Sony CDP-XA7ES vs Panasonic DVD-H1000 playing through Onkyo PR-SC886 and Crown XLS-202. The Onkyo is an AV preamp and an excellent performer in 2-channel mode. In "Pure Audio" mode, it is transparent. Some may say the Crown is the weak link but it passes near perfect square waves which is what I look for in amps. The Sony's Fixed output is hotter than the Panny so Variable output is set to 80% to match output. Swapping is done with RCA switch box. The Panasonic is one of those pieces of gear that really intrigues, it weighs 37 pounds and has a cast metal internal chassis that cannot be seen. The XA7ES needs no introduction, it is from the long line of "7" ES models that deserve all the respect they earn. Let the comparo begin. Sometimes at first listen, there is a clear winner but that is not the case. Both are high resolution players with excellent clarity and attack. There isn't much to separate them. The Sony might be marginally darker and dryer but that is a fleeting impression. The Panasonic might be slightly fuller but that is also a fleeting impression. The differences are so slight that extended listening with either wipes away the memory of the other. I'm calling this a tie.