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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sony XA-5400ES v. Yamaha CD-S2000

Is it time to get the matching Yamaha SACD player?  I have the Yamaha CD-S700 (unbelievable buy for $99 complete with remote box and manual), and whereas it does not play SACD, on CD playback it sounds remarkably close to the XA-5400ES (I do not think I could reliably tell them apart on the majority of CDs I play).  What both Yamahas have that demolish the Sony is a solid and impressive disc loading mechanism. The 700 has a thin, elegant loading drawer that was not taken from a computer DVD-Rom unit, I do not think.  I know that Kal Rubinson at Stereophile has given the XA-5400ES very high marks, and he has access to  more and higher quality gear with which to critically evaluate sound quality, so his opinion carries weight with me.  Plus I believe that he is sane and writes in a comprehensive, logical fashion, something I cannot say for many of his peers under the same masthead.  It is a shame that I cannot a.) own both and do a direct comparison, or even b.) listen to the Yamaha anywhere locally.  It can be ordered from Crutchfield however:


. . . and they have a wonderful return policy.  I'll have to think about it.  The Sony has excellent bass response and definitely sounds different through its balanced output (at least it does through the balanced input on my Yamaha A-S2000 amp, which is a fully-balanced design). But the loading time is slow, the drawer mechanism is junk, I never cared for its styling, and I really can't stand what has become of Sony the Company.   I will have to think about it . . .

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