SA-14 vs XA777es

I have just purchased an SA-14 for $1,599 from cambridge soundworks.I had listened to an XA777es and was blown away by sacd, prompting my decision to get an sacd player as
well as to upgrade my current 67se. Reviewing the posts here at audiogon I felt the SA-14 would be the equal of the sony on sacd as well as better onredbook. Multi-channel is of no importance to me, sacd sound is of primary importance. I have had the unit for about a week
and my observations(from memory-unable to have direct comparision) are that the SA-14 is definately the better
redbook player, however it seems to pale in comparison
to the XA777 on sacd. My question is have others had similar findings or am I missing something? Given the price, balanced connections, and redbook play I would
prefer to keep the SA-14 but as I stated sacd play is
the most important to me. I have had it running over 100
hours and not much change. Other parts are Bryston B-60
and Dunlavy SC III's. Is the digital filter setting critical? Last thought from what we heard- the sony on sacd was breathtaking-the SA-14 on sacd is not that different from it's excellent redbook play. Please note that Cambridge soundworks does have a 45 day return policy.
Thank you for any feedback
Aural memory is unreliable. Also, first impressions (your experience with the Sony) can leave strong memories sometimes exagerating how good they were. Finally, the fact that redbook is better on the SA-14 may make the SACD sound worse (than the Sony) in comparison, meaning the difference between redbook and SACD on the SA-14 makes the SACD sound not that much better than the redbook. (That last sentance sounds really confusing to me, I hope it makes sense to you.) I also just ordered the SA-14 from Cambridge Soundworks at 40%. You can buy them new for this price or used for the same price. It pays to do your research! I've heard too that the balanced outputs invert phase, so be aware of that. I've heard many great things about the SA-14 and not one negative comment.
You must break-in both sides, meaning you must run a SACD through the player for a couple of weeks for the SACD side to open up, then CD for about 2 weeks to burn-in the CD side.

The filter settings are definately critical. In my system the "Custom" mode is by far the champ, but make sure your amp and speakers can handle it first. Some folks claim that balanced outputs sound better but I can't confirm or deny that just yet.

I will agree however that the redbook playback is extremely good, even for a ~$3000MSPR player it is extremely good, definately first rate, though I easily find well recorded DSD SACDs to sound phenomenal, clearly superior to the CD side. Give it some more time and try a few more discs, it will bloom. I find this player stupidly sensitive to isolation as well, and if it's just sitting on the floor or flat on a wood shelf it will not perform well at all. Of all the devices I've tried, a partially filled bike innertube has worked best (go figure)! For $4 it's worth a try. Power cords also have an appreciable affect on this player, but I found isolation more important thus far, but will continue to try different cords and shelves/isolation devices. Please keep us posted!
Both writers above are right on the money.
1. The balanced connection will give better dynamics but you need to adapt the cable at the SOURCE end to compensate if you have a conventional pin assignment (PIN 2 hot) on the input of your preamp. See:
(Not a plug, the cable is already sold.)
2. Long breakin is required, as stated above.
3. You must use good isolating power conditioning (need not be expensive). SACD players in general seem to be sensitive to spikes, static electricity, etc.
4. I find the SONYs exciting but not as musical in the long run as the Marantz. Hang in there.
I also own an SA-14. I found that break in for SACD took at least 400 hours. Redbooks seemed to take a bit less time. I too am using a bicycle inner tube for isolation and am very happy with the player in general. My only complaint is the CD drawer is a bit noisy compared to Sony units and the OSD had a few bugs for the first few months of ownership. It often displayed incorrect letters but did eventually fix itself. I think you made the right choice with this player especially for the price you paid.
Now I have a crisis in the family room where the DVDs play. The Sony NS 500 DVD/SACD player just "bought the farm" - back it goes to Best Buy in spite of power conditioning, dedicated lines and so on...

"Beyond Perfect Sound Forever"

Thank you, SONY-san. I'll stick with my Marantz.
Thank You for all your input.
I called Marantz about the switch and
they stated that in custom mode it
puts out a 100 kilahertz signal.I called Bryston,
they said no problem- Brystons go from 1/2 to
130 kilahertz, as well as stating the speakers are
not the concern, the amp is.
I have placed an inner tube(16in)under the player and feel
it sounds better in the custom mode so I will heed your
advice and continue to let it break in.
Your points are well taken-I have yet to hear a bad word
about the SA-14 and I'm quite surprised all responses
have been supporting the Marantz and not any feedback from someone who has tried both and ended up with the sony.
If anyone has chosen the XA777es over the SA-14 I would
love to hear your thoughts as well.

Thanks Again,
Attila Simon