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Comments on Sony XA777ES vs SCD 555ES

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by KevinYS, Apr 3, 2002.

  1. KevinYS

    KevinYS Extra

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    I am getting ready to get a new CD player for my backup system, where lately I am spending just about all my available listening time in. Since I don't own any SACD at this point yet, the redbook CD performance will be a very important factor in my decision making

    In the last few months, I have been reading many positive feedback about the SACD, so I figure this time when I upgrade the CD player, I am going to look into the SACD player so I can try out this new format. From all of the information I have gathered, seems the XA777ES is the way to go, but I am wondering if anyone have first hand experience comparing the XA777ES vs SCD555ES.

    If there are other players that you think will be a good choice, please let me know.

    Your input is very much appreciated.

    Kevin
     
  2. Robert Franklin

    Robert Franklin Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey Kevin. I too am experimenting with what you are going through. I have already bought a few titles by Miles Davis and I plan to buy Peter White sometime this month. I just wanted you to know that it is basically what you want in a player, and how much money are you willing to spend. I heard the 555ES at the Show in New York last year. I was very impressed with the sound. I know that I am going to get the 555ES later this month. Actually, the best time to get one of these machines is NOW!!! Last year the 555ES was selling for $1,600, now the price that I found was $499.99 at JandR Music World in NY. They are a web-based site so just go to the site and go ahead and order yourself one like I did. Believe me, if you have good quality speakers, you will definitely hear all of the advantages of 2.822 MHz sampling. DVD-Audio, 192khz at 24bit, but that varies from title-to-title.

    I hope that you make a decision and enjoy whatever you decide!!

    Robert
     
  3. KevinYS

    KevinYS Extra

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    Robert,

    $499 is a great price. Thank you for the infomation. Do you by any chance know the redbook CD performance on 555ES?

    Kevin.
     
  4. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Robert,

    J&R quoted me $600 for the 'C555ES last week, but your post intrigued me. So, I just got off the phone with J&R, and they again told me $600, not $500. Anyway, $600 is a great price for the 'C555ES. It's a lot of player for the money. I thought I got a good deal last October when I bought it from OneCall for $800.

    Kevin,

    The 'XA777ES would be a wonderful player to have in a back-up system. If you don't mind my asking, what do you have in your main system?

    I have the 'C555ES and the '777ES (not the 'XA777ES) in my main system, and while the 'C555ES is an excellent component, the '777ES is definitely better. I enjoy listening to both players, but the '777ES is on another plane. I've listened to the 'XA777ES, but not alongside the 'C555ES. However, I have no doubts that the 'XA777ES would beat the 'C555ES. It comes down to how much you want to spend. For $600, the 'C555ES is a great CD and SACD player. Of course, for $2000, the 'XA777ES should be better, and it is.

    So you know, don't feel as though you have to spend $2000 to experience the benefits of SACD. The 'C555ES makes the benefits of SACD obvious. I have compared the sound quality of SACDs through the 'C555ES to the corresponding CDs through the '777ES, and SACDs through the 'C555ES sound better. Again, the '777ES is the better component, but the 'C555ES is very capable.
     
  5. KevinYS

    KevinYS Extra

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    Keith,

    What do I have in my main system right now? Nothing! I move the transport and the BelCanto DAC-1 to the backup system for now, since I have been spending almost all my available listening time in there for now, and looks like a minimum of another 6 month if not longer. I have been slowly working on upgrading that system in the past few month, and I want to make sure I can get a good CD player to go in to that system. The reason I am also looking at the XA777ES as a possible choice is if it works out good, then later on I can just move it down to my main system.

    Now, I just called J and R Music about 10 minutes ago also, the price quote I received over the phone was $499.00?? I am wondering what is the correct information now???

    Thank you for the reply, and what a tough decision to make over these two model.

    Kevin
     
  6. Robert Franklin

    Robert Franklin Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey Keith, I just wanted you to know that I just called J&R about 1 minute ago, and I already have an order number. When I placed a call to Customer Service and gave them my order number, they verified the price for me was $499. If you total the shipping cost it came to $522.94.

    I just wanted you to know that I wasn't trying to pull a joke on anyone. I love this forum, and I love to chat about home theater equipment all day if I could. I would NEVER steer anyone wrong on this site. Even though I don't know anyone on this forum personally, I respect everyone just the same as if I did.

    So Kevin, I hope that they extend the same amount of savings to you as they provided for me. I hope that you get that sucker and have a ball!!

    RF
     
  7. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Robert,

    I'm sorry if you thought I was questioning your motives or was accusing you of playing with us. I had just not heard of the 'C555ES being available for $500 from J&R. I believe you. However, I wonder what J&R is doing. It is unusual for them to vary with price quotes. At most, they will give you the standard price quote and then go lower if you ask for a better price or if they sense that you are going to buy elsewhere. Anyway, $600 is a great price for the 'C555ES, and $500 is a steal. Just one week ago, the best price on the 'C222ES, the step-down model from the 'C555ES, was $525 from Oade Bros.

    Kevin,

    O.K. I get it. What are you using as a transport to the Bel Canto DAC? Anyway, my feeling is that the 'C555ES is definitely worth considering for $500. The 'XA777ES is a beautiful player, but it is $2000. If you can spend $2000, go for it. Either way, I think you will be happy. Both players are very good.
     
  8. KevinYS

    KevinYS Extra

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    Keith,

    I am using a modified Pioneer DVD player as a transport into a modified Bel Canto DAC. I am hoping to know some more regarding the 555ES CD section performance. Can you describe what is your sonic impression of the player? Thank you.

    Robert,

    At that price, I may just go with the 555ES and try it out. I guess I can always go back and get the XA777ES later.

    Decisions decisions...

    Kevin
     
  9. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Kevin, I have read good things about the Pioneer DVD player modified by Stan Warren. Is that what you have?
    The 'C555ES gives a detailed sound with CDs. The soundstage is wide and layered. At times, I find the highs to be a bit harsh, but I feel some CDs just err to that side. My Ah! Njoe Tjoeb 4000 tube-based player ($579 from www.upscaleaudio.com) is a bit warmer in the vocals, but I don't feel it is as detailed either. The sound is a bit muddy from the Ah! When I switch from the Ah! to the 'C555ES, I find the 'C555ES to be more lively. It just seems like there is more going on with the 'C555ES, whereas the Ah! can be a bit dull.
     
  10. Robert Franklin

    Robert Franklin Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey Keith, I know that you guys probably wouldn't question my motives or doubt me or perhaps anyone else that replies to the questions and answers that are posted on a daily basis.

    What I think is happening is two-fold. On the hardware marketing side, I believe Sony is going to come out with something newer and better perhaps that would make it logical to sell the players at a lower cost. On the software side, I believe Sony is doing this to aggressively promote the sound benefits of the SACD format. When I attended the Stereophile "Hi-Fi Show" in New York last year, the Sony representative stated that Sony and all of the lables that signed on the do the SACD format would be releasing new titles on the format virtually every month. I'm not sure what Phillips is doing as far as promoting their machines. Also, there is no way to do a direct digital-to-digital copy onto cdr/rw. So, if you convince the other record companies that as more players are being sold, they would want to invest in placing their valuable collection on the SACD format. Just my opinion of course. Let's look at it this way: Universal Music Group one of the biggest conglomerate record-producing and distribution labels in the industry was interested in DVD-A. As of late last year they retracted their interest in DVD-A and signed on SACD. Why? Higher quality sound (2.822 MHz/s) versus 192Khz/24 bit [with DVD-A that depends on the producer]. And a more robust copy protection scheme. With DVD-V, since the code was cracked, the same basically applies to DVD-A. If you decide that you want to upgrade your computer and put in a DVD-R/RW/RAM. You can do what one person I know does with DVD-V. Dump files to your 80G hard drive and transfer them back onto a DVD-R/RW/RAM or MP3 encoded CD-R/RW. I'm not giving anyone any ideas, but if you look at the history of being able to copy content for the past 30 or 40 years, that would lead me to believe that SACD is a clear winner.

    I know that I said more than what I needed to say, but I feel as though it needed to be said.
     
  11. KevinYS

    KevinYS Extra

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    Keith,

    No, I don't have the Stan Warren's modification. I did the modification myself. I like the description you have on the 555ES, and if I can have the $500 price tag, I might just pull the trigger. Do you have any experience or knowledge with SACD player using tube amplification? Again your comments are very much welcome.

    Thank you.

    Kevin
     
  12. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Kevin, I have not used an SACD player with tubes, though I hope to soon. My older brother had been using my parents' vintage Marantz tube preamp (model no. 7, I think) and tube power amp (model no. 8B, I think) for many years, but he gave them to me recently. They are at my parents' house, so I haven't gotten to use them yet. Anyway, people on Audio Asylum have told me that SACD through tubes is an experience. Some have also told me that I am in for treat once I get the Marantz gear set up. We shall see.
     
  13. KevinYS

    KevinYS Extra

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    Keith,

    Did they have positive response about using the tube amp or it was just different? Once I decide on the SACD model, I will be connecting it to a pair of SET mono block directly, so I hope it will be a good match. Right now, with what I have, the performance is great, and I am hoping the SACD will be even better.

    Kevin
     
  14. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Kevin, sorry I wasn't more specific. The responses I got were positive in regards to SACD with tubes. Of course, like anything, it depends on the particular components used. I'm sure there are some cases where solid-state amplification with SACD will best tubes. In any case, I am quite certain that SACD will shine on your system.*
    * SACD will shine, but it won't sound bright! [​IMG]
     
  15. KevinYS

    KevinYS Extra

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    With some of the SONY SACD player coming down with price, I am wondering if the XA777ES will be lowering its price as well. Any news?

    Kevin
     
  16. Chris Benson

    Chris Benson Extra

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    Robert,

    I think you got a very good deal on the 555ES. I took the plunge this morning and bought the player from Oade Bros for $600. When I read your post about the $499.00 price I called J&R Music world and was quoted the $600 price.

    KeithH,

    Thank You for the suggestion on the Sony 555es. I should have mine next week. Now off to go buy some music.

    -Chris Benson
     
  17. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Kevin, I've been wondering the same thing myself. The 'XA777ES is the only SACD player in Sony's lineup that hasn't seen a price drop. I had an e-mail discussion with Jim Oade of Oade Bros. about this back in January because there were rumors flying around the CES that Sony was going to drop the retail price. He said that the positive reviews of the 'XA777ES and resulting demand had precluded a price drop. One thing that could cause Sony to drop the retail price would be an excessive inventory. However, I would think that Sony is producing far fewer 'XA777ES units relative to the 'C555ES and cheaper models. If Sony is doing a good job in meeting the demand for the 'XA777ES, but not exceeding it, then they may see no reason to drop the price. Of course, if Sony dropped the retail price from $3000 to $2000, they would attract more consumers. Anyway, I always see that Crutchfield is out of stock on the 'XA777ES, which suggests that demand is high and/or supply is low. That is particularly noteworthy because Crutchfield sells the 'XA777ES for $3000, while Oade Bros. sells it for $2000.
     
  18. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Chris, no problem. Glad to help. Congrats. on your purchase. Once you get the 'C555ES, please do post your impressions.
     
  19. KevinYS

    KevinYS Extra

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    Keith,

    I think what I will do tomorrow is to find out if I can get that $499 quote from J and R again, since I got that over the phone today, I hope I will have it again tomorrow. If that works out, I am going to get the 555ES for now and see how I like it, especially with the SET. Since there are no immeadiate possible price drop on XA777ES, I don't feel there are much for me to loose on the 555ES, and later, if 555ES is working out good in my system, I will go back to get the XA777ES.

    Thank you for the information.

    Kevin
     
  20. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Kevin, no problem. Glad to help. If you do pick up the 'C555ES, do post your thoughts. Hope you can get it for $500.
     

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