The 50 has a Dot-Matrix display. The other doesn`t.
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Okay. While that may be true, that isn't the full extent of the differences. Precisely what they aren't, I can't say. However, the SA5ES does have a lower THD and S/N ratio specification, indicating higher quality in some areas.
The SA5ES is basically the same circuit design as the ST-S730ES or ST-S707ESX and possibly one other that I'm forgetting right here. What Sony may have done, however, was to correct a board layout problem that resulted in terribly reduced sensitivity on the ST-S730ES.
Still, David Rich in The Audio Critic did note that there are some problems in the front end of the SA5ES that remain. It has a problem with tailbiting and still isn't as sensitive as it should be on paper.
That said, I would strongly suggest you seek out a Yamaha TX-1000/2000 if you're after a digital tuner with a remote, flywheel tuning, and respectable performance. In many important respects, this tuner utilized the same basically principles as Rotel's RHT-10 and RT-990BX, long noted for great sound. With a marginal amount of capacitor and opamp swapping, they are truly superb tuners. Even in stock form, they're quite amazing for the money. The earlier T-85 also utilizes the same basic principles.
I found this old thread and thought I would comment -
I just got a SA5ES tuner from ebay and the build quality is much better than the SA50ES. The SA5ES is much heavier with a bigger transformer. The SA50ES does have some cool features that the SA5ES does not have, like autoprogramming and automatic reordering of the presets.
Sensitivity seems about the same, and is much improved over the ST-S730ES (which would be such a nice tuner if it had better sensitivity).
That's true the European SA5ES is quite different from the US and Asian models, which seem to be about the same.
Judging by the pictures the European SA5ES seems to be a hybrid of the US SA5 and SA50. It has the same encapsulated front end as the SA50 but the transformer and analog board more closely resemble the SA5.
There is a European SA5ES on eBay right now. Buy it now is a little high and of course it is 220 volt.