Review: Sony SCD-C555es CD Player

Category: Digital

I have had the SCD-C555ES for about 4 months now. I used to hate Sony for their near tyrannical control of the music industry until I bought this player and heard their brainchild – Super Audio CD. I cannot compare this machine to other SACD players – this is the only one I have ever heard. However, I can comment on some other plus and minus stuff. For starters, I love that this is a high-end 5 disc changer. There seems to be an attitude that only a single disc player can satisfy the audiophile, but this player does just fine in the transport department. Sony uses excellent isolation and dampening measures to be sure. For CD playback, I use the digital output to an MSB Link III DAC. I used a Denon CDR-1500 as a transport prior and the Sony afforded a sonic upgrade, undoubtedly. With the Link III for conversion, the Sony produced a better digital feed and yielded a cleaner, more detailed sound. The Sony’s CD player (analog outputs) is good, but not that impressive. I don’t hear the detail I hear with the Link, and not much more than what I got with straight CD playback via the Denon. 2-Channel Super Audio is a different story. I haven’t heard that kind of detail, space and neutral tonality to date. Beck’s “Sea Change” is full of background surprises, and the Sony found and located them exactly. The "Super Bass II" SACD caught all the initial 'pluck' of the notes and carried it to full bloom, all with excellent placement of the instruments and their players occasional exclamations. "Satch Plays Fats" is one of the most endearing SACD's you will find. Louie's throaty scats just seem to present themselves, then hang in the middle of the room. The trumpet loses its bright edge, making the brashness of the instrument inviting - something that was previously only really afforded by analog.
I don't really have any criticisms of the player. This thing was originally $1700-$1800, which is a lot to my meager means. Stereophile, whose Reccomended components have never proven wrong to me, gave this piece Class A for SACD -incredibly cheap for the others in that category. The model was (I believe) later discontinued (typical mass market company - make a good, reasonably priced product then cancel production)and now you can get one for around $900. I found a floor model at "Tweeter" with full warranty for $529!!!
I feel like I got the better end of that deal.

Associated gear
Paradigm Reference Studio 60's,
Arcam Alpha 9 Integrated, Tara Labs/XLO cabling, MSB Link III DAC (24/132 upsampling)

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I have the same player but am curious to know if you have seen this: When playing more than one disc, the player will play the first disc twice.

Love the player for the price/took months to break in.
I too have this, bought recently at Tweeter, also a floor model! I have also purchased a Link III with upsampling to go with it! (don't have it yet).To Smc, my player does not have that problem. However, the tray is kinda loud when switching discs, opening, closing, etc. Do your players sound noisy too? It's audible from maybe 20 feet away.
It is also very sensitive to imperfect discs - skips mercilessly. I found that using Auric Illuminator removed the prob with at least one disc.