Sunday, September 29, 2013

Review: Sony D-E555 (1999)

Sony D-E555
This review is part of a larger comparison containing seven eight vintage portable CD players and the penultimate of these reviews. You can find the final conclusion here.


The Sony D-E555 was released one year (or a few months; were not able to find out the correct date) after the D-E705 and it happens to be very similar in every way. The only major, immediately visible difference is the design. IMO the design of the follow-up model isn´t exactly an improvement... though I like the blue colour (it also came in silver). Since it´s so similar to the D-E705 I won´t need to write too much about it. On the other hand, that circumstance leaves enough space that is going to be used for photographs instead. Yay!

Sony D-E555: rear view
You can see on the picture above that manufacturing quality isn´t the best. It´s OK though and - I´ve mentioned it - does not differ from the D-E705. It even came with the same accessories (cabled remote control with included display, battery pack, headphone)... blegh, it´s no use, this Discman is so similar to the D-E705 that I´ll concentrate on the (botched) design with the help of the aforementionend photos.

Sony D-E555: side view
Regarding the innards of the D-E555, please have a look at the D-E705, they are the same... well, almost. Instead of the ROHM BA3574BFS that serves as the headphone amp on the older model, the D-E555 uses the TA2120FN from Toshiba. So all important parts are now Toshiba. Funny for a Sony, isn´t it? Another thing that differs is the placement of the ICs responsible for the ESP. On the D-E705 they are soldered onto a seperate mini-PCB, hovering above the main-PCB. On the D-E555 these ICs have been incorporated on the main-PCB instead. But that´s all, at least to my layman eyes. So... time for a photograph again!

Sony D-E555: detail
Listening test

Headphone out

I hate to repeat myself... but don´t use the headphone output. Look further below at the measurements: the new headphone amp isn´t able to save the day. It´s still missing bass, this player will sound as thin as its predecessor. But we still have the...

Line out

... which won´t sound any different to the D-E705. Believe me, I´ve tried. I compared the sound produced by the D-E555 to my references, and, because I was so desperate for wanting to hear differences, to the files including the sound signature of the D-E705. But to no avail; the D-E705 and the D-E555 sound alike. Sometimes I was under the impression that the D-E555 sounds even warmer than the former model but that impression vanished the next second with different material. Just like the D-E705, the D-E555 sounds slightly muffled, yet it keeps differentiation. Holographic impression of the stage is still impaired by reverb that seems to be de-attached from the rest, singers still appear to sing closer to you. Shall I go on? Wait, I suggest something revolutionary new: why don´t you read the review of the D-E705 again? Oh, you did? Crap, I´m starting to repeat myself... not surprising when reviewing this Discman here.

Sonic Balance:
Stage / Ambiance:

Sony D-E555: from above
Fancy graphs (measurements)


Sony D-E555, RMAAs own quality assessments
Shall I go on and bore you with the same measurement graphs you´ve already seen on the Sony D-E705? I think not. Ah, wait... maybe jitter, impulse responses?

Sony D-E555, jitter
Sony D-E555, impulse response
Hm, fascinating: jitter is indeed different, just a bit. The thin spread I talked about in the review of the D-E705 has disappeared, instead the spread at the base of the sine got louder. Is this audible? I have no idea... but I don´t think so. The impulse response is the same and still atypical for Sony devices.

Headphone out

Sony D-E555, frequency response with headphones, several impedances
Sony D-E555, total harmonic distortions + noise with headphones, several impedances
Sony D-E555, intermodulation distortions with headphones, several impedances
As you can see, compared to the former model, distortions have been reduced. On this model, it´s also valid to say that headphones with higher impedances will perform better. Deep bass is still missing however, so prepare yourself for a tinny sound signature through the headphone output. Not as bad as the D-E705, but still miles away from useable. Since there´s nothing else to report... you know what this means, yes? Correct, another photo!!

Sony D-E555: detail
Last update: 29.09.2013

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