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The Sony is very good, but only seems to be available through online sellers. I don't think they have any plans for a replacement, as Sony seems to be done with the format. I own and very much like the Sony, but the prices seem to have gone up as stock has diminished, and I'd probably be more inclined to look into the Oppo 95 or Marantz SA8004 if I were buying today. Amazingly, they were well under $1000 a few months ago when I bought mine. Supply and demand, I suppose. I haven't heard either the Oppo or the Marantz, but they've both gotten very positive feedback from reviewers I respect. The Oppo dv-981hd that I bought over 5 years ago is still working...as a DVD player.
Good thread. One point I'd like to make on this. While the Marantz SA8004 is a fantastic unit with many accolades and actually just got named "Source of the Year" in Jan 2012 issue of TAS, it only plays stereo SACDs and not multi-channel. That greatly limits the dynamic perfomance you can get out of SACDs. Many if not most SACDs are mastered in mult-channel format. Take it from me, when played over a 5.1 surround sound audio system or higher, there is no comparison to an SACD in just two channel stereo. I have both and have first hand experience with this. I still can't understand why Marantz produces this unit in just two channel SACD output. They have made other players in both. The Oppo 95 has multi-channel SACD output. So just be aware.
That's an excellent point, Pdn. I only listen to two channel and hadn't even considered that limitation of the Marantz. Jnsluft, I did not know that their blu ray players supported SACD, but I had only meant to say that Sony does not seem to be doing much in support of the format and does not seem heavily invested in its propagation anymore. However, I'm willing to concede I may even be wrong about that.
Unfortunately, I agree with Rok2id and Chayro that Sony's 15 minutes of fame is over! For decades, I only considered Sony when it came to buying TVs. Their CD players were always top-rated and affordable compared to their competition (remember the SCD-1, 9000ES). Now they outsource many key parts for their TVs and I don't know that they even produce CD/SACD players other than for video. It started downhill with poor service and lack of available parts for repairs, now they are merely an also-ran for anything. Samsung has taken their place for TVs, and Oppo seems to be everyone's choice for audio/video at a reasonable price. Really a shame!
Hi, thanks for your posts. I'm using a very modest and old Philips CD player and am considering getting a solid/good quality SACD/CD player for a 2-channel system.
Pdn, I don't understand the difference between the 2 channel and 5.1 channel output capability for a SACD player since I only intend to use it in a 2-channel hifi system. Did you mean even in a 2 channel system, the 5.1 channel output has the advantage? How does it work?
Pdn is saying that multichannel SACD is superior to 2channel SACD if played over a multichannel system and I agree completely. However, one can enjoy excellent multichannel SACD from either the Sony or the Oppo if you can make use of the HDMI output to a competent multichannel system.
See my reviews and comments on the Sony and Oppo players at: http://www.stereophile.com/category/music-round/
Unless you're heavily invested in SACDs, I would forget it and just buy the best CD player you can afford. It has always been my experience that a better CD player sounds better than a cheaper SACD player. I have an older Oppo DVD player, which is excellent for the money, and my dedicated CD player sounds far far better than the Oppo playing SACDs. As a caveat, I have only owned SACD players up to 5k. From what I hear, the better players are a different ballgame. Maybe when I have some extra cash, I'll pick up a used Esoteric X-03 to see what the better players can really do with hi-rez.