Nice review. Is the sound relaxed? What CD player did you use before?
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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 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.