Sony 900ES SACD sound vs CD - Help

I now have a little over 120 hours on my 9000ES DVD. Here's the problem: When I use the Sony as a transport (The digital output fed into an MSB Link Dac 2) the sound quality is MUCH better than the Sony supplied SACD music played through the SACD internal decoding circuits and output form the analog outputs on the Sony.

How can this be? I thought the SACD was supposed to be much better than the CD. Is it possible that the SACD circuits need much more time to break in?

The Sony when used as a transport is almost as good as my SimAudio Moon Eclipse cd player (when also used as a transport) which has a floating suspension.

I have the Sony on a magnetic levitation system which I designed that floats it 1/4 to 1/2" off the shelf.
This isolates the transport and circuitry from low frequency vibration. The result is: better bass, more open midrange, and clearer highs.

I just don't understand why the SACD part of this doesn't sound as good as everyone says it does. Maybe the sampler sacd is very good?

Any ideas??
I agree. however some of the new SACD's are simply recorded better. I find the MSB is substantially better on red book CD's and in "some ways" better compared to the SACDs. Don't sell the MSB like I did. oh- and if you are waiting for the unit to burn in, you have to keep repeating to yourself, "It does sound better. It does sound better". After FOUR HUNDRED hours it will. :) -777 owner
The Sony sampler, overall, is not that great for showing what SACD can do. If you like their music, try to get the dmp sampler, which has all DSD recordings instead of older analog masters from CBS/Columbia. In addition, check out the must-have SACDs thread here as well. And, as Joekras points out, let it break in--the posts I've seen say you have to break in both the CD and SACD sides separately. When you use the digital out, I don't think any signal runs through the analog stage, and you are only using the CD laser, so you're not breaking the unit in for SACDs. Ultimately, I still felt that the analog section was too polite and unexciting for my taste and compared to what I am used to, and had a mod done to bypass it, but obviously there are a lot of owners of the Sony SACD players who like the stock version as is, so give it some more time. Good luck!
If you only have 120 hours of burn in your only 1/4 of the way. YOU MUST BURN BOTH LASERS FOR 200+ HOURS. This requires 200 with regular cds and another 200 hours with SACD. Just put a SACD or CD into the unit and put it on replay, you do not have to have it go through your other components. Happy burning, and be patient it's worth it.
I agree with everyone else that it has to burn in, but... I noticed right away that SACD was far better than CD. The comparison was made to CD's being played on the Meitner Super Bidat being fed by various high end transports. You shelf sounds way cool, but I wonder if you have taken into account the shielding of the magnetic flux field. I would aussume this is a fairly strong field if it can hold the weight of your player which I think tips the scal at 20+ lbs. I am guessing that the player was on the shelf being levitated and the dac was on another shelf? If so you may want to try the unit as a player away from the mag field.
I just got my 777 SACD player yesterday and yes it still needs alot of burn in time. A good way to burn in any of these units is to place a 10K ohm resistor across the analog outputs via cheap RCA plug, press repeat and let it go. Yes the analog outputs are active even when you have the unit in standard CD mode and have the digital output active. I would have to agree with the others, these units will need break in on SACD and CD both. AS for you magnetic shelf, I would also wonder if it is having some effect.
Has anyone compared the 333ES vs the 9000ES vs the earlier generation on sound quality with SACDs only? I'm not interested in multifunction just good sound for the $.
I don't understand why someone would purchase a SACD player when there is no software for it. To me, it's like purchasing a computer that has limited software meanwhile crossing your fingers hoping that the software will grow. I don't know many people who would buy a computer with those odds at stake. Another point which probably explains the many used SOny 777es players for sale is that once you bring this unit home and you play all of the crappy SACD's that they offer, you start to wonder why did I pay all of this money for a unit that I can't play my favorite CD's using the format it was designed for and that sonic rewards while playing my regular CD's on this unit is marginal to OK? The only one I would purchase right now if I had to would be the Sony 9000es because it's a DVD progressive Scan and to me justifies the price of the unit. One line of thought that I choose to follow and it works "for me" is to let the software dictate the hardware purchases. I have a lot of CD's at home that I haven't realized their full potential yet so while Sony/Philips decide how they are going market this new format I will continue to try to get the most out of my regular CD's. I've sen many posts on other threads wondering if they can use their SACD player as a transport. Hey, just because there's a new format on the horizon doesn't mean that your many CD's are now obsolete. I'm sure the SACD format is sonically superior to regular CD's but if there is little software what did you purchase it for?
Oh, now that's helpful.
Drubin, I intended my last post to be helpful because there are a lot of people out there that are under the impression that their CD's are on the verge of becoming obsolete. I'm not kicking up dust but honestly, would you buy a computer if there was limited software for it? What did the CD have to do with how good your LP's sounded. All of us sold our turntables because of the lack of distribution of the LP's not necessarily because CD supposedly sounded better than the LP because we know that's not the case. Major companies stopped supporting LP's on the mass market scale so we really had no choice but to go to CD's for pop/commericial music. The industry hasn't shown that they are ready to commit to these new formats so until they do I will not invest in this format or DVD-A for that matter. New format or not, when I do feel like listening to a good old CD if one of these superior formats do take hold, I know that by investing in bettering the sound of CD player/DAC now I will only be insuring that they will always sound the best they can.
I do not have the money to spend on audio that some people find, but more than others. I have a quality system: Legacy Focus speakers ($5,400), M1rage OM-2 center ($700), Mirage rears, Velodyne sub, Rotel pre-pre 985 ($2K), three PSE amps ($1K each), and Rega 3 TT.
I have both a vinyl and CD collection of software that I'm not throwing away. The S9000ES is worth it's money without progressive scan and SACD. The CD and DVD-Video audio play are so much better than what I had. Sound with Movies is far more extended and dynamic, and my CDs have never sounded better. It's a more significant improvement, in just CD and DVD play, than when I replaced my ESS AMT-3 rock monitor speakers with the Legacy's. Then there's SACD, and for me there's many wonderful SACD titles available--both old standards and new recordings. Go to for a list of Sony's. In addition, SACDs are produced by Telarc, Chesky, FIM, Groove Note, DMP, Virgin, and others. DCC recently announced that they will be producing SACDs. My S9000ES rekindled my interest in music and home theater.
Don't read this paragraph if you get bored. My CD player broke a couple years ago, so I've been relying on my Sony 300 DVD player. I bought two DVD/DVD-A players (one $500 and the other $600) for Christmas and planned to return one. I wanted to improve my CD sound. Both had CD play similar to my Sony 300. DVD-A was an improvement, but not as good as my 96/24 discs. So I decided to test the S9000ES. I own the Willie Nelson Stardust remastered CD, and Stardust is one of the SACDs and is on Sony SACD sampler disc. My 22-year old son and I first played the CD version of the Stardust cut on the S9000ES and listened to the entire 3-4 minute play. We then switched to the $600 JVC723GD and played the same cut. Within 20 seconds, my son and I were talking how flat and distorted it sounded in comparision with the S9000ES. We didn't listen to more than 1-2 minutes and felt no need to relisten or try other CDs. It was a huge difference. We then relistened to the Stardust CD cut on the S9000ES and after it had completely played, played the SACD version of Stardust. Again in 20 seconds we were talking about how much better SACD was over the CD version. The difference was not as great as between the 9000 and JVC, but it was more dynamic and detailed than the CD. The silent sections appeared quieter and there appeared to be a "sparkle" with the music that was absent with the CD version. I returned the JVC the next day. Since I bought my S9000ES (late December), I've been relistening to many of my CDs and DVDs--and they sound so much better.

If you rely on a $600 (or less) DVD player for your CDs and DVDs, you're missing so much. It's amazing how much better the S9000ES is on both CDs and DVDs. I am sure there's other DVD players as good as the S9000ES, but I bet they are in the same price range. Martice, what DVD player do you recommend since you so strongly opposed to the S9000ES?
The $1,000 Pioneer 37 supposed to be very musical. It does not have DVD-A, SACD, or progressive video. Some say, that it's not as detailed as the S9000ES in playing CDs or DVDs.
Martice - I agree, software is going to have to drive the desire to own a player. I also agree that the Sony 9000ES is the most likely purchase since it's a high-end DVD player to boot.
I made an error. The Pioneer 37 DOES have progressive video. It is an excellent CD and DVD player for a reasonable price. It doesn't have DVD-Audio or SACD.
Thanks to you all for your responses!!
I did burn in the sacd section for another 72 hours and it did make a difference, now the sound is as good as what I get with the MSB dac and the cd analog output is now within 95% of the external dac. I think with time both the CD and the SACD will continue to improve! I've ordered some SACD disks and will give the SACD another chance to impress.
The cool thing is that if you don't like a format, no one is forcing you to buy the player or even listen to the unit. I bought my SCD-1 in Nov of 99 and I am very pleased with the CD playback quality. I have about 20 SACD's and it is growing. The analogy between the player and the computer is IMHO not realistic as the unit is fully backward compatable with the old PCM format, and despite what some have said, the player does a much better than average job on CD. My SCD-1 drives +$50K worth of amps/pre/speakers and I am very pleased with the level of playback. One thing I have noticed is that power cords make a difference. I use the FIM Gold with great results.


So in other words you've spent maybe $2,500 - $5,000 to have a better than average CD player(relative) and a SACD player that has limited software and is no shoe in to be around in the near future. I guarantee you that if this format doesn't stick you'll be looking for another DAC to do exactly what I suggest many should do until this format sticks and that's to better the sound quality of your present investment and let the software dictate what your purchase. This is my opinion only and is not meant to sound as if I'm forcing my opinions or beliefs on anyone but there are a lot of vulnerable shoppers on this forum and many others who are easy prey for marketing teams that create an atmosphere that suggests that you must have this new unit and this is the way to go without showing a level of commitment themselves in regards to software. Once again, the only unit I would purchase is the Sony 9000es because of it's progressive scan capabilities as a DVD player which has tons of support. Hey if they don't spend to get this format the proper support it needs to flourish then I'm not going to invest.
Hello Mcfly, Martice. Are you listening? The 9000ES can be bought for about $1100. It has been stated many many times here on Audiogon that the sound quality ON STANDARD REDBOOK CD is as good as most outboard dac systems and as most upsampled cd systems. The fact that it plays SACD and DVD-V is just gravy. If you want (as you stated) the best from your present cd collection than the Sony 9000ES will get you that and more.
How else can it be said, THIS IS THE BEST BARGAIN IN AUDIO TODAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! thanks if you listened, J.D.
But the problem is you CAN get BETTER redbook sound with a cheaper DAC. under $1k. you should listen. or maybe you just haven't heard. and now you are misleading others.
Joe, Yes if all you want to do is have redbook cd playback then you can spend 999.99 on a dac. and maybe get marginally better sound, or maybe not according to many posts. The 9000es seems to be very popular here with not to many negeative posts regarding it's cost/performance ratio. Actually I don't remember reading any complaints yet.
Golly Martice, it is so wonderful of you to save us poor slobs from our dumb-ass purchase mistakes. But really, I think everyone on this forum who choses to buy an SACD player is doing so with eyes wide open as far as the viability of the format. Maybe it is just worth it to some folks to have SACD playback in their systems, even if there are never a lot of software titles. Maybe they will find they want to add an outboard DAC for redbook CD playback in the future, maybe not. Why do you care?
I'm not so certain that a $1K DAC would have improved the CD play on my Sony 300 DVD player above the S9000ES CD sound. This $1K also would not have improved the audio while playing DVDs (I play DVD-V as much as CDs), give me DTS capability (which the Sony 300 could not do), or give me progressive scan. Oh yes, I would not have the option to buy SACD records. For me, spending $1K on an external DAC in lieu of a new DVD player does not make any sense.
Well Jadem6. I appreciate your humor but in all seriousness, for you to say that the Sony 9000es is as good as most outboard Dac's just let's me know that Sony has you exactly where they want you. Hey, I'm not knocking anyone for how they choose to purchase their audio equipment but there are many people reading this post right now who are going to be influenced one way or another and I think it's best that they hear both sides of reason as opposed to purchasing on an emotional high. If you purchased the Sony 9000es and enjoy it, I'm happy for you. Infact, I did say that I would purchase it because of it's DVD video capabilities which to me minimizes the risk of it becoming totally obsolete in the near future.
In response to Drubin. I'm sure that everyone is an imformed purchaser like you and to prove it just look at some of the newbie questions that we have on this board. Maybe it is worth it to you to have an SACD playback deck in your system but what does that have to do with the software situation. What makes it worth it to purchase the Sony 777es which was the unit that I origionally questioned the many purchases as well as the many secondhand units for sale? I never questioned the purchases of the Sony 9000es unit. READ MAN READ!!! As far as saving all you dumb-ass poor slobs as you put it, all I can say is relax man it's only information in the form of an opinion. If my opinion on purchasing the 777es causes you to respond in such a manner especially when it's evident that you did not read it thoroughly enough to truely comprehend what I was saying, then it's no wonder you would buy a format that has no software support. You probably own the 777es or better yet, you probably don't and just want to be heard...
Well Martice, you've got me confused. The quotes below are from your own post 2/11/01 and I swear it sounds like you feel the 9000ES is not capible of playing and then later of improving your existing standard cd collection, and later again that the improvement wouldn't be worth the investment. Actually if you read the four quotes one would think they were from two or three different people. What am I missing here?
"once you bring this unit home and you play all of the crappy SACD's that they offer, you start to wonder why did I pay all of this money for a unit that I can't play my favorite CD's"
"and that sonic rewards while playing my regular CD's on this unit is marginal to OK?"
"I have a lot of CD's at home that I haven't realized their full potential yet so while Sony/Philips decide how they are going market this new format I will continue to try to get the most out of my regular CD's."
"I'm sure the SACD format is sonically superior to regular CD's but if there is little software what did you purchase it for?"
I think it's you who might want to calm down. I've owned the SCD-1 for about seven months now and enjoy the sound quality over my old $10,000 system wich my buddy has brought over twice for blind tests. The reviews from people here on Audiogon (some who have owned the SCD-1 and now the 9000ES have stated that the second generation machines are better than the SCD-1) I have never auditioned the 9000ES so I'm relying on others feedback. The reviews I've read compare the SCD-1 to an $18,000 upsampling system and multiple +$15,000 cd systems and the results are within a wisker of eachother using standard redbook cd. The SACD is equal to or superior to the above comparisons depending on who you read. Now if your telling me a $1000 dac will also compare to these systems I'd like to know your "dealer", as in drugs. From your posts it sounds as if you have no experience with any SACD player, and in that a number of us here on Audiogon do, I would ask you to back down untill you know what your talking about. As you stated above, people come here to learn what others have learned.
Thank-you J.D.
I do own a 777 Martice. I bought it to use as a transport and to play SACDs and, as Art Dudley suggested in a recent Listener editorial, to vote for the new format with my wallet. But at $1500, it was practically a no-brainer. I am plenty interested in others' experiences with these players, including your experience. But your opinions seem to be based soley on your sense of the industry and the outlook for the format, and apparently not on first-hand experience with the products. Meanwhile, lots and lots of owners (many are knowledgeable and experienced audiophiles) are very enthusiastic about the Sony players. Are they wrong?
Hi JD. In regards to my quotes maybe I can clear a few of them up for you.
1. Crappy meaning crappy SACD selection (relative to taste)
2. SACD is sonically better sounding than regular CD's is true. However, that is not what anyone was debating here. My gripe is why spend all that money on hardware when there is not a lot of SACD software. If you find that the price of the SCD-1 justifies the price of the unit as a CD player than that's fine too. Who's knows, if you're lucky, SACD might make it as a permanent format and you will really look like a genius.
3.I haven't realized my systems potential yet as far as I'm concerned and so I tweak and will continue to do so.
4.You're right, I've never brought the SCD-1 player home to audition but then again, you answered the reason why you bought it already. It plays CD's very well.
5. No! I'm not on Drugs! But then again...
6. I still say like I said earlier that (I) think that the Sony 9000es is most attractive because it's already capable to play two major formats being DVD/CD discs and it's progressive scan capable.
6. I never mentioned anything about a $1,000 DAc but from what I hear, Ric from tweak audio might feel a little different about the performance of his DAC versus the SCD-1 as a CD player but that's for you to take up with him. My beef is software shortages.
Hi Drubin. If you're saying that the unit plays CD's very well or well enough to justify the price paid, then what can I or anyone say to that? Point taken!!
There is another way to look at the big picture.If no one buys the hardware because of the lack of sacd selection,then there will not be a reason to master more software.My hats off to anyone who early adopts sacd,for it is far superior to any cd playback i have heard up to 10,000. I did not find a big difference in sound quality between the 9000 and the 777 so i went with the 9000.However had i more disposable income at the time i might have went with the 777 for its better cd playback.I too feel that the 9000 is the best deal in audio ever,at least in my buying experience.I plan on putting more money into ic's and isolation devices than i paid for the unit it self [1075.00]but i am just a dumb ass slob so what do i no.
Jadem6, I think you (and I too) may have misread some of Martice's post, as I went back to re-read it. Martice, I'll try to answer your ultimate question as to why I bought a 777ES with limited (certainly not no) software available. To begin with, last winter, when the only units out there were the SCD-1 and 777ES at $5000 and $3500, I bought a dCs Purcell in the same price range on the same rationale as you point out, that for the same price I could get something that improved the 1000+ CDs I now have vs. a piece that had only a few available titles, many of which I had in other formats. However, when the price of the 777ES came down last fall to $1600, I took another look at the format's software, which was increasing and included a number of titles I, as a classical lover, was interested in from good labels, and figured that at this price it was worth the chance that the format might not succeed and at least a listen. Upon listening to the 777ES, comparing CD and SACD on hybrid discs of the same recording, the superiority of SACD was clearly apparent to me. I bought the 777ES ultimately because SACD is what I, as an analog fan, have been wishing digital, even upsampled digital, could be and I figured I should put my money where my mouth was now that I could afford to pay the price. If enough of these SACD players are sold, the likelihood increases that more software will become available as the manufacturers and distributors see the format as commercially viable; but if the hardware isn't in the hands of the consumers, there's no chance for the format. I figured also that if the format never went forward, my son would have a hand-me-down CD player that was at least competitive with units in the $2500-$4000 price range. I'm encouraged by Sony's latest models, which have lower price tags and, with the 9000, includes a good DVD player--this kind of marketing could make the format a consumer success. And, at least with the 777ES since it has a digital output jack, keep in mind that you can improve your redbook CD playback by getting a better DAC than is offered in the stock unit and using the player as a transport. I believe that this is why many of us think of the unit as a comparative bargain at the $1500-$1600 price--in my system, it's had the additional benefit of keeping my Forsell transport on its best behavior (don't ask me why, but that unit had always been very tempermental till I brought in the Sony; now it works flawlessly)! Sorry for the length of this post, hope it makes some sense to you.
Thank-you Martice. Well stated Ears, you'll be very happy. The funny thing to me is these machines are soooo cheap compared to the simmiliar sound quality cd only machines that you can afford to upgrade interconnects and isolation, thus receiving the double bonus. In my opinion anyone who buys a standard cd player at any price point has missed out on the greatest bargain in audio! And has overpaid for what they get. J.D.
Rcprince, very well stated. I have no idea why your Forsell is so scared of the Sony, but that alone justifys the purchase. J.D.
I know someone who works at a discount electronics retailer and he told me the 9000es is their hottest selling item. Sony is moving these things and I bet software will soon follow. I would like to here from more people who own burned in 9000's as to how cd playback compares to a DVD player and upsampling dac.
Well guys. I guess I debated myself to the point where I will take a chance on a Sony 9000es. I guess with what it offers I can't loose...can I?

See you guys around. Infact I'll let you know when I get it and burn it in and then I'll let you know what I think. Hopefully I'll be singing the same praises and the other owners.
Martice, good luck! If nothing else, at the worst you'll have a fine DVD player that also plays CDs, DADs and SACDs. I'm interested in how you like it, so let us know.
WoW I didn't realize what a large response I would get on my original question!!!! Well I'm glad so many of us are buying the Sony 9000ES. Maybe more SACD titles will be available if we all demand it! But, now that we have this Great unit (For the money) let's try different external dacs and see which one works the best with this unit as a CD transport!!!!

Thanks Again!!!!
Has anyone experienced high frequency ringing problem on
9000ES?? This is very annoying to me when I listen to
either piano or violin pieces. Thanks beforehand.
I haven't experienced this, nor do I recall anyone else reporting it.