SCD-777ES or SCD-1

Am wondering which one is better. Anyone out there have experience with both? Opinions? Thanks.
I used to own an SCD-1, and have heard the 777es. They are more similar than different, in terms of sound, so for me it would come down to:

Balanced vs Single ended: SCD-1 has both, 777es only single ended
Aesthetics: IMO SCD-1 is an iconic piece of kit, and the 777es is just okay
Price: used, there's roughly an $800 difference between the two

I would add the caveat that both have notoriously slow disc load times (the main reason I sold the SCD-1). I have a feeling that the SCD-1 will keep it's value better because many consider it a legend.

If the price difference is justified by the above then I would go for SCD-1.
Echo Mimberman's suggestion of the SCD-1. It was the first flagship SACD player made, and was intended to make a statement.

If you have to choose betwen these two, then choose an SCD-1, and buy one in it's original, unmodified form with box, packing and manual.

The more original you can get (box, manual, accessories), the more it's worth.
Both units are identical inside, except that SCD-1 has transformer shields and an additional PCB at XLR to derive balanced output from single-ended analog stage. The additional processing for XLR may even degrade signal relative to RCA output. In RCA mode they are indistinguishable. In stock fitment they are average at best, but well-modified examples can hold their own with current hi-end players.
If you want a player that sounds comparable to a modded SCD-1, then buy the current production player. Modding the SCD-1 will destroy it's collectible value, which at this point is the primary reason to purchase one.

Put another way, at $800-900 for a used 777ES vs. $1800 or more for SCD-1, 777ES is a good deal for anyone interested in performance/value or mod potential. Moreover, a 777ES can easily be converted to true balanced operation through one of several pro mod shops.
I see your point, Dgarretson. What currently produced CD/SACD players would you say are sonically on par with a modded 777ES, and how much do you believe a mod would cost to bring the 777ES up to the performance of one of these player?

That's the real cost analysis question in your scenario.

On the other hand, the SCD-1 purchased today for $1800 will likely retain it's value over the long haul. Heck, I've seen SCD-1 player selling for around $2000 for nearly three years now. $2000 appears to be their bottom line value...give or take a few hundred bucks.
Tvad, admittedly I don't get out much. The only top players I've listened to closely are Zanden, DCS stack, and top Reimyo(RBCD comparisons only), as well as comparisons to vinyl in my own system and to stock 777ES and Theta Gen 5a that I keep for reference. IMHO, none of the above approach RBCD on my battery-powered SCD-1, which is based largely on Reference Audio Mods ideas & parts, twists from Allen Wright and Yamada-san, and also various experiments of my own. I've put some things into it that from a T&M and risk perspective are not particularly viable from a commercial modder's perspective, but having moved progressively through many iterations of upgrades, my sense is that you can get fairly close to this level of performance for $2-4K spent with RAM. Unfortunately I have not heard the VSEI L7 mod, which in balanced version prices out for around $3K and offers the benefit of a productized, drop-in, warrantied purchase.

One thing I know is it's all about improvements to clock, power, and analog section. The "heart" of the unit-- the digital section and DAC-- is very strong. Too much emphasis is placed on the latest developments in the digital domain(e.g. upsampling, parallel DACs, etc.), while ignoring built-to-cost compromises in other critical areas. If one accepts this viewpoint, then these two Sonys remain good platforms for continuing mods.

As you imply, mods are not for everyone, as most of the value is lost on the resale side. But if you are a keeper, the Sony has almost unlimited potential.
Well, I'd be willing to lay odds a used, previous generation APL Denon 3910
for $2500 (or less) would be at least equal, if not surpass, the modded SCD-
1. In addition, the APL could function as a DAC for an additional source with
a digital output, and it would play HDCD, DVD-A and DVD...for considerably
less money than buying a 777ES and modding it at the prices you mention.

It's a bit of a risk with the present APL hullaballoo, but it's an incredible
player, and the present environment has depressed the prices on these

I mention this only as an alternative, and without intention of being
I'm at a loss for having not heard the APL/Denon, but if it gets close to the big boys that I mentioned, then that underscores the value proposition of modding.
I'm at a loss for having not heard the APL/Denon, but
if it gets close to the big boys that I mentioned, then that underscores the
value proposition of modding.
Dgarretson (System | Threads | Answers)

That depends on one's definition of modding. APL did not consider the APL
Denon 3910 a mod, but rather an entirely new player in the Denon 3910's

APL did not modify the Denon in the respect of replacing parts and power
supplies, as most modders do. (Past tense, because the APL Denon 3910 is
no longer built.) APL completely gutted the machine except for the laser
assembly, and video/set-up circuitry.

Then, APL installed new, APL designed power supplies, audio processing and
output stage. There was nothing resembling the Denon audio circuitry or
power supplies remaining.

APL essentially built a new, dedicated two-channel audio player. It was
simply more cost effective for APL to use the Denon 3910's laser assembly
and box rather than designing and manufacturing a new APL box and buying
OEM transports.

Ironically, the part that most often causes problems in these players is the
Denon laser assembly. I am not aware of one APL Denon 3910 owner who has
ever had problems with anything APL designed and installed.
Similarly, in the RAM full-out mod, the entire power section is replaced with aftermarket discrete DC regulation circuits, the one-chip clock oscillator is replaced with a Superclock PCB, and the entire analog output section is replaced with buffered Audio Consulting silver transformers that as piece parts alone can cost up to $2K.

What's interesting is that essentially the same approach is repeatable across a variety of CDP models. The differentiation between machines that remains after these mods are done can be regarded as the inherent sonic signature of the OEM DAC and transport/RF section themselves, rather than the product of compromised stock power and analog sections.

When stripped back to laser, RF, and DAC, are all machines essentially the same? They are not. Allen Wright has written that the STACT/VC24-based Sonys and also those like the SCD-1/777ES with the sliding platter assemblies, are especially good mod platforms. When selecting a mule for modding, the cost and effort of the add-on work may exceed the value of original unit several-fold, so it is best to select a model with the greatest potential.

The Denon may be good as well, and as you point out, Alex has gone further than others by gutting the DAC from the machine and substituting AKM replacements. But even assuming that the AKM arrays are the best of all possible DACs, the question remains as to whether his analog section, clock, and power assemblies are equal to alternative assemblies and piece parts. The player's performance is the synergistic whole of these considerations.

I would add from my own experience with AC and DC mods, that properly implemented large SLA batteries take things to an altogether higher level than the best AC regulated power-- perhaps an equalizer in the tech wars. There are no firm rules as to how the mods all net out, of course.
In this context, I'll add a thought illustrating how engineering choices to improve performance are sometimes available to the modder, but not to the manufacturer.

The many PCB traces that carry power to a DAC chip are bypassed by capacitors at the chip pins, typically by a half dozen or so low-value surface-mounted ceramic caps costing pennies apiece, even in megabuck CDPs. It's an important function, but space and cost considerations preclude using better pieces. However, with a few hours work it's possible to sqeeze highest-quality Teflon caps near enough to these critical locations. Luckily, the russian cold war surplus variant of what would be a $50 piece part if manufactured today, is available direct from eastern Europe for $2. So in go six around one DAC chip for a major improvement in sound. It doesn't take a genius to engineer this modification (in fact, even a genius could not cram 72 such parts around an array of 12 AKM DACs; it is not a viable parts choice for the APL design). Nor is this choice available to a commercial manufacturer, who for this one tweak alone might need to charge something like 4x markup x $50/unit cost x qty 6 pieces per DAC = $1000+.

Just an example of the unusual options that can be cost-effective only for the modder-- and in this particular example, only for a machine using a single DAC.