The XA has multi-channel capability while the scd is stereo only and if I can remember neither has balanced outs. I believe there is a different DAC architecture in the XA as well. The scd has better build quality in my opinion and was Sony's statement product along with the SCD-1. If you purchse the scd, and can afford it, have the superclock 3 and superclock power supply installed, it really improves the player on both redbook and SACD.
one correction to Chuck's post - the SCD-777ES *has* balanced analog outputs (my friend owns one & uses the balanced out to feed a MSB Platinum DAC). RCA analog output also exists.
I own the XA777ES with Superclock III mod. I beleive the SCD777ES is the better sounding one, marginally, and the XA777ES is harder to modify, so some modders won't do it.
The SCD-777es does not have balanced outputs(xlr) only rca's the SCD-1 has both which is a primary difference between the two machines.
Neither of the two you are comparing has xlr outputs.
Rob321 is absolutely correct. A lot of mis-information floating in this thread..
What mis-information (a lot) are you pertaining to please enlighten us.
To tidy things up a bit,neither of the 777 units have balanced outputs,but the SCD-1 sure does.End of story,Gary.
I thought we were already clear on that, but thanks for confirming.
I knew you understood Chuck,but there were a few that seemed to be a little confused,so I tried to nip it in the bud.Take care,Gary.
Regarding the "balanced" XLR outputs on the SCD-1. The way this is implemented is reasonably well-known, but just in case you are not completely aware of the method, Allen Wright has this to say:
The complex way SONY do the balanced outputs on the SCD-1 has been commented on here before. http://www.audioasylum.com/forums/hirez/messages/125857.html
1/ The digital signals in the SCD-1 (and all the VC24 based players) are in Balanced format
2/ SONY then convert the Balanced analog signal that appears after their "current pulse" DACs into Unbalanced format, using several opamps
3/ They then filter the signal in Unbalanced format, with more opamps
4/ This Unbalanced signal is then output on the RCA jacks of all these players.
5/ But then, in the SCD-1 only, this unbalanced signal is RECONVERTED to a Balanced format and output on the XLR sockets - using even more opamps!
I am not an electrical engineer but that circuit does not appear to be a very efficent design and one that would seem to degrade from the sonics. This is why the person modding my player (RAM east)wants to eliminate 90% of the output(audio) board with one pair of summing op amps and then into a transformer stage and then directly into the rca's.
There have been several threads on audiogon debating the fact that the Sony's balanced outputs are truly balanced. The person modding my player tells me they are not and explained why, but I can not remember.
What modders can do is use high-end parts that are not cost effective for even fairly expensive production units, such as the SCD-1. But I'm pretty sure the engineers at Sony know a lot more about circuit design than whoever is modding your unit. Sony can afford to hire some smart folks. The use of balanced lines is common in commercial applications where long leads are needed. So I'd take the explanation provided by your modder as just more of the mysticism that previals in high-end audio.
Unless the signal is balanced throughout, it is not balanced when it comes to the XLR's. There is more to 'balanced' than simply slapping a pair of XLR plugs into a CDP.
Yup, I hear you....I too was skeptical but when I observed some of his work on other players I am convinced he knows his stuff. I did do some research and what he is proposing is actually more common than I first thought as other modders do some of the same kind of mods i.e. mod wright and (VSE) vacum state electronics. Plus they (Reference Audio Mods) is a partner with Audio Consulting out of Switzerland which has done some interesting work as well as designed and developed various audio products. I had the opportunity to hear their silver rock passive pre-amp and was amazed at its clearity and detail.
In the end I am convinced that you can not get the most out the Sony player by simple R&R work. That circuit design needs to go along with the parts for best performance.
Sony engineers, while I am sure very intelligent, can not design this kind of circuitry for pedestrian products; corporate dynamics get in the way. I am not infering they don't have the ability it is just that their hands are tied.
The warranty on my SCD-1 is up in a couple of months and I believe Allen Wright has a mod that makes this player truly balanced,but it's fairly expensive.I've been kicking this idea around and going for the 5+ mod,or getting a very good DAC to compliment my player.The only downside to getting the DAC is it will only benefit it's Redbook performance.The new + mod is supposed to bring the SACD performance of the SCD-1 to a superb level,so I too,will be following these threads very closely over the next few months.Gary.
The mods to the scd-1 turn it into a remarkable player. I had the SC3 / SCPS installed and transport caps upgraded and the improvements in the bass response and high end extension are truly amazing also the midrange detail has improved substantially. Basically the player is much more open like several veils have been lifted off my speakers. It is a much improved player and yes the mods imporove both redook and sacd.
An outboard DAC only effects the redbook performance as you elude to and it adds complexity to the system by putting another component in the chain. Directionally IMO this is the wrong way to go. You want simple effective circuits with high quality parts in the chain, not more, for increased performance.
Thanks for the informed response Chuck.I'm definitely leaning towards the mods,being that I'm a big supporter(fan)of SACD.Gary.