can sony get any better than this ?
This is a short report about the super bolid - top of the top -
No lampization this time - sorry. Maybe some day ...
I had to write this - out of my deepest admiration of what Sony was
capable of a few years ago before globalization.
ESD was a fabulous series of players of which 557 is the top model.
The whole player is damn heavy: there is not one single plastic part :
top to bottom, front to back - everything is made of metal. Buttons,
drawer, mechanism, tracking, laser cast assembly, - everything.
The metallic drawer with aluminium face plate and neoprene sealing
The ergonomics is the same as all the ESD series. Famili similarity but
WITHOUT part sharing with cheaper models. And make no mistake about it
The raw power supply - as you can see - is fantastic. Elna caps which
would cost doday 30 Euro a pop. Really gigantic and very very good.
The AC inlet PCB, has ferrite coils and capacitor filters - everything
that a good engineer should put there. What can I say.
Every capacitor on these beautifully hand painted PCB is premium type,
and each is selected for the particular application - green for
digital, red for audio analog, black for raw. All Elnas of variuous
Only the clock crystall is a typical cheap one. I upgraded it to
Some chips. The gray cable on the bottom carries SPDIF before it is
screwed up in the chips that process it before output. Thats the place
to tap it - from this white plug.
Ladies and gentlemen - these are the DACS ! Secret dacs under a slice
Note the copper rails - center one is earth, and it is surrounded by
plus/minus 12 V for the various purposes.
Curiosity killed the cat but I HAD to uncover these dacs. PCM-64P ???
Jamais couche avec. Never heard of.
The alldatasheet service shows the dac application - there is NO
AUDIO output. This DAC apparently needs surounding electronics to
produce output. I can not detect the place to tap to with lampizator. I
did not have time to test it so I gave up. The owner didnt even know I
was there inside. To him - this player is a virgin.
Wow, look at these regulators, whole rows of them. copper heatsinks,
luxury everywhere !
Oh no, even the screws are luxury. Gucci screws. Look at these threads
Two fully potted, shielded and encapsulated transformers. In 555ESD
they hang outside, here they squeezed them inside. How nice.
The best part ... the transport. Identical mechanism like KSS190A but
with BU1 laser. It can only arguably be bettered by the Kenwood machine
- like in 1000D, DPX9010 and DP8010.
After all these cheap mechanisms I have seen so far, looking at this
one or better - seeing it in action is like sex.
The chips are for documentation purposes just in case.
Note the silkscreen descriptors - every single part and section is
It makes service or lampization so much easier.
This player sounds very good in stock form. It sounds like the best of
ESD in stock form. Not much better than others, but a little bit better.
I know nothing about the lampized sound, so I cant comment how good our
PCM64 really is.
But there is a good end to this story. This player got a new
super clock, the SP/DIF signal was picked directly from the CXD1125
chip - pin 27th. It was then sent to new RCA via a coax cable and
terminated with the 75 Ohm resistor in parallel and 10 nF cap in
This player became a TRANSPORT, and the best one I ever tested. I admit
- not having many high end transports at home, but from regular CD
players - noting was as good as transport. It beat CEC TL1X in its new