Originally Posted by recstar24
Have you considered any other $10,000+ sources? There are a couple of options out there, and would imagine they are all great, but for that kind of money it would be worth it to audition some difference ones. I still don't think its the best idea in your situation, but its your money and you seem intent on it, so I might as well help you out.
If I were to spend that kind of money, I would probably look at Reimyo to be honest. The top of the line cdp utilizes the same DAC that is used with the JVC XRCD recordings, which I find to be excellent, in addition to a killer transport, excellent build quality, and supposedly top notch sound. Esoteric, Wadia, Naim, etc., tons of stuff other than the 808i.
Naim makes fantastic CDPs. I auditioned the CD555/PS555 summer ('06) and I was really happy with it. The accompanying gear was something like this: NAC282/HiCap/NAPSC (can't remember whether it was dual HiCap or not) -> NAP250 (or was it the 300?) -> ProAc D80. I also compared it briefly to the CDS3/XPS2 and the dCS P8i. Actually, the CDS3/XPS2 came pretty damn close, but for reasons I can no longer recall, I came away from the audition most impressed by the CD555/PS555. I wonder how close a CDS3/PS555 will come to a CD555/PS555... The soundstage was so realistic and the sound so refined. Too bad the looks aren't for everyone
The dCS P8i sounded comparatively inorganic.
Esoteric do indeed make very good sounding gear. I had the opportunity to listen to the stunning P-01/D-01 combination, the X-01Limited and eventually purchasing a X-03SE (the previous products were beyond my price range). (accompanying equipment: Chord CPA-can't-remember-number
Reference Pre-amp -> Chord SPM-14000 Ultimate Mono Amplifier -> JMLabs Diva Utopia Be and briefly with the Grand Utopia Be, there might've been a G-0s thrown into the mix, but I can't remember and who cares)
Going from the X-03SE to X-01Limited to P-01/D-01 mainly brought about an incredible and pretty obvious increase in the "live"-feel. In the Esoteric/Chord/JMLabs dealer's more or less perfectly set-up demo room (or at least I thought
, the replica Eames chair was a major bonus
), the P-01/D-01 gave me sensations that are simply out of the world. I was literally being given a private performance by whoever I was listening to. The X-03SE while being a great player itself, simply couldn't convey the same degree of transparency and liveliness. The X-03SE sounded very similar to the X-01 Limited and in the short time (3 hours) that I had with the players, I honestly couldn't say I would be able to tell them apart in a double blind test. I'm sure given more time, the differences would become more apparent.
The best value is of course the X-03SE, but of course at the price ranges you're considering, value goes down the drain. You're paying megabucks for the last few percent of refinement which IMO is, if you can afford it, well worth it.
I believe Sleestack has the P-03/D-03 combo plugged into an SDS-XLR, etc... Ask him for his impressions.
I've also read some good reviews of the new-ish Krell Evolution 505. iirc, the 505 is very similar in price to the 808i so you may want to have a listen
Another recommendation would be the Chord Blu/DAC64, which I also had the pleasure of demoing. It's very difficult for me to say exactly how each of them differed because the final sound depends heavily on the speakers that I listened to.
Needless to say, anyone shopping for 10k+ players is seriously spoilt for choice