Sony's SACD player, model SCD-CE 775 opinions?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jeff Adams, Feb 4, 2002.

  1. Jeff Adams

    Jeff Adams Screenwriter

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    This is Sony's entry level SACD player. I was just wondering if anyone has had any experience with it? How well doe s it play normal redbook cd's? How well does it play sacd? The other model I am looking at is the higher end SCD-C 222 ES. Any comments on that? Thanks!
     
  2. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Jeff, weren't you looking for a single-disc player, or was that another Jeff? Maybe you aren't the Jeff that apparently had settled on the Heart CD6000. Anyway, the Sony SCD-CE775 is a decent player for the money in that it offers both stereo and multi-channel SACD and the convenience of a changer for only $350. However, it is lacking as a CD player, which is not surprising given that it is not an ES model. (I'm not trying to sound like a snob here; just being honest.) Also, the build quality is lacking in my opinion. To me, the 'CE775 looks and feels like Sony's inexpensive carousel CD changers like the $130 CDP-CE375. $350 buys you good SACD performance, but you can do better with the SCD-C222ES if you don't mind spending $600 (best mail-order price from an authorized dealer; more below).

    As an ES product, the 'C222ES has a much more robust chassis than the 'CE775 and also has gold-plated RCA outputs. It also comes with a five-year warranty. According to Ric Schultz, a well-known modifier of audio component, the innards of the 'CE775 and 'C222ES are rather similar. They share the same DACs (Burr-Brown DSD 1702) and transport mechanism. However, the 'C222ES has a larger power supply. I read Ric's comments on the Hi-Rez Highway board on Audio Asylum some months ago.

    For $800 (best mail-order price), the SCD-C555ES offers even better construction and sound than the 'C222ES. I realize I might be working out of your price range, but I thought you might want to know about the 'C555ES too. The 'C555ES is a tank at 24 lbs., 5 oz. (the 'C222ES weighs around 16 lbs., and the 'CE775 weighs around 13 lbs.). According to Ric Schultz, the 'C555ES uses Burr-Brown PCM 1738 DACs, which have better specs. than the DSD 1702. Although the PCM 1738 has 'PCM' in the model number, it can decode the DSD bitstream from SACDs without conversion to PCM. Anyway, the 'C555ES has a better transport than the 'C222ES or 'CE775 and has two large power supplies instead of just one. One power supply in the 'C555ES is for the analog section, while the other is for the digital section. Again, the 'CE775 and 'C222ES have one power supply for everything.

    I bought the 'C555ES in October, and it is a great player in every respect for $800. If you can swing spending $800, go for the 'C555ES. If you are more comfortable with spending $600 for the 'C222ES, then I would definitely get it over the 'CE775. The bottom line is that each player is good for its respective price. Like most anything, it comes down to how much you want to spend.

    The best deals on these players are to be had from authorized dealers such as Oade Bros. (1-229-228-0093 or 1-229-228-4480), OneCall (1-800-340-4770), or J&R Music World (1-800-221-8180). I bought my 'C555ES from OneCall for $824 delivered. I've bought from all three dealers and have never had problems with them. All three ship items double-boxed.

    Best of luck.
     
  3. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Jeff, so you are the Jeff who is or was considering the Heart CD6000. [​IMG] I just went back to your Creek thread and saw your post there asking about Sony SACD players. I see you are looking to spend up to $1200. Definitely go for the 'C555ES for $800, and buy some SACDs with the savings. [​IMG]
     
  4. Jeff Adams

    Jeff Adams Screenwriter

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    Hey Keith, yes I am the Jeff that was set on the Heart cd-6000. But SACD is becoming more and more a priority to me. I asked Frank at FS Audio if he had any plans for doing mods on sacd players but he said no at this time. And as far as my budget goes. Like you were saying that the might drop the 777 in the future to $1999 or something around there which would mean I could get one for aroung $1200. I would consider that for that specific model. Of course it would make my wife happier if I went with something like the 555ES and spent $824 total like you did. So since you have had your player since October, what do you think of it? How good do normal redbook cd's sound on it? How would you compare redbood cd playback to the other models you suggested, such as the Heart CD-6000, Creek,and AH!? And from what I have read it looks that sacd performance on it is outstanding. I know there has been discussion about this in the past but I am only interested in stereo sacd. The multichannel sacd is fun but I really could care less about it. I would rather have high rez 2 channel playback. Besides, I have dvd-audio hooked up to my 5.1 inputs on my receiver. My question is, if I get the 555ES should I just use the 2 channel outputs on the 555ES and go into cd in on my receiver, or should I use the left and right ouputs from the 5.1 outs on the 555ES? My next question is, what will this do to my subwoofer? Will it still be used in 2 channel mode? Also if I use ony the 2 channel output on the 555ES and go into cd in on my receiver, will it still decode sacd or do I actually need to go into the 5.1 inputs on my receiver to get sacd? Thanks for all of your help Keith, you have definately helped me out and pointed me in the right direction. Maybe you can give me some more helpful advice, where do you get your sacd's? Thanks!
     
  5. Ryan Spaight

    Ryan Spaight Supporting Actor

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    Keith, if you don't mind me asking, does the SACD multichannel bass management work properly on the ES players? It sure doesn't on the NS500V DVD/SACD player. Here's a usenet post that sums up the problems I've having (though this isn't me, I'm in the same boat):
    http://groups.google.com/groups?q=fr...ldomain&rnum=1
    If the ES players work right, I'm tempted to ditch the 500, get a good progressive DVD-A player (Denon DVD-1600, maybe) and get an ES SACD. (After I win the lottery, of course!)
    Thanks,
    Ryan
     
  6. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Jeff,
    I am very happy with the 'C555ES for both CD and SACD playback. It is a great player for the price. Now, it is not as good as my SCD-777ES, but the '777ES was much more expensive. The '777ES sounds more natural with a wider soundstage and more detail retrieval. To my ears, the 'C555ES competes well with my Ah! Njoe Tjoeb 4000 with Siemens 7308 tubes. I have not compared the 'C555ES head-to-head to other CD-only players you are considering. All in all, the 'C555ES is an excellent player for the $824 I paid. I couldn't be happier with it.
    You can use the stereo analog outputs or the front left and right jacks of the 5.1-channel outputs on the 'C555ES for stereo playback. I use the stereo analog outputs for playback of CDs and stereo SACDs though a stereo integrated amp. Then I use the 5.1-channel outputs for playback of multi-channel SACDs through a surround-sound receiver. As a result of this configuration, I have paid no attention to stereo bass management for playing stereo music through the 5.1-channel outputs, which I believe will allow you to incorporate a subwoofer (with SACDs only).
    If you do get the 'C555ES, don't rule out playback of multi-channel SACDs. You might like them. I prefer stereo, but give multi-channel SACD a shot. I listen to multi-channel SACDs from time to time, but stereo still rules in my house. [​IMG]
    Ryan,
    I have had no problems with multi-channel bass management on my 'C555ES. Now, I haven't been as rigorous as the guy on the newsgroup, but everything sounds fine to my ears. This is the first I have heard about a possible problem with bass management on the 'NS500V. For that matter, I haven't heard of problems with bass management on any of Sony's multi-channel SACD players.
     
  7. Ryan Spaight

    Ryan Spaight Supporting Actor

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    Keith,
    Thanks.
    In a nutshell, the problem I'm having is that redirected bass, or bass originating in the .1 channel, seems very anemic.
    I have NHT SuperZeroes up front, which of course have no bass by themselves. If I hook up my sub line-level and set the fronts to SMALL and the sub to YES, I get no bass even in stereo mode. Hooking up the sub speaker-level, setting the fronts to LARGE and the sub to NO cures the stereo side, but multichannel still has problems if the bass originates somewhere other than the fronts. (I think the guy in this thread might be suffering from a similar problem.)
    The most universal example I've got is Kind of Blue, where the bassist is in the center channel in the MC mix. In MC, there's no low end to the bass at all, even though my center is set to SMALL. In stereo, everything sounds as it should.
    Here's another guy on Usenet with the Kind of Blue problem:
    http://groups.google.com/groups?q=mi...ink.net&rnum=1
    Additionally, the Frankie Goes To Hollywood SACD has practically no bass on my system in MC. Stereo sounds fine. I suspect all (or most of) the bass on this title is in the LFE, which is supposedly 14db too low according to the Usenet poster.
    (More data: On the James Taylor cut on the sampler, James' voice (isolated in the center channel) certainly has more low-end in stereo than in MC. The same with the two Billy Joel MC SACDs, though the bulk of the bass in these titles seems to be in the fronts so it sounds otherwise OK to me.)
    Like you, I prefer stereo, so it's not a huge deal for me, but it's still frustrating in that it doesn't work the way it should.
    Thanks again. If you could check KoB for me (or even better, Frankie if you picked it up) when you have time, I'd greatly appreciate it.
    Ryan
     
  8. PomingF

    PomingF Second Unit

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    Jeff, there's a review on the newer XA-777ES in last month's Stereophile with the reviewer preferring it's Redbook CD over the 555 due to the 777's utilizing 3 DAC's/channel as c/w the 555's 1/channel in stereo playback. Now how much difference b/w the XA-777ES & Keith's 777, well only he can tell. [​IMG]
    Decision, decision. I'm glad I can sit & wait for now...
    PF
     
  9. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    PomingF, if I ever buy an 'XA777ES, I will be glad to post thoughts on how it compares to the '777ES. However, the price of the 'XA777ES will have to drop significantly before I'll bite.
     
  10. RicP

    RicP Screenwriter

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    Anyone else find it funny that this thread is in the Video Playback Sources area?
    [​IMG]
     
  11. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Ric, this thread was posted on the Video Playback Sources board before the Audio Playback Sources board was offered. The Moderators are putting in a lot of time organizing the site under the new system, and the job is a work-in-progress. With the high volume of threads on this site, a few are bound to slip through the cracks, so to speak. I'm sure they will pick up on this one soon and move it to its proper place.
     
  12. Ryan Spaight

    Ryan Spaight Supporting Actor

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    All right, here's the scoop on multichannel, at least with the NS500V.

    It looks like the problem is that the SACD LFE is missing the 10db boost that's standard in the DD/DTS world. Remember the Jurassic Park DTS brouhaha? Same sort of thing here. I don't know if the 10db boost isn't in the SACD spec, or Sony just forgot to turn it on for SACD in this player, or what, but that's the way it is.

    It's not perfect (I think the actual LFE and mixed bass from other channels are coming in at slightly different levels), but hooking up the sub line-level and boosting the sub output by 10db in the player does produce a multichannel mix with actual bass, after some tweaking of the sub's own gain control. Frankie Goes To Hollywood thumps and pounds as it should (and yes, the multichannel version of this is a thing of beauty now that I can hear it properly, especially Pleasuredome -- wow!), and the bassist in Kind of Blue sounds like he's playing a bass again, not a weirdly distorted guitar. This setup doesn't appear to negatively impact the stuff that sounded largely OK before, like the Billy Joel disc.

    The catch is that the stereo SACD playback via the 5.1 outputs seems to ignore the sub channel, even with the front speakers set to SMALL. The CD/SACD combo machines have an explicit "2ch + sub" setting to cover this, but the DVD/SACD combos apparently don't. Even worse, the bass is dutifully trimmed from the fronts through the 5.1 outs in stereo mode when the fronts are SMALL!

    Plus, I really prefer to have the sub and fronts hooked up speaker-level, since they were designed to go together that way, and I have much more effective crossover control.

    So, I have created a true Frankenstein to make this thing function. I've got the sub hooked up both ways, line and speaker. When doing stereo SACD (and everything else, including 5.1 DVD), I turn the sub off in the receiver, shutting down the line-level sub out. Setting the fronts in the player to LARGE makes stereo sound right via the 5.1 outs, which is all I have connected at the moment.

    For multi SACD, I turn the sub back on in the receiver. I'm not sure yet whether it sounds better with fronts set to LARGE or SMALL in the player. LARGE has the advantage of keeping the bass in the fronts out of the 500's goofed-up sub channel processing, but SMALL has the advantage of preventing low bass from getting in through the speaker-level connections and the line-levels at the same time. If it turns out SMALL is the winner, I'll probably end up hooking up the two-channel analog outputs from the player in addition to the 5.1, using that for stereo SACD.

    If I had five full range speakers, this would probably be easier, but I have neither the room nor the budget for that. An Outlaw ICBM, with its separate LFE Mix and sub gain controls, might improve things as well.

    Whew. What a mess. Sony really screwed the pooch on this one.

    Ryan
     
  13. Jeff Adams

    Jeff Adams Screenwriter

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    Thanks Keith for interjecting. As you said, if there was an audio playback category I would have posted under that.[​IMG] And to Ryan, what you have described seems like a real mess. I hope this is not the case with the SCD-CE775 as it is only an sacd player without video. I can't wait to get the unit in and try it out. I hope it is as easy as being able to set it up in 2 channel playback with sub for sacd. We will see, I should have it by Monday so I will let you guys know what I think.
     
  14. RicP

    RicP Screenwriter

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  15. Jeff Adams

    Jeff Adams Screenwriter

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    At first I was the same way, I didn't like the new layout, but now since they have more categories I like it alot more than the old one. Keep up the great work guys!
     
  16. Ryan Spaight

    Ryan Spaight Supporting Actor

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  17. Jeff Adams

    Jeff Adams Screenwriter

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    I will most definately let you know. I know some audiophiles who do not like to listen to 2 channel music with the sub, I however really like my sub whne playing 2 channel music. Anyway, I hope it is easy to set up.
     
  18. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Ric, I never said I like the new format. However, I understand the amount of work the Moderators and Administrators are undertaking at present, so I understand if some things are amiss. If I were emperor, I would revert back to the original format, but nobody cares what I think. [​IMG]
     
  19. Chip E

    Chip E Screenwriter

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    I prefer multi channel SACD's on the 555 because i can use my sub. I wouldn't really say it has bass management to speak of (120Hz ain't it?). I love this changer. [​IMG]
     
  20. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Chip, of course, I too love the 'C555ES, as I have stated many times over on this site. However, over the last two days or so, I have found the 'C555ES to sound a bit forward and bright with CDs (using the analog outputs). That's not to say that the 'C555ES is poor, but I prefer the Ah! Njoe Tjoeb 4000 and especially the '777ES with CDs. Given the price difference, the '777ES better be a better CD player, and it is. [​IMG] Anyway, I posted my thoughts on the sound of the 'C555ES in the following thread on the Audio Playback Sources board:
    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...threadid=44175
    Again, the 'C555ES is hardly a bad CD player, but I have noticed the forward and bright character lately. In particular, I was listening to the remastered Best of Kansas CD on the 'C555ES a lot over the past three nights. Although it is a remastered CD, it isn't the best-sounding one out there. Still, the 'C555ES gives a bright and forward presentation relative to the Ah! and '777ES. Maybe there is something to the break-in phenomenon because I have had the Ah! and '777ES much longer than the 'C555ES. Hmmm....
     

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