Question SACD playback on Sony S370 blu ray very disappointing

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by puddleduck, Apr 13, 2016.

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  1. puddleduck

    puddleduck
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    Hi

    I've had to replace my Philips 963SA which had been giving me superb redbook CD and SACD playback for several years. I've replaced it with a Sony blu ray player as I'd heard it has very good audio playback and also played SACDs

    Unfortunately I'm finding the SACD output very disappointing

    I have two copies of the Rolling Stones Beggars Banquet which is a hybrid SACD.

    Copy 1 was put in the Sony S370
    Copy 2 was put in my Marantz CD63 KI Signature Edition

    I'm switching between sources on my Marantz amp and the Sony output (which is playing SACD) is noticeably poorer than the playback from the CD layer on the CD63. The Sony is noticeable muffled in comparison. I would not normally expect much difference in this test, but I don't expect SACD to be noticeable worse. Also playing Frankie Goes to Hollywood which is normally a very clean recording, also sounds muffled as I'm aware Beggars Banquet isn't an audiophile disc per se.

    Am I expecting too much from the audio output of the Sony S370?

    TIA
     
  2. kelly200269

    kelly200269
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    Yes, you probably are expecting too much from the Sony. The Sony's analogue output stages will probably not be up to much, and it's SACD playback is really only a 'bonus' in addition to its primary Blu-ray functions.
    Maybe time to source a new dedicated SACD/CD player?
     
  3. puddleduck

    puddleduck
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    Thanks, I probably hoped for too much given the reviews of the Sony Sx70 series tended to praise the audio. I'd 'hoped' it might at least get close to my 20 year old CD player. I'll consider a dedicated player - trouble is, I know nothing about them, so I'd be relying on reviews, and if the reviewers are as cloth eared as those lauding the Sony audio playback for their blu ray players, it'll be pot luck to some extent :)
     
  4. kelly200269

    kelly200269
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    The Denon DBP-2012UD is a universal player, but with great audio credentials. I use one was a back-up to my DCD-A100 for SACD, and it's not far behind at all. They're now used, but with good prices (£250ish) on flea-bay. Otherwise, one of the Marantz players should be good, either used or new. Marantz and Denon are based on the same platforms (D&M Holdings), but with slightly different audio specs.
     
  5. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    Curious, what amp do you have, and does it have an Internal DAC? Or, do you have an External DAC available?

    Though a different problem, in another thread, someone was concerned about the output sound quality of a BluRay connected by HDMI. I suggested to him that rather than HDMI, he connect to his AVR using the Coaxial Digital Audio Output. His player happened to have Coaxial, your device has both Optical and Coaxial.

    The difference is that the internal DACs on the Sony might not be the best. If you use the Optical/Coaxial Out, you will be using what we hope is a better external DAC.

    Sony BDP-S370

    Indeed based on the CNET Review, the Sony sound quality should be very good. However, what does the Sony BluRayBDP-S370 cost, and what does the Marantz CD63 KI Signature Edition cost.

    I'm guessing that the Marantz is very substantially higher in price.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
  6. puddleduck

    puddleduck
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    Hi

    Thanks for the input - my amp is a Marantz PM7200 which I've always found excellent. The Philips 963SA which used to do my CD / SACD duties had legendarily good DACs and even slightly outperformed my Marantz CD 63 KI which was a 500 pound CD player back in the day.

    I'm using the L-R stereo outputs so I'm getting whatever the Sony's DAC is putting out and the Philips before that, which always sounded excellent, so the only thing that has changed is the Philips 963SA for the Sony S370.
     
  7. dazed&confused

    dazed&confused
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    The OP is trying to achieve good SACD playback. What's the relevance of coax and optical outputs from the player? Am I mistaken in thinking that SACD would need to be played either through analog outputs or through HDMI, because of copyright protection protocol?
     
  8. dazed&confused

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    If blue ray playback is not required by the SACD player then I would suggest looking out for a second hand Yamaha DVD S2700, which can be had for about £80. Makes a great CD player as well.
     
  9. puddleduck

    puddleduck
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    Thanks, I will have a look. I'd happily pick up another Philips 963SA if I could find one too. Blu ray is defiantly not required as I don't have any blu ray discs or any sort of high definition display too be honest!
     
  10. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    The Sony based on a quick search sold for about US$100. The Marantz according to the Original Poster sold for about £500 back in the day. Actually based on what I found we are looking at the Year 2009, and the standard CD63 was £270, the CD63-SE was £350, and the CD-63-KI was £500.

    Marantz CD-63II K.I. Signature CD Player Reviewed

    According to What HiFi? the Sony BDP-S370 retailed for £150 in 2010 -

    Sony BDP-S370 review | What Hi-Fi?

    So, back to my point. If you uses the Coaxial or Optical Audio Out of the Player, you are using a different DAC. That could effect the sound. One would not expect a £150 CD Player to be the equal of a £350 CD Player, and the difference is improved electronics. When you consider the cost of that first £150 CD actually being a BluRay Player, the value of the internal DACs are even less in my opinion.

    So, it is possible for the Unit to sound better if you are not using the internal DACs. I'm not recommending he buy an external DAC, but if he has access to one, it is certainly worth trying.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
  11. puddleduck

    puddleduck
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    From what I recall, as Sony's DSD is encoded, it can't be output to an external DAC in the sense I think you mean, unless the DAC could decode DSD natively.

    I don't think you can draw too much from the prices of things, due to trickle down of technology. In fact the Philips 963SA was a 200 pound machine back when I bought it in the late 90s. With audio I find actually you can really hit the law of deminishing returns quickly, and price may not be a good indicator of performance.

    Thanks again for the input.
     
  12. dazed&confused

    dazed&confused
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    Steve, can I suggest you read peoples' posts a bit more carefully, and think about what they are saying before you reply?

    You appear to have missed my point completely.

    the OP wants to play SACD.

    My point in response to your suggestion was – is it even possible to pass the SACD signal from the coax or optical output? I didn't think it was.
     
  13. k-spin

    k-spin
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    You can only output the CD layer of an SACD via digital optical/coax. The hi-rez stereo and multichannel DSD layers can only be output via analogue or HDMI.
     
  14. BlueWizard

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    The BluRay Coaxial/Optical are DIGITAL AUDIO OUTS, the DSD is going to be decoded internally and put out the Coaxial/Optical as PCM Digital. That's less processing to convert from Digital to Digital than it is to convert Digital to Analog.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
  15. puddleduck

    puddleduck
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    Yes, that has always been my understanding as Sony has always been protective of the hi-res layer. My amp pre-dates HDMI too, so I've always accessed via L-R stereo and been happy with results, until now.

    Thanks for the post!

    -Andy
     
  16. k-spin

    k-spin
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    I don't believe that's how it works. If you select the DSD stereo layer of an SACD the player will not output anything over the digital coax / optical connections. It won't decode the DSD signal and output it as PCM. You have to select the standard rez CD layer of the disc to get any output via optical / coax.
     
  17. puddleduck

    puddleduck
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    Right, I've just tried another A-B, a little apples to oranges as both discs are different.

    Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here SACD in the Sony S370
    Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here CD (CD is probably 20 years old) in the Marantz CD 63 KI

    Again really large differences when the discs are sycn'd and the inputs flipped via the amp.

    The Marantz still sounds better, and beats the SACD playback although it's clear these are mastered so differently it's hard to tell well I'm comparing players or mastering differences in this case.
     
  18. Craig uk

    Craig uk
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    I'm pretty sure the Sony S370 will not decode dsd natively and therefore only outputs DoP (dsdoverpcm) which is the main reason it sounds crap!
    Most DSD purists would agree that conversion to PCM completely goes against the original 'basic' 1 bit design and therefore defeats the object.
    For best results with Sacd's its simple...get a player/dac that will decode the signal natively!
     
  19. k-spin

    k-spin
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    Looking at the manual, the BDP-S370 can output either DSD or PCM over HDMI. Neither is really relevant to the OP's situation though as his amp does not have an HDMI input.

    It's possible that the machine converts DSD to PCM prior to the digital to analogue conversion (i.e. the analogue output that Puddleduck is using). A quick Google found someone stating that it converts from DSD to 24/192 PCM to analogue but I don't know how accurate that is and I cannot see anything in the manual relating to this.
     
  20. k-spin

    k-spin
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    Just a thought Puddleduck, are you definitely playing the SACD layer of the discs on the BDP-S370. It can be set to play either the CD or SACD layer and either the stereo or multi-channel layer if set to SACD. Not sure if you have a screen connected but it might be worth checking the settings on the player?

    Apologies if you've already done this.
     
  21. kelly200269

    kelly200269
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    I'm not sure about the digital-out of the Sony player, but my Denon DBP-2012UD decimates DSD from the SACD stereo layer of a SACD and outputs 24/88.2 via the coaxial digital out, so depending on the player it may be able to connect a player to an external DAC and get better replay quality than using the internal DAC of the player.
     
  22. Craig uk

    Craig uk
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    Please correct me if I'm wrong but when using any of the digital outputs you will not be getting pure DSD..instead it's converted to some form of pcm? DoP is inferior to 1 bit DSD.
    To my knowledge SACD players can only deliver pure DSD if firstly the dac is capable of native decoding and secondly, only via the Analogue output. This was the main reason I bought the Arcam cd37.
     
  23. k-spin

    k-spin
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    They can output DSD digitally over HDMI but not over coax / optical. If you use HDMI then you need to connect to a receiver or DAC that can convert DSD.
     
  24. Craig uk

    Craig uk
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  25. kelly200269

    kelly200269
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    As has already been said, unprocessed DSD is only output via HDMI, so you would need a receiver that can decode DSD via HDMI.
    As to decimating DSD and the PCM output via coaxial digital-out from an SACD, there is no reason to suspect that this sounds in any way inferior to DSD.
     
  26. k-spin

    k-spin
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    Are you sure about that? There's a table on page 52 of the manual that details all of the various output capabilities for the different audio formats and it states that there is no audio output over the digital coax output when playing the SACD layers (either stereo or multi-channel) of a SACD.
     
  27. Craig uk

    Craig uk
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    I was referring to two channel (Hifi) really.

    Well it's open to debate. I have made some comparisons using jriver DoP on a Mytek dac against my Arcam. Much depends on the dac of course and I can only use the Mytek for comparison but to my ears the end result lost some of the relaxed sound I usually associate with SACD on the cd37. I preferred the sound of the Arcam. I would be interested to hear a Chord dac though.
     
  28. kelly200269

    kelly200269
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    Yes, I was bemused by the manual myself, and was very surprised to get a signal into my DAC via coaxial from the stereo layer of the SACD. The display on my Q-DAC confirms a lock at 88.2khz.
    So yes, it works. Maybe they changed this in a later/latest version of the firmware?
     
  29. k-spin

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    Thanks for the clarification.

    Although I have to say it's no wonder the format never really took off given the amount of confusion that surrounds it :thumbsdow :D
     
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  30. Craig uk

    Craig uk
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