555ES is in Da House - Merry X-Mas to All

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Lin Park, Dec 25, 2002.

  1. Lin Park

    Lin Park Second Unit

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    After months of contemplating getting this unit and constantly bothering KeithH about it, I decided to get one but feared I had waited too long. I contacted most of the major on-line retailers and none of them had stock. Some were even claiming that the unit had been discontinued. KeithH suggested I try some B & M stores so I started calling Tweeter's in early December. I finally got in touch with a really nice guy at the Langhorne, PA store and he was able to track down the last unit in all of the Tweeter's nationwide. It was an open box unit that was at a fairly new store so I took a chance. And, the best part was the price - $388!!!! It ended up costing me a little more since my wife turned the trip to get it into a mini-vacation to New Hope, PA (which I highly recommend if you've never been there - what a great little town) but the whole thing still cost me more than most on-line stores were offering it for.
    I picked the unit up last weekend and to my surprise the only thing that was missing was the box - I had the remote, the manual, an Acoustic Research catalog, 2 free discs (Sacred Feast and a Mozart sampling), all the cables, and a coupon for two more discs (which had expired, bummer). The unit was in great shape and I've had no problems playing any disc so far. Here's my collection of SACD's including what I got for X-Mas:
    The Rolling Stones: Hot Rocks
    Diana Krall: The Look of Love
    Carole King: Tapestry (multi-channel)
    Gaudeamus: Sacred Feast
    Midor, Imai, & Eschenbach: Mozart
    Michael Tilson Thomas: Mahler Symphony No. 6
    Patricia Barber: Cafe Blue
    Junior Wells: Come on in This House
    Domnerus, Hallberg, Reidel, Johansen, Erstrand: Jazz at the Pawnshop (can't wait to spend sometime with this one)
    I must say that I am very impressed with the sound quality on this unit. At first, I was a bit skeptical about all of the claims that several people on this forum were making, but I now believe every word. The Denon DCM-370 that I had before was nice and very musical, but this unit is much, much better and the funny thing is I didn't pay much more for it than I did the Denon a few years ago.
    If you really want a top notch 5 CD changer, then do yourself a favor and pick this unit up immediately. And, thanks to all that assisted in convincing me to go this route, especially KeithH. Now, back to the music (which sounds even better now). [​IMG]
    Lin
     
  2. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Lin, thanks for all the kind words. I was glad to help. I am especially glad that you got your hands on a 'C555ES. It really is a special player, especially at the price you paid. As I have said before, I paid $800 for my first one in November 2001 and $600 for the second one in April 2002, and I still feel as though I stole them! They are wonderful CD players, and SACD is just a bonus.
    As you probably know, I have a Denon DCM-370 in my main system along with a 'C555ES (in fact, they are on adjacent shelves in my entertainment center [​IMG]). While the '370 is a very solid CD player for the $250 I paid, it can't hold a candle to the 'C555ES. As a result, I use the '370 almost exclusively for recording CDs to minidiscs. I occasionally play around with HDCD discs in the '370, but only occasionally. HDCD discs sound better in the 'C555ES. [​IMG]
     
  3. Pamela

    Pamela Supporting Actor

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    Lin-
    Congrats on the new CD changer! What a great gift to yourself! I got mine a few weeks ago. I had the same problems finding one, but like you, I was determined. Of course, my price was not near as good as yours. [​IMG] Like you, I was skeptical of the sound improvement, but WOW, redbook playback sounds absolutely wonderful. It replaces a Denon DCM-270 and the 555es blows just it away. I've bought a few SACDs (Bruce Cockburn, James Taylor & Stevie Ray Vaughn) and have been having fun with them (in 2 channel). Enjoy the 555es!
    Keith-
    I would be remiss in not thanking you for steering me to the 555es. It is the best purchase I made in a long time. I appreciate that you share your knowledge with everyone. You may not know it, but you have helped me immeasurably. In the next year I hope to add an Arcam or Rega to my set-up. Thank you! [​IMG]
     
  4. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Pamela, thanks too for the kind words. Glad I could help. I just love talking about this stuff. [​IMG]
     
  5. Paul Johnson

    Paul Johnson Auditioning

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    I also bought myself a C555ES for my bday on the 20th. I've been waiting and waiting to see what Sony was going to do new and thought I'd waited to long. I wanted a solid built performer and was afraid that cheap units were the future at this point.
    Myer Emco had an open box unit that had not even been played yet. The've had several units on back order since 11/8 and do not expect anymore. May have been a sales ploy, but, based on what I'm reading here I made a good choice to pull the trigger now.
    Got everything for $500. Tickled pink. This site and all the postive post from everyone here helped me make my decision. So far I'm very happy with my decision.
     
  6. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Ah, another happy 'C555ES owner. Glad to hear it, Paul. For what it's worth, your dealer probably was not giving you the runaround, as I believe the 'C555ES is history. [​IMG]
     
  7. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    Congrats to all you new 555ES owners. It looks like you may have found some of the last units still in the supply chain. I am very happy that I pulled the trigger on purchasing one of these fine players in November just before they became difficult to find. Thanks to Keith for turning HTF on to this excellent CD changer. It's a big improvement over my 7-8 year old Sony carousel player.

    Today I plan to enjoy my one new SACD received as a Christmas present -- the first Boston album.
     
  8. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Scott, no problem. I'd be curious to hear your impressions of the Boston SACD. Might you be comparing it to the original CD, the gold CD, or both?
     
  9. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    Keith,

    I have the gold CD of the original Boston album, so i should be able to compare the two.
     
  10. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Scott, I have compared the gold CD and the SACD, though I won't tell you the results. I don't want to bias you. [​IMG]
     
  11. ChrisAG

    ChrisAG Supporting Actor

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    For any curious Canadians:

    The 555ES is still available in Canada (I saw one at Bay Bloor Radio in Toronto last week), but at $1499 CDN !!!

    The 222ES is no longer available in Canada, but apparently the US mail order outfits like Oade Bros. still have some, and will ship to Canada.
     
  12. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    Lin, welcome to the club. I myself went through a harrowing period of multiple purchases and exchanged of various players before I settled on the 555ES. I love it.

    I also just got the Boston CD and will spin it tomorrow.
     
  13. Joe Cole

    Joe Cole Second Unit

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    Lin,

    Welcome to the wonderful world of SACD. You will very much enjoy the Jazz at the Pawnshop SACD. But be sure to check out the CD layer as well. It is on its own one of the best CD masterings I have heard. And the SACD layer is even better.

    I wonder why Sony is being so slow on the next group of SACD only players? Maybe the Las Vegas show will have new ones.
     
  14. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    Keith,

    I did a comparison of the two Boston discs yesterday -- stereo SACD vs. gold CD. It took some very careful listening to tell the difference between the two, but the SACD was slightly clearer and imaged a little better (this was not a blind test, though, so there may have been some bias towards wanting the SACD to sound better). However, I do not think that the minor differences would warrant an upgrade, knowing what I know now.

    The closeness in sound quality is probably due to a few things, IMO -- (1) the limitations of the original source, (2) the quality of the gold CD transfer, and (3) the high-quality redbook CD playback performance of the 555ES.
     
  15. Todd Schnell

    Todd Schnell Second Unit

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    Congrats Linn!
    You got a sweet deal too.
    I have been very happy with my 555ES.
    My wife even constantly makes comments on how much better music sounds on our system now.
    Keith has indeed been a great source of info here regarding this player. [​IMG]
    Scott, Keith, & Mike
    I also picked up the Boston/ST SACD.
    The only other version of this recording I owned was on vinyl so I can't compare to any other versions.
    While this SACD is solid, in comparing it to the few other SACDs I have, there is no doubt this one could have been better.
    Still for me I got it cheap, & I needed it on cd anyway.
    A complete remaster done from the original master tapes in both stereo & multi-channel would have been cool though.
    Todd
     
  16. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Scott,
    I agree with you about the sound of the Boston gold CD versus the SACD. The SACD is a bit better, but just a bit. I also agree with your rationale for the similarity, though I also wonder whether the SACD could be improved. I have always wondered if the stereo track could be improved if the title were released as a multi-channel SACD. Perhaps the stereo track could be remixed for a multi-channel release. I have both the stereo-only and multi-channel SACDs of Toto Toto IV, and the stereo track on the multi-channel disc is noticeably better than on the original stereo-only version. I'd love to see if Sony could pull the same thing off with Boston. Even if the stereo track were not improved, I'd love to hear this album in multi-channel. I am not a fan of gimmicky mixes, but Boston's music would work well with instrumentation emanating from all directions. Just my $0.02.
    Todd,
    Glad I could help and glad to hear you are enjoying the 'C555ES.
    You said:
     
  17. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    Keith,

    That's an interesting observation regarding the Toto IV stereo-only vs. multi-channel/stereo releases. Maybe Boston could be improved similarly with a remaster, as you and Todd suggest.

    A remaster would have to offer a huge improvement for me to upgrade again, though. I've already bought Boston enough times -- 8 track, vinyl, gold CD and stereo SACD (I may have owned the original CD at one time, too, but do not remember). I'm getting tired of buying the same albums over and over (I've also owned five versions of Hotel California).

    The record studios complain about lost revenue from music copying and downloading, but they never acknowledge all of us true music lovers that buy several copies of the same music.
     
  18. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Scott, I hear you. I have Boston Boston on:

    * SACD
    * CD (the first CD I ever bought)
    * Sony MasterSound gold CD
    * UK import CD (remastered with the SBM process like the gold CD)
    * LPs (I believe I have two versions, and I know I have the MFSL version)
    * cassette
    * pre-recorded minidisc

    There are several albums that fall in this category for me. Kind of Blue and Hotel California are a couple that come to mind.

    Regarding the sound quality of stereo SACD tracks, you may know that the stereo-only SACD of Toto IV has odd "snaps" in a few places. I don't know where they came from because they do not appear on the standard CD or the MFSL gold CD that I have. Something must have gone wrong in preparing the stereo-only SACD. Fortunately, this was corrected in preparing the stereo track for the multi-channel SACD. In addition, the overall sound of the stereo track was improved on the multi-channel SACD.

    Another example I have read about improvements is the Billie Holiday SACD. Apparently, on the original stereo-only release, some major mistakes were made in the EQ'ing, and the disc sounds awful. Sony had some different folks do the stereo track for the multi-channel release, and it is much better. I don't have either version, but I want to get them for comparison.
     

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