Sony SCD-222ES - Anyone think mods are advisable?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by ChrisAG, Oct 24, 2002.

  1. ChrisAG

    ChrisAG Supporting Actor

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    I don't have this unit yet, but it is the best player I can get in my budget of about $350 US. I realize the superior performance of the 555ES can be had for only about $250 more, but shipping to Canada and the extra taxes involved jack the difference up beyond a comfortable level ($1100 CDN total vs. $700 CDN). So, my plan at this point is to get a stock 222ES and possibly have it modified sometime in the future as monetary resources allow (if I find the Redbook CD performance of the 222ES to be lacking, that is - it may be fine as is). I'd rather not get the C-775, as I prefer the gold-plated jacks and better build quality of the ES model.

    Has anyone had their 222ES modified, and if so, is the performance increase worth the effort?
     
  2. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Chris, I don't own the 'C222ES, but I have used it. For the money, it is an excellent player. However, when compared to the 'C555ES, it is readily apparent, at least to me, that there is room for improvement in the 'C222ES. Of course the 'C555ES costs more, but it is a decidedly better player in my opinion. In any event, someone you should talk to about having mods. done on the 'C222ES is Matthew Anker, who is a member of this forum. He has done mods. to the 'CE775 and 'C222ES. Most of his work has seemed to focus on the 'CE775, but from everything I have read, there are many similarities under the hood between the two players. So, many, if not all, of his mods. apply to both models. For more information on Matthew's work, go to www.sacdmods.com . Perhaps Matthew will jump in this thread as well.
     
  3. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Chris, one more thing. I definitely prefer the 'C222ES to the 'CE775 for the reasons you mentioned as well as relative sound quality. However, my concern about having an ES component modified is that you give up the nice warranty (three years in Canada). Just give that some thought before having an ES player modified.
     
  4. ChrisAG

    ChrisAG Supporting Actor

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    Thanks Keith,

    I'm in contact with Matthew on this subject. Though if a modified 222 costs the same as a 555 I wonder if there is a point to going the modified route. The stock 222 meets my budgetary requirements... decisions, decisions!
     
  5. Eujin

    Eujin Supporting Actor

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    ChrisAG,
    Keith is spot on with his obvservations--as usual. If you're considering getting modifications done at some point in the future (under 3 years), I'd suggest that you get the 775 instead and save some money. No point paying for the ES designation and one or two minor differences--I think one of them is that the 222ES has separate digital and analog sections, thanks to an additional transformer; Matthew has a mod for the 775 that adds a second transformer to acheive the same thing (check out his site: www.sacdmods.com). Like Keith said, the best person to talk to would be Matthew himself. He modified my 775 and I couldn't be happier with it, although mine lacks some of the latest tweaks that he's added, including that transformer and the biasing of some op-amps into Class A operation. Good luck!
     
  6. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Eujin,

    Thanks for the compliment. I always appreciate your views and knowledge as well.


    Chris,

    Your timing on comparing Matthew's mods to a stock 'C555ES is perfect. He said the other day that he is awaiting the arrival of a stock 'C555ES, and he is going to compare it to his modded 'CE775. He is supremely confident that the modded 'CE775 will best the 'C555ES, and he could be right. However, he is now looking to mod the 'C555ES. I wonder what he will come up with there.
     
  7. KrisM

    KrisM Second Unit

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    Has anybody had the DVPNS500 modified? Any opionions?
    I am curious about it, but the exchange rate brings it to well over $400CDN. It would be nice to find a Canadian source for something like this.

    Regards
    KrisM
     
  8. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Kris, do you really need the DVD playback? Note that the 'NS500V does not offer progressive-scan output. The reason I ask is that others here from north of the border have reported Canadian dealers closing out the Sony SCD-XE670 single-disc SACD/CD player (no DVD playback) for under $200 CDN. That's a real bargain. I wish this player had been offered in the US. Anyway, the only problem is that I am not aware of anyone doing mods. on the 'XE670. If you were get your hands on one of these, I'm sure that Matthew Anker at www.sacdmods.com could do some nice work on it. He currently does mods. on a number of Sony SACD players.
    As another alternative to the 'NS500V, you might want to consider the Sony 'NS755V, which replaced the 'NS500V. From what I have read, it is very similar to the 'NS500V, except that it provides progressive-scan output (or interlaced). Matthew Anker is doing mods on the 'NS755V as well as the 'NS500V, so you might want to talk to him about these players.
     
  9. Matthew Anker

    Matthew Anker Stunt Coordinator

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    Eujin, Keith, thank you for the kind words.
    I am still waiting for my 555ES because of a FedEx mix-up, but I am confident that it will be delivered tomorrow after I had a lengthy conversation with a lady at FedEx Ground HQ. I really can't wait to hear how it sounds, especially since Keith and others give it so much hype.[​IMG]
    For those interested in the NS755V versus the NS500V, then you might want to look at my updated 500V (now 500V/755V) page at SACDmods.com I have added pictures of the inside of the modified NS755V, and it is a very nice combo player. It sounds like the much acclaimed (for the price) 500V, but is somewhat more detailed, smoother, and more dynamic.
    (The difference between the two was almost as dramatic as when I switched between my old interconnects and my redesigned [now silver] ones.):wink:
    If you haven't heard, the NS755V uses a newer, different DAC from the 500V with balanced voltage outputs for a change. I believe it is made by Analog Devices.
    It's a nice sounding player, and in many respects easier for me to work on, but the op-amp biasing becomes more challenging.
     
  10. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Matthew, no problem. Thanks for the info. on the 'NS755V. I greatly appreciate it, as I was not aware that there were so many differences between it and the 'NS500V.
     
  11. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Matthew, I just reviewed your 'NS500V/'NS755V mods. Any chance you will be offering the upgrade to the toroidal power supply for these models? Is that possible? Can these chassis accommodate this power supply? Just curious.
     
  12. Matthew Anker

    Matthew Anker Stunt Coordinator

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    It would be possible in he 500V since it has a hard power switch in addition to the standby, but the 755V is in standby as soon as it's plugged in. The use of standby supplies complicates the use of a separate linear supply, but it is possible.

    However, the linear power supply would have to be external because there is no extra room in the chassis for a toroid, a diode bridge, filtering capacitors, and voltage regulators.

    It's impractical, but if someone hired me to perform a custom mod job with an external supply, I would be willing to do it, but they would have to expect me to have the player for about a month.
     
  13. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Matthew, thanks. This thread has been very informative to me. I know the 'NS500V/'NS755V chassis is very small, so I am not surprised to learn that it cannot accommodate the larger toroidal power supply. So, I guess you could make an external power supply, a la, Musical Fidelity. That could actually be a very good thing in terms of sound quality. Come on, I know you are curious to give it a try. [​IMG]
     
  14. KrisM

    KrisM Second Unit

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    Keith, I already bought a 500V and have been very happy with it. I do need DVD playback as it replaced my CD player(an old Sony) and my Pioneer 525 DVD player that was too noisy and was having audio drop-outs. I was considering the stand alone player a few months back, but I found the 500V,new for $248CDN. It also came with the Kind Of Blue SACD(one of my favorite albums). I had planned on waiting on SACD for awhile, so I could afford an ES machine, but the deal on the 500V was too good to pass up. It retailed up here for $499CDN. I assume the price-drop was because the new model offered progressive scan. I am only using a 32" Sony TV so I didn't need it.


    Thanks
    KrisM
     
  15. Matthew Anker

    Matthew Anker Stunt Coordinator

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    Keith,

    The 555ES has finally arrived. My first reaction was "Did he send a big receiver by mistake?" It is heavy. Before I even plugged it in, I did take a good look around inside. The player is much, much more impressive looking than the C222ES or CE775's that I have worked on. The didn't use very many surface mount parts on the audio board, it's mostly old fashioned resistors and old fashioned (BIG) op-amps. If all I saw was that board, I would be wondering if Sony could actually build such a thing. Then I saw the main board, and it looked a lot like all the other ones I've seen.

    The clock circuit is nearly the same as the CE775's, they use the same model crystal, in fact. However, the crystal had a stretchy, clear band around its case. This means that Sony has discovered the old trick of putting "Blue-Tac" poster adhesive on the crystal. It also appears to have a little more filtering before the clock driver chip. Overall, it is an excellent candidate for LClock therapy.

    As far as the sound goes, I did listen to it for about an hour tonight. Comparing it to the modified 222ES at the top of the rack, the new 555ES appeared to be somewhat smoother souding than all the other players I've purchased new, but it is no match for the 222ES right now. The 555ES is seriously lacking in details, and the sound stage seems really narrow for the time being. I was playing the new APO "Willy and the Poor Boys" SACD, and I was paying particular attention to the drums on "Fortunate Son." The drums on the 222ES had this nice natural decay, and were clearly placed in a wide sound stage. The 555ES, on the other hand, sounded more like a thump with little detail after, and the sound was constricted to a small area.

    I am sure that the 555ES will improve as it gets played, so it is currently playing a few Rolling Stones discs on repeat. I see some serious potential in the player, and hopefully it will be more of a match for the modded 222 in a few weeks.
     
  16. Matthew Anker

    Matthew Anker Stunt Coordinator

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    Keith,

    A few more interesting facts about the 555ES:

    1. It uses the same optical pick-up assembly as the CE775 and C222ES.

    2. The buffer/LPF opamp is the same model, and same model as the buffer/low pass op-amp in the CE775.

    3. The transport/disc tray is the same, though built into the player differently (the heavy door on the front [that has a whole separate motor and circuit board] is a prime example of different implementation).

    Having the same opto pickup really helps me if I ever need service after I modify the player. All I have to do is exchange a laser from a new CE775 and send the CE775 to Sony for repair.

    Just thought you might be interested.
     
  17. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Kris,

    I understand your position. You got a great deal on the 'NS500V. Enjoy it!


    Matthew,

    Thanks for the initial thoughts on the 'C555ES, especially in comparison to the modded 'C222ES. Out of curiosity, do you notice any differences between a modded 'CE775 and modded 'C222ES, assuming both players have all the same mods? I ask since I know there are a number of similarities under the hood between the stock 'CE775 and stock 'C222ES.
     
  18. Matthew Anker

    Matthew Anker Stunt Coordinator

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    Before I started putting the transformers in the CE775's, the difference between the players was that the 222ES seemed to be cleaner sounding, like scraping a layer of hash out of the background.

    After I began to install the transformers, the CE775 was just as clean, but the main difference I notice now was that the C222ES sounded more musical. What I mean by this is that it is more natural sounding, and the CE775 was somewhat colder in comparison. I could give clear preference to the C222ES in listening comparisons.

    So, I actually sold my prototype CE775 (that I've had since the end of December) to a gentleman for a very good deal, and kept the 222ES. If the 555ES can be "made into a monster" like I think it can, then I may be selling the 222ES in a few months.
     
  19. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Matthew, again, thanks for the information. As I have said, I love the stock 'C555ES, especially at its price point, but if you make "wholesale changes" to this player, you could have one incredible player on your hands.
     

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