Downgrading Help

OK, so I have come to realize that I cannot afford to keep neither high end CD player I own, mostly because a lot of that cash came from credit.

I picked up the Philips SACD1000 player as my replacement for a digital front end. Last night, comparing the Philips to the Wadia 860x I currently own (not for long!), was truly tough for me. The Wadia is just so much better on redbook CD (the Philips I thought was better on SACD vs. the Wadia on CD).

I don't have much $$ to spend ($600) on an improvement: here are my options:

1) get the Philips player modded somewhere; which mods though, and will this really give me an increase in detail (blackness?), dynamics, soundstage depth, and naturalness?

2) get a DAC?

3) wait until I get some more cash, and get a better DAC or more mods later?

I'd prefer to make this player work, rather than getting another seperate CD player....

There is a long break-in on the SACD and CD sections of the 1000. It will improve. There will be lots of 1000 mods coming out so don't jump yet.
Can't use a DAC with the Phillips. The digital out is for AC3/DTS not 16/44.1 PCM. AFAIK. I'd run the player as is for now and plan on getting some mods done. I bet this player would sound better with mods dollar for dollar than adding a dac (even if you could). Though time will see an we get feedback from those modding their SACD1000s.

Also, sorry to hear your financial situation is requiring you to downgrade you system.
well, i guess that answers that question. thanks for the help.
SACD-1000 mod options.

Kyle at Reference Audio Mods ( -- will do your typical parts replacement (Audiocom Superclock, Blackgates, etc). Own one of these units -- excellent. For more money than you're looking to spend, he'll also replace the entire output stage with silver wired 1:2 Audio Consulting transformers, heavily modify the power supply and other options.

Second option is around you budget -- talk to Dan Wright at, he has just finished a modification for the SACD-1000 that includes a tube output stage, parts replacement, and many other options. This would fit your budget and bring a bit more magic to the player. A DACT volume control can also be integrated directly within the unit to replace a preamplifier as an option too. If you can deal without a remote control for volume, this will bring you closer to the Wadia philosophy if you don't have additional sources.
CJR.. can you tell me what improvements the mods made?

I'm at home, listening to the Wadia, and quickly switched back to the Philips (Which has been playing for the last 24 hours on repeat)... ugh, still no comparison. The Philips sounds, relatively, so lifeless.

this is all kind of funny to me, because I started my search for a digital player with the BAT VKD5-SE, which I still own, and when I first got that player, I thought, "What is the BIG DEAL??"...

Now, the BAT also sounds GREAT, as does the Wadia, and the Philips is almost intolerable.

One thing I have learned is that digital is really sensitive to warming up, and breaking in. We'll see, this may be a case of judging the player too early.
Do some mods to the philips.

My 1000 will be in at the end of the week, I'm curious to see how it compares to my Theta DaViD/Classe Dac-1 combo. Heck I paid more for the Digital cable than I did for the Philips player.

What I really want to see is how the SACD's in the Philips player stack up to redbook on my other front end. If they sound as good I'll be impressed. Maybe when my SACD collection gets up around 100 I could dump the digital front end in my bedroom, maybe not.

I still have my H/T system to play redbook if I went that route. We'll see, I'll post after I've had a few weeks to check things out.

Say does the philips play DTS CD's? I read an article that said no, HUMMM.... thats odd.
Why not just keep the BAT for redbook, the Phillips for SACD, and sell the Wadia?
Ideally, I'll be able to sell the BAT as well. I did the typical American "spend what I don't have" in a mad pursuit for great sound. Maybe I can hang on to the BAT for a little while. No one seemed interested in buying that player anyway.

Glen, the SACD on the Philips sounded awesome right out of the box. Just as good as the Wadia playing redbook. I was definitely impressed. It wasn't "hyper" detailed and sterile; more like DEEP and wide soundstage, and really great dynamics. Full of life. Filled the room.

Thanks for the suggestions..
Cool, Maybe the format will catch on. Kind of reminds me when DVD's first came out. The selection was awful for the first couple of years and DTS was still a pipe dream. Now look at it. Guess we'll have to keep are fingers crossed and hope SACD catches on. Worse case cinario is one of my kids gets a DVD player in there room. OH DARN...

Please report back after the player has had some time to settle in.

I still need to pick up some interconnects, I don't have any RCA's in the house. Also, I need to figure out how to add six analog signals into my Casa-Blanca II pre-amp.

I definetly want to give those multi channel discs a try.

Take care
I'd be interested in buying the BAT... But it'll have to wait 'til the dust settles after Christmas. Hard time to sell equipment, OR justify new purchases during gift-buying season...

Glad to hear a report on the Philips unit. I've been wondering about redbook playback. Disappointing to hear, and I hope the mods will help.

Happy Holidays.
Maybe the phenomenon you relate in your second post means that just by having had the experience, you've learned more about what to listen for in digital playback. But what I wonder is how many SACD's you own vs. CD's, and what that should mean for how you optimize your choices to give the most satisfaction in the forseeable future.
Zaikes: How many SACDs do I own? TWO!!

I really thought I could just get the Philips, and be fine with redbook on it, since I was fine with my old cd changer, and I'd get to try out SACDs.

So wrong. learning learning, and i guess i'm definitely doing it the hard way, but at least i'm convinced and not doubting myself, because I can HEAR for MYSELF what's going on.

What to do in the foreseeable future... I don't know. Is it just the Wadia signature that I like? I mean, the BAT is better than the Wadia, but I don't like that player's sound like I like the Wadia sound. Is there a signature to a manufacturer? I'm guessing yes... and if that's the case, maybe I can get an older, or less expensive Wadia?

I'll see how the Philips is tonight. I've talked to Dan Wright, and described the deficiencies I hear in the Philips, and he thinks it's because of the two stages of gain in the analog output (?)... I don't know. I only spend $400 on the Philips, I think I'd have a hard time dumping any money into it without knowing what the improvement would sound like.
You guys probably know that one of the things their hyping with SACD are the multi channel discs. I found out today that I can't run six analog outs into my Casa-Blanc II. Theta has some ideas on decoding SACD down the road but till then I guess it's strictly stereo for me.

Does anyone know if the multi-channel SACD discs default to stereo?
DTM, I'm wondering what you mean when you say the BAT is "better" than the Wadia, even though you prefer the Wadia? Guess it doesn't really matter if you can't keep either though. Sorry for what you're going through - sometimes ignorance can be bliss!
oops... what i meant to say, is that the BAT is better than the Philips, but the Wadia is better than the BAT. For my ears, there is something REALLY special about the Wadia.

Got more of that sinking feeling tonight from more auditioning. I don't know what it is. I don't know how to describe what I'm hearing. Something happens inside when I listen to the Wadia... like an emotional connection, or involvement. ugh... I had no idea it would be this apparent to me.

Ah, what I wouldn't do for a little ignorace right now.

Let's say for one minute that your whole redbook collection was magically transformed into SACD format. How would you feel about the Philips then compared to the Wadia and BAT player? (Assuming all three players could play every disc in your collection of course).

By the way, what are you cabling with on the Philips and are you using all six analog outputs yet?
Hey Glen,

If I could transform my CD collection into SACD, I think I'd be very happy. The SACD playback was great; very involving, and musical. But have you seen the current SACD titles list? I counted 6 titles I would want...

I'm using BearLabs silver lightning cabling, and am just using the stereo outputs. I don't have a HT setup, just a two-channel system.

I've been browsing the SACD market for a few days now and I see a few good ones (at least thirty). The trick is not to panic. It took DVD'S a while to get rolling. Remember this is an investment in the future.

I've read a lot of favorable reviews, and I see a small used market starting to take off. It can only get better with time.

Start by buying those six titles you liked. I don't think you've seen the whole list. Try going to Sony's web site it may surprise you.

Your use of the stereo ouput may be the problem; I have read that the stereo output was designed to be used with TV and does not have as high quality signal as the 6ch outputs. Try the 6ch output (front left & right) and see if that changes anything. If it does, please report back.

I too am experiencing some of the same issues as yourself. I have owned the Sony DVP-NS999ES for 1 week now, which is a DVD and multi-channel SACD player. To answer another's question, yes the multi-channel (on mine anyway) will default to 2-channel - thank GOD! I also think the SACD is a little better than my current digital front end (Audio Alchemy DTIPRO-32 w/ AA PS2 and 2 powered digital cables going to a Parasound DAC 1000). I was hoping the redbook would be better so I could sell off my current digital equipment but that has not been the case. In fact, the SACD is only a small improvement. I am still holding out hope that it will continue to improve as I remember reading on different threads that these players can take several hundred hours to break in - AND the period is independent per format (redbook and SACD). If the SACD continues to improve I will be very happy. I will give it 1 month's time before I write off the redbook performance though. I also found about 6 SACD's that I want - and I currently own 5 of them! Would love to see Sony release more discs from "mainstream" artists from the 60's - today. A LARGE majority of the SACD discs are either from groups I've never heard of or don't care about - cmon', The Bangles, Big Audio Dynamite, endless jazz titles and gregorian chanting??? Correct me if I am wrong but doesn't Sony have the rights to the Beatles (from M. Jackson), Frank Sinatra (through Columbia), etc., etc. These are artists with a proven sales track record. Anyway, that's for another thread. Keep the faith Dennis, and let's see how these things fare by the end of January - by then people may have some Christmas cash to burn and buy our older stuff - hahaha:-)