From a set of high-end separates in very good looking shoebox format - with an itch :
footprint-people don't buy high-end,
high-end-people unfortunately don't buy Sony,
and design-people still have a crush on B&O.
The same fate did befall the first Precise P7 and Falcon sets (both 1978), the Syscon 353CD ('82) and, somewhat differently, the Scenario S7 and Placido components ('91). Some things obviously never change.
In the Series 5000 (# 5000), the 10mm front is reminiscent of what was planned for the pre-Esprit and ESPRIT series - the rest is very different. The slabs of aluminium making the sides and top are reminiscent of the Precise P7 units - but the rest is very different :-)
This notwithstanding, the CDP-X5000 and CDP-X3000 quickly became respected CD drives : 100% non-magnetic aluminium chassis, a Fixed Pickup Mechanism, an AES/EBU output, careful layout of the 4-layer glass epoxy boards, one R-Core transformer, Frame & Beam chassis.
Despite an elaborate Current Pulse digital-to-analogue section, the CDP-X5000 is an integrated CD player with, mainly, a drive vocation : the AES/EBU digital output isn't present for peanuts and that is probably why the X5000 doesn't have a VC filter section like the CDP-X3000 has.
Several dedicated audiophile accessories were made available as well for the X5000 seven months after the series' launch : a brass puck, a Corian puck and an opaque Corian lid.
None of these were distributed (or even mentioned) outside Japan - Sony's sky high silliness as usual.
The CDP-X5000 received rave reviews everywhere and excellent sales in Japan but the series nevertheless got shelved rather rapidly.
Unlike what is commonly believed, the # 3000 and # 5000 separates are NOT part of the ES series.
The french and german Sony attempted to unload their stocks more easily, late in time, by adding an ES logo next to the model scripting, and on the cartons, and in the manuals. This however remained unseen elsewhere, including Japan, and was just plain bad marketing miscalculation.
The 5000s sold very well in Japan and didn't need an added ES logo to do so - adding it on EU models didn't boost sales either as ES, by then, already didn't mean much anymore.
Nudies of an X5000 here.