I would love to know the answer to this as well given how it's exactly the same price as the 9000ES and is more "advanced". I doubt its sound could be that bad because it is essentially ES quality minus the tag. Sony has a habit of coming out with some stuff like this, such as the DVP-7700, or my current MD deck the JB920. With Sony stuff, if you see gold plated jacks in the back, that's a good sign it'll sound halfway decent if not outstanding. I listened to my 920 deck's line outs just last night because I just remembered it fell under that ES quality minus the tag category and was very impressed by its sound...instantly noticeable was the extra airy feeling it gave everything. The only thing missing from it compared to the 9000 I heard was inner resolution and treble detail.