Sony CDP-XA20ES VS. Rotel RCD 971

O.K., audiophiles, lend me your ears! Since I've resigned
myself to the fact that I can't afford an SACD player like
the Sony SCD1 or 777ES, what's your opinion on this Sony
vs. the Rotel? For the same price, the Rotel has HDCD, but
the Sony does not. Any opinions?
I havent heard the Rotel, but I did have the Sony for a little while. I took it back and got a Denon 1650ar, which I have kept and use in a small home office system.

I tried to like the Sony, but, and I have no idea why, it sounded to me like a 33 1/3 rpm lp playing at 34 rpm. A little sharp, and ultimately very fatiguing. Maybe it was the unit I had and all the rest are fine. I have an old Sony 508es that is very smooth and listenable, so the 20es surprised me.

I think there are probably better cd players out for the same amount of money or even less (the Ah Tjoeb maybe?).
I have owned both. The Sony is more detailed and has much better build quality. The Rotel is smoother and more musical. Build quality is not that great. Pick your poison.
I have owned the XA20ES and have enjoyed it immensely. I did replace it recently with a XA7ES (its BIG brother) and after a suitable break in the XA7 now surpasses the XA20 in overall enjoyment. The point here is: both CD players required about 200 hours to start sounding real good and I feel the post by Paulwp is negative because he may not have given the XA20 sufficient break-in time. Perhaps he/she may care to elaborate on this. As regards the Rotel, I have heard it at my local dealer and it sounded "lightweight" with very poor low-end response. If we consider build quality the XA20 is way ahead, the RCD 971 is made in china and seems to use nothing but plastic parts. Maybe the RCD971 I heard was new out of box, however since I was put off by its extremely poor construction I did not investigate further.
I use an XA20ES in my secondary system and have been impressed with its build quaility and fixed laser transport. However, you may wish to consider the Sony C333ES SACD/CD player. It has much better CD sound than the XA20ES and offers SACD capability. The 333ES build quaility is at least as good as that of the XA20ES- it weighs over 23 lbs. If you move quickly, you can get the 333ES from Oade Brothers for $550- only $50-$75 more than an XA20ES.