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Is the Sony XA7ES CD Player as good as they say?

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Anonymous
August 31, 2005 4:15:10 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Hi All,

I've asked this question before on some other forums, but have had 200
replies about rubbish. One guy would say something, and the other guy
would tell him what an idiot he was etc, and back and fourth we go with
no answer.

I have an XA7ES cd player, which I'm thinking of selling. They seem to
sell quite well, and have a high resale value dispite their age.
Everything I've heard about them is good. As for what I think of them,
every CD player I've tried has sounded pretty much the same to me. I've
been told all sorts of things like buy better cables, make sure the
phase is right, you need to upgrade your equipment etc. But that's not
what I'm asking.

My question is, assuming I'm wrong and everyone else is right, and that
CD players do make a difference to the sound. Is the XA7ES as good a cd
player as they say? My main problem is, I usually don't know how good
the gear I have is until I've sold it and am listening to something
else, by which time it's too late. For the same price range on the used
market, can I get something better than the XA7ES? I only need CD
playback, I don't need mp3, dvda, sacd, xrcd etc.

Thanks in advanced.

More about : sony xa7es player good

Anonymous
August 31, 2005 6:08:40 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Hi, Well, I'm certainly no expert, don't claim to have any golden ear.
About 4-5 years ago, I listened to a top of the line Mark Levinson
Transport, and DAC (about $25K price combined I believe) through a ML
Model 33 Amp, and some Apogee Ribbons. Was very nice.
Certainly Head, and shoulders over what I own (McIntosh amps-pre-amps,
CAL Sigma II DAC, and Delta transport)

Same with once hearing a top of the line Krell at the time, I believe
was a KPS-20i? Running through a Krell FPB 300, and B+W 800 Series
III's. Again, very nice.

Whether one can justify spending $20-25K for CD Players, well, if one
has the pockets, and made something like Michael Jordan's salary, hey
what the heck, you only go around once!

Some say your audio system is only as good as the weakest link.
Naturally, if the Sony XA7ES CD player was compared, and A-B'ed to the
Krell, and Levinson's I just mentioned running through a "Circuit City
Special" $149 JVC reciever, very likely there wouldn't be a shred of
difference in sound quality to be heard.

Other than the beautiful Build quality, and better componentry, fancy
CNC Aluminum Remote controls that feel so nice in one's hand, I would
assume that at some stage of the game, there has to be a point of
diminishing returns as far as any substantial increases in sound
quality.

In that for instance, a $15,000 CD Player isn't going to sound 10 times
better than a $1500 one. I think we all here can agree on that.

I've also heard good reviews of this Sony, but personally never compared
one against some others. While I like Sony's interest in trying to stay
ahead in cutting edge electronics, I've had much bad luck with Sony, and
their reliability with their products over the years. Mark
Anonymous
September 1, 2005 8:34:48 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

I'm sure what you listened to is very nice, as I've heard a lot of nice
gear too. The Krells and ML funninly enough. However, because the rest
of the gear is good, I'm wondering if a $300 CD player would 'sound'
any different though? As I've said, I've done the excercise (not with
that kind of gear of course, I can't afford it), but with what I have
access to, it sounds exactly the same. As I've also said, people have
told me it's because of this or that, implying that CD Players SHOULD
and DO sound different.

I will go down my normal path, which is sell it, and if I miss it or
regreat it because what I ended up using is not as good, then I will
know it's a good player.
Related resources
Anonymous
September 1, 2005 7:06:59 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

"Mark D" <mmd49@webtv.net> wrote in message
news:D f33f802oja@news4.newsguy.com...
>
> Some say your audio system is only as good as the weakest link.

(snip)

They say that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. For a physical
chain, the truth is that it is EXACTLY as strong as its weakest link. Audio
chains are different. An improvement anywhere in an audio chain will
improve the sound. Of course, if one of the audio links is gravely
deficient, you may find improvements in other links to be a waste of money.
IMO, the CD player is almost never gravely deficient, and big money spent on
it would have yielded a better return if spent on software.

I paid $100 for my main CD player, a Technics PG-450, and it has been
entirely satisfactory for the last 15 years. If and when I replace it, it
will be because it lacks some feature or capability, not because of inferior
sound quality.

Norm Strong
Anonymous
September 1, 2005 7:20:12 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

On 1 Sep 2005 04:34:48 GMT, puunda@gmail.com wrote:

>I'm sure what you listened to is very nice, as I've heard a lot of nice
>gear too. The Krells and ML funninly enough. However, because the rest
>of the gear is good, I'm wondering if a $300 CD player would 'sound'
>any different though? As I've said, I've done the excercise (not with
>that kind of gear of course, I can't afford it), but with what I have
>access to, it sounds exactly the same. As I've also said, people have
>told me it's because of this or that, implying that CD Players SHOULD
>and DO sound different.

Actually, those of us who have both an engineering background and
experience of blind comparisons, would be *much* more likely to tell
you that well-designed CD players (of any price) should *not* sound
different, and generally do not.
--

Stewart Pinkerton | Music is Art - Audio is Engineering
Anonymous
September 2, 2005 8:27:15 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

<normanstrong@comcast.net> wrote in message
news:D f75ej02b1d@news2.newsguy.com...
> "Mark D" <mmd49@webtv.net> wrote in message
> news:D f33f802oja@news4.newsguy.com...
>>
>> Some say your audio system is only as good as the weakest link.
>
> (snip)
>
> They say that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. For a
> physical
> chain, the truth is that it is EXACTLY as strong as its weakest link.
> Audio
> chains are different. An improvement anywhere in an audio chain will
> improve the sound. Of course, if one of the audio links is gravely
> deficient, you may find improvements in other links to be a waste of
> money.
> IMO, the CD player is almost never gravely deficient, and big money spent
> on
> it would have yielded a better return if spent on software.
>
> I paid $100 for my main CD player, a Technics PG-450, and it has been
> entirely satisfactory for the last 15 years. If and when I replace it, it
> will be because it lacks some feature or capability, not because of
> inferior
> sound quality.
>
> Norm Strong

Norm, it's a fine sounding player for the price. I bought one years ago for
my lady friend, and when she wanted to move to a changer, placed it in my
son's system. In between, however, it spent a few days in my main system in
comparison to a Marantz 63SE, the same through my DTI Pro / Proceed DAC
combo, as well as to my Sony C222ES changer. Frankly, it was sonically
inferior to all of them, simply not have as much transparency and dynamics.
Smooth and musical it was; ultimate audio it wasn't. IME, of course.

p.s. because I will be called to account, the units were all fed into my
SP6B via high level inputs. I did not measure output, but the output levels
sounded identical. Disks were moved machine to machine, as I did not have
duplicates. And no, it was not blind. I had no preconceptions since I had
always thought it sounded really fine in my lady's system. I was genuinely
interested in how it would fare, and frankly a bit surprised that the
differences were as audible as they were.
Anonymous
September 2, 2005 7:16:52 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

I've always thought this was so. However, there are MANY people out
there, in fact, the majority of people, claim that the source is
actually the most important part. Saying that rubbish in = rubbish out.
Which makes sense, but I've always maintained that any cd player
shouldn't be rubbish. A lot of these people are trying to sell me cd
players, pre amps and the like, but many do actually believe it.
September 3, 2005 6:46:18 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

puunda@gmail.com wrote:
> I've always thought this was so. However, there are MANY people out
> there, in fact, the majority of people, claim that the source is
> actually the most important part. Saying that rubbish in = rubbish out.
> Which makes sense, but I've always maintained that any cd player
> shouldn't be rubbish. A lot of these people are trying to sell me cd
> players, pre amps and the like, but many do actually believe it.


Well, if you're using the player simply as a digital transport, and
feeding digital bits out to an outboard DAC, I'd say there is less
chance of the player itself colouring the sound. (let's ignore jitter
for now) This is assuming that the environment is also vibration free,
the discs are in good shape (no substantial amount of digital error
correction going on), etc.

If you're using the analog outputs from the player, all bets are off.
The choice of DAC in the player, the quality of the clock circuit, the
quality of the various op amps in the output stage, quality of the
various capacitors in the power supply section, etc...etc...can all
noticibly change the character of the output before it ever leaves the
player.

Cheers,
Anonymous
September 5, 2005 6:04:33 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

> Well, if you're using the player simply as a digital transport, and
> feeding digital bits out to an outboard DAC, I'd say there is less
> chance of the player itself colouring the sound. (let's ignore jitter
> for now) This is assuming that the environment is also vibration free,
> the discs are in good shape (no substantial amount of digital error
> correction going on), etc.
>
> If you're using the analog outputs from the player, all bets are off.
> The choice of DAC in the player, the quality of the clock circuit, the
> quality of the various op amps in the output stage, quality of the
> various capacitors in the power supply section, etc...etc...can all
> noticibly change the character of the output before it ever leaves the
> player.
>
> Cheers,

So what you're saying is that CD Players DO and CAN sound different,
but mostly in the DAC?
Anonymous
September 5, 2005 6:06:23 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

On 3 Sep 2005 14:46:18 GMT, Ritz <ritz@mordor.net> wrote:

>puunda@gmail.com wrote:
>> I've always thought this was so. However, there are MANY people out
>> there, in fact, the majority of people, claim that the source is
>> actually the most important part. Saying that rubbish in = rubbish out.
>> Which makes sense, but I've always maintained that any cd player
>> shouldn't be rubbish. A lot of these people are trying to sell me cd
>> players, pre amps and the like, but many do actually believe it.
>
>
>Well, if you're using the player simply as a digital transport, and
>feeding digital bits out to an outboard DAC, I'd say there is less
>chance of the player itself colouring the sound. (let's ignore jitter
>for now) This is assuming that the environment is also vibration free,
>the discs are in good shape (no substantial amount of digital error
>correction going on), etc.
>
>If you're using the analog outputs from the player, all bets are off.
>The choice of DAC in the player, the quality of the clock circuit, the
>quality of the various op amps in the output stage, quality of the
>various capacitors in the power supply section, etc...etc...can all
>noticibly change the character of the output before it ever leaves the
>player.

However, the reality of the situation is that the output stages of CD
players are required to provide no more than a couple of milliamps of
current, and no one has ever shown evidence that they realy can tell
the difference between say a Pioneer DV-575A 'universal' player and
the very best dedicated CD players - unless of course they *know*
which is connected.

Don't believe me? Fine, come around with your best player, we'll walk
the walk, and I'll even supply the beer (or wine) and pizza!
--

Stewart Pinkerton | Music is Art - Audio is Engineering
September 5, 2005 7:11:56 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Stewart Pinkerton wrote:
> On 3 Sep 2005 14:46:18 GMT, Ritz <ritz@mordor.net> wrote:
>
>
>>puunda@gmail.com wrote:
>>
>>>I've always thought this was so. However, there are MANY people out
>>>there, in fact, the majority of people, claim that the source is
>>>actually the most important part. Saying that rubbish in = rubbish out.
>>>Which makes sense, but I've always maintained that any cd player
>>>shouldn't be rubbish. A lot of these people are trying to sell me cd
>>>players, pre amps and the like, but many do actually believe it.
>>
>>
>>Well, if you're using the player simply as a digital transport, and
>>feeding digital bits out to an outboard DAC, I'd say there is less
>>chance of the player itself colouring the sound. (let's ignore jitter
>>for now) This is assuming that the environment is also vibration free,
>>the discs are in good shape (no substantial amount of digital error
>>correction going on), etc.
>>
>>If you're using the analog outputs from the player, all bets are off.
>>The choice of DAC in the player, the quality of the clock circuit, the
>>quality of the various op amps in the output stage, quality of the
>>various capacitors in the power supply section, etc...etc...can all
>>noticibly change the character of the output before it ever leaves the
>>player.
>
>
> However, the reality of the situation is that the output stages of CD
> players are required to provide no more than a couple of milliamps of
> current, and no one has ever shown evidence that they realy can tell
> the difference between say a Pioneer DV-575A 'universal' player and
> the very best dedicated CD players - unless of course they *know*
> which is connected.
>
> Don't believe me? Fine, come around with your best player, we'll walk
> the walk, and I'll even supply the beer (or wine) and pizza!


OK, you're on. Where are you located? I can easily tell the difference
between a low budget player and a quality player when the analog outputs
are used. I'll even bring an EXTRA bottle of wine for the victory (or
defeat?) party afterwards. 8-)

And if I CAN tell the difference, can you do your part to cease with all
the annoying bickering about testing? It really detracts from the group
quite a bit. I know you're not the only one doing it, but sheesh...it
was like this when I stopped reading 10 years ago and I figured I'd jump
back in...only to see that things haven't changed much on that front.

Best regards,
Anonymous
September 6, 2005 1:14:05 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

On 5 Sep 2005 15:11:56 GMT, Ritz <ritz@mordor.net> wrote:

>Stewart Pinkerton wrote:
>> On 3 Sep 2005 14:46:18 GMT, Ritz <ritz@mordor.net> wrote:

>>>If you're using the analog outputs from the player, all bets are off.
>>>The choice of DAC in the player, the quality of the clock circuit, the
>>>quality of the various op amps in the output stage, quality of the
>>>various capacitors in the power supply section, etc...etc...can all
>>>noticibly change the character of the output before it ever leaves the
>>>player.
>>
>> However, the reality of the situation is that the output stages of CD
>> players are required to provide no more than a couple of milliamps of
>> current, and no one has ever shown evidence that they realy can tell
>> the difference between say a Pioneer DV-575A 'universal' player and
>> the very best dedicated CD players - unless of course they *know*
>> which is connected.
>>
>> Don't believe me? Fine, come around with your best player, we'll walk
>> the walk, and I'll even supply the beer (or wine) and pizza!
>
>OK, you're on. Where are you located?

Little village called Rempstone, about ten miles South of Nottingham
on the A60.

> I can easily tell the difference
>between a low budget player and a quality player when the analog outputs
>are used.

Yeah yeah - yawn.....................

> I'll even bring an EXTRA bottle of wine for the victory (or
>defeat?) party afterwards. 8-)
>
>And if I CAN tell the difference, can you do your part to cease with all
>the annoying bickering about testing?

Sure - but it's not going to happen! :-)

> It really detracts from the group
>quite a bit. I know you're not the only one doing it, but sheesh...it
>was like this when I stopped reading 10 years ago and I figured I'd jump
>back in...only to see that things haven't changed much on that front.

Yup - it's as true now as it always was. Engineering isn't a matter of
fashion, tha knows.....

BTW, no cheating with oddball 'high end' rubbish like the Audionote -
I'm taking about *real* SOTA players such as the Meridians.
--

Stewart Pinkerton | Music is Art - Audio is Engineering
September 6, 2005 4:58:38 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Stewart Pinkerton wrote:

>>OK, you're on. Where are you located?
>
>
> Little village called Rempstone, about ten miles South of Nottingham
> on the A60.

I'm likely going to be in the UK around New Years for a few days so I'll
make an effort to meet up and conduct "the test." Let's chat offline
and exchange contact info. Either way, it should be a good time. It's
always nice to put a face to the disembodied postings.

Cheers,
!