Too snobbish for SACD as it exists?

Perhaps I am wrong, but I get the feeling that the reason SACD players have not been as successful as hoped lies with the fact that the very persons for whom the benefits of the higher resolution format are appreciable are hesitant to put a Sony, Marantz or Pioneer product in their systems. A product like Krell, CJ, Levinson, etc.,while usually significantly more expensive than the aforementioned "mid-fi" brands provide the purchaser with a certain cache and a greater level of satisfaction, albeit sometimes a psychoacoustic contribution to the listening experience. I, personally, would be more willing to spend more on a quality SACD player from a true high-end company, however elitist that may sound, even knowing that I may be paying for diminished returns. I just wonder if there is a large pool of high-end consumers waiting to see what marquis companies will introduce before they commit to the format.
I think you're absolutely right about the name factor. It seems to be OK, though, to use Sony or Phillips components in these marquis products, as long as their nameplates don't show!

How many high end products have used Pioneer or Sony transport mechanisms? How many high end CD players have used Phillips chip sets (especially in the late 80's early 90's)? And best of all, the $20,000 SACD separates from Accuphase use the Sony top loading transport!
There's probably some truth in what you say. IMO, Sony is an amazing company that for more than 30 years has produced high quality consumer and professional audio products. Just because Sony "panders" to the masses shouldn't blind us high-enders to the quality of some of their better products. Those who turn up their noses at Sony are missing some great products. If Toyota didn't call it a Lexus, would it be any less a good car?
The Japanese offerings all have a serious problem when it comes to their choice of output devices in their players. NONE of the current SACD offerings use a decent output stage. There are definate sonic problems which are associated with this unfortunate design decision (some glare in the highs and dynamic, soundstage, and timbre anomolies). Hopefully, some "high end" companies will start offering their own variations of these Japanese SACD offerings. (This is what initially happened years ago, when the so called "high end" companies, offered their own variations of standard japanese cd players with better output stages and improved power supplies)
I'm sure that your point about sporting "mid-fi" or "mass marketed" brands is kind of a let-down for some. As Ehider mentioned, the overall build quality on these players have been questioned since their release. I know that a few professional "tweakers" have stated that the Sony's use pretty junky parts in the Analogue section. If people are impressed with them now, just wait until some "really good" versions start showing up.

The major thing putting me off from buying one has nothing to do with build quality or namebrands. It is the lack of available music for SACD. While it is true that these players DO play redbook, i'm hoping that by the time some "really good" SACD players do pop up, there will be a greater flow and variety of selections to choose from. As such, i'm not in a great rush to switch when i'm already pretty pleased with my redbook based players as it is. Sean
I have used the Sony XA7ES and CA9ES CD players in a fairly high end system, and can say that the XA7 is an especially good product-- built like a tank and excellent music quality. I would have no problem setting a good Sony SACD player next to, eg Levinson gear. To me the issue has always been the number of titles available. But then it's the old question "which comes first.........". Cheers. Craig.
Sean; we were posting at the same time. As you can see, I agree with your position. Craig
yeah, that happens to me all the time Craig. I'll be working on one of my "novels" and by the time i'm done and posted it, someone has said the same thing in a much simpler and elegant manner : ( Sean
Greetings to all here.I am considering a switch to the Sony DVP-9000ES this month. I know of the compromises involved with the Genesis chip having a red chroma problem, but felt that it is probably as good, or better than any other mass manufacturer's DVD player, and that having SACD might be fun. Mostly, I have been impressed with the redbook CD playback when auditioning the 9000ES, and figure that all things considered it is a good piece until 5 channel SACD takes off. That said, I agree up to a point with Jmslaw. I also have had many years of experience with Sony CD players, and their sound usually made me cringe, but I try to evaluate each piece on its' own merit. Sometimes a company really hits a home run with a particular product when you least expect them to. Perhaps I should start a new thread regarding the strange situation of a company as large as Sony producing so many models with SACD playback and having so few titles available. Something is wrong with this , but I am not sure what.
I agree more high end players will help legitimize the format. Classe has been diplaying a prototype that is almost ready for production. The Accuphase unit is very high end. I belive SACD is successful. The software is coming.
Great point Jmslaw! Sad but true.
I'm not sure if it's anti-Sony/Marantz/Philips snobbishness (though some of that exists) as much as a natural hesitance to move to a new format while the format situation itself is still uncertain...and certainly the limited availability of software is a disincentive to some as well. Whatever the perceived limitations of the analog sections of the first-generation, "cachet-less" units, my listening experience with a 777 (in both its stock configuration and now with upgraded audio board and power supply board resistors and caps) leaves me with neither buyer's remorse nor shame in having a Sony logo adorn my system.
Hi Jim, couldn't find you in the member directory. I noticed that you have had a few modifications done to your 9000ES, and I was wondering if you would be kind enough to give me a few details as to who performed the mods, what they cost, and what the results were. I will be getting a 9000ES next week, and will probably start with a Harmonic Technology Pro AC-11 power cord, since I already have one. As this is off the thread topic, feel free to email me at Thanks. Good thread Jmsalaw.
Like Craig I have a Ca9ES and an Xa7es. Both are good players, the Xa7 being as top notch and accurate a redbook cd player that exists, most likely. personally, I think Sony makes some great stuff. Sure, they make some junk too, but when they do it right they really do it right: Xa7, SCD-1, SCD-777, etc. If anything, I have almost a reverse bias on all these so-called high-end companies that take Sony (or others, like Teac, Pioneer, etc) guts, then slap on something trendy like a machined case or some tubes, and call it "way better".... that's bullshit. (the Tjoeb comes to mind) Different maybe, and perahps nicer looking but not necessarily better sounding. Whats' important, a nice looking box or better sound? (or, in the case of stuff like the SCD-1 and Xa7, have your cake and eat it too). Too many people get hung up on the cachet value of something like a wadia or Bat VKd5se, when something for 1/2 the price either matches or crushes it. I'll keep the $2000 in change, thanks.

An analogy: Ferraris are considered by many to be the epitome of sports cars. However, until the 355/360, most of their stuff was not all that fast on the track, difficult to drive, ergonomically weak (interiors), etc. (talking about cars like the 328, 308, and other precursors)... they'd easily get walked on at a roadcourse by something mundane like a Honda (I have several), VW, etc... (speaking from experience here). Same deal with Sony - sure, doesn't have the sex appeal of a Ferrari, but lap times (eg. good sound) talks and bullshit (fancy machined case) walks. ;-) All IMHO of course.

This is a minefield but I like the commentary submitted. I own a Sony DVP9000ES & think it is a real bargain for the money. After I purchased my Krell unit I remember reading a review that the transport was sourced from Teac. In speakers & digital, a lot of companies can't go to the expense of making a total product so they buy from other companies, modify it & put their name on it. On digital gear bigger power supplies & better capacitors can make a dramatic difference. But I firmly believe that the best way to decide what brand to buy is plug it in & try it out. If I have to strain to notice a difference; I take it back & try something else. Getting hung up on certain names Or ignoring others could result in your missing the opportunity to improve the sound of your system & probably save some bucks too. Larry
I never really though about the brand names, but I did see some photos of 9000ES players on Ebay a month or so ago that had champagne finished cabinets (instead of black) and feel that my market is getting the shaft in the looks department. The ads stated that this finish was only offered on the Asian market for this model.
9000es finish is gorgeous in black laquer! The sound? Well its only Sony. When I will win lottery I will buy Accuphase for $28 or car or something. I will offer my take on the situation. Many people simply happy with RedBook and have inertia to move to DSD technology. I see it with many of my friends. The biggest problem you cannot desribe Mona Lisa, one has to see it. Solution I see in old fachion American culture: advertisment. When time will be right (I hope) Sony will flood TV with ads: apple pie and SACD or whatever.
Cheers, Simon
Jmslaw, I brought this up on another thread and I do believe it a factor. But I think that a bigger reason that SACD has not been as successful as hoped lies in the software. Sony continues to try to dominate the software market for SACD and it seems like it is hurting them in the hardware end. I think they nedd to flood the market with software at prices that can compete better with the redbook cd. In doing this they would reach more people, creating a bigger pond, if you will. I think, maybe they don't do this because now they control the software and the hardware, and they fear if SACD becomes as popular/affordable as redbook they can no longer dominate the market. If the software becomes more prevelent you will see more high end companies jumping in the pond. I think right now the high end manufacturers are playing safe, like many consumers, maybe afraid to bet on a format that is not yet established. Software is the key, IMO.
Did Sony do something like this with Beta? I know they tried to control something hardware or software and it bit them in the butt. Apple made the same mistake with it's source code. MS opened it up and crushed despite the fact that Apple was in many ways suppior at the time. Sony should learn from it's own mistakes.

I went into a highend store in Wilmtington De the other day and wanted just to here a SACD player and I was brow beaten to the point were I backed out of the store. I asked about Sony and they scoffed. They dropped names like Accuphase and DCS. They then proceded to bath me in digital jumble mumble. I think high end is not ready for a $1000 Sony DVP-9000 or SCD-777es sound better than there 20K DCS system. Perhaps its growing pains.
Nealb, I believe you are correct, I'm not positive but I do believe I heard Sony tried to control the Beta software market. You'd think you'd learn from your mistakes. But the question is: Is total short term market domination more profitable than the long term not dominating the market? You know how business is, make the buck today don't worry about tomorrow. Sony is probably making a killing by dominating the market, they don't really care about the long term future of SACD anymore than they did about Beta. Make a killing now, and our R&D will come out with another format so we can dominate another market. Sony is too smart to not learn from their mistakes, so that tells me Beta was no mistake. They dominated a market for several years and made a killing.
Jmcgrogan2 and Nealb, Beta was a video delivery system developed by Sony to compete against VHS.
Sony did make a mistake, they felt people would pay more for a better picture, they found that the masses don't care. Beta is still used professionally today.
SACD is again the better system, and it's still unknown as to wether the masses care.
The reason Sony and Phillips have created this format is because the license agreement to be paid royalties for the development of cd is about over, and therefor they stand to lose billions of dollars if they are not successful in cornering a new format.
The discussion of Sony and there mistake with Beta is funny to me. Yes they lost that one, they still own the market of VHS and they have owned the cd market for 20 years. Sony has nothing they need to prove folks. They have a massive marketing department, they have developed and improved electronic audio components, tv, computer, blah blah blah. Just because they haven't gone and made $20,000 cd players doesn't say they are incapable of it, they just don't need to. If you want to not buy Sony than by all means go back to vinyl, Oh but don't use any labels they own or any electronics they helped develop.
25 years ago I bought a Trinitron tv and two years ago an SACD player. Both are fantastic products, but then again both were there top of the line. The t.v., still works better than 95% of what's out there. The SCD-1, well those sitting out are losing, not Sony and not me! J.D.
J.D. I'm not bashing Sony or SACD, I'm just wondering why they don't let the software go take off so they can let the SACD format fly. I think SACD is a great format, but you are right in saying the buying public has shown no loyalty to superior technologies. I own many fine Sony products myself, but right now, software limitations preclude me from jumping on the SACD bandwagon. I will listen to a poor recording of a great performance before I'll listen to a great recording of a poor performance. That doesn't mean all SACD's are poor performers, it just means I need to see a wider variety of my favorite performers released on SACD before I'd shell out for the hardware. I can't help but wonder if Sony's grasp of the software industry is holding up more SACD releases.
Jmcgrogan2, I didn't take your comments as bashing, it's just interesting how the public perceives Sony. I've always had a snobbish thing against them, luckly I tried it. My feeling is it will require one or two of the DVD-A alliance to come over to SACD befor alot of software comes out. Right now I'm guessing thier producing the SACD on thier redbook production lines. When cd came out it was slow getting software the first four or five years. I remember going in weekly to my local shop to see what came out, it was mabe five a week and a couple imports.The cost was about $15-20 and imports $20-30, just like now! They finally built a couple plants and things moved much quicker. I even seem to remember a fire in one of the plants that almost stopped the whole production for a year. Same deal as RAM cards. Remember when the memory factory burned, Ram prices jumped huge. What was it, like $30/meg.
Anywho, it will be slow I'm sure. I wish there was a bigger selection too, but I still get the benifit of great redbook playback for a good price.
JD, FYI, Sony owned the rights to VHS originally, and sold them, because they thought that Beta was the superior format. Fast forward, VHS wins the battle. Why, when video recorders were first on the market I overheard a conversation between a customer and a salesman. Customer: Which one is better? Salesman: well... this one (Beta) records 2 hours, and this one (VHS) records for 3 hours. Which one do you want? Customer, I'll take the 3 hours. Enuff said!
Now that's a sad story. Thank you Bmpnyc
My pleasure, JD.