Sony 9000es or Musical Fidelity A3 CDP.

Has anyone had the opportunity to listen to the sony 9000es in comparison to musical fidelity a3 cdp.Iam trying to get the best possible sound within that price and if possible not adding another component to my equiptment rack.My system consist of Aerial model 8 speakers,Classe amp Model 700s,Sonic Frontiers Line Stage Model SFL,Cables are FMS Wave and Cardis Cross.For theater iam using a NAD receiver Model T751.Thanks for any input.
If you are thinking about the 9000es as a dvd and sacd player it is excellent the redbook although goo it as good as th A3cd. Consider Da Wright's mods to the 9000es with these the 9000 will far surpass the MF on redbook and have incredible sacd and DVD.
I sincerely beleive that the Sony 9000ES is the better buy, and that's not even considering the added bonus of DVD and SACD. I carefully auditionned the Sony, the Musical Fidelity and the Rega Jupiter (more expensive than the planet but worth it). Following reasons for buying the 9000ES:

A lot more detail probably due to the extraordinary sony DVD transport (even the "2-generations-back" flagship S-7000 was considered one of the best transport regardless of price! check the still-available 1997 review of this machine. Hard to beleive but true!) And the 9000 is way better.

Very real and palpable midrange without coloration.

An excellent match for a tube preamp with all this detail feeding tube's warm sound nicely.

Built like a tank, extra-quiet operation.

Video circuits can be switched off, leaving audio-only circuits on, making it a true dedicated audio machine.

Impeccable, classy styling with the cool blue "glass" diamond. ( Musical fidelity takes the cake as worst-looking disco glitz style. Sorry, but I just could not stand it)

The excellent DVD picture and SACD added to making this a no-brainer really, but buy it strickly for it's audio magic, it's that good. Just don't expect high-end store to want to sell you this incredible machine instead of their megabuck cd player. It's not worth it for them, but beleive me, snobery aside, it's the steal of the crop so far. By the way, my older player was the classe cdp.5, usually considered a very good player...the 9000ES is in a different league. One downside. The 9000ES will only play cd copies if recorded on Sony software. I knew this before buying, did not bother me but it might bother you. Good luck in making the right choice.
I have heard both and the only reson to buy the Sony is if you want DVD.If you intend to play CD Redbook run run as fast as you can from the Sony.
Its typical Sony sound BAD.
The A#CD is better and the REGA Planet 2000 Is better than both.
Sony as a serious Red book CD player.I have heard it all.
I partially agree with Nat on this one. But what I would do is buy the Sony and then buy an EVS or Bel Canto DAC. Why? Because the Sony sound is lacking, but the transport portion is clearly superior to the other choices, if not superior to players costing a 1000 bucks more. Then after I lived with it for a while I'd hit for the mods by Dan Wright. I did an extensive A/B with the 9000 and the 777 multichannel SACD player, and believe the foreground to be equal. But the background, that was another story and the 777 blew away the 9000 (of course I'm only talking a SCAD comparison, not redbook). Good luck, go for the Sony!
Tbadder, when you talk about foreground and background, are you talking about soundstage depth?
A digital signal out is a digital signal out why waste your money.If you had the extra 1K to throw buy a Rega Jupiter or a 2K player.You can move into the next level.The Planets dac is better than the Belcanto to start.
The Belcanto is to be used with older players.Both the A3Cd and Rega alone will out play what comes out of the Bel Canto.
I agree that the sony is the winner if you don't intendid on using it for analog out on use of redbook cd's. If you plan on using it as a tranport for redbook/dvd(digital output) and analog SACD output it will do super. I found the DAC-in the sony- to be pretty lifeless and dull sounding on redbook recordings, very uninvolving and compressed. But with a good DAC it will bring new life to an other wise great player, there is probably some truth to Natalie's comment, digital has improved exponentially since its introduction, cheaper players now will outperform premium players of yesterday. I found that my old Rega planet sounded better then the sony 9000es, though I don't use the DAC in the sony so I don't really notice the problem. Do any of you out there with modwright mods notice improvements with the digital output of there unit? or is it more on the analog level that the improvements really shine?
The modwright mods have a significant improvement on the digital out of the player. If you look at his site you'll see that he rebuilds the digital out ciruit, there are benefits also from the damping and power supply work he does.
The great thing about mods and the 9000es is that the mods will benefit all formats Modwrights level 3 mods are $800 half the price of a fancy DAC and the modded 9000es kills everything in its price range. If you have no interest at all in sacd and wish to own a seperate dvd player than look at other options...the sacds are starting to roll out...
Also when thinking of a DAC for redbook on the 9000es consider the price of an extra pair of interconnects, a digital cable and probably a power cord. If you buy reasonably priced cables the cable cost will be at least $500 before you even lay out the $1500 for a DAC.
$500 will buy you a lot of mods.
A digital signal may be a digital signal but remember that jitter is jitter and power supply noie is power supply noise. Even a brief audition of transports will show you that there are large differences in quality. The 9000es transport is outstanding and it's internal dac not at all bad, with intelligent mods it is a versitile stunner that shines with redbook.
Asa side note Bel Canto is showing there new dac2 with 24/192 upsampling. Although the dac1 was alittle warm I have never heard anything regarding it being made to be used with older players? It is a nice unit if it suits your tastes and works well with a number of tranpsorts.
Dolphin: yep. soundstage depth.
NaT: I'm assuming that the person wants a DVD and Sacd capablility. For many of us, because of pricing, we've got to knock off two/three birds with one stone. That's why I like the gradual approach of the 9000 with a DAC eventually, and then the mods. It gives me two or three years in which to afford something special. I don't agree about the Rega planet being better than the Bel Canto. Why? System synergy for me. My components gained alot of liquidity and subtle nuance. I auditioned a Planet at home and it didn't fit my system needs. Now if a person doesn't want DVD or Sacd then by all means I agree, throw that extra 1k to the Jupiter, which I found to be a very expressive machine. Haven't heard the MF A3 so I can't comment.
I would definitely go with the Sony 9000ES. I've had one for a year now and have been immensely impressed with it's performance for all three formats and video too. For $800 used or $1200 new, you can't find a product that will do more or better than this. I just purchased a new Sony SCD-1 SACD/cd player (Sony's best). The SCD-1 comes very highly rated. Right out of the box I could tell SCD-1 was a more sonically refined player in just about every category. Enough to put the SCD-1 in a different league but just enough. I was impressed with the improvements in every category, but I was also surprised that it wasn't mor e of a night and day difference. Whatever league the 9000ES is in has got to be the best in it's league.

If the SCD-1 were a 9.5 on a scale of 1 to 10, then the 9000ES would have to be about an 8.5. I'm not saying the SCD-1 is a 9.5 because I simply haven't listened to many players. But I know that Stereophile rates it right now as a Class A+.

The 9000ES is built like a tank, can be modified drastically by Stan Warren co-founder of PS Audio for $250 or by Dan Wright of ModWright from $250 to $1600 depending on options. Based on one testimony, the Stan Wright mod brought about a 40% improvement in sonics. Stan himself will state about a 25% improvement.

If you go for the 9000ES, have it modified, configure it so that all the digital and video are turned off (audio direct button), and the display lights go out after about 5 seconds after you press any control button thus minimizing any digital or LED display noises, You'd have one heck of a player. IMO.

Hope this helps.