but these are often expensive models (like dCS, Accuphase, Levinson), in which case the latter are usually prefered. R. Harley says of the SCD-1 that it will compete with $3-4000 CDP's for 16/44 CD playback. But I wanted to hear some more "real world" examples from folks out there on the internet. And it would be especially interesting to read more detailed comparisons between "cheap" SACD players (~$1500) versus similarly priced CDP's, regarding CD playback.
9000ES Upgrade: I been asked in one of the previous posts if I know how to removed 50kHz low pass filter in 9000ES.No I do not. However, to build on good qualities of 9000ES and improve many many bad ones I send my unit to Stan Warren for upgrade (power supply + analog stage). Stan is "S" in PS Audio If you are interested to get your SACD upgraded call him he should know that there are people who may benefit from his work. He lives in Oregon and his phone number is 541/344 - 3696. Good luc. Simon