EMM Labs DCC2 with Sony SCD-777ES

I currently own a Sony SCD-777ES and am thinking or purchasing a EMM Labs DCC2 DAC to complement it. I cannot afford the EMM Labs CDSD transport to go with it at the same time and won't be able to do so for a while.

Will this combination significantly improve my redbook performance? Has anyone tried a similar combination (maybe with the Sony SCD-1 as a transport)? I am looking for a full tonal body, excellent dynamics, no harshness and stellar soundstage (especially depth).

Finally, how would the DCC2 do as a pre-amp into my Pass Labs Aleph 5? Will it have enough gain to drive this amp?

And thanks in advance to everyone who dives in to help me out - I do deeply appreciate all your help and advice.

Chuck, If you're interested in a much cheaper alternative, I have a new Denon 3910 that has the EMM card installed. This was done by Alex Peychev of APL Hi Fi. Comes complete with STT glass cables etc. Does everything the CDSD does. I have both and will sell one. If interested and want more info, send me an e-mail.

Frank Gortz
Have you considered modding your Sony? I have a SCD-1 and just recently had the SC3 / SCPS and the transport caps upgraded. The player has improved substantially in the ares you mention on both redbook and SACD. I can not comment as to the quality of the volume control in the DCC2.


I am not familiar with the digital output of the Sony, but I suspect it may be either RCA or AES/EBU, which are PCM outputs. The DCC2 will convert that source, but, I think, the real strength of the unit is realized when you use the word clock synchronization afforded by the optical dsd inputs. They way I understand it, (someone correct me please if I am in error) is that the Dcc2 supplies the word clock to the transport, which then returns the clock back to the DCC2. I assume the Dcc2 can then compare the sent out vs. received clock signal and correct for errors, essentially reducung jitter to nothing.

Using the Dcc2 as a PCM converter will work, but I suspect it may just be an very good converter.

The pre-amp section of the DCC2 is excellent, there is better out there, but it handily beat my old ARC Ref2Mk2, and freeing up those dollars (as well as an interconnect) made the ticket easier to swallow.

I say get the Dcc2, and when you can, the CDSD will always be out there... As far as the ability to drive your amps, check the specs on emmlabs.com and compare the maximum output voltage and impedence with what your amps need.

Have fun

Wow. Lot'sa questions.

I'm not sure I know the answer. So, here's what I know...

The AA Capitole II with the DCC2 is tons better just using the pre-amp section over then Capitole's pre-amp. I had a Philips SACD 1000 modded by EMM prior to the CDSD and it was not as precise, full and detailed as with the CDSD. I did not run it without the optical connections, so I can't tell you how it would be without the external clock upgrade.

I have also owned a Sony SACD1000. The music is much less detailed than with any setup I have had using the DCC2.

Hopefully, some of the others who have owned this gear and have played A/B will chime in and clear up your question.
I am reading that you are looking to improve on redbook CD. The CDSD is very necessary to realize the full benefits of the DCC2 on CD playback. On SACD it is less needed. I found other CD players can compete with the DCC2 when the CDSD isn't used as a transport. If you want tonal body you will need the CDSD. The CDSD upsamples CD 4 times & SACD 2 times to the DCC2. AS for the preamp section, I can't comment as I am using the DAC 6e. I love the VTL 7.5s added tube fullness. I found it necessary as compared to my Placette active preamp.
I asked around and was told that if you take the analogue out from the sony to the analogue in of the DCC2 it will process the info as PCM and it will be tons better than stand alone.

Question, are you sure about analogue being processed as pcm? I thought the analog inputs (bal and rca) on the dcc2 are standard line inouts to the pre amp section. Processing the analog as pcm would imply an A/D converter, which would seem to be a lot to go through for a machine that is a d/a converter......

Folks - many, many thanks for all the excellent information. My apologies for the delay in responding - I was out of town for the last few days.

Ron, the output from the Sony SCD-777ES is as your correctly surmised, RCA.

Chuck, I did consider going for a modification to the Sony SCD-777ES - I read the excellent series on modifications to the Sony SCD-777ES on Positive Feedback. I just think I'll be happier longer term with the Emm Labs solution.

Dgad, my longer term plans are to go with the CDSD as the transport, so I'm looking at a year or two at most with the Sony as a transport - if I'm lucky, even less. Hence, as you everyone has mentioned above, initially I will not be realizing the true potential of the DCC2, but as I understand it, it will still be a marked improvement from using the Sony standalone. I'll hold on to my line stage, the Lamm L1 and experiment using it with the DCC2 versus the DCC2 as the line stage and see which I prefer.

Finally, Lakefrontroad, thank you very much for the asking around for more detailed information on how the DCC2 would process the output.

Thanks folks - I will look around for a re-owned DCC2 and will take the plunge when I find one at the right price.

Once again, many thanks to all of you for taking the time to help out - it is deeply appreciated.
Folks, once again many thanks for all your help and advise. I just wanted to let you know that I've purchased a DCC2 - it should be here sometime next week. I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to it. I'll also try streaming audio from iTunes via AirPort Express (and its Toslink output) to my DCC2 - I've read one post where someone mentioned that this worked very favourably for redbook compared to their using the CDSD for the same. Exciting times up ahead.