Quest for the Best - High End CD Player
May 3, 2007 at 10:59 AM Post #46 of 91

howiebrou

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Quote:

Originally Posted by tmarshl /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Funny you should mention that. For the last two years I have been running the digital coax output from my MS300 through an MDA 1000 DAC. I used FLAC for recording my 600 CDs. I would say this setup is great for casual listening, incredibly convenient. I am certainly going to keep this setup, particularly since it was such an ordeal getting those 600 CDs into the MS300.

But the difference between a music server and a high-end CDP is dramatic, and like every audiophile, I am on an endless quest for "better".



Can I presume that you consider the MDA1000 not to be a good enough DAC? If it is and since you already have one, how about a top drawer transport like a MCD1000 or Nagra CDT, MBL 1621, Metronome CD3T to partner your DAC. OF course if it is a different sound you need then you of course need a new player or combo.
 
May 3, 2007 at 11:00 AM Post #47 of 91

howiebrou

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Quote:

Originally Posted by tmarshl /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Does anybody know if the EMM Labs CDSA SE is available with a black faceplate?


Black faceplates:

1. Meridian 808
2. MBL (well, black and gold)
3. Metronome CD5 / T2i
4. Audio Research Ref CD7
5. Mcintosh MCD/MDA
6. Krell
7. Mark Levinson
8. Any other CDP with the light off
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May 3, 2007 at 11:07 AM Post #48 of 91

howiebrou

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I thought I would copy this post from the AK forum which I posted before as it might be relevant to this thread:

I have been busily auditioning several brands of CD players since the demise and return of my very nice sounding MCD201 to my Mc dealer. I am keeping a very open mind on all players on the market and my budget could be anything from 201 price (3.5k) to MCD/MDA combo (15k).

Thought you might like to see what players I have on my shortlist of what I consider high end. Of course some may call these very high end whilst others will consider them medium-end. To each his own!

1. MCD/MDA 1000 combo (15k): Very Mc sounding piece. Obviously matches well with other Mc gear. Remote control is an embarrassment IMHO but player is very nice sounding. I consider it a better version of the 201's sonic signature which I guess is what you would expect. Also nice to have additional digital inputs but shame no analogue inputs. No SACD / DVD-A. Pre-amp capabilities a bonus. Won't go into sound signature as I guess we are familiar with this one.

2. Meridian 808(i) (12k(14k)); Huge machine but in black looks perfect with mc gear as well. Superb learning remote control. Can play DVD-A (not much use to me). Huge soundstage (up and to the side) IMHO more detailed and better depth than MCD/MDA, more detail but not digital sounding player at all (read:Wadia). Vocals and mid-range very smooth. Some might say a little 'polite'. I don't agree with this mis-nomer. Drawer is DVD-rom so quite rackety (like 201). 808i version has digital AND analogue inputs and both versions have volume control.

3. Metronome CD5 signature (10k); not sure why this player costs 18.5k in the USA . Great detail. Soundstage wide and tall. Sounds very smooth but ever so often can be fatiguing (which I was suprised about since it has a tube output). Was told that crystal cable may be too clear for it and to try Shunyata pythons (power and XLR). Absolute bullet proof build and top loading (which is nice). Great remote. In black matches Mc somewhat. Depth is not as great as Meridian. Volume control included. Redbook only. No inputs. Apparently T2i is more warm sounding (10k!!!!) so need to A/B soon. T2i in US is even more than CD5 (20k) so this is a real bargain in relative terms.

4. MBL 1521/1511 (14k); Massive top loader in black or silver. I think black has an illuminated blue logo (mc?). Very detailed but warm sound. Sound seems to extend beyond confines of room. Suprisingly engaging and relaxing sonic signature as I expected it to be harsh sounding. Digital and analogue inputs an option. Volume control. New version (F version) coming out any time now is a SACD transport and Dac. Bullet prood build. Good remote.

5. Burmester 061/001; (11-12k); awful!: highly detailed but head-ache producing. Fine if you like wadia and krell and esoteric but even more resolving. Great player I'm sure but no thanks! I read somewhere that the player was overly warm???? I think the reviewer was on drugs. Argued with the dealer who claims "detail is everything, resolution is king. You can always make it warm with cables." Bollocks.

6. Nagra new player or transport/dac (about 11k); not heard it yet. Looks swiss, looks funny but apparently sounds quite sweet and warm. Need to audition asap. Matches Mc like a daisy matches my dogs. Built like a brick shxt-house.

7. Audio Research Ref CD7 (7k); Also cheaper than US I think. Looks great in black, crappy remote. Nice top loader. Great clean, detailed sound. Dynamic. Sounded great with Magico Minis but not quite warm enough for my taste. A bargain IMHO. If wife beats my budget down, definitely a contender.

8. Lab 47 Pi-tracer and Progression DAC (27k); way too expensive and esoteric for my taste. Will scare my dogs when the top jiggles around. Not very resolving in detail but very musical.

9. Wadia / Krell / ML / Esoteric / Ayre / ; not quite to my taste as yet.

Hope this makes interesting reading.

howiebrou
p.s. I use Mcintosh pre-amp, power amp and Sonus Faber speakers.
 
May 3, 2007 at 2:37 PM Post #49 of 91

neilvg

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Wow Howiebrou, that is great info. Have you heard about the APL Hifi NWO 2.5t modified (gutted) Esoteric UX-1 CD-Player? I have yet to hear anything as good although the MBL 1621/1611 and the Meitner SE comes close.

Oh... and welcome to headfi, sorry about your wallet!
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May 3, 2007 at 3:25 PM Post #50 of 91

tmarshl

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Quote:

Originally Posted by howiebrou /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Can I presume that you consider the MDA1000 not to be a good enough DAC? If it is and since you already have one, how about a top drawer transport like a MCD1000 or Nagra CDT, MBL 1621, Metronome CD3T to partner your DAC. OF course if it is a different sound you need then you of course need a new player or combo.


Yes, I am in search of a different sound, and a one box solution. I have been listening toFLAC from the MS300 with digital coax output to the MDA1000, and something was missing, so I thought I would take the time and try to find it in the currrent crop of high-end CD Players.

I looked into the MCD1000 but was not blown away by the result. Also, for that kind of money I would expect SACD. I am also using a McIntosh tube preamp C2200.

Due to my configuration, I need a front-loading unit, so that narrows the field somewhat. Thanks for the outstanding review of CD players, transports and DACs. There are quite a few really good solutions out there for a price.
 
May 3, 2007 at 3:38 PM Post #51 of 91

KrooLism

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I've auditioned the G08 when I was looking for a source.

And if the quality of that unit is anything to go by, I would highly recommend the Meridian 800 series.
 
May 4, 2007 at 12:45 AM Post #52 of 91

howiebrou

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Quote:

Originally Posted by neilvg /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Wow Howiebrou, that is great info. Have you heard about the APL Hifi NWO 2.5t modified (gutted) Esoteric UX-1 CD-Player? I have yet to hear anything as good although the MBL 1621/1611 and the Meitner SE comes close.

Oh... and welcome to headfi, sorry about your wallet!
evil_smiley.gif



Thanks for the welcome!

I know nothing about the modified Esoteric player. Are there any reviews on it? I have to admit the Esoteric sound doesn't quite appeal to me. A little too analytical and lacking in warmth but of course as detailed as you will find anywhere. The MBL combo is much more warm to my ears whilst I have not had the opportunity to hear the Meitner
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May 4, 2007 at 1:38 AM Post #53 of 91

neilvg

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www.aplhifi.com it is much warmer and much better than the unmodified UX-1. It's a totally different unit with a balanced differential tube output and it is quad mono (10 x 2 AKM dacs per channel).

There is a thread here where we talked about it a bit. It is considered my many to be the very best CD Player available (and future upgrades are part of the deal with a fractional upgrade cost). It is made by Alex Paychev, and he is something of a mad scientist. He has designed his own cables, speakers, turn table, cd player (he basically uses he UX-1 for its VRDS Transport and its solid tank-like build). But the player is basically gutted.

http://www.head-fi.org/forums/showthread.php?t=232319

Cheers!

Neil
 
May 4, 2007 at 8:41 PM Post #55 of 91

randerson3024

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Try Esoteric, Linn, Audio Research, and dCS. I have owned and loved them all.

Stateroom_System_April_2007.JPG
 
May 6, 2007 at 4:12 PM Post #56 of 91

tmarshl

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Quote:

Originally Posted by randerson3024 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Try Esoteric, Linn, Audio Research, and dCS. I have owned and loved them all.


Thanks. So far, I have been unable to audition the Esoteric in my area. I will be traveling to the East in a week, so perhaps I will be able to find a dealer there who will let me listen to it. I have owned Linn before and they are excellent. I hope to hear Audio Research and dCS as well.

It is surprising how hard it is to audition these CDPs, when you live in a smaller city. I have had three manufacturers (EMM Labs, Cary and Ayre) who have been willing to loan me a demo unit for an audition in my system. There is no way that I am going to buy an expensive CDP without hearing it in my system, so I guess that those manufacturers who want to be considered are self-selecting.
 
May 7, 2007 at 12:01 AM Post #57 of 91

humanflyz

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So guys, any more thoughts on DV-50 versus DV-60? Does the DV-50 upsample PCM to DSD like the DV-60 does? I'm sort of torn between these two players, so any additional input is welcome.
 
May 7, 2007 at 12:31 AM Post #58 of 91

tyrion

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Quote:

Originally Posted by humanflyz /img/forum/go_quote.gif
So guys, any more thoughts on DV-50 versus DV-60? Does the DV-50 upsample PCM to DSD like the DV-60 does? I'm sort of torn between these two players, so any additional input is welcome.


This is a quote from a Soundstage review of the DV-50:

"It's not only able to play anything you can insert safely in its tray, it's available now. And even better yet, SACDs are handled by a built-in DSD filter, so they're not converted to PCM."
 
May 7, 2007 at 1:44 AM Post #59 of 91

morphsci

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Quote:

Originally Posted by tyrion /img/forum/go_quote.gif
This is a quote from a Soundstage review of the DV-50:

"It's not only able to play anything you can insert safely in its tray, it's available now. And even better yet, SACDs are handled by a built-in DSD filter, so they're not converted to PCM."



I think he was asking if the DV-50 can do PCM --> DSD like the DV-60 not whether it converts DSD to PCM prior to output.
 
May 7, 2007 at 2:21 AM Post #60 of 91

humanflyz

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I might just end up with the DV-60 because I can get a good deal on it. But until I hear back from my potential seller, more opinions would be welcome.
 

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