Your first thought when you see this post could very well be, why are you reviewing a Blu-ray player on an audiophile site? You’re not wrong in thinking this, but the Sony BDP-S6700 disc player (buy at Amazon) has some features that make it worth considering as an affordable audio player—and it is those features that we’re going to focus on here.
Sony advertises the BDP-S6700 as a Blu-ray player with 4K video upscaling, which is a fancy way of saying that it doesn’t actually play Ultra-HD Blu-ray discs but will upconvert a standard 1080p Blu-ray signal to 4K resolution. On the audio side, it plays audiophile Compact Discs (CDs) along with the legacy HD audio format SACD. The BDP-S6700 can also stream hi-res audio over Bluetooth, and has Spotify Connect to boot. The SACD support alone makes this player worth looking at, as you can’t find a new audio player anywhere close to this price that effectively spins SACD—and you can’t even match that price on the used market via, say, eBay.com or Audiogon.com. So what we need to find out is this: In a streaming-dominated world, is this features-laden, silver-disc player worth its modest asking price?
What Makes the Sony BDP-S6700 Special?
• For a player at this price, it really does produce respectable sound for the modern audiophile world. As I discussed briefly in my review of the Marantz Professional PMD-526C, this unit reproduces a believable soundstage, tight bass, and most importantly smooth (not shrill) highs. Can you do better? Sure you can…at a cost.
• SACD playback is a big plus for many audiophiles who are into legacy disc formats. While this ill-fated silver-disc format was relevant for only a short time, it does tend to deliver a higher-quality music expereince and can even provide up to 5.1-channel surround sound audio, which can be pretty cool if you have a rig that does multi-channel audio.
• SACD, as a format, never supported video, which was a fatal flaw. But Blu-ray discs sure do. Connect the Sony BDP-S6700 to a nice 4K TV via HDMI, and you’re set on the video front, too.
• Spotify Connect is a big, real-world draw in 2022. This feature doesn’t jump out at you when you first look at the box, but it’s nice win if you’re one of that platform’s millions of users. The Sony BDP-S6700 makes it easy to quickly and easily stream Spotify music through your stereo or multi-channel audio system, though the platform still does not provide a lossless option.
• HD audio streaming via Bluetooth is yet another perk for audiophiles. One of the distinct advantages a company like Sony has when it’s building a player like this is that the company owns a lot of different technologies. Sony can include SACD and LDAC support into a unit like this while keeping the price low. If you’re not familiar with the LDAC Bluetooth codec, it allows you to stream high-resolution audio up to 990 kbps at 32-bit/96-kHz. It isn’t as popular or well-supported as Qualcomm’s aptX Bluetooth technology, but the quality of LDAC is just as high.
Why Should An Audiophile Care About The Sony BDP-S6700 Blu-ray Player?
The affordability of this unit makes the BDP-S6700 a total outlier in today’s audio marketplace. The player spins a disc quite nicely and presents a fantastic sound. It is also extremely versatile, given its ability to play SACDs, Blu-ray discs, Spotify playlists, and Bluetooth sources.
Unlike the more expensive Marantz PMD-526C, the Sony BDP-S6700 supports digital audio output, in the form of a coaxial audio output—which allows you to further upgrade the sound by adding a good DAC if you wish. When I added the Schiit Audio Modi 3 DAC (buy at Amazon)($119) to this player, it made a positive difference, enhancing the clarity of the sound compared with the Sony unit’s internal DAC. The best way to describe the difference? I wouldn’t say it was like taking a blanket off of my Paradigm speakers, but perhaps a sheet. Anybody would notice the difference. The combined cost of the two units is $250 and delivers a sound that rivals the performance of the Marantz PMD-526C’s DAC … with the added benefits of SACD playback and HD audio streaming over Bluetooth.
Some Things You Might Not Like About the Sony BDP-S6700
• There isn’t a screen on the player’s front panel to provide feedback about the audio that’s playing. To get that, you have to connect a display device. Sony certainly wouldn’t call this a flaw, since the BDP-S6700 is first and foremost a Blu-ray player that’s meant to be used with a video monitor. I can appreciate that many audiophiles don’t feel that TV screens should have any place in an audio setup but I strongly disagree. I don’t mind watching a hockey game or a movie on Blu-ray in 2.1 surround but to make such a low price point – some compromises had to be made.
• You can actually hear a disc spinning at times when skipping through tracks. I suspect this is largely due to the unit’s plasticky build quality. Hey, it only costs $119, so there’s a price to be paid somewhere. Here’s another place. The noise didn’t drive me crazy, but if you’re sensitive to such things, you’ll want to spend more on a playet with a more robust build quality at likely a higher price.
• You can’t play DVD-Audio discs (aka the other dead, legacy HD audio disc format) on the Sony BDP-S6700. This won’t be a big issue for most users, but the same people who own a lot of old SACDs may also own some DVD-Audio discs that they wish they could play. Those of us who remember Oppo Digital knew that, for about $499, you could get a true universal disc player that really played EVERY disc format. But Oppo stopped making the players, and used models sell for obscenely high prices even to this day. If you need a universal disc player with both SACD and DVD-Audio support, you might look at the Reavon UBR-X110, which is about $1,000. That price is probably still less than a used Oppo BDP-203. Don’t even get me started on the used price of an Oppo BDP-205, which I’ve seen selling for as much as $6,000 since being discontinued.
Audiophile Listening To The Sony BDP-S6700 Blu-ray Player…
I began my listening tests with “The Real Me” by The Who from the band’s Quadrophenia album on CD (buy at Amazon). The player did a nice job of separating all the instruments. At no time did I lose John Entwistle’s base line in Keith Moon’s drums or Pete Townsend’s guitar. The sound always felt right in front of me, and the low end produced by the bass drum and the guitar were always present. If you’re not familiar with the track, you can check it out using the link below. When listening to The Who, you should always look for recordings from the ’70s in which you get Moon’s original drum recordings, which are special.
The BDP-S6700 also did a fine job with the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ 2006 track “Snow (Hey Oh)” on CD. I love the fast pace of John Fruciante’s guitar combined with Flea’s bass line steadily flowing below it. Leading into the chorus, Chad Smith provides you with a steady amount of bass drum to ensure that your system’s low end gets some play. Through the BDP-S6700, the music never sounded muddied, and I never felt like I was losing any of the instruments. Even with the vocals, I was able to clearly dissect the lead vocals of Anthony Kiedis from Fruciante’s higher-pitched backing vocals.
Lastly, to round out the experience, I listened to “Great Gig in the Sky” from Pink Floyd’s seminal record Dark Side of the Moon on SACD (buy an import version of a hybrid CD-SACD from Japan at Amazon) (it was by far the best-selling SACD of all time). This album is an audiophile standard in many formats—and is certainly enhanced by magic of SACD, even in stereo. The Sony BDP-S6700 kept the sound from getting too harsh, even with the enthusiastic vocals of Clare Torry fully on display. I never felt like the sound was limited or etched. At the same time, this Sony player was able to maintain the clarity of the slide guitar, bass guitar, piano, and drums. The video below is one of the few live performances of the song I was able to find that featured Ms. Torry, who did the original vocals on the track. It’s from 1990, which means it’s a Roger Waters–less performance, but you’ll enjoy it nonetheless.
Who Is the Competition For The Sony BDP-S6700?
There isn’t a lot of competition in this space, especially at this price.
• If you want something that can play a variety of disc types, you can look at something like the Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra-HD player for around $450, but it doesn’t sound anywhere near as good as the Sony and it doesn’t play SACDs. I know because I have one in my rack right now (review pending).
• If you want something that just plays CDs, the Marantz Professional PMD-526C is a solid option—but again, it comes at a higher cost.
• There’s also the aforementioned Reavon UBR-X110, which is a lot more expensive at $1,000 but offers a true univ.
Does the Sony BDP-S6700 Have Any Resale Value?
The simple answer here is probably not.
By the time you are done spinning discs on this unit, perhaps you can get enough money from eBay to buy you and your kids a couple of burgers. Then again, burgers are expensive these days.
But know this: Even after a year of faithful playback, the Sony BDP-S6700 won’t owe you a penny even if you decide to move up in your audio journey to a fancier audiophile disc player or streamer.
Final Thoughts on the Sony BDP-S6700 Blu-ray Player…
I didn’t have high expectations for this Blu-ray disc player, but it did come recommended in Steven Stone’s article about the under-$1,000 stereo system that he gave his nephew as an audiophile wedding gift. Once I started playing discs on the Sony BDP-S6700, I was pleasantly surprised by its performance and stunned by its value. The player provided a believable soundstage for the music, and at no time did I encounter issues with it muddying the low and midrange spectrum where much of the vocals that we enjoy are found.
The value of this player is simply unmatched. You can play Compact Discs, SACDs, Spotify music, and HD audio from your smartphone, tablet, or laptop—and, of course, Blu-ray discs and DVDs. If Sony put all of this technology into a standalone CD player, it could likely retail for four or five times what this unit does. If your stereo system has a television hooked up to it, then this is a great budget audiophile component that brings audio and video to the game for very little money.