Surely your dealer will let you audition the Sony. If not, take your business elsewhere. Just my opinion,nothing more.
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I purchased a new 5400 not long after they were first released, the sound was fairly good for the price but not spectacular. Unfortunately mine broke several times, they replaced it with a new one that also broke within 6 months. I finally gave up and purchased something different.
I always chuckle when I hear the words, " giant Killer " thats a story book thing, it just doesn't happen in audio.
I have nothing to add to Kr4 comments, except about the reliability of Sony players. I think Tmsorosk's experience can be chalked up to anomaly. I own several Sony players, including an XA5400ES, and none has ever broken. I did send one to Sony repair when it stopped playing SACDs after years of service. Of course, the Oppo BDP-93 and 95 are worth considering as well, and they have the best customer support I've ever experienced. I'm skeptical about "giants" to be killed, or that expensive implies giantism.
i don't know if this helps.
i consulted dan wright and asked about the sony with the tube mod compared to the oppo 83se with the same mod.
he recommended the oppo with the tube mod.
he suggested the sound of the sony was a bit sharper (in the treble).
of course the right tube may mitigate the treble problem.
what about marantz or conrad johnson universal player.
i realize the thread is about sony. you might consider other brands as well.
My Sony 5400 has been reliable and has performed without a glitch. I have a unit that has been modded by The Upgrade Company and really enjoy it. I am not aware of reliability issues in general for this model. Regarding the claim of "giant killer" I cannot comment because I have not made any direct comparisons. But it is sonically different (perhaps better) in some ways than my previous McCormack UDP-1 Deluxe, which is no slouch. Hope that helps somewhat.
As mentioned, this has been hashed over many times but if you're going unmodified and listen mostly to redbook, I'd go with an Oppo 95. The Sony is probably better on SACD but I'm guessing redbook will be your main diet. Of course with the Oppo, you also get video.
If you're considering the Modwright route down the road and audio is your main concern, I'd definitely go with the Sony.
Missioncoonery I have a modright modded Oppo 95 with tube output and tube regulated power supply. The sound killed the Playback Designs CD player I owned which sells for over 15,000.00. The PD is considered one of the best at any price. I sold the PD and kept my Oppo. I paid a total of 2,800.00 and could not be any happier.
Missioncoonery, JWM owned both the Sony & Oppo. I currently own both. Alpha3 was asking for opinions on the Sony and JWM was just trying to provide a bit more info on a competing player that is often chosen over the Sony; so what's your problem?
As for resale value of modded players, there's some truth to what you say, but Dan Wright isn't just a modder. He manufactures a very good line of equipment and has a great reputation with his customers. I'd wager a Modwright player will hold it's value far better than most of the other "crap" listed on this website, particularly the mega-buck players that plummet in value almost immediately and often sound mediocre compared to one of the Modwright players.
Missioncoonery, I should have stated I owned the Modright tube modded Sony XA-5400ES as well as the Oppo and both players were better than the PD. I kept the Oppo because I liked it better in my system. Yes you are entitled to your opinion, but you are not right. The bottom line is that a modded player beat the c-p out of the PD which many feel is the best cd player on the market.