Review: Sony SC-D777es CD Player

Category: Digital

Sony's little(?) brother to the flagship SCD-1 SACD player. Major differences are apparently the mounting feet and transformers in the two units as well as balanced analog outputs on the SCD-1 which by the way have op amps in their path. Triple Seven just gives you single ended analog outs considered by some to sound better than the SCD-1's balanced outs.

I was sold on SACD as a concept and this machine as one I wanted to own by listening to the sampler disc provided with the 777 one day at lunch on my just delivered, dead cold machine. Weather Report's "Birdland" did it. Joe Zawinul's keyboards just went way deep beyond anything I had ever heard and the sustain and decay of bass and keys had me grinin' ear to ear. This was the real deal and appears to be SACD's strong suit. You just know when you hear a well recorded SACD on the 777, sonically things just click. Your ears perk up and it just makes you take notice. It doesn't do it on every SACD you plop on the spindle but the one's that do are something special and for me it's the discs with well recorded acoustic and electric bass.

The triple seven takes a while to burn in. Some have suggested 200 to 300 hours of playing time. I passed that mark many months ago but still find that it's sound does seem to bloom after an hour or so. I find myself listening to discs twice because they just sound better the second time through.

Redbook cd's sound pretty good on the 777 as well. The cd sound compared very favorably to my Mark Levisnon #37 and #36S dac until I got an MIT Z center power filter and the gap started to widen between the sound of the 777 and the ML combo. I later upgraded my #36S dac to #360S status and the gap widened even more. Had I not heard the #360S dac, I could be quite content with the redbook sound of the 777. If I was or had to downsize my system, I would keep the 777 for SACD/CD source playback exclusively. I know of two of my audio brethern who have sold their ML#37's and use the 777 for cd transport and SACD capability. The transport section of the 777 is that good.

The SCD-1 is a landmark piece of audio gear. It deserves it's cult status and I can only hope mine lasts for a long long time.

Associated gear
Mark Levinson #380S pre, #332 amp, XLO Signature cables throughout, Magnepan 3.5R speakers, MIT Z Center power filtering, PS Audio P300 power station.

Similar products
Mark Levinson #37 transport and #360S DAC