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

Discussion in 'All Things Digital' started by MikeyFresh, May 12, 2018.

  1. MikeyFresh

    MikeyFresh Moderator Staff Member

    With DVD-Audio and SACD's failure to gain any mass market acceptance in the early years of the 21st century, and the subsequent rapid decline of Compact Disc sales, most observers were surprised to see the emergence of Pure Audio Blu-ray in 2013.


    Intended as yet another replacement candidate for CD, using the existing Blu-ray video specs/hardware, this appeared to be a last ditch effort to revive sales of physical disc spinners and media for audio use. As most expected, this format gained no real traction and now occupies a tiny niche slot in the market (at best).

    With Blu-ray Disc for HD video movies also now seemingly on life support in all but the most hardened of videophile circles, can a Blu-ray player provide any value at all in terms of utility to audio enthusiasts? With the sad demise of Oppo Digital, can it be too much longer before the majors such as Sony, Pioneer, and Panasonic conclude they too must throw in the towel on Blu-ray player production?

    Not so fast I say in completely writing off Blu-ray as entirely useless for audio, especially with the common availability of absolute fly-weight gems such as the Sony BDP-S5100, a nice example of which I picked up on eBay the other day for $39:


    Look at that finely faceted glossy black plastic enclosure, LED display, and intricate push button user control interface. Still not convinced? Have a look at the generously appointed rear panel connection options:


    Something for everyone there (excepting any kind of analog audio or video, or Toslink, and of course anything balanced/XLR... is not a thing).

    This wolf in sheep's clothing tips the scales at a sturdy/whopping 2 lbs. 14 oz. Careful with those audiophile approved garden hose cables, they'll yank this POS right off the shelf.

    So what's this got to do with value in audio circles? This said value can be realized with a dust cap on the HDMI and Coax digital connectors, as they'll actually go unused?
    Last edited: May 12, 2018
  2. TubeHiFiNut

    TubeHiFiNut Administrator Staff Member

    The coax out will only feed PCM to DAC, no better than standard CD.

    Wondering if an intrepid experementer could get an HDMI to coax digital out adaptor and feed a higher bandwidth signal into an appropriate DAC? ;)
  3. MikeyFresh

    MikeyFresh Moderator Staff Member

    And with coax digital output performance directly related to the power supply design and implementation, the results at this price point are very likely to be of mediocre quality.

    Maybe, though that would be hit or miss with regard to the HDCP (copy protection) constraints on the HDMI output, if it works at all it would be at no better than CD quality.

    Besides, we are putting a dust cap on both the coax and HDMI ports, in fact we can do the same with the LAN port too... so long as there is capable WiFi available. The only physical connections we'll need are the USB port, and the power cord.

    But wait... the USB port on these units isn't audio capable, it's for connecting storage devices only. It doesn't actually work with any DAC as it's not a USB output, rather, it's an input.
    Last edited: May 12, 2018
  4. MikeyFresh

    MikeyFresh Moderator Staff Member

    Last edited: May 12, 2018
  5. TubeHiFiNut

    TubeHiFiNut Administrator Staff Member

    Sounds like it was intended for a Home Theater receiver with HDMI inputs?
  6. mhardy6647

    mhardy6647 Señor Member

    My brain is reacting to this thread as if it tried to divide by zero.
    marantzfan and Redboy like this.
  7. MikeyFresh

    MikeyFresh Moderator Staff Member

    Sounds then like my hint/reference to non-use of the teleportation tweak was an effective diversionary tactic, and thats such a deep topic anyway, it demands it's own thread! :grandpa:
    TubeHiFiNut likes this.
  8. TubeHiFiNut

    TubeHiFiNut Administrator Staff Member

    As it should, my friend.....As it should. ;)
  9. MikeyFresh

    MikeyFresh Moderator Staff Member

    I'm sure it was, but we won't use the HDMI port other than for an initial run through of settings in the on-screen display menus. From there the HDMI cable can be disconnected and a dust plug fitted to that port.
  10. MikeyFresh

    MikeyFresh Moderator Staff Member

    More fun facts:

    The Settings menu has an option for a Quick Start feature, with this setting enabled the power button doesn't turn the machine entirely off, instead it goes to sleep or enters a standby mode. Sony claims disabling this can save up to $100 per year on the electric bill, which sounds way overly optimistic to me, but maybe electricity is super expensive in Japan?

    The default factory setting is enabled for this Power Saver (Quick Start is disabled), the only performance penalty is a much longer boot time when first starting the machine. In our application, we will enable Quick Start mode (disable the Power Saver feature), and pay for the extra electricity, which keeps the machine in a semi-on/stand-by status whenever you press the Power button to turn the unit "off". Again, this is done by actually enabling what Sony calls the Quick Start mode.

    This results in a much faster boot up time when the unit is powered back on, as it's only returning from what is effectively a stand-by or "sleep" mode. But the Quick Start mode's shorter duration boot sequence is NOT the reason we will enable it.
  11. MikeyFresh

    MikeyFresh Moderator Staff Member

    Final anecdotes:

    With the aforementioned USB 2.0 port being an input only, you can't connect this unit to an external DAC via USB (for that it would need to be a USB output).

    The S5100's USB input is meant to connect a mass storage device. In our application that's a crucial feature, and we'll use a thumb drive, but we don't need one with modern/fast data transfer speeds, nor any high storage capacity.

    Instead we can utilize any old USB 2.0 thumb drive, I have a suitable example with just .5 GB (512 MB) total storage capacity, and even that is complete overkill for the task at hand, as the folder written to this thumb drive will contain just 351 Kilobytes of data in total.

    After booting up the machine, the thumb drive is inserted and in just a second or two it's contents are read, at which point the optical disc drive tray magically opens all by itself. It is at this point you can remove the thumb drive entirely, it's job is now done.

    After placing a disc in the tray and closing the drawer, we can actually hit the power "off" button, but due to our previous enabling of that Quick start setting, the unit won't actually be entirely "off". Instead it will enter stand-by mode or "sleep", you can hear the disc spin down, and see the front panel LED display go dark. If you did still have an HDMI cable connected you would also see the monitor display go dark.

    The unit is now fast asleep with a disc in the optical drive, perfectly set-up for our intended application.
  12. TubeHiFiNut

    TubeHiFiNut Administrator Staff Member

    And what, pray tell, is your "intended application". :)
  13. MikeyFresh

    MikeyFresh Moderator Staff Member

    Rip SACDs with a Blu-ray player.

    Aka: World's least expensive SACD ripper!
    marantzfan and Audionut like this.
  14. TubeHiFiNut

    TubeHiFiNut Administrator Staff Member

    Love it! :)

    Definitely like the way you are repurposing what Audiophiles wouldn't look twice at into something very cool and useful. :)

    Well done! :)
    MikeyFresh likes this.
  15. airdronian

    airdronian Junior Member

    Ooh ! Ooh !

    I don't actually have any SACD's but this has my complete interest.
    marantzfan and MikeyFresh like this.
  16. mhardy6647

    mhardy6647 Señor Member

  17. JimPA

    JimPA Junior Member

    I remember when folks where trying to find a Playstation 1 because of the comments about it in Stereophile for it's use as a Cd player.
    My son and I hooked up his for a listen.
    The high end was rolled off and the lower octaves lacked authority on my speakers.
  18. Olson_jr

    Olson_jr Active Member

    These things look relatively easy to find used. Might have to grab one and figure out the process.

    My PS3 is pretty much worn out from ripping SACDs.
  19. MikeyFresh

    MikeyFresh Moderator Staff Member

    Make the grab, that process is super easy and these units are far cheaper and easier to obtain than finding another rip compatible PS3 would be.
  20. MikeyFresh

    MikeyFresh Moderator Staff Member

    Today I took delivery on a Sony BX510, which was the Walmart/Target variant of the S5100, apparently the only actual difference between the two was the presence of a bundled HDMI cable in the box with the BX510, otherwise they are identical.

    This gently used unit was listed on eBay, complete with the original box, remote control, and owner manual, at a minimum bid of $17.99. I was the only bidder.

    It's actually in somewhat better cosmetic condition than the thread topic $39 Sony S5100, with fewer scratches and scuffs on the easily marred gloss black plastic chassis.

    Tonight I fully tested this unit with Blu-ray discs, Ethernet, WiFi, etc... and then successfully ripped the Herbie Hancock Maiden Voyage Analogue Productions SACD reissue.

    I will be giving this BX510 to a friend of mine, but not before trying something new and different in the SACD ripping thread in the next couple of days.

    Sony brand SACD rip compatible Blu-ray players:

    BDP-S390 (also sold as BX39 in some markets)
    BDP-S590 (also sold as BX59 in some markets)
    BDP-S5100 (also sold as BX510 in some markets)
    TubeHiFiNut and airdronian like this.

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