Get the new Sony XA5400ES for about $1100...it will blow your mind:O)
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Thanks Dave_b. So your view is that the Sony XA5400ES would sound a lot better than using the 777es as transport and the PSADLIII DAC? Correct? (The two options will cost me roughly the same money.)
Also just to close the loop on my earlier question... the DAC on the unmodded 777es is not as good as that on the PSADLIII, correct?
Don't know any more about these two pieces other than what I've read but, if I were a CD and not SACD listener, I'd most likely purchase the PS Audio DAC directly from Cullen Circuits. I would choose their Level III or level IV mods that include a brand new unit that Cullen supplies ($1390 and $1490, respectively). I own three Cullen digital amps and the build is superb, with flawless function. As great as the SCD777 likely is, it's not new and all things pass. When that day comes I'd look at the best maintained/lightly used Esoteric transport I could find. In the past year I bought a P-03 that embarrasses the Sony-mechanism dCS Verdi it replaced.
Of course, any outboard DAC takes you out of the "one box" paradigm and requires addition of a digital cable. I've found that digital cables have substantially audible differences, unlike my experience with analog ICs and PCs.
Thanks Jb0194, this will be very useful when i have a bit more cash to afford the Cullen mods -- hopefully soon! :-)
for the moment i can only afford the $650 bargain i am getting on a nearly mint PSADLIII.
Wondering if any one knows if this will be an improvement on my sony 777es (to be used as a transport and for occasional SACD) or if there is somewhere else I can spend the money to improve the front end?
the 777 is a good-sounding player (I used to have one) - you probably would need to buy a kilobuck DAC (plus a good interconect...) to hear a significant difference. if you can't audition first, I'd say don't do it.
as far as spending $650 to improve your front end, you might want to spend it on good interconnects for your 777 if you don't already have nice ones, or a power conditioner - I think that power conditioning has the most effect on digital.
I've owned a Levinson 39, 390s, 360s/37, Wadia 861SE, BAT VK D5 23bit, MF A5, Krell SACD standard, Sony SCD-1 and XA9000ES plus a brief stiny with an XA777ES. Oh, I had an ARC CD 3 as well. Hardly a Sony fanatic. It amazes me how many people hook up bargain outboard DAC's which require more cables and power cords for their mediocre performance to be realized or even better, they spend good money on modifications to outdated gear. I mentioned the Sony because it is world class performance for a bargain basement price...no mods or outboard nonsense needed.
Dave sure does seem to like that Sony, and based on everything he has owned, I won't argue with him ! I agree on all the mods and DACS, and have never went there myself either. I am currently happy with my NAD M5 Master Series SACD/CD, seems to work well for the level of performance I need. If I was going to look at anything more expensive then the NAD M5, I would certainly think about the new Sony, which is quite a bit cheaper then the NAD new.
So what my pals on Audiogon advise for a guy who has an SCD777es and wants to spend $650 to improve his front end, is the following:
1. Get the new Sony SCD-XA5400es. Problem is I cannot find a single proper review or comparison of this player from an unbiased source.
2. Get a power conditioner: Problem is I am not sufficiently educated in the art of audiophilia to know what the power conditioner does or is :-( Can someone explain?
3. any other ideas guys??
Incidentally, I have a tube amp from Audiovalve in Germany and have the Asa pro grande speakers from France (see photo link below in French but some of the stuff is in English as well).
My speaker cables and interconnects are crap (the most expensive monster cable).
Just bought a Sony XA5400ES. Listened to alot of high end SACD players. My demo disc must have been in $300,000 worth of hardware.
The XA5400SA is a good deal for the price. Out of the box it had great mid/low range with good punch on drums. Sounded a bit metallic in the upper ranges which is softening up as I add hours. Real PIA to break this thing in on both RB and SACD and balanced/unbalanced outputs.
The RB is close to my Benchmark DAC-1 when the Sony is used as transport.
Will probably sell mine when I get some dough for an Esoteric P-03/D-03 or EMM. Heard he new EMM TSD1 DAC2 at CES. It sounded so much better than the CDSA SE that I couldn't consider the one box player (which is great).
So for low money I can't see what can beat the XA5400SE on SACD with good RB to boot.