Sony SCD-XA5400ES vs. Esoteric SA-50

Has anybody been able to do an A/B comparison?

If I got the 5400 it would be run via balanced cables into a Parasound JC-2 preamp.

If I got the Esoteric, I would use it direct without a preamp.

Both would ultimately drive a Pass Labs X250.5.

Currently this would be my only source--have not gotten into using my computer as a source yet but I like the idea of the SA-50's inherent flexibility.

The uncertainty is how the SA-50 would sound driving an amp directly vs running a 5400 through a good preamp. The reviews out there touch on the SA-50 preamp section briefly but not enough to get a thorough idea. Anybody run their SA-50 direct to amp?

Thanks so much
I've heard these units in the same system set up and give the edge to the sony. Also, it is a better value and the warranty should give you additional benefits.