Great Caesar’s ghost! It’s Super Audio CD, a format that can provide higher fidelity digital audio reproduction than the Red Book audio CD. Introduced in 1999, it was developed by Sony and Philips Electronics and was supposed to combat DVD-Audio. However, neither really took off and now we’re in a completely different era of audio. SACD still warms the hearts of industry professionals and audiophiles, and to satisfy that niche market Sony has released the SCD-XA5400ES Super Audio CD player. The XA5400ES has a healthy number of outputs, including HDMI (with Multi and 2CH priority switch), digital optical +coax, and analog. Sony Japan has this at a suggested price of 176,400Y, while J&R in the USA has a pre-order price of $1,499. Expect the XA5400ES on October 30th in Japan, and similar dates worldwide.

According to Sony Japan’s press release, the DSD multi-level filter, D/A converter system, and Super Audio D/A converter technology are the best Sony has produced to date. A twin R-core transformer and D/A system that is independent of the general processing chipset allow a truly clean signal output that should offer nearly zero distortion. Power consumption is rated at 25W and standby clocks in at a mere .5W. Dimensions are W430 × H124 × D390mm, and consumers will be surprised at the hefty 10.2kg (aka 22 pound) weight.

For SACD Playback –
Frequency range: 2Hz ~ 100kHz
Frequency response: 2Hz ~ 50kHz(-3dB)
Dynamic range: 110dB+
Harmonic Distortion: 0.0012%

For CD Playback –
Frequency response: 2Hz ~ 20kHz (± 0.5dB)
Dynamic range: 100dB+
Harmonic Distortion: 0.0017%

Information courtesy of Sony Japan.