Interesting, would you rate it significantly better than the SCD-1 on SACD?
How did it compare on redbook on the SCD-1.
How did it compare on redbook on the SCD-1.
Steelhead, the Sony SCD-XA5400ES was just another experiment for me in the latest digital offerings available to us audiophiles. At it's price point, it was an easy decision to give one a try. What strikes me about the new Sony is how utterly complete, vivid and distortion free the sound is while maintaining musicality, transparency and oodles of detail. The acoustic space of any given recording becomes as much a part of the sound as anything...refreshing! Piano is rendered so believably that I almost have to force open my eyes to check if someone didn't sneek a grand in-between my Sophias. The SACD-1 was fairly brilliant sounding and clear but without the deep rich harmonic textures of the XA5400. I can't believe that SONY could deliver such an amazing player for so little with a sound so engrossing that I wish every audiophile could hear one and understand the frivolity of pursueing other, would be state of the art players...this is as good as it needs to be, period!
RCA sounds best, compared to the balanced outputs...don't know why but that seems to be the case. I am strictly 2 channel so my opinions only reflect such a perspective. FYI, I am using my Oracle AC 2 power cord on it which don't hurt either:) I only paid $1180 delivered from Kevin at American Theatre.
The XA5400ES is superior to the Oppo 980H for multi-channel SACD via HDMI. However for RB CD it requires a 500 hour break in which I am doing at the moment. Out of the box the player is far too forceful with a too powerful bass piano sounds very clangy. However I have noticed considerable improvement after 140 hours. Will eventually post my take on a comparision with my favorite player a modified Marantz CD94 . 20 years old and still the most natural & musical for me.
Disbeliever, I agree the Sony takes a long time to settle in, but there was something very special about it right out of the box. It's rendering of tone, dynamic contrasts and transparency are uncanny! RB is as wonderfull as SACD, which is amazing. That said, keep in mind you may have to re-evaluate your system a bit to eek the best out of the player. I happen to have two of the best power cords available in my system...the Sony responds accordingly. I also wound up using ear selected cabling, as opposed to the usuall "Brand" purchase I normaly have done (and wasted good money on). I wound up with Monster Z200i interconnects RCA(which sounds better IMHO) and Monster M2.2s spkr cables which are freakin out of this world (better performance than my old Transparent reference and MIT Oracle V2.2's). The Z200i IC was better than my MIT Oracle V2.2 XLR IC @ $4600msrp!! Let me know your experiences as it breaks in...it is a gift from the audio God's for me:)
Stop the presses....I just hooked up a pair of MIT Magnum M1 proline balanced IC's and all I can say is my opinion of the XA5400ES has gone even higher. I can safely say the new Sony is one of THEE FINEST digital players available at any price...definately worth a try for the asking price! remember when the price of admission to the high end was reasonable?
Update on XA5400ES! Breakin is quite extensive with this player as in several hundred hours on RB and SACD sections. Also, I re-evaluated the cables and outputs now that the player is sounding more fully developed. Balanced is better, offering am enhanced sense of dynamic shadings with presence and fuller bass. As for the cables, even though the Z200i's are a great bargian, the winner by a country mile is MIT's Magnum M1 Proline IC's...earth shattering performance that takes a great player into the top eschelon of the digital realm. In fact, with the MIT Magnum cables and a Transparent MM PC on the Sony, I consider it to be one of the few CDP's that can offer the ideal balance of warmth, transparency, detail, dimensionality, depth and imaging and tonal accuracy around...bar none:O) $1500 for this player affords you the unique thrill of being able to purchase the proper wires and still feel as though you have gotten a very large piece of the high end pie and for what amounts to mere chicken scratch in audiophile terms.
Have you compared the Sony to the Oppo players?
I just sold my 707 player....I loved the bottom end,had plenty of sock and ambient retrievel was wonderful with plenty of presence. I now use a DVP 9000es for a transport.
How do you think the 5400 compares to these sony's.
Also does the 5400 output the SACD to the digital out? My 9000 does not...just wondering because I use a tube dac also.
I've had one of these since November and I agree it is extraordinary. I listen in two channel via the regular L & R RCA jacks.
I have previously owned the XA777ES and the XA9000ES - both of which sounded the same to me in two channel. The XA5400ES improves upon these...gone completely is any slight softness often associated with DSD or SACD. The sound is very taught and crisp while also being smooth, revealing and easy to listen to.
This thing is a steal at its price. The only negative is it takes about 400-500 hours to break in.
Whilst I agree the XA5400ES is very good its real forte is multi-channel SACD (as stated in the March Hi-Fi News review)it is also superior to the Oppo 980H especially with a Sony H.A.T.S. receiver STR-DA5400ES provided it does not pack up as mine did.The RB CD performance is also improved when used with HATS .For RB CD I prefer my 20 year old modified Marantz CD94 which is also superior to the overweight latest Marantz SA-7S1 & the expensive dCs P8i. It will be interesting to read what Kal Rubinson 'Music in the Round' Stereophile has to say in April/May issues.
You must keep in mind that I am using the XA5400ES in a simple purist high end setup. I have a Transparent MM PC ($2250)connected to an isolated Wattgate outlet. My interconnect is an MIT Oracle V1.2 proline ($6500) which feeds the Sony into my balanced Krell 400xi which is connected by a MIT Oracle AC2 PC ($4200). Speaker cables are Sigma Retro ($3000) into Wilson Sophias($12500). Evaluations done using recievers and conventional connections will not hint at what it is capable of doing.
This player is on my short list, along with the Arcam CD37; Marantz SA-11 and 15s2, 8003; Bryston BCD-1 and Esoteric SA-10. I, too, will be using it via 2-channel analog. Were you able to audition in-store first, or did you buy without that? I haven't noticed anywhere to audition so far, only a couple of static displays. The unfortunately long break-in time is discouraging, but if the player is really that good (and only the Marantz 8003 is cheaper on my list) it might be worth it.
I just bought one on the 'gone at a great price; $300-$400 less than any other internet price. This player replaces my old Phillips SACD 1000 that had bitten the dust in typical fashion (a slow disintegration of functions and abilities).
I've had it for 48 hours and am in the process of burning it in. So far the SACD side is great and had a noticable improvement after playing for 24 hours.
The CD side is coming along although my 5 year old Ah! player with upsampler and Amperex tubes still wins. Do a search in reviews for more info. Out of the box I was not impressed by the CD side but am very hopeful now. The CD part is supposed to have a VERY long break in period. We'll see....
You should note that the player is not multichannel unless you are running HDMI to a home theater set-up. Otherwise this is a stereo player.
Build quality is good. Very heavy and deep although the sheet metal should have been dampened.
One quibble so far: On SACD you can get album and track titles scroll across the display but you have to page the remote to get there. IMO Sony should have allowed you to set a default display.
Be prepared to invest a lot of $ for software (SACD discs) that do not have a whole lot of titles and may or may not be a viable format. I have a lot of SACD discs, and I'd like to loose a box in my equipment rack so it made sense for me but it may not for you.
More to come after 200 hours....
The Sony needs as good a power cord and IC as you can afford to sound it's best. Some brass weights on top help anchor the sound a bit and reduce some smearing for better bass and soundstaging. If your system can allow the Sony to be heard properly I have no doubt you will be impressed. Tube output devices can euphonize the sound but can not deliver the complexity and agility of a well done SS player. Musical fidelity does a good job at melding both technologies together quite well, such as in their A5 CD player.
Tube output devices can euphonize the sound but can
Bssed on my experience with digital players built with tube output stages, I
A player's agility, and its ability to convey complex pasages is completely
dependent on the player's design, regardless of whether its output stage is
tubed or solid state.
A well designed and implemented tubed output stage can be more agile than
a solid state output stage, and vice versa. One should look at the attributes
of each individual player rather than generalize across the board.
The output impedance of the source and the input impedance of the preamp
(or amp if connected directly) will also affect the perceived agility of a player,
since high output impedance matched with low input impedance can result in
rolled off bass and highs which can translate to a perceived pack of agility,
clarity or complexity. This is why a solid state player can sound more agile to
more listeners, IMO, because more solid state players will optimally match
with a wider array of preamps due to the inherent lower output impedance of
solid state designs.
Therefore, one should look at the impedance match between a tubed
component and it's mating preamplifier before determining that the tubed
source component is somehow lacking agility or complexity. It could simply
be a poor impedance match, which could be ameliorated with a higher input
impedance preamp, or by using an impedance matching buffer made by
Burson (for example).
Now using a Transparent Powerlink MM and MIT V1.2 Proline IC's on my Sony, which is placed in a oak cabinet on top of a 4" thick butcher block support with composite felt feet...WOWZER!!! Put HiFi Tuning fuses into my Krell as well..even bigger results:O) State of the art dear A'Goners..the only limitations for the Sony is what you can or can't afford to feed it with or connect it to.
Ah, the ongoing evolution of the species made evident by the juvenile ramblings of the modern educational systems end products. Between the wit of Aarif and the miimalist threshold for humor exhibited by Metralla, we have bore witness to the inevitable decline of mankind. It also answeres the age old question for me of who watches Southpark.