SSPs

Yamaha CX-A5000 11.1 SSP (Surround Sound Processor)

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Conclusions about the Yamaha CX-A5000 SSP

When fed digital content, the Yamaha CX-A5000 sounds much better than my Marantz preamp. The differences between the two are not subtle at all, and the use of the ESS SABRE DAC seems to have really paid off in the design. There is more clarity and transparency in every recording that I listened to.

With films the difference is also clear. From effects to dialogue the Yamaha does a fantastic job. Even the smallest sound cues are there and easy to hear through the audio mix. Analog sources sounded up to the level of the digital inputs in my listening, though the bench tests don't reflect that. Had I compared it directly to a high-end two-channel preamp I might hear a difference with analog but I didn't in my listening tests.

I find it very easy to recommend the CX-A5000. It is a component that I personally want to keep around to install into my system, as it is a level above what I have. Hopefully more vendors will start using higher quality DACs in their processors as I would like to hear more units that sound this good.