The Sony XA7ES is Sony’s top of the line CD player. It is a superb player. As the Stereophile review said, finding fault is a lot of work with little return. The mids and highs are very natural. The bass may be a little soft sounding compared to the X707ES, but it goes very deep with terrific impact, and there is excellent detail. The CD bass from the XA7 is very similar to the low end from a good analog front-end featuring one of the better Koetsu cartridges.
As with other top Sony ES players, built quality is as good as any other product on the market. The operation of this player is the presentation of luxury. I owned a CDP X707ES – the previous top-of-the-line model to which Stan Warren added a mod or two – and found its ergonomics better. The buttons were just where you expected them to be. The XA7 took second place in this area. I also liked the ability to completely turn off the display in the X707. But the sound of the XA7 simply blows it away.
Unless one is a transistor detail freak (meaning you have a base, emitter, AND collector in your head), I can’t imagine anyone not appreciating how well this player reproduces MUSIC. It is one of the best CD players out there.