The 2002 Products of the Year Digital Source
Sony SCD-XA777ES multichannel SACD player (review) ($3000, reviewed by Kalman Rubinson, Vol.25 No.1, January 2002)
Runners-Up (in alphabetical order):
Accuphase DP-85 SACD player (review) ($16,500; reviewed by Michael Fremer, Vol.25 No.9, September 2002)
Alesis Masterlink ML-9600 hard-disk/CD-R recorder (review) ($1699; reviewed by Michael Fremer, Vol.25 No.6, June 2002)
Boulder 1012 D/A processor (review) ($16,000; reviewed by Jonathan Scull, Vol.24 No.12, December 2001)
Chord DAC64 D/A processor (review) ($3040; reviewed by John Atkinson, Vol.25 No.7, July 2002)
Classé Omega SACD player (review) ($12,000; reviewed by Jonathan Scull, Vol.24 No.11, November 2001)
Musical Fidelity A324 D/A processor (review) ($1195; reviewed by Sam Tellig & John Atkinson, Vol.25 Nos.4 & 7, April & July 2002)
Wadia 861 CD player (review) ($7950; reviewed by Brian Damkroger, Vol.25 No.3, March 2002)
Following in the footsteps of the first SACD player to come from Sony, 1999's SCD-1, the multichannel SCD-XA777ES takes this year's prize. As one of the criteria for reaching Stereophile "Product of the Year" status is establishing a new standard of performance, it's no wonder the XA777ES garnered top marks among digital sources in 2002. Sony boasts an impressive tradition of excellence, and with this newest member of the family they've surpassed the illustrious SCD-1 and its single-ended successor, the SCD-777ES.
Euphony will have to equal accuracy if you're to embrace the XA777ES as did Kal Rubinson, who noted that its ruthless and uncompromising nature could sometimes work to the player's disadvantage. Communication of the musical illusion, however, is heightened, with "staggering dynamic range," "thrilling inner detail," and no apparent distortion or obscuring of the experience.
Superb all around and rated Class A+ in this magazine's "Recommended Components" pages, the SCD-XA777ES not only enables its owner to get the best sound from the new SACD format, but is also "a top-class" CD player that offers no performance concessions.