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SACD at a low price, Is sound quality sacrificed?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Trevor Schell, Sep 30, 2001.

  1. Trevor Schell

    Trevor Schell Supporting Actor

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    Hi!,
    I just picked up a single tray SACD player, the Sony SCD-XE670.
    This unit is a Non ES model and retailed at $599 CDN
    A question though. The ES models seem to be priced very much higher than this new non- ES model. I am wondering how significant the sound quality offered from the ES models would be over this non- ES model.?
    Now I have to look for some CD's. [​IMG]
    Thanks,
    [​IMG]
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    Trevor..[​IMG]
    My HomeTheater S.E. Sonically Enhanced
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    [Edited last by Trevor Schell on September 30, 2001 at 11:13 AM]
     
  2. Michael Lee

    Michael Lee Supporting Actor

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  3. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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    Well if you think that a more expensive CD player "sound" better,then it should be true for SACD as well?
    S&V tested the 5 disc version and it's measurments were less then stellar,howevr for the price it was quiet good.[$399.00]
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    "You Hungarians always disagree"
     
  4. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Trevor, where did you get the 'XE670? I was not aware that it is out already. How is the build quality (chassis thickness, stability of the drawer, etc.)? Are the RCA outputs gold-plated? I would think they aren't as Sony usually reserves that for it's ES and bridge series products. I am not at all impressed with the build quality of the SCD-CE775 carousel changer, so I am wondering if the 'XE670 is better.
    I haven't heard the 'CE775, which is the only non-ES SACD player I've seen thus far, but from what I have read, it is not nearly as good as the ES models. As a result, I am looking to get the SCD-C222ES changer for multi-channel SACD. Initial reviews for the 'C222ES on Audio Asylum have been quite positive. Still, most people say the 'CE775 is quite good for the price. One needs to keep the price in mind. I think many of us who have gotten used to the ES SACD players, myself included, have become spoiled by them. One has to expect some sort of drop-off in performance at the price of the 'CE775 and 'XE670.
    Back in February 2000, I bought a Sony CDP-CE535 carousel CD changer for $160. It was a decent changer for the price, but I tired of the sound and replaced it with a CDP-CA80ES carousel changer. The difference in build quality and sound quality in going to the 'CA80ES was huge. I too am curious to find out if the difference between the non-ES and ES SACD players is as substantial.
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  5. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Michael,
    SACDs cannot be played via the digital outputs. No pre-amps or external processors have DSD decoders. With a multi-channel SACD player like the 'XE670, you have to run six cables from the 5.1-channel outputs. You can run two cables from the stereo analog outputs for stereo SACDs and CDs, however.
    Lewis said:
    quote: Well if you think that a more expensive CD player "sound" better,then it should be true for SACD as well?[/quote]
    Lewis, you seem skeptical about the notion that certain CD players sound better than others. I interpreted your statement that way since you placed the word "sound" in quotes. Are you skeptical? I wouldn't blindly say that more expensive players sound better than lesser expensive ones. However, some players definitely sound better than others. I don't mean "better" in a subjective way, which would more aptly be described as one player sounding different than another. I mean a difference that is so significant that one player sounds realistic, while another sounds muffled and uninvolving. I have experienced such a difference between CD players. It is often true that one usually has to spend more money to experience such an improvement, but it may not always be true.
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    [Edited last by KeithH on September 30, 2001 at 03:50 PM]
     
  6. anthony_b

    anthony_b Screenwriter

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    Lewis, the carousel sacd player recieved great reviews in S&V and Home theater mag.... [​IMG]
     
  7. Rutledge

    Rutledge Stunt Coordinator

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    I think the main thing to look for when auditioning a SACD player is to see how they sound on regular CD's. I have heard that the Sony 9000ES does not sound as good on regular CD's as the audio only SACD players.
    I will be staying away from the combination DVD/SACD players for that reason. I think that the video circuitry may be causing problems or possibly they are cheapening both the video and audio sections to offer it at a price.
    I had the 775disc changer on loan last weekend. Unfortunately, I was not familair with the discs that they let me borrow. My reaction to Doug mcLeod's "Unmarked Road"
    SACD was one of sheer amazement.It sounded incredible!
    I am sold. I will be getting a SACD player soon. It will probably be a single disc ES model. Not a 5 disc changer.
    They are too clunky sounding for me.
     
  8. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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  9. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Lewis,
    No problem. I just wasn't sure what you were saying there. No big deal. Sorry for the confusion.
    Rutledge,
    If you want a Sony ES single-disc SACD player, be prepared to spend a fair chunk of change. I believe the SCD-1 stereo SACD player is still available for $3000+ new. The new SCD-XA777ES multi-channel SACD player retails for $3000, and Oade Bros. sells it for $2000. Marantz makes some single-disc SACD players (SA-14 stereo player and SA-12S1 multi-channel player), but they are over $2000 too.
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  10. Trevor Schell

    Trevor Schell Supporting Actor

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    Micheal,,The player has Audio inputs for channel and a seperate set of 5.1 inputs for multi channel SACD.
    Since you can play back CD's the unit has an optical input for this purpose which of course would bypass the Sony's DAC's. However the optical can not be used during payback of SACD's.
    Keith,,I bought this from the Sony Store here in town.
    They had just received them on Friday and had not even brought them out to the floor yet. I asked the salesman about the unit which he was unaware of ,but when checking their computer it had showed that they had three untis arrive to the store. Lucky for me that I asked about it. [​IMG]
    I was waiting for a single tray unit to be released since I am not too crazy about the 5 carasoul units of any kind.
    Unfortunately the ES single tray units available now are ungodly expensive at the moment.
    The build quality of the XE-670 is actually quite good. The tray mechanism is very smooth and quiet. The unit has a nice look to it with a blue light above the tray that indicates when it is in multi-channel playback ,plus the tray has a nice mirrored front with the Sony SACD logo on it.
    You can see it siting on top of my Toshiba SD-9200 in the picture I posted above.
    Regular CD's sound good from what I can tell so far, however I have not done any critical listening or comparisons with my other transports currently in my system.
    I am using a SilverCat audio cable to connect the XE-670 to the Denon.
    I will post more once I do some comparisons.
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    Trevor..[​IMG]
    My HomeTheater S.E. Sonically Enhanced
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  11. John Morris

    John Morris Guest

    Keith: I have almost always been a two channel kind of guy for music. However, with some DVDs, I've also enjoyed the experience of 5 channel music with video. If I buy an older 2 channel SACD CD player, like the 333es, in the future, will I still be able to enjoy newer SACD disks made for the new multichannel SACD format?
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    Take Care,
    merc
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    God Bless America!!!
    [Edited last by John Morris on October 01, 2001 at 02:25 AM]
     
  12. Kevin P

    Kevin P Screenwriter

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  13. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Trevor,
    Thanks for the info. While I was not impressed with the build quality of the 'CE775, I will consider the 'XE670 for around $300 USD instead of the 'C222ES at $575 USD from Oade Bros. I'd like to see the 'XE670 first-hand before doing anything though. I haven't even seen the 'C222ES yet. [​IMG]
    I would like to hear more impressions of the 'XE670 when you get to do some critical listening.
    John,
    Kevin summed up things well. I will just add that all multi-channel SACDs contain and will contain stereo SACD tracks. Inclusion of stereo SACD tracks is part of the multi-channel SACD protocol similar to how all DVDs have to have some sort of Dolby Digital track.
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  14. Trevor Schell

    Trevor Schell Supporting Actor

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    Keith,,
    Here are some close up pictures to give you a better idea on how the 670 looks.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
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    Trevor..[​IMG]
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  15. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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  16. Rutledge

    Rutledge Stunt Coordinator

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    Keith H,
    If the XE-670 retails for $300 then i would think that there would be a ES version of it for around $500 or maybe even less.
    I don't know, just a guess.
    The cycle is really short on these players, January will be here soon and i am sure there will be some announcements coming from Las Vegas.
    I got my first SACD this week, James taylor's "Hourglass",
    unfortunately it is not a hybrid so i won't be able to hear until i get a player.
     
  17. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Rutledge, unfortunately, there is no word of a mid-priced ES single-disc SACD player on the horizon. Sony recently released the SCD-C222ES carousel changer for $800 retail. Oade Bros. sells it for $575. I would love to see Sony make a mid-priced single-disc, multi-channel SACD player as a replacement to the CDP-XA20ES, complete with the brass weight stabilizer. That would be a nice component. The 'XA20ES retailed for $700, and I'm sure Sony could make a single-disc, multi-channel SACD player for that price, or pretty close.
    As for the SACDs, Sony is not making any hybrids as yet. I have Hourglass on CD and SACD. The SACD is truly outstanding (I've only heard the stereo track), but the CD is quite good too. I have all of my Sony SACDs on CD for the car. I also enjoy comparing SACDs to CDs. Since you are undecided as to when you will buy an SACD player, you ought to grab Hourglass on CD. Track 4, "Gaia", is wonderful.
    I certainly agree with you about the short lifespan of some SACD players. Sony released the SCD-C333ES stereo carousel changer in November or December of last year, and by April, I saw someone selling a brand new unit in a sealed box on eBay for $600. Sure enough, I learned within a week that it was being discontinued. All dealers were selling it for $550-600 in April.
    I have been holding off on buying a multi-channel SACD player to see if Sony is going to ramp up its release rate of new software. At present, I am very happy with stereo SACDs, and there aren't enough multi-channel titles out for me to justify the purchase of a player. Of the multi-channel players Sony has out now, the 'C222ES is the one that most appeals to me. It has the right cost/performance ratio for me. Still, I'm not ready to drop $575 for a multi-channel player at this point. I figure I will be rewarded if I wait a few months. By next spring, newer models could be out that will be better and cheaper than the current models. One never knows.
    Alternatively, there should be great deals to be had on the current models when they are discontinued. I bought the 'C333ES for my second system when it was discontinued for $600. It originally retailed for $1200, and the lowest price I had seen for it when it was current was $775 through Oade Bros. Who knows, maybe great deals will be available on the SCD-C555ES multi-channel changer when it is discontinued. It retails for $1700, but Oade Bros. sells it for around $1100. If the price drops to $800 when it is discontinued, I might jump at it.
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