About the Sony ES SCD-XA9000ES
Once again, Sony ES has raised the bar for multichannel music performance to remarkable new heights. The flagship of their SACD line, the SCD-XA9000ES, packs an arsenal of cutting-edge technologies that team up to deliver a phenomenally involving musical experience, detailed enough to reproduce even the subtlest nuances of the original performance. Whether it's playing SACDs or standard CDs, the 'XA9000ES offers the perfect union of digital clarity and analog smoothness, musicality and warmth.
One of the major breakthroughs of this player its i.LINK® digital output. This is designed for use with Sony's STR-DA9000ES receiver, or other compatible receivers, preamplifiers, and outboard D/A converters (i.e. those with an i.LINK input and the DSD decoding necessary to translate SACD signals into analog form). If you've got such a unit, the 'XA9000ES can transfer SACD signals to it digitally, for musical reproduction of incredible precision and clarity. You'll also be able to achieve this connection with a single i.LINK cable, rather than the six analog cables required by almost every other SACD player on the market.
For those who can't make an i.LINK connection, the 'XA9000ES boasts a series of technologies that allow it to output a 5.1 analog signal that is remarkably free from noise and distortion. The predecessor to this player, the acclaimed SCD-XA777ES, packed 6 Super Audio D/A converters and received especially glowing reviews for its Tri-Power DAC stereo CD and SACD playback modes, which employed three DACs per channel. The 'XA9000ES brings these phenomenal performance standards into the realm of multichannel music by employing a total of eighteen multi-level Super Audio D/A converters, allowing Tri-Power D/A conversion for each of the 6 channels in a 5.1 SACD signal! Sony has also improved the DACs themselves, thanks to a newly develped multi-level design that combines the best aspects of 1-bit and multi-bit DACs to deliver superb clarity, transparency, and musicality.
Another great feature for 'XA9000ES users making an analog connection to their receiver is built-in bass management and channel level adjustment, which lets you optimize multichannel SACD playback for virtually any combination of speaker sizes you've got in your system. The 'XA9000ES also boasts a speaker time alignment control so amazingly precise that it lets you correct for discrepancies in speaker distances in increments of 2 inches! This means you can enjoy the effect of perfect speaker placement, even when real-world conditions make it impossible to position yourself equidistantly from your front, center, and surround speakers. These are crucial features, because only a handful of receivers allow you to make bass management or time alignment adjustments for analog signals. (If you're making a digital connection to the STR-DA9000ES receiver, however, you can make similar adjustments with the receiver itself.)
The construction and design of this player are ES quality all the way. The analog, digital, and power supply sections are completely separated on 3 audio circuit boards expensive to produce, but priceless to your music. Two oversized R-core power transformers (one for analog, one for digital), mounted on a copper plate, provide minimal vibration and maximum stability. And the ultra-rigid frame-and-beam chassis restricts resonance masterfully, to keep your music ultra-pure.
- plays multichannel SACDs, stereo SACDs, CDs, audio CD-Rs, and audio CD-RWs
- 18 Super Audio D/A converters
- Tri-Power DAC system for stereo and multichannel playback
- frame-and-beam chassis
- 3 audio circuit boards
- dual-laser (1 for SACD, 1 for CD) optical pickup
- multichannel bass management and level control
- speaker time alignment control
- i.LINK digital output (for use with compatible receivers and preamps)
- 5.1-channel and stereo analog outputs
- optical and coaxial digital outputs (for CD only)
- twin large R-core power transformers
- aluminum front panel
- remote control
- SACD Text/CD Text® capability
- SACD playback specifications:
- frequency response 2-50,000 Hz (-3dB)
- 0.0012% THD
- 108+ dB dynamic range
- 16-7/8"W x 5"H x 17-3/4"D
- warranty: 5 years
Note: Multichannel SACD playback requires either a 5.1-channel input or a compatible i.LINK input on your receiver or preamp.
What's in the box:
- Super Audio CD/CD player
- RM-SX700 wireless remote
- 2 "AA" batteries
- 8' AC cord with three-prong plug
- 1 Three-prong to two-prong adapter
- 3 Sets of 41-1/2" RCA stereo patch cords (with gold-plated RCA plugs)
- Two 40-1/2" RCA mono patch cords (with gold-plated RCA plugs)
- One 63-1/2" i.LINK cable
- Operating Instructions (English and French)
- "Important Safeguards" sheet
- Warranty sheet (U.S)
- Warranty card (Sony of Canada)
- Bob Dylan sampler disc (contains SACD Surround 5.1 and SACD stereo and conventional stereo tracks)
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More details on the Sony ES SCD-XA9000ES
Features & specs
|CD Transport Only||No|
Single Disc |
|Direct Track Access||Yes|
|Direct Disc Access||N/A|
|Parts Warranty||5 Years|
|Labor Warranty||5 Years|
|SACD Playback||2-Channel / Multi-Channel|
|CD Frequency Response||2-20k Hz|
|Signal to Noise Ratio||Not Given|
|SACD Frequency Response||2-50k Hz|
|SACD Dynamic Range||108 dB|
|SACD THD||0.0012 %|
|Analog RCA Output||No|
|Analog XLR Output||No|
|Digital Optical Output||Yes|
|Digital Coaxial Output||Yes|
Disc Compatibility: The SCD-XA9000ES Super Audio CD player can play the following discs:
- Single layer 2-channel and Multi-channel Super Audio CDs: These discs contain a single HD (high density) layer, can hold up to 74 minutes of music, and are playable ONLY on an SACD compatible unit such as the SCD-XA9000ES.
- Dual layer 2 channel and Multi-channel Super Audio CDs: These discs contain two HD layers for longer playing times. The information is recorded on one side only, so the discs do not have to be turned. These discs are playable ONLY on an SACD compatible unit such as the 'XA9000ES.
- 2 channel and Multi-channel Super Audio CD + CD (Hybrid disc): These discs contain a high density SACD layer and a conventional CD layer, allowing them to be played either on an SACD-compatible unit OR on a regular CD player.
- Conventional Audio CDs
SACD Playback Types: This unit automatically recognizes the type of SACD you are playing, and routes the audio signal to one of the two sets of analog audio outputs. There are three types of Super Audio CDs:
- 2-channel: The disc contains only 2-channels of information. When playing this disc, the player is automatically set to 2-channel playback, and audio is output only from the 2-channel analog outputs.
- Multi-channel: The disc contains multiple channels of information (3, 4, 5, or 6). When playing this disc, the player is automatically set to multi-channel playback, and audio is output only from the 5.1-channel outputs.
- 2-Channel + Multi-channel: The disc contains both 2-channel information and multi-channel information. You can select the type of playback you desire on the unit or remote, and the audio is output only from the jacks corresponding to the type of playback you select.
Direct Stream Digital (DSD) Encoding: Super Audio CD uses DSD encoding (compared to PCM used for CD/MiniDisc/DVD-Audio/DVD-Video etc.). DSD uses a sampling frequency 64 times higher than conventional CD (2,822,400 samples per second) and 1-bit quantization. This achieves a wide frequency range and a wide dynamic range across the audible frequency range, thereby providing musical reproduction extremely faithful to the original. The SCD-XA9000ES processes and decodes the 1-bit signal using Sony's CXD2752R DSD Decoder LSI (Large-Scale Integrated circuit). The LSI uses a buffer memory to take data that's output intermittently from the disc and rearrange it into continuous 1-bit audio streams. The streams are output according to the master clock signal from the audio circuit board.
Discrete Dual Laser Optical Pickup: Because of the significant difference in the laser wavelength between SACD (650 nm) and CD (780 nm), this unit is equipped with a discrete dual laser optical pickup--two independent lasers working through a common lens. One laser is exclusively for CD, CD-R and CD-RW, while the other laser delivers uncompromised reproduction of SACD.
i.LINK Digital Output: While most SACD players convert the SACD digital signals to analog for output, the SCD-XA9000ES provides the first digital output of SACD signals via an i.LINK interface. SACD players include conventional optical and coaxial digital outputs, however, they output only CD signals. The XA9000ES's i.LINK digital signal is compatible with the i.LINK digital input on Sony's STR-DA9000ES receiver, plus a number of high-end outboard digital-to-analog converters. The i.LINK interface enables a single digital cable to take the place of six analog cables. The i.LINK interface utilizes Digital Transmission Content Protection (DTCP) to protect the music from piracy.
Tri Power DAC: For the analog outputs, the SCD-XA9000ES is equipped with a Tri Power Digital-to-Analog Converter using 18 separate Super Audio DAC chips that deliver the unprecedented precision of 36 DACs. The analog outputs of this unit provide superlative linearity without noise, interference, or jitter-induced distortion.
Multi-Channel Management Function (Bass Management): The Multi-channel Management Function uses Digital Signal Processing to allow you to set up the unit according to the layout and size of your speakers. This feature applies to SACD playback only. For multi-channel playback mode, speakers designated as "Large" will be sent full-range audio, while speakers designated as "Small" will receive signals that have been filtered to remove low bass frequencies. For proper channel balance during multi-channel playback, the center, surround and subwoofer channel output levels may be adjusted at the unit or with the remote. If you have an ideal speaker output, you can select MCH Direct, which bypasses the DSP circuit, and outputs the signal directly from each speaker at a non-adjustable level. Note: You can also select one of two 2-channel playback modes: 2CH Direct (2 speakers/no subwoofer) or 2CH + SW (2 speakers with subwoofer).
Digital Outputs: There are both coaxial and optical digital outputs on this unit. The digital outputs are active only when playing a standard CD. Because of the quality of the DACs in this player, one might choose not to use the digital outputs; in this case they can be turned off.
Digital Filter: When playing a standard CD, the digital filter can be set to "standard" or "option." Standard provides a wide, spatial feeling, and option offers smooth and powerful sound with a clear image position.
Frame and Beam Construction: The unit's Frame and Beam chassis uses a thick, high-strength frame which gains additional rigidity from two broad metal girders or beams that cross the chassis from front to back. This type of construction virtually eliminates the vibrations caused by the spinning disc or tracking servos that could be transferred to the laser pickup or the audio circuits.
Audio Circuit Boards: The Super Audio DACs and other parts crucial to the sound quality of the SCD-XA9000ES are contained on three vertically-mounted glass epoxy audio circuit boards. The multi-channel audio outputs are mounted on the three circuit boards, and the 2-channel audio outputs are mounted on a smaller horizontally-mounted circuit board. This layout protects the sound from radiated interference and improves the uniformity of all six output channels.
Twin R-Core Transformers: The video and control circuits can introduce noise to the power supply voltage, which can trigger audio distortions. To protect the audio circuitry, the SCD-XA9000ES utilizes Twin R-Core Power transformers: one for the servo and digital system and the other just for audio. In addition, power supply regulation on the audio circuit board itself helps establish stable operation for the audio DACs. R-Core transformers are round, a design which results in far less radiation and far less hum.
Silver Cascade Design: The SCD-XA9000ES has a silver brushed aluminum chassis with the "cascade" design. All of the primary front panel controls are positioned at an angle to allow you to operate the unit without bending and stooping to identify each control. The silver cascade design perfectly matches the cosmetics of several Sony ES A/V receivers (STR-DA9000ES, STR-DA5000ES, and STR-DA3000ES)
SACD and CD Text Compatible: This unit can display the disc name, artist name, and current track name (14 characters will appear at once, after which the display will scroll) for compatible CDs with CD Text and SACDs (most of which will have text).
20 Track Music Calendar: A calendar-like display lights up with the number of tracks on the currently selected disc. After a track has been played, the number for that track disappears from the calendar display.
Display: The display can be set to show current track/index/elapsed time, current track/remaining time, remaining time for entire disc, or Text information. The display can also be turned off.
Program Play: Up to 32 tracks can be programmed and played in any order.
Shuffle Play: This unit can play the tracks on the disc in random order.
Repeat Play: This unit can repeat the current track or all the tracks, repeat Shuffle play, and repeat Program play.
Remote Control: The supplied remote (RM-SX700) is pre-programmed to operate this unit and a number of functions on other Sony CD players. The remote's codes correspond to Sony CD Player codes, so many of its functions can be operated with a normal Sony receiver or preamp remote control.
Headphone Output: For private listening, there is a standard gold-plated headphone output on the front panel. During playback of a multi-channel SACD, the same signal that is output from the Front Left and Right jacks of the Analog 5.1CH output is output from the headphone jack. A downmixed signal of the multi-channel signal is not played back. The headphone level is adjustable from the front panel.
i.LINK Interface: The 4-pin i.LINK interface provides the only digital output of SACD signals. i.LINK connections are only possible between this unit and the Sony STR-DA9000ES A/V receiver. There are some restrictions on i.LINK functions, and may not operate properly if connected to other i.LINK-capable components. The i.LINK icon lights up on the front panel display when the player is ready to output audio signals from the i.LINK jack. When audio is output through the i.LINK interface, there is no audio output from any of the other outputs (Analog 5.1-channel, Analog 2-channel, Optical digital, Coaxial digital, headphones).
Analog Outputs: If you are not using the i.LINK interface, you will need to connect the SCD-XA9000ES to your receiver or amplifier using the analog outputs. There are two sets of analog audio outputs, one for each type of SACD playback:
- 2-channel Output: One pair of left and right gold-plated RCA jacks. When you play a conventional CD or a 2-channel SACD, the stereo signal is sent to the stereo signal is sent to the front, surround and center/subwoofer D/A converters, and each signal is combined after D/A conversion, then the combined signal is output from the 2-channel analog output jacks.
- 5.1-channel Output: Three pairs of gold-plated RCA jacks (Left and Right Front, Left and Right Surround, Center/Subwoofer). These jacks should be connected to the 5.1-channel input on your receiver/amplifier.
Optical Digital Output (CD only): One Toslink optical digital output with a plastic cover. Only 16-bit PCM digital signals from a CD, or the CD layer of a Hybrid SACD disc, are output through this output.
Notes on Analog Outputs: You should make both the 2-channel and 5.1-channel analog connections to your receiver/amplifier. During playback of a conventional CD or 2-channel SACD, the signal from the 2-channel output is of higher quality signal than the 5.1-channel output. During playback of a multi-channel SACD, the same signal that is output from the Front Left and Right jacks of the Analog 5.1CH output is output from the 2-channel output jack. A downmixed signal of the multi-channel signal is not played back.
Coax Digital Output (CD only): One gold-plated RCA digital output. Only 16-bit PCM digital signals from a CD, or the CD layer of a Hybrid SACD disc, are output through this output.
When a Super Audio CD is played:
- Playing Frequency Range: 2Hz to 100kHz
- Frequency Response: 2Hz to 50kHz (-3dB)
- Dynamic Range: 108dB or more
- Total Harmonic Distortion Rate: 0.0012% or less
When a CD is played:
- Frequency Response: 2Hz to 20kHz
- Dynamic Range: 100dB or more
- Total Harmonic Distortion Rate: 0.0017% or less
Weight: 35 pounds 12 ounces
The Sony ES SCD-XA9000ES replaces these items