Denon 3910 vs Sony SCD-XA9000ES vs Pioneer DV59-AVi

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by yinan, Nov 9, 2004.

  1. yinan

    yinan Auditioning

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    Hi forum,

    After long time web search, I still could not find the comparison among Denon DVD-3910, Sony SCD-XA9000ED and Pioneer DV59-AVi. Can someone tell me which one has better musical performance if I choose to listen to 2-ch CD and multi-ch SACD? What about the sound quality (neutral, bright, warm, lush), soundstage and etc?

    I am planning to buy either one of these three top models for my musical/opera listening. Your experience sharing will play important role for my decision. Thanks for your feedback in advance.
     
  2. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    My friend is bringing over his XA-9000ES on Thurs. to compare against my Modwright XA-777ES. I've heard the XA-9000ES in his system and the Pioneer in another similar system (both systems had Thiel 2.4s as mains and Bryston SP 1.7s as a pre/pro) very briefly. I hope to hear and see it more perhaps in several weeks. The Sony of course is not a universal player. Lots depends on your tastes and what else is in your system. I've yet to hear a universal player around those price points that did a whole lot for me personally on CD playback (including the Pioneer - the guy who has it does not use it for CD playback and yes it is better than the old 47A I have in my bedroom system on CD but not that much). That's one reason why something like the Linn Unidisk 1.1 ($11k) universal player costs what it does. Separate clocks for each format (e.g. CD, DVD, SACD), etc.

    I think the best way to audition the players is to hear them for yourself with your favorite CDs in a system that you are familiar with. The person who bought the XA-9000ES sold a Linn Ikemi which is a bit under $4k retail. The Sony is much more dynamic and has a deeper/less recessed soundstage than it. He decided to buy the Sony when I bought a 2000ES CD/SACD changer for my secondary basement system and since he was considering the (XA-9000ES) Sony I took it to his house before I even brought it home and left it there for a week. He thought the $399 changer did many things better than his stand along CD player. I have not heard the 3910. I heard the 2900 in a store when helping someone else shop for something and from what I heard was not overly impressed with its CD playback (although the sales person thought it was the best thing since sliced bread), although it was not the type of high end store where one can listen the way I would prefer. That's a problem with many of the places and the way they have things hooked-up thru who knows what kinds of switching. You may want to look at the hi-rez (and digital) area of audioasylum.com and do searches and see if that helps.
     
  3. EricRWem

    EricRWem Screenwriter

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    The Pioneer 59 can be had for under a grand quite easily by now.

    I think it's the best player still, value for your dollar and performance, out of this bunch. It might be the best, period, if you're really trying to watch your budget but you want something really nice.

    The 3910 is a nice player, but it has the Faroudja chip with the same batch of bugs and problems that have plagued those chips for a long time. (Macroblocking, etc.)

    If you're going to upgrade now, in the interim until you get HD-DVD or whatever, I recommend to people to steer clear of Faroudja based players. They've been given enough time and they just can't get it right, regardless of price or brand. It's pretty sad when my Zenith 318, a
     
  4. Drew_W

    Drew_W Screenwriter

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    My vote goes to the Sony. It's a dedicated music making machine, and while it isn't the holy grail in terms of CD performance, its SACD is excellent...as is CD ...better can be had of course, but it's an excellent machine.

    I own a Denon 2900 now and its SACD playback compares to a Sony 222ES from a few years ago. Haven't heard the 59 (in a critical listening environment), although I've been disappointed with other Elite machines in the lineup (I've owned the 45A and 47Ai).

    CD playback on the 2900 isn't bad for a DVD player (in that regard it's actually quite good). I have a Musical Fidelity A3.24 DAC coupled to mine though to boost redbook to the level it should be...

    ...and I'm strongly considering selling both and moving to the Sony 9000ES...
     
  5. EricRWem

    EricRWem Screenwriter

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    Wow. That's fascinating. I admit I don't get the kind of information on the Sony line like I'd like. That's why I only spoke on something that I know about.

    I'd like to read more on these ES units. What little I have heard has been good, and I think its rather telling that all ES products come with a 5 year warranty. That's outstanding! Any good links for me?
     
  6. Rob Kramer

    Rob Kramer Second Unit

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    Sound wise, Sony's (non-ES) upconverting HDMI player really surprised me. Even though no one commented on my review here in this forum, on *another* forum, others commented that they felt the same way.

    I do (would) look forward to trying out an ES model.
     
  7. EricRWem

    EricRWem Screenwriter

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    The Sony s975 got a nice 8/10 review at Cnet. Looks to be a winner in all regards. [​IMG]
     
  8. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    Rob, I saw our very detailed and thoughtful review and did appreciate it a lot. I did not comment on it. While I still have 3 very nice HT systems (yes I'm a junky but not that bad any longer), over time, I've gotten much more into music (yes I am a crazy audiophile) and I do very much look forward to information such as yours that keeps me up to date about newer DVD players, projectors and other HT equipment. Keep up the good work. Don't assume that it was unappreciated at all. With HD DVD perhaps around the corner and will no HDMI or DVI on any of my 3 HD ready TVs, I have not followed much. The upcoverting player I have is currently in my basement (Samsung HD1000 DVD-A/DVD-V) and does so over the component outs since it has no DVI or HDMI. But it's always great to see detailed information for my future use or if someone I know asks for help.

    Eric, I bought my bother the Sony 500 (non-progressive scan) DVD/SACD player a few yrs. back (and then a Toshiba 4800 DVD-A/DVD-V a yr. later) and for the money and time it had quite decent video and decent SACD at the price point. I helped someone put together a system with the old (non-ES) changer (775?) and thought it was decent but not (for me anyway) overly impressed. I bought the 2000ES CD/SACD changer for my basement system (already had he Samsung HD1000) and I tend to think w/o the added video circuitry and whatever power supplies are shared in a machine that plays more formats - e.g. DVD - can't do anything good for the sound - the Sony ES DVD/SACD changer is $200 more than the 2000ES too, there are nice quality DVD players that can be bought for $200 today and while it is an extra piece of equipment, one can always upgrade one sooner than the other too.

    I mainly got the ES model for the 5 yr. warranty. I did not even bring the unit home after the purchase. I dropped it at a friend's house (who is another crazy audiophile) who was thinking about selling his expensive CD only player and buy the top-of-the-line XA-9000ES (which he did and we are going to compare to my modded XA-777ES tomorrow) and after a week when he brought it over he told me overall he liked the $399 changer better on CD than his expensive player (using a 2-channel bypass or analog direct mode from the player thru his preamp) playing CDs. I've found many combo players (DVD/SACD or universal) to be weak on CD playback at least from a crazy audiophile standpoint. Most people are going to be very happy with them and I recognize that if most people came over my house they'd think I be a good candidate for an insane asylum. I have friends who are non-audiophiles and I help them with their systems and they do recognize the quality but have a good deal of fun making fun of all my gadgets, which included everything as silly as a censor in the mailbox to let me know the mail has gotten in, a camera on my front door sent via a wireless 2.4gig device to my kitchen TV, speakers outside, in my office, in the garage and the dining room (in-wall) wired to my bedroom, a driveway censor (which I need to re-install, components in the basement system in the bar wired to accross the room, etc. We have lots of fun with it. There was a story the other day about a new airport security device that sees thru clothing via a low level x-ray and I sent them the story that it might be my next gadget.
     
  9. EricRWem

    EricRWem Screenwriter

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    Phil, you are truly hardcore. [​IMG] And Rob, I also saw your write-up but didn't comment on it since I don't own the player myself.
     

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