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Sony BDP-S550 Blu-Ray Player Blu-Ray

4/5 (2 Reviews) MSRP : $400.00


Product Description

The Sony BDP-S550 is a terrific Blu-ray player which supports both BonusView and BD-Live (Profile 2.0) content. It delivers a superb movie experience and lets you access all the advanced interactive and Internet-based content that Blu-ray has to offer.


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Reviews 1 - 2 (2 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by mdn1019 a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: March 12, 2009

Bottom Line:   
My primary reason for chosing this player was the analog output. My Yamaha receiver isn't capable of decoding the TrueHD signal, and for that matter has no HDMI inputs, but it does have RCA jacks for a 5.1 external decoder. I'm not in a position to put a lot of $ into a new receiver now, but I also couldn't see upgrading to the BluRay format without the improved audio.

For video I have it connected to a 42 inch Sony 1080p LCD via HDMI.

I agree with most of what I've read in reviews on this and other sites. Great player overall, a little slow to start and load BluRay disks whcih comes with the territory, very low LFE ouput in analog out, and a pain to balance the speakers.

I can add a litlte that's new. I called Sony and there is no crossover if the fronts are set to Large. If you set them to small, the crossover is about 100. I have set the crossover on my sub to balance the fronts, so decided not have the BD player or receiver play a part there. So for me the fronts (Boston VR940) are set Large in both. They trail off at about 65 I think.

There is no firmware update either now or in the near future to compensate for the low sub output using the analog out. From what I can tell it just comes with the format, and you just have to adjust for it either in your receiver or sub when playing a TrueHD source. I leave the sub as it was when playing DVD and decoding DTS or DD in the receiver, and twist the volume some on the sub for the TrueHD source. It's a minor inconvenience and way less $ than the new receiver.

A salesperson recommended that I take the distance and Db adjustments I had used on my receiver for speaker setup and just mimic that in the BluRay player setup. That didn't work at all. For one thing my receiver can be set to + or - and the BluRay player can only do -. So start with no assumptions, and configure the BluRay player with the onboard test signals and a crossover test source as though starting from scratch.

Having said that, all the work is worth it. Tremendous sound from the TrueHD track and crazy HD image quality. I was impressed with both the BluRay format and the upscaling on DVDs.

I have not tried any BD-Live content and although I might someday I'm not in any rush. Data storage and networking capabilities were not a differentiator for me.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2008



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by zepman1 a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: October 29, 2008

Bottom Line:   
Model year is 2008.

All right, so I finally got the new Sony 550 bluray player and was able to get it setup last night. I didn't have time to give it a rigorous workout, but I do have some initial impressions. I have it connected to my 50" LCD (720p) via HDMI-DVI cable for video, and to the AVR via 5.1 analog outputs since I have no HDMI. I played the Dave Matthews Live at Radio City bluray disc.

Setup:

The initial setup is somewhat complicated as there are a lot of options to choose and adjust within the Bluray player and the AVR. This is complicated by the fact I am using the analog outputs as I will explain. There is a quick start guide that is very helpful and makes it easy to get many of the settings in at least a workable state. I went through the complete system menus to finalize all the video, audio and speaker settings. I found the menus to be well laid out and easy to navigate. They also include basic descriptions of what the settings are for, which was helpful.

Bass management is present and the speakers can be set to small or large. I don't know what the crossover point is. Speaker distances can be changed, as well as the output attenuated. This seems to be a significant issue for some people as apparently there is some issue with the LFE channel being -10db too low when using the analog connections. This issue is common to all players, not just the Sony 550. I adjusted the sub output gain up on my receiver instead of reducing the speaker output as I think this would increas S/N ratio since volume would have to be higher. It seemed OK to me with sub input at +6 dB, although I have not calibrated it with a setup disc and SPL meter yet.

Player appearance:

Nice looking unit with gloss finish. The front panel is a bluish black that looks pretty good to me. The front face plate folds up to hide the disc tray and the few controls that are available for a nice clean look. Connections well laid out on the back with component video, HDMI, analog 7.1 audio, digital coax audio, and optical audio outputs available.

Playback:

I don't have another bluray player to compare it to, but the load times were fairly quick. I did not think it was much, if any slower than my older DVD player. It wasn't an issue for me anyhow.

Video:

I did not re-calibrate my tv settings for the new player, but eventually will. For now it is the same as I had set up with DVE disc with my DVD player. Anyhow, the picture quality with a bluray disc was excellent even on my 720p display, probably a bit crisper than a typical HD broadcast from the cable company. Not a big step up, but there was a noticeable improvement. At my seating distance and 50" screen 1080p/24 would probably improve the picture a little bit more, but I don't think I am missing much.

I did not have time to check a standard DVD to check the upscaling capabilities. That will be for another time. I am curious to see, as I have always been pleased with the way DVD output looked on my tv, even when compared to HDTV broadcasts. It was better than tolerable with my tv doing the upscaling from 480p to 720p.

Audio:

I was able to output the Dolby TrueHD audio track via analog outputs and it was excellent. It is difficult to compare with the standard Dolby Digital for DVD's without doing some sort of A/B comparison. I switched to the Dolby Digital track (640kbps) and the difference was not huge, but again it was there. The TrueHD track was more detailed and more dynamic. The standard track was certainly good, but was missing something. Probably would not miss it though if you did not have the option to go for the TrueHD.

Bass management was not really a problem. I would certainly rather be doing it in the AVR, but the Sony seemed to do an OK job, and the bass was good once I adjusted the gain to +6dB. I think I will end up tweaking this a little more when I get around to calibrating it with the DVE disc and SPL meter.

All in all this was a solid performing player, I have no regrets or complaints with it. I wasn't blown away by anything in comparison to broadcast HDTV or DVD audio, but it was without a doubt a step up in all comparisons. I'm going to be away from home for a week, but hope to do some additional experimenting when I get back. I want to look at video upscaling performance with DVD's, check audio tracks when watching bluray movies as opposed to the music bluray I was watching, and maybe see how well it sounds when playing audio CD's.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2006

Price Paid:    $306.00

Purchased At:   Techonweb.com




Reviews 1 - 2 (2 Reviews Total)

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