Sony XA5400ES vs Rega Saturn:Which sounds better??


I probably ask this question before in other threads but with some variation of emphasis.. Nevertheless, I interested in upgrading my Rega Apollo. I would appreciate any advice about which player will sound better...that is more musical, with better bass and highs. I have read almost all the reviews, but I have no way of auditioning either player individually or side by side So I must draw on the experience and wisdom of other members who either owned or heard these players

I might have mentioned before, I have no interest in computer audio which I believe the Sony was partly designed to accommodate. I have seen told that the SACD capability of the Sony will enhance the sound quality of standard "red book" CDs This has to be a plus factor for the Sony Thanks, Jim
sunnyjim
having used a Sony S9000ES for over 10 years, I can imagine the 5400ES to sound even better and the build quality of the Sony's are top notch

actually just today, I decommissioned the sony from my system as the computer has taking over its duties :)

but not sure the SACD capability of the player has any translation to the redbook capabilities?
"I have seen told that the SACD capability of the Sony will enhance the sound quality of standard "red book" CDs This has to be a plus factor for the Sony Thanks, Jim "

That's not true. I don't know who told you that but SACD compatibility has nothing to do with redbook sound quality.

I also had a 9000ES. I bought it to try SACD. If you have other sources, the Sony may be a problem. When I had it in my system, it used to make all of my other components sound bad. I haven't heard the 5400, but there has to be a chance the same thing will happen. I would consider other brands and not just Sony.
I have owned both of these players and ended up selling the Saturn and keeping the Sony and I play redbook cd's for the most part the Sony just seemed to sound more natural to me than the Saturn which I always thought sounded a little at least in my system
I say try the Pioneer Elite PD-D9 Mk 2 SACD player. It is close to the price of the Sony XA5400ES. I had the 1st generation PD-D9 and it was a wonderful sounding player and is well built.
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Sunnyjim,

if you need or were looking to get into SACD, then choose a Sony ES.

For regular red-book cd, choose the Rega- the Saturn will be a sweeter upgrade to your Apollo.
Thank you to those members who have responded. Looks like I am back to square one again. Nevertheless, I may just go with the Cambridge Audio 840C. I say "may" because I always thought of Cambridge Audio as glorified mid-fi.

To Jafant, I was not particularly interested in getting into SACD. As I indicated I have read several times on this site that SACD can/could enhance the sound of redbook CDs, but ZD542 claims otherwise.

Yes, the Saturn would be a wise choice( especially if it is a major upgrade from the Apollo). There has been a dry spell for used Saturns on AG; and, unfortunately the two which recently surfaced for sale on AG, had their transports replaced by Rega.....Not exactly a vote of confidence for that model.

I have found from experience that Rega products are very reliable. However, I don't want to spend $1100 for a used Rega Saturn that may have the same problem again, or laser problems. I will not spend half Saturn's original retail for a new one. The player's design is at least 7 years old, and the player was grossly overpriced when it was came on the market in 2006.....I appreciate your comments.
The Sony 5400 playback on SACD or Red book CD is very, very good.

All Rega audio gear is "run of the mill" British MidFi!
"Nevertheless, I may just go with the Cambridge Audio 840C."

I just made that same decision after selling my first 840C about 5 weeks ago. I knew I would regret selling it. I found another one a couple of weeks ago and quickly snatched it up.

"I say "may" because I always thought of Cambridge Audio as glorified mid-fi."

Glorified mid-fi or not, the 840C performs(as CD player and DAC) much higher up the chain than it's "mid-fi" designation, IMO.

I came close to getting a Sony XA5400ES after selling my 840C but did not pull the trigger. I really did not "need" another SACD or universal player(I own two Integra DPS-10.5's and Oppo 83). Then another 840C popped up and it made my decision much easier.

Bill
Keep us posted Sunnyjim.
As I wrote in your last go 'round with this subject, I have owned both the 5400 and the Saturn. I respectfully disagree with Don C55'a comment that the Saturn is "run of the mill mid-fi." I thought it was a darned good sounding player. I ended up with the 5400 because I wanted the SACD option. At the end of the day, though, I still listen mostly to redbook, which sounds wonderful on the 5400. Overall, I preferred (and still own) the 5400.

All of that being said, I think you'll find the 5400, the Saturn, and the Cambridge 840C to be very nice sounding. The 840C also can be used as a stand alone DAC, which is a nice feature.

Good luck .
All the players mentioned are very good but simply a matter of system/room/personal preference to decide the right one for you. Fortunately all have been around relatively a long time and can be bought and sold for little or no loss. You're gonna have to try them yourself !
if you had more of a budget, The Cyrus SE 6 or 8 players would be a great choice for redbook cd play.
"To Jafant, I was not particularly interested in getting into SACD. As I indicated I have read several times on this site that SACD can/could enhance the sound of redbook CDs, but ZD542 claims otherwise."

Its not something I claim. How can a machine that plays SACD's enhance Redbook disks? One format has nothing to do with the other. I think its possible that whoever wrote those comments meant that SACD is better than Redbook and not that it enhances regular CD's.
To Bill. Thank for the comment. I think you must have bought the almost mint one for $850-$900. I was looking at that, but could not pull the trigger. (BTW, I think Rega products are better than "run of mill")

To ZD542: It is not that I don't believe you; however, did you see C-55's comment about the Sony 5400 and also Jonathan 1257. Maybe I used the wrong terminology in the phrase"....SACD....enhances the sound of redbook CDs."

Let me reiterate: My goal is buy a player that represents a marked and noticeable upgrade from the Rega Apollo in sound quality, but particularly in musicality.
would go with sony a nice machine,also you might consider a Marantz Sa-8004 or Sa-15s2b.
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Sunnyjim,

"To ZD542: It is not that I don't believe you; however, did you see C-55's comment about the Sony 5400 and also Jonathan 1257. Maybe I used the wrong terminology in the phrase"....SACD....enhances the sound of redbook CDs."

Let me reiterate: My goal is buy a player that represents a marked and noticeable upgrade from the Rega Apollo in sound quality, but particularly in musicality."

I went up and read their posts again, as well as the one from you I quote above. That's something different. Now it makes more sense. A better sounding player is just a better sounding player (Our opinions may differ on what sounds better, though).

I think your search would go better for you if you gave a better focus on what you are trying to achieve in terms of sound quality. Tell us what you like and don't like about the Rega. Also, tells us the same thing about some of the other players you have heard. It wouldn't hurt if you defined musicality, as well. That term will mean different things to all of us. If you get more specific, it makes recommendations much easier.
Not mentioned for some reason is the Oppo 105, reputed for its fine analog. I have both the Sony XA 5400ES and 105. They sound a bit different, but I think both are superb. OP didn't mention how the player would be connected in the audio chain. I use 7.1 analog from the Oppo, HDMI from the Sony to a Cary Cinema 11a. For analog, the Cary inputs are set to bypass.

db
Followup: I like classical and jazz, both of which are well represented in SACD format. Why would OP consider limiting the search to a CD-only player, unless his taste in music is not well represented in the SACD format?

db
sunnyjim, you have been posting, and asking this same thing for months. (in one form or another) Nobody can make your mind up for you. I suspect until you try one, you will never know if it suits you or not. Its a great player for the money, and easy enough to sell if you decide you don't like it.
Thank you to all who have responded. Each suggestion is helpful. Therefore, I think I will retreat. Zydo is correct. Now if I can only find a reasonably priced used Sony XA5400 ES
Sunnyjim-

which player did you purchase?  Happy Listening!
How ya doin' out there -sunnyjim?