Review: Sony CDP-XA20es CD Player

Category: Digital

Simply an exceptional component. For a company known for its worthless perks (read: bells and whistles), Sony has managed to deliver a very simple and innovative CD player here. Its single CD design with a truly unusual fixed laser transport system just smacks of audiophile eccentricity. And even better--it works. I have had the player for around 3 years now and have never had a single complaint to file. The player sounds outstanding within the context of my modest system. I have compared it directly to a Yamaha changer, a Sony DVD player, and a portable CD player--it beats the heck out of all of them. Smooth, clean, crisp, just like mature digital should be. For an extra little bit o' lovin, try hooking it directly up to your amplifier (I used a Parasound HCA-1000A) with its variable gain outputs--delicious. I use it to listen to all manner of music: rock, jazz, ambient, techno, punk, metal. It excels with all of them. Highly recommended.

Associated gear
Yamaha RX-V800 receiver
Paradigm 9SEmk3 loudspeakers
Audioquest Ruby interconnects

Similar products
Yamaha, denon CD changers
Bravo Rrayda - Great Review!

I also own a XA20ES for about 2 years, it's treated like the red headed step brother of the Stereophile Class "A" XA7. Yet dollar for dollar $700 vs $3000, I ran the two XA's against each other & walked away w/ the 20! I figured at the time I'd ad a Bel Canto DAC1, but honestly have never needed to! It is a wonderful cdp, when connected to a amp via variable output! As a transport alone, there isn't anything out there that is built like the smooth 20!