Sony Introduces a DSD Capable Turntable at CES 2016

What is an "DSD-capable" turntable? Sony's new HX500 turntable incorporates a high quality A/D converter capable of operating at 192/24 bit resolution or native DSD (5.6Mhz).

The HX500 comes with a newly developed app that includes software that's claimed to allow "simple and intuitive editing" on either PCs or Macs. The software can combine tracks from both record sides or split tracks as needed.

The 'table itself incorporates a new Sony tone arm with what the press release says is a "straight....arm with stylus located in the central axis of the arm". It also features an integrated lightweight, low resonance head shell with moving magnet cartridge.

The two-speed belt drive system features a die cast aluminum platter fitted with a thick rubber mat. The built in phono preamp incorporates "special parts selected for sound quality" mounted upon a glass epoxy circuit board. Sony says it paid particular attention to damping resonances within the plinth. The 'table was displayed both at Sony's main hall booth and at The Venetian. The press release referred to this 'table as "reference quality." I think someone forget to switch on the hyperbole filter!

To promote high quality high resolution audio Sony set up in the main hall a facsimile of its famed Battery Studios mastering room using audio gear supplied by dCS, Doshi Audio, Kimber Kable, Pass Labs and others. Source material was high resolution files supplied by Legacy and Columbia Masterworks.

It was probably the first time many people attending CES who only visit the convention center got a chance to hear a high performance audio system.

The turntable costs $599.00.

2_channel_ears's picture

Over on Audiostream the other Michael listed it at $599.

Michael Fremer's picture
The press release failed to list a price...
Ortofan's picture turntables that used to be included with the all-in-one rack systems?
Sony should revive a turntable with the Biotracer arm to compete with the new Technics SL-1200.
Wonder what a PS-X800 or a PS-X555ES would cost today if put back into production?

Rudy's picture

On first glance, I thought the same thing. But looking closer, it is a bit more refined in appearance. Simpler, cleaner. And, we are looking at a photograph, not the actual item.

I only wonder how it will sound. PCM A/D converters are cheap these days, but DSD? Not so common. I'm sure a few corners were trimmed to meet the price point, but as long as it damps resonances and has a well performing arm, a cartridge upgrade would be a good tweak to make. The fact that it includes 24/192 and DSD at least shows their heart is in the right place.

Does Sony even still have an ES division? An ES turntable (perhaps basing it on one of the TTs mentioned) would probably raise a few eyebrows.

Overheateurope's picture

Any idea what cartridge is on this thing? Or at least what type of stylus (conical, elliptical, etc.)

2_channel_ears's picture

to review? I've long been interested in doing some needle drops on some more non-essential LPs but didn't want to spend a couple of grand for a high quality A to D. This looks interesting at first blush with 24/192 and DSD capability. So I'd be interested in how good it is. For the price.

Rudy's picture

I have been in a similar situation myself. I want to digitize a lot of vinyl, primarily records that have never been released digitally, which I would use on my music server. (I'm not dragging a Pro-Ject/Dynavector vinyl system out in the garage while I work on the cars, donchaknow? ;) ) I also have live cassette recordings of bands I used to play in, and some reels which aren't replaceable.

Have you ever considered pro audio gear? TASCAM makes a solid state recorder, the DA-3000, which uses higher quality circuitry and has received a lot of acclaim, and it records up to 24/192 as well as DSD. Street price is $850-ish. For my needs it is overkill (24/96 would suffice in many cases), but for anyone thinking of archiving in DSD or 24/192, it's an option to consider.

It is a bit beyond my budget but on the other hand, it is not going to be like a USB analog-to-digital encoder I own which became outdated several years after I bought it because the (very well known) company quit writing drivers for newer OSes. And it has no moving parts to wear out (like DAT, CD-R, hard disk systems, etc.). It would be a "lifetime" purchase for me, IOW.

I'd love to see someone make a similar unit to the DA-3000, in the $399-$499 range, with only the essential features needed, and using similar high quality audio circuitry. Something component sizes so it fits in our racks, not some "toy" portable with tiny buttons that (for me) are hard to see and use.

Jim Tavegia's picture

buy either the Sony PCM-M10 for about $250 and record your needledrops at 2496 and upload them through USB into your computer.

Tascam has 2 units that can do the same thing: DR-44WL ($279) is a 4 track unit and the DR-22WL($149) is a two track SDHC recorder and both due up to 2496. Both have built it mics for recording live as well, but are mostly for instrument recording for practice.

I hope Sony does well with the TT as if the motor is quiet and is stable it might just be the ticket for many people who want to digitize their LPs. The fact that is can do DSD is interesting and the computer software for this feature has peaked my interest.

Now if they would just come back out with a pair of SACD/CD players for $599 and $999 that would be something. At least support what you invent for crying out loud.