Update Sony CDP-XA7ES or replace ?

A friend loaned me his transport/DAC combo to show me that my Sony CDP-XA7Es had been surpassed, and I found that his stuff was obviously superior in every way. I don't really know the point of diminishing returns for expenditures for redbook CD digital sources. I assume (but don't actually know) that the Sony would be a fine transport. But I also know that they sell for more that I would have to pay for many higher reviewed complete players with better built-in DACs.
I would appreciate any information as to where my Sony stacks up compared to today's moderately priced stuff, and about how far I should reasonably go in upgrading, given my system. Maybe use the Sony as a transport, or maybe start fresh. I don't care if go for new or used.
My interest is strictly for redbook CDs; I have no ineterest in SACD or DVD-Audio. My system is Parasound P3, A-21, and Gallo Reference 3 speakers. My listening taste is for opera, mellow vocal standards, baroque, classical, and even rock and roll if it is melodic, as I have a problem with harshness.
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I found myself in the same place you are now about 6 months ago. I loved my XA7ES and almost hated to part with it. However, there are much better one box players out there now for less money. You can still probably sell your XA7ES for $900-950 which is not bad considering the units age. I ended up buying a CARY CD player for my Red Book CDs and have been just playing around with a Sony SCD-222es for SACDs.

I would suggest you look at the Naim, Cary, or that new Arcam which is supposed to sound awesome.

In my oppinion, the Cary Unit sounds better than the XA7ES in every aspect. But it does not have that cool tray with the puck! Yea, you will miss that.

Good Luck To You!

I don't have XA7ES but have been using SCD-1 mainly to play Redbook CD's. I figure there's always going to be a better hardware as times go by. It seems any upgrades I have done in the past resulted in small, if any, improvement in my enjoyment of music. If I had the XA7ES, I would not have purchased SCD-1 and I have been satisfied with the CD player. Well, that's me though.

BTW, please tell me about your Gallo speakers. Are these the new ones that are shown in the cover of TAS? What did they replace? Unlike the digital frontend gear, speakers and the room do make a night and day difference, IMO.

in Seattle.