There is a Kondo dac for $15,000.00 for sale. Give it a go and report back to us how it works out in your system. =8^)
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What do you mean by "memory player"? Is that a music server or a CD/SACD transport? If so, which one?
You're listing high end, so I assume a hi-rez source. I'd focus on DACs with open architecture that can handle sampling rates up to DSD one-bit, 5.6Mhz and everything from there down to 16/44.1. Though few have it today, I'd hope for an HDMI-in because more and more hi-rez sources will have that in the future. At a minimum you need Toslink and AES/EBU input and balanced analog out. A method to update firmware, such as USB, will delay obsolesence.
A number of the members of our NJ Audio Society have the current top of the line MSB DAC, and one of them uses it with the Memory Player. The combination sounds excellent. This DAC has the additional advantage of being able to decode 24 bit/176kHz signals from music servers (like Reference Recordings offers), so if the Memory Player gets upgraded at some point to take in those files it could handle them. I will (finally) be trying out the Memory Player in two weeks with my EMM Labs DCC2SE and Audio Logic DACs, we'll see if it can beat out my Forsell for sheer musical enjoyment, I'm pretty sure that it will better it technically.
Rcprince, I will be very happy to read your post about the memory player, it seems that the MP will handle practically all, but let us to see, but if it can beat the forsell, this will be a giant step forward, because I remember the sound on the Forsell, and practically never I have heard something so good, only Scarlatti, AN Kondo touch this sound.
Ok, now you're blowing my mind. I went to the Memory Player site and see that it has a 32-bit, tube DAC. The claim to fame of the MP, besides the 32-bit DAC, is that it reads the source disc into a large memory and re-reads as part of the error correction (error prevention) mode, hoping to achieve "bit-perfect" disc reading. That's great, but why would anyone go to an external DAC, unless the MP DAC is inferior?
I like the concept of the MP (except for the tubes) but if you're going to put tubes in the chain, then why would you bypass them with an external DAC? Just wondering.
Well, I finally got to listen to the Memory Player (as a "transport") in my system using both my Audio Logic 2400 and EMM Labs DCC2SE DACs, and compared it to both my Forsell and EMM Labs CDSD SE transports. The Forsell (through the Audio Logic) clearly sounds the closest to vinyl, but the MP was equally good at conveying the emotion of the music, had a definite analog-like ease to it and presented more detail in a more focused way than the Forsell (though if you can't abide digital and only listen to analog the Forsell/Audio Logic combination is the closest thing in digital that I have heard to a good turntable). The Forsell had a slightly larger soundstage in terms of height and width (again, like a good analog rig), though the MP seemed to be better at portraying the depth on the recordings. On a well-recorded analog piano recording (Moravec's Chopin Ballades on VAI) it was a toss-up, the Forsell blooming beautifully like a good record on a good TT, but the MP doing a little better on the attacks and almost matching the bloom. The MP did a good deal better than the Forsell on large-scale orchestral works, being better at unraveling very complex orchestral scoring.
The EMM Labs transport, through the EMM Labs DAC, sounded closer to the MP (more focused than the Forsell), but still was not its match. Decay of instruments and hall ambience was reproduced better by the MP. In particuar, both transports most noticably fell a little short in the highs (cymbals, flutes, violins), where they sounded a little "hashy" and slightly distorted in comparison to the MP, and, in the case of the EMM Labs, lacking that three-dimensional body. As a result, you can play the MP louder on material with a lot of high frequency content without any strain or edginess, which I have heard with every transport I've used in my system. Bottom line is that the MP just sounds more like the real thing, and more "right", than the other transports in my system.
In answer to the original question in this thread, both the EMM Labs and Audio Logic DACs worked very well with the MP, and I could recommend them both, the Audio Logic being a little more lush and romantic, the EMM Labs having extraordinary resolution and deep bass.
By the way, in case you're wondering, I took some hybrid SACDs and put them into the MP, then listened to the MP playing the CD layer against the SACD playback of the EMM Labs transport, both through the EMM Labs DAC. I still preferred the SACD but the difference was much less than I have ever heard. SACD's smoother highs offset the advantage the MP had in that area on conventional CD, and SACD reproduction of ambience was just slightly better than the MP's, another area where the MP clearly bested the transports on Redbook. But the MP was very, very close to sounding like SACD--extremely impressive. If it could decode the SACD layer of a hybrid disc, I imagine it would sound amazing.
Also, out of curiosity I played the same discs from the hard drive of my Yamaha music server through the two DACS. While the sound was good, it lacked the detail, three-dimensionality and ease of the MP. I have always preferred the sound of my two transports to the Yamaha, which I principally use for learning music or background music for parties rather than more serious listening. The Yamaha just doesn't quite have the "rightness" that I heard through the MP. I imagine a very sophisticated music server would be a fairer comparison, but I do not have that setup in my home.
Sorry if this is a little off topic, but I know some of you wanted to get this report, hope it's of interest.