Sony 9000es v. Phillips 963SA - anyone compared?

OK, the Sony is the internet darling, we know that. Infinitely modifiable, very well built, good stock performance, especially at the going rates.

The new Phillips at a retail of $500, with switchable 24/192 upsampling of redbook, and capability of playing CD-R, as well as SACD, is getting some good buzz.
Sony typically has excellent reliability, but POOR service experiences abound (I've had a few).
Phillips, onthe other hand, at least with the 1000 SACD, had some questionable reliability, and I've not heard anythign re: service experiences.


anyone compared the Redbook and SACD performance of these machines?

Should I sell my 9000ES???

I have both and could probably live without the Sony.
The philips redbook performance blows me away! I don't think it's the ultimate, however, and will upgrade, (possibly to the new Arcam) in the future.
I'm not up-to-speed on the latest Sony mods so can't comment on these. I hear you can acquire the Philips for substantially less than the $500 I paid. Sony is very good with SACD and DVD.

SO the Phillips bests the Sony on Redbook, what about SACD?
For what it's worth, I got the Philips DVD 963SA from J&R music world for $370 shipped three months ago!!! It's redbook is pretty good, very smooth, but no where near the dynamics of my Linn Ikemi, but for the money, probably unbeatable. Krelldog is waiting for the mods on his, and I'm waiting to hear what he thinks. I personally have a problem paying $800-1200 for mods to a player that only cost $370, but who knows, it might be worth it.

As far as a DVD player goes, it does quite well, I don't have enough SACD to comment, but for the $370 I paid, I can't imagine doing better! that is without paying several times the price............
People, what are you talking about???
SONY 9000ES "is very good with SACD" ??? "has excellent reliability" how come mine 9000ES as SACD player sounds worse then my old Arcam 6 CD Player (bought in London for 300GBP), how come mine SONY broke after 2 months ??? After reading Odes to Sony now and then I have started to think that my wife and me are unlucky persons additionally deaf. But I have found, first time in my life in last TAS that SONY SACD players are sonically inferiors to good CD players.

I'm going to subscribe to this magazine because it is what I'm hearing.

More details about 9000ES in

I read your post here on AgoN when it was originally posted, and believe it or not, I actually remember your post on Audio Review.

Honestly, I've had my problems with Sony, the corporation, and their customer "service" if that's what they call it.

But, the sound of the 9000ES on SACD (well recorded ones) is incredible.

I, too, prefer the sound of my old CD player to the CD playback of the 9000ES (I have a 4 year old Rega Planet)
But, one one hand, the Sony needs many hours to break in (try comparing it to another new CD player!) and on the other hand, I think I'll always like the sound of the Rega.

I'm truly sorry that you had a bad experience.
Tell us, have you found a new CD player that you prefer?
I am HOPING that the guys at Rega develop a SACD player.
Gthirteen: I give the nod to Sony for SACD. Haven't really used the 963 for SACD or DVD (gee!) -am totally happy with the 9000ES for these functions. The Philips (i.e., upsampling) gives timbres and textures much more "identity" than regular playback. Dynamics are very good also.
I'm very excited about acquiring a "full Monty" unit (e.g. Arcam) down the road. Does digital finally sound like music?

I audit several Arcam CD players after reading some of your previous posts. Unfortunately, to my ears, S9000ES playing SACD is better than Arcam's redbook. Arcam's redbook did not beat SACD's dynamics, soundstage, and resolution IMO. If you have right gears, S9000ES' SACD is not too bright like its red book.

Back to the topic, to my eyes, 963SA has a better video color. For the look, the silver faceplate of 963SA is a little "cheap" looking in short distance. For SACD playing, the setup in the dealer for 963SA is not up to the level of my listening to S900ES. So, I would say S9000ES is probably better but remember 963SA is multi-channel and read CD-R.... ( I did own one Philip before, to be honest, the built quality I would give it to SONY, if you ever open a Philip player and a SONY S9000ES.)
Speaking as somone who just had the Sony 9000es for two years with 900.00 worth of ic's hooked up to it, the Phillips 963a sounds better on redbook out of the box with 60.00 ic's and the stock pc.
It has way better imaging, air and soundstage after 100 or so hours break in than the 9000 ever had.

As far as contest, the Phillips wins again with the very first song played being "Tin pan alley" by SRV.
The Sacd playback is an obvious improvement in the same areas of imaging and sounstage plus more air than the fulley broken in 9000 es with more exspensive cabling.

The sony offered a lot better build quality and was tottaly reliable for me with decent sound but lets face it, it was a first gen combo player with great build quality for the money....but technology moves forward[at least in this case] and my revelator tweets agree 100% with the sound comparison.

If you put your ear up to the transport of the 963a , you can hear a faint ticking but only on redbook and after the 1000's dependebility record, who knows how these will hold up.
This player cost less than a lot of different cabling i have purchased over the years and should be considered an absolute steal at it's list price, even though they sell for around 400.00 shipped.

After around 200 hours, i will add better ic's and pc's and hold out for the upcoming Sony with Sacd output.
i have both the sony 9000es and the new 963sa. the 963sa is in my ht room and the 9000es is in my audio room. i prefer the 963sa for video/dvd and cd playback. i prefer the 9000es for sacd playback. i also own a classe cd only player in my audio room (which also plays hdcd discs) and i prefer this player to any other sacd/cd player under $7,500 that i have listened to, which include the sony players: scd-1, 777es and the marantz 14 and sa-1 players. I do like the accuphase and classe sacd/cd players at over $10,000, and i also liked the musical fidelity tri vista tube sacd player that i heard at he2003. imo, sony has never produced a good sounding redbook cd player (unmodified) but the quality and build, dvd/video, and sacd playback are very nice. if you want nice dvd/video/cd/sacd sound for a good price, the 963sa is hard to beat. if you want the best sacd/cd player for under $10,000, go listen to the musical fidelity tube cd/sacd player. cool looks, dynamite sound!
I agree, the Sony is a well built piece.
Rbstehno, have you tried the Phillips in your 2Ch rig for extended periods of time, and if so, you still prefer the Sony?
gthirteen, i have not used the 963sa extensively in my audio setup. after around 50 hours of breakin, i evaluated the 2 players. the 963sa was better than the 9000es except in sacd playback, but it was very close comparison, not a night and day difference. Maybe after another 50 hours of breakin will the 963sa sound better in this area. Also, as for reliability, many high end rooms at he2003 used philips cd players as transports with external dacs for their source and the sound was excellent, most rooms didn't use sacd players.
Bluefin, Gthirteen,
I had audition Arcam 7 few years newer CD Player then mine and did not like it, bright unmusical. I did not have chance to addition 8,9 models, but old ALPHA 6 (top of amateur serious) really beats SONY SACD in spades in vocal harmonics generally in liveliness and acurateness of presentation.
I had burn in as stated 400h over before any audition.
Did I find successor of Arcam?
It was supposed to be famous SONY SACD, but because I cannot afford audiophile SACD, I'm back to CD Players.
I was inclined to buy used Wadia, but on HE in SF I have heard it and it was fast, dynamic transparent but very hi-fi, so I do not know anymore, I prefer more analog presentation. Something like my old Arcam but much more dynamic, more airy, transparent but in this direction.
Maybe Audio Areo Capitole, but on the show there was not even one unit to be found. And I have heard that there are problem with reliability. After very bad experience with reliability of "suppose to be reliable SONY" I do not have courage to buy something described as beautiful sounding but unreliable and troublesome. So I had real problem. But I'm patient and maybe time and gurus from audiogon will resolve my problems in the future.
I , too like an analog sound.
I'm telling you, I have no problems on the 9000es with SACD, but the CD is a little lacking, plus, no CD-R playback.

I'm sorry for your pain in the ass with Sony.
With a company like that, it's all about getting past the people answering the phones, and they're basically trained to not let that happen. Some are downright mean. Anyway, I got lucky in m battle with Sony, and it turned out roses for me.

But I feel your pain.

I think the Phillips player might be what you need?
Less than $400 delivered, at the very least, you can sell it for a $50 loss on Audiogon, if you don't like it...
That's just what I might do...
i have owned the sony 333,555,999 and the 963 i borrowed sounded better. the redbook from this player is amazing!!!!

i did settle on the marantz 8360 for a little more money. very warm sounding unit and incredible redbook - it is very close to sacd. i would reccomend either the 963 or the 8260.

hope that helps !!!!!!!!

for the sake of argument, were the sony units (and teh phillips) burned in (say, 1-200 hrs) or fresh out of the box.

Also, how does the SACD of the Marantz compare to the Phillips?

Did you compare all of these in your "home" system?

I was checking out the AA board and it seems that all owners of both of these players have determined that the Phillips is superior in sacd as welll as redbook playback over the 9000es.

There is one owner that said it has better sound than his previous 9000 and his Phillips 1000 on both redbook and sacd.
Ears: You missed my post dated 6-11.
I didn't miss says you have not used the sacd on the phillips and are happy with the sacd/ dvd playback of your sony...?????

I can't find anyone who prefers the sony in sacd or dvd[progressive] who has actually compared both players after burn in.

Check out the avs forums for the dvd reviews.

I only have s-video hookup were my 963sa is installed and i liked the sony 9000 picture quality much better via s-video hookup, than the 963sa.
Having said that,from reading reviews of the 963sa in progressive mode,the sony evidently does not compare.

My Phillips will most likely get replaced by the upcoming xa9000es with firewire sacd out,this will be sonys new reference player.

I just hope there will be some compatible dsd dacs that are far south of 10k to go along with the xa9000es after it is released.
Ears: Did an A/B tonight and Sony is clearly better SACD. Music was Hovhaness sampler (Telarc CD-80530-SA) recorded in pure DSD. Sony had better depth and detail, at moderately low listening level, was more relaxed and even throughout the spectrum. Both machines connected with Kimber silver streak 1/2 meter. In fairness, I never use the Philips SACD circuit some maybe it's not "broken in".
But it has been powered-up the 5-6 months I've had it.
That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it! P.S. Thanks for keepin' me honest!
thanks guys, this is what I wanted to hear!!!
What about DVDA comparisons?

These players don't do DVD-A.
Gthirteen, are you sure? I've heard that said about the Sony, but there is a review that compares the Sony 9000ES DVDA playback to a Pioneer Elite's DVDA palyback. My cheapo $150 Panasonic VHS/DVD player plays DVDA. I can't see the reason why any DVD playing unit can't play DVDA.
Neither player has dvd-audio....only sacd...the better of the two hi rez formats imho.
Muralman1: I believe a DVD-A disc can be played by any DVD player but not necessarily the DVD-A layer. They also encode a DVD only layer which is what the Sony would use.
I have a Sony 9000ES and it has played every DVD-A I have tried. It is probably playing the DVD-V layer. I think the DVD-V layer is 24/96.

I'm still a little confused about the difference between DVD-V and DVD-A, but I think DVD-A can play back a sampling rate of 192, whereas DVD-V can only do 96. However, many DVD-A layers seem to be 96, which means they are the same as the DVD-V layer.

So the Sony lets me enjoy both formats with one player, while the market sorts out which will survive.

If anyone can help clarify or correct my understanding of DVD discs, your comments are welcome.
That is good news. It is DAD and DVD I am interested in. The DAD Rachmaninoff I have is very promising on my cheap DVD player. I am hoping upgrading to the Phillips will do even better.
As stated above, the Sony and Philips do NOT do DVD Audio, but will play the DVD video layer which all DVD players will do. So if you upgrade to the Philips muralman, it will NOT play the DVD audio layer, so it will NOT do even better with DVD Audio because it doesn't do DVD audio. That is not to say that its redbook performance, or playing of the audio portion of the DVD video layer will not be as good as your other player-perhaps its redbook performance will be superior to the DVD Audio on your other player (I doubt it but who knows), but it (and the Sony) will NOT be playing DVD Audio.

Hope this is clear.