thanks for this review. I know your going to receive flak from other members and many are going to hit you with how does it sound on red book.
It is good to hear about this kind of find. First because of this company---I doubt anybody thinks you have a connection to Sony---and second, its price being affordable.
'Glad I don't own the Ayre unit.
Then we have the usual: How's it on red book? Most of us have some sacd and plenty of regular cd's --AND; maybe what cables do you use?
I would simply say the Sony XA5400es is a sensual aural experience.
What I most observe is listening intently or casually with the same enjoyment.
I heard Indigo girls "Become You" on SACD today.
Excellent album,whereas on regular CD I didn't realize it was such a strong performance.
The timbre & balance of frequences are terrific
The Sony is Inspired!
I bought a Sony XA5400es and I'm very pleased. Granted, you don't get the "cool factor" of owning a boutique or lesser known brand but mine bests these players (all of which I've owned) in my system:
Resolution Audio Opus 21
Musical Fidelity A5
Spendor S9 speakers
Sony has alot of pride and must spend painstaking hours perfecting their task.
I don't think they make money with some products,it's more of a statement.As with the SCD-1,I had heard Sony lost money on that venture.More desire to get it right then profit drivin.
They have alot of integrety & ingenuity/
Finally CD's don't sound like numbers or bits but real music/analogue.
Even though cd's vary from many factors,I have not heard one sound annoying yet.
Like when passages would get loud or complex,XA5400es somehow compensates & balance is maintained.
There is a musical 3D effect I would venture to say.
Piano music seems to "float" over the surface and it has a visceral effect on the psyche..
I bought the XA last May. It is REALLY great on SACD (and I have about 50-60 of them). It replaced my Phillips SACD 1000. I was hoping it would be so good on Redbook that I could sell off my Ah! 4000 redbook player and recoup a few bucks. NO WAY.
The Sony is good but my fully loaded Ah! is still markedly better on redbook. Oh well, I have to live with the best of both worlds.
I think its great on both formats. On redbook it is detailed but never fatiguing,with nice extension at both ends. I dont own alot of sacd's,but I am now buying them at quite a clip! The remastered sacd of Dire Straits "Brothers In Arms " even got a "WOW" out of my wife! I'm very happy with this player.
As usual, the high price of component will tell you nothing about its sound, nor its quality. The Sony is a great unit but I think the oppo 83SE will give it a run for top of the heap. The best part of this is that Sony will now be forced to try to top it. Sony has the R&D muscle to do that. Without deep pocket companies like Sony, real progress would not take place. Here comes DSD.
I bought the EMM CDSA-SE with no concern or hope that SACD would survive, the Redbook play was better to my ears than my previous tranport/DAC combo. But now that I have had a chance to hear some good SACD versions of my favourite jazz music through Analogue Productions, it sure would be nice if the music companies come to their senses and rejuveante the whole SACD venture, especially with recordings that start with DSD from the recording forward. It is exciting to think that SONY has come out iwth a first rate player, with SACD for only $1,500 ($1,100 street?).
what's the bass performance like on this sony? I read someone said the bass is lacking, so can someone describe its sound compared to let's say Byston bcd or Ayre cx7e? i know someone asked these questions b4 but they have not been asnwered yet. I'm still learning and auditioning cdp at the moment hoping to improve my CEC tl51xr(yes i want better bass and more realistic soundstage).
Thanks for the reply, Kal
"I would never use that term because, in comparing among high quality components, it is totally inappropriate."
I agree. The OP stated "The Sony blows it away!!!" in reference to the Ayre. That seems not to be a credible report, so I thought maybe you could provide a second opinion.
I paid $6000 for the Ayre after determining that it was the best-sounding unit for under $10,000. The Sony blows it away!!!
A unit costing $1500 besting all others under $10,000? That is exactly what it does!
I am very impressed & satisafied with the XA5400 but find the above statement useless.
I neither belive this is a $10,000 player nor does it "blow away" the Ayre,etc.
My advise is to disregard the above as exaggeration.
Try to spend $1100 street & come to your own conclusions.
You will lkely agree the Sony is a gift for the investment, but it's stll a CD/SACD Player not a magic machine.
Out of curiosity, I decided to spend $1100 street price to see how this stacks up against my modded CEC TL-1X/Dodson 218 combo. Delivery tonight; will burn in over weekend and will then report to the equally curious. Will try various PC's (Valhalla, LessLoss Sig, EPS 2s, Kimber Palladium) and various IC's (Valhalla, AQ Sky, AntiCables, Stealth Indra) to see what effect. I am deeply skeptical of so-called worldbeaters but will give it a fair shot. If it is even somewhat close it will be an accomplishment for Sony and will be installed in my BR system.