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Who still has the Sony SA5000?

post #1 of 559
Thread Starter 

What kind of music do you listen to with them and what amp/DAC? I'm buying some in 3 weeks if no unexpected bills come up, Christmas present to myself. Probably getting a Fiio e10 soon after and a tube amp later. Probably making my own cables for them out of OCC silver stranded wire, 8 strands of 24AWG altogether. Kumihimo braid like the Macromolecule cable from double helix cables.

 

Joshua

post #2 of 559
Thread Starter 

bump...no more love for the ice queen of the headphone world? Too much trouble to warm her heart? ...out with the old and in with the new FOTM?

post #3 of 559

Oh the Sony SA5000, it puts the Senn HD800 to shame but it's a Sony and that's not cool.

 

One of my favorite headphones, owned the SA3k and spent some time with the SA5k, may also treat myself come Christmas. wink.gif

 

I listen to all genres, save for heavy metal, rap, that sort of thing. I predominantly listen to electronica, some folk and classical. I enjoy the speed and resolution of the Sony SAs, I prefer the SA5k with electronica for the additional bass, and the SA3k with folk and classical for it's more open and airy presentation.

 

At time of owning the phones I had a solid-state Corda Meier Headfive which is considered a good, neutral amp. I also owned a SinglePower PPX3 SLAM tube amp which paired much better with the SAs, the additional body warmed the phones up a great deal, turning them from a thin, cold phone into something very close to neutral. I wouldn't consider a Sony SA without a warm amp. Likewise a warmer, perhaps more analogue sounding source would be better than a brighter, metallic DAC such as the Benchmark DAC1 or W4S DAC. A good source is paramount for the aggressively detailed SAs.

post #4 of 559
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Graphicism View Post

Oh the Sony SA5000, it puts the Senn HD800 to shame but it's a Sony and that's not cool.

 

One of my favorite headphones, owned the SA3k and spent some time with the SA5k, may also treat myself come Christmas. wink.gif

 

I listen to all genres, save for heavy metal, rap, that sort of thing. I predominantly listen to electronica, some folk and classical. I enjoy the speed and resolution of the Sony SAs, I prefer the SA5k with electronica for the additional bass, and the SA3k with folk and classical for it's more open and airy presentation.

 

At time of owning the phones I had a solid-state Corda Meier Headfive which is considered a good, neutral amp. I also owned a SinglePower PPX3 SLAM tube amp which paired much better with the SAs, the additional body warmed the phones up a great deal, turning them from a thin, cold phone into something very close to neutral. I wouldn't consider a Sony SA without a warm amp. Likewise a warmer, perhaps more analogue sounding source would be better than a brighter, metallic DAC such as the Benchmark DAC1 or W4S DAC. A good source is paramount for the aggressively detailed SAs.




Your the 2nd person I've seen on here say the SA5000 is superior to the HD800 though some folks might get a little offended by that statement (that a now <$350 headphone could beat their $1500 reference phones, lol)

 

The SinglePower was a very popular near reference level amp a few years ago. I don't hear it mentioned much anymore. For any amp I buy in the next year I would have to keep under $1000, pref well under. I wonder how well a Little Dot MKVI+ balanced amp would do? It's supposed to be massively powerful. Until then I was looking at either a Ming Da MC84C07 which can drive speakers too or a Bellari HA540. For the near term just a Fiio E10 I can probably pick up a couple weeks after I get the phones.

 

Joshua

post #5 of 559

I don't know if I'd put the SA5000 ahead of the HD-800, but it is an awfully good headphone.  Save for the hideously bad solder joints in the earcups.  I don't like having to resolder something that has been treated gently.  Sound quality is quite good, though.  Dollar-for-dollar, it might be a better deal than the HD-800.

 

Shame the SA5000 has never been especially popular here.  It is an undervalued gem.  There's a reason I kept it when I sold off six ofhers to pG for the HD-800.

post #6 of 559

 

I think price difference plays a huge role in a cognitive capacity. Coming from Sennheiser there is already an automatic acceptence of their audiophile headphone range. If they release a flagship headphone with a huge price tag you automatically apply a level of pre-acceptance to the product without hearing it.

 

The Sennheiser HD800 sounds closer to a Sony SA5000 than it does a HD600 or HD650, this may explain why a number of x-SA listeners choose the HD800, it doesn't however authoritively say why people choose the HD800 without even so much as auditioning the Sony. Again with a price tag and a name people build a preconception.

 

When you buy a $1500 headphone you expect to also invest in a good source and adequate amplification, spending time on building a system around an expensive headphone makes sense. The Sony SA5000 likely does not receive this treatment simply because it costs a lot less to begin with. This doesn't stop at the Sony but extends to other similarly priced headphones like the HD600, HD650, DT880; given the same time to find the right synergy between source, amp and headphone you can have something that rivals the current flagships, or in my case prefer to a flagship. However people are quick to write them off, especially today.

 

As far as amps go Joshua, I haven't heard the Little Dot MKVI, however the Little Dot II and III I have heard and despite the rave reviews I think they're terrible. I'm sure the MKVI is in another league but then I'm applying this cognitive illusion I speak of; that being price and in this case size of the amp. I have always wanted to try a balanced Sony SA5000 and would likely couple that with a WA22 or similar.

 

post #7 of 559
Thread Starter 

I thought about balanced too but that's difficult in my budget. Most balanced headphone amps are $1500-$4000+. There are a few at $500 (Audio-GD NFB-10SE) to around a $1000 (Vioelectric HPA V181) and a couple others around that price. I also found some posts by a couple people using Virtue Audio Tripath amps to power a variety of balanced headphones (including the SA500) but of course you need to hook them up like speakers. Not sure how they compare to dedicated balanced headphone amps but they are cheap at around $350 and up depending on options and model. No shortage of power, lol. The Vioelectric V181 seems like a best buy for it's price; very highly regarded, extremely powerful and slightly on the rich side (according to a review comparing it to a Luxman P-1u). The V200 seems more popular if you don't need balanced.

 

Ha ha...just read that someone is using a custom cable with the dual headphone jacks in balanced mode (V181) to power some small studio speakers, lol!

 

The Little Dot MKVI+ has been favorably compared to the Woo WA22 but the Little Dot is known to have occasional quality control issues and sometimes a noisy fan (easy and cheap to fix). One reviewer says his Vioelectric V181 sounds better in every way than the Little Dot.


Edited by AzraelDarkangel - 11/30/11 at 10:55pm
post #8 of 559

I still have my SA5000's of 6+ years... whenever they first came out, and I still love them to death. Classical, and Electronic are a dream on them. I have no desire for the HD800 because of my SA5000. 

 

In fact, I love them so much, I've thought about purchasing a second pair for if Sony ever discontinues them, as they are prone to suddenly do. 


Edited by SoundFreaq - 12/1/11 at 2:14pm
post #9 of 559
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoundFreaq View Post

I still have my SA5000's of 6+ years... whenever they first came out, and I still love them to death. Classical, and Electronic are a dream on them. I have no desire for the HD800 because of my SA5000. 

 

In fact, I love them so much, I've thought about purchasing a second pair for if Sony ever discontinues them, as they are prone to suddenly do. 



They already did it.. www.sony.jp/headphone/products/MDR-SA5000/

post #10 of 559

oh no! 

 

I wonder how much they will go up in value.


Edited by SoundFreaq - 12/1/11 at 3:13pm
post #11 of 559

And now for a counter-punch:

 

Six years ago the SA5000 approval rating here was lower than the US Congress' current approval rating. I thought they were what I was looking for ("transient response!" "speed!") and tried to defend them and actually bought (and sold) them on two different occasions (along with the SA1000 once as well). Unfortunately even I was finally forced to admit and agree with the 99% that they have almost no body, that the midrange FR curve is a hurl-inducing roller-coaster, that the "detail" is forced and artificial, and that oh my gawd the chassis is an acoustically and mechanically unacceptable fidgety, squeaky, clicky mess.

 

Now it seems they're getting some kind of bizarre love.

 

In my opinion they would be acceptable in an alternate universe where they could be the headphone tweeter and a different headphone would cover the bottom four and a half octaves -- maybe a universe where we each had four ears? But even then they'd have their jacked up midrange and rolled off upper treble and the headphone chassis equivalent of a jittery, spastic meth-head who can't sit still and shut up.

 

And yes I properly burned them in and amped them...


Edited by Nepenthe - 12/1/11 at 4:31pm
post #12 of 559

Whoa! While I completely disagree with you that is a hilarious read. It perfectly showcases some of it's properties in the most hateful sense. 

 

Yeah, they *might* lack body, but it's due to it's massive transparency. And the details really are unparalleled. And good thing the treble is "rolled off," since the high end is so extended and crystal sounding that they would be unlistenably harsh. While the low end doesn't pack a wallop, it does electronic well enough that what's there satisfies my basshead with it's control and texture. A little EQ is fun too. 

 

I have yet to hear classical rendered this well. The details are just nuts. The soundstage is just massive. Because of it's curvy EQ, I don't feel like it's a fantastic all-rounder, but I listen to what it does well with. And it does it exceptionally well. I've never noticed the clicky chassis. But I also don't jerk around when I have headphones on. 

 

I remember 6 years ago when it came out, it was being called the flavor of the month, and everyone loved it. I still do. 

post #13 of 559
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nepenthe View Post

Unfortunately even I was finally forced to admit and agree with the 99% that they have almost no body, that the midrange FR curve is a hurl-inducing roller-coaster, that the "detail" is forced and artificial, and that oh my gawd the chassis is an acoustically and mechanically unacceptable fidgety, squeaky, clicky mess.


I hate to be the one to tell you this, but you could have some form of sensorineural hearing loss... I mean the signs are all there; Bose QC2 and now an M50 as your main headphone. I'm really really sorry.

 

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by SoundFreaq View Post

While the low end doesn't pack a wallop, it does electronic well enough that what's there satisfies my basshead with it's control and texture.

 

When amped sufficiently the bass vibrates the leather ear pads, that is basshead territory!


Edited by Graphicism - 12/1/11 at 5:28pm
post #14 of 559
Originally Posted by SoundFreaq View Post

Yeah, they *might* lack body, but it's due to it's massive transparency. And the details really are unparalleled. And good thing the treble is "rolled off," since the high end is so extended and crystal sounding that they would be unlistenably harsh. While the low end doesn't pack a wallop, it does electronic well enough that what's there satisfies my basshead with it's control and texture. A little EQ is fun too. 

 

I've never noticed the clicky chassis. But I also don't jerk around when I have headphones on. 

 

I remember 6 years ago when it came out, it was being called the flavor of the month, and everyone loved it. I still do. 

 

Yup, flavor of the month followed by a pretty massive backlash and then general dismissal.

 

I tried to make it work. Twice. I lit the candles and burned some incense, I poured the wine, I eased on the Nepenthe charm, but the SA5000 remained a frigid ice queen who was cold and fawked in the head.

 

To each their own sound. Maybe the SAxxxx begins its big comeback starting today, with this very thread. You're damning with faint praise in your third sentence. And I've never had or tried any set of headphones more needlessly nervous and squeaky.

Originally Posted by Graphicism View Post
I hate to be the one to tell you this, but you could have some form of sensorineural hearing loss... I mean the signs are all there; Bose QC2 and now an M50 as your main headphone. I'm really really sorry.

Nope, my hearing is stellar. The QC2 was a gift many years ago and served its purpose as a comfortable, reliable thing that worked fine unamped out of a crap business PC output, sounded appropriately uninvolving and polite for work purposes, and provided much needed isolation and noise canceling. Considering Etymotic ER-4S or ATH-ANC7B at this point because even the M50 doesn't provide enough isolation. The M50 is a significantly more satisfying piece of kit, for me, than the three SAxxxx sets I've owned in my time. I'm also considering the HE-500, but I'm concerned its open nature (or any open cans' open nature) in this increasingly noisy and chaotic world of work and home would have limited usage parameters.

Originally Posted by Graphicism View Post
When amped sufficiently the bass vibrates the leather ear pads, that is basshead territory!

SA5000 for bassheads, awesome!

post #15 of 559

My SA5K are semi-dead (damn solder!)

 

I gotta get them re-wired but so damn lazy... the AD2000 I bought aren't helping the "gotta-fix-them" situation

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