eBay treasure: $39 (used) Blu-ray player?

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
One of my neighbors had a tag sale this weekend, and I came across an SACD rip compatible Sony BDP-S390 Blu-ray player said to be in working order, they were hoping to get $40 for it.

They had the original box, but no remote control or manual. The unit is in OK condition, with a pretty good amount of scratches and scuffs on it's plastic chassis. I offered 20 bucks and they accepted.

S390.jpg

This evening I unboxed it, went through the on-screen display based menus and set it up for SACD ripping.

Unlike the other Sony units I have, this bare bones model has no front panel display, so no visual feedback is available as to what the machine is doing, there is just a single LED indicator for Power On status.

After inserting the USB thumb drive to run the SACD ripping script, the disc drawer did not automatically open. Uh oh... I thought maybe I had wasted 20 bucks on this one.

Upon reconnecting an HDMI cable to access the on-screen display menus I noticed there was a firmware update available, and there were no internet video streaming apps previously installed. Apparently this unit was only ever used to play discs and no firmware updates had ever been done, hence the lack of any internet video streaming options, as those have to be installed/activated by a Sony provisioning server.

So I chanced the firmware update knowing it might also disable SACD ripping, a $20 gamble. After restarting the machine, inserting a USB thumb drive containing the SACD ripping AutoScript did then open the disc tray.

After loading in an SACD and entering Sleep mode... she rips!

Screen Shot 2018-07-02 at 6.30.22 PM.jpg

The optical drive/laser condition appears to be in good shape, 2.68MB/sec is a decent rip speed.
 

marantzfan

Administrator
Staff member
Now...

If I only i had some un-ripped SACD’s...

Are they cheap now? I haven’t looked recently.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
Now...

If I only i had some un-ripped SACD’s...

Are they cheap now? I haven’t looked recently.

Not really, even many of the used SACDs I have purchased weren't exactly cheap.

However exceptions do exist (in my opinion). For instance, you can still find some of the RCA Living Stereo classical reissues for all of about $9 each on Amazon, perhaps even cheaper elsewhere.

There are also certain other main stream reissues, hybrid discs that for a time took the place of the Redbook release on the shelves of retailers. Those were apparently produced in sufficient quantities such that they are still available today, typically for the same list price they were originally, often $16.99. We're talkin' Eric Clapton, The Allman Brothers, Elton John, and various others... Amazon just emailed me a "recommendation" the other day, it was Bill Evans Explorations, $14.99 just as it's been since release on SACD in 2004 or so.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
One of the chief architects of the Sony sleep method for ripping SACD with a Blu-ray player (screen name Mindset on another forum) has tirelessly acquired different model used Sony players for testing. Beyond that he is also an absolute Linux guru.

Recently he tried to establish compatibility with a generation newer in the Sony line-up, previously only players from their 2012-13 model years were known to work. His recent testing with 2014-16 models including the BDP-6200, 6500, and 6700 ended up being close but no cigar. EDIT: BDP-6200 and 7200 are now compatible using Sony ARMv7 version of the AutoScript as of Feb. 2019.

While those units do respond in some way to the AutoScript, and their Linux console can be accessed via Telnet, Sony used a newer kernel version in their operating system and to date all attempts at a modified script that does the trick have failed. However I absolutely don't rule out that either Mindset or perhaps one or more other Linux freaks might eventually find a workable solution.

I asked him what he did with all of the units he bought for testing, thinking he eventually resold them on eBay, to which he replied "nope, I stick them in the closet". He posted a picture of his Sony lot, makes my 3 machine Sony flock positively pale in comparison (9 units pictured and he also has an Oppo and a Pioneer):

Sony testers.jpg

All for the sake of SCIENCE.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
In February 2019 the advent of sacd_extract_6200 and compile of a Sony ARMv7 version of the AutoScript enabled SACD ripping on several additional Sony Blu-ray models that were previously incompatible.

There are also likely to be still more models that are compatible with this new script, but as yet remain untested.

To that end, I've purchased an absolute gem on eBay late this week, the 2014 model year (non-ES series) flagship Sony BDP-S7200, I had the winning bid at all of $9.99.

So whats the catch? How can the flagship model in the Sony lineup from a newer model year actually be under 10 bucks?

Well...she's pretty beat up, and has a non-working optical drive:

s-l1600-2.jpg

s-l1600-3.jpg

s-l1600-4.jpg

s-l1600-6.jpg

I hope to accomplish the following:

1. teach myself how to replace the optical drive in an S7200, should be easy, just a few screws and 3 ribbon cables (or not)

2. verify the $12.99 BPX-10 replacement part optical drive is SACD compatible (service manual shows BPX-7 as the original and now extinct part)

3. confirm the S7200 model is indeed capable of SACD rips using sacd_extract_6200

If successful, #3 above would be a HFH worldwide exclusive first (albeit not exactly trailblazing in Lewis & Clark, Hillary, or Amundsen-like fashion, but duly noted in the SACD ripping record books nonetheless).
 

airdronian

Radar Member
Good luck @MikeyFresh , the more models the better. If there was a model that popped up locally I'd get it - for my massive collection of 1 SACD ! At this point, the prices I've seen at last attempt were more than I'd want to throw at it once shipping is in the mix.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
At this point, the prices I've seen at last attempt were more than I'd want to throw at it once shipping is in the mix.

Yes shipping has gotten out of control, the latest was the January 27th USPS increase on Priority Mail, it was steep. I did shell out $16 to have this broken unit shipped from Wisconsin, so all in I'm looking at $39 for the unit, the replacement part optical drive, and the shipping.

It is also now official, I won't be in the SACD ripping record book with this model even if I can get it to work. A member on the CA forum who had been stymied until now with both his Pioneer BDP-LX58, and Sony S7200 reported success today with the S7200 using the new version of the AutoScript, so I'm late to that party by a few days as my unit is scheduled for a Tuesday delivery.
 

mhardy6647

Señor Member
I have been cruising eBAY for a cheap HDCD-compatible player myself :p
Not interested in ripping per se (I don't think I am smart enough to do this SACD ripping thing) but I'd have a number of HDCD CDs and it would be nice to hear 'em at their full capability sometime (and not forced through a computer's innards). Heck, I don't even know if MS still supports HDCD, since they bought HDCD a long time ago.

Sorry for the sort of off-topic, though not entirely orthogonal, aside :confused:
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
I wish shipping to Canada wasn't so bloody expensive now. I'd love to mess with one of those .

Should be fun and enlightening, however it likely won't be as easy as I want it to be.

The service manual has a lengthy ridiculous procedure involving multiple steps including use of special Sony service software (that I don't have) to "authenticate" the new drive. There is conflicting information about whether or not that is actually required, or just some best practice process in the service manual which they use as an excuse to charge for an hour of labor, or more likely, as an excuse for the owner to throw the machine in the garbage because it isn't worth repairing and just buy a new one.

So it's possible I will have to disassemble the existing drive, transplant the laser pickup from the replacement part, and then put it all back together, noting and correcting anything else wrong such as dust build up, animal hair etc that is clogging up the works.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
Sorry for the sort of off-topic, though not entirely orthogonal, aside :confused:

Hmmm, should be various decent used players available for cheap now with HDCD capability. I've retained my original 2004-era DVD player, an Arcam DV29, just for that reason. I have lots of HDCDs.

But for a really deep topic requiring it's own thread, how 'bout the proper ripping and subsequent computer playback of HDCDs?

This I've skipped thus far, if I want to listen to an HDCD properly decoded, I load it into the Arcam DV29.
 

prime minister

Site Owner
Staff member
Should be fun and enlightening, however it likely won't be as easy as I want it to be.

The service manual has a lengthy ridiculous procedure involving multiple steps including use of special Sony service software (that I don't have) to "authenticate" the new drive. There is conflicting information about whether or not that is actually required, or just some best practice process in the service manual which they use as an excuse to charge for an hour of labor, or more likely, as an excuse for the owner to throw the machine in the garbage because it isn't worth repairing and just buy a new one.

So it's possible I will have to disassemble the existing drive, transplant the laser from the replacement part, then put it all back together noting and correcting anything else wrong such as dust build up, animal hair etc that is clogging up the works.

Thanks for clarifying! ;)
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
I wish shipping to Canada wasn't so bloody expensive now

more than I'd want to throw at it once shipping is in the mix.

This has become a real issue for sure, ever notice how when gas skyrocketed to $4.50/gal some years ago and shipping rates soared accordingly, they never actually went down again after that even though fuel prices plummeted?

So huge increases blamed on fuel prices were not then discounted, not even a little, when fuel prices dropped. Instead, more shipping increases ensued, and the so-called "fuel surcharges" were just quietly baked into the standard rates moving forward.
 

mhardy6647

Señor Member
Hmmm, should be various decent used players available for cheap now with HDCD capability. I've retained my original 2004-era DVD player, an Arcam DV29, just for that reason, I have lots of HDCDs.

But for a really deep topic requiring it's own thread, how 'bout the proper ripping and subsequent computer playback of HDCDs?

This I've skipped thus far, if I want to listen to an HDCD I load it into the DV29.
Plenty of cheap ones, but shipping at least doubles the price... need to find one locally.
Too bad the Harvard town dump is no longer a practical resource for me :p
 

airdronian

Radar Member

mhardy6647

Señor Member
There are a bunch of old DVD players here (courtesy, of course, of the aforementioned Harvard town dump)... but not a one lists HDCD compatibility on its escutcheon(s).
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
There are a bunch of old DVD players here (courtesy, of course, of the aforementioned Harvard town dump)... but not a one lists HDCD compatibility on its escutcheon(s).

I better check my $48 CAD Pioneer. (yup, the high rent district ;))

Interesting side note on this last night, I was shown how to run a script via Telnet to hack into the Sony Blu-ray player's OS and essentially make it give up all it's secrets. I was guided by use of internet relay chat (IRC) which the member in Europe deemed "the Grandfather of WhatsApp".

These are "secrets" in some cases because Sony went to the extent of wiping the markings off of the chips on the board, so a simple lifting of the chassis lid and visual inspection tells you next to nothing about these player's true capabilities.

The script is run on a USB thumb drive and various arcane Linux commands are invoked via Telnet, way above my pay grade unless closely coached on exactly what to do.

I won't bore you with the full 9 pages of text output, but a few snippets reveal some interesting things about what these Sony machines were capable of given the MediaTek SoC they used, versus what Sony actually chose to implement.

Last login: Sat Mar 2 22:06:07 on ttys000
Michaels-MacBook-Air:~ michael$ telnet 10.0.1.199
Trying 10.0.1.199...
Connected to 10.0.1.199.
Escape character is '^]'.
sony-player login: root
~ # new session, logged in...

IC Version: MT8560EAAG
MSB: 000000c4
LSB: 00000022
table1: ffddb7c4
table2: 0000063e
prot: 00000202
IPTV: 00000000
Byte28: 00000001

I bolded the actual MediaTek SoC used in the Sony BDP-S590 above (those markings are wiped from the chip itself). The next part shows what that chip came preloaded to do, so that's the capability but not necessarily what Sony chose to implement (V = valid, X = not valid):

ROM: |x
TZ: |x
AACS: v|
---------
DivXHT: |x
DivXUltra: |x
DivXHD: |x
SACD: v|
DolbyTrueHD: v|
DTSHD: v|
3DVideo: v|
DolbyDDCO: v|
DivXPlus: |x
---------
DolbyHeadphone: v|
DolbyPLIiIixIiz: v|
DolbyEX: |x
DolbyDigitalPlus: v|
DolbyVSpeaker: v|
DTSSurdSensation: |x
Multichannel: v|
DVDAudio: v|
Playready: v|
RM: |x
WMDRM: v|
CinemaNow: v|
Netflix: v|
Macrovision: v|
YahooWidget: v|
Browser: v|
AVCHD: v|
AdobeFlashLite: v|
Rhapsody: v|
NTFS: v|
---------
2ndARM: |x
DolbyAAC: v|
WMV: v|
HomeTheater: v|
WMA: v|
HDCD: v|
---------
H264_Encoder: |x
HDMI_RX: |x
InternalDIR: |x
AACPLUSv1: v|
AACPLUSv2: v|
---------
L2 cache: v|
------------------------------
cli module close success!
/mnt/sde1/AutoScript #

Of the bolded disc formats above it's hardly surprising Sony opted not to implement DVD-Audio being it was both a direct competitor to their own SACD format, and also by this unit's 2012 model year, DVD-Audio was already dead as a doornail anyway from a market acceptance perspective.

But opting not to implement HDCD does sort of surprise me given the Universal disc players of this era made by the likes of Denon and Yamaha to the best of my memory did offer HDCD, and since Sony was already choosing not to make this a true Universal disc player in the first place (by omitting DVD-Audio compatibility), I'd have thought they would enable HDCD just to tick another box on the feature set competitiveness.

I guess HDCD was also in the category of dead by 2012, so perhaps it was as simple as that in Sony's mind. Or maybe Microsoft still demands stupid money in the form of a licensing fees for the privilege of splashing the HDCD logo onto the packaging and chassis? Either way, the SoC's native HDCD decoder appears not to have been used.

I say "appears" because through errors of omission, or even sneakier tactics, I'd be willing to bet that at least some brands of these late in the format life players did in fact implement the HDCD decoder but simply make no mention of it. Tough to prove however if the display has no indicator for when HDCD is being actively decoded. I guess another scenario would be the likes of Sony leaving the feature out initially, knowing that if some groundswell of consumer demand for the HDCD format ever re-emerged, they could easily enable it via a simple firmware update.

Discogs lists over 9,000 HDCD titles, but other sources say it's not that simple.
 
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