Rega Saturn or Sony XA5400: Sound or features?


The original Rega Saturn is discontinued, but continues to get positive customer reviews on this site and others. It came to market in 2006. I am curious what might be the better value, Sony's XA5400ES or the Rega Saturn. The Sony has more features including the ability to play HDCD, SACD's. I am more interested in the best sound. For the record, the Sony 5400 represents later technology than the Rega

I am downsizing my system to two components besides the speakers: an integrated amp and CD player. So I want to get the best sound possible without spending $3000 for a new or even used player.
sunnyjim
I have the Sony and like it a lot. As far as I know it does not decode HDCD discs. Never heard the Rega
Both great players
This thread may help answer your question.

http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?ddgtl&1376027089
Just checked, Sony does not do HDCD.
Thanks to all who have responded.

To Chayro I guess I forgot this thread from August; however, I don't enjoy being make to look like some absent-minded fool.

Regrettably over the last year or so, I have seen a mounting intolerance against members whose questions seem redundant or somewhat naïve.

One in particular comes to mind.... when a member who bought some Nordost "Purple Flare" speaker cable and interconnects wanted reassurance that "he did not make a mistake" What followed was a barrage of responses which in my opinion were insulting to the member. I responded by claiming he should relax and enjoy the music, and said that most professional audio dealers would take the cables back in exchange for another model or brand with possibly a small restocking fee

In my own case, the impetus behind my thread, was the alarming rate of Sony XA5400ES on sale on AG and e-bay. This trend leads me to believe that the professional audio reviewers are full of shit, especially Kal Rubinson at Stereophile who wildly sung the praises of the Sony 5400. I have to conclude that those who have bought this model Sony and are selling so quickly have discovered the player is just not what it is cracked up to be.

The Sony retails for $1500 retail, and can usually be purchased "USED" on AG for $1000-to $1250. I don't really give a crap about its computer music related features; I am only interested in sound quality, and whether it can provide an upgrade in sound from my Rega Apollo; that is, better bass, smoother highs, less glare, etc. WOW!!! is that too much to ask about on an audio blog??

Now that I know the player can't decode HDCD, I am even less interested in the Sony because I have about 4 HDCD's in my humble collection that I was curious of what improvements the decoding might render.

Do I sound angry, take a wild guess?? If my threads seem redundant, then don't fucking answer them. Remember, this is an just obsessive hobby, not a round table on the state of the national economy!!!

I'm sorry. I have no intolerance towards redundant posts. I just thought it might help you out to re-read the posts of the many members who took time out of their busy day to try to answer your question first time around.
I would not worry about HDCD.

I don't know if the Sony will provide a significant improvement in sound quality over the Rega. All I know is that I've owned the 5400 for 3 years or more, and it's been reliable and glitch free.

I have a Sony 333ES and a Sony XA777ES, both decent SACD players, particularly the latter - and in my case, this unit was very much modified; but there is something special to the sound from the 5400, especially on CD where they seem to have done some magic.

Regards,
I think the numbers for sale are simply because it's a 5 year old design and lots were sold. As I said in last thread, only way to decide is to listen as peronal preference/room/system is all that will determine which is best for you, as both are very good players.
Chayro, this is at least the twentieth thread he's started asking basically the same thing. Just buy SOMETHING Jim for God sake! If you dont like it sell it and try again. No one here can tell you what is better to your ears on your system in your room. Youre talking a used CD player not a friggin house. How many more of these threads will you start before you actually buy something?
I believe SunnyJim lives in paradise (Hawaii) and shipping to/from is very costly which could be the reason for the reluctance to Buy Sell and Re-sell if the system synergy is not present when the new kit is installed in his system.

To SunnyJim

Any luck with tracking down other audiophiles in Hawaii to help you out on your quest? There has got to be some audio enthusiast presence there or some kind of audio club where you can audition gear. I could have sworn Underwood Wally or UncleStu from AA Trader was in your neck of the woods. Those guys always have various types of gear going in and out of their hands maybe they could help you with home auditions of the cables and gear you are interested in. Anyway best of luck with all of this it seems like it has been a neverending fruitless quest for the proper gear for you.
Hi Jim,

As you know, I weighed in on this a couple of times over the months because I owned both the Sony 5400 and the Rega Saturn. I will only say (again) that I preferred the Sony. That said, I could easily have lived with either. Obviously, you will find some who agree with me and some who don't.

Your overarching question "will either be substantially better than my Rega Apollo?" is the tricky part. Frankly, I suspect not. I think that over the long haul you will notice subtle improvements with either of the two players that will make listening to your music more emotionally satisfying, but it's not likely to blow you away like a new pair of speakers might.

As has been stated by many others, at the end of the day, no one knows your room, your gear, and your subjective sonic preferences but YOU. In the absence of being able to try one out at home, you're simply going to have to take a leap of faith. So, find a good deal, try it out, and then re-sell it if you have to. (And consider a prescription for Prozac.) Welcome to the nut house. Good luck.
To Jedinite: yes, I live in Hawaii and it is paradise; that is, until the tsumani sirens start sounding or the islands are in the direct path of a mothering typhoon or hurricane. Despite the sun, blue sky, water and tight bikini bottoms, it is somewhat frightening to be in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

As Jed noted, shipping here is expensive; for example 25-30 lbs shipped USPS Priority Mail is $96.00,plus insurance to any location in the USA. On the mainland, it would cost approx. $25-$30. UPS and FED-EX rates are off the scope, and double the rate of USPS Priority for the same weight Therefore any try, sell or return experiments are not financially feasible over the long term.

A seller shipped a used pair of Acoustic Zen Adagios from a small town in Wisconsin to Honolulu by FED-EX and it cost $525.00. Call me crazy.... Jon 1257 already has. However, it was worth the money because it is a great speaker, the best I ever owned

Jed: Underwood Wally generally ships from Atlanta or has manufacturers direct ship product. He does maintain a store front in the town of Laihaina on the island of Maui where he lives. I don't know who Uncle Stu is, but I think you are referring to the owner of Hawaii HI-FI in Honolulu where I currently live. The other high-end shop is Audiolab. Both these dealers sell very high end gear such as Soulution, YG, Walker, TT's Focal, Acappella etc.

Winoguy has again confirmed the point made to Chayro,about the growing intolerance or impatience of some members. If you make other members self conscious of being redundant, then they will be reluctant to submit any threads. The last time I checked, no member designated you and Chayro, gatekeepers of the AG forums. I guess I will have to return to submitting more ponderous threads, like, " Do you listen alone or with guests?" That was a big winner,with several hundred replies and Yahoos

Nevertheless, relative to this post, which has gone over like the bubonic plague, I should ask if...."the CD player and CD format are dead"

I must go....because the guys with the white coats and straight jackets have arrived and are banging on my door.!!!
Dear SJ - what you seem to forget is that when you choose to post to a public forum, you open yourself up to criticism by other members. I once posted a thread asking about the Land Rover and got flamed to death, despite the fact that one of the largest threads on this forum concerned automobiles. It's just something you have to live with when you choose to go public. That aside, I said nothing negative to you in this thread. In fact, I even apologized. I merely directed your attention to a previous thread for the purpose of helping you make a purchase decision. Feel free to ask as many questions as you like, but be aware that others will also feel free to post what they like. Peace.
Hey Jim...

I definitely was not implying you were crazy with my Prozac remark. I was actually joking and referring to fact that this hobby can drive a person crazy--it certainly has driven me nuts at times.

Sorry if you missed the humor or if I hit a sore spot. In any case, as I said, good luck with your endeavors.
Just for the record, Chayro and Jonathan, you didn't say, or do anything wrong. Sunnyjim, you really need to lighten up a bit. Nobody's poking at you. I've spoken to you about this too. (dealer disclaimer) I was honest and truthful. I didn't try to "sell" you on the Sony. As I recall, I told you it was a good player, and people really like them, not my favorite though. I also said something along the lines of "everybody's different, and only you could be the judge" its unfortunate shipping to you comes into play for buying and reselling, it does, and that's a fact. In the end, no amount of praise, or endorsements by us will answer your questions. The Sony is a good player, it may, or may not be the right one for you. I think a better post would be to try to find someone near you that has one you could listen to. It won't tell you how it sounds in your room, or with your gear, but its a start. Maybe you meet a like minded person and become friends. Maybe even a home demo and some fun after that. Just a thought. Please don't blast me, I really am trying to be helpful.
No serious offense taken by Chayro or Jon's comments

However, I think I will go into hibernation for awhile because I can't find what I want in a CD player or can't afford what I want.

Nevertheless, I have to downsize the system anyway because I will be moving back to the mainland in August. Los Angeles does have plenty of audio stores to visit and audition products, if I decide to configure a smaller system
I had a 5400 and sold it this year. Cant program tracks and wasn't much better at all than my 10 year old player
Had a top end CDP that did HDCD

First comment ... yeah .... HDCD was "okay" when compared to my many redbook CDs.

Next comment: HDCD is a discontinued CD format, but agreed, you can still find HDCDs but they are limited w/o prejudice to any XRCD discussion below.

Traded in the HDCD player for a redbook REGA ISIS VALVE cdp ... now my many redbook CDs played on the new kit smoke all my HDCDs on the prior CDP in terms of performance.

To take it to the next step, you may then want to introduce XRCD format CDs that are no small further step up in performance.

The point: the quality of the cdp and its DACs will provide you with your listening pleasure exponentially more than the CD format.
Had a top end CDP that did HDCD

First comment ... yeah .... HDCD was "okay" when compared to my many redbook CDs.

Next comment: HDCD is a discontinued CD format, but agreed, you can still find HDCDs but they are limited w/o prejudice to any XRCD discussion below.

Traded in the HDCD player for a redbook REGA ISIS VALVE cdp ... now my many redbook CDs played on the new kit smoke all my HDCDs on the prior CDP in terms of performance.

To take it to the next step, you may then want to introduce XRCD format CDs that are no small further step up in performance.

The point: the quality of the cdp and its DACs will provide you with your listening pleasure exponentially more than the CD format.