For the secondhand money, this is simply a brilliant player. Fast, tight, detailed, spacious and refined but not the most natural in timbre. For example, Rega sounds more real, less synthetic, but that’s a minor thing because you can’t get better sound for the dollar. In standard shape, the XA50ES can be slightly too technical but this is easily addressed by installing the LCaudio clock upgrade. This makes the player more refined, more focused but at the same time more natural and more relaxed while maintaining speed.
While my personal XA50 was modified by Array, this didn’t represent a huge audible change. On many occasions I have had on loan other, standard, XA50’s and they sounded much the same.
The picture below more or less marks the transition for me from analog photos to digital ones. At the time that I purchased my XA50ES, I did not yet own a digital camera… can you imagine?