Sony CDP-X77ES CD player Reference System

Sidebar 2: Tom Norton's Reference System

All of the players were auditioned in a system which consisted of the Jeff Rowland Design Group Consonance preamp, Threshold SA/12e monoblock power amplifiers, and Apogee Stage loudspeakers (on their optional stands). The connection from preamp to all players was via 1.5m lengths of AudioQuest Lapis. Balanced Cardas Hexlink cable was used from preamp to amplifiers. The Stages were bi-wired with Symo cable.

Playback levels were adjusted to compensate for the different outputs of the various players when comparison listening was done—a particularly easy (and easily repeatable) procedure with the Rowland preamp. In addition to solo listening, the player was compared with the Esoteric P-2/D-2 transport/processor combination—the latter connected via a non-exotic but characteristically correct (75 ohm) video cable. No CD "tweaks" of any sort were used in the test.—Thomas J. Norton

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Allen Fant's picture

Thanks! for the memories. My 1st cd player back in the 80's was a Sony ES (for better or worse). In 2016, I am still an "ES" fan.
It is like never forgetting your 1st taste, I mean, 1st cd player.

volvic's picture

I still have 2 cdp-111'S and have owned several 101's and quite few ES players over the years. Some were more reliable than others but the construction was solid and I thoroughly enjoyed the machines. To me it represents Sony's glory years. Good times, thank you as well for the memories.

latinaudio's picture

I still own a Sony XA7ES, also reviewed in the magazine.
A later model than this one, with the fixed laser beam mechanism, is still in use with flying colors: smooth, clear, pleasant sound.
The shortcomings of a unit in a review not always correlates with the pleasure of its use on the long term. In this case, it seems to me that the reviewer hit the nail when he said that "both drew this listener into the music in a way that the other players did not".
18 years after my Sony still made that, although surpassed by new designs.
Call that value !