Sony CDP-XA50ES CD Players

CDP-XA50ES

User Reviews (29)

Showing 1-10 of 29  
Charlie   AudioPhile [Jun 16, 2007]
Strength:

High-end sound after 90 minutes with standard filter
Very good pre-out
Good for any type of music

Weakness:

90 minutes to warm-up

I used this SONY XA50ES (with standard filter) to directly drive Adcom 5800 power amplifer (250 Watts RMS, 10-20 Watts in A class). The speakers are Yamaha NS355 (Monitor - sound very similar to NS10M with 10" woofer), Celestion SL600, Rogers LS 3/5A+AB1, ... bi-wired drive main speaker with modified Cerwin SW-12 sub x 2

At first turned on the system it sounds average. I have to play the system more than 1 hour then the sound is keeping better and better from top to bottom. Excellent image, size, depth, body, airy, dynamic, fast, clear, lolid bass, clear voice, sweet, precise,..., high is clear and extend,... bass is fast, lolid, hard,...
(tested by listen same track at 5 minutes and at 90 minutes)

I did compare the unit with Meridian 588 CD Player. XA50ES with 2 hours warm up. XA50ES sound very similar to Meridian 588 CD Player with a lot more quality bass and more listenable high (more realistic than synthetic).

I also has DAC CAL Alpha 96/24. CAL sound more realistic than both XA50ES and 588. CAL sounds more like real live concert in front of me. XA50ES and 588 produced high-end hi-fi style sound... may be more than realistic sound...
We can say that XA50ES and 588 sound is not real. The sound came from very good hi-fi equipment. But sound of CAL Alpha 96/24 is like the band is singging-playing infront of you.

Similar Products Used: Meridian 588 CD Player
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
rangoo   Audio Enthusiast [Aug 12, 2006]
Strength:

Construction,build quality ,sound quality,fixed-pick up mechanism ,power cord ,price-quality ratio.

Weakness:

display light differs when you plays songs over 10 and 20 (first digit is lightier)plastic controls

Bought this player who bought Accuphasefor 500 usd.First impression is that is built like a tank. Fantastic sony's fixed-up mechanism with clamp.inside 2 burr browns and 2 analog device chips.2 sonys ring transformers of high quality.Power cord of ultra low quality- upgraded to IEC socket .15 kgs weight. Plastic operation buttons. Audio filter with different modes included for audiophiles cause they are like a kids- always wants to play with a new toys.Sound big and bold,muscular to max but with a lot of transparency ,musicality and not to the feint hearted.
In direct comparission with Marantz cd17mkII and Piuoneer pd-75 : win over marantz due transport and loose vs Pioneer due slightly overal better quality of later.(actually Pioneer have no weak spot).

Similar Products Used: pioneer pd-75 ,sony cdp-xa30es
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
GODMW   AudioPhile [Sep 04, 2002]
Strength:

high cost/ performance. flexible sound characteristics using different digital filter selection.

Weakness:

brand image, since SONY is typically recognized as mass-market player.

This was the 1st close-to-hiend CDP I bought by then. I still think it has very solid quality, both in build and sound. Thru these years I played, I found the digital filter is quite useful to compensate different music taste as well as listening environment. I recommend to use STD for analytical listener, and 3C for cosy, warmer listener, you definitely tell the difference when playing "prownshop jazz" by PROPHONE.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
D. Malfait   an Audio Enthusiast [Sep 28, 1998]

Hi everyone,I am glad to see that the product review that I started is growing.
A word about the difference between the 7ES and the 50ES:
The 7ES dates from an previous generation. It has not been changed for a few years now. The 50ES is a totaly new product. So it is possible that it sounds better than the old 7ES. I think Sony is going to produce a 70ES which will have the filter and the electronics of the new generation.
The 7ES has balanced outputs. That is very important for people having an amp with balanced inputs. On these systems the 7ES will sound better than a 50ES.
About the difference with the top guys like Meridian and Krell:
Nobody agrees about this. Some say it sounds better, some say it sounds less good.
When I read everything there is to read about this I come to the conclusion that it sounds just as nice then this big guys. There are just a lot of people who can accept it that a Japanese consumer product sounds as good as the others.
The differences that you hear are due to the differences in the other equipment. The Sony will sound better whith particular amps, and a Krell will sound better whith an other amp. It all depends on your amp, speakers and cables.
I have recently visit a dealer for a demonstration of the new B&W speakers. He had a lot of serious systems. The most expensive players, amps and cables. the result was dissapointing. I was already convinced of the fact that the new B&W speakers were nothing compared with the old ones. Then I went to a Sony dealer. I heard the same speakers, but this time connected to a Sony amp, with the 50ES as player, and simple but good cables. The result was wonderfull. This was sound quality.
This does not mean that the Sony is better than the Krell or Meridian or one of the others. It just confirms the fact that it is the combination of everything that makes the sound, and not the player by itself.
So when someone says to me that the Krell sounded better on his system than the 50ES I believe him, but I also believe someone who says that the Sony performs better on his system.

And remember: a Sony product sounds different in every country. The Japanese 50ES does not sound the same as the European version.
One thing is certain: It's a Sony. It is certainly better finished than the big guys. You will not break off a knop or connector on these machines.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
David Spear   an Audio Enthusiast [Sep 25, 1998]

After reading Ben's exhaustive (and accurate) comments below, I felt guilty for not posting a review of my own! I have also owned this player for about 6 weeks or so, and am very happy with my purchase. I initially wanted to get the CDP-XA7ES, but was told by my local dealer that they are sold out in Japan, so I got the CDP-XA50ES instead. I very much like the sound of this player, which replaces an older Sony ES model. Smooth, good frequency balance from top to bottom, and lots of textural and spatial detail. The construction, as mentioned by Ben, is first-rate, and (as I have always found with Sony consumer audio gear) the user convenience features are exhaustive (too exhaustive?) and well implemented -- I especially like the "jog/shuttle" knob for track selection, rather than a large array of tiny pushbuttons. One minor complaint, however -- it is not possible to turn off the track time display, something that was possible with my earlier unit. I also have not found the 9 available digital filters to be particularly useful, although I guess that "knob-twiddlers" will like this feature. Finally, it lacks the balanced outputs of the CDP-XA7ES.
Associated equipment:

Accuphase E-406V integrated amp
Eminent Technology LFT-VIIIs
("A" upgrade, biwired with Kimber 8-TC)
Paradigm PS-1000 subwoofer
(Probably the next thing to be upgraded.)
Kimber KC-1 interconnects throughout
(I WON'T spend more on wires, although I admit that they make a difference!)
MDS-JA22ES minidisc recorder
(Before any AUDIOPHILES out there laugh, its only for recording MDs
to listen to on the train.)

PS. The price of the CDP-XA50ES in Japan at the moment is about US$550.
PPS. The "gold" color exactly matches the traditional Accuphase gold finish.

In summary, I think that this CD player is a steal.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Ben Chi   an Audiophile [Sep 23, 1998]

Associated equipment:Sony XA50ES
Martin Logan reQuest
(2) Marantz MA-500 woofer
Classe CA-200 panels
Kimber Select KS-1010 reference interconnects
Kimbe 8tc double shotgun, double bi-wire
Panamax Max 1000+

What else is their to say except the absolute best kept secret in the world!!! I have had this player just over a month and a half and have purposely waited this long to review it. Just like the XA7ES, it features twin power supplies, one for digital, one for analog, frame and beam chassis, fixed laser beam pickup, etc..... The only thing it is missing is balanced outputs, but hey thats life. I was very lucky to bring one back from an overseas trip I took. Try hauling around 34 pounds as carry on through three international airports and explaining why your carrying it around to airport security!!!

This is the player that finally convinced me it was time to return to my roots (stereo). It features volume control both on the unit and remote, so one can hook it up directly to amps which is what I did. I've always been a big believer in the shortest possible distance between source and speakers. No pre-amp for me!

Previously, I had been using a Sony xa7es as my reference CD player. It was always a good trooper, but I never seemed to pop a $3000 retail woody on it. The XA50ES is an entirely different beast! The construction is notable as the XA50ES is built nearly the same for alot less money. After about 100hours of break in, I started listening to it and I nearly blew a load based on the presentation! Timbral, soundstage, and balance was unbelievable. Instruments like Guitar, piano, and violin really shine and are properly placed. One of my major qualms with the xa7es is that it sacrifices soundstage accuracy for better timbral reconstruction. Not so with the XA50ES. It decisively excels in both these departments.

Now begins the fun part. The XA50ES has nine different filter settings to change the "charachter" of music. The filters correct for brightness, thinness etc.... In addition, refinement is one way to describe a filter. Not all recordings are created equal and as such, played on a standard CD player, one will immediately notice deficiencies and have to live with them forever. Not so with the XA50ES. The filters are not as gimmicky as DSP and do not sound artificial at all. If they had, I would never had purchased this player.

Clearly the best (secret) value going in Hi-Fi these days. You'll never see this player face multi-kilobucks in any magazines.....why? Because the multi-kilobuck advertisers would pull their accounts. My name may not appear in Audio Magazine, but I do know gems from gimmicks.

Finish and construction are top notch. It takes alot to make a 34 pound CD player, especially when DiscMans are so sevelte. Internally, Sony has painstakingly tried to isolate components from one another. Power supplies on one side, transport in the middle, and digital section on the other side. All being fed on individual power transformers. It could pass for a Levinson, but lucky enough it says Sony. One important thing to note. Three companies, Sony, Meridian, and Wadia all push the digital forefront to new levels. Of these companies, Sony is the largest consumer electronics company and as such devotes more R+D dollars to digital audio research than Meridian and Wadia combined! addition, Sony uses digital technology in other sectors, (not just CD players) the net effect is that Sony truly is on the forefront of digital technology. Wadia on the other hand, makes wonderful CD players, however, that is all they do. Meridian is a slight anomoly because it does consulting and seems to cook up exciting new technolgy out of their UK labs. The only thing that stops Sony from cramming all their technology into a CD box is price. Whos going to pay $5000 for a Sony CD player. If you want to impress your friends, than by all means spend $5000 for that new Wadia, or Levinson, but if you want a truly fine technology packed CD player reasonably priced, than consider Sony.

One slight drawback is the fact that this player runs off 100v power. I had to purchase a step down transformer in order to use it in the US. I'll be researching power conditioners which can perform this task. I'll put in a call to Tice soon

Describing this player does not do it justice. One must listen to it to experience first hand what its like. I liked it so much that I bought two. If you have the chance to hear this player, you'll walk out with at least one in your arms, all 34 pounds of it.

-ben


OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
D. Malfait   an Audio Enthusiast [Oct 09, 1998]

Here we are again.As stated earlier this player comes in different versions, depending on the country where you buy it. When I read Don's comment about the fact that the player sounds warm, I am a little amazed.
People over here say that it doesn't sound warm at all. It has however very immpressive high's. That is exactly the opposite.
I for myself have noticed the same. It does not sound warm at all. It sounds very clear with beautifull high's. The lows are clearly separated from the mid's and highs. From all the systems I have ever heard, Sony systems sounds the brightest. Some people in Europe don't like Sony because it isn't "warm" enough for them. Over here we call this "The Sony sound", because it is so typically.
So I come back to my earlier statement: it depends on more than only the player. The other equipment, the room, and let's not forget: the listener.
By the way, have you ever heard this player in combination with a Sony 90ES amp/preamp? Not many people know this, but this is a very good amp/preamp, certainly in combination with a Sony player.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
pablo   Audio Enthusiast [Nov 26, 1999]

Really i haven't heard many hi-end players in my home, besides the XA7ES, and in A/B comparisons it was impossible (a pool of 4 people) to say which one of both was playing. They sound exactly the same.
Way better than my previous Marantz CD-63ES. Much more bassd, inner detail, texture, and less analitical, although still not a "romantic" sound.
I'm absolutely sure this is the best value audio product available.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
B.Zoher   an Audio Enthusiast [Jul 23, 1998]

What else is there to say. It is European CD player of the year '97. There is nothing in this price range that could compare to 50ES and there are very few superior hi-end CD players (but they cost minimum five times the price of 50ES).

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Yuh-Herng Chen   Audiophile [Dec 18, 2001]

I got a respond from "axel@hamilton.lv" but I could not reply to him directly. It seems that "axel" has a X5000 Cd player and got similar experience of mine. axel also mentioned that his old Philips are using SONY chips but sounds better than SONY's own product.

I believe there are a few possibilities:

1) Japanese people have different taste in sound (and I think the building materials have impact on tuning).
2) Cost down at chips/parts suppliers (I am working in one of them).
3) mentioned by axel in mail, better linearity, but smeared other factors that take live of music away.
4) Good parts do not guarantee good sound. SONY have very excellent engineers, but they are not necessary good in tuning the sound.

By the way, I think the "digital filter" is not practical. The change is so minor that replace a cable reflects mmmmmmuch stronger than change filter mode. The only thing I can say is this CD player has too much SONY characteristics. On the other hand, I connect it to my integrated valve amp and B&W N805 and I found the sound acceptable (still not a Philips 850's competitor). Maybe people use old Tannoy or Spendor speakers will love it?

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
3
Showing 1-10 of 29  

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