Sony ES SACD owners, which dacs you prefer for redbook CD playback?

Ricky T

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Oct 28, 1999
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I was wondering what Sony ES SACD player owners (333es, 555es, dvp9000es) use for 2 channel redbook playback: sony dacs or digital out to your prepro/receiver. Please state: your sony model, your prepro/receiver model, your preference, and why.

I had an Onkyo 989 and the Sony 333es, and preferred the Onkyo's dacs for 2 channel.
 

KeithH

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I use my SACD players with NAD stereo integrated amps for playback of CDs, so I use the players' DACs. I'm sure people will be all over the map on this depending on the pre/pro or receiver they have and their listening preferences.
 

JoshS

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Jan 23, 2001
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Hey Ricky,

I use the dac in my '333es to feed my Classe integrated amp. The Classe is not digital and I don't have a reciever so I can't comment on the digital out.

Thanks,

Josh
 

Dzung Pham

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Mar 10, 2001
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Not a Sony, but I have a Pioneer DV-47A and use the DACS on my Sunfire TG2. I actually don't hear much difference in sound quality when switching back and forth between the two, but I do like having access to bass management and DSP via the digital. In my mind, if the sound quality is approximately equal, go with the processor's dacs for the added flexibility.

With your Onkyo and Sony, were the differences obvious? Did you do any level-matching?
 

Ricky T

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I always have my radio shack meter handy for all of my comparisons. The differences between the Onkyo and 333es were subtle; my recollection is the Onkyo had a fuller/warmer sound.
 

Evan S

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Nov 21, 2001
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I have a Sony 555ES and I use the digital out to my Anthem AVM-20. Not only do I get the advantages of Bass management using the Anthem (I have bookshelf speakers all around), but honestly it's not even close. The 555 is a great performer, but the sound is MUCH better when using the Anthem DACS. I basically went with the 555 over the lesser models because I wanted the better DACS in the player for SACD reproduction, but I don't use them for Redbook.
 

Joe Cole

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Aug 1, 1999
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For CDs I have my sony xa777es set up both ways with my Krell 7.1. How ever, since I first listened to SACD I seldom use my CD side. It is a toss up so far as to which is better, the sony or the krell for d/a.

The Sony sounds more liquid and the Krell more detailed but a little tiny bit very small amount of harshness.

If you can, hook it up both ways and compare.
 

BruceD

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Apr 12, 1999
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What is the difference between matching analog output levels of competing DACs (SACD player vs prepro) with a volt meter instead of the RS SPL meter?

Can you really get accurate enough with the SPL meter for a true level matched comparison ?
 

John Tompkins

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When I had the denon 4802 and the sony 555es I preferred the denons dac for redbook as it was a little less fatiging then the sonys dac.
 

Ricky T

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Oct 28, 1999
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Bruce,

I don't think one can get to 0.1dB with the Radio Shack, probably ~ 0.5dB. If that's not good enough, then 99% of the little level matching done by forum members is in question.
 

Chip E

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Nov 25, 2000
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I own the 555ES and go analog out from my Denon 5803. I just upgraded my receiver from a B&K 307 and went analog out from that too. I should try the Denon's dac's. In fact, i'll try them today.
 

BruceD

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I still think it would be interesting to compare voltage outputs with a 1kHz sine wave as a source of level matching.
 

Dave Milne

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Jul 2, 2001
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I was very impressed with the DACs in my 9000ES. However, running digital into my Lexicon MC-12 was even better. The soundstage depth improved and the high end had a silkier, more effortless quality. The bass was a toss up: tigher and more analytical with the Lex; a litte fuller and more authoritative with the Sony.

What grinds me is that SACD is only available analog. If I use the analog bypass mode of the Lex, I lose my subs. I'm having to design and build an "analog controller" with active 4th order 60Hz filters to be able to listen to SACDs (with subs) in bypass mode.

The other problem with the 9000ES is that it is not multichannel player. I guess I'll keep holding my breath until a multichannel SACD player with FireWire digital output hits the market and Lexicon provides an MC-12 upgrade for FireWire input.
 

Andrew_B

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Jul 30, 2000
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I've got a Sony M555-ES (not SACD but the redbook DACs are likely the same) and I prefer the sony's DACs to my Denon 3802. The difference is subtle, but I like the improved detail that the Sony provides. While the DACs on the Denon do not sound horrible, the midrange does seem a bit smeared when compared to what my M555-ES is putting out.
 

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