1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Where we are now: The site is back up and running! The character set encoding issue has been fixed so old posts should now look ok. I am currently working on themes/skins etc and I will be deleting the temporary green skin very soon as it has many issues. I will do a very quick variation on the stock blue skin first just to get a light-grey background and san-serif font, and I will set this as default. Later this week I will hopefully add a professional third-party skin in pfm colours (life is way too short to do this crap myself, and I've found one I really like than needs next to no tweaking). We are getting there slowly...
    Dismiss Notice
  3. May I please request people check and update their email address if it is out if date. I ask as I’m getting countless bounce errors as the server fails to send notifications through etc. I’ll eventually figure out how to send these to a black hole somewhere, but it makes sense to address it at source as quite a few folk are obviously not getting the thread and conversations notifications they have set in their preferences.
    Dismiss Notice
  4. Things you need to know about the new ‘Conversations’ PM system:

    a) DO NOT REPLY TO THE NOTIFICATION EMAIL! I get them, not the intended recipient. I get a lot of them and I do not want them! It is just a notification, log into the site and reply from there.

    b) To delete old conversations use the ‘Leave conversation’ option. This is just delete by another name.
    Dismiss Notice

Classic Sony CD players

Discussion in 'classic' started by Tigerjones, Sep 9, 2016.

  1. martin clark

    martin clark pinko bodger

    ETA, just to clear up the record - indeed Linn did 'slave' the transport to the dac master clock, although the implementation does seem a bit wilfull. Mentioned in passing in some old reviews I knew I had somewhere - with some detail in the example below (The Audiophile, Jan 1992)

  2. Mr Tibbs

    Mr Tibbs Infinitely Baffled Member

    Yeah, and the effect of the having the 'sync link' in place is quite easily heard. Without it the sound is certainly fine - like you'd expect of any well engineered CD transport / DAC combo. But connect up the sync lead (watching for the little LED on the rear of the Numerik to come on, confirming the link is functional) and the performance becomes sublime.

    Mr Tibbs
  3. MichaelC

    MichaelC pfm Member

    I need to get hold of some balanced interconnects so that I can hook up new and old and do like for like comparisons (in case you are wondering I only have two rca inputs into the amp, the rest are balanced, and the other rca input is on turntable duty). Its interesting, the Sony is, I feel leaner, but seems to have the detail, and, whilst I am hesitant to say so at this present moment I am thinking it has perhaps a greater extension at the top end. For an old girl, dating back to 1992/1993?, rather superb.

    Vinyl still wins, but cd replay ain't bad either.

    Now, here is a question, do dacs themselves wear out over time? I ask because I recall Les W saying something along those lines.
  4. martin clark

    martin clark pinko bodger

    No, unless the silicon has endemic problems; why would they? a Dac is a deterministic design, it'll work to spec until something fuses.

    That said - some cd players seemed to kill the odd TDA1541, but that is likely mostly about crappy pcb layouts not providing enough heatsinking for a dac that dissipates >0.8w in DIL28 format.* I still think most dacs - along with almost all opamps - tend to get killed, rather than expire, IYSWIM.

    * meanwhile heaven knows, and experience showed me, that this DAC is - and remains - bloody resilient against accidental and sustained overvoltages ..!
  5. Nick_G

    Nick_G pfm Member

    Very interesting. There's a write-up on zstereo of the 557 which was in the same range, and that suggests that the sound is rather bold, brash and in-your-face. Is there any of that character in the 338?

    I must admit along with a couple of Marantz models some of those late 80s/early 90s Sony ES players are on my want-to-try list.
  6. flatpopely

    flatpopely Prog Rock/Moderator

    To me the 338ESD is anything but brash! It has texture and note timbre absent in my previous CD the Arcam Delta 70.3. I genuinely enjoy it as much as records. My recent £10 purchase of Rickie Lee Jones first 5 albums has been played almost constantly - via the 338 it is quite superb!

    The 557 has a different DAC section.

    338 = 2 x PCM56P + CDX1244
    557 = 2 x PCM64P + 2 x CDX1305

    Here is a review of the identical, to the 338, 608ESD:-

    If you find a 338/608 buy it!
  7. Mike P

    Mike P pfm Member

    Actually the 338ESD uses PCM58P-J not PCM56P

    You can upgrade the DAC chips on the 338 to the 'K' grade which is something I've done on couple of these.

    The 338ESD seems to be a bit under the radar and a great VFM on the used market.
  8. flatpopely

    flatpopely Prog Rock/Moderator

    Thanks Mike.

    EDIT: Its got PCM58P-J chips.
  9. onespeed

    onespeed pfm Member

    where does a Sony CDP-X303ES stand in hierarchy ?
  10. flatpopely

    flatpopely Prog Rock/Moderator

  11. onespeed

    onespeed pfm Member

    mine doesn't have the wood cheeks, checked number and it's X303ES, weighs a fair bit
  12. demandcurve

    demandcurve Active Member

    I have an XA5 ES, which I believe was Sony's no.2 top model back in its day. It is another 13.5kg beast.

    I loved it until it stopped reading CDs last year. KS273a laser pickups are virtually unobtainable so it now collects dust. Sad. Lovely sound.

  13. MichaelC

    MichaelC pfm Member


    Comparison ongoing. Picked up some Chord xlrs today so I can carry on with my comparison. It really was too much of a faf swapping rca's

    At this point in time I will not reveal my findings, more exploration required but on a diet of Steven Wilson, Gentle Giant, Yes, Air, Dire Straits (because this has become a joint effort), and Hawkwind thus far.

    It is an interesting journey...
  14. flatpopely

    flatpopely Prog Rock/Moderator

    With PT 'Lightbulb Sun' the lowly 338......rocks!
  15. MichaelC

    MichaelC pfm Member

    Oooh, must give Lightbulb a spin. Haven't played that for a while.

    Interim report.

    The Sony (X707ES) has been installed side by side with my Avondale ACD3 and after having got hold of some Chord XLRs comparisons are that much easier.

    It has to be noted that because my amp only has two rca inputs, the remainder are balanced inputs I am comparing the Sony via balanced connection to the ACD3 via rca.

    There are significant differences to report. But, there is no clear winner. Both players have strengths and weaknesses. The fundamental differences are a) the Avondale has a more forward presentation with lots of energy whereas the Sony is considerably less so, a more restrained but perhaps (and I am not clear on this as yet) slightly more detailed - is this down to the fact that it is less of an edge of the seat ride where the energy of presentation of the ACD3 masks detail? b) the ACD3 has more bass presence and power (ooomph so to speak).

    The bottom line thus far, both are very very good cd players. ACD3 for day time up tempo listening and the Sony for late evening relaxation listening?

    As for build quality, the Sony is not only substantial but so well finished, and as for that draw operation!

    Edit, Air - Don't be Light spinning now and the Sony is making good of the deep synth, the drums, the electronic sound effects, the vocals, and that rock out guitar. I think the Sony allows more analysis of the detail but I would be bopping around with this playing back via the ACD3. I reckon the comparison is simply down to presentation, they both have the detail, its the presentation.
  16. MichaelC

    MichaelC pfm Member

    By way of update the Sony has received a little bit of tlc, laser cleaned, spindle and sled re-greased. I had noticed a little bit of skipping or juddering on the reading of latter parts of discs. The work was carried out by a local and former Sony service engineer (result). I have secured a spare laser though as an insurance policy. A very fine bit of kit, I do like its relaxed, yet detailed presentation.

Share This Page