Well not so much a review as I worked from home all day and played many a MCH disc. I played a little bit of everything, mostly SACDs:
Nickel Creek: This Side
Janine Jansen: Four Seasons
Alsion Krauss: Union Station Live
Dire Straghts: Brother in Arms
Deep Purple: Machine Head
David Sanchez: Coral
Yellowjackets: Time Squared
Lyle Lovett: Joshua Judges Ruth (DVD 20bit DTS)
Sam Cooke: Live At the Copa
Dave Brubeck Quartet: Time Out
Jeff Beck: Live at Ronnie Scott's (BD DTS HD)
Pink Floyd: DSOTM
And I probably forgot some. Now even though I was working most of the time, I am very sensitive to anything that doesn't sound right. The smallest audible anomaly will set me scrambling to find and fix the problem. It's audio OCD really and not a pretty thing to see. So the first report is that everything played beautifully today (and tonight). As a reminder, my system is all analog and it's a 4.0 full range setup. Therefore I'm using 5.1 mixdown mode.
Of course, I couldn't resist doing some serious listening. I always use Time Out to judge how well the equipment conveys the sound of real cymbals and brushes. Happy to say, the SE sounds spectacular on the high end of the spectrum. Very crisp, nice bright ringing with the wood on brass clearly audible. I also use this as a "musicality" check. Is Take Five engaging? Can I work while it's playing? Answer: no I could not
One of my favorite male vocal tracks is Live at the Copa. It should sound like Sam is standing in front of you with the big band vamping behind him. And it does
Wille Nelson Stardust SACD is another good male vocal SACD, but it's stereo so I didn't play it today.
The bass on Machine Head is some of the best sounding rock bass you'll find. Very rich solid bass from an old tube stack. Throw in an occasional low end bite, twang, and growl. Smok'n!
The spit in the sax, the vibrato pushed into the violin fret board, the hammer hitting the piano wire, the pick on the guitar string, the chain on the snare drum, the Hammond B3 wah-wah, it's all there with the SE. The wonderful thing is that it's not just the mechanics of the sound. You'll get full emmo guitar from Mr. Beck, Mr Lovett will make you smile, and Alison will make you cry. It's all there in the music, and the SE will tell it to you truthfully.
So there you have it. I probably won't do a full on MCH comparison because I don't have all the cables, a switcher, nor the inclination. This player sounds freak'n great! Don't need no stink'n comparison to tell me that
I will do a critical stereo listening review after Christmas, because I know many of you are waiting to find out if the cow bell in Honky Tonk Women sounds better on the SE
Is the SE better than the standard 83 for MCH music? Yes it is. If you have a high quality analog system and enjoy really listening to music, you should definitely get one. Stereo or MCH, it's one great music player.