Are you reading my mind?I was just sitting down to write this.
I'm sitting here on my first day of a long vacation,sipping on a cup of Earl Grey (with a twist) and enjoying the sounds of the Sony.This player has specs that differ a little from the NS500V and the sound is a little different as well.
I used this player in my main system as well as a second SACD system I have put together for my Kid.Most of my listening was done with my kid's system.I auditioned both players in the same system.The 650 has been burned in for a total of 105 hours.
Sources:Sony DVP-NS500V,Sony DVP-NS650V,Dual 505 turntable w/cheap AT cart.
Amp/s:ASL WAV 8,hum reduction mods and tuberolled
Preamp:ASL AQ-2004 DT,Advent 300 integrated used as phono amp and headamp
speakers:PSB Alpha A/V
cables:Tara labs prism 22i/33i
headphones:Grado SR80,Philips HP890
this is my daughter's first tube based system and she listens to mostly really loud garbage music.I decided to insert the Sonys in this system because her HK CDP took a dump(most likely due to abuse) and she needs a DVD player as well.this system is smooth sounding but is nicely detailed and has a great midrange and vocals.In other words,the music she listens to will likely never take full advantage of this sytem.For purposes of this audition I played some of my own music.
The specs that I see that are different are for the DAC and power supply.I see that the DAC specs on the NS500V are 24/192 and 24/96 for the 650.The 650 seems to be less power supply dependant as well and a quick inspection under the hood of both players reveals a much smaller and less isolated power supply on the 500.The transport and tray loader on the 650 is very noisey but has a very fast loading and playback.None of this noise seems to make it into the playback path.
The 650s SACD playback sounds near identical to the 500V.All the great things,(fantastic low level detail,stunning midrange,analog-like treble detail)apply to the 650 as well.I am still amazed at the SACD playback of these cheap players.SACD is so much better than redbook that the small investment that these players command is worthwhile if only for this reason.Both these players in SACD playback sound as good as the Marantz SA-14 that I just unloaded and in some ways(low level detail) surpass the Marantz.I think most of the negative things that are said about the Sonys are due to assumption rather than an actual auditions.Some of the Audio review(the very worst site for audio reviews) comments on these players sound as if the reviewer as never actually even seen one of these players and as such should be taken with a grain of salt.I think they are both outstanding for the price.The redbook playback of the 650 seems a little different than the 500 in the main area of treble detail.the treble on the 500 seems more balanced and a little less harsh than the 650.The bass performance of both players is good with a slight nod to the 500 for a bit punchier and tighter bass on some very bass-heavy tracks.This may be due to the shorter break-in of the 650 because this is one of the areas that the 500 improved as well.Redbook playback of both players is very good in the midrange but not on par with the best I have heard,I think some have complained about this as a lack of overall "balance".I don't think that this would be as evident on a solid state system and should not detract from the enjoyment of these players.
The point of "diminishing returns" has been lowered to the floor by players such as the Sonys.In the last year or so the gap between the very best players and those such as the Sonys has gotten so small that auditions are a must.No longer can the opinion of a reviewer be counted on as being the last word on CD player performance.I have heard $500 players that sound better than $5000.00 players and upsampling has made redbook playback the best it has ever been.I'll say it again,price is absolutely no indication of performance when it comes to CD players.