Playback Designs MPS-5 SACD/CD player Specifications

Sidebar 1: Specifications

Description: Single-box, fixed-output, two-channel (upgradable to multi-channel with an outboard DAC) SACD player with remote control. Formats played: SACD, CD, CD-R, CD-RW. D/A conversion: 1-bit/5.6448MHz DSD. Analog outputs: 1 pair each RCA (unbalanced), XLR (balanced), BNC (50 ohm). Digital outputs: AES/EBU, Proprietary Playlink Data/Clock (proprietary optical links). Digital inputs: AES/EBU (XLR), S/PDIF coax, S/PDIF TosLink, USB (limited to 48kHz). RS-232 and USB control ports. Maximum analog output levels: 4V RMS at 1kHz (XLR), 2V RMS at 1kHz full level (RCA, BNC), SACD and CD. Frequency response: not specified. Channel separation: not specified. Dynamic range: 140dB. THD: not specified. Power consumption: 100W.
Dimensions: 17.1" (435mm) W by 3.5" (98mm) H by 16.7" (423mm) D. Weight: 29 lbs (13kg).
Serial Number Of Unit Reviewed: 5038.
Price: $15,000. Approximate number of dealers: 8.
Manufacturer: Playback Designs, 4160 SW Greenleaf Drive, Portland, OR 97221. Tel: (503) 221-0465. Web: US distributor: Blue Light Audio, 4160 SW Greenleaf Drive, Portland, OR 97221. Tel: (503) 221-0465. Web:

Playback Designs
4160 SW Greenleaf Drive
Portland, OR 97221
(503) 221-0465

Johnnyjajohnny's picture

This story might simply be a one-off incident, but I thought I would mention it anyway:
I cannnot say anything about how great this player sounds compared to any other players, as I have only listened to it during a speaker auditon.
Anyway, this player had a very heavy hiss during playback. I've since read that the MPD-3 had a problem with light hiss, which was an inherent part of its design. I'm almost certain that what I listened to was the MPS-5 for two reasons: One was that I remember the black part at the bottom of the player, and second was that the first thing we played was a SACD. I looked at the CD cover, and it had the SACD logo, and the display on the player said "SACD 2 CH". As far as I understand, the MPD-3 is not an SACD player, so it couldn't have been that one.
Moreoever, what I read about the MPD-3, the hiss is very low-level. The hiss I heard that day was HEAVY. I first listened to "The sounds of silence" by Simon & Garfunkel, and the hiss was audible throughout the entire song. During the mellow parts, the hiss was like a very heavy tape hiss. When not playing, the player also had this hiss.
As I said, I can't say if this is a one-off incident, but in no way was this hiss low-level, and my estimate is that it was 10-20 dB below full scale. The seller was utterly surprised when I mentioned the hiss, which struck me as very odd, but that's a different discussion. He changed the cables, which didn't help. The other channels of the amp didn't have this hiss, and we also tried plugging the player into a different input, but that didn't change anything, and when we plugged in a turntable there was no hiss either. So it could only be the Playback Design player, but it is possible that it was only this one copy that was broken - unless it was designed to sound this way, but this should have shown up in the measurements published here.