Esoteric SA-60

Never have I had such problems with a piece of equipment.  It's connected to the 7.1 bypass array of a Bryston SP3.  The display shows multichannel when I play a surround SACD, but I get sound only from the center channel.  I removed the parallel balanced stereo connection between the SA-60 and SP3, but that had no effect.  I never heard stereo from the SA-60 when I selected the balanced input, but I think I've heard stereo and multichannel from 7.1 bypass.

The trouble seemed to start when I learned that the SP3 does no processing in the bypass modes so provides no speaker management.  I set up speaker management using the menu of the SA-60.  But I've tried clearing the SA-60 memory several times since then.

I hope the problem is pilot error and not a defective SA-60. 


has Bryston or Esoteric been of any assistance? Keep me posted and Happy Listening!

Not at all.  Gary at Bryston claimed he would try to help, but my emails to him have gone unanswered.  I reset memory last night, then left the the SA-2 unplugged until this morning.  I tried a stereo SACD.  The display shows the LR icons and that the disc is being played, but there is no sound.  I set audio output to multichannel and played a 5.0 disc.  Again, no sound.

Next is to remove the multichannel connection and try balanced and single-ended stereo just to see if that works.  But even if it does, that would defect the purpose of the SA-60, because I have an Ayre C-5xeMP for stereo.

I can't know the operating similarities between your SA 60 and the DV 60 I own, but I've got to believe it has to be something in the settings that is amiss. There are a lot of settings to choose from, try going through them again, and see if you've missed something.

Other than that, it may be a problem with the transport mechanism. I was able to replace the optics in my DV 60 on my own, it's not too big a job. The easiest way is to remove the face plate (and the lid), the mechanism is then easy to remove and replace. Contact Teac of America, they probably have replacement parts in stock.

Best of luck, regards,
Thanks! for sharing- Dan.
I am thinking that there cannot be much difference between the SA/DV -60. Hopefully, the interface and on-screen menu(s) are similar enough to assist db.
I also think my problem is with the menu settings.  I've reset the menu several times, consulting the manual at each step, but later today I'll go through it again.  The SA-60 display shows that it recognizes DSD, is playing the disc, and the speaker icon matches the purported output array.  I hoped resetting the memory and the overnight power-down would give me a fresh start, but I haven't heard a sound from the SA-60 since.  I've been setting up audio equipment for 60 years, and this is the first time I've experienced such problems.

The fact your only hearing sound from the center channel using the 5.1/7.1 analog input of the Bryston SP3 is leading me to thinking the Esoteric unit is the offender here. As you probably know, there are several formats available of standard SACD's (3 to be exact) With my DV50S, you can change the readable format from Stereo Audio, 5.1 Channel audio and for standard SACD's. (reading right from the manual). This function cannot be performed from the remote, but; the unit itself. 
Short of telling the SA-60 which section to read for playback, sound from only the center is .......pointing to an issue with the SA-60 if all of the setup settings are correct.

Keep me posted and Happy Listening!

how do you like your DV-50s ? This one is on my list.
Happy Listening!
This evening I reset the SA-60 memory, set it to multichannel, digital to off, group to continuous.  It played 5.1 splendidly.  I stopped the disc and set speakers sizes: mains to large, center and surrounds to small, SW to on.  It's still playing!  Not sure if I'm brave enough to attempt setting speaker levels.  I think I've done these setting without success in the past several days.  As I write this, I'm playing a recording of Corelli Concerti Grossi Op. 6 that Kal Rubinson recommended, and it is beautiful in surround. 
Glad to read you got the problem resolved, db.
I have been very pleased with the DV50S. The SACD playback is very good thru the 5.1 analog inputs and provides a useful/enjoyable option to 2 Channel playback. I use the K-03 for 2 Channel listening. The Video playback is also very good....darn close to the performance I get from the Pioneer Elite BDP I have which was surprising to me. 

great to hear you found and resolved the problem without the hassles of sending back a piece of equiptment for repairs.
I just successfully completed the 5.1 setup, including distances and levels.  I'm still playing the Linn Corelli disc, and the sound is magnificent.
DB, I was wondering how you made out. A splendid resolution to your problem, congratulations!

I am also very enamored with my DV 60, it's the best digital source I've had. Though for Redbook, I still prefer using the Genesis Digital Time Lens and Musical Fidelity A3 24 DAC (both have been modified), to the DV 60's internal DAC.

Redbook sounds great played using the Ayre C-5xeMP.  The Sony XA5400ES gets closer to the Ayre with SACDs than it does with CDs.

I played a 5.1 DSD using the SA-60 this morning, then tried a stereo DSD.  The display indicated it was playing and the icons were appropriate for two channels, but there was no sound.  Given that I bought the SA-60 for 5.1 and have the Ayre for stereo, I'm not going to mess with trying to bring up stereo sound with the SA-60, but it is curious.
Good to read about resolving the issue-db.

how ya doin' out there?  Happy Listening!
The SA-60 has been the most problem ridden audio device I've ever had.  It usually plays multichannel DSDs, but not always.  I tried the Diana Krall DTS "Love Scenes" without success; I then tried the DSD, and got only surround sound.  Then I tried an Beatles DVD-A, and the surround sound was excellent.  This morning I tried a Corelli multichannel DSD that it has been playing successfully, but this time no sound.  I think I'm going to reinstall the Sony XA5400ES.

your experiences are the very reasons why I would never set up a surround system. 2- channel is perfectly fine for me!
Hang in there and Happy Listening!
My most recent experiences have been surround from either an Oppo 105D or Sony XA5400ES via HDMI, and both have functioned flawlessly whether the prepro was a Cary Cinema 12 or Bryston SP3.  But at one time I did connect the Oppo via 7.1 analog to the Cary, and that also functioned flawlessly.  

Part of the problem with the Esoteric seems to be an elaborate settings menu with inadequate explanation.  If I didn't have the Ayer C-5xeMP, I might be inclined to just set up the SA-60 for stereo and forget about surround from it, but I do have the Ayre and surround was the reason for buying the SA-60.


what's next?
I'll probably continue to fiddle with the SA-60 menus, but rely on the Oppo or Sony when I want reliable surround music.  The Ayre provides superb stereo.  The SA-60 does look nice in the rack, though it's been a major disappointment.

on SACD which spinner is best out of the Oppo, Sony ES, Ayre or Esoteric? Happy Listening!
The Ayre.  The Ayre is also superb with CDs.  The Sony is excellent with SACDs via balanced analog, but much less good with CDs.  On the occasions the Esoteric has actually played an SACD, it's sound is a close second to the Ayre.  DTS-HD MA and Dolby TrueHD Blu-rays played on the Oppo can be sensational.
I bought an Oppo 105D last month. I've been in hi fi heaven every day! Joe
TY- db.
Upon reflection, it occurred to me that my problems with the SA-60 revolve around settings for analog 5.1.  I wonder how many owners use only the balanced or single-ended stereo output of the SA-60.  I know my cousin does, as did the previous owner of the SA-60 I bought.  The menu for 5.1 opens up the entire speaker management can of worms, as well as how to play a multi-level disc.   

Keep me posted- db.
The problem wasn't the SA-60, it was me.  I used a Harmony One that turned on the Sony, the SP3, and a JC 2 BP -- front LR from the SP3 passes through the JC 2 BP to access JC 1 amps.  But when I installed the SA-60, I powered it and the SP3 manually.  I forgot to power up the JC 2 BP,  so front LR was not being passed to the amps.  I need to reprogram the remote.

Sorry about the needless posts and denigration of the SA-60.  Surround sound with the SA-60 is very similar to stereo with the Ayre C-5xeMP, musical rather than HiFi.  I suspect it's superior preservation of timbral nuances.
Thanks! for sharing- db.
Happy Listening!
Hi dbphd, 

u may be the only one around still doing SACD surround. Not sure if u still use SA-60. I am debating if I should get the SA-60 vs a new Oppo modded but the latter still costs >$3000. How do you like the SA-60 now? if surround is similar to Ayre it must be really good as latter is a better player supposedly. I suspect perhaps the old school Sony sounds more musical than newer Oppo ? 

I have no experience with a modded Oppo 205, but I'm suspicious of such mods. I do have an unmodded 205 and 105D.  I think the SA-60 sounds superior to either as an SACD player.  I recently replaced my SA-60 with an Ayre DX-5 DSD universal player that sounds a bit superior to the C-5xeMP, plays BDs, and does Roon via USB.  I think $1500 is a fair price for the SA-60.  If interested, I'm


Thanks! for the update- dbphd

keep me posted as you massage the DX-5 into your system.

Happy Listening!

Yup I am interested! though I just placed a bid on a SA-60 on the web.  If I don’t succeed In winning,  will contact u! The thing is that I am sick of Sabre chip. I have oppo 95. In what ways do u think the Sony is better for SACD?