Sony Announces Second Super Audio CD Player

When Sony introduced the first Super Audio CD (SACD) player, the SCD-1 (see previous report and Jonathan Scull's forthcoming review in the November 1999 Stereophile), audiophiles who heard it were impressed with its performance, but wondered if its $5000 price tag would keep it out of the market for a while. Last week, Sony announced their second SACD player, the SCD-777ES, to appear in October at the slightly more wallet-friendly price of $3500.

According to Sony, the new player incorporates most of the key technologies and fundamental "pure audio" capabilities of what the company considers to be its reference standard player, the SCD-1. Sony's Mike Fidler says that "With the new SCD-777ES and our SCD-1, Sony's commitment to the future of high-end audio becomes very clear. Music enthusiasts will now be able to enjoy the quality and flexibility associated with the SACD format, thanks to the exceptional performance offered by the SCD-777ES."

Features include: a newly developed Direct Stream Digital (DSD) decoder LSI that Sony says reads the "invisible" watermark on SACD discs, then employs a high-capacity buffer memory to rearrange output data as a continuous bitstream; an Accurate Complement Pulse Density Modulation (ACP) system that Sony claims maintains a consistency value for the DSD pulse and eliminates switching distortion; a Synchronous Time Accuracy Controller (S-TACT) that uses discrete components to ensure high-quality performance without being affected by power-supply noise and voltage fluctuations; Sony's newest Current Pulse D/A Converter, which "transforms output voltage from the synchronous controller into a series of precision pulses."

The SCD-777ES is a two-channel player—multichannel fans will have to wait for the surround-sound discs and machines that Sony has tempted the press with at past HI-FI Shows. Sony states that the player has the ability to read the three types of disc associated with the SACD format: a single high-density-layer disc; a disc with dual high-density layers for longer music recording such as symphonies; and a hybrid disc, which combines high- and standard-density (CD) layers.

Sony claims that CD playback is also enhanced by the player's VC24 variable coefficient digital filter and Dual Discrete optical pickup. The company says the latter is used to optimize each lens of the SCD-777 at different wavelengths for compatibility with both SACD and CD media.