New Sony SCD-XA5400ES supports DSD over HDMI! - Page 22 - AVS Forum
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post #631 of 1102 Old 08-17-2009, 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by avsforumuser09 View Post

Yes, as I mentioned in my original post, I intend to buy a separate headphone amp:

I'm planning to buy a nice headphone amp

I acknowledged that.

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Does anyone know if the DAC in the Sony unit is comparable to a dedicated standalone DAC, say, the Benchmark DAC1?

I suspect so but it is irrelevant for SACD, btw.

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post #632 of 1102 Old 08-18-2009, 07:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avsforumuser09 View Post

Yes, as I mentioned in my original post, I intend to buy a separate headphone amp:

I'm planning to buy a nice headphone amp

Does anyone know if the DAC in the Sony unit is comparable to a dedicated standalone DAC, say, the Benchmark DAC1?

I tried the Sony with my Upgraded Audio Note 1.1x and it was marginally better. I had previously compared my Audio Note with the Benchmark DAC1 and the Audio Note creamed the Benchmark. The more promising route is to spend the money on getting the Sony upgraded, which will cost you 1K at the upgrade company, or you can do a more extensive upgrade for 2K at Modwright. I did this and the Soy upgraded was better than Sony over the Audio Note DAC This will obviously improve both CD and SACD, and be a much bigger leap than getting a DAC (and safe some rackspace). Only downside is if you don't like the DAC you can sell it, if you don't like the upgrade your you're have to write of 75% of the cost of the upgrade.
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post #633 of 1102 Old 08-18-2009, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by edorr View Post

I tried the Sony with my Upgraded Audio Note 1.1x and it was marginally better. I had previously compared my Audio Note with the Benchmark DAC1 and the Audio Note creamed the Benchmark. The more promising route is to spend the money on getting the Sony upgraded, which will cost you 1K at the upgrade company, or you can do a more extensive upgrade for 2K at Modwright. I did this and the Soy upgraded was better than Sony over the Audio Note DAC This will obviously improve both CD and SACD, and be a much bigger leap than getting a DAC (and safe some rackspace). Only downside is if you don't like the DAC you can sell it, if you don't like the upgrade your you're have to write of 75% of the cost of the upgrade.

I don't understand why one would want to upgrade this unit. Its seems if you wanted a better sound, get a better stand alone DAC.
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post #634 of 1102 Old 08-18-2009, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by gbaby View Post

I don't understand why one would want to upgrade this unit. Its seems if you wanted a better sound, get a better stand alone DAC.

If you wanted better sound and upgrading the player gets you more improvement $$$ for $$$ you'd obviously be better off upgrading it. Theoretically upgrading should be the more cost effecitve route to better sound, because you don't introduce redundancy into the chain (you still pay for the Sony DAC and analog output stage - even if you don't use it). So buying a transport + DAC may make sense (or extending the life of a mediocre player by adding an outboard DAC), but buying a top notch brand new integrated player and then using it just as a transport does not. Incidentally, the reason the Sony is a highly acclaimed player it's excellent price performance as an integrated player. You may however be able to find a better transport for $1,500. Just my thoughts....
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post #635 of 1102 Old 08-18-2009, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by gbaby View Post

I don't understand why one would want to upgrade this unit. Its seems if you wanted a better sound, get a better stand alone DAC.

how would that work with SACD?

Boo!
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post #636 of 1102 Old 08-18-2009, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by SiriuslyCold View Post

how would that work with SACD?

since unlikely the Sony will output SACD via toslink or digital out without some form of modification, u can only use HDMI or analog out. so, no, a better external DAC is not gonna help with SACD.

thus, logically u should get a better HDMI receiver, but it must be a HATS or PQLS compatible receiver to take advantage of clock-sync.

RBCD is another story.

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post #637 of 1102 Old 08-18-2009, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by junchoon99 View Post

since unlikely the Sony will output SACD via toslink or digital out without some form of modification,.......

Not unlikely. Not at all.

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post #638 of 1102 Old 08-19-2009, 12:11 AM
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Mine arrived today, as did my Sony 6400ES receiver, and both are fantastic! Listening to my multi-channel recordings as they were meant to be heard has spoiled me for anything else! 2-channel sounds so flat and sterile.

For the record, and contrary to some nasty misinformation, it plays standard RBCDs just fine via HDMI. One does have to turn off the HDMI circuit in order to use headphones, but that's the only issue. Is that a design flaw or are the two somehow incompatible?

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post #639 of 1102 Old 08-20-2009, 11:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edorr View Post

If you wanted better sound and upgrading the player gets you more improvement $$$ for $$$ you'd obviously be better off upgrading it. Theoretically upgrading should be the more cost effecitve route to better sound, because you don't introduce redundancy into the chain (you still pay for the Sony DAC and analog output stage - even if you don't use it). So buying a transport + DAC may make sense (or extending the life of a mediocre player by adding an outboard DAC), but buying a top notch brand new integrated player and then using it just as a transport does not. Incidentally, the reason the Sony is a highly acclaimed player it's excellent price performance as an integrated player. You may however be able to find a better transport for $1,500. Just my thoughts....


Please read my question again as I was only asking why one would want to get a modification of this unit meaning the SCD-XA5400ES. In any event, with the high quality DAC on it, it makes no sense to me.
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post #640 of 1102 Old 08-20-2009, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by gbaby View Post

Please read my question again as I was only asking why one would want to get a modification of this unit meaning the SCD-XA5400ES. In any event, with the high quality DAC on it, it makes no sense to me.

That is exactly how I had interpreted your question. It may not make sense to you but obviously it does to others, as Modwright has just completed his upgrade design and testing and is now offering it for 2K (rebuilding the analog output stage and upgrading the clock) claiming it is the best sounding upgraded player he has ever build. Wheter or not this 2K is better spend on an external DAC, is entirely in the ears of the beholder. Given that the DAC does nothing for SACD I would say if you listen to a lot of SACDs (like I do), you should be heavily biased towards the upgrade route. However, if you listen to mostly CDs you could opt for the DAC. The problem with this is that no one has ascertained that the Sony is a good, price competitive transport for $1,500, whereas there is broad consensus it is an excellent integrated CD/SACD player - therefore using it as a CD transport only, makes less sense to me than getting it upgraded.
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post #641 of 1102 Old 08-26-2009, 11:42 AM
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...Modwright has just completed his upgrade design and testing and is now offering it for 2K (rebuilding the analog output stage and upgrading the clock) claiming it is the best sounding upgraded player he has ever build.

Self serving isn't it?
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post #642 of 1102 Old 08-31-2009, 07:54 AM
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it seems that uk has stock of the 230v version, judging from stoneaudio's website.

cheers,
wps
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post #643 of 1102 Old 09-07-2009, 03:59 PM
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Kal, has your opinion about the XA-5400 changed or is it the same? Just curious is the reason for my question.
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post #644 of 1102 Old 09-07-2009, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by gbaby View Post

Kal, has your opinion about the XA-5400 changed or is it the same? Just curious is the reason for my question.

Nope. (Nor has the spelling of my name.)

In fact, I finally have succeeded in getting it to play SACD as LPCM via HDMI into the ARCAM AV888 and the Meridian HD621/861!!

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post #645 of 1102 Old 09-08-2009, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

In fact, I finally have succeeded in getting it to play SACD as LPCM via HDMI into the ARCAM AV888 and the Meridian HD621/861!!

At 48/24 bitrate, is that right?

How did it sound?
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post #646 of 1102 Old 09-08-2009, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

Nope. (Nor has the spelling of my name.)

In fact, I finally have succeeded in getting it to play SACD as LPCM via HDMI into the ARCAM AV888 and the Meridian HD621/861!!

Thats great because I just ordered one and if its not as good as your review, expect a lawsuit from me. I apologize for misspelling your name. How is the Arcam?
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post #647 of 1102 Old 09-08-2009, 01:34 PM
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At 48/24 bitrate, is that right?

Dunno yet. Working on that.

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How did it sound?

Good but I have yet to have a setup in which one can switch from PCM to DSD since the XA5400ES has no switch and is controlled by the EDIDs.

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post #648 of 1102 Old 09-08-2009, 01:35 PM
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How is the Arcam?

See November column.

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post #649 of 1102 Old 09-08-2009, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

See November column.

WOW! I can't wait. I own the AV9, but I would not buy the AV888 as it has too many issues regarding pops and static so its not ready for prime time. Also, I don't think the AV888's analog section is that much superior to the AV9 and the analog section is what I like best about a good controller because you can alway get a source (CD or or Blu-ray player) with a better D/A converter than the pre/pro. Arcam does make great products, however, that are the best in their respective classes.
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post #650 of 1102 Old 09-09-2009, 07:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

Dunno yet. Working on that.

Good but I have yet to have a setup in which one can switch from PCM to DSD since the XA5400ES has no switch and is controlled by the EDIDs.

So how do you switch to PCM out on the Sony? What is the resolution? I'd like to give this a try.
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post #651 of 1102 Old 09-09-2009, 11:44 AM
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Well, my SCD-XA-5400ES arrived today, and so I went home for lunch and connected it by replacing my old Sony SACD player the SCD-C555ES. I must agree with Kal Rubinson that the XA5400ES is, in fact, a revelation. Keep in mind that I had no break in time for the unit, but I heard quite clearly music in familiar compositions that I did not know existed in them. In fact all instruments took on a purity and presence so pronounced that I simply could not believe my ears. I'm only talking about red book CDs. But, I did play a SACD and I found the same sonic traits only better. I have since packed my turntable and put in in storage as it will never sound as good as the 5400. I left the unit on, and after more listening I'll update my findings. However, so far, so good.
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post #652 of 1102 Old 09-09-2009, 10:40 PM
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Originally Posted by gbaby View Post

Well, my SCD-XA-5400ES arrived today, and so I went home for lunch and connected it by replacing my old Sony SACD player the SCD-C555ES. I must agree with Kal Rubinson that the XA5400ES is, in fact, a revelation. Keep in mind that I had no break in time for the unit, but I heard quite clearly music in familiar compositions that I did not know existed in them. In fact all instruments took on a purity and presence so pronounced that I simply could not believe my ears. I'm only talking about red book CDs. But, I did play a SACD and I found the same sonic traits only better. I have since packed my turntable and put in in storage as it will never sound as good as the 5400. I left the unit on, and after more listening I'll update my findings. However, so far, so good.

Thanks for the mini review as I ordered one a few weeks ago and I am waiting on my unit as well. Just curious if you or anyone has used the balanced outputs yet? I have a Accuphase Int. Amp that I want to try with it via balanced.

Glad you like it so far..... I wanted silver of course
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post #653 of 1102 Old 09-10-2009, 07:14 AM
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Thanks for the mini review as I ordered one a few weeks ago and I am waiting on my unit as well. Just curious if you or anyone has used the balanced outputs yet? I have a Accuphase Int. Amp that I want to try with it via balanced.

Glad you like it so far..... I wanted silver of course

No, I don't use the balanced outputs. Sorry. My pre/pro is an Arcam AV9 which does not include balanced outputs, but I have heard that sonically, there is no difference between the two.
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post #654 of 1102 Old 09-10-2009, 01:49 PM
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I just received my October '09 edition of Stereophile and the XA5400 had a Class A+ rating for CDs. Not bad.
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post #655 of 1102 Old 09-11-2009, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

Nope. (Nor has the spelling of my name.)

In fact, I finally have succeeded in getting it to play SACD as LPCM via HDMI into the ARCAM AV888 and the Meridian HD621/861!!

Kal, are you planning to reveal how to get LPCM out of this player? I strongly suspect my Onkyo 885 pre/pro is the weakest link between the Sony and my Revel Studio's, but I am severely limited in terms of alternative processors I can play around with without an LPCM signal. Does your setup running LPCM into the Arcam / Meridian best DSD into your Integra?
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post #656 of 1102 Old 09-11-2009, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by edorr View Post

Kal, are you planning to reveal how to get LPCM out of this player? I strongly suspect my Onkyo 885 pre/pro is the weakest link between the Sony and my Revel Studio's, but I am severely limited in terms of alternative processors I can play around with without an LPCM signal. Does your setup running LPCM into the Arcam / Meridian best DSD into your Integra?

There are no switches, menus or controls for this on the Sony. It responds to the EDID from the processor and, it seems, some work and some do not.

The Meridian and the Integra are in different systems and different states, so it is hard to answer your question but almost everything sounds better on the Meridian/McIntosh/B&W system.

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post #657 of 1102 Old 09-11-2009, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

There are no switches, menus or controls for this on the Sony. It responds to the EDID from the processor and, it seems, some work and some do not.

The Meridian and the Integra are in different systems and different states, so it is hard to answer your question but almost everything sounds better on the Meridian/McIntosh/B&W system.

It sounds then like Sony is even more stupid than we could have guessed. If I understand you correctly the Sony player is technically capable of LPCM output but Sony just did not bother to put a button or menu control on the player to enable it, thereby making the player useless to the 95% of owners of high end processor that don't support DSD (unless they want to take their changes and try if the Sony works with their processor...). One question though, did you actually connect the Sony to any LPCM only processors with HMDI 1.3 support where you did NOT get a handshake? May be it works with all of processors and there really is no issue, other than an oversight on Sony part to mention in the manual the player works both DSD and non DSD processors.
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post #658 of 1102 Old 09-12-2009, 01:47 PM
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One question though, did you actually connect the Sony to any LPCM only processors with HMDI 1.3 support where you did NOT get a handshake?

Only the Classe.

Quote:


May be it works with all of processors and there really is no issue, other than an oversight on Sony part to mention in the manual the player works both DSD and non DSD processors.

They sort of imply it by listing DSD-capable and non-DSD-capable Sony AVRs as compatible with this player.

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post #659 of 1102 Old 09-13-2009, 09:56 AM
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Quote:
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Just curious if you or anyone has used the balanced outputs yet?

I use the balanced outputs to feed my Stax SR 4040 headphones--sounds great!

DALI Epicon 2 front speakers; DALI Epicon Vokal center speaker; Definitive Technology ProMonitor 1000 surrounds; SVS SB 13 Ultra subwoofer; Marantz AV 8801 pre/pro; Parasound Halo A51 power amp; Sony XA5400ES SACD player; Oppo BDP 105 SACD/Blu-ray player; Sennheiser HD 800 headphones; Woo Audio WA6 headphone amp.
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post #660 of 1102 Old 09-13-2009, 01:52 PM
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Kal,
Help this 2-channel audiophile. I was prepared to spend ~$6k for a CD/SACD player (Esoteric, Ayre). I have a Mark Levinson integrated and B&W 805 Signatures and want to take a big step foward as I am guessing that my 8 yr old Sony SCD-777ES CD/SACD is outdated. Then I read your review on the SCD-XA5400ES...SACD better than the SCD-XA9000ES (which I believe was an improvement over my SCD-777ES) and CD playback about as good as SACD playback...did I read that right? Are we talking about 2-channel performance on a par with the $6K players at $1499?
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