Sony 9000 ES SACD output stage cold

Ok you guys, I've now got OVER 300 hours on my SACD section and the sound STILL is not as good as the digital output decoded with my MSB link dac 2! I even bought 2 more SACD's to see if they were any better than the Sony sampler, no improvement! Unless there is something wrong with my 9000ES the SACD quality is a joke!! Any Ideas? I'm using Harmonic Technology interconnects & digital cable feeding a VAC Standard ltd. ed. preamp driving a VAC PA 100/100 all tube power amp connected to Von Schweikert VR5 speakers.
Well, I probably have only 175-200 hours on the SACD side of my 9000ES, but right out of the box it was warmer, smoother than redbook cd's thru my PT P1A/P3A (with Dan Wright mods). Have Llano Design Trinity 200 hybrid amp, and have used both my SF Line 2 SE and Proceed AVP as preamp. I wonder if you got a lemon?
Darrell- I recently had a similar post. As Rrsclyde correctly states, the sound is indeed warmer, smoother. (PT P1A/P3A? this is a reasonably priced DAC I think so i assume he agrees the 777 on redbook is weak) It is also less open and transparent with poor imaging. I think the people who like the player have systems that needed "taming". (probably solid state!) I had an MSB II also and it is noticeably better on redbook CD- NO DOUBT ABOUT IT. It sounds like there is less between the CD and the speakers. I don't know anything about the electronics but apparently the analog output stage on the 777 is very complex. A bunch of op amps and resistors... whatever (?) The MSB is a simpler circuit and sounds like it. I can see how the SONY will improve some systems, but Sony players are not meant for purists. I am optimistic however about SACD software and looked into tweaking the player. Apparently it is very hard to work on and shipping it is obviously a disaster. I am in NY- let me know if you come up with an idea.
Sorry! I have a 777, and the post is about a 9000. Probably similar sound however.
There is a new review at in which the owner has had two different units (from his dealer) with varying DVD picture quality. It could be a QC problem with the SACD. I have read different takes on the standard CD playback quality of this player, but everyone seems to agree that the SACD playback is very nice.
I think that if the Sony's (9000ES) analog output stages could be upgraded it might help the sound quite a bit. I know that the MSB output stages are somewhat "tweeked" and I'm sure that's why many who use the Sony as a transport with their MSB are happier with that sound quality than they are with the sound of sacd through Sony's SACD analog outputs. Does anyone else use an external dac with the Sony and also find that the SACD sound isn't as good as what they get using an external dac on reg. CD playback????????
Darrell, I believe that Stan Warren does an extensive mod for this player. Simontju was having it done to his player, but I haven't seen any posts from him on the results, or if it's back yet. I think that Great Northern Sound is or at some point will be doing them as well. Jerry Ozment bypassed the output of my 777ES and attached the Audio Logic's tubed analog stage to the unit, with a separate power supply, with outstanding results, but I don't think he's doing that anymore (wouldn't hurt to call him, though). Let's face it, the output stage of the Sonys, except perhaps the SCD-1, is built to a price point, certainly not to perfectionist audiophile standards, and a well-designed outboard DAC with its own power supply should be able to outperform it handily on Redbook CDs. But for its price and compared to similar one-box players, from the posts I've been seeing, it's not bad, and you get a DVD player and SACD as well.
I have the Sony 333ES (similar audio to the 9000). Neither Sony play is a state of the art 44.1 CD player. I would rate the 333ES as a good player. It does nothing really wrong and gets most of what is on the disc to sound like music. At an $800 street price it's a reasonable value. SACDs thru the 333ES are a whole other game. They sound superb. In fact, they sound better than any digital playback I have ever heard. I'll qualify the last statement by admitting that I only have direct experience with sub $5k digital. I only have 10 SACD discs and there is a variation in sound quality, but the best (T. Monk - Straigt, No Chaser) is fully comparable to my analog rig (RPM/Benz/Rowland). What's amazing is that this sound quality is coming from a mass produced $1,200 MSRP unit. Imagine what would be possible with a full "audiophile" design? SACD is still in its infancy, but most who have heard it think it's a beautiful baby.
My 9000ES is still with Stan Warren (phone: 541/ 344 - 3696). He is investigationg this unit, now so nothing to report. People discussed MSB Link and there is relevant info. Stan developed mods for MSB Link over an year. I had his modifien MSB, its first class DAC, one of the best I ever heard. So, stan'r opinion on 9000ES sonics that SACD is clearly the best (I suspect, that someone got lemon). next is 9000ES transport/MSB link RedBook and worst os 9000ES as a CD Player. From my experience, I agree with him.
When I will get my player mdified I will post my opinion here or on AusioAsylum - Simon
I got a similar problem with my 9000ES. I have burn in my player for 200+ hours with SACD. However, they still do not sound as good as my XRCDs. In some cases, my audiophile normal CDs sound better than the SACDs that I bought (including the SACD sampler).

The system I use are Plinius CD-LAD, Plinius SA-250, Harmonic Tech ic, MIT MH-750 shotgun speaker cables, PSB stratus speakers and Synergistic reference and AC master coupler power cords.

The only conclusion I can draw is that 9000ES is designed to be a top of the line DVD player from Sony with the option to play SACD. When come to playing SACD, it is nowhere near Sony SCD-1 or SCD-777.

Since I have not tried either of these players, I'm not sure if it is true. Any comments?
I received my 9000es from Stan Warren (541/344 - 3696) a couple months ago and posted results. In brief, Stan substantially improved detail, size of the soundstage, imaging. Better midrange and bass. Mod costs $250 plus shipping.
Simon: Are you saying that this is so of both playback modes? Thanks.
I'm going to take a flyer here (is that the expression?) and suggest that some audiophiles may not like the sound of SACD. In many ways it is not "spectacular." Compared to redbook CDs, it may strike you as softer and less well defined and you may like it less. Nothing to be ashamed of. I think this is why a mainstream audience is not going to demand it.

As others have said, SACD sounds warmer and smoother. For me, the main thing it has going for it is the way the music flows. Hard for me to find other words than that. This quality is both subtle and profound at the same time.
Excellent observation, Drubin. I might add that the sound of SACD is also more open (not a feeling as if listening in a box), with less high frequency hash and accordingly less apparent energy in that frequency range. Some people may miss that energy on rock and jazz recordings, although, at least for classical music, I find SACD's presentation to be more natural. And while the dynamic range improvement of SACD over CD is substantial, very few recordings out there available on SACD take full advantage of that increased range, certainly no pop recordings I have heard.
Dekey: I implied both modes (changes were done in analog stage). You have to give unit another 200-300 hours to fully "open up".
Rcprince: One of many advantages of SACD over CD, as you said, is greater dynamic range. Sony and others utilize it in full in their classical symphonic music re-issues and new recordings. I don't think POP needs good dynamic range at all but "being there" quality is a must
Simon: I agree with you, but note that some of the Sony reissues are restricted in dynamic range because of the limits of the analog tape used in the recording. Still sound better and more dynamic than their CD counterparts, though.
Hello Darrell,

My dealer told me to stay away from the Harm Tech digital cables. I have harm tech throughout my system, except for digital (sounds great). I have not had a chance to audition a burned-in sony 90000es.

Hope this helps.