I don't have first hand experience, but a friend just purchased one and sold his Theta Basic transport/DS Pro Basic IIIa DAC combo in favor of the Sony. He prefered the 9000's redbook playback. I too am considering selling my Planet for one.
I have a 9000 and it plays great redbook. The SACD sounds better, but the redbook is excellent for the price point. This unit has a fairly long break in period, so don't be too critical right off if you get a new one. 200 hours on the CD laser is typical. 400 on the SACD laser. When it is fully broken in, you will not go looking for a replacement anytime soon. I have not heard the Planet, so I cannot offer a direct comparison, but the 9000 is all the CD player I am going to need for quite some time. If you need to get better sound than the 9000, then get an analog setup and be done with it. Trying to get analog quality sound out of digital is like chasing your tail. You're never going to get there. I highly recommend the 9000 for digital, but use analog for maximum sound quality.
Very good in all that it does. I eventually upgraded to the Sony SCD-1 which is clearly sonically better in every category but at more than 3X's the price it should be. I have kept the e9000es and do not intend to get rid of it.
Probably cannot do much better for all that it does for the price.
For best sonic performance on the 9000es, turn off the digital output and the display.
The 9000 is great. I have read that getting it modified can give you a 40% better player. I am waiting for EVS to start doing mods. ($400). Check out tweakaudio.com
As good as it gets at the price point. The break in time IS very long, over 300 hours for mine to really shine.
Which model are you asking about? Isn't there a 9000 that is not the ES version? Please clarify.
Thanks everyone, that answers my questions. Luckily I should be able to sell my Planet and current DVD player and be able to buy a 9000ES for about the same price, so the wife wont even know!
Jposs, now that's the way to do it! I hope you enjoy it.
She'll know when she sees the light (blue). I love mine and I'm only 1/2 way through break in. Tom
Hate to rain on everyone's parade, but the 9000, ES or not, is strictly an average CD player. There are many better sounding CD players, at this price, below, and above it. As a transport fed to a good DAC, it is superb. A mod, of which many are available, is said to significantly improve analog outs. As a DVD player, it is very good. SACD is the best of all, by a wide margin. It, too, will be improved by mods, but offers superb sound from the stock unit. SACD is an experience not to be missed.
I think the 9000es is a great buy at it's price range. It replaced the CAL. Ikon mkII in my system. I brought an umbrella Madisonears :)
Why would anyone spend more for a CD player? CD never cut the mustard. The only reason that I even have a CD player is to be able to play the new music that is only on CD. It is no match for analog or even SACD. IMO, CD is the worst thing that ever happened to audio. For a car, it is fine. Much better convenience than a cassette tape. That is what CD is good for. If you must use digital, then SACD is the best. Sadly, few titles. I have done exhaustive comparisons between SACD and Vinyl. Vinyl always wins with a comparable recording. The only time digital comes out ahead is if the vinyl or the analog recording is a piece of crap. And if the SACD is mastered off of the same piece of crap analog recording, the vinyl still sounds better. Also the "Digital Remastering" they do usually re-EQ's the disc with a punched up bass and sizzled out highs, which puts the vinyl even further ahead. Enjoy the 9000 for what it is, but don't try to fool yourself into thinking it, or any other CD player, is the equal of analog.
Twl, I have the s9000es and the sonically superior SCD-1.
I'm not big of vinyl right now, but the SCD-1 is a pretty fantastic player. For whatever it's worth, Michael Fremer and gang rated the SCD-1 sound up with the best of analog but without analog's shortcomings.
Stehno, I believe you that the SCD-1 is a fantastic player. I was mostly referring to some of the other comments about high end CD-only players. I can understand that if you want digital as your main source,you will want a good player. The SCD-1 has a leg up (IMHO) on the other high dollar players because it has the SACD capability. I have posted before that I think that it is no contest between CD and SACD, with SACD the clear winner in sonics. The reason I bought my 9000 was because of the dual format capability. I would never have paid that much for a CD-only deck. I think digital has its place, and I have a digital player and digital music. The 9000 is my first CD player that wasn't in my car. I went 20 years without succumbing to the digital scourge in my house. And 10 years with no system at all. Finally, I thought that with SACD coming out, I would try to take another shot at audio. I knew that I would have to go digital, since that was the prevalent format and I has sold all my analog stuff years before. After 3 months of listening to digital, and really wanting to like it, I bought another analog system. I am now replenishing my record collection. I don't think that I could make a stronger statement than that. And please, the problem is not in my deck. The problem is in the CD format. Yes, CD is quiet. Yes, CD sounds dead, in comparison to analog. I don't even have the world's best analog system, but it's a good one, and there is no comparison. No amount of wishing, or tweaking, or cable rolling, or money spending will make up the difference. It is a simple case of GIGO(garbage in, garbage out). I can't change that, but I can recognize it. I made what I consider to be a rational decision to stop throwing good money after bad in a chase for the "Holy Grail" that doesn't exist, and re-direct my expenditures toward a medium that will fulfill my musical needs. Luckily for me, that decision came early, before I spent too much on digital software. Yes, analog has shortcomings, but they are primarily in the areas of record care and stylus wear. Not in the area of musicality, which is where the digital weaknesses lie. A dead quiet background is of no use to me if the music is also dead.
If on a scale of 1 to 10 anolog was a 10,what would CD rate?
Twl, The SCD-1 has a leg up because it is an excllent CD player that happens to also sound excellent with SACD.
SACD is not the clear winner over redbook CD. That conclusion, as always, depends on the quality of the recording and the quality of the music. There's good and bad SACD software and there's good and bad CD software.
SACD has never bowled me over (it kinda sneaks up on me) to be the clear and distinct winner in a format war. Of course, the same goes for analog verses digital. There's good analog, and there's good digital.
Everything (the recording, the format, the music, the equipment, speaker placement, the electrical supply, the room acoustics, the listener's mental state at a given time) has to do with the quality of sound reproduction.
Just like you said, garbage in, garbage out. Cheap analog will sound like, well... cheap hi-fi analog and the same goes for digital.
Stehno, I agree with your points. I was speaking more generally, than specifically to the points of disc recording quality. I have also noticed, like you have, that SACD is not a "bowl you over" improvement, but on good recordings has a roundness and 3 dimensional sound that CD lacks when playing the same recording A/B in both formats. I think this speaks to the ability of SACD to hold more info than CD. Again, I agree, that SACD does not make a poor recording better. You just hear more of the poor recording. A good test is Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells on hybrid CD/SACD. Very noticeable improvement on SACD. I don't hate CD. I only try to make the point that there are better things out there if done correctly.
Flemke, if I were to rate the formats on an absolute scale, I would put CD at 8, SACD at 9 and analog at 10. With 10 being the highest known source quality at this time. Of course, as Stehno points out above, the advantages are not always realized on poor recordings. A great CD may sound better than a poor vinyl record, but not because of format reasons. Strictly by apples and oranges comparison of great recording vs poor recording. As I said to Stehno, I am not a CD hater. I am just pointing out the relative differences and strengths in these source formats.
I would like to hear the results of an a/b with vinyl and one of these tubed output CD players. I think it would be very interesting.
Tim, I believe that a good tube-output CD player can do much to smooth the edge that is commmon to CD sound. Unfortunately, it cannot overcome the inherent lack of resolution that exists with the CD digital recording/playback system. While the players now are very high quality, they are saddled with a recording standard that was set over 20 years ago at a resolution that is much too low. It is amazing that it even sounds as good as it does, and that is a testament to the manufacturers of the better CD players. In reality, the possibility of CD matching analog for sound quality is non-existant. At best, CD will come close enough to analog for some people to accept it for the convenience and black background levels that are inherent in the CD format. I believe that has already happened. Well recorded SACD closes the gap even closer between analog and digital. But, it doesn't quite get there. If you read my 6/22 post on the "Vinyl is better than CD explanation" thread on the Audiogon Analog Forum, you will see that it is mathematically impossible for any sampling system to ever fully recreate a wave without error. The only question then is, can it get close enough for the human ear not to hear the difference? So far, they have not.
What about upsampling? 24/192 or whatever interpolating
Tim, the upsampling is simply more of the same, in terms of taking the original 16/44.1, and mathematically adding in a finer resolution grid on top. The problem with that is, that it is interpolating the already interpolated 16/44.1 signal. Since the original music has already been corrupted at the 16/44.1 level, the additional interpolation can do nothing but try to "guess" what the 16/44.1 missed. This results in a computer generated simulation of music that is not even what was in the original analog performance. It may sound more pleasing and smooth, but it is not the original music. I have heard upsampling players, and I agree that the music sounds generally more pleasing than non-upsampling. But, is it accurate? Or is it just a "synthesized" facelift? Technically, it is the latter. Let's say, for sake of discussion, that I had a modern art painting in front of me. And let's say that I thought I could make it better by connecting some lines that looked like they should be connected, but I really had no idea what the artist intended the painting to be. This might make the painting more pleasing to my eye, but it has changed the painting. It may not even be what the artist intended any more because he may have had a concept that I am not aware of. This is what the sampling/upsampling does. It makes changes based on a program that actually makes up sections of waveforms based on what it's program thinks should be there. It has no idea what should actually be there. If the original recording had been done in 24/192, then the waveform has higher resolution than CD, and if played back in 24/192, should sound better than CD. Still not perfect, nothing is, but better. So, overall, I advocate higher sample rates over lower sample rates for their inherent higher resolution. If you noticed, I did not interject vinyl into the discussion. But one could say that the ultimate form of digital would actually be analog(an infinitely high sample rate that would represent a theortically perfect copy of the original waveform). So we are going around in a big circle trying to get what we already have had for years. Again, stating the mathematical proof of "Limits", it is theoretically impossible to sample any wave without error, no matter how high the sample rate. So, thus, I state that it is a case of chasing your tail. You are never going to get there. However, you may get close enough to satisfy yourself or others, with a high enough sample rate. This is why I say that I am a proponent of these higher resolution formats over the CD format.
there is no doubt that vinyl sounds significantly better. However, like many people my age, I have far too much invested in CD software. My wife would destry me if I were to start buying vinyl copies of CDs I already owned. Its tough enough to justify my CD purchases. By the time I was old enough to know how much better vinyl sounded, it was too late. Luckily CDs can be playued by SACD players, so its a no risk buy.
And good CD recordings played on an above average CD player are more then acceptable.
For a perfect description of the Sony 9000ES as Redbook and SACD, see Neil Gader's review in issue# 134 of The Absolute Sound, Feb-Mar 2002. An excerpt:
"As a stand-alone CD player, the DVP-S9000es is competent and balanced, an a par with players under $2000 I've auditioned, although it doesn't out-perform them in any single aspect....
"...It offers a neutral, slightly cool character, with perhaps a bit more upper-frequency edge and texture than I find completely natural."
to finish my post....
Where the 9000ES excels is in detail (especially bass to midrange detail) and dynamics -- the bass is really punchy. It also has decent soundstage and imaging.
Good recordings can really be hypnotic with it; bad recordings can be a little hard to listen to.
Radknee, I find that to be a very accurate description of my Sony DVP-S9000ES player.
I would third the findings of Radknee and Twl. That is exactly how I find this unit. This is a very unforgiving unit which sounds superb on many recordings, but less than great recordings are a hard to get into as much. I am looking into mods that would "tame it" just a hair. There is a bit of an edge in the upper midrange that causes me to back down the volume a notch or two on some recordings. This is really a minor fault, and might not even be noticable if you are all tubes. Tom
While I agree with Trich727, wishing I could tame my 9000 ES a bit, I also agree with all the positive comments about the performance being great.
Radknee got it right with posting the comments from Absolute Sound. That description is exactly what my player sounds like.
Only remaining point, no one has mentioned how great this baby is at delivering DVD images. That is quite a bonus considering audiophiles are filling countless threads with praise of it's sonic virtues.
Albertporter, the picture is first rate and I've never used the progressive scan option.
Yep, gotta agree. I'm using mine on an old Mitsu 50", and it has never looked better. I bought it for sound which it is extremely good at, and the video is as well. Realisticaly, it is probably the best buy in audio/video. Great picture, great cd player, and GREAT SACD. It's not an incredible cd player. Modified units could possibly be, which is why I'm looking into mods. For the money, it is a steal. Tom
I sent a couple of burned cd-r's to a friend with a 9000 and he can't play them. Is anybody else able to play cd-r's on their 9000?
Creeper, unfortunately, that is a problem with the 9000. Mine can't play CD-Rs either. Kind of a bummer. But, it does everything else so well that I can't really complain about it. But if you like to play alot of CD-Rs, you might consider another player, 'cause this one ain't gonna do it.
I am considering to buy either the 9000 or the old X707es to use as a transport for my DAC. Any suggestion which one should I go for? Thanks.
FYI,to Creeper, TWL, it will play CDR/W if that helps you out at all?
Guess it's dependent on particular machines; I've had no problem playing CD-Rs on my 9000.