Sony's SCD-CE775 Super Audio Compact Disc (SACD) Player will introduce you to the brilliance of digital audio. Features include SACD playback, SACD multi-channel playback, CD, CD-R, CD-RW playback, New multi-channel management for bass redirection, and Play 1, Exchange 4 capability. Additional features include SACD/CD Text Display, a Custom File Delete Bank, and Jog Dial control with Direct Access track selection. Sony - redefining sound quality as you know it with the SCD-CE775.
Originally written for epinions.com Aug 2001
The front panel
This is the first non ES (elevated standard) Sony SACD player. Looking at this player it would appear that Sony simply grabbed the top model in their regular line (CDP-CE545) and added the SACD components into the existing chassis. If the two were put side by side, only tiny differences could be detected immediately. On the front panel, the differences are minor. On the lower right there is a 1/4” gold plated headphone jack and a volume control.
And at the rear
This is where even the non-technical person can see there’s something brewing. a couple of cons The power cord is non-detachable, and all of the RCA jacks are the standard nickel type rather than gold plated. This is an entry level product so I’m not surprised. There is one digital optical output, one 2 channel RCA (left & right) set and one RCA six channel (5.1) as well. And right off the bat I had all three of these outputs put to good use. I have the analog six channel going directly into my receiver’s corresponding input.
For the best quality sound, all of the sound manipulation capabilities, computer chips and other various bells and whistles are totally bypassed when connected through the six channel set. The second reason is my tape loop monitor function on the receiver. I also use this for analog recordings going into my CD recorder. PC users do not have to deal with SCMS, a system that prevents a digital copy of a copy.
Thank goodness Sony included this extra set of RCA jacks, had they not, I would have a large bald spot on my head right about now. There is also one A1II jack, a proprietary link system to connect Sony products together. Sony claims that this is backward compatible with their earlier incarnation A1I. I cannot report on this because I have no use for this feature. The cable is not supplied, but this monaural cable can be picked up at any Radio Shack for a few dollars.
The most important feature here is the bass management capability. DVD-A and SACD only output their high resolution sound through analog outputs. Virtually every receiver ever made with multi-channel inputs has no means of manipulating that sound. For those of you with those micro satellite surround speakers Sony’s got you covered . All of my speakers are capable of handling the full spectrum of sound, but this is very important for those with a different set-up. Sony decided to include bass management on the player side to handle this issue.
I counted seven different configurations and this should easily cover 99 percent of what exists out there. For example, for those of you with five tiny cubes (left, right, center and both rears) and one sub-woofer, there is a setting just for you. On the front display, this is represented as 5 small +SW (sub-woofer). If you have large speakers up front, but midgets in the back, no problem. There are settings for those that do and do not have a sub-woofer. There are even two settings for those that have yet to buy a center channel speaker. Very cool.
This model has been discontinued, but I found a display model at a lacal Best Buy. The sign said 169.99, but because it was a display, I got mine with a four year protection plan, sans manual and box, for 130 bucks out the door.
I had a Sony DVP-NS755V as well, that I decided to try out, which was alright, but in comparison, the 5 disk spinner made SACD's sound more dimensional, more dynamic, with less digital haze, and clearer realism. The combo SACD/DVD Sony wasn't bad. It's just that the 5 disk 775 was better in almost every way.
Oddly, as a CD player, I was torn. The 5 disk Sony ce775 is obviously more dynamic and more dimensional than it's DVD playing cousin, but the DVD player, especially with the help of it's 'soft' digital filter setting, made casual music listening more tonally pleasant, taking the hard edge off transients, smoothing out the sound. The 5 disk player, by comparison, is sharper, more attention grabbing, which can be a problem for my NHT speakers, with their cool and unforgivingly neutral personality. Though, it is more musical, and imaging and soundstaging from the 5 disk player is far more convincing than anything the ns755v could muster.
Like me, I'm sure there are plenty of budget minded audio enthusiasts out there who have limited their decision between these two players, for the SACD playback. As an all in one player, the ns755v is very nice. As a dedicated SACD player, the 5 disk ce755 is superior, and the difference is easily noticable. As a CD player, my audiophilic mind tells me that the 5 disk ce775 is more musical, has better dynamics, but my heart misses the smooth sound of the ns755v, even if that smoothness canem at the cost of realism and dimensionality.
In the end, I returned the DVD/SACD player, and stuck with the 5 disk changer. If I didn't already have a DVD player I was happy with, I would have kept the ns755v. What I really wanted, was a good budget SACD player, and the ce775 offers the promise of that format much more convincingly.
Within the next couple of months, I'll have the player modified, when I have the extra cash, and I'll report the differences once I've had a chance to live with them for a while.
SACD sounds great, on the cheap. If you're curious and can find this machine (it's discontinued), it's a good alternative.
Redbook CD playback is not so great. Edgy treble, poor soundstaging and generally weak performance.
This CD Player has to be the bargain of the year at it's current clearance prices (have been found for as low as $99 open box). The SACD performance is simply great and as for regular CD's it does its job very well. It will compete with any CD player in the less than $300 range with much ease.
I purchased this player directly from Matthew Anker @ SACDMODS. It was set up with the multichannel mods.
Sony SCD CE775
Outlaw Audio PCA interconnects (3 prs)
Audioquest CV4 speaker cables
fronts:Sonus Faber Concertino Homes
center:Sonus Faber Solo Home
sub:Monitor Audio ASW110 connected w/Audioquest Copperheads
surrounds:Polk f/x300i (dipole/bipole)
This modded player is extraordinary on Redbook CD's but on multi-channel SACD's the playback quality achieved is simply state of the art.
The Sony provided Burr-Brown onboard DAC's, coupled w/ the cleanups that were done to the signal path by Matthew have obviated the need for an outboard DAC. The sweetness in the treble range coupled w/ the extension in bass must be heard to be appreciated.
James Taylor's Hourglass and Miles Davis' masterpiece Kind of Blue are on multichannel SACD and were my first SACD purchases. I highly recommend these recordings and praise this player and the joy it has provided me.
Sony has discontinued this player, but if you can find a used one and send it to sacdmds.com for the upgrades you too will be rewarded.