The Absolute Sound Review of Sony SCD-XA777ES ???

Just received the new TAS. Seems the mag. is going through some changes...starting to look a bit "mainstream". Anyway, in Robert Harley's review of the multi-channel Sony SACD player...there is no listing of associated equipment. The same thing is true of Cordesman's comments.

Don't mean to be nasty..but I am a bit of a multi channel for music skeptic(vs. movies), and thought this review might be a good insight, but without the listing of gear used to review the player...the review is nearly worthless.

With two channels it's good to know what else their using to evaluate something...but my god, 5 speakers, 5 channels of amplification, many more cables and wires...and were just left in the dark... Again, sorry, but the review is worthless without knowing what else was being used.

Yes there are some listings of associated gear in other reviews in the mag...but those are always changing from issue to issue and review to it doesn't seem we should just try to add up what was being used.

Any comments?
I hate to give long quotes but.....

"The monopoly power that created the 44.1/16pcm cd is mirrored in the U.S. high-end publishing industry and the results have been the same.... There's been a gradual coarsening of the discussion and dumbing-down of the magazine reviewers, dealers, and consumers over the last decade. This is a direct outcome of the increasing concentratioin of power towards a single publisher with the power to act as a make or break gatekeeper for the entire high-end industry... This is why the hi-fi industry is at a technological dead end with declining sales and a gradual slippage into the Home theater mass market." Lynn Olson (taken from - the Soul of Sound Library)

Is Lynn being to cynical? The review in Absolute Sound is certainly not "worthless", as it is to Jim, because it sells a lot of product!

What do you think?

Sincerely, I remain
I thought it was a perfectly adequate review. Along with the one in Stereophile (and comments on AA), it helped me decide to order one from Oade Bros. It arrived Monday, sounds great on both SACD and CD, should sound even better after break-in. I'm sure even better SACD players lie ahead -- we're still in a fairly primitive stage of SACD, assuming it even survives in the marketplace. Try it, you'll like it. Remember, this is a hobby, not war and peace. Cheers.
For a listing of the components used by Tony Cordesman, refer to page 123. They are at the end of the Dynaudio Evidence Temptation Loudspeaker review.
I may be wrong..but Tony's components don't add up to 5 channels.
Dopogue: What is the street price for the Sony? Thanks.
The Oade Bros. price was $2,000 with free shipping by Fed Ex. It came double-boxed in perfect condition. There is now a 5-year factory warranty on this unit.
In looking at Mr. Cordesman's gear on page 123...I am then to assume that his comments are about 2-channel performance only?

As far as the main reviewer...Mr. Harley's gear listed on page 111 may be some insight. Are we to assume he was using the McCormack with some other power amp(s) for the other 3 channels and just more of the same wire/cables...and kinda guess as to which speakers were front, rear and center?

Perhaps this is not an issue for most, that's fine. For me the cover photo and Multichannel Magic: headline seemed to justify a bit better explanation of the system being used in the review.
The review is "worthful" with or without an associated equipment list if and to the extent that you trust the ears of Mr. Cordesman and Mr. Harley.

If you think that afiles get wacky in their preferences for equipment and its effect on outcome, you should talk to surgeons about their preferences for instruments. Yet I've never read a surgical paper in which a list of instruments was included.

The bottom line is that, by definition, the output sound cannot be good unless both the equipment being evaluated and the associated equipment are good. I agree that it would be helpful to see a list of associated gear because if it included stuff you don't like it would give you a leg up on deciding whether or not the thing being evaluated might work for you. But it would not make all that much difference because the odds that Cordesman or Harley or any other reviewer uses exactly the same setup you do is miniscule.

Therefore....if you trust their ears, and they say it sounds good, give it a shot in YOUR system and see if it yields the results you want. In the end, it is YOUR gear that matters, not Mr. Cordesman's.

And, in the process, have fun.
Bishopwill, glad the review works for you.
Will, would you please say something stupid just once? You're giving me an inferiority complex. I am reminded of one of Joe Pesci's courtroom lines in My Cousin Vinny - "yeah, what that guy said."

Jim, I am always curious about the associated equipment used by a reviewer, but most of the time I have no experience with much of the equipment listed - so it doesnt really inform. I have found over the years that I trust the ears, sensibilties and points of view of a few reviewers, e.g., Greene, Colloms, Cordesman, and I trust them to describe the sound of the component they are reviewing, as opposed to the sound of the system including the component under review. They know what they are doing. When Greene or Cordesman say something about a component, they are really talking about the component - not its interaction with something else. They routinely evaluate components in combination with multiple amps, sources, etc.

A more serious omission in most reviews is any information about the reviewer's listening room (Greene and some of the other TAS reviewers have described theirs). For example, "Sam Tellig" recommends all sorts of inexpensive components that other people find barely listenable. John Marks's description of "Sam's" listening room in an AA thread explains a lot of stuff.

Clueless: I don't think our audio world is quite ready to hear that the King has no clothes.

The hi-end is an incestuous marriage of art and commerce - or the search for "beauty" and the search for money - where, invariably, the considerations of art take a back seat to an individual's greed. At the apex of these organizations are individuals whose identity structure (who they tell themselves they are and project to other people) must include an image of the guru, making unassailed, Platonic pronouncements from on high, as if they were Zeus. Of course, to keep this illusion going the acolytes must be willing - need it somehow - to accept the "guru's" projection. Its a symbiotic dynamic.

Oh my God, I just realized that I've said something "Bad".

Quick, everyone, stone the Witch!!!!

Oh well...
Hey, Whatjd,

I hope you didn't hear my remarks as a personal put-down. I, too, miss the equipment list and wonder why Miss WhatsHerFace can't find three column inches to include it now that TAS is fat and sassy again.

I'm inclined to believe that it all comes down to (1) whether the reviewer has any ears and (2) how similar his taste is to my own. Over the years I have learned that my own ears/taste are so different from Cordesman's that his reviews are pretty much worthless to me. Harley I do better with. And HP's (all genuflect before the celestial throne!), too, once one learns to read beyond his incredible pomposity.
Bishopwill, not a concern. I find value in all of the posts to this thread.

I found it a poor choice to have associated gear listings with other reviews, but not with the review that was both their cover photo...and a bit of a tabloid title "Multi-Channel Magic" or something like that.

Anyway, I enjoy this site a great deal, and the forum threads are always a good way to increase the social skills of communications and the ability to not always agree..but remain open to other thoughts.