Disappointed in SACD player

Well, there I was yesterday. At the chain store who Sony has designated as their retail point of attack for SACD in the Philadelphia, PA region. Tweeter, formerly known as Bryn Mawr Stereo and Video. Formerly, Bryn Mawr Stereo(but we all know what happened there). Since my recent misfortunes with CD players, I was considering a jump to a Sony SACD player. One thing about Sony, their stuff is reliable. I found one player, the 5 disc changer. It was hooked up in a HT setup. Not even prominently. There was also another CD player in this system, along with a DVD-V player. As no salesman came into the room, I didn't pursue. I found no other player in the store. Finally, when we were looking at tv's, someone asked us if we needed help. I asked about SACD, and was told two players were on display. I asked to see the one that I didn't see. I was taken to a wall of DVD players, and sure enough, the ES9000 was there. Not hooked up, sitting there like all of the other DVD players. And in fact, THAT IS HOW THIS STORE IS MARKETING IT. As a DVD player! The guy gave me the big spiel on it, from a DVD perspective. 12 bit scan, instead of 10, etc., etc., etc. All of which is meaningless to me. I am not a HT or DVD guy. I spend my time on two channel audio. The guy left me less interested in the player than when I came in. They could not even find any SACD material in the entire store. Not even a sampler. I came in wanting to be impressed, wanting to leave with the desire to buy an SACD player. Needless to say, I probably won't be buying very soon. Wasn't this supposed to be Sony's summer of all out SACD offensive? Players starting at $350(which still will probably come), creating interest with the general public and lifting the new format to something beyond the niche of the lunatic fringe. As it is now, it is not even as recognizable as DAT, and miles behind MD(which was very prominent in the store). Both of which are monumental flops in the words of Sony.

It seems like you are letting other people make up your own mind for you.

If you are interested in SACD then put some effort into it! You might have to work harder to locate a demo, or find a mail order outlet with a 30-day return guarantee.

I can't imagine giving up on something I wanted due to a dopey salesperson - I'd never buy anything!

Your attitude is going to let you miss out on a great format! Please, no offense, do you expect that the Tweeter store is catering to the audiophile crowd? ~! Of course not!
Most likely you are far more informed about SACD than the salesdroid at the tweeter! Tweeter has been a fixture in New England for years, I never liked them, years ago or now.

Keep in mind these days us two-channel types are in the minority, it's HT and xxx channel stuff that the masses want now.

I have a 777ES, not regretting for a minute my purchase.
I'm sure if you bought in you won't regret it either!
May I suggest you call J anr R Musicworld in NYC, they deal the Sony ES line by mail, and most likely pricing will be considerably better on a new item. I paid $1500 for my 777ES from them last year. Good luck, and let us know how you like SACD!

For the real scoop on SACD, just read what audiophile owners of this product have to say. They're the real experts at this point. I personally would not rely on Tweeter sales people to enlighten me on SACD. The few times that I have shopped at Bryn Mawr (now Tweeter), I was less than impressed with the sales staff, due to their lack of experience in both product knowledge and salesmanship. I now own a Sony SCD-777ES for a few months now (Purchased used on the net). I have also owned numerous (high end), redbook cd players, and the Sony redbook sound quality compares favorably with all of them. On SACD, it is the equal or better then the megabuck cd players I have tried. I’ll admit that there is just not enough SACD software available at this time, I can only hope this will change soon. This is just my experience, however, do an Audiogon search on SACD, you will learn more then what a salesman has to offer…
Tweeter is THE WORST. They are staffed by a bunch of incompetant knuckleheads and know less about what they are selling than just about any retailer that comes to mind. As far as I am concerned the only lesson here is, if you want milk, try a cow.
I have the Sony 9000 SACD, CD, DVD player & I am impressed. Not only with the SACD, but how it plays CDs. Had a CAL 10 which I loved, but CDs on this player sound better. Also musical DVDs are impressive. Reason I purchased this player is that I could experience all 3 musical formats. Not at ALL sorry.
I also suggest that you contact J&R Music World. I just bought a SCD-333ES from them and they are blowing them out for $600 which is half price. If you are interested in 2 channel as I am then this is by far your best bet. Their new machines are all multichannel and the 555ES which is basicly a multichannel version of the 333ES will set you back $1500. BTW, I bought a 777ES from J&R a year ago for $1800 and just sold it for what I paid. I am very happy with the 333ES and with a Perpetual Tech front end is far superior sounding to the 777ES and much more convienient to use. Also, doesn't take forever to load a disc. The 777ES is I'm sure a better transport but with all of the reclocking and upsampling the differences are marginal. Also, Modwright will upgrade the 333ES for around $350 so for less than a grand you can have something very close to SOTA and convience too!
It is unfortunate that the salesman wasn't informed and didn't enable you to demo the gear that you wanted to, but please don't let that dissuade you from pursuing SACD.

I have been modifying and comparing a 333ES and a 9000ES the past week or so and I am very pleased with the sound of them both, especially after the mods.

The 9000ES sounded clearly better to me stock than the 333ES, but they both sound good. The 9000ES is also at least twice the price at about $1200 (www.oade.com - not sure of latest prices) vs. the 333ES at about $600 (www.oade.com - ditto).

For SACD playback, they are both staggeringly good. Again, the 9000ES is better, but they are both great.

I have my own mods company - ModWright LLC - www.modwright.com and as another poster mentioned, I do offer mods for both the 333ES and the 9000ES. I won't go on here about them as there is a lot of information on my website about the 9000ES mods and information on the 333ES mods will follow. The prices for 9000ES mods start at $250 and go up to $800 and the price for the 333ES mod is $350.

If you are interested, please go to www.modwright.com and e-mail me directly at modwright@yahoo.com if you have questions about SACD, digital audio or audio in general.

Forget about the salesman and listen for yourself - I think you will be impressed.

Take care,

Dan W.
I have purchased most of my HT equipment (primarily B&K) at BMS. Dan Richardson, at their Towson, MD store, is the only one that knows this stuff cold. If you are really interested, then call him.

Facts are Facts, though, and correctly stated, above. Tweeter, in any and every form is not going to cater to the Audiophile: look at what they carry: Sony, which is not audiophile, Adcom and B&K: all mid-fi.
Trelja,I agree with your point.If this format is going to survive it has to be marketed at the low fi crowd.Once there are machines at 299.00 available the amount of software will grow.The audiophile will now be able to get his Hi End Equall form Sim Audio,Krell,Waida or from who ever and will benift from the vast amount of software that is available.
I hope both DVD-A and SACD people would get toghther and license people to build multi foramt players,cd,dvd-aScd mp3.Once this happens people can stop doing the beta-vhs jiggle.To many got burrned with Beta-machines, now Sony thinks people ares stupid enought to make the same mistake again.Make it idiot proof.
Audiophile's would be in for a big win.
Leafs- I've been to the stores, too. I'm afraid you're over optimistic. Another acronym for SACD is going to be, at least for audiophiles, BOHICA!
I hope not.
Tweeter's sales people have always been totally clueless, so do not let their stupidity stop you.
Thanks to all for the lucid responses. You are all correct about everything you all said regarding Tweeter and the superiority of SACD. I guess the point I am stuck on is the fact that this format is NOT trickling down to mass or even mid fi. Unless they do a better job with this, and soon, the survivability of the format will be in jeopardy. It is in real danger of becoming the next good idea from Sony which dies an early death. There is not an endless supply of money(in terms of hardware, software, marketing, etc.) that companies other than Sony and Philips will put towards SACD.
At Tower Records in downtown Toronto (Queen and Yonge Sts.) just inside the front door there is a section of "hi-end audio" cd's that has both SACD and DVD-A software featured. Almost everything that has been advertised in the magazines is offered, but there appears to be little turnover...so little that the prices have been reduced by one-third this past month (June). No other stores even know of the existence of SACD! If the software is not moving the players will die an early death on the clearout shelf. Recently I corresponed with a Sonic Frontires marketing person who said that they were not going to come out with an SACD unit...digital was too tough in this area given the price margin reductions by (especially) Sony. Sadly, SACD, IMO, will wither on the vine.
Stereokarter, you touched on the point I keep forgetting to include in this thread. Outside of our community, no one in the record stores is even familiar with SACD(or DVD-A). So, what I am saying in a nutshell is the following two things. First, for the past year+ I have struck out with virtually all of the salespeople at all of the record stores in one of the major metropolitan regions of the USA regarding SACD software. And secondly, all but the same happened in the retail outlet Sony has designated for the hardware. No software + no hardware = a disaster in the making. How long will it be before we start reading about SACD(and/or DVD-A) in the past tense? Come on Sony, I am ready to buy. Are you ready to sell?
I "test drove" the sony 333es 5 disc sacd player with regular discs using all solid state Mcintosh gear, and, frankly, I am not impressed. Maybe when other manufacturers start making sacd, then I might be suade since I've never been a fan of the "Sony" sound.
Its my opinion that the Sony 333ES player which can now be had for $575 is a great starting point - I bought mine 6 weeks before the price drop (my usual luck)... Redbook isn't as good as it should be but SACD is great! I still have a hang-up about owning a changer although while it is purported to be "noisy' when changing discs, it is built very well. I am considering the Dan Wright mods (concerns about negating the Sony warranty...) and I am convinced through what I have read the end result will be outstanding for under a $1K investment (current price + mods). I too have concerns about limited software, especially the price of it here in Canada. I also feel that after the mods the increase in quality on redbook presentation will no doubt fit well with non-sacd discs purchased in the future and sacd discs will just be gravy...
Different town, same response.
I went into a local audio store with a friend who was buying some speakers. While he was making his puchase I wandered into a room and found a Sony SACD. It had the Miles Davis "Blue" SACD in it so I gave it a spin. Interesting. I decided to come back later when I had more time and give it a thorough listen. A week later I returned and the salespeople couldn't even find any SACD to listen to. They looked at me and said sheepishly, "ya it's cool." No wonder so many people are buying their gear over the net when this is the help you get in the stores. To be fair, the small place I usually shop is great about setting me up with equipment to listen and compare. This is the exception and not the rule though.
I say Sony and Phillips deserve it if it fails. They need to learn this lesson.

SACD/DVDA will never just sell itself because the license holders of the technology are trying to retain too much control over the bits of information and they've made it too much a pain in the ass to even fool with for the average joe. Compare to MP3. People want ease of use, free transferability, and greater access, not more confusing formats, compatibility problems, and more expensive software. People already think software costs too much--now they are expected to pay more? The average consumer is confused and half pissed at whoever is responsible for keeping CD prices so high and taking away their napster. That whoever is Sony.

Now add the Tweeter problem where the boobs can't sell what cannot sell itself and you have a compound fracture. I'm all about payin for software use (I guess), but there are simply too damn many strings attached with this one it seems. So keep they can keep it.
I agree with J thunders about Sony's handling of the software issue and the general greed of the music industry in general, although I think there is plenty of blame to go around for high CD prices. It is appaling to pay $16-$19 for a CD of music that is 30 to 50 years old and in many cases the artist is long dead. Where is all of that money going? Now it appears that remastering a disc is all the excuse needed to charge full price. Why was the first CD mastering so lousy to begin with? That's one great thing about SACD, you should finally have a definitive copy of the master tape, no need to replace it again. But SONY made a couple of big mistakes. First these single layer discs negates the whole advantage of SACD compatibility. Now I'm expected to pay $25 for a disc that I can't play on but one machine. Then look at the music they are releasing. Most of the pop stuff is poorly recorded in the first place, not listenable on a good high end system and then you have to buy another copy to play in your car! Deserve to fail....indeed! The other poison pill is the inability to access the digital data stream. In their paronia about copy protection SACD is left behind in the future of digital system integration and signal processing. If you can take your datastream and add speaker and room correction such as the Perpetual Tech stuff I feel that the leap in performance will be much greater than that of SACD or DVDA. I hope to have my P-1a in about a month so I'll report back but after a year with SACD I can say that the improvements are subtle and require a near SOTA system to make it worthwhile.
Went to HMV store and asked about SACD&DVD-A.No one knew what i was talking about.This is so typical it is crazy.Why are the companies not doing a better job promoting these new formats.
Trelja...these formats are not even "trickling down" to audiophiles! I'm just going to go with vinyl. Yeah, Mickey baby!
Have you seen marketing other than the audiophile mags. It seems Sony thinks its a lost cause as a money maker. Other than audiogon I have not heard any feedback. Has anyone heard of yet another format that Sony is developing?
Damnit! Dbear44 said what I meant--only lots better than me......nice post, Dbear44.
Although I concur with the abysmal in-store knowledge with respect to SACD and DVD-A, HMV.com has one of the best on-line specialty sections for these two formats. My AMEX has got a good workout at HMV.com and the prices are far better than in any specialty audio store in the Toronto region. Worth checking out.

The biggest problem with SACD and DVD-A is the wide quality gap between recordings --some are good and some are no are barely better than Redbook and clearly inferior to the better XRCD or HDCD discs.

Thanks for the Toronto Towers Tip (try saying that real fast!) Stereokarter, I'll be heading down to Towers to see what they have. --Lorne
Thanks for the tip.It weird that no one in the store knows about the DVD/SACD.I guess training is not a priority.
This is a good example of one company trying to dominate. I do appreciate a company or one person trying to dramatically improve the 'standard', but to then gouge based on that is not appropriate. For their (Beta-type) greed, I sincerely hope that DVD-A blows them away. Personally, I believe that DVD-A holds the greater promise, than SACD, but the DVD-A industry jumps on handgranades every chance it gets.
Checked out Towers, HMV and Sams in downtown TO today. Rather disappointing, although I was able to depart with about $250 in SACDs that I hope I like. The biggest store, Sam the Record Man, told me bluntly that they don't carry SACD, even though they carry a small selection of DVD-As. Towers so called 'high end' section is little more than 30 discs, mostly the Sony remasters and none of the better small lable stuff. DVD-A is still a joke with respect to selection --I believe multichannel SACD will soon overtake it.

HMV.com is still the best source by far and the prices are better than the store by at least 10%. Shipping and delivery times are also very good, at least if your Canajun. By the way, I'm finding that JVCs XRCD sound as good as SACD and sometimes better on the SCD-1 -- seems there is good synergy between the Sony and this format. But I can only take so much Jazz, and the xrcds selections are skewed towards Jazz and Blues.

Still can't stand many Redbook CDs in Sony SCD-1, no matter what filter I try. And I'm unsure if I should buy a good DAC (seems a shame that the big Sony requires a DAC) or wait for the new EMC-2 with 24/192 and use that exclusively for Redbook. --Lorne
Lorne have you heard the Audio Aero Capitole player.Globe Audio In hamilton carry it.It is as great redbook cd player.
Thanks Leafs, the AA Capitole and Mephisto II, along with the EMC, are on my CD short list -- they're also damm expensive, and as I've been so severly underwhelmed at the dealers I visited today, I need to be blown away before I'll part with my next $10K on audio or HT (Bay Bloor Radio has really turned into another Future shop.)

I'm going try to get out to Hamilton in the next month, as I think the same dealer you mentioned also has Merlins set up and some other well reviewed stuff I'd like to hear. Perhaps, they may even take me seriously, unlike my experience(s) today.....

.....funny thing about the high end dealers in TO. Today, I was dressed in sweat pants and T-shirt. The salesmen at Bay Bloor Radio wouldn't even look at me, even though I was about to lay out 9 large ones for a Pioneer 710 Big Screen. Same crap at Audio Excellence -- salesman showed me a pair of $36,000 Sonus Faber -- but never even offered me a listen, thinking I would never buy them. Hopefully, the dealers in the West End and Hamilton you've suggested will be better. Today, I was so frustrated that I'm giving serious thought to opening my own high end shop -- shouldn't be hard to steal business from the overpriced, underserviced downtown mid-fi shops.
Lorne,i know where you are comming from.If you get ou to the West End get out to Alternative Audio in Dundas.They Have a Moon Eclipse CD player 6K or close Canadian.
I hate heaving to dress up.These guys arre all idiots.
I had a similar experience when I went to my local car dealership to order my copmany car.I had a P.O im my pocket.
I had ripped jeans and a torn tee shirt on.I am real comfortable dressed like that.Anyway I got ignored for 25 minutes.I aske for the MGR showed him P>O and took my business elswhere.
I cant belive business is so good they can afford to turn people away.
Bay-Bloor is HT all the way.Not the same level it was when it was run by the founder himself.He liked 2 channel.Audio Excellence is hit and miss depending who you get to serve you.Ricky has been very good to me.He has let me listen to some nice stuff knowing there is no sale at this time.Happy hunting.
If Linn and Classe are item your interested in Audio One in Concord is not a bad place.Ask for Carlo,he has been decent to me.
Leafs, I concur with the Audio One commendation...top notch all the way...just don't waste the brothers time! Don't forget Rob at Applause...though his stock leans toward the European. Still, 6 Hatt Street (I haven't visited the new store yet, but like his website) has got to be the best in terms of selection and service.

Audio Two in Windsor is pretty good also.

And I haven't been back to Angie's since she pissed me off! Money to spend (sometimes), and nowhere to go!
I don't have an SACD player and at the moment have no plans to buy one, but...
I have done some time listening to one on an average system (that's anything that isn't as good as mine) and the sound was very good. My Sota Sapphire/Rega RB900/Sumiko BPS turntable combination sound much better than my Sony CD player, but I bet SACD is finally approaching the sound quality of vinyl. Is SACD worth the price? Maybe but I will stick with my turntable and my collection of vinyl that will never be available on SACD.
Angie has a knack for that.
While this is off topic, the only time I dealt with Audio One in TO was making an inquiry as to the availibility of a set of Maggie 1.6's. Was bluntly told" I have 2 pairs in stock and thats the price (MSRP)!" I advised him that I would be in town later that week and if they were still available I would like an audition. Told again "don't expect a price reduction as I have told you that is the price". Bough a pair of maggies in the US - would never deal with them for even a foot of wire...
I think they did you a favour.They told you what the price was told you there was no room to move on them.This way you dont waste his time or yours.
I think they did you a favour.They told you what the price was told you there was no room to move on them.This way you dont waste his time or yours.
Nice to see you supporting your local economy.
Leafs - There is always room to move...I've been purchasing new gear since the early 80's and have never payed the sticker price. All this was was a dealer with a captive audience who's attitude was take it or leave it! It was their attitude that negated my dealing with them. A dealer 225 miles south of me located in Montana over the phone indicated there was room to move - not much but he would work with me. My point is that a dealer's attitude goes a long way in determining if he makes any money - maybe I just caught these guys on a bad day...
There was a point in production that the Maggies ( specifically the 1.6's ) were selling WAY faster than they could make them. As such, dealers had more people clamoring for them and willing to pay full price for them than they could get in. Selling them for less than list at that point in time would simply mean less money in their pocket and no opportunity to make up the difference because they never knew when the next pair would come in. It's the law of supply and demand. However, i do agree that the situation could have been handled a bit more tactfully than how the first dealer went about it. Sean
Yes, the dealer has a right to bluntly "not discount" if demand exceeds supply (this happens with cars all the time when a new model comes out --i.e. try to get a discount on a Honda S2000 or Plymoth Prowler.) But the real issue here is how the dealer handled the customer when he could not accomodate the customer's needs. A simple explanation such as: "Maggies are in very short supply at the time and therefore unlike many other of the lines we sell, I can't discount them." But I can .....

If the dealer leaves the customer with "a good taste in their mouth" (no matter what the pricing structure is at the time or whether any sale is made) both the customer and the dealer benefit. The dealer benefits when the customer returns to buy other stuff that may have been sitting around for a while, or some high margin stuff, such as cables. For example, my local dealers all know that I buy on eBay and audiogon, and two of the three except that and work hard to fill the gap with respect to convenience and stuff that is not available on the net. I may not have spent $10K with my local dealers, but I have bought a lot of high margin cables, SACD's, etc. and over the course of the year, have spent more than some of their mid-fi customers buying complete setups.

In the case of the Maggies, when the dealer handles this more professionally, as per the examaple, the customer benefits by knowing the dealer couldn't help him this time with respect to the current purchase, but the door is open for the future -- a true win-win situation. This Maggie dealer clearly blew it, as he has lost much more than a Maggie sale -- he has lost a customer forever. And customers, unlike Maggies, are always in short supply.