Sony SCD-555ES or wait for Marantz SA-8260?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Cary P, Apr 3, 2002.

  1. Cary P

    Cary P Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi,

    I have a friend who is looking to get into multi-channel SACD. With the recent price drops on the Sony SACD players, I am thinking of recommending the 555ES. I figure for $600 + shipping, how can you go wrong?

    I took advantage of the GoodGuys blowout on the Sony SCD-333ES last fall, have had one in my system for nearly six months now, and love it - except for the occasional static at the end of multi-channel SACD discs. I especially appreciate it's performance on redbook CD playback, as I only own six SACD's at this point and mostly use the 333ES for regular CD's. So I am familiar with the sound and value offered by the Sony ES series players and have no trouble recommending them at their current prices. Even if SACD fails, I feel the 555ES would offer great value just as a regular CD player.

    However, I've been intrigued by the Marantz SA-8260 ever since it was announced at CES. Has anyone actually had a chance to listen to this thing? The local Marantz dealers I've spoken to are clueless, most of them have never heard of this model and think I'm crazy. One of them even insisted that I am confused and the model I saw at CES must be intended for the overseas market only, because he would've know about it otherwise. I haven't been able to find any U.S. based info on this piece, the few links I've found are for overseas websites. But I believe the 8260 will come out in the U.S. market sooner or later, especially when the list price was shown as $1049 U.S. dollars at the CES.

    So before I recommend the 555ES to my friend, I am looking for some feedback on Marantz SACD players. Does anyone feel that the 8260 will clearly outperform the 555ES, considering redbook CD playback as well as SACD? I realize that no one has probably even listened to the 8260, so I guess the only comparison to go on for now would be the Sony 555ES against the Marantz SA-14. So if anyone has compared these two players directly, please give me your impressions and comments - especially regarding redbook CD playback. From some of the comments on Audio Asylum, it looks like the SA-8260 will have some of the same components and parts as the SA-14, so I think this will be a valid comparison.

    If the SA-8260 offers, say, 85-90% of the performance of the SA-14, will it clearly be a better performer than the 555ES? For what it's worth, one advantage of the 555ES is it offers a five year warranty versus the three year warranty offered by Marantz. And even though the 555ES can now be had for a little over $600, it was originally an $1800 piece, so perhaps the build quality is a bit more robust than the $1049 SA-8260. I really feel that one can't go wrong with purchasing a Class A Stereophile rated component like the 555ES for only $600, so I am very tempted to just tell my friend to get the 555ES NOW and forget about dealing with these difficult Marantz dealers.

    But if the consensus is that the SA-8260 will likely outperform the 555ES on both SACD and redbook CD, I feel it might be better for my friend to wait a few months and check out the Marantz. I also posted this message on the Audio Asylum, I'm looking for a wide range of feedback, thanks.

    Cary
     
  2. Mike Matheson

    Mike Matheson Second Unit

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    Cary,

    Just FYI, I think you can find the 555ES even a little cheaper at Oade Brothers. They also offer some inexpensive mods that supposedly turn the player into an even better value (i.e., big buck sound for few dollars).

    Regards,

    Mike
     
  3. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Cary, I have not heard much about the Marantz '8260, but I own the 'C555ES, and it is an excellent value. Your friend possibly has a tough call to make. It might be worth waiting for the Marantz player to come out. I assume the 'C555ES will be available for awhile such that he will be able to evaluate both before making a purchase. However, he should definitely monitor developments with both players to ensure that he doesn't get shut out on the 'C555ES. The price of the 'C555ES has dropped twice since last October, and that could indicate that Sony is going to discontinue it at some point this year. Now, I have not heard anything about new models coming from Sony, but Sony has slashed prices on other SACD players a few months before they were discontinued. The '777ES and 'C333ES are examples. Anyway, it could be that the 'C555ES will be tough to find in a few months. For one thing, Sony could very well discontinue it. Plus, at $600, the 'C555ES is bound to sell well, so dealer inventory could be exhausted quickly. I remember when word got out that Good Guys out west was blowing out the 'C333ES for $400, inventory was depleted pretty fast.

    If your friend is interested in the Marantz player, he may not want to run out and grab the 'C555ES, but again, he should keep an eye on things. On the other hand, he might want to get a 'C555ES from J&R Music World given the low price to see if likes it. J&R has a 30-day money-back guarantee, so he has an out if he is unhappy with the player for some reason. The problem, of course, is that he might decide to keep the 'C555ES, only to find himself wondering what to do when the Marantz player comes out. Decisions, decisions. These things are never easy.
     
  4. Cary P

    Cary P Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the replies, Keith and Mike.
    You know, the price on the 555ES through Oade Bros. and J&R is so good, even I am tempted to buy one, even though I am very happy with my 333ES and don't really need another carousel CD changer. Maybe I will have to start putting together a second system in my bedroom, just like Keith. [​IMG]
    But it seems like no one really has anything to say about the Marantz SACD players. I guess it's because they have yet to offer a player that comes in at less than 1K.
    The SA-8260 looks like it will be an excellent piece, but at $1049 it is nearly twice the price of what the 555ES is going for these days. I am going to tell my friend to go for the SCD-555ES, as it will likely be a very long time before a better sounding CD player can be had for the price. I think a carousel changer will fit her personality better, anyhow.
    Does anyone know if J&R double-boxes their packages like Oade Bros.?
    Cary
     
  5. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Cary, no problem. The 'C555ES is a great deal now. You should definitely get one. After all, one can never have enough SACD players. [​IMG]
    J&R does double-box components. I have ordered from them many times and have never had a problem.
    It is true that the Marantz SACD players don't get attention here. As you said, that is probably because of price. In addition, the Marantz players are harder to find. I have two Marantz dealers near me, and neither of them stock their SACD players. One of them carries Sony products and has Sony SACD players, however. Anyway, you will find more information on Marantz SACD players on the Hi-Rez Highway board on www.audioasylum.com .
     
  6. KevinYS

    KevinYS Extra

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    Cary,

    I don't know if J and R double-boxes their package, but I do know their price is $599.00 plus shipping, where Oade Bros. charge $575.00 for the player, and $25.00 for shipping. Since the cost is lower, and the packaging for sure is good, you might want to consider getting it from Oade anyway.

    Regards,

    Kevin
     
  7. Mike_Ch

    Mike_Ch Stunt Coordinator

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    Cary,
    There is some information about the 8260 at avland website in UK, with internal pics: AVland 8260
    It uses the high-end Crystal sacd-compatible dacs (same as SA-14 I believe), and has the usual Marantz HDAM's and big transformer. Of course, I have no idea how it sounds, since it hasn't been released anywhere in the world! However, I'm sure going on past experience with Marantz that it will be nothing less than excellent. FWIW, I'm probably going to get the Sony SCD-XA333es single-disc Europe/Asia version next month, which is a steal at $1K (RRP 2K).
    Cheers,
    Mike
     

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