Review: Sony SC-D777es CD Player

Category: Digital

People - if you want to upgrade the true SOUND of what comes out of your system, you must try an SACD player. I had read about the format and was prepared for it to sound good through my system, but I freaked out the first time I put on an SACD through this player. I don't know how this unit stacks up against other SACD players, but believe me -I have conducted numerous back to back tests of the same albums with standard CD and SACD and there is simply no comparison - the SACD format delivers far greater detail, soundstaging, atmosphere and 'live' feel. If you are running a standard CD player in your system, no matter how good it is, the technological limitations of the recording format are selling short the sound you are experiencing - you gotta try this format before you think about upgrading anything else.

* disclosure of interest: I have no affiliation with Sony, Philips or anyone else involved in SACD - I'm just a guy who likes listening to music

For the record:

What are your musical tastes? recordings you use for testing? 1960s MILES DAVIS, BACH PIANO RECORDINGS, ELECTRONIC MUSIC, MARVIN GAYE

What are the most important aspects of sound for you?
What is the worst thing a system could do to turn you off? TOO BRIGHT, UNMUSICAL, TIRING TO LISTEN TO

How long has this piece been in your system? 1 MONTH
What did this component replace? REGA PLANET 2000
How did the sound change with this addition? SEE ABOVE - INCREDIBLE CHANGE

What are some of its strengths? THE SOUND
What are some of its weaknesses? SYSTEM RUNS SLOW - LOADING ETC
If money was no object, would you still own this? YEP (EVEN ABOVE THE SCD-1 AS I LIKE THE LOOKS BETTER!

Associated gear
Magnepan 1.6QRs, Sunfire Cinema Grand Amp, Sunfire Tube Preamp, Sunfire True subwoofer

Similar products
None - used standard CD players in the past
Nice review. Is the sound relaxed? What CD player did you use before?
Which CD player sounds better on just regular CDs, the new Sony or your old Rega?
I could not agree more SACD is simply amazing. I have a SCD-1 and I am completely amazed everytime I play SACD's.
I have this unit as well and the SACD sound is excellent. There may well be better-sounding SACD units, but the difference would probably be marginal. The only other CD player to which I have compared the 777 CD portion is an old Rotel which the Sony replaced. The Sony CD is far, far superior to that. I have not really auditioned newer and audiophile standarad CD units. Mine is played through the Nelson Pass Threshold equpment and B & W 801 (2) speakers. Since buying the unit, my turntable receives much less use.
I have the same CD player as you, and I wonder what turntable you were using because even SACDs do not sound as good as vinyl. They sound much better than redbook CDs but that's no great shake. I am very happy with my SCD 777es but I still prefer LPs.
I honestly can't say much about the standard CD sound becasue I had sold the old player before I got this one, and have been listening mostly to SACDs. The sound through standard playback is fine though - detailed and clean, although to my ears not noticeably better or worse than the rega.

Re LPs - I think it depends on the recording - certainly you can get a midrange warmth from vinyl that you probably can't get on SACD but I find the detail and soundstaing in the high and low end are not as good. I run a Linn LP12 and for instance on the recording of Herbie Hancock "Headhunters" the drums and bass sound far more live and tight on the SACD recording. Similarly on Miles Davis "Sketches of Spain" I think the SACD reveals detail in the percussion section such as castinets much better, as well as allows you to separate the various instruments in the string ensemble much more clearly than the vinyl version (perhaps this is the remastering??).
I compared this to the Marantz SA14 and I prefer the latter - the sound is softer and more analog. The SA14 has better bass and more depth. Another worthwhile SACD player is the Marantz DV8300, which is superbly musical top to bottom though not as authoritative in my system as either of the more expensive players.
I purchased one of these over a year and a half ago, before the price drop (groan). I think SACD is the future for audiophiles at least for stereo(I am less enthusiastic about 5.1 SACD on my Pioneer combi player and less enthusiastic still about DVD Audio, also on my combi player). I do NOT believe the SCD777ES sounds as good on regular CDs as my Theta/Sonic Frontiers transport/DAC combo which is more detailed but less bright. For some reason I perceive the sound as thin, brittle and less palpable IN MY SYSTEM. SACD, however, is gloriously palpable on the Sony and often sounds nearly analog, without pops, ticks, and rituals. My wife still says our analog rig (VPI 19/Graham/van den Hul/ARC PH3SE)sounds more real.
I had this unit for less then a year and was very disappointed with it. Eventhough the build quality was first-rate, the sound quality I felt was nothing to write home about. It just doesn't compare with several of the good high-end CD players or transport & DAC combinations that are on the market. Sony, although they try, just can't seem to produce a true hi-end product.