Is there anyone who can help me to decide which one (5400ES vs. BDP83SE) is better performance in AUDIO playback (CD/SACD)?
The Sony received a Class A+ rating by Stereophile for its ANALOG out playback. Unless you can demo both, you'd be better off with the Sony.
Many thanks for your response. I expect an audiophile who had a chance to hear the Oppo's ESS Sabre 32 DAC compared with the Sony
Excuse. OPPO BDP83 also received CLAS S A+ rating by Stereophile. However the BDP83 SE version analog out playback surpassed widely the Sony 5400ES. Regards.
how do you know the Oppo supassed the Sony ? in sacd mode no one beats the sony
on 2 channel cd who has heard them side ny side?
The Oppo BDP-83SE did NOT receive a Class A+ rating from Stereophile. (Just A, the Sony is A+)
Rana N. Kabir
CEO ENDS Technologies, Ltd.
I clearly said that OPPO BDP-83 has been rating by Stereophile Class A+, then version SE, should be classA++,??????
Stereophile October 2009, page 69.....
I have heard and compared both players, SONY SCD-XA5400ES and OPPO BDP-83SE. I cannot say that one is better than the other because it depends on what you hear and taste, however I am sure that nobody, included the "Stereophile´s geniuses”, could find any differences which means that one of those is superior , but watch out!, always from a blind test verdict ….ears and sound, nothing subjective interference.
I am LOOKING at the April 2010 Issue of Stereophile RIGHT NOW as I type this!! The 83 IS clearly in the Class B section (pg 64), and the 83SE IS clearly in the A section (pg 63)! In the A+ Category there are ten players with the Sony XA5400ES being the cheapest one at $1500 and the Ayer C-5xeMP being the second cheapest at $5950. None of the OPPOs made it in the A+ category. Your post made me think you were nuts (sorry) so I dug up the Stereophile October 2009 issue (it was dusty) and damn, there it was on the extreme bottom right of page 69, the standard 83, in the A+ listing!
So I contacted Stereophile and they assured me that the October 2009 issue rating was a typo. The 83 was NEVER MEANT TO BE rated class A+ which is a relief since my 83 sounds nowhere near as good as many A/A+ machines that I have owned/heard over the years. (I own both the 83 and the 83SE, the SE is definitely better sounding by a wide margin.) I have also extensively listened to/compared the SE to the XA5400ES and the Sony is a superior sounding machine well deserving of its A+ rating. Especially with DSD recordings of my own where I was present at the studio, the XA5400ES brings me closer to the live event than the Oppo SE. When playing SACDs the Sony is astonishingly smooth and detailed for its $1500 price! Nothing near its price even comes close. Unfortunately it’s not an Universal player like the SE (lossless Blu-Ray Audio is da bomb!) nor is it’s DACs accessible thru the LAN for Media Server purposes which is why I ultimately settled on the SE which was eventually modded further to make it sound as good as the Sony if not better (the SE's gain depends on two 5532 op-amps which are rather pedestrian and it's weakest point which can be remedied if one knows what to do).
Rana N. Kabir
CEO, ENDS Technologies
Oh, I´m sorry……I never dare to discuss with someone who has a Saturday night hotline with the editors of this magazine, and mark to them a typo which never was corrected since October 2009….
I would never dare to debate with someone who listen to much better than five people in a blind test, (including myself), dedicated to the high end audio for over 28 years...
In conclusion, I could never discuss audio hardware with someone who ears through his eyes reading Stereophile...
Finally, healthy tip to save money and not be deprived to listen the same (or better) sound quality. You should make an effort and take careful certain concepts from some specialized media, if you cannot avoid it, definitely stop reading them, because it produce some elitist habits.
Oh yeah! I thought he said he did compare the two audibly, not from just someone's written opinion. You must have a crap system, too, if you cannot hear the difference, and then it bothers you so much that you can't read plain English. Of course that is understandable, considering the quality of your prose.
By the way, I wish to clarify about my prose in your language. I am Spanish, but when you want, we could discuss in Spanish, French, Italian, Greek or Portuguese....of course, if you have some knowledge about these languages.
Touche! Your English is certainly better than my Spanish. My Mother was an English teacher and my Dad a French teacher, so I tend to be a little too critical. Again, my sincere apologies.
I hope this message finds you in good health and in good cheer. Please take the following response to your post as my humble observations and not a personal attack upon you. Thanks.
“I never dare to discuss with someone who has a Saturday night hotline with the editors of this magazine…”
I have no connection, or "hotline" with any audio magazine. The closest thing would be to once in a blue moon I meet some of the writers and/or editors at a trade show.
”a typo which never was corrected since October 2009”
But I just referenced the very next RC issue above, where they DID correct it. Look it up for yourself.
“I would never dare to debate with someone who listen to much better than five people in a blind test”
Good Idea, otherwise you might not learn something new. :-)
“Finally, healthy tip to save money and not be deprived to listen the same (or better) sound quality. You should make an effort and take careful certain concepts from some specialized media, if you cannot avoid it, definitely stop reading them, because it produce some elitist habits.”
Agreed 100%, and that’s why I am here talking about $1500 and $1000 players and not the $60,000 dCS player which I can also afford. BUT I couldn’t help noticing that it was YOU who came into this thread with a quote from the very “elitist” magazine you despise so much. You posted on Tue, 12/29/2009 “Excuse. OPPO BDP83 also received CLAS S A+ rating by Stereophile.” AND then you got upset merely because I pointed out that it was a mistake on the magazine’s part. And now all of a sudden the magazine is no good! If that's the case then why quote them in the first place??
It wasn’t YOUR fault that the magazine rated it erroneously. So then why this reaction?? Unless you were really counting on the magazine’s rating for YOUR dependency to promote your bias. This is contradictory to what you preach. I also couldn’t help noticing that on Tue, 12/29/2009 after your bold A+ rating rave you posted that’ “the BDP83 SE version analog out playback surpassed widely the Sony 5400ES”. BUT THEN AFTER I pointed out that the rating was a mistake, you then posted on Sat, 08/14/2010 that, “I have heard and compared both players, SONY SCD-XA5400ES and OPPO BDP-83SE. I cannot say that one is better than the other…”
This is in direct contradictions to your earlier post. I would bet even money that you hadn’t compared the players, at least initially, and were using the ratings by Stereophile to further your assumptions. And my discovery of the magazine’s error bruised your ego. (I am sorry about that. I have nothing to gain by contradicting you; I just wanted to correct the ratings fiasco by Stereophile for everyone’s benefit.) AND it appears you are the one that is “someone who ears through his eyes reading Stereophile.” (Did I mention I have a degree in Human Psychology?)
“In conclusion, I could never discuss audio hardware with someone who ears through his eyes reading Stereophile...”
While I respect any magazine’s reports, findings, etc, it is only a starting point to my own investigations. And I am quite capable of my own investigation! I am after all a scientist at heart. I am not prone to reading something and immediately making it my own. Never have been! Quite the contrary. People pay me an obscene amount of money to do my own research and to hear my own conclusions. In this capacity I own and operate several technology firms including an audio consulting firm. Perhaps some background is in order which a “dedicated to the high end audio for over 28 years” person such as you might appreciate.
While I do not make my living as a recording engineer, I use to be one. My field of study and my consultation services currently center around Acoustical Engineering; specifically music reproduction. My focus is on the playback half of the equation of the capture and playback chain. In this capacity I have consulted recording engineers how to design/build and setup a good recording studio/environments as well as setting up large venues for sound enforcement. I also design & build Audiophile Sound Rooms and High Performance Home Theaters.
My first Company (one man show) modified David Hafler’s amplifiers for serious sound for the money. I was 15 years old and tuned the circuits by ear. My reference was (and still is) live music. Everything that I design and/or analyze is compared to live music! 30 years ago I pioneered the use of transient, full spectrum energy bursts in conjunction with computer analysis to acoustically model a venue within minutes. This was then used for correction to tame anomalies in the field (and got an appreciation for how different a venue sounds AFTER it’s filled with humans and everybody is seated). I designed/built the equipment (by hand) and my Partner Craig Eckert wrote the code. As far as I know we were the first ones on the planet to do this in the field with a “portable” setup.
While I took a side step in the 90’s to start my own IT firm (and then last year a Chip & SSD Technology firm), all my technology knowledge & experiences ultimately get applied towards getting better sound (to paraphrase Jim Smith’s wonderful book) for audiophiles. My specialty throughout the years has always been ‘squeezing the maximum amount of performance out of a minimum amount of money. My company motto is “Our primary criterion for every project is quality while maintaining cost effectiveness.” You can be sure that I don’t have any kind of elitist mindset! I am also a musician whose love of technology & especially energy physics has steered me in the direction of music reproduction as opposed to producing music. I would like to think I have a pretty good idea of what a real instrument in real space sound like and how to reproduce it as accurately as possible.
My classical education in Electronics & Particle/Energy Physics initially made me heavily dependent on technology, methods, circuits, distortions, figures, etc. But lifelong experimentation & experiences have taught me that all that technical merits are for paper. The real stuff is when that acoustical energy hits the eardrum and the brain reacts electrochemically. This is what it’s all about. AND often all the mathematics don’t correlate with how a human perceives. This led to extensive research and studies for a better understanding of Psychoacoustics. So take the theoretical/mathematical stuff and what you read with a grain of salt; instead concentrate on what you are hearing/enjoying. The mathematics of the ear/brain connection and its effects on perception are still in its infancy. The only Audiophile/Equipment designer that I know of who really understands and appreciates this (Psychoacoustics) is Bob Stuart of Meridian (the driving factor behind the MLP codec and a champion of the 24/96 format). I often wish he would put his three cents in, in a forum like this.
I have found two very specific things that explain the difference between hearing something and not hearing something. This is also based on extensive research and exploration. EXPERIENCE and ABILITY. Some audiophiles have both, some have neither, and most are somewhere in between with varying degree of one and/or the other. Experience can always be acquired but NOT ability since this is defined by how good one's ear/brain mechanism actually is. (However experience can improve ability to a degree but it is no substitute for faulty sensors (ears) and/or faulty perceptual neural networks.) IT IS A FACT THAT NO TWO HUMANS hear, see, taste, feel, smell & perceive exactly the same or exactly the same way. We are as different from each other in our perceptual abilities as our fingerprints. As surely as the majority bundles in the middle (the “normals”) there are few that are at the extreme ends. Some of us have exceptional hearing acuity and some of us have poor or no hearing just like some have 20/10 vision and some are blind or near blind requiring eyeglasses a thick as telescopes. This is the one fundamental fact that audiophiles in both sides of a debate like this refuses to remember!
The point is, never tell someone that they can't do something, see something or hear something based on your abilities. It isn't logical. It makes more sense to ask oneself, “Why can't I when others can?” and go on an exploration of discovery to find the answer. This is the best road to learning new things. If you always assume you are right and others aren’t, then you will miss out on a lot of good journeys. This is particularly true with audio. It is logical to see that system limitations as well as perceptual limitations can in fact make two components appear to sound alike. But assuming identical setup and perfect level matching there is no physical mechanism for making two identical sounding component sound dissimilar, especially one in favor of the other overwhelmingly by majority of the listeners. The only factor that can cause that would be hallucinations and/or listener bias. And sure that is a possibility, as is the certainty of all matter on this planet simultaneously losing its atomic bond and vaporizing. Quantum mathematics guarantees it! But it is so slight that the chance of that occurring is once a trillion years (though it could happen tomorrow). You get my point? Which is more likely here? You have a system and/or perceptual limit/flaw that precludes you from hearing the differences between these two dissimilar components, or that the rest of us who hear the differences are simply hallucinating? I wish you on an exciting journey with good cheer.
Dear Mr. RanaKabir,
Thank you for your time to answer me.
About my "contradiction", please carefully read my message (Mon, 08/16/2010 - 14: 00) to vignaujdan, where I did explanation to the “apparent contradiction". I hope have clarified once again that first comment objective.
From my "objectivity"... both articles, "Audiophoolery" and it´s rebuttal, are interesting and useful. If I only opt for one point of view, I would be dogmatic, and I would lose the doubt capacity, a human characteristic which moves us to questions and to research.
From my "subjective"... the sounds of music are a deep passion, much more than commercial aspects, even the “theory” of technical data, and all the words of audio world....
Finally, in short…. I think the psychoacoustics interpretations are as many as, people-ears-brains-synapses exist
Newly thank you.
I have the original 83 and use it for audio and video. I'm looking for a DAC that will handle both CD's and SACD's. I play stereo only. Have you any recommendations? Thank you for your time.
What is your Budget??
Up to $2,000.
removed, double post
Would you be willing to share the details of your mods to the SE? You specifically mention the NE-5532 op-amps, did you replace wth 5535 or other amps? Maybe rebias? I (and others I am sure) would love to know what you did.
I would have to venture that your system is not good enough to compare the two. Whether you believe everything they write or not, Stereophile certainly has good systems and so do I, in a vintage sort of way, and I have never hooked up two components that sounded exactly the same on my system. If the Sony sounds better to everyone but you, your system is at fault. Dan5
And GM charges more for the XLR Caddy than the Corvette, so it must be better.
On your system? Or in your magazines?
I was expecting that prejudice....
Apart personal test players from my system conformed by integral electronic BAT and Monitor Audio Platinum PL 300 loudspeakers, the blind tests were performed (test 1) with electronic Krell, and BW 802D loudspeakers; (test 2) Sonus Faber Cremona loudspeakers and attack electronic Classe CA-2200.
I hope that now does not tell me that we were five deaf….or whatever your mind imagines.
Why do these forums degenerate into flame wars? I'm about to opt out. These are very subjective impressions about very subtle differences. I have appreciated those participants who refrain from denigrating others, and who simply share their, often useful, impressions. I do not enjoy the nastiness.
I agree with you, and I apologize.
Also is true, at certain levels, the difference is reduced to subjective.
In other words, I had said that the comparison between these excellent players depended on tastes, not about its sound quality, less by the subjective influence from “changing rating” magazine instead of the pure listening.
You are right except for the ones who lit my flame: The many posters, who without hearing either much less one of the units, who still offered an opinion.
It is just tedious to hear the same drivel recited from the advertising supported magazines, when the question was directed only to someone who had actually compared the two. WGAS about what the magazines say. That is just a start so we don't have to listen to everything under the sun. I'm sure the posters who never heard either unit and who chose one over the other without listening to both (and therefore must own the best) have good intentions, even if their main goal is to see their opinion in print, thus comfirming their choice.
Just checking. Some of the vintage forums have people comparing real crap to modern, exceptional pieces and I don'r see how they can tell the differrence between anything. I personally thing that a good, high powered Class A amp is the best, and I understand the warmth (harmonic additions) of tubes. I even had some really nice Classe equipment for which I did not care, but I bet it sounds great on some systems.
It appears that you have a really fine system. I am surprised that you really liked the OPPO that much compared to the Sony, (if it were) on a stereo system. AV is another world in which I am not really even a modest enthusiast, but it was a good place to use my 30 year old speakers when I finally upgraded from the original 802s and DM 14/1400s.
The fmtunerinfo.com site is the one that I really wonder about. I have not really ever disagreed with their opinion for teh tuners I have heard, but 15 watt hand made DIY amps and preamps don't have enough power fo any speaker that interests me. And! The most knoledgable repairman I know *(A Mac warranty guy) has 40 year old Bozaks he thinks really rock.
I apologize for second time since my first post (Tue, 12/29/2009 - 17:08) was a “kind of hook” in order to know audiophiles points of views ...( where “OPPO was "better" than Sony, and the basic version BDP-83 was classified A + by Stereophile.... nothing less!!!)...Wow, too much!!!
Now seriously, I repeat that in fact we did not find differences on sound quality between both players, three blind tests, different systems over a certain quality systems, always in stereo mode. About surround, OPPO has some advantage because of the possibility to reproduce audio HD BluRay, but only in some cases where recordings are superlative, any way, this is another matter..... I had, and I currently have other great players to compare, one of them, “from my taste”, subtly upper OPPO SE and Sony SCD-XA5400, but is not the case naming them because what here discuss is about the original question, Sony vs.Oppo…
Finally I recommend reading an item of Skeptic Magazine about the myths of audio, very helpful: http://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/10-01-06/#feature
Sorry my English.
I recomend reading the rebuttal to the Skeptic Magaine article. Even more helpful: http://nosecohn.wordpress.com/2010/01/14/rebuttal-to-audiophoolery/
I have found something very interesting too, and I suppose a good idea to share it: www.theaudiocritic.com/downloads/article_1.pdf
I have had the AYRE C5-Xe for about 3 years now. As you probably know, it costs $6000 and has been rated A+ by Stereophile for the last 3 years; it is supposed to be as good as it gets for under $10,000.
The Sony SCD-XA5400ES just totally blows the AYRE away, in my opinion.
As a matter of fact, it is SO much better than everything else I have heard for under $10,000 (including the Luxman and Esoteric players), that I am unable to comprehend WHY the audiophile press is not all over this!
Shouldn't it be BIG BIG news when Sony comes out with A $1500 player that totally changes the rules, pricewise, for SACD players?
One caveat; everything I say only applies to listening through the balanced analog outputs of both units, because that is where I feel the best performance is and should be.
Also, 90% of my comparison is of course on my system, which while not quirky, is of course unique (as is any system).
So, FYI...my system includes the Audio Research LS-26 preamp ($6K), Bryston 3B-SST2 amplifier (which I believe to be Bryston's best-sounding model), and Vandersteen 3A speakers with two Vandersteen 2B subwoofers. All connections are balanced.
But anyway; I think that the Sony 5400 is a piece of incredible engineering that puts out simply unbelievable sound. If they were pricing it according to the way it sounds, it should be priced at $8000 or so, but it is selling for $1500. My advice is to log onto Sonystyle and spend $1500 on one of them really really fast...lol!!
Many thanks for your precious experience. Looking forward to buy one as well.
Please do not go to Sonystyle, go to a local dealer! Some stores (like mine) either stock these or can get these to you in a few days. I won't list my store because I don't want to be that way, but please choose someone close to you who has them available. Keep hi-fi stores alive!
Budget Hi-Fi enthusiast, expensive Hi-Fi enthusiast, medium Hi-Fi enthusiast, Hi-Fi enthusiast..... owns little to no credibility or responsibility whatsoever.
My music collection comprise mainly CD discs (Redbook). In this case is it the XA5400ES a great player?
I haven't demo'd both, but, based on all the hype I bought/trialed the Oppo-SE. kept it - love it... I'm listening to my CD's more than I have in years (still love my SACD's and DVD-Audio's - yeah, I know, but I'm still buying 'em). But seriously, very nice at a reasonable price. BTW, picked up the Aja SHM-SACD - very nice.
Sony XA5400ES/.DA6400ES combo is the biggest bargain in Audio especially connected by HDMI for mch SACD lowest jitter & excellent sound that no High end Stereo system that I have heard can match.
I'm willing to bet that Oppo will allow you some time to audition the SE. They are a truly customer oriented organization and have always been responsive to my needs. You got nothing to lose by asking.
Every time I try to add a comment to these blogs I'm told that the name I'm using belongs to a registered user. Duh! It's because I am a registered user.
Then login, and use the site as intended. :)
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Those who purchase OPPO's gear aren't exactly looking for a good sound, but picture.
You could always use an OPPO as transport to a reputable D/A Converter and thus obtaining a top-notch stereo sound.
SONY is known for its very good sound and not by coincidence is the inventor of the SACD format and also a maker of internal components of many CD players that are made around the world.
I intend to purchase the OPPO for Home Theater purposes only.
Many thanks for your information. My intention is that if the Oppo's ESS Sabre 32 DAC is excellent, then I just buy an OPPO BDP83SE, therefore I don't need to buy another reputable D/A Converter.
" Oppo's ESS Sabre 32 DAC is excellent "
Oh, I surely bet it is.
" I don't need to buy another reputable D/A Converter "
Nope. You really don't.
Unfortunately this OPPO doesn't have BALANCED ( XLR )
outputs to deliver its formidable analog sound to a pre-amplifier
in order to augment the Signal/ Noise ratio.Pity.
Nevertheless, I don't have any reasons to doubt that you're gonna be more than happy with your new gear.
Unless your source is more than 10ft/3M away from your amplification package you don't need XLR connections: that's what the latter are for BTW. Oh, and squeezing more money out of gullible punters who MUST have the "BEST"!
Most high-End gear offers both RCA and Balanced outputs/inputs. My
own experience with audio convinced me that using balanced input and output jacks
enhances the silence in the music's background.
Some audiophiles do prefer RCA ones,though.
My preamplifier, a Parasound HALO JC2 has a couple of
balanced inputs plus five Single-Ended.
Sure enough, I did notice a better level of DETAIL specially
in the bass using balanced inputs.
If you've got a gear that already offers the XLR option, why
the heck not use it ?
I'd ask you Kitsfi:
If you were owner of an audio gear company and was about to release a new
Blu-Ray player with great video performance and the NEWEST D/AC in the market,
wouldn't you TRY to attract people like myself who really wouldn't mind to shell out
another 250 or even 400 bucks to have the pleasure of purchasing a gear WITH
Analog XLR outputs?
How much this single modification would gonna cost?
More Digital outputs:
I'd also include another HDMI 1.3 for music , an AES/EBU (to a CD recorder), two TOSLINK and two Coaxial.
I'd let my customer CHOOSE what they wanna hear.
Even with ALL of those "improvements", the OPPO would still be cheaper
than its rivals !!
Am I gullible ?
Life is SHORT. Spend your money with stuff you enjoy while you can. After that...
Think about it.
A lot of people don't understand that balanced connections are only needed when cable lengths are long. The other advantage is that they are harder to accidently unplug, but the S/N ratio and sound are the same with reasonably short patch cords and nice, quiet sources and equipment. This does not mean that a piece cannot be intentionally designed to have a slightly higher output, thus perceived betterness, on hth balanced connections.
I have both the Sony SCD-XA5400ES and the NuForce Edition of the Oppo BDP-83SE in my system (It's a long story...) and frankly, I would be hard pressed to pick a winner for CDs or SACDs regardless of whether one is outputting via HDMi and using the player as a transport or using the respective players outstanding stereo analog outputs. This is a merely subjective impression as I did not do extensive a/b blind comparisons. I don't see how you can go wrong with either player. The Oppo is a top flight blu-ray, DVD audio, and upconverting DVD player so if these features are important, I would defer to the Oppo as it is more versatile. I have not heard the SE in direct comparison to the NuForce but those who have heard both say the NuForce offers a subtle (i.e. not giant) improvement.
I know quite a few people that bought the OPPO SE for the audio performance AND for the ability to play multiple formats (Universal) for musical enjoyment. In my case I bought it for my video system and found it to sound as good as my main system’s audio only player which was five times more expensive. And then there is the issue of enjoying performances from labels such as AIX that are starting to accompany video along with the hi-resolution audio that makes you feel like you are in the studio with the musicians. Most made for video machines simply cannot approach the combined audio & video performance of the SE. So for those of us who love music first, we are finding the video portion an enhancement to the whole experience of enjoying music and the SE is truly THE solution for those Audiophile on a budget. There is NO player of ANY kind that sounds better than the SE for the price of the SE. An outboard DAC that decodes bit transparent DSD streams and sound better than the SE would cost close to $10k and is pointless in the context of this thread. The value proposition of the Oppo SE is the highest for the audiophile who wants to enjoy MUSIC from MULTIPLE sources & formats INCLUDING music videos. AND if you are buying the SE for home theater purposes only, then you are missing out on 70% what this machine can really do!
I am enjoying this discussion. Keep it up! One thought that I might add is that my main speakers, Paradigm Reference Studio 100s version 5 are a good solid B class (perhaps B+) pair of speakers. But they can’t compete with my headphones (Sennhesier HD-800s/ Beyerdynamic T1s) and amp (Black Cube Linear) combo. To really take advantage of the Sony 5400 or Oppo SE NuForce, when listening to two channel recordings, often I find myself reaching for my “cans”.
I purchased the 5400ES a few weeks ago. It is sill breaking in but I've found that it is at least equal to and slightly better than my late model Benchmark DAC1. As far as SACD playback, I was using a SONY DVP-NS3100ES SACD/DVD player previously. It's much better than the 3100. I haven't heard the Oppo however, my experience reflects that a dedicated SACD player is sonically better than one that does video and audio playback.