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Sony XA5400-ES - Page 11

post #301 of 354
I'm considering a change in my setup to use the balanced analog from the 5400ES to a Cary Cinema 11a rather than HDMI. I wonder if others have found they prefer the balanced analog to HDMI. I suppose that depends on the relative strength of the digital-to-analog process that follows the 5400ES compared to that internal to the Sony. Opinions sought.

db
post #302 of 354
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbphd View Post

I'm considering a change in my setup to use the balanced analog from the 5400ES to a Cary Cinema 11a rather than HDMI. I wonder if others have found they prefer the balanced analog to HDMI. I suppose that depends on the relative strength of the digital-to-analog process that follows the 5400ES compared to that internal to the Sony. Opinions sought.

db
I think it's going to heavily depend on your equipment's DAC. I really like the sound of the analog output on the 5400ES and use it for all stereo mixes. I only use the HDMI to pass surround mixes from SACD.
post #303 of 354
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom Stranger View Post

I think it's going to heavily depend on your equipment's DAC. I really like the sound of the analog output on the 5400ES and use it for all stereo mixes. I only use the HDMI to pass surround mixes from SACD.

Certainly not the DAC. All modern DAC's are free of a sound of their own.
post #304 of 354
It's been a long time since I last listened to music using balanced analog from the 5400ES; I'd forgotten how good it sounds. I moved it to an upper shelf next to the Oppo 105 to facilitate loading discs. I left the HDMI connection in place, but I'm more likely to rely on 7.1 analog from the 105 for surround. The 5400ES and 105 are two strikingly good disc players.

db
post #305 of 354
I alternate between the Oppo 105 and Sony 5400. Multi-channel analog from the Oppo sounds warmer than either the Sony or Oppo via HDMI, but there is considerably less depth and spaciousness with the analog connections, and perhaps a small loss of detail. By and large, I prefer the Sony via HDMI. (I listen to classical music about 99% of the time.)
post #306 of 354
It may be the differences between the HDMI implementation of the Marantz 8801 and that of the Cary Cinema 11a, or your Martin Logans and my KEF Reference 107/2s. Are you using the balanced output of the 5400ES? That seems important with the Sony, much less so with the Oppo 105 -- Oppo claims it makes no difference as long as you use stereo for the front LR of 7.1, which I do. I've decided to replace the Cary with an analog Parasound Halo JC-2 BP preamp that will accommodate both the 5400ES and JC-3 phone stage via balanced input and permit by-pass of surround channels from the Oppo directly to the amps (Proceed HPA-2 and 3).

db
post #307 of 354
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbphd View Post

It may be the differences between the HDMI implementation of the Marantz 8801 and that of the Cary Cinema 11a, or your Martin Logans and my KEF Reference 107/2s. Are you using the balanced output of the 5400ES? That seems important with the Sony, much less so with the Oppo 105 -- Oppo claims it makes no difference as long as you use stereo for the front LR of 7.1, which I do. I've decided to replace the Cary with an analog Parasound Halo JC-2 BP preamp that will accommodate both the 5400ES and JC-3 phone stage via balanced input and permit by-pass of surround channels from the Oppo directly to the amps (Proceed HPA-2 and 3).

db

I use the balanced outs to drive my Stax headphone amp, which sounds superb. With speakersI prefer multi-channel, and HDMI is the only way to listen that way with the Sony.
post #308 of 354
I rely on Oppo 105 analog for surround. I like both classical and jazz, especially music from small groups. One of the recordings I use for evaluating the sound of a setup is "Take Five" of the Dave Brubeck Quartet Time Out. I have this as both DSD and vinyl. The delineation of the players with either the Oppo or vinyl is superb and the snap of the snare as detailed as I could want. Large orchestrations such as the Ivan Fisher conducted Mahler 2nd are well rendered with a large and deep soundstage. Although I have a Proceed Amp 2 for the rear surround channels, I rarely turn it on. I no longer use a center channel, because the KEF 107/2s image so well.

For a surround treat, you might try the Arts DSD recording of Corelli Violin Sonatas Op 5.

db
post #309 of 354
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbphd View Post

I rely on Oppo 105 analog for surround. I like both classical and jazz, especially music from small groups. One of the recordings I use for evaluating the sound of a setup is "Take Five" of the Dave Brubeck Quartet Time Out. I have this as both DSD and vinyl. The delineation of the players with either the Oppo or vinyl is superb and the snap of the snare as detailed as I could want. Large orchestrations such as the Ivan Fisher conducted Mahler 2nd are well rendered with a large and deep soundstage. Although I have a Proceed Amp 2 for the rear surround channels, I rarely turn it on. I no longer use a center channel, because the KEF 107/2s image so well.

For a surround treat, you might try the Arts DSD recording of Corelli Violin Sonatas Op 5.

db

You don't notice a loss of depth with analog for surround? I was immediately pleased with what I perceived as a warmer and more forward, present sound in analog, then when I switched back and forth between analog and HDMI, I noticed the lack of depth and a few missing details, such as shimmer on cymbals with the analog connection.

I have that Arts SACD--fantastic indeed! In fact, I have yet to be disappointed in any of their SACDs. Their Vivaldi series is wonderful, as are two new solo piano recordings of music by Ravel and Rachmaninoff.
post #310 of 354
I haven't compared analog with HDMI from the Oppo 105 in a long time, because I devote HDMI-2 to a monitor. That connection is down right now, so it's easy for me to hook up the HDMI and make the comparison. I'll try to do that tomorrow. As far as comparing the balanced analog with HDMI from the Sony 5400ES, I have recent experience and they are simply a button press away. I definitely prefer balanced analog from the 5400ES even if it's limited to stereo.

db
post #311 of 354
Yesterday I installed a Parasound Halo JC-2 analog stereo preamp to replace a Cary Cinema 11a, with the Sony 5400ES using one of its balanced inputs. It was like a breath of fresh air for the 5400ES. I've denigrated the 5400ES for lack of detail, but realized HDMI was the problem when I returned to using the balanced input of the Cary. The JC-2 takes the 5400ES to a new level of detail and sound stage delineation.

db
post #312 of 354

yeah,I have never known an authorized ES dealer so buy this unit wherever you can find it. Sony will honor the warranty with just a telephone call on its 800 number. While it is worth more than retail, you should be able to find one for around $1,200.00

Ux

post #313 of 354
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbphd View Post

Yesterday I installed a Parasound Halo JC-2 analog stereo preamp to replace a Cary Cinema 11a, with the Sony 5400ES using one of its balanced inputs. It was like a breath of fresh air for the 5400ES. I've denigrated the 5400ES for lack of detail, but realized HDMI was the problem when I returned to using the balanced input of the Cary. The JC-2 takes the 5400ES to a new level of detail and sound stage delineation.
db

HDMI was not the problem, but rather, it was the D/A converter on your Cary. I've owned the Sony XA-5400ES since 2009. I temporarily owned the Oppo BDP-95 for less than a month. At the time, I was using an Arcam AV9 as a pre-amp processor. I found the analog outs of the Sony 5400ES to be more to my liking than that of the Oppo BDP-95, but its a subjective call and many like the analog out of the Oppo better. Both of these units had a better D/A converter than my Arcam AV9. I sent the Oppo back, and I still own the 5400ES. However, in 20012, I purchased a new processor, the Bryston SP3. To date, I have found no CD player to match the Bryston's D/A converter which sounds hands down better than the Sony XA-5400ES. So, I am using only the HDMI and tos-link digital on the XA-5400ES so that I can use the D/A converter on the Bryston.
post #314 of 354
I've read rave reviews about the sound using the Bryston SP3, and at an MSRP close to $10K I'd be surprised if its DACs didn't sound better than those of the Sony 5400ES. I thought the DAC process of the Cary would be superior to that of the 5400ES as well, but I think Cary may have voiced their unit to appeal to the tube folks.

I haven't found a used SP3 for less than $6K, and as a retired guy whose goal it is to keep expenses within our secure income (COLA pension and social security) I can wait. IME, prices of processors tend to fall when new wrinkles in the SOTA come along. Until then, the 5400ES and JC-3 phono stage using the two XLR inputs of the analog JC-2 preamp satisfy me. The Oppo 105 uses a scheme in which stereo goes through the JC-2 and surrounds directly to the amps for multi-channel. And multi-channel is the main value I find in using HDMI from the 5400ES; well recorded multi-channel can add a sense of depth and ambience that exceeds stereo.

Why toe-link in addition to HDMI?

db
post #315 of 354
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbphd View Post

I've read rave reviews about the sound using the Bryston SP3, and at an MSRP close to $10K I'd be surprised if its DACs didn't sound better than those of the Sony 5400ES. I thought the DAC process of the Cary would be superior to that of the 5400ES as well, but I think Cary may have voiced their unit to appeal to the tube folks.

I haven't found a used SP3 for less than $6K, and as a retired guy whose goal it is to keep expenses within our secure income (COLA pension and social security) I can wait. IME, prices of processors tend to fall when new wrinkles in the SOTA come along. Until then, the 5400ES and JC-3 phono stage using the two XLR inputs of the analog JC-2 preamp satisfy me. The Oppo 105 uses a scheme in which stereo goes through the JC-2 and surrounds directly to the amps for multi-channel. And multi-channel is the main value I find in using HDMI from the 5400ES; well recorded multi-channel can add a sense of depth and ambience that exceeds stereo.

Why toe-link in addition to HDMI?

db

I feel you on the price of the Bryston as well as trying to live within your means. Heck, I still owe 6K on my SP3. But, would I purchase it again, hell yes. For once, I'm finally satisfied with the sonics of my audio system. wink.gif
post #316 of 354
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbphd View Post

I've read rave reviews about the sound using the Bryston SP3, and at an MSRP close to $10K I'd be surprised if its DACs didn't sound better than those of the Sony 5400ES.

Its a scientific fact that there is a linear relationship between price and sound quality. DAC quality is the most important factor in system sound quality. You seem to believe those things and I won't bother to disabuse you of these common audiophile myths. ;-)
post #317 of 354
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

Its a scientific fact that there is a linear relationship between price and sound quality. DAC quality is the most important factor in system sound quality. You seem to believe those things and I won't bother to disabuse you of these common audiophile myths. ;-)

This is simply untrue. I have personally purchased equipment that punched well out of their price range. I have also listened to excessively priced equipment that sounded worst than far less expensive gear. It depends upon the manufacturer as well as the product, itself. Also, while the D/A converter is important, so is the design of the analog stage.
post #318 of 354
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

Its a scientific fact that there is a linear relationship between price and sound quality. DAC quality is the most important factor in system sound quality. You seem to believe those things and I won't bother to disabuse you of these common audiophile myths. ;-)

arnyk,

How could you conclude from reviews I've read what I seem to believe? What that does seem is an inference too far made by you. In fact, I think for most consumer products the price - quality relationship rises sharply then approaches asymptote fairly early. Nothing linear about that. Of course there are anomalies. So please don't bother to disabuse me about myths in which I don't believe. Now the tooth fairy, Easter bunny, and Santa Claus are entirely different matters. I was trained as a scientist, and have to believe in something.

db
post #319 of 354
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbphd View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

Its a scientific fact that there is a linear relationship between price and sound quality. DAC quality is the most important factor in system sound quality. You seem to believe those things and I won't bother to disabuse you of these common audiophile myths. ;-)

How could you conclude from reviews I've read what I seem to believe?

I didn't. My comments are based on your posting:
Quote:
I've read rave reviews about the sound using the Bryston SP3, and at an MSRP close to $10K I'd be surprised if its DACs didn't sound better than those of the Sony 5400ES.

It looks very much like you are justifying what even you find to be a costly product on the basis of sound quality when the absence of any audible differences at all is highly likely.
Quote:
What that does seem is an inference too far made by you.

The hyperbole was intentional and indicated by the smiley at the end of the post. But there is a kernel of truth.
Quote:
In fact, I think for most consumer products the price - quality relationship rises sharply then approaches asymptote fairly early. Nothing linear about that. Of course there are anomalies. So please don't bother to disabuse me about myths in which I don't believe. Now the tooth fairy, Easter bunny, and Santa Claus are entirely different matters. I was trained as a scientist, and have to believe in something.

$10K for a simple surround processor? If you watch the other threads you know someone found an $18K high end surround processor that was basically a $1K AVR with powe amps removed and a new front panel. One irony is that the dealers loved it because it was more reliable and smoother operating than the from-scratch engineered high end brands they also had experience with. I wonder if any of them were the Bryston?
post #320 of 354
I knew it was only a matter of time before this happened! biggrin.gif
post #321 of 354
Well if its a truism for them ....then .. ahhh, stuff it.

biggrin.gif
post #322 of 354
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post
 If you watch the other threads you know someone found an $18K high end surround processor that was basically a $1K AVR with powe amps removed and a new front panel. One irony is that the dealers loved it because it was more reliable and smoother operating than the from-scratch engineered high end brands they also had experience with. I wonder if any of them were the Bryston?

Unlikely.  I think the Sim disappeared before the SP3 appeared.

post #323 of 354
For clarification I've never even seen a Bryston SP-3, so I obviously haven't heard one; I was speculating based on rave reviews I've read.

Analog stereo from my Oppo 105 goes to unbalanced inputs of my Parasound JC-2; analog stereo from my Sony 5400ES goes to balanced inputs of the JC-2 (a JC-3 phono stage uses the other balanced input). I have listened to that configuration and can compare the sound of the units through my JC-2 with that through my Cary Cinema 11a, but that is the extent of my direct experience. Of course, there are rave reviews for the sound of both the 105 and 5400ES as well.

db
post #324 of 354
As I stated in another thread, after further critical listening, I think I'm hearing greater presence rather than a loss of depth with the Oppo 105 via the multi-channel analog connection. It does vary a bit from one recording to another, but I think I like the analog best overall--it just sounds so much richer and less "digital"--duh! It's too bad that the 5400ES doesn't offer m-ch analog connections, as the analog Oppo set up pretty much trumps it. Oh well.
post #325 of 354
BWV1080, I recommend you use stereo from the Oppo 105 for front LR rather than 5.1 or 7.1 if you're not already doing so. That way you get the benefit of the stereo DACs for multichannel. The manual provides instruction for this setup. I use an analog stereo preamp, so surrounds go directly from the 105 to the amps, SW to a Velodyne SMS-1 LF ARC.

The 105 handles bass management well, so I've been experimenting with 80 Hz crossover to a pair of Velodyne HGS-15s even though the KEF 107/2s are credible with more felt than heard low pedal notes of a pipe organ. The 5400ES and phono stage go through the preamp and do not use the subs.

db
post #326 of 354
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbphd View Post

BWV1080, I recommend you use stereo from the Oppo 105 for front LR rather than 5.1 or 7.1 if you're not already doing so.

I am...it makes a HUGE difference!
post #327 of 354
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbphd View Post

Analog stereo from my Oppo 105 goes to unbalanced inputs of my Parasound JC-2; analog stereo from my Sony 5400ES goes to balanced inputs of the JC-2 (a JC-3 phono stage uses the other balanced input). I have listened to that configuration and can compare the sound of the units through my JC-2 with that through my Cary Cinema 11a, but that is the extent of my direct experience. Of course, there are rave reviews for the sound of both the 105 and 5400ES as well
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbphd View Post

BWV1080, I recommend you use stereo from the Oppo 105 for front LR rather than 5.1 or 7.1 if you're not already doing so. That way you get the benefit of the stereo DACs for multichannel. The manual provides instruction for this setup. I use an analog stereo preamp, so surrounds go directly from the 105 to the amps, SW to a Velodyne SMS-1 LF ARC.

The 105 handles bass management well, so I've been experimenting with 80 Hz crossover to a pair of Velodyne HGS-15s even though the KEF 107/2s are credible with more felt than heard low pedal notes of a pipe organ. The 5400ES and phono stage go through the preamp and do not use the subs
just to clarify here: when you say "use stereo" instead of 7.1/5.1 FL & FR, , are you implying using the Oppo BDP-105 RCA STEREO AUDIO OUT and/or XLR BALANCED STEREO AUDIO OUT?

Also, your 7.1/5.1 SL, SR, C are going directly to discrete amps? While 7.1/5.1 SW is going directly to your Velodyne subwoofer INP?

I'm still confuguring my system. I'm using, both, the BDP-105 and SCD-XA5400ES, players. Will integrate to Marantz AV8801, Parasound Halo A51 amp (250W X 5), and JL Audio F110 subwoofer, in a 5.1 configuration.

I was planning to connect:
Oppo BDP-105 XLR BALANCED STEREO AUDIO OUT directly to AV8801 BALANCED XLR INP's for exclusive 2ch analog playback
Oppo BDP-105 RCA 5.1 AUDIO OUT's directly to AV8801 RCA 7.1ch INP's for analog multi-channel playback
Sony SCD-XA5400ES 2ch UNBALANCED RCA ANALOG OUT directly to AV8801 2ch RCA ANALOG AUDIO INP's for exclusive 2ch analog playback

Or possibly connect:
Sony SCD-XA5400ES XLR BALANCED ANALOG OUT directly to AV8801 BALANCED XLR INP's for exclusive 2ch analog playback
Sony SCD-XA5400ES HDMI OUT directly to AV8801 HDMI AUX2 for digital (Audyssey-based) multi-channel playback
Edited by WestCoastD - 12/4/13 at 3:23pm
post #328 of 354
WestCoastD,

According to Oppo sound quality does not differ whether you use XLR or RCA, but it is superior if you use stereo for your front LR, which you can do both for stereo and for multichannel.

In my setup, stereo from the Oppo 105 goes via RCA connections to a Parasound Halo JC-2 stereo preamp, each surround output goes directly to a Proceed HPA amp, and SW goes directly to a Velodyne SMS-1 LF ARC that controls a pair of HGS-15s. Stereo from a Sony 5400ES and JC-3 phono stage go to the two balanced inputs of the JC-2. I use a bypass scheme suggested by Richard Schram, CEO of Parasound, in which the JC-2 is set to unity gain when used with the Oppo, so the Oppo controls the volume in the configuration. For the 5400ES and phono stage volume is set by the JC-2. I marked unity gain so resetting the JC-2 to that level is trivial.

A DirecTV HD-DVR connects to the rear HDMI of the Oppo, and the whole system is managed by a Logitech harmony One. I use KEF Reference 107/2 mains and 102 surrounds. I removed the center channel, because the 107/2s image so well it is redundant even for HT.

db
post #329 of 354
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbphd View Post

WestCoastD,

According to Oppo sound quality does not differ whether you use XLR or RCA, but it is superior if you use stereo for your front LR, which you can do both for stereo and for multichannel.

In my setup, stereo from the Oppo 105 goes via RCA connections to a Parasound Halo JC-2 stereo preamp, each surround output goes directly to a Proceed HPA amp, and SW goes directly to a Velodyne SMS-1 LF ARC that controls a pair of HGS-15s. Stereo from a Sony 5400ES and JC-3 phono stage go to the two balanced inputs of the JC-2. I use a bypass scheme suggested by Richard Schram, CEO of Parasound, in which the JC-2 is set to unity gain when used with the Oppo, so the Oppo controls the volume in the configuration. For the 5400ES and phono stage volume is set by the JC-2. I marked unity gain so resetting the JC-2 to that level is trivial.

A DirecTV HD-DVR connects to the rear HDMI of the Oppo, and the whole system is managed by a Logitech harmony One. I use KEF Reference 107/2 mains and 102 surrounds. I removed the center channel, because the 107/2s image so well it is redundant even for HT.

db
interesting set-up. I've read nothing but good things about the JC-2 pre-amp (and JC-1 amp's). I'm very curious to compare 2ch sound quality (of SCD-XA5400ES & BDP-105), especially playing RedBook CD's.
Edited by WestCoastD - 12/5/13 at 1:20pm
post #330 of 354
Quote:
Originally Posted by WestCoastD View Post

interesting set-up. I've read nothing but good things about the JC-2 pre-amp (and JC-1 amp's). I'm very curious to compare 2ch sound quality (of SCD-XA5400ES & BDP-105), especially playing RedBook CD's.

The JC-2 is so neutral it seems to approach the ideal of a straight wire with gain. It replaced a Cary Cinema 11a, no sonic slouch, and seems to have lifted a vail to move me just a bit closer to the music. Both the 5400ES and 105 are capable of excellent sound with CDs or SACDs via analog output through the JC-2, even though their sound is slightly different. I intend to keep both, but if I had to choose just one it would be the 105, because it plays A/V Blu-rays as well as CDs and SACDs, and functions as a processor for speaker management and so forth. Multichannel music on DTS HD MA and Dolby True HD Blu-ray discs can be an amazing experience. I especially enjoy opera on Blu-ray.

db
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