Originally Posted by Mikey01
To me tube CD players seem a little passive in sound. I am sure there are exceptions but at what cost. I prefere a tube output on the amp and a analogueish sounding player such as the Rega Apollo. No grain there.
I found the current Chinese tube players fairly unimpressive but have only really listened to the Shanlings.
The best tube experience I have had with CD is with an actual Audio Innovations Valve amplifier (300B I think) which was pretty inexpensive as tube amps go and made a really crappy CD player sound quite good but only with certain types of music. Jazz, classical, psychadelic rock etc.
If you like any other types of music it may be less suitable. For instance stick on Public Enemy and all the James Brown samples sound great but the slamming Bomb Squad rhythm programming gets lost in the fuzz.
The best thing to do would probably be to get a pretty smooth modern CD player like the NAD 542 and a tube headphone amp to take the edge of the sound.
Modern Delta Sigma chipsets like in the NAD are very detailed and polite compared to the thrills and spills of late 80's multibit. Where Delta Sigma's score over 1st gen machines is in the detail but they do tend to sound a bit flat by comparison. Those old Philips die cast mech players really have amazing presence and solidity compared to modern machines though.