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Source Upgrade -- I'm ready (up to $2500)

post #1 of 66
Thread Starter 
Hey Everybody!!!

Our friendly neighborhood search engine is down, and after cruising through 43 pages in the sources forum, i give up. So here goes:

First off, please pay attention to my budget. AT MOST I may have $2500. If I can use some of that for my car repairs, I would like to!!!

I am ready, after much frustration (to both myself and fellow headfiers), to admit that I need to join Team "Source First." Well, I have a sharp knife, I can find something to sacrifice....where to we begin?

So, I have some nice headphones (HP-1s), and a nice headamp/preamp (Melos Maestro)....where to go next....oh, right, a source. By the way, I plan on owning some STAX in the (near?) future, so this player MUST be a good match for some Lambdas or 4040s.

I love the Cary 306/200 based on my use of it yesterday, both with my Melos and Stuartr's. A truly wonderful player. If I'm a good boy, and save, and keep my eyes open for a deal, maybe I'll be able to grab a used one.

However, Meridians are all the rage...yet I know nothing about them. JMT has a 507 I believe, and I have read that the 508.XX are on their way out and are great players. Info here is greatly needed.

What else fits in the $1000-2000 category?

Btw, I have crappy ICs and stock PCs, with NO power conditioning.

Head-fi Kenobis, youre my only hope.
post #2 of 66
What are you looking for in a source component in terms of specifics? Redbook only? HDCD support? Hi-Rez? DVD-Video? Torodial power supply? Tube / solid state hybrid design? Weight and size restrictions?
post #3 of 66
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Welly Wu
What are you looking for in a source component in terms of specifics? Redbook only? HDCD support? Hi-Rez? DVD-Video? Torodial power supply? Tube / solid state hybrid design? Weight and size restrictions?
oy!! so many questions!!!

I was planning on redbook only. Additional formats are mere bonus features for me at this point. My whole collection is redbook. But I am in no way averse to a multi-format player.

I don't have a preference on tube vs SS vs hybrid. I think i lean towards SS however, but tubage does allow for tinkering...

no weight and size restrictions yet...

sorry if i'm not terribly informative. I am basically starting from scratch, so keep asking me questions if you guys need answers.

thanks Welly
post #4 of 66
If you like the sound of the 306/200, and you want to save money for other things, based on a $2,500 budget, it couldn't hurt to take a listen to a Cary 308. $1,500 list, $1,250 street, and about $800 used. I've always thought the 308 is maybe 85% of the sound of the 306. I own both. I use the 308 in my speaker rig, and the 306 in my headphone rig.

I also have heard a rumor of a new entry level Cary, the 398 that takes the bare bones 308 and adds some of the features of the 306, also for a list of $1,500 IIRC. However, there was nothing on the Cary, or Upscale Audio sites last I checked.

Good luck!
post #5 of 66
I have a Meridian 588, and it is a great redbook only player. They have been recently replaced in the Meridian lineup by the G07/G08, so prices on A-gon have come south of $2k. Should be easy to pick one up for $1800 or so. Highly recommended.

Other players on my short list that could put a smile on your face are:

- Cary 306/200, 303/200
- Ayre CX-7
- Wadia 301/302

The Ayre is the sleeper in the lot, but hard to find.
post #6 of 66
Sell all your gear and go for this :

Stax sr-404 (new) -> Headamp KGSS (new, stock model) -> Cary 303/200 (used)

total would come to about 3100.

Seems like alot but look it's totally possible -> 1950 cash + 425 (rs-1) + 175 (sr-100) + 150 (er-4) + 400 (hpa-1) = 3100

You'll still have 550 left over for your car and you still get to keep your hp-1, sr-200,Sony CD1700, Beyer DT231, Grado SR125, HP890, Sony EX70,Melos Maestro,MAD EAR+, and JMT built META42!

Go for it.
post #7 of 66
agile one listed some nice options. The Wadia 301/302 are sure to please with either an electrostatic or dynamic system. I bought a Meridian G08 to replace it, however the 301 is not bested by previous Meridians. If you are looking at the 588, you might as well consider the 508.24 as well, which still goes for around $1600. 588's have been going for $1900-$2000 on audiogon, while the Wadia 301's go for between $2100 and $2400. The Cary 306 is great too, but I have not had enough time with it to make any critical judgements.

Welcome to team source first! You might just begin to love the HP-1000s through a different source. Or, chefguru's suggestion to get a Stax SR-404/Headamp KGSS is great one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by agile_one
I have a Meridian 588, and it is a great redbook only player. They have been recently replaced in the Meridian lineup by the G07/G08, so prices on A-gon have come south of $2k. Should be easy to pick one up for $1800 or so. Highly recommended.

Other players on my short list that could put a smile on your face are:

- Cary 306/200, 303/200
- Ayre CX-7
- Wadia 301/302

The Ayre is the sleeper in the lot, but hard to find.
post #8 of 66
Canman is being very modest here, as he has an outstanding Wadia 301 available in this thread.

Good luck in your search, nanahachi.
post #9 of 66
I found the 508 to be pretty bright, the 588 was a bit more balanced, very powerful and dynamic, it definitely won't leave your rig sounding smoothed-over to hell and boring for rock. I only heard the 306 for a while, but it seemed to be smoother than the Meridians, but not quite as fun and punchy to listen to. The Accuphase had imaging to die for, but...$.

To be quite honest, aftering hearing it, and assuming you can handle figuring out the computer audio thing, the $550 RME HDSP 9632 sounds about as good as the 588 (if you have a good PC power supply like I do, lesser ones make it about 80-90% of the Meridian). Time to really upgrade your car then, eh? If not, used 588 seems like the way to go, if not the Wadia, time to look up the comparisons of them. Of course if you liked the Cary so much, perhaps it is the one for you...
post #10 of 66
Thread Starter 
wow, sorry I missed your post ID. thanks!

Well, yesterday I missed out on a Cary I was scoping out. So I am still pursuing a source hardcore.

I don't know enought about Wadias to just buy Canman's, despite how great a guy he is. too bad "Search" is down

realistically, UNDER $2000 is my goal. Everyday some new bill arrives that needs attention. sigh

thanks, all
post #11 of 66
Sony 555ES Hot Rod (sacdmods). If you are lucky enough to find a stock 555ES, total cost should not exceed $1400, and you have a KILLER Redbook CD source with SACD capability thrown in for "free" as a bonus.
post #12 of 66
Pioneer Elite DV-59AVi. You can get a brand new one for about $950 USD shipped. Or, you can buy one used on Audio / Videogon. Then, you can throw in some mods from ModWright and it should cost you just about $2000 USD. Excellent source with Red Book CD upsampling / upconvertor. SA-CD + DVD-Audio + DTS Surround + MP3 + SRS TruSurround + DVD-Video + T-REX internal video upscaler (480p/i, 720p, 1080i) + HDMI + IEEE1394 + more stuff. GO to http://www.pioneerlectronics.com and see for yourself. Go to http://www.hometheaterspot.com and http://www.avsforum.com to read more about the DV-59AVi. Also, check out http://www.harmonicdiscord.com/forums for info about ModWright LLC.
post #13 of 66
Where can you get a new one for $950?
post #14 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by ampgalore
Where can you get a new one for $950?
Do a search on http://froogle.google.com or http://www.shopping.com . Also, do some searches in Audiogon and Videogon. The typical prices for new models are around ~ $950 USD shipped but I think you can save an additional ~ $150 USD if you buy one used from an Audiogon or Videogon member. It's really quite a steal for those prices. Of course, do some research on http://www.avsforum.com and http://ecoustics.com along with http://www.hometheaterspot.com .
post #15 of 66
if you want pro-audio..studer..
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