There is a review of it in January stereophile.
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i have not heard it but there is plenty of first-hand feedback and discussion over on the Hi-Rez board on the www.audioasylum.com. you can do a search or ask questions.
there is also recommendations on the cheapest source for purchase.
i am planning on buying the XA777ES myself based on what i have heard on the Hi-Rez board.
I have the XA777 and it is excellent, especially with respect to multichannel or 2-channel SACD.
The big surprise is wjen playing Redbook, as previous SACD players have been so-so in that department when compared to best one-box Redbook players (EMC, Cary, Audio Aero, Linn, Mephisto, etc.
Currently, Richard Kern is heavily modifying my XA, so I'll post a full review when its back and the mods are fully broken in. The Blackgates, new analoue stage, power supply mods and superclock are costing me another $2K --this is a full-blown mod, so in reality, I've got a $4K player -- it better be good. (Richard's initial indications are VERY positive.)
The player can be bought from oade.com for $2K, and just about everyone over on Audioasylum has used that source, as they are fully authorized and their price and service is great. This was my 2nd, no hassle purchase from them, and I live in "shipping challenged" Canada.
SACD 2-channel -- very, very close to SCD-1 (which I also owned), same sonic signature. SCD-1 was a touch more detailed (no doubt in part to its battle tank construction, although jitter measurements on the XA are excellent).
There have been many classic threads over on audioasylum regarding the XA777ES vs SCD-1 vs XA777, and it comes down to the XA's newer circutry vs. the older model's build quality. It's a close call, but the deciding factor for me was in the Redbook performance, where the XA is clearly superior.
Redbook -- superior to all other SACD players I've heard (including the Marantz SA-1). On par or better then most other $2K-3K Redbook only players. Perhaps not quite as good as the Cary 306/200, EMC-1 or Audio Aero -- but damn close. I'm hoping Richard's mods will bring it up to that "class A" status with respect to Redbook, thus saving me $4K+ for a dedicated Redbook player or decent DAC.
In contrast to what the Stereophile reviewer said, I find the XA a very warm Redbook player -- with the triple DAC filtering giving off the same sort of warmth and musical feeling as the Cary. Initially, I thought the XA sound just a touch too "rounded" but I never listened to enough Redbook before sending the XA off for its mods to confirm those impressions, and also realized that my comparisons were made directly after playing SACD, which excels on detail and clarity and thus may have althered my perceptions. That said, I much prefer the XA's sonic signature to the etched graininess of many mid-range CD-players or the cold, clinical approach of some outboard DACs.
You do not need a DAC with this player! It's that good. I also felt that the music was coming from a single source -- no "reprocessed" altering of the original mixer's intent.
In sum, the Redbook is par excellence ... and I am very critical. But (there's always a but!)... you should audition first or buy with a return policy -- as your tastes may well differ from mine. (I find myself disliking many "highly regarded" DACs, preferring a warm, even rolled-off sound. Of course with SACD, you get the warmth AND the detail.)
Multichannel: you've got to try this, it is truly an exceptional audio experince. Already owning an SCD-1, I originally bought my XA strictly for multichannel only, and it is worth every penny at full list just for that experience. You'll need 5-full range speakers, a very good sub (I use two) and an open mind! A few 2-channel, analogue, "I'll never buy a CD player", turntable-touting, 20-years experience, $75K system, hardheaded hobbyists have heard my multichannel system and are beginning to rethink their previously unalterable opinion that 2-channel was the only true audiophile format.
My advice: get the XA for Redbook, but make sure you use it to experince SACD and the new multichannel format.