C555ES first thoughts...

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by John Tillman, Dec 21, 2001.

  1. John Tillman

    John Tillman Supporting Actor

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    Well first off, this is a large and substantial unit. I had some space allocated on my flexy rack and thought it would sit on top of my RP-91 and accommodate some small switch boxes. Wrong. The 555 muscled its way in there forcing the RP-91 on top of it, leaving no room for the switch boxes. No problem as I’ll just adjust the shelving to give more room, but wow, this is a big unit with a solid build quality to it and I like the carousel.

    Setting up was a snap as I simply stole 6-analog connects from the RP-91 and powered it up. Went to the menu and selected speaker config (5 small w/sub) and selected a redbook CD to start. I tried Dylan’s Love & Theft , which sounded ok but not stellar. Checked my connections and moved on to the multi-channel SACD of Billy Joel:52nd St. OK, sit down, fasten seat belt and hang on, this thing rocked! It was so clear and bright with instruments stepping up into the soundstage from all over the place. His voice was primarily coming the center channel as I just tried to focus on cymbals, drum, horns, piano etc. Everything just came together like I’ve never heard before. How people call this gimmicky is beyond me.

    Next up was Blood, Sweat and Tears 2-channel SACD. If you are not familiar with this, it is basically (11 piece ?) jazz band with a horn section, drums, piano and David C Thomas lead singer. In other words, there’s a lot going on there. I was floored by it. The soundstage created by 2-channel SCAD blew me away. I could not believe the clarity of instruments I was able to pick out. I could not believe how similar the 2-channel soundstage (without a CC) is to the multi-channel soundstage of 52nd St.

    Folks, I also run DVD-A from the RP-91 and it is very nice. But, there is something going on with SACD that is not present with the DVD-A setup. I’ve never thought of my system as bright, but the clarity was quite different to me.

    OK, but I’ve got a problem with regular CD’s. First a little background on my system. I’m using a VSX-27 receiver with a mix of speakers: NHT CC w/super zero rears, Paradigm PS-10 sub, fronts are Snell model-J’s from the mid-80’s. All the speakers use polypropleyne cones so they are timber-matched.

    I used to listen to regular CD’s through a digital connection to the VSX-27 (using the 27’s dacs) but that also meant I was using the sub. I noticed that when playing a regular CD through the analog connections of the 555, the sub was not being used. I was getting tired and had to retire at that point, but I’m puzzled by it. Perhaps the Snell’s are not good enough to cover the entire range with out a sub? But I never thought so before I got into HT and didn't have one. Maybe I missed something in the setup?
     
  2. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    John, I saw your post over on the After Hours Lounge board and posted a reply there. Here is what I wrote:

     
  3. RicP

    RicP Screenwriter

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    John,
    You need to connect the cables to the "2 CH ANALOG" connectors on the 555ES for Redbook CD's and Stereo SACD's.
    I don't know if you're using just the L&R from the 6-channel outputs to playback Stereo SACD's, but if you are...DON'T.
    Run an additional 2 interconnects from the 2 CH ANALOG OUT jacks on the back of the 555 to the CD IN on the VSX-27.
    If you really need full bass management control look into an ICBM from Outlaw. I've found that using the multi-channel outs for stereo cd's left me feeling that something was lacking when compared to the 2CH outs. It just seemed that the bass management wasn't working properly with anything other than Multi-Channel SACD.
    In short...in order to play BOTH Multi-Channel SACD and Redbook CD/Stereo SACD on the 555ES, you need to use eight interconnects. 6 for the Multi-Channel to the 5.1 EXT IN jacks on the reciever, and 2 from the 2 CH ANALOG OUT of the 555ES into the CD IN of the Reciever.
    Trust me, you WILL notice a sound difference.
     
  4. John Tillman

    John Tillman Supporting Actor

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    Thanks Keith,
    I accidentlly posted to the After Hours forum somehow [​IMG].
    Yes, I do have the Blood Sweat and Tears CD which is good. Once I get redbook CD's playing better I'll compare it to the 2 channel SACD and post my thoughts. I've always thought the material to be good stuff, as long as they don't give it constant play on the radio.
    The receiver seems to be in analog by-pass as the 2 channel & multichannel seem correct. But I set the speakers to 5 small w/sub, so when a redbook plays, does it ignore that and go large? It must be, as the Snell's sounded like they were going low as they could with no sub. Musicly, the sound was there, its just that there didn't seem to be much of a soundstage and bass seemed hollow.
     
  5. John Tillman

    John Tillman Supporting Actor

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    OK, you are correct Ric, I was only using the 6 cables. So tonight I'll try what you say. Hey, I didn't know you have to be an electrician to enjoy this hobby!
     
  6. Michael_T

    Michael_T Second Unit

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  7. Chip E

    Chip E Screenwriter

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    "You need to connect the cables to the "2 CH ANALOG" connectors on the 555ES for Redbook CD's and Stereo SACD's."

    Ric, i know your the god of numbers for digital music (injecting humor, relax...) however, you do not need too connect to two channel analog out for two channel SACD....just redbook. The multichannel inputs handle two channel SACD.
     
  8. MikeAF

    MikeAF Stunt Coordinator

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    Chip,

    I should be getting my 555ES in the next couple of hours. I will have 6 analog cables for multi-channel SACD's, but was planning on using the digital out for CD play. Would it be better t have 2 more analog cables and use the 2-channel analog out for CD's or stick with the digital connection? Or will I need to try both and see which one I like better? I don't need to use both connections is that correct? Any other advice or setting up tips as I wait for the FedEx man??

    Thanks,

    Mike
     
  9. RicP

    RicP Screenwriter

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  10. Chip E

    Chip E Screenwriter

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    Mike,
    Congrats on the 555 purchase. Yes, you need to decide which sounds better too you, analog interconnects or coax.. you can use optical too, if ya like. My 555 is connected to a B&K 307 which has real good DAC's IMO. Having said that, i use analog out for Redbook. The 555 is that good. [​IMG]
     
  11. Chip E

    Chip E Screenwriter

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    Lol Ric,

    No problem......
     
  12. MikeAF

    MikeAF Stunt Coordinator

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    Ric and Chip,
    Thanks for the help. I will get two more inteconnects and use the analog outs for stereo CD's and SACD's. Now if only the FedEx guy would show up!![​IMG]
    Mike
     
  13. John Tillman

    John Tillman Supporting Actor

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    Thanks from me too.

    Can't wait to get home and try this before the Ranger/Islander (HD I hope) game starts. Then I'll have till Wednesday to spin every disc I've got.

    MikeAF: When I got home last night my big 555 package from FedEx was waiting for me, plus my kids were watching Castaway. Hope it's there waiting for you.

    Life is good.
     
  14. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Ric, from what I have read, you must use the stereo analog outputs for CD and stereo SACD playback on the 'XA777ES. Apparently, you cannot use the front left and right jacks of the 5.1-channel outputs for stereo sources. It is possible that Sony designed a better analog output stage (shorter path length, less interference, etc.) for the stereo analog outputs and, therefore, designed the player to only play stereo sources through them.
     
  15. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    OK, I bit the bullet and ordered the 555 today from Oade. Talked to a guy there (can't remember his name) who was telling me the differences between Redbook and SACD and was totally getting me pumped. He said he listened to the Roger Waters live SACD (multichannel I believe), the 1812 overature (Multi) and Billy Joel's 52nd Street (Stereo). The way he described the difference in sound makes me want to go to the window and look for the UPS guy already (even though I know it won't get here for a few days).

    Thanks Chip! By the way, Oade confirmed they will soon be performing mods on this unit for tweeks. He said the cost will be about $150-175 to get the sound to be more like the 777, but I doubt I'll go for it. This kind of upgrade alone will seem like going from a Yugo to a Mercedes in my (quickly improving) system.
     
  16. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Evan, congrats.! I find it interesting to hear that Oade Bros. will be performing mods. on the 'C555ES. For one thing, I had no idea that anyone there had that type of background, although I know they fix DAT decks. Not necessarily the same thing. Anyway, Oade Bros. would be first authorized Sony dealer I know of that would be modding SACD players. I wonder how Sony would feel about that. Maybe Sony doesn't care.
     
  17. MikeAF

    MikeAF Stunt Coordinator

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    Okay 555ES users,

    Mine came earlier and is now hooked up minus the 2 channel analog outs because I need to get two more cables tomorrow. I have a question on setup. In my Pioneer receiver I have all speakers set to small so I can use my SV subs in stereo mode. On the Sony should I set the 2 channel playback to 2 channel plus sub or to 2 channel direct? Also, how should I set the multi-channel playback, as I have my receiver set or to MCH Direct? I have Diva Swans 6.1's for mains so will one of the other setting be better? Any advice will be helpful. I hate having to take time to tweak, I just want to set it and enjoy so what is everyone else doing? Thanks.

    Mike
     
  18. John Tillman

    John Tillman Supporting Actor

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    The set is now configured with 6 analog cables going to VSX-27's analog inputs. Then a separate set of analog cables coming from the 555's 2 channel out going to the VSX-27's CD in section.
    So for Redbook or 2 channel SACD, the VSX-27 is set to CD, then stereo. The only problem is lack of decent interconnects. I had to set the 2 channel up with the supplied cables [​IMG]. But the results have solved my problem and I'm now re-discovering some gems such as: Bringing Down The Horse by The Wallflowers and plenty of other stuff. Thanks again to all who have helped.
    Next up is better cabling and a couple of switch boxes, and of course, more SACD's!
     
  19. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    John, so you are finding that CDs sound better via the stereo analog outputs than through the front left and right jacks of the 5.1-channel outputs? Good to know. I've never tried playing stereo discs through the 5.1-channel outputs on the 'C555ES. I have a revealing stereo system and a mid-fi home-theater system in the same room, so from day one, I connected the 'C555ES to the stereo system via the stereo analog outputs and to the A/V receiver via the 5.1-channel outputs. Works great for me.
    You said:
     
  20. MikeAF

    MikeAF Stunt Coordinator

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    Keith,

    I also ordered the Audioquest Diamondbacks when I ordered my player. They are very nice cables and I just ordered another pair for 2 channel analog. I'll have use the cheapo's until they come. Now it's off to enjoy. You all have a great holiday season.

    Mike
     

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