Sony CDP-XA20ES CD Players

CDP-XA20ES

User Reviews (45)

Showing 1-10 of 45  
Craig   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 26, 2012]

I've had this player in storage for about 7 years. I recently took it out, dusted it off and am using it as a transport. Though this player has just a toslink optical digital output, this issue can be remedied by using it with an old (or new) Monarchy DIP: Digital Interface Processor. This little wonder-box buffers the jitter-plagued toslink data stream, reclocks it and sends the now jitter-free data stream to any DAC via SP/DIF (RCA) or AES/EBU (XLR) digital cables.
I connected the player via the DIP to the absurdly excellent and relatively inexpensive Cambridge DACMagic with Pangea P-100 power supply upgrade. This little asynchronous DAC up-samples and converts the player's data stream to 24bit/196Mhz while an onboard 32-bit digital signal processor effectively eradicates what little jitter got past the Monarchy DIP. The result? Wow! While the internal DAC definitely shows its age, this cd player delivers world-class performance when used as a transport (thanks to the DIP). It makes the already excellent and bargain-priced DACMagic sound noticeably better than it's $500 (combo price with the P-100 psu upgrade) investment would lead anyone to believe. Compared to regular tray-loaded transports, image focus and specificity almost slap me in the face, while subtle, spatial details just gush from CD's I previously always thought sounded a little flat. Harmonic textures are rendered better as well. I spent two nights going back and forth between this cd player and another transport that uses motorized tray. Time and again, the differences between the two transports ranged from subtle to jaw dropping.
Thanks to this player's solid, vault-like build quality and stable laser pickup, it's found new life (with a little help from Monarchy's DIP) as outstanding transport for a technologically sophisticated DAC whose performance is so outstanding, I've had to pull all cd's out of storage and am re-discovering every one. The combination sounds as good as the $1500+ audiophile decks out there and, using the DACMagic, I have an additional input for my Squeezebox Touch network streaming player which now sounds as good as units selling for $1000+ instead of $300. Between the two, the result is truly better than Christmas! Now I have an excuse to be hitting the cd bargain bins instead of trolling for new old stuff on iTunes...

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
wpk2k2k   Audio Enthusiast [Jun 12, 2010]

I paid for USD$380 from eBay! I really love this CD player.
(1). ES Quality Strongly Build
(2). Aluminum Face Plate
(3). There is no plastic on this CD player
(4). Fixed pickup laser system using a puck to hold cd on his place
(5). Disc tray is so quiet when opening or closing and extremely strong build
(6). Sound Quality is extremely Good
(7). 100% Made in Japan High End Quality Cd player

If you get a chance to buy it, don't think twice!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
George Phyo   Audio Enthusiast [Jun 12, 2010]

I paid USD$380.00 from eBay! I really like this CD player. (1). ES Quality Extremely Strong Build (2). Aluminum Face Plate. (3). Disc tray is so quiet when opening or closing (4). Fixed pickup laser system using a puck to hold cd on his place. (5). No Plastic on this CD Player (6). Sound Quality is extremely Good (7). 100% Made in Japan High End Quality.
If you get a chance to buy one, don't think twice! Buy it!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Siemens   Audio Enthusiast [Jun 28, 2004]
Strength:

Detailed, open Stage, but too harsh before modification.

Weakness:

Remte Control

Change Op amp´s!!! Burr Brown OPA 2604 (double). Unplug the Headphone Unit. You´ll get a relaxed Sound.

Similar Products Used: Marantz CD 63 se Micromega Minium CD Parasound D/A 2000 Sony XA 5 es
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
abajaj11   Audio Enthusiast [Jul 17, 2003]
Strength:

neutrality, imaging, separation of instruments.

Weakness:

none yet. maybe in the rest of your system if you don;t like it.

This player is very sonically neutral... It showed me what a high end player ought to sound like. Great job, engineers at sony. awesome.

Similar Products Used: nad c541.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Denis Sureau   AudioPhile [Apr 13, 2003]
Strength:

Great tracking, variable output, good overall performance, performance/price ratio

Weakness:

Poor fixed power cord

A great cd player, especially after replacing the fixed power cord with a Bob Crump design cord. During breaking, this player lacks transparency, especially on variable output. But once broken, with the variable output only and with a good power cord (like asylum alias Bob Crump design), it sounds 90% of the performance of the Meridian 506.24. The replacement of the cord boosts the performance by 20-25% which was more than expected. I would describe the sound as audiophile with a good mixe of neutrality, wide frequency range, precision, detail, transparent and fluidity. Only on variable output i was able to get improved palpability like more expensive cd player like Kinergetic KCD-40 and Meridian 506.24. About the rating, I give 4 with the stock cord and 5 with an upgraded power cord. For tips on how replacing the power cord, contact me.

Similar Products Used: Kinegergetic kcd-40, Proceed pcd2, Rotel 965/971, Meridian 506.24
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Tom Sherwood   Audio Enthusiast [Jul 26, 2002]
Strength:

Improved detail and slam, plus imaging, with new chips installed. BUt was good to begin with.

Weakness:

NO coax output to drive my DAT machine. But the PC board has the holes for the parts if you want to add it on. Need service manual from Sony..

Have had the XA20ES for many years now. Thought it sounded good out of the box, but immediately wanted to MOD it! Main changes were upgrading the inexpensive Japanese op amps on the audio board, to better quality US made chips. Think I got it where I want it. Better sounding all around now. It is simple to do. I put 8 pin sockets in the audio board, and tried chips till I got what I wanted to hear. IT uses the standard 8 pin dual op amp configuration, and pinouts are standardised on most or nearly all 8 pin dual amps. Have ANALOG DEVICES chips, but you can try BURR-BROWN, etc. This is one area that mfrs. cut costs on, but you can experiment fairly cheaply! I even replaced the headphone amp chip, which is unfortunatly, a surface mount type. LOve the new sound, it is like trying different tubes in amplifiers. VOIDS WARRANTY! Get help, if you don't know what to do!

Similar Products Used: FIrst SOny player I've had. Fairly easy to get service manual if you want to try analog upgrades-leave the digital alone!
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Pete   AudioPhile [May 20, 2002]
Strength:

Above

Weakness:

ABOVE!!!

Incredible transport, very good sound using analog outs, fantastic build quality, sleek...and then Sony f#$@ed things up by being ''techno-pushers,'' as usual: WHY NO COAXIAL DIGITAL?! MORONS! WHAT AN AWESOME TRANSPORT, SO WHY? I use a separate DAC that sounds great with my Denon DCM-370...just an OK player, about $300, but has a coax digital output. Then I get this thing, thinking that the Optical would be comparable - uh, uh, no. The first thing I noticed was the S/N dropped - I had to keep turning up my volume, and kept getting more hiss. It is my understanding that the European model has a Coax. What the hell? Obviously, Sony had some sort of side agreement (Possibly with Toshiba) to once again try to spin a market in a particular direction. What a shame. I am taking it back today.

OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
3
Ian   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 15, 2000]
Weakness:

No power button on the remote

I have recently bought this Sony to complete my system. The material quality and detailing is fabulous. The stabilizer is easy to use and makes the player feel like a high tech gear though designing a parking (!) compartment would be very useful while changing the discs. From the visual point of view I also did not like the balance of the display. Th matrix format track display is too bulky and disturs the overall layout. The sound is far better than the Denon 1550, not to mention the CD 65. Bass is strong and the highs are well defined. But I think the midrange is very very good for a player in this price range. Overall, it really sings with my B&W DM 603 S2 speakers. Good job Sony.

Similar Products Used: Denon DCD 1550 AR , Marantz CD 63KI, 65KI
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
timothias   Audio Enthusiast [Oct 01, 2000]
Strength:

great build, lots of recording features, smooth operation.

Weakness:

i keep dropping the damn puck

excellent player, even on not so good cd's, breezes right through some fairly bad scratches. rca fixed, rca variable & toslink optical digital outputs. no coax on the american model. write santa a letter and tell him you want one.

Similar Products Used: too many
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 45  

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