Sony XA5400ES vs XA9000ES

Has anyone heard both of these players and if so what is the difference between them? I heard the 9000 in my buddies system and it sounds wonderful. Is the 5400 better?
Ag insider logo xs@2xsamzx12
I think it is. My line is through a much modified XA777ES, which was much improved over the standard XA777ES. The standard XA9000ES and XA777ES were extremely close.

The stock 5400 is very satisfying when compared to this highly modified unit, only lacking in a technical area (the balanced output level is surprisingly low). It's a very good unit indeed. It takes an extraordinary long time to break in, though.

The redbook performance of the 5400 is much better than the 9000. When playing a hybrid SACD on the 9000, it was very obvious when switching to the CD layer. With the 5400, the switch is much more subtle - the soundstage becomes slightly smaller, a bit less air maybe, but no big letdown. With the 9000, I always felt the need to hook the digital out into a dac for CD, but not with the 5400. It's a very good CD player in it's own right.

That said, there is no comparision in the build quality. The 9000 was much heavier, the switches were smoother and the finish was more refined. The 5400 is solid, the transport works smoothly and you would only know if you previously owned a 9000.

Unfortunately, I never owned these players side by side. I will say that I really can't find something I don't like about the 5400. It's a really listenable player I think.
How about XA9000ES as strictly SACD unit. I already have a very good redbook CD playback system but I am looking for SACD player. There is no 5400 available locally here but I located a used XA9000ES. I could get 5400 from oversea but it would be sight unseen, sound unheard of, kind of thing.
For straight SACD, I could not fault the 9000 at all. If you like the 9000, I would have no hesitation in buying a 5400 unheard, but the 9000 does have excellent SACD playback. Don't get the impression that the redbook is bad. It's probably better than many people have heard. It's just not on the level of its SACD.
I owned and sold the XA9000ES because the CD redbook sound was so awful. It had a totally flat soundstage.
The SACD was great however.
Seems Sony wanted to show off the SACD at the time and spent no effort on the CD section.
Thanks for the comment. I think I will go with XA9000ES as I would have to pay shipping and 30% tax to bring in the 5400. By that time, it would cost me more than the used XA9000ES. I will use it strictly as SACD player.
Ozzy you really think the 9000 has terrible redbook qualities? I am shocked anyone thinks that. My friend has one and I like it and of course he does too. Best CD player he has owned and he has owned quite a few.
I never heard the xa9000es but I had a Sony scd-1 and it was terrible on redbook cd compared to the Sony xa5400es. I guess if you have never heard a good cdp you might think it was good.
Samzx12, Yes , I thought the CD portion of the Sony XA9000ES was really bad.
At the time, I had a Meridian 508.24 player to compare it to. I also had several other inexpensive Sony's that had a better sound than the XA9000ES.
I think there was reviews that said about the same thing.

Though I liked the SACD portion of the XA9000ES, I didnt have enough SACD's at the time to warrant purchasing it just for that.
Funny you say that Ozzy because I always thought the Redbook was rated very high. Its Stereophile Class A rated and not only for Redbook. I know its a matter of choice but I was not aware the redbook was not up to par. From what I have heard its quite good.

I started this thread because I am interested in both and wanted to know if the 5400 was quite a bit better on Redbook than the 9000. When I 1st heard the 9000 at my buddies house I was amazed at the smoothness almost analog sound. There was alot of air to it and I told him to buy it because as it was on loan to him. He did and really likes it.
All I can say is if someone left me the XA9000ES in there will, I would sell it ASAP.

We all have our opinions and perhaps with your buddies equipment and room it sounded better than at my place.
I replied to your posting because I thought you were looking for actual experience.
Albeit I have no experinece comparing it to the newer XA5400ES model.

I would think the newer model XA5400ES would come with perhaps a money back time period. If so, then compare it to your buddies.

Good Luck.
Thanks Ozzy for giving me your candid opinion I appreciate it. You are just offering what you heard in your system and it just surprised me thats all. You maybe right it just sounded good in my buddies system. He is going to let me borrow it fairly soon so we'll see. The 5400 does intrigue me.
I didn't have the 9000 but had a SOny scd-1 and the redbook playback wasn't even close to my Simaudio moon eclipse( I owned both at the same time). I sold the Sony almost immediately.The redbook playback of the xa5400es is miles ahead of the scd-1.
One more question? Has anyone compared the Sony's to a Raysonic 128 or Cary 306/200?
I have owned many cd players. I am currenty listening to a xa9000es. It is as good as I've heard w/sacd... It is also very good with redbook cds, imho. Possibly other room/equipment matching issues has caused some owners to not apreciate the redbook performance. I have not heard the xa5400es...but think it would carry on the sony tradition of "analog sounding" cd players, scd-1, xa777es ect...if there is such a thing.
Gandme I totally agree you. I think it is system matching because I have heard too many good things about its redbook performance. I also was talking to very experienced audiophile last night and that was the 1st thing he said. It wasn't mating up well with an amp, preamp, or cabling.
I am surprised this topic has not gained more steam. There must be many xa9000es (current and past) owners not chiming in (Stereophile A+ rating results in sales). I have always thought that Sony did a good job at staying musical even in there mid-fi line. I have not heard the xa5400es but I have read it is not built to the heavy duty standards of the older generation hi end Sonys.
The Sony Corp. was the driving force in CD development and the SACD format. Why would they not continue to lead in this form of music reproduction?
I totally agree. Exactly what a buddy of mine said, the 5400 is not built anything like the 9000. I was hoping someone has actually compared them side by side or at least where both of them were in compatible systems. I know Ozzy didnt care for it but I question what amp and preamp or speakers he has because I was talking to a friend of mine who is a dealer and told him of this thread. He said evidently its system matching because the 9000 is Stereophile A+ and he can't imagine it sounding bad. I am not bashing the 5400 at all but I think one reason its so popular is the price. Hell its half of the 9000 new. I just dont see Sony making the 5400 that much better on redbook than the 9000 at half the price. I am saying this without hearing the 5400 obviously so hopefully more will chime in :)
Samzx12, You can look up my system. It is posted below next to my name ozzy.

I stand by my opinion that the 9000 redbook quality is sub par to others in that price range.
That is not to mean it doesnt have the sound and frequency extremes, but it has absolutly NO depth in its soundstage.
The 5400 is lighter and cheaper than the 9000 but neither factor means that it must be of lower "build quality." OTOH, it does sound better.

Nice system Ozzy.

I am borrowing a friends 9000ES this week so I will compare it to my Muse Signature Gen3 which is a very good player itself.
I started wondering if anyone was getting confused between the Sony DVD-s9000es and the xa-9000es. The dvd-s9000es has got a lot of press and has been a mod queen. But is not in the same league as the stock xa9000es. I hope the comparison with the xa-5400es was not mixed up with this multi format player. I have been very happy with my xa9000es...I may have to buy a xa5400es and compare side by side.
Gandme I hope everyone knew I meant the SACD 9000. The one built like a tank and weighs around 40 lbs.

That answer is not sufficiently descriptive. Both units are built like a tank and weigh about the same, both play CDs and SACDs, but only one plays video discs. We must assume by your haughty indignation that you are referring to the audio only XA9000ES. AFAIK there is no SACD 9000 model.

My haughty We or You db? You are quite entertaining and I said nothing in regards as coming off as arrogant, unworthy or mean. Leave your attitude somewhere else!!! If you have something against me email me offline.

I did mean the top of the line model XA9000ES which is the SCD XA9000ES and not SACD. I was just answering Gandme's thread.
Sorry I used "haughty indignation" that so jangled you, Samzx12. You wrote that you hoped everyone knew you meant the SACD 9000, a model that I think doesn't exist. By implication, I read that to be dismissive of the DVP-S9000ES, a model to which Gandme inaccurately refers, but we could only conclude from the context of previous posts that at you meant XA9000ES. I apologize for my inflammatory prose.

On a personal note, I have a DVP-S9000ES that I think sounds pretty damn good, especially when playing SACDs with the video processing turned off. It is handsome and built like a tank, but no match sonically for my XA5400ES, not as detailed nor as smooth nor does it portray soundstage as well. The difference is most striking when playing CDs.

How could I have something against you? I don't even know you.

Dbphd,I think most would know the difference if I did not hit the model # by calling it a multi player....excuse me.. the 9000es in the model # is enough to cause confusion! I think you do not understand the build difference between the DVD-9000 UNIVERSIAL player and the XA-9000 CD/SACD player...I have fondled both...there is no comparison in build quality between the two. The XA-9000ES CD/SACD player is built at a much higher standard. I also think after owning many CD/SACD and Universial players the XA-9000ES is at the top of the heep (my system, my ears).
I'm not sure whether you meant "no comparison" as hyperbole, Gandme, but according to Sony the mass of the XA9000ES is 35 pounds, 5 ounces, whereas the mass of the DVP-S9000ES is 27 pounds, 12 ounces, more than 6 pounds less. But the mass of the XA5400ES is only 22 pounds, 8 ounces, so you might conclude that it is the inferior unit. I have never heard a XA9000ES, but a number of reviewers claim the sonics of the XA5400ES are superior to those of the XA9000ES. Go figure.

In further pursuit of build quality it might be noted that according to Sony the mass of the SCD-1 is 58 pounds, 7 ounces, so in comparison the XA9000ES is a light weight, and one might predict the less than 23 pound XA5400ES to be a piece of crap with dreadful sonics. This is like beating a dead horse, though.


Weight has nothing to do with sound quality!

The 5400 is a more advanced and updated version of SACD than either the SCD-1 or 9000, and sounds better!

The SCD-1 has reliability problems!

I have heard all the top of the line Sony's over the last 10 years and the SCD-1 is way out of date.
DP your post basically was insulting and you came across as arrogant and flippant or at least it appeared that way so I was a bit "jangled".

In my previous posts about the 9000 I assumed that most of the posters knew I was talking about the SCD-XA9000ES and not any other form or model of the 9000. Only when Gandme mentioned any confusion after one of my posts did I reply. I think we all know now which model I was referring to :)

The SCD-XA9000ES sounds very good on redbook but I am finding in my system (like Ozzy mentions) it does lack some depth. I quizzed Ozzy about this in some earlier posts but I have to agree with him. Overall it is a very nice player and fits into my buddies system very well but lacks in some areas in mine. The overall balance is not where I would like it. I would like to hear a 5400 one of these days and it goes to show that some equipment does not have to weigh 40 lbs or over to sound very good.
I agree with Don c55's point that weight alone doesn't determine quality. I've had a dozen (literally) cdp's through my system in the last 7 years and 2 of the lightest ones had the best sound and the heavest one had the worst (in my system).

Linn Ikemi and Resolution Audio Opus 21 were the lightest but sounded the best to my ears in my system, while the heavy as a house Electrocompanient had the most unpleasantly colored sound of any player I've heard.

I'm happy with my 5400es for now. (I wish the transport was quicker though)
Don C55 & Tryeti,

Obviously you missed the sense of irony I was striving at in my posts. Of course I don't think weight is the determining factor in the sound quality of disc players, otherwise I wouldn't have a lightweight like the XA5400ES as a primary source in my main system.

I too am very happy with the 5400ES, and applaud the improved design of the disc tray that makes it so easy to place and remove discs. I'm using the analog XLR outputs because my processor has no HDMI input. I've been very impressed with the smooth yet detailed timbrel and soundstage portrayal, as well as with the extended frequency range.

in the review posted here

one of the responds seems to indicate that xa9000es will improve dramatically if the internal i-link is disconnected. but no mention of whether it will beat xa5400es.

I read the audio asylum link and disconnected the I just need a xa5400es to listen too! I think some of the discussion on build quality has focused on the cdp's weight. Build quility is more than physical weight. The xa9000 has more expensive parts throughout it's construction, as did the previous SACD-1, 777es etc. Technology may have passed it by...but is the xa5400 a better player considering the tweeks and mods that can be done to the xa9000es or any of the older players? They can be had for the same asking price and possibly hold their value longer than the 5400.