Very well done review...thanks!
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I have heard that the AA Prestige is likely to settle in only after approx 1500 hours. Until then you may still hear further slight improvements. I recently spoke to Ernie Fisher of The Inner Ear. Ernie believes the Prestige and the Esoteric X-01 to be the best CD single box players he has ever evaluated, and in fact appears to own one of each. He suggests that the Prestige has an edge in in 'harmonic integrity', while the X-01 excells in detail, sound stage and 'air' around the instruments. He has a slight preference for the Prestige overal sound over the X-01. I own an X-01 with almost 300 hrs on it and I am ecstatic. Would love to hear the Prestige sometimes!
Thanks for the comprehensive review, Cics. I listened to the Prestige in two rooms at RMAF, the Audio Federation room and Globe Audio's room. AF's setup included Marten's Coltrane speakers and the results were understated but quite lovely. What was interesting about Globe's setup was that they were running their TT (Clearaudio?) signal through the Prestige. In a small, untreated room the sound was, again, very good. I look forward to hearing this front end in my system.
This is great feedback. Thank you.
I failed to previously mention an important improvement over 390s regarding bass performance. AA offers tighter, more controlled and tuneful bass which can be enjoyed over loooong listening spells without fatigue.
I decided to burn-in the player for another 2 weeks and without question, AA offers further improvements. Initially, it drifted sideways but remained so for a few days. Its comeback was also slow and required patience. This however was rewarded with further refinements.
What is most striking now is the extent to which the speakers disappear as I often end up looking at locations where instruments genuinely seems to be originating from. This is both very enjoyable but also unnerving as to how real the soundstage has become.
I'm told this player is not yet available in the US. If you're looking to upgrade, I would suggest waiting it out until its available. Its that good!
Guidocorona, the feedback/suggestion for 1500 hours of burn-in is most likely to be the case. Looking forward for more...
BTW- I've just recently added the Synergistic Research quattro power supply for all active shields. SR suggests a further lowering in the noise floor. My experience thus far is an improvement over the standard mini power supplies.
How long before the AA burns-in? In my case this was around 6 weeks. I continued burn-in for a couple more days (so I would settle for 7 weeks). The player now remains in the sweetspot without drifting in and out.
During this additional time, I was unable to identify further improvements.
I'm told by my dealer that a US originated (initially Capitole players only) 'Signature Edition' upgrade for around $830 is now available. Circuit board has to be shipped to AA for new 'exotic' caps, cryo tubes and better resonance damping (for caps). AA suggests improvements in tonal balance, detail & dynamics.
Has anyone tried this? My dealer will be upgrading soon but given the long burn-in, I'm hoping someone can advise sooner.
Hello,I have own two Prestige and now one week Se version,It is more better than original,more dynamic,pure,bass area is better,go deeper, i know because i have Wilson Maxx 2 with Velodyne 1812 sub, Audio Aero is simply best cd-sacd and you not need preamp,it is more close good vinyl sound what i have hear.Need long burn in and play,stand by not need, you must play it about 150 disk or more.Happy listening TAPSA
Update on new Sony transport upgrade and Hifi tuning fuse.
See Prestige SE Transport Upgrade.
I tried a Hifi-Tuning fuse (T500mA) on this player. It definitely affects sound. After a few hours of burn-in, it sounded like someone threw blankets over my speakers. Volume had to be raised a lot and sound was dull & damped. Switched back to original fuse (and got back to great music). These fuses don't seem to work with switched-mode power supplies.
I've enjoyed my AA Prestige for 3 years now. Decided to buy after an extended in-home comparison with EMM CDSA. Good decision.
But it REALLY came alive when I isolated its Cardas GR power cord from the other components with an MIT power conditioner AND isolated its output by inserting a Joule Electra LA-150mII. WOW -- I still get goose bumps and tears every time I play the Minnesota Orch SACD of Beethoven's Ninth !!!