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commsysman
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The new Sony 5400 SACD player

In the May issue, Kal Rubinson said "for the moment, I have yet to hear a better SACD/CD player" (speaking of the new Sony 5400).

One would assume that he has heard the Ayre C5xe...or has he?

Is he saying that this $1500 player is as good as the Ayre...or better...or what?

Is there anyone out there who has been able to compare them?

I would be interested in what Kal has to say, and also what others have to say if they have heard both of them enough for a good comparison.

Kal Rubinson
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Re: The new Sony 5400 SACD player

I have not heard the Ayre player in my system, so my statement did not encompass it. My statement refers only to the players I have used at home and all of those have been described in Stereophile.

Kal

commsysman
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Re: The new Sony 5400 SACD player

Thanks, Kal.

If the Sony is actually in the same league, I'm sure a lot of people would be very interested in it at that price. It would certainly be interesting if someone would do a comparison and comment on it.

Kal Rubinson
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Re: The new Sony 5400 SACD player

It is a possibility that someone (not me) will do that.

Kal

commsysman
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The new Sony 5400 SACD player; remarkable sound!

Well, Kal, you hit the nail on the head!

A friend just got his new Sony 5400 a couple of days ago, and said that it sounded so good he couldn't believe it. This, of course, required a head-to-head comparison.

He brought it over yesterday so that we could see if it was in the same league as my Ayre C5XE, and we listened to my CD and SACD collection for 8 hours and compared (using balanced connections from both units) a wide range of music of all genres.

It was immediately apparent, and continued to be apparent, that the Sony sounded significantly better on virtually all recordings! I was in shock. It even sounded amazing on an OLD 1982 CBS CD release by Yo-Yo Ma (Kreisler etc.); I have never heard a cello sound so close to the sound at the front row of a recital! And my SACD of Cantate Domino sounded ethereal; both the soprano and the massed choir sounded angelic and seductive and the cathedral ambiance was breathtaking. One of my acid tests for a system is the Phillips 1988 digital recording of the Schubert Impromptus by Alfred Brendel; it has never sounded so remarkably close to the live performance sound of the piano as it did on the Sony last night; I have never heard so deeply into the intricacies of the performance.

This f$%^& thing only cost $1500, and it is better than my Ayre?...Grrrrrrrrr!!! Oy vey....

Hmmmm.

Next week my Ayre goes in for the MP upgrade, ASAP. I hope the Ayre sounds as good as the Sony when I get it back, lol.

At $1500, though, I may just invest in the Sony in the meantime anyway. They may be back-ordered when the word spreads about this thing.

I think that the Sony engineers have really done something remarkable here. I have personally never heard a better CD player, and I have heard almost everything that costs under 10 grand. This is going to send some engineers scrambling at a lot of companies, lol! I think this is going to be a watershed product, like the NAD 3020!

Look out, guys!

silvertone
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Re: The new Sony 5400 SACD player


Quote:
It is a possibility that someone (not me) will do that.

Kal

Why not?

Kal Rubinson
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Re: The new Sony 5400 SACD player

I am kinda interested in this but it has a low personal priority since the Ayre is channel-deficient, imho.

Kal

commsysman
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Re: The new Sony 5400 SACD player

If God wanted man to have more than 2 channels, he would have given him more than 2 ears...lol.

So let it be written...!

Kal Rubinson
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Re: The new Sony 5400 SACD player


Quote:
If God wanted man to have more than 2 channels, he would have given him more than 2 ears...lol.

So let it be written...!


That's not only silly, it's also trite.

Kal

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Re: The new Sony 5400 SACD player; remarkable sound!


Quote:

Next week my Ayre goes in for the MP upgrade, ASAP. I hope the Ayre sounds as good as the Sony when I get it back, lol.

\

Keep us posted, this is worth pursuing given the price difference between these two units

Also, did JA get around to comapre the Ayre and Meridian with both units equiped with the MP filter??

commsysman
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Re: The new Sony 5400 SACD player

I thought that it was rather obvious that I was just being silly; no need to rap me on the knuckles...lol.

commsysman
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Re: The new Sony 5400 SACD player; remarkable sound!

Unfortunately, Ayre has informed me that they are badly backed up on the upgrades, and can't take my unit until April.

Yikes.

I will have to wait till then to let you know what I think, but John Atkinson apparently thought that the MP upgrade was quite a significant improvement.

Kal Rubinson
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Re: The new Sony 5400 SACD player


Quote:
I thought that it was rather obvious that I was just being silly; no need to rap me on the knuckles...lol.

I know but that old line gets my goat. I hate the stupid line because it is about an issue I have to deal with all the time.

Kal

commsysman
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Re: The new Sony 5400 SACD player

No problemo; I think I can understand your position.

Hey Kal; has John Atkinson listened to the 5400?

He should really put it next to his Ayre and see just how good it is.

It is SO good that on my Ayre C5 everything just sounds kind
of thick and muffled by comparison; I don't even want to turn the Ayre on anymore now that I have the 5400 in my system (I ordered one immediately Sunday morning from Sony online with rush delivery and got it yesterday afternoon...lol).

But of course I haven't made the upgrade to the MP version of the C5 yet, and it is going to be 6 months before they can fit me in. I seriously wonder if the MP upgrade can bring the Ayre back to where it can compete with the sound of the Sony, but maybe the Sony engineers did essentially the same thing as Ayre; maybe after the upgrade they will be similar.

I would just LOVE to see JA do a full review of the Sony and discuss just HOW the Sony engineers have performed this Miracle; you know, the technical naughty bits...lol.

Please tell him to get in gear and DO a full review; this machine deserves it, and then some!

Maybe you could forward this message to him or something?

silvertone
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Re: The new Sony 5400 SACD player


Quote:
but maybe the Sony engineers did essentially the same thing as Ayre; maybe after the upgrade they will be similar.

Negative, this Sony player uses a brickwall digital filter not an MP. There's a white paper floating around that's how I know.

My gut feeling is that after the upgrade, the Ayre will edge out the Sony. Whether the improvment is worth $4,500 that's a different story.

commsysman
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Re: The new Sony 5400 SACD player

Hmmm; that's very interesting.

Well, in my case I already have the Ayre, so I might as well spend the $250 on the upgrade and see, lol.

Do you have a link for me, or some way I can access that white paper? I would be interested to see it.

It is driving me crazy that they made this thing sound so bloody wonderful-sounding for $1500. Their engineers obviously figured out something that has escaped all of the other engineers to date!

On the other hand, Sony is a VERY big company. They might have simply decided to up the ante and support SACD in a more attractive way, and wrote off the up-front costs for engineering and development.

I very much doubt if ANY SACD player actually costs more than a thousand dollars to actually produce (parts and labor only); the rest of the price is mostly a combination of development cost and profit (plus advertising etc.). No small company can afford to blow off the development costs, but Sony does it all the time when they decide that overall strategy is their primary concern. They pumped many many millions into their SXRD projection TV technology (which I still think looks better in the 60" sets than the best plasma sets ever made), but after a few years they abandonded it because the production costs of the hardware never came down to the hoped-for levels. They certainly had a BIG write-off there! I guess they are going with LCD only now in the big TVs.

silvertone
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Re: The new Sony 5400 SACD player


Quote:

Do you have a link for me, or some way I can access that white paper? I would be interested to see it.

Here's the link to the white paper:

http://rapidshare.com/files/236880364/SCD-XA5400ES_Ver_1_0_0623_SEL.zip

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Re: The new Sony 5400 SACD player

Questions to Kalman:
Would you know what kind (resolution) of PCM stereo signal the 5400 player sends out via its HDMI? Is it the same as its other digital out connections (i.e. CD level) or is it high rez?
Also, technology aside, would you be able to comment on sound from the different digital outs of the player?

I have the 5400 now 4 months and I am very happy with its SACD (2-ch analogue out) playing. I still prefer the CD playing of my Rega Saturn (albeit double as expensive and stereo CD only), but I do not pretend to be a reviewer.

Thanks Kalman for bringing Sony into my attention.

Kal Rubinson
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Re: The new Sony 5400 SACD player


Quote:
Questions to Kalman:
Would you know what kind (resolution) of PCM stereo signal the 5400 player sends out via its HDMI?

24/88.2


Quote:
Also, technology aside, would you be able to comment on sound from the different digital outs of the player?

Sorry. Since there is no SACD output from the coax/TOS outputs, I never bothered with them.

I am glad you are happy with the player.

Kal

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Re: The new Sony 5400 SACD player

Hi Kal,

I love my 5400 as well! Just wondering if you had determined if Sony is using the DAC's in a ladder fashion for the 2 channel Analog output section (in other words are they using all of the multichannel DAC's in parallel)?

Thanks,
Dave

Kal Rubinson
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Re: The new Sony 5400 SACD player

It does not but it does run CD through a noise shaper which outputs a 1 bit signal at 64 x 44.1 which is 2.8224mhz, same as SACD. Then, of course, it is sent through the DAC as if it was SACD.

OTOH, the multilevel DSD DAC is supposed to be an advance on stacked ladder DACs.

Kal

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Re: The new Sony 5400 SACD player

Now I get it, thank you so much for your time and cogent answer

commsysman
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Re: The new Sony 5400 SACD player vs the Ayre C5MP

After a wait of 8 months, I finally was able to get my Ayre C5 upgraded to the MP configuration.

The result was worth the wait.

The Sony 5400 sounded much better than the Ayre, pre-mod, but now the Ayre sounds a bit better than the Sony.

The MP mod is a HUGE upgrade to the Ayre...HUGE!!!!!

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MP stands for...?
commsysman wrote:

After a wait of 8 months, I finally was able to get my Ayre C5 upgraded to the MP configuration.

The result was worth the wait.

The Sony 5400 sounded much better than the Ayre, pre-mod, but now the Ayre sounds a bit better than the Sony.

The MP mod is a HUGE upgrade to the Ayre...HUGE!!!!!

 

I would have loved to go for something like that but with the economy as it is and my recent huge slary drop (I still have a job though) I will have to pass anything that sounds like  dollar  signs ripping off my ears.  

I was just wondering what MP stands for.

commsysman
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The original digital filter

The original digital filter in the Ayre was a "linear phase" type filter. The current production, and units like mine that have been upgraded, have a "Minimum Phase" filter.

The Ayre website has a link to a white paper describing the issues and the filter designs under the technology heading.

  www.ayre.com/pdf/Ayre_MP_White_Paper.pdf    is the direct link to the white paper.

 

P.S. - The Sony, at $1500, is so close to the Ayre that spending $6k on the Ayre is not something I would do again. Sony does not have new units available now; production may have stopped. I think you can still find new units for around $1000 on the internet, however. If you can find one, I highly recommend getting one.

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