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Sony SCD-XA5400ES

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I am thinking about getting one of these soon. Has anyone heard the balanced output? There was one unconfirmed report that the unit is not balanced through out. The Stereophile review was also based on the SE output. If I get this thing, I will want to use it balanced.
post #2 of 22
Thread Starter 
Well, do any owners have any impressions on this thing? I am trying to decide whether to buy it from a place that accepts returns or go for the lowest price. The difference is roughly $400.

I am planning to use this device for CD/SACD playback through the balanced analog output. The rest of my gear will consist of the Headroom BUDA and HD-800 (balanced cable TBD). I mostly listen to classical music.
post #3 of 22
this player is worth EVERY penny. unless the cheaper place is shady, save yourself the dough
post #4 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by tnili View Post
Well, do any owners have any impressions on this thing? I am trying to decide whether to buy it from a place that accepts returns or go for the lowest price. The difference is roughly $400.

I am planning to use this device for CD/SACD playback through the balanced analog output. The rest of my gear will consist of the Headroom BUDA and HD-800 (balanced cable to TBD). I mostly listen to classical music.
I would also go for the cheaper price. BTW, I really, like your BUDA/HD800 combo!
post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 
The lowest price I found is $1114.48 shipped from palmbeachdigital.com. However, I worry that Sony will not honor the 5-year warranty if I buy from them.

El_Doug, if you don't mind me asking, where did you buy yours from?
post #6 of 22
i bought mine via Crutchfield, from which Sony WILL honor the warranty

$1115 sounds strangely cheap... I dunno if theyre trustworthy
post #7 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by El_Doug View Post
i bought mine via Crutchfield, from which Sony WILL honor the warranty

$1115 sounds strangely cheap... I dunno if theyre trustworthy
I've been looking at this CD player for a long time, but I haven't seen it in stock until now. Can you answer some questions?

1. Can you fast-forward and fast-reverse with the controls on the unit itself, or do you have to use the remote control?

2. How do you compare the Sony's analog output to the output of other high-end DACs, if you've heard any?

3. I read in reviews that the player's Redbook (regular) CD quality is almost as good as SACD. What's your opinion?
post #8 of 22
Just buy from Crutchfield. Ease of mind, even 400 worth. You know 100% youll get it, and if there is a problem, will be delt with ASAP.
post #9 of 22
Do you have any impressions or a review of this player? I've been thinking about picking up a second SACD player as an upgrade from the Marantz SA8001. This one's price is right and it is on my shortlist.
post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by shuttleboi View Post
I've been looking at this CD player for a long time, but I haven't seen it in stock until now. Can you answer some questions?

1. Can you fast-forward and fast-reverse with the controls on the unit itself, or do you have to use the remote control?

2. How do you compare the Sony's analog output to the output of other high-end DACs, if you've heard any?

3. I read in reviews that the player's Redbook (regular) CD quality is almost as good as SACD. What's your opinion?
1) You can only fast-forward and fast-reverse with the remote

2) Sony's analog output is phenomenal. I would place its sound signature squarely between the DA10 and Havana. There is probably a better comparison to be made, but that is the best I can make given my limited DAC experience.

3) Absolutely true. I don't know what goes on in this box, but CD's have never felt this detailed yet fluid at the same time!
post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Erik View Post
Do you have any impressions or a review of this player? I've been thinking about picking up a second SACD player as an upgrade from the Marantz SA8001. This one's price is right and it is on my shortlist.
I wish I could offer you a review. There are so many things I've been impressed with as I progressed through this hobby! However, as I went about writing down my thoughts, it became abundantly clear to me that I lack the ability to write about audio in a way that truly conveys what I am experiencing.

Suffice it to say, this player is incredible
post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Erik View Post
Do you have any impressions or a review of this player? I've been thinking about picking up a second SACD player as an upgrade from the Marantz SA8001. This one's price is right and it is on my shortlist.
Erik,

I can vouch for Doug is saying. I was looking to upgrade from my Ayre C5xeMP (a $6,000 machine) and began auditioning a bunch of players. I am talking Esoteric, Emm, Cary, Krell, dCs, Linn, etc. My two favorites after all that: Bryston BCD1 and this Sony (although the Esoteric X01 is also decent ). The Sony is very smooth sounding, almost an anti-Sony. I owned the SCD1 a couple years ago, and that sounded very edgy and bright. If you have heard the SA5000, you know the typical Sony sound. This player is so effortless, but not too quiet or boring (e.g. Linn, or, after a while, my previous Ayre). At $1500, the XA5400ES is worth a risk. I liked it better than many $10,000 - $20,000 players, and pretty much everything else below that.
post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by seacard View Post
Erik,

I can vouch for Doug is saying. I was looking to upgrade from my Ayre C5xeMP (a $6,000 machine) and began auditioning a bunch of players. I am talking Esoteric, Emm, Cary, Krell, dCs, Linn, etc. My two favorites after all that: Bryston BCD1 and this Sony (although the Esoteric X01 is also decent ). The Sony is very smooth sounding, almost an anti-Sony. I owned the SCD1 a couple years ago, and that sounded very edgy and bright. If you have heard the SA5000, you know the typical Sony sound. This player is so effortless, but not too quiet or boring (e.g. Linn, or, after a while, my previous Ayre). At $1500, the XA5400ES is worth a risk. I liked it better than many $10,000 - $20,000 players, and pretty much everything else below that.
Thanks for your impression. I've been very interested in this unit too. What I think matter most is the quality of the CD playback. From my experience, the SACD performance on most higher end Sony units sound great. The real short fall is their CD playback.
post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by purk View Post
Thanks for your impression. I've been very interested in this unit too. What I think matter most is the quality of the CD playback. From my experience, the SACD performance on most higher end Sony units sound great. The real short fall is their CD playback.
Definitely no short-fall here, but it is still a matter of preference. I think the Bryston BCD1 and the Krell Evolution 505 are a bit more dynamic, a little more punchy sounding, and I think there are those who would prefer that sound, and I can't blame them. For example, if you are coming from the pro world, I think that is more along the lines of what you're used to with products like Benchmark, which is also very dynamic. I usually put Sony CD Players into this same camp, but on the brighter side. But the XA5400 is really a different beast altogether, retaining most of the punch and forwardness while providing a very musical presentation.

I think (it's so close that I am not sure if I actually heard this or am just imagining) the Esoteric X-01 is a little more detailed, and the Meridian 808i is a little more pleasing to the ear, but honestly, to my ears, there is not enough difference to justify the $14,000 price jump. After hearing the Sony, the Bryston, the Cambridge, and even DACs like Benchmark, Electrocompaniet, Lavry, and Grace, I am certain that I will never spend more than $1500 - $2000 on a source.
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by seacard View Post
After hearing the Sony, the Bryston, the Cambridge, and even DACs like Benchmark, Electrocompaniet, Lavry, and Grace, I am certain that I will never spend more than $1500 - $2000 on a source.
seacard, that's great info. Can you give me some advice? I currently have a new Denon D5000 headphone attached to a decade-old DVD player though its headphone-output. I'm thinking of either: (1) keeping the DVD player and getting a Benchmark DAC-1 for $995; or (2) getting the Sony XA5400ES (or other sub-$1500 player). In either case, I would pipe the output to a Woo Audio 6 headphone amp. If I get the SACD player, I would probably buy no more than a handful of SACDs, if any.

What do think is the better route? How do you compare the Benchmark DAC1 to the XS5400ES?
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