Sony CDP-XA20ES CD-player

Following the upgrade of budget "E" series Sony again turned to its elite series of audio technique - ES, having released several models of CD-players at once: CDP-XA20 ES, CDP-XA30 ES and CDP-XA50. The first two look very similar in appearance and all three players are equipped with a transport mechanism by Sony with stationary optical head and impact-current C-Pulse processor. The advantages of such transport are famous: the impact of internal and external vibrations on the read head decreases due to a rigid fixation of its block and consequently the reliability of reading digital data from a disc increases. The scanning of tracks on CD is performed by moving a special carriage, which a disk driver with the mechanism of disc fixation on its spindle is mounted on. The time-tested circuit-technique solutions were used in the presented younger model - CDP-XA20 ES: a current DAC of C-Pulse processor type and FF full current digital filter of feed-forward, previously used in the player CDP-XA 2 ES. So the new model can be considered as a deep upgrade of the popular model - CDP-XA2 ES with a new transport mechanism. Picking up this device you immediately feel that this is an extraordinary thing: oversized (and very heavy!) black box, which is significantly superior to its competitors by mass and sizes. As befits to a representative of the elite ES series, XA20ES is the collection of the newest technologies and know-how of "Sony" in the field of high qualitative "Hi-Fi-structure": here there are the branded transport «Fixed pick-up mechanism» and no less "branded" current DAC - current pulse D/A converter, and the branded handle of track's number entry - Jog dial and ... all other achievements of Sony in the field of digital sound processing. In general - 'It's a Sony" and ES in a word. There are gilt connectors of the fixed and adjustable sound outputs and two digital outputs, coaxial and optical, on the back panel. Generally, it's good and solidly.

By number of options Sony is clearly the champion: the player has absolutely all necessary functions, which can be ever useful. Judge for yourself: the programmed and random order of playback, the search of peak level at a disc, power on/off of the display, the placements of tracks on two sides of a cassette with the insert of guaranteed pause between the fragments, volume control on the regulated output. What else can the music lover ask for? At the loading of CD into the player an extremely smooth and absolutely noiseless movement of disc loader "jaws" creates a strong impression. A juicy slap, with which a special chiseled CD cover seals it to the spindle's washer of CD driver, finishes the fullness of the impression.

Well, now we can enter upon the assessment of sound. Sony sounds powerfully, detailed and extremely freely, differing by rich tones' transmission. High frequencies sounded wonderful, the airy and exceptionally sonorous character of which is the strong "family" feature of Sony. The player gives the bass and the middle freely, making the emphasis on the brightness of sound image. The sound is rich and active; many will envy its liveliness. The playback at the same time is somehow deprived of the strictness common to Hi-Fi class. In conclusion I want to note that the designers of Sony have managed to develop the best features (brightness and showiness of sound) of its popular Hi-Fi-components.

Sony CDP-XA20ES CD-player photo