Sorry, a question about the Sony SCDXA5400ES.

Here it is: I'm looking for a new cd player, only redbook, no sacd needed. My budget is a max of $1500, new or used. So who has heard this thing? Who can say (who actually HEARD it) that it will better most, if not all other players in my price range? Is the hype so? Does it currently make boutique brands obsolete(in the lower price range)?
If you do a search here on the Audiogon forums, this subject had been discussed ad nauseum...
Yea I've seen, but it's often just one person ranting against another. One for, the other against. Simply, I'd like a broad perspective from those who've heard it, can another CD player under $2000, that they can name, match it? And I do apologize if this topic is repetitive. Thanks.
... I suppose I'm not asking whether or not this is a giant killer or anything like that, I'm specifically looking for a CD player, and have a limited price range which the Sony SCD-XA5400ES fits into nicely. If there are other players which can compete, I will research and consider and try to listen to them.
Jtnicolosi writes:
Who can say (who actually HEARD it) that it will better most, if not all other players in my price range?
Mofimadness asked if you had searched - and you replied that you had. Did you read all the threads the search found? There are plenty of positive posts regarding the performance of this player that are not "just one person ranting against another".

Have you read the review/thread by dave_b?

A number of comparisons are noted. How many comparisons do you need? Aren't positive comparisons to more expensive machines more convincing than comparisons to machines in the same price range?

Are you aware of the Stereophile rating? Have you read what KR says about the 5400? What about what Allen Wright (VSE) says?

Surely the fact that many audiophiles find it a very satisfying player should be enough to convince you that it's worth listening to. There are also posts by owners who eventually sold the player because it did not better another they owned. It's not all roses.

No one can make up your mind for you.


Please list your system. It's not much use to recommend you get a fully balanced CD player, if your preamp is single ended..........
Fair enough Metralla, your response actually helps.

Blue Circle SBT/SBM
Harbeth SHL-5
but it's often just one person ranting against another. One for, the other against

That's human nature my friend.Bite the bullet,grab a Sony SCDXA5400ES and hear for yourself.If you don't like it,sell it.After all,you are the only one that knows what sounds good to you.Other folks may try to convince you they know what's good for you,they are full of crap!!Good luck.
Having owned a Rega Apollo and (currently) the 5400ES, I'd go with a Rega Saturn (not heard but assume it does what an Apollo does only better) and not look back.
No, don't bite the bullet, but rather get a oppo 83se. The oppo is the future in that blu ray audio is going to me the hi end media. Perhaps if you are doubtful, get the oppo and then order the sony from SonyStyle. Sonystyle has a great return policy with no restocking, free pick up and refund of the entire amount originally paid including shipping. So, you will be able to compare and let your ears decide, not the postings on Audiogon.
Not to get off course, but I have searched and not really found much directly comparing the oppo 83se and the sony 5400. This would be interesting.
Jetter, searching for a direct comparison, I had the same experience. I previously owned the Sony 5400, and got an Oppo 83SE to audition. Verdict IMHO: for 2 channel stereo the Sony 5400 is better. Oppo Digital also has a great return policy. A well-known modder agrees ... the Sony is superior to the Oppo 83SE in stock form. I elected to get a modified Oppo 83 (non-SE) and sell the Sony. It's about the same cost (~$1,500), PLUS it's one less box - as the Oppo BDP-83 replaces both the Sony and my old Oppo 980H.
Strateahed, what mods did you have done and by who? I'm looking to get a modded Oppo 83 SE soon but not sure which one I want to get. Thanks.
Traded my Rega Saturn for the 5400 (wanted a player that would do SACD). I prefer the 5400. As others have suggested, you will ultimately have to decide for yourself if you agree or not. Good luck.
Joeyboynj, it's the basic mod from Dan @ Modwright Instruments ($950). Check his website for more details. Based on very positive prior experience, I would have gone with Paul Weitzel @ TRL; but he stopped doing Oppo mods for some reason.

FYI, if you're considering RAM, compare Kyle's detailed mod list to Doug Jesse @ ASI Tek ... pretty much dead on. That is, ASI Tek appears to do basically the same thing as RAM, for less money. I believe Doug and Kyle worked together under RAM before going separate ways. I have the ASI Tek modded Oppo 980H ... overall an excellent machine, but not quite the top performer in my system.
Does the Sony SCDXA5400ES have a variable output with volume control so that you could go directly into a power amp and bypass a preamp altogether?

I see that it has a volume control for the headphone jack, but do not know if it controls a variable output?

If it does, how many volts out is it capable of?

Thank you.
Sony is out of the 5400ES. I just got mine on Monday from a internet source and have left it on to burn in.I plan on doing a A to B test in a few days with the Sony vs. my Theta Miles. So far it sounds pretty good. Will report back.
I have the Sony 5400ES. I also own a McIntosh player and have owned the Ayre and Arcam players as well. I can tell you the Sony is easily the best of the bunch. I'm talking about significant improvements in sound quality and function over the other players. I am also referring to Redbook performance. On SACD the Sony is phenomenal. I highly recommend this unit. My best purchase in a long, long time.