Last night I did some A/B testing between my 47a and a Sony SCD-C555ES. I tested with the one track that I own on two different discs: Rebecca Pidgeon's Spanish Harlem, which I have on both her album The Raven and Chesky's Introduction to SACD. This is a stereo SACD track. My system consists of MBL 111A main speakers passively biamped with a Sunfire Cinema Grand and a Sony TA-P9000ES preamp. Initially I thought the Sony sounded a bit more open and more smooth. However, after I did some level-matching (by ear),I found that I would be very hard pressed to hear a difference between the two players on that track. Switching back and forth, both players sounded practically identical to me. The 555ES is brand new while the 47a is several months old so if you believe in burn-in, perhaps that would make a difference. I tried to notice some differences but was never able to convince myself fully there were actually any. The 47A has received mixed reviews on its SACD performance while the Sony unit is pretty much universally praised. Based on this experience, I believe sonic differences between the two are subtle at best. The 47A's output was by default about 5dB lower than the Sony player and I had to increase it within the setup menu to make a more valid comparison. I believe this may be the source of some the inconsistency in the reviews. With that said, the 555ES has some advantages in its feature set which made me decide to get it (phantom center mode on multichannel SACDs, setup navigation does not require you to turn on the display, carousel). I will probably pick up a separate DVD-A player in the near future.