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Review-SACD 222ES and SVS 25-31....

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by rodneyH, Oct 7, 2001.

  1. rodneyH

    rodneyH Supporting Actor

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    OK, last weekend I got a few new toys. I wanted to wait and listen before I posted my thoughts.
    1. SONY SACD 222ES got from Oade bros for $595 shipped (MSRP $800), it was double boxed and everything got here in perfect condition.
    BUILD quality-Good, but not great. It is a little lighter than I thought it would be. Actually, the buttons and feel don't feel quit as nice as my Technics DVD-A (A10). The clunking of the carosel is a little annoying, I have never had a carosel player for that reason, but unless I was willing to buy the 777 or scd-1 ($3500-$5000) or wanted the cheaper non-ES sacd player, I had to get a "changer". I would give it a 7-8/10 (the Technics A10 would be a 8-9/10).
    Sound quality (more important to me). Sounds just like I expected (my dad has a 9000ES, so I am familiar with the sound). SACD is amazing, but unlike the hardcore SACD (and anti DVD-A guys), I don't think it is all that much different from 24 bit dvd-a. Obviously this isn't a FACT since I don't have any software that is the same in DVD-a and SACD (I don't think anything is available yet). The closest thing I have to compare is the demo disc given with the A10 and some SACDs that my dad owns, in both of these discs you can hear so much detail in the horns (you here the actual air/breathe passing thru the instriment, and the same with drums, you don't just hear a "tii" you hear "TTTTTttttIIIIIIIiiiiiiiii" you hear the stick initially strike the drum/cymbol and it carrys on and on. I guess the best word would be "DETAIL" and SMOOOOOTH. I LOVE SACD, but I think that DVD-A has much to offer as well (thats why I bought both, instead of fighting the issue, like so many spend so much time doing on the AA website). BTW, 222 plays cd, cd-r and cd-rw as well-I like this player!! I bought it instead of the great deals on the 333ES because I want to ability to listen to wulti-channel SACD, and I hear the D-A converters on the 222 are FAR superior than the 333 ans even the old 555 (I don't know??)
    2. SVS-25-31 (actually that name is a little deceiving, more on that is a second). I ordered it and got it in a timely manner, boxed very well (but my top 15" speaker grill is slightly bent in, I will deal with this later). Let me start by saying that I told myself that I would NEVER ever order speakers on the internet (without hearing them), I actually still feel this way for mains, center, and surround speaker, but a sub seems to be a little more "safe" since the characteristics aren't as different as what mains can provide. As some of you know, I was considering a few different subs (ACI Titan, Adire audio Dharma, and later the REL strata III). I am much more into music than HT, and I had 2 subs before (1 M&K and another old audio-pro that uses 2 8" drivers in a push-pull configuration and is very musical, but a HUGE box) I only wanted 1 sub (I am in a fairly small room, and HATE have so many speakers around). I was at first thinking the 20-39 would be the perfect solution, but then I heard people talking about the 25 having slightly more "punch" and perhaps being a more musical sub. When I printed every single page from SVS's website (and highlighted the thing like 2-3X), I realized something, the 25 still goes to 20Hz and below, and it really only "drops off" about 2-3 db at that frequency. I also heard about a "custom port" that SVS can through in the 25 to tune it to 22Hz (22 isn't much different than 20 to me). And after considering this, and the fact that I was able to find a great deal on a 250w sub amp at partsexpress.com for ONLY $125, AND, that I can CHANGE to x-over network by changing 2 resistors and custom tune it to my needs. After e-mailing Tom at SVS a few times and parts express, I came up with what I/we thought would be the best "bass boost" range for my 22Hz SVS. I ended up boosting 3 db at 20-23 Hz.
    When I got the the speaker and amp (on the same day), I started my project (changing 2 resistors and hooking it all up). the sound-WOW, WOW, WOW, you guys that have small rooms and still think you need 2 svs's or and ultra must be deaf (TIC)!!! I calibrated everything, and I have the level in my pre-amp as LOW as it will go (-10) and the level on the amp is ONLY 1/3 of the way up. This puts it at 73 db, when calibrating all my other speaker at 75 db (my buddy is coming over tomarrow with 2 set up discs, so I will do more fine tuning then). The thing that I LOVE about this sub is the fact that I already have "tower speakers" that are supposed to go down to about 45Hz. I like to run them in "large" mode, the sound I felt like I was getting with my old set up is that I was getting some exagerated bass (probably) at about 50-100 Hz (even with my sub cross-over set at 40 Hz), it just seemed like all the mid bass from all my speakers were summed up, and too loud at certain frequencies, but not loud enough down real real low (the frequency didn't extend low enough, even though M&K claims it is flat to 20Hz). The SVS, just seemed to start were my mains left off, it blended perfectly. I hear things in music and HT that I have never heard before, it is soo smooth. Previously, I never thought that a sub could sound this good for both HT and Music. I couldn't be more happy, the amazing thing is that I bought this sub for ONLY $360 and the AMP for only $125, I thank the SVS guys for keeping this thing affordable and it can easily compete with subs $1000-$2000. rating-for cost 10/10, overall rank 9/10 (I only give it a 9, because I think that someone somewere has a better sub available for $3,000 to $20,000 that sounds better, but to me, that is foolish). Tomarrow, I should have some more opinions after I do more tweaking.
    TOM, thanks for answering all my e-mails, customer service means a lot to me, and without you answering all my q's, I would have probably ended up with a different sub (that would have been a mistake).
    Same for Partsexpress, they ROCK, thats the main reason I ended up with their sub, instead of a Adire sub, they were sooooo much help. (a little story, I asked them to include the 2 resistors with the amp, on the phone, then the tech that I was e-mailing asking questions too, said that he will send the resistors out as well, just to be sure I get them, all this for no additional charge, talk about great service).
    my system-
    SONY sacd-222ES
    Technics DVD-A-A10
    JVC super hifi VCR
    Parasound AVC-1800 pre/pro
    Rotel 976 amp (3 X 150)
    NAD 214 amp (2 X 80)
    B&W CDM7NT
    B&W CDMCNT
    B&W 601 (rears)
    SVS 25-31 (or should I call it a 22-31????)
     
  2. rodneyH

    rodneyH Supporting Actor

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    btw, at the end of my search, I was looking at everything on the internet. My wife saw me looking at the Titan II LE (it is well over $1000) and the REL (also about $1700), and I thought that I really liked to look of these 2 speakers and they got great reviews. I thought my wife would say something "like no way are you going to spend that much on a sub" (even though I just sold over $1000 worth of my old audio stuff). Instead she says, "buy what you want, I want you to be happy and not feel like you always have to change to something better". At this point I was very close to getting the Titan, but after learning of the SVS 45 day return policy, I thought i would try it first. Needless to say, SVS isn't getting this thing back. I was willing to spend so much more on the sub, but now I am saying, no way, I just saved myself a tone of cash (actually I would also consider getting an ultra, but I am so pleased with this, there is NO way I need an ultra). THANKS AGAIN svs.
     
  3. Jeremy Hegna

    Jeremy Hegna Supporting Actor

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    Congrats on the new toys. Thanks for the review on the SACD "sound." I've been thinking more and more about stepping into one or the other soon...I still think I will wait on a bit more software.
    Just curious...what album(s) did you listen to on the 222, SACD 'wise?
    SVS is surely the king of the hill [​IMG] I've had a single 20-39 since the beginning of the summer and it lights up the house every chance I get. It's hard to put into words the impact of one of these things...one must hear to appreciate, I suppose [​IMG]
    Jeremy
     
  4. rodneyH

    rodneyH Supporting Actor

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    I don't remeber the exact albums names, these are the bands-Dave Brubek, Cinncinati pops orchestra (broadway something??), and Mark Levinson (red something?).
     
  5. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Rodney, I found your review of the 'C222ES particularly interesting, as I am debating getting it or the 'C555ES for multi-channel SACD and for a quality CD changer. One note about the DACs, however. The following thread on Audio Asylum suggests that the 'C555ES has better DACs than the
    'C222ES.
    http://www.audioasylum.com/forums/hi...ges/39438.html
    Pay particular attention to Ric Schultz's reply. Although the 'C555ES is an older model (released in April), it is believed to have the best DACs Sony is using in its SACD players.
    Have you compared the CD playback quality of the 'C222ES relative to any other CD players? As I said, I am looking for a better CD changer too. I am looking to upgrade from a Sony CDP-CA80ES carousel changer.
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  6. Chip E

    Chip E Screenwriter

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    keith, i've got my eye on the 555ES too... If you remember back about 6 months ago, i asked your help about decideing on a cd changer. I bought the CA80ES. I then got a bug up my but and thought i wanted a mega changer so, i traded in the CA80ES for a M333ES mega changer. This was a mistake! I'm too freaking lazy to do all the work for this thing!..lol. Anyway, i want a good quality 5 disc changer and have my eye on the 555ES as i don't feel the 222ES is going to be built as good as i want. I want an ES changer built like my DVP-S9000ES dvd player. (like a tank!..weighs 28 pnds). I really liked the CA80ES...shoulda never got rid of it.
    - Chip
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  7. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Chip, my opinion of the 'CA80ES has changed a bit as I have upgraded front-end components and speakers in my main system in recent months. As far as mid-priced CD changers go, the 'CA80ES certainly is not bad. However, it doesn't hold a candle to my Ah! Njoe Tjoeb 4000 and SCD-777ES single-disc players in my main system. Now, that is not really surprising, but I would like to have a carousel changer that at least closes the gap. I feel it is possible to do that with the 'C222ES or 'C555ES.
    I bought Totem Arro floorstanding speakers for my main system about two months ago, and they are incredibly revealing. The difference between the 'CA80ES and Ah! players is striking. CDs come to life with the Ah! The same is true for the '777ES. Anyway, I feel either the 'C222ES or 'C555ES would not only give me multi-channel SACD, but also a first-rate carousel CD changer. I don't use the 'CA80ES too much since the sound falls short of the single-disc players, but I like the convenience of a carousel. The 'CA80ES is good for casual, background listening, but I would like a carousel changer that will serve as a more serious player. A multi-channel SACD changer doesn't have to be as good a CD player as my single-disc players, but again, closer in quality than the 'CA80ES.
    As for which multi-channel SACD changer I will get, I am undecided. I am sure the 'C222ES is a better CD player than the 'CA80ES. Sony is using newer and better DAC technology in its SACD players. However, the 'C555ES is a beautiful player. It uses better DACs than the 'C222ES, which is a consideration for me. I have the 'C333ES stereo SACD changer in my second system, so I am very familiar with the build quality of the 'C555ES. Although I haven't seen the 'C222ES firsthand, I realize it is not a rock like the 'C555ES. I figure the 'C222ES is probably similar buildwise to the 'CA80ES, which isn't bad. In the end, it comes down to how much I want to spend. $575 for the 'C222ES from Oade Bros. is a nice price, and the 'C555ES would cost at least twice as much. I would love to be able to find the 'C555ES for around $1000. That's the most I am comfortable spending. However, rather than giving in, so to speak, and getting the 'C222ES, I may wait awhile. The 'C555ES has been out since April and may be discontinued in the next few months, so maybe there will be good deals to be had on it.
    ------------------
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    [Edited last by KeithH on October 07, 2001 at 05:20 PM]
     
  8. Jack Gilvey

    Jack Gilvey Producer

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  9. Chip E

    Chip E Screenwriter

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    Keith, i'd be willing to bet that in a couple months the 555ES will be discounted nicely..
    - Chip
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  10. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Chip, I hope you are right about the 'C555ES. I regularly peruse the Hi-Rez Highway message board on Audio Asylum, which is dedicated to SACD and DVD-Audio. It is rare to encounter anyone there who has the 'C555ES. I am getting the impression that it is not selling well. Now, Audio Asylum draws an audiophile crowd, meaning that the primary interest is two-channel audio. So, there are many owners there of the SCD-1, SCD-777ES, and SCD-C333ES. A lot of the people there seem to have no home theater set-ups or relatively modest ones, so many of them either aren't interested in multi-channel SACD or are looking for lesser expensive models. The new SCD-XA777ES is popular over there, but that is an audiophile piece. Otherwise, I see a fair amount of discussion there about the SCD-CE775 and 'C222ES.
    So, I don't see many owners of the 'C555ES. Part of this could also be due to the precarious time at which it was released. When the 'C555ES was released in April, Sony had no multi-channel SACDs out yet, and the future of multi-channel SACD was not clear. (There still aren't many multi-channel SACD titles out.) Also, the 'C333ES was discontinued in April, and many people bought it then for $550-600. That left few people interested in the 'C555ES at $1200-1700, in my opinion. Now it seems that many on Audio Asylum are turning their attention to newer multi-channel models. Anyway, if dealers have a large inventory of the 'C555ES to blow out when it is discontinued, there could be great deals out there.
    I went into a Tweeter store in West Windsor, NJ, today (near Princeton) to see the 'C555ES. Of course, they had it on display with a $1700 price tag, full retail. Out of curiosity, I asked if they had it in stock, and I was told that they don't keep the player on hand. My guess is that they have it in their regional warehouse. I'm sure they would have it in their stockroom if there were any semblance of demand for it. Frankly, I think $1700 is ludicrous for the 'C555ES, despite how good it is.
    By the way, Tweeter didn't even have the 'C555ES set up for multi-channel SACD. They were only using the analog stereo outputs for demos. [​IMG]
    ------------------
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    [Edited last by KeithH on October 07, 2001 at 10:44 PM]
     
  11. rodneyH

    rodneyH Supporting Actor

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    As I understand it, the XA777es (the replacement for the older 777es) is not built nearly as well as that old 777es, but the sound quality is supposed to be better. I am not sure how the 222 compares to the 555, I think that what I meant to say was that it is far better than the 333 and 9000. Some are saying that the DAC have come a long way since those players were released, and it is substantially better, I thought I read on AA that someone had a 222 and a 555 and the 222 sounded as good, if not better (i could be wrong, perhaps it was a different site), either way, some of those guys seem to know their stuff and know all about the new DACs and appearently they are the real deal.
    As far as redbook playback, I haven't done enough comparisons yet. Actually one of the main reasons I origionally got the Technics A10 was that it was supposed to be a very good CD player as well (I must agree, certainly not compared to what the guys on AA are use to, but compared to the Marantz, Rotel, Yamaha, sony, and pioneer players that I am use to, It compares very very well).
     
  12. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Rodney, I did not see anyone on Audio Asylum comparing the 'C222ES and 'C555ES. However, the first person to post a review of the 'C222ES there (there haven't been many reviews of it) also owns the 'C333ES stereo SACD changer. He claimed that out of the box, the 'C222ES was better than the 'C333ES with both CDs and stereo SACDs. That's saying a lot given the low price of the 'C222ES. I haven't come across anyone who has more than one multi-channel SACD player.
    From what Ric Schultz said on Audio Asylum, the 'C555ES should be better than the 'C222ES, given the better build quality and DACs of the former. At more than twice the retail price of the 'C222ES, the 'C555ES should be better, and significantly better. I still wonder, however, if the 'C555ES's performance justifies the significantly higher price than the 'C222ES.
    ------------------
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  13. rodneyH

    rodneyH Supporting Actor

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    Keith, I think you are right. I went to AA last night to try and find the posts that I thought I read, and I couldn't. It could be from another forum, but I didn't want to spend all night trying to find a post of 1 persons opinion. It would make sense to me that the 555 would be slightly better, since it is a newer generation player. The encouraging hing for me it the sound Vs the 333 and 9000 (at a lower price MSRP of course). I was actually considering the 555, but couldn't justify it (like many have talked about).
     
  14. Trevor Schell

    Trevor Schell Supporting Actor

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    Is the Sony C222ES exclusive to the U.S.?
    I can not find any information on this unit on the Canadian Sony website.
    For some reason I can not log onto the U.S. webpage.
    Thanks,
    BTW,,Nice reveiws Rodney.
    ------------------
    Trevor..[​IMG]
    My HomeTheater S.E. Sonically Enhanced
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  15. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Trevor,
    I am not aware that the 'C222ES is only being marketed in the US. Maybe it just hasn't arrived in Canada yet. It only came out in the US in mid-to-late September.
    How do you like the 'XE670? I still haven't seen it in the US.
    Rodney,
    I called Oade Bros. this morning to get their current prices on the the 'C222ES and 'C555ES. They are selling the 'C222ES for $600 delivered ($575 + $25 shipping to me in Delaware) and the 'C555ES for $1075 delivered. I asked the salesman there, whom I have had good discussions with many times, if the improvement in performance of the 'C555ES over the 'C222ES justifies the $475 difference. He said no. He said the 'C555ES is better, but that the improvement is "subtle". He said the improvement is there, but not significant.
    Now, I won't take what the salesman at Oade Bros. said as anything written in stone. Besides the fact that it is only an opinion, I don't know if he A/B'd the two players directly or if he formulated an opinion going on memory of what he heard from one of the players at a different time. Furthermore, even if he A/B'd them directly, I don't know what equipment (amp and speakers) he used. If he was using lackluster equipment anywhere in the chain or had bad acoustics, he may not have gotten a good impression of what the players can do. I found his comments interesting, nevertheless.
    I do find it interesting, also, that people are finding the 'C222ES better than the 'C333ES. The 'C333ES is a very good CD and SACD player.
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  16. rodneyH

    rodneyH Supporting Actor

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    Keith, very interesting that a "salesman" would say something good about the cheaper unit (usually they make more $$ on the more expensive unit), so that is pretty cool. I continue to hear great things about the 222ES, I like mine.
    btw, I was qouted the same amount, but I really got it for $570 + $25 shipping (So I saved $5). I was trying to find a good time to purchase all my new goodys, then the sept 11 thing happened and I told myself that I am going to support the economy and BUY all of them that same week.
     
  17. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Rodney, yeah, I would expect a lot of dealers to push the more expensive player outright, but Oade Bros. is very reputable. I've gotten information like the 'C222ES vs. 'C555ES from them before.
    Interestingly, I noticed last night that Crutchfield is now listing the 'C555ES on its web site for $1200, not $1700. $1700 is the retail price for the 'C555ES, and Crutchfield always sells Sony ES products at full retail. I called Crutchfield to confirm that $1200 is the correct price, and I was told that they just dropped the price a few days ago. I then asked the salesman if the 'C555ES were being discontinued, and he said he had no information to that effect. He agreed with me, however, that a price drop like that usually means a component is being phased out. All he could tell me is that Crutchfield has low stock on the 'C555ES and that he does not know if they will restock it. It is possible that Crutchfield decided to stop carrying the 'C555ES and has dropped the price to blow out remaining inventory, but I doubt it. Usually significant price drops such as this one are a result of the manufacturer dropping the price to the seller, usually because an item is being discontinued. We shall see.
    I wouldn't pay $1200 for the 'C555ES anyway, but I am encouraged to see Crutchfield dropping the price. That could mean that better deals will be available from Oade Bros. and J&R Music World down the road. Currently, a reputable dealer on eBay is selling new 'C555ES units with a $999 reserve. I'll continue watching the price of this player.
    By the way, the Crutchfield salesman I spoke with last night said that he had compared the 'C222ES and 'C555ES at their retail store in Virginia, and like the salesman at Oade Bros., he said the players were similar. He said the 'C555ES was better, but the difference was not substantial. Of course, I don't know what equipment he was using for the demo. He said that the 'C555ES would be the better choice for audiophiles and those with very good speakers. That sounds reasonable to me.
    I am still a bit torn between the 'C222ES and 'C555ES, but if I find a really good deal on the 'C555ES, meaning $800-900, I will go for it. I would still like to see the 'C222ES firsthand though.
    ------------------
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    [Edited last by KeithH on October 09, 2001 at 08:34 AM]
     

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