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Although the CD section of the SCD-1 is quite good, I run it though my Levinson 360s with excellent results. It is comparable with any transport I have used in the past. As far as the SACD section goes, so far there is no possibility of using an outboard DAC, but who cares, it is the best sound I have ever heard...BY FAR. Better even than vinyl. What are you waiting for... go to OADE.com and buy one for $2900 shipped or pickup a 777es for $1500 plus shipping. You might also be able to get the same price form J&R Music in NY.
In a brief trial, I preferred my Forsell transport to the SCD777ES as a transport, but the difference, to my ears, isn't that big, and you're talking about probably (at least in my view) one of the best transports out there. The Sony sure seems to be very stable and built like a tank, and while they may have cut some corners on the analog side (which I've had bypassed; check some of the other SACD threads if you're interested) I've been pleasantly surprised with the quality of the digital side. At $1500, with SACD capability, I think it's a bargain.
i don't know what your outer limits on price might be, but accuphase has an incredibly good sacd transport/dac combination that will play all formats available (the transport does not play dvd-a but the dac is upgradeable to this source). the pair, dp-100/dc-101 retails for $28k. it is the best "redbook" playback combo i've ever heard and requires no preamp; indeed, it sounds best driven direct using a fully-digital attenuator on board.
Drubin, your question is a good one. I'm not sure of the actual differences between the two units, perhaps someone out there knows. My understanding from hearsay is that the SCD-1 has additional damping, may have some better parts in the analog stage but still sounds similar, and has XLR (not true balanced all the way through) outputs, as well as fancier machinework. I would think you can probably get higher resolution CD playback for the extra $1500 over either Sony unit, and I doubt if the two Sony units differ in any real respect as transports. I'd pocket the $1500 and take the 777ES, which I did (but then took the money out of the pocket to get the far better analog stage; I'm too far gone as a tweaker, but you can still save yourself!). Anyone out there with more concrete facts or thoughts on this one?
I recently purchased a Sony 9000. I use my surround processor (Theta Casa Nova) as a d/a, as it is 24/96 capable and sounds every bit as good (if not better) than the Forsell I replaced. By running the digital output of the 9000 through the Theta, and the analog output directly to my preamp (Mark Levinson 380S), and matching levels, I am able to compare, in real time, the Sony's own analog signal on CD's to the digital signal, decoded by the Theta. The bottom line: no discernable difference! I would only have one hesitancy to use the 9000 as a CD transport, and this may not apply to you--it doesn't read CDR's.
Dschoenberg: A few clarifications, please 1) you compare 9000ES to Forsell, which one? Transport, D/A, both? I love Forsell, equally, I don't like Theta products, still I am very familiar with their sound. 2) What Theta you used? and how you compared "analog signals" sonically? and/or by measurments? I would appreciate very much your detailed respond. (I have 9000ES, and despite its numerous shortcoming I am in love with its sound), Thanks Simon
Answering my own thread, I bought the SCD-777ES, which I am using with a Dodson DAC. The Sony has about 800 hours on it. It sounds full and smooth. It also sounds very dark and lacks detail (those two tend to go together). Add to that the fact that the unit is very annoying to use (it takes forever to read a disk and then to read the TOC), and I'm thinking this may not have been a good choice. I hate to start looking for transports in this time of digital transition, but....
As for SACD, it certainly sounds promising, but I think it could sound a whole lot better than it does with this unit. Incidentally, I have found the tonality of the Sony (smooth, dark) holds forth in SACD, transport, and CDP modes. My conclusion: the 777 has a pervasive sonic signature that comes from the transport end, not from the analog output. That surprises me. Am I doing something wrong?
"Audiocrazed" posted some improvments on Audio Asylum saying he installed Caddock and Vishay resistors on the 777. I know little about electronics but I have a feeling there is something in the internals of the Sony that contributes to the nature of the sound you describe. His description of the sound improvements sound promising. This tweak thing for the 777 may be worth pursuing. I do know jerking around with power cords will waste your time and make someone else rich-especially if you already use a quality cord.