What is the best two channel SACD player for $1500

I am currently using a Sony C555ES SACD player that is six years old. I have a Cambridge 840A V2 integrated amp and Totem Sttaf speakers. Can I significantly upgrade my SACD player for $1500.00 or less? I am tracking the players currently posted but would like some input.

Marantz SA 11S1 is a very, very good player at that price on the used mkt.
I haven't listened to it, but the new Sony SCD-XA5400ES has been tauted by many of this forum as one of the best regardless of price. I'm going to try one.
i owned the marantz sa11s2. stay away. it's analytical sounding.
I am not sure how much you can improve the SACD performance of the SONY C555ES. At the time of its release (2000), its SACD performance was rated an A+ by Stereophile.

Is your concern more about owning an aging SACD player that has reported problems with some of its moving parts and seems to be only repairable at SONY's Laredo facility? It's a legitimate concern ... I have the same one, as my SONY C555ES is now 8 years old.

What I did was to purchase a redbook CD player for most of my cd playing and to just use the SONY for SACD playing. In addition to my SONY, I own a Rega Apollo CD player and a Musical Fidelity CD Pre 24 (preamp/ cd player combo) that I rotate between two of my systems. The other equipment is a Prima Luna Prologue 5 tube amplifier and Opera Platea floorstanders.

When the SONY finally does go, I don't know if I will replace it with another SACD player. I own 300 or so SACD discs, but only a dozen or so SACD only discs. Yeah, there are differences between redbook and SACD, but not at a level that I get too worked up about.

For my $1500, I would look to purchase the best redbook player that you can that would work with your equipment ... Rega Apolllo, Cambridge Audio 840, Musical Fidelity A.5, or Naim.

Best regards,

For $60 you need to buy a refurb sony 595 from sonystyle. A long term warranty from them will cost $20. If when you get it, listen. If okay keep it, if not call them and they will pick it up and refund your money. In any event, the unit sounds great, assuming you get one that really works. I have one, an a 777es. Sound is about equal. The chips in the 595 are in fact those that were used in the 555. enjoy. be $1420 richer.
The SONY C555ES was Stereophile Class A, not A+, iirc. The 777 and 9000 were A+ and the 5400 should be up there.

Mofi just buy an C5xe. Jump in and get wet!
Theo...so, you are going to sell me your's for $1099.00? That's what the Sony is going for.
In reply to Mrtennis, there is a review of Marantz SA11S2 in Stereophile, which states it to be warm sounding. It is also listed in their recommended components list.
hi mattam:

i stand by my impressions. what is warm to a stereophile reviewer is not warm to me. definition of warmth is indicated below:

slight attenuation in upper mids/lower treble and slight peak in the upper bass/lower midrange.

it is important to define terms when having these discussions. in any case listen to the thing before buying.

i wouldn't have sold it if it was palatable to my ears. obviously, i didn't like it and in general, don't like marantz gear. i have heard the top of the line player as well. its decent solid state. there are other players i would consider before the marantz.
" what is warm to a stereophile reviewer is not warm to me."

Any Stereophile reviewer?

i have provided a definition of warmth. i cannot ascertain a definition offered by a stereophile reviewer because none has been offered.

it is important that reviewers define terms as they use them. adjectives have subjective meaning and are ambiguous in connotation unless defined.

does anyone have another definition of warmth than that which i proposed ?
Nope. I fully agree with your definition. I was trying to point out that one cannot generalize among all Stereophile reviewers.


Thanks for this thoughtful reply. I do have the concern you mentioned and several others. The amp and speakers are new and I want to maxamize them.The player is old and a natural place to look to upgrade. I'm exploring whether or not I can.

Hi Dmg,

I had the feeling that you and I were looking at a similar issue.

What I don't know are what your tastes in music are like. If you do not buy a lot of classical music, you are not buying many SACDs. I listen to a lot of opera and have maybe 10 or so opera SACDs (or said differently there are only 10 or so opera SACDs). I also listen to folk, country, and 60's/70's rock. After the Dylan, Stones, Genesis, and Elton John re-issues, I am not holding my breath for any other major re-issues. That's why once my SONY passes on, that will most likely be it for me with SACD players.

If you find yourself with a substantial number of SACDs, I would look at the SONY 5400. If not, then the redbook CD players that I mentioned above are where I would start looking. I would hold on to the SONY for the occasional SACD playback. I am in the middle of a major Dylan re-discovery, so my SONY is seeing some action.

Let us know how you make out with all this.

Best regards,


90% of my listening is SACD.My player does a poor job in the CD format, so the % is skewed.The vast majority of my SACD's are classical- both symphonic and impressionistic. Others include Keb Mo,Diana Krall,Ray Charles,Ella Fitzgerald and some 70"s rock. I am considering the player you mentioned. I will probably choose a two channel player. I will certainly stay in touch. Thanks again.




Can you please comment on the Sony XA9000ES? Is that worth considering?



Yes, I know. It is on my radar. Any others you might suggest?


Well, none that come to mind at the price point you mentioned. Rich does make a good point in regards to getting the best CD player and keeping the Sony as a sacd only player.

For me, the Marantz was good enough to do both very well, so thats what I decided to do. I fully enjoy it and have had more than my share of players in house to compare it to.

Good luck with your decision and happy listening.


Thanks for the reply and well wishes. My intention is to upgrade my SACD player. I love what I have read about the Marantz you suggest, but have not heard it. By the time I do this my budget may be $2,000.00, who knows? It's only money, right! I intend to get a very good player, that I can tell you with certainty.


You mentioned the XA9000es. Nice unit. I owned one. The Lexicon RT-20 "blows" it away. Much more musical, and, detailed,+++.
hi pascanli:

how can a player be more musical and detailed ?

could you please define "musical" ? it is frequently used to describe the sound of a component. i have pointed out in the past, that musical applies to the sounds coming from instruments, i.e., producers of music, not reproducers of music.