I have the unique experience of being able to compare two Sony SCD-CE775 SACD changers at the same time. They LOOK the same…but they are not. One is a well broken in stock version and the other is a full-on modified version from SACDMODS by Matthew Anker. I recently purchased the modified version from TroyD. As usual the transaction was excellent and the CDP was packed to survive almost anything. It is a good thing he did considering the outer box looked like it had been drop onto my porch with a pair of large grappling hooks. On to the comparison.
I have several duplicate CDs so I was able to load them into the changers so that I had identical music in each slot of the changer. I stacked them on top of each other and connected one to the CD input and the other to the VCR2 input of my AVR with identical Audioquest Copperhead interconnects. These inputs were chosen since they are next to the other on my remote. The cool part is that a single Sony remote will operate the changers simultaneously. I made sure the settings on the AVR were identical for both inputs and after that I was able to seamlessly change from one SCD-CE775 to the other with a click of the remote and compare identical music instantly.
The initial listening was done with 3 redbook CDs. Mary Chapin-Carpenter “Come On, Come On”, Joan Osborne “Relish” and Jackson Browne “Late For The Sky”. At first with the Mary Chapin-Carpenter CD the differences seemed subtle. A little more weight of the vocals and less bright/forward (a Sony CDP characteristic). At first that came across as less detailed but the more I listened, the more it became apparent that it was actually more realistic vs less detailed. Bass was better as well. On the Joan Osborne CD the improvements seemed less subtle and more “yeah…that’s better!” The instruments took a more prominent sound vs a bit thin sounding on the stock. Soundstage and depth were much improved. Bass again was noticeably better. The same was true for the Jackson Browne CD.
My only SACD duplicate is Allman Brothers “Eat A Peach”. The second I went from stock to mod, my reaction was…”DAMN…That’s impressive!”… and it was. This is an excellent CD to begin with and the mods took it to a level that is hard to describe. Clarity, soundstage, depth, bass…everything was a notch above what I thought was great to begin with.
The stock SCD-CE775 is actually a very good performer and no slouch with SACD. I have compared it to better regarded CDPs and it holds it’s own IMO. The Matthew Anker modifications take a very good CDP changer and make it a great CDP changer.
This comparison took place with my HT setup using a Denon AVR and RT55i speakers and a Dayton Titanic Sub. I will be hooking the modified SCD-CE775 to my NAD gear and the SDA 1Cs in the near future. I will be interested to see how the redbook compares to the NAD and Cambridge Audio CDPs. The SACD should be impressive in this setup as well.